REVIEWER: Ora Fish, program manager, data warehouse for Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute.

BACKGROUND: Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute located in Troy, New York, is a premier technological university and research institution serving more than 7,000 students. Prior to 2000, information requests were met with hard-copy reports. To analyze and transform data contained in those reports into useful insights, decision-makers and their staffs had to manually re-enter the data into their own spreadsheets. Decision-makers were either drowning in too much data with no way to analyze it or working with too little data that necessitated additional information requests.

PLATFORMS: The Rensselaer data warehouse resides in Oracle and is accessed with the Hyperion Business Intelligence front end. PowerCenter from Informatica is used to extract and load data from SCT Banner and BSR systems.

PROBLEM SOLVED: Nearly 650 Rensselaer users - members of the cabinet, the VP of finance, deans, department chairs, administrative leadership, faculty and staff - make decisions and monitor performance using Hyperion Performance Suite dashboards accessible from any client platform.

PRODUCT FUNCTIONALITY: Faculty are using dashboards to view their financial information from a higher level, such as balances or projected balances, and drilling down into the actual transactions, from admissions trends to campaign contributions, research allocation and more. The flexible design allows all users to get exactly the information they need. Decision-makers have been empowered with timely, precise information, and guesswork has been virtually eliminated. 

STRENGTHS: Hyperion Performance Suite delivers robust infrastructure for quick turnaround in building and delivering dashboards, thus allowing IT to accommodate the unique needs of various campus constituencies. The intuitive design of the Hyperion Performance Suite makes it easier for IT and the business users to collaborate in designing dashboards, providing the decision-makers with the information they need. Existing solution functions, such as single sign-on and pass-through authentication, PDF support and the ability to pull data from multiple sources, make it easier to create and deliver dashboards. In addition, zero-footprint clients, requiring no plug-ins for IT to install and manage, enable users to work from any client platform with a Web browser. Analysts use pull-down menus and buttons to refine dashboards and build reports. There are no complex programming commands to remember. This dramatically reduces the time required to obtain information and put that information to use. Integration with the metadata layer allows campus users via a right mouse click to view business definitions and usage instructions ensuring ad hoc queries are properly constructed. From dashboards to ad hoc analysis and dynamic reporting, one Hyperion Performance Suite solution allowed Rensselaer to deploy various information delivery vehicles designed to address a broad array of informational needs.

WEAKNESSES: More sophisticated users and applications could use better documentation.

SELECTION CRITERIA: More than 20 business users from various organizations with various technical skills viewed vendor demonstrations and used a number of business intelligence solutions for several days. Two solution criteria were integration with the ETL software and being easy to implement and use by a broad campus constituency. Hyperion Performance Suite received the highest user scores and best met the established criteria.

DELIVERABLES: Deliverables include hundreds of customizable reports and dashboards on admissions, financial aid, performance against budgets, financial compliance, human resources and research administration to aid decision-makers. One solution meets the diverse needs of users across the institute. Executives view their summary dashboards and get a quick snapshot of how their particular function is performing, and they can drill into their desired data. Power users create custom queries and reports.

VENDOR SUPPORT: Close collaboration with Hyperion goes beyond the initial sale, ensuring the solution performs to Rensselaer needs. From the initial training to ongoing support, Hyperion is tuned in to Rensselaer's emerging needs.

DOCUMENTATION: Hyperion Performance Suite is easy to use and requires little training or documentation.


Hyperion Performance Suite
Hyperion Solutions
5450 Great America Parkway
Santa Clara, CA 95054
(408) 588-8000
www.hyperion.com


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