Oracle vendor purchase may boost agency strategic smarts

Concerns arise, however, over long-term integration issues

Oracle's planned purchase of Hyperion may result in software that allows government customers to more easily merge their strategic plans with their operational data, though industry observers also worry about integration issues with the acquisition.

Last week Oracle announced that it would purchase performance management software provider Hyperion for approximately $3.3 billion.

Hyperion CEO Godfrey Sullivan noted in a press release that the field of performance management is converging with that of business intelligence. Folding Hyperion software into Oracle's Business Intelligence suite would offer customers the ability to align operational data with their strategic goals.

In the government space, performance management software is often used by agencies to track how well departments are meeting the President's Management Agenda. Such software could also be used to see how an agency is meeting its goals. According to Hyperion's Web site, the Army Recruiting Command has used the Hyperion Performance Suite to produce reports and executive summaries. The Agriculture Department's Farm Service Agency also has used that software to prepare financial reports and budgets, according to Hyperion's site.

While Hyperion users who run Oracle middleware and enterprise resource planning tools may enjoy greater interoperability in the years to come, those that use non-Oracle platforms may experience 'a rough road ahead,' speculated Alyssa Farrell, SAS' government industry marketing manager. SAS also features performance management functionality within its own SAS 9 software.

'We don't know if Oracle will continue to develop Hyperion software or if it will attempt to transfer the functionality to Oracle's own solutions suite,' she said.

The Oracle announcement noted that Hyperion's software is widely used in conjunction with SAP systems. SAP is one of Oracle's chief competitors in the enterprise resource planning space. 'We can't see Oracle maintaining relationships with [outside vendors] if they already have their own tools in-house,' Farrell said.

Others do not see integration issues as a major concern. 'Because [business intelligence] is a such a hot space, you will see these sorts of acquisitions,' said Bill Cooper, vice president of government sales for Teradata, a division of NCR Corp. of Dayton, Ohio. Teradata provides data warehouse systems that fuse together information from multiple databases so the data can then be analyzed by reporting tools, such as those offered by Hyperion.

Cooper pointed to Oracle's purchase of Siebel Systems and data integration vendor Sunopsis, noting that the products from these companies continue to support multiple vendors.

'Our customers have heterogeneous environments, so it is important for all of us to keep partnering,' he said.

About the Author

Joab Jackson is the senior technology editor for Government Computer News.

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