There are riches in the data stored inside over 5000 installed Hyperion performance management applications, and Star Analytics is committed to helping its customers exploit them more broadly. Tom Tortolani, VP of Products, sees this as Star Analytics’ great opportunity – he’s watched as the installation, maintenance and exploitation of the data in such applications has become more complex and unwieldy, even as more non-specialists clamor for access to that data.
More IT involvement for business performance applications is required all the time,” Tortolani says, “even though it’s business users driving demand. The industry needs to make it easier for them.”
Tom’s was one of the first few employees at Arbor, the vendor responsible for Essbase. Arbor was a founding member of the OLAP Council and was involved in early efforts to benchmark OLAP servers, including the APB-1 sales and marketing benchmark application database. Arbor merged with Hyperion in 1998 to add its OLAP capabilities to Hyperion’s leading financial applications, and Tom spent some time at Hyperion as well. He learned there are many multidimensional problems that customers need to solve which are handled by moving Hyperion data out to data marts using star schemas, integrating it with other data in the process. The Star Integration Server was created to tackle that problem, and Star Analytics was recently granted a patent on a core piece of the export technology. Interacting with services-based componentry, other data sources, and otherwise extending the utility of Hyperion has been a steady growth business as the company has grown and stabilized.
This is another example of the value of purpose-built, context-aware software. Hyperion applications are great at getting the data in, but not designed for getting it out except within its own surrounding apps. Customers thus build complex environments using secondary storage vehicles, PERL scripts, etc. and find they have a tangled, ungoverned mess on their hands. Hundreds of these firms have already tried the free Express Edition download Star Analytics offers, and dozens of those have converted to paid customers – strong momentum for a relatively small firm that has not really launched an aggressive visibility campaign yet.
Star Analytics’ other key product, more recently introduced, is the Finance Command Center, which was briefly reviewed in a recent Information Management Magazine piece by Symantec, a customer who claimed a 95% reduction in complex manual processes used for financial integration. We expect to see a great deal of interest in this product in the quarters ahead.
The good news for Tom and his colleagues is that venture capital money, from no less than Hummer Windblad among others, has provided the funding for Star Analytics to ramp it up, and IT Market Strategy expects to see new developments coming soon, at an opportune time for a market that will be rebounding and focusing on financial issues as 2010 approaches. Oracle is relatively supportive, and Star Analytics will appear in the Hyperion pavilion at Oracle Open World in October. Star’s partnership with IBM (we understand that its connector to Essbase is used by IBM’s DataStage) is another important element of the strategy. With a strong distributor to drive the product globally, Star Analytics will see its reach multiplied enormously. Expect to see more from Star Analytics in the months ahead.