Although Oracle has a policy of providing unlimited support for the products it has acquired, Hyperion users have been urged to keep a close eye on developments following the database firm's £1.7bn takeover of the business intelligence provider.
In a letter to customers, Hyperion chief executive Godfrey Sullivan said that the company was focused on "protecting investments through Oracle's Lifetime Support policy".
Ray Wang, principal analyst at Forrester Research said he expected to Oracle support its core products for as long as customers continue to pay maintenance fees.
"Hyperion customers should try to negotiate longer-term maintenance contracts that cost less than the current Oracle standard maintenance pricing and also cap their maintenance costs for the life time of their relationship," he advised.
Overlap with Oracle packages has led analysts to question whether certain Hyperion software can co-exist in the long run.
"Contrary to Oracle/Hyperion's statements of little if any product overlap, there are significant integration and product positioning challenges with a multitude of overlapping and redundant packages," said Boris Evelson, principal analyst at Forrester Research.
Evelson pointed out the similarities between Essbase and Express, Hyperion's data integration and reporting tools (formerly Brio), and those of Oracle (including the recently acquired Sunopsis).
Hyperion's sales and marketing Analytics and Oracle's Siebel tools also share common traits, he said.
"During a recent call, Oracle executives were absolutely explicit that its business intelligence strategy was grounded in its existing architecture, namely, Oracle Business Intelligence Enterprise Edition, the former Siebel Business Analytics product," said John Hagerty, vice-president at AMR Research.
"There was no mention of Hyperion's business intelligence product though, leaving us to wonder what commitment the company will have to that product going forward."
Business intelligence users face the prospect of harmonising the different suppliers and middleware platforms they use in the next five to six years, as supporting different platforms can be cumbersome and costly, analysts said. The 3,000 SAP users who use Hyperion's software could feel this more than most.
Wang said, "SAP-Hyperion users may have to consider whether it makes sense to remain on Hyperion with SAP, choose another business intelligence supplier, or move off SAP."
David Hofferberth, managing director of analyst firm Service Performance Insight, believes Hyperion users will be supported indefinitely, although Oracle will make a strong push to attract SAP users.
Asked to comment on the exact length and price of support Hyperion customers could expect, a spokesman for Hyperion said those details had not been disclosed as yet.
More on business intelligence tools:firstname.lastname@example.org
This was first published in March 2007