Hyperion looks to fill in blanks with Brio acquisition

FRAMINGHAM (10/01/2003) - With its purchase of Brio Software Inc. expected to close later this month, business intelligence software maker Hyperion Solutions Inc. is already eyeing its development priorities for integrating the two product lines.

Sunnyvale, Calif.-based Hyperion bought out the financially troubled Brio, a reporting and querying tools vendor, in July for US$142 million. That move ended a longstanding resale partnership with Crystal Decisions Inc., which itself had just been acquired by Business Objects SA. The Hyperion-Brio deal is expected to officially close on Oct. 16, with a product road map to be made available later this year.

Though he offered few details, company Chief Technology Officer John Kopcke said Hyperion intends to make life simpler for customers by creating a common services architecture that will allow end users to do things like have a single sign-on for both products.

Additional product integration plans include tying together the Brio 8 application with Hyperion's Business Performance Management (BPM) suite, which is due in the fourth quarter. This will allow users to craft reports that combine operational data from existing ERP and transactional systems with finance-related data from Hyperion's BPM software. That, in turn, should enable users to determine the profitability of a given business process.

Through 2004, Hyperion will further integrate products such as Brio Metrics Builder with the Hyperion Platform business intelligence infrastructure software, and it intends to showcase its enterprise metrics road map in the first quarter of the year. By next spring, Hyperion will demonstrate technology that allows users to seamlessly do a full range of querying, reporting and analysis activities from a single interface.

"Hyperion's acquisition of Brio brought a zombie back from the near dead," said Mike Schiff, an analyst at Sterling, Va.-based research firm Current Analysis Inc. For example, he pointed out that IBM has just announced that it will bundle Brio software with its DB2 Data Warehouse product.

"Brio is being taken seriously again," said Schiff. He noted that while there is some overlap in the two product lines, Hyperion's technology is generally geared for high-end online analytical processing functions, while Brio specializes in ease-of-use business intelligence products.

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