Legacy IT support in the takeover age

Oracle has been out shopping again and is to buy business intelligence software firm Hyperion for £1.7bn.

Oracle has been out shopping again and is to buy business intelligence software firm Hyperion for £1.7bn.

The company appears to be using Hyperion as the latest weapon in its ongoing battle with ERP leader SAP. Hyperion is hugely popular among SAP installations and there are some 3,000 SAP users who have opted for Hyperion as their business intelligence system.

In fact, Oracle president Charles Phillips said, "Now Oracle's Hyperion software will be the lens through which SAP's most important customers view and analyse their underlying SAP ERP data."

The future poses questions for Hyperion users. For a start, analysts say there is significant overlap between Oracle's core database tools and Hyperion products.

Hyperion customers have received a letter from Hyperion chief executive Godfrey Sullivan, reassuring them that the firm will protect their investment in Hyperion "through Oracle's Lifetime Support Policy". But what exactly does "lifetime support" mean?

Lifetime support can be provided because there are enough users to make it worthwhile for the supplier to offer a support contract. Microsoft discovered this last year, when it attempted to end support for Windows NT 4.0. People were reluctant to switch off the old operating system, and were prepared to pay a premium for a custom support contract, which Microsoft duly offered.

So if Hyperion users are happy to fork out the money, Oracle will do the sums and see that it is worth supporting them. The key factor though, is whether users would be prepared to pay a premium to keep their Hyperion products running.

As IT industry consolidation continues, IT directors can expect this sort of poser to become more common.

Comment on this article: [email protected]


Related article:

Hyperion users urged to renegotiate maintenance

Users win better support for legacy Microsoft apps

Read more on Business intelligence software