Reducing Risk by Looking Back

Hyperion, iSpheres link historical analysis with real-time events

Oakland, CA  July 30, 2001  Software providers iSpheres and Hyperion are joining forces to offer a solution that combines supply chain event monitoring with business-analysis capabilities in a way that they say will allow manufacturers and other companies to respond more quickly to supply chain disruptions and bottlenecks.

iSpheres provides a framework for building event-based, distributed "meta applications" to manage business in real-time. These meta applications can provide companies with visibility into their business processes by detecting events or changes in conditions within the supply chain, such as changes in a supplier's delivery schedule or in a product's design, which would imply a new bill of materials for the product. When changes occur, the software can automatically trigger other applications to allow for a response to the event.

iSpheres is partnering with business analysis software provider Hyperion to promote a new class of analytics called event-driven on-line analytical processing (OLAP). Event-driven OLAP incorporates historical analysis with real-time events to proactively manage risk in real-time, enabling decision makers to analyze and react to relevant business events as they occur. Early prototypes have been built for the financial services sector to proactively manage risk associated with global cash positions, and for the manufacturing industry to dynamically adapt to disruptions across the extended supply chain.

Hyperion and iSpheres have integrated Hyperion's Essbase application with the iSpheres MetaApp Framework to provide a real-time, event-driven OLAP infrastructure for joint customers. When iSpheres detects an event, it is routed to Essbase along with a command to initiate an analysis model. The output is monitored by iSpheres' framework and may be used to invoke other distributed services such as functions inside enterprise resource planning (ERP) systems, transactions at online marketplaces, and wireless alerts to PDAs. The end result is a proactive, event-driven OLAP solution for managing risk in real-time.

For example, if a delay in supply is detected in a manufacturer's supply chain, iSphere's software figures out which of the manufacturer's product will be affected, pulling that data from the company's enterprise resource planning and supply chain management systems. The software can then get information from the company's customer relationship management system to determine which customers will be most affected by the delay, while at the same time seeking spot pricing and availability for alternative part supplies.

The software sends all this information to Essbase, allowing a purchasing manager to run a customer profitability and satisfaction analysis so that the manager can recommend a course of action. Once the manager makes a decision, the iSpheres software can assist in implementing the necessary actions, such as by triggering the company's e-procurement software to send purchase orders to an e-marketplace and sending e-mails to the sales representatives of customers that will be affected by the delay.

"Traditional OLAP provides deep insight into historical data, but when this historical context is applied to real-time data, corporate decision-makers can optimize their financial and operational processes," said Robert Gersten, general manager for Essbase. "This partnership can dramatically expands the reach of Hyperion Essbase by incorporating real-time analytical events from enterprise applications and external data sources."

Essbase provides the tools for defining the analytical events for the MetaApp Framework, applying historical data context to real-time events fed back into Essbase from the framework and providing reporting, analysis, modeling and planning to support the appropriate business response. iSpheres' framework provides the fabric for detecting target events across internal and external systems and populating Essbase for analysis, as well as detecting subsequent events based on the Essbase analysis and invoking necessary distributed services in response.

"Before critical business events can be responded to, their impact must first be synthesized, which is accomplished by Hyperion Essbase, providing the important decision support layer," said Santosh Alexander, CEO of iSpheres. "By aligning with the Hyperion Essbase team, iSpheres is able to demonstrate our ability to enable event-driven meta applications that empower decision makers with the information and analysis they need, precisely when they need it, much like the military's command and control system."

Alexander said that the solution providers' relationship would include promoting the concept of event-driven OLAP, approaching customers together and continuing joint development of their products' capabilities.