Hyperion extends Pillar to support ERP, e-mail tools

An upgrade to Hyperion Solutions Corp.'s Pillar data analysis and budget planning suite promises to extend its capabilities to a broader audience.

An upgrade to Hyperion Solutions Corp.'s Pillar data analysis and budget planning suite promises to extend its capabilities to a broader audience.

New in Pillar 4.5, which was rolled out last week, is an open architecture that allows corporate users and ISVs to more easily integrate Pillar into their own applications.

In addition, the upgrade's capability to integrate data from Microsoft Corp.'s Excel spreadsheet into Pillar applications will enable more individuals in an organization to participate in the budget-planning process, according to Hyperion officials in Sunnyvale, Calif.

As part of the new architecture, Version 4.5 provides an open API that enables tighter integration with enterprise resource planning systems, complementary planning applications and other third-party tools.

This integration should lower overall corporate training costs and increase user participation in budget planning, according to Hyperion officials.

The architecture also enhances process automation through integration with e-mail applications such as Microsoft's Outlook, Lotus Development Corp.'s Notes and Internet mail. This enables companies to automate budget distribution, Hyperion officials said.

"This pushes the budgeting process down further into an organization," said Rich Clayton, senior director of product marketing at Hyperion. "We want to close the loop; we want everybody using a packaged application."

In addition, Version 4.5 comes with more capabilities for making changes on the fly to profit-and-loss statements.

Built-in financial statements in the software allow planners to roll financial statement balances to the next reporting period and easily build in business rules, such as counting on receivables being collected in 30 days.

"The key is no programming," Clayton said. "You can link assumptions into the budget."

Pillar 4.5, which will be available next month, runs on Windows 95, Windows 98 and Windows NT as well as on Mac OS.

Pricing starts at $70,000 for 10 users.

Hyperion can be contacted at (800) 286-8000 or www.hyperion.com.

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