Hyperion PlanningREVIEWER: Janis Hogue O'Bryan, CIO and senior vice president information technology for Hudson Advisors.

BACKGROUND: Hudson Advisors, L.L.C. is a full-service commercial mortgage servicer and real estate asset manager with proven expertise in the global real estate markets. The company is headquartered in Dallas, Texas, and has affiliate offices in Tokyo, Seoul, London, Paris, Jakarta, Singapore, Taipei, Guadalajara and Frankfurt. Since December 1991, the company has managed and serviced more than 134,000 commercial real estate assets aggregating $12 billion. The global real estate concern can identify an opportunity, even in remote areas of Southeast Asia, and open a full-scale office within 30 days, replete with technology, infrastructure and as many as 100 staff members. This nimble approach to business has made it possible for Hudson Advisors, in just eight years, to go from two offices in North America, to 14 offices worldwide.

PLATFORMS: Hyperion Planning runs on Sun Solaris.

PROBLEM SOLVED: Hyperion Planning helps control IT costs. To set up an operation that can rapidly seize a business opportunity and open a new office, cross-functional teams at Hudson Advisors of legal, accounting, facilities, asset management, operations and IT experts need to leap into action. The IT team, in particular, because of the careful monitoring of its expenditures and the documentation of its processes, has grown out of a traditional role as a service provider into one that contributes to the company's competitive standing. This has been made possible by the implementation of Hyperion Planning in IT.

PRODUCT FUNCTIONALITY: Hudson uses Hyperion Planning to manage all aspects of our IT operation. Hyperion Planning is a centralized, Web-based planning, budgeting and forecasting solution that drives collaborative, integrated, event-based planning processes throughout Hudson Advisors for a wide range of financial and operational needs. The planning, forecasting and reporting of every IT purchase in every corner of the world is tracked. Management made the strategic decision to empower all IT employees at every level to use the tool and be accountable for IT spending, which is the company's second largest expense. I have never seen an impact to an IT culture like this in my 26 years in IT. Hyperion Planning allows us to get down to the granular detail. It allows us to analyze all IT purchases and decide whether we're taking advantage of best pricing in a region.

STRENGTHS: Various data sources and internal applications work together with Hyperion Planning. The finance and reporting departments at Hudson Advisors use Hyperion Planning as well. Hyperion Planning is linked to Oracle Financials and a number of internally developed applications. We create scenarios from the various data elements, with Hyperion Planning as the interface between Oracle and the in-house applications. Because all regions are now looking at the same version of the data, there isn't version confusion - which is a huge improvement.

WEAKNESSES: You cannot have a business rule with the same name in multiple applications. For example, our test and production applications are on the same box, and if you have a business rule in production, you cannot create the same in the test apps.

SELECTION CRITERIA: Hudson Advisors had been using Hyperion Essbase (enterprise analytics) for budgeting for several years. We liked the quality of the information in Hyperion Essbase and the Web component of Hyperion Planning. Hyperion Planning's foreign currency functionality was another factor in our decision.

DELIVERABLES: Hyperion Planning is our Global Budgeting and Forecasting tool that allows us to predict and analyze our spending worldwide.

VENDOR SUPPORT: Our vendors understood the mechanics of the application, yet support could have been more successful had they included a financial person in the engagement. After we became comfortable with the application, incremental customization was required by our team for Hyperion Planning to completely meet our business needs.

DOCUMENTATION: When using the online help function, Hyperion Planning offers basic "how-to" instructions and then refers you to the Hyperion Administrator's Guide.
Hyperion Planning
5450 Great America Parkway
Santa Clara, CA 95054

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