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Q&A: Hyperion’s CEO on business intelligence, IT governance

Jeffrey Rodek also talked about the return of BI portals

By Maryfran Johnson
April 28, 2004 12:00 PM ET

Computerworld - Hyperion Solutions Corp.'s user conference in Chicago this week drew more than 3,000 customers to talk about business performance management software and its impact on how their companies manage finances and comply with new government regulations. With its acquisition of Brio Software last year, Sunnyvale, Calif.-based Hyperion expanded its user base from 6,000 to 9,000 customers worldwide.

Computerworld editor in chief Maryfran Johnson caught up with Hyperion CEO Jeffrey Rodek at the conference to talk about the expanding business intelligence market, the return of dashboards and how IT governance is changing.

What has changed in the business intelligence market that's made this such a high-interest topic and the focus of so many IT projects in 2004? Three things. First is the frustration over ERP installations, which around Y2k companies spent so much on and will admit they wasted so much money on there. When they put these ERP systems in, they had no insight into their business. They had lousy reporting, no profitability analysis, etc. Second would be the power and interoperability of the solution sets [in the market] around business performance management, or BPM. Third, it's a renewed interest in growing the business—not just cutting costs—but growing it in a smart way. People are realizing, "If I could be planning more proactively, doing my reporting, my dashboarding and getting to that 'single version of the truth, I could stay on top of my business better.'"

Isn't the spending on BI software also prompted by concerns about regulatory compliance? Yes, but above and beyond regulation, it's just good governance. That requires better insight into the company, better sharing of information. You have boards [of directors] requiring more information of management, and you certainly have more reporting to meet these regulations, so you have to have more clarity.

How do you see IT governance changing from, say, three years ago? There's more of a recognition now of getting out of spreadsheet hell, where companies recognize they've unconsciously chosen Excel, which is a great desktop personal productivity tool, as their enterprise software. But the spreadsheets aren't linked, and you often don't know where the data came from, and you can't collaborate. Under Sarbanes-Oxley 404, all the key data that could impact how you value an organization needs to be handled by a proper process. IT will be very much involved in that.

Hyperion CEO Jeffrey Rodek
Hyperion CEO Jeffrey Rodek
When it comes to using BI or other business performance measurement tools across the enterprise, what kind of impact are you seeing on the relationship between the CIO and the CFO? Today,

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