HyperRoll Guarantees Improved BI Query Performance with $25,000 Challenge

The company hopes that a $25,000 bet can buy a lot of good publicity—and perhaps even a few customer wins

When Hyperion Solutions Corp. announced its new Essbase 7X OLAP server this summer, some industry watchers figured it was the beginning of the end of a good thing for OLAP performance specialist HyperRoll Inc.

After all, Essbase’s new Aggregate Storage Option purported to tackle a problem—the way sparse dimensions are stored in OLAP cubes—that’s addressed by HyperRoll’s pioneering technology. And unlike HyperRoll, which understandably expects to charge customers for its OLAP enhancing product, Hyperion positioned its Aggregate Storage Option as a free Essbase 7X feature.

HyperRoll, it was thought, had at least one ace up its sleeve: It isn’t entirely dependent on Hyperion’s Essbase OLAP platform. The company also supports Oracle’s (largely moribund) Express OLAP server. What’s more, HyperRoll isn’t just an OLAP player: It markets a version of its technology designed for relational database platforms, too.

Last week, HyperRoll announced a new campaign—called The HyperRoll Challenge—designed to promote its relational technology in prospective customer accounts. With its OLAP market share endangered by Hyperion’s free Essbase 7X add-on, HyperRoll is doubling its efforts in the relational space, where the benefits of its eponymous data aggregation, caching, and compression technology aren’t as well known. The company is hoping that a $25,000 bet can stir interest and win customers.

HyperRoll positions the Challenge as a risk-free, on-site trial that can demonstrate the value of its data aggregation software for many common applications. Under the terms of the Challenge, HyperRoll promises that its software will increase the business intelligence query performance of participants by up to 10x. HyperRoll is putting its money where its mouth is: If the promised performance improvements aren’t forthcoming, the company has pledged to donate $25,000 to the company's charity of choice.

"This is a risk-free challenge from HyperRoll to any enterprise finding it essential to dramatically improve the performance and efficiency of its existing business intelligence applications," said Rich Ghiossi, vice president of marketing at HyperRoll, in a statement. "This challenge is based on the great success we have seen improving BI application performance, and enabling more insightful business analysis, with clients such as Wachovia, Rabo Bank, and MasterCard."

It may sound like HyperRoll is putting a lot on the line, but Mike Schiff, a senior analyst at consultancy Current Analysis, says that the HyperRoll Challenge amounts to a win-win for the company. “[I]t demonstrates the company’s own faith in its product while providing an innovative method of attracting new prospects,” he points out. “In the best case scenario, HyperRoll … gains a convert and makes a sale.” Even the worst-case scenario isn’t all that bad, says Schiff: HyperRoll—or its insurance company—in effect makes a $25,000 tax-deductible investment in a well-qualified prospect.

More to the point, the HyperRoll Challenge isn’t necessarily open to all comers: HyperRoll reserves the right to select qualified prospects and has said that it will vet prospects according to their technological and financial viability. If you’re not running a platform support by HyperRoll, or if you’re not deemed a serious enough potential prospect, the HyperRoll Challenge isn’t for you. For prospects that do make the cut, however, the Challenge is a good opportunity for them to seriously assess HyperRoll’s technology, says Schiff.

“The reports jointly selected by HyperRoll and the prospect for the Challenge will be from those currently run at the prospect site. HyperRoll is using real-world prospect reports, not customized examples designed specifically to optimize benchmark performance,” he notes.

The database and business intelligence markets have seen their share of PR-maximizing stunts—Oracle CEO Larry Ellison once offered $1 million to anyone who could prove that Microsoft’s SQL Server database wasn’t 100 times slower than Oracle—but Schiff says that the HyperRoll Challenge is legitimate.

“Unlike other challenges the market has seen with up to $1 million payoffs, the HyperRoll Challenge is well-defined, objective, and realistic,” he writes. “HyperRoll is likely to attract new prospects and convert some of them to revenue-producing customers.”

Hyperion fired a shot across HyperRoll’s bow with the Essbase 7X Aggregate Storage Option, but—as the Challenge demonstrates—HyperRoll has shown itself capable of striking back. For example, HyperRoll first announced relational support for reporting environments from Business Objects SA, Cognos Inc., and MicroStrategy Inc. in its HyperRoll 4.0 product, which it delivered earlier this year. Needless to say, all three companies—and Cognos, especially—are Hyperion competitors. As if that’s not enough, HyperRoll has firmed up partnerships with both Business Objects and Cognos, to boot.

About the Author

Stephen Swoyer is a Nashville, TN-based freelance journalist who writes about technology.