Saturday, July 12, 2008

Siebel Analytics (OBIEE) Vs Hyperion Essbase

In this post I will discuss some of the major differences between OBIEE and Hyperion Essbase.
I have got the opportunity to work on Oracle BIEE formerly known as Siebel Analytics and Hyperion Essbase. Sometimes people come up with a question that which one is the best and what are the differences. I just want to share some views which you may ar may not agree. I would appreciate any comments.

1. From a broader prospective, I felt that Hyperion Essbase is a very comprehensive BI tool with very advance features to cater specific areas of an organisation. Essbase provide options like Block storage and aggregate storage options. Block storage options can be very effective for planning and budgeting applications and it also enablles to write back the data like budget data to essbase and do what-if analysis and save their versions. Even OBIEE allows you to write back but not useful for what-if type analysis.

Organisations keeping most of their planning and analysis data in MS Excel, would find it more useful than Siebel analytics. To load data from text files, load rule files can be created which holds the information about any transformation or cleaning operation done and same load rule file can be used for many loads.

Lets discuss on some more differences-

1. Hyperion Essbase is MOLAP where as OBIEE is ROLAP- MOLAP as we store the cube data, analysis is much faster than ROLAP where data is not stored anywhere and queried directly from the source database. But when you are storing an Essbase cube you can analyse data only upto the time it was created( we call it near real time analysis) where as OBIEE gives you the 100% real time analysis. Now this all depends on the needs of an Organisation.Hyperion Essbase also provides XOLAP or hybrid OLAP where Summary level data resides in Essbase cube but detail data is retreived fom the source database. Also to load the data in the cubes or refresh the cube with fresh data, it takes some time and resource.

2. Hyperion Essbase requires a relational database to store metadata where as OBIEE does not. So you can save a lot on this.

3. Hyperion essbase use Microsoft Excel as analysis tool- This is one feature where Hyperion scores over OBIEE. Its not that OBIEE does not have integration with Excel but the way you do it in Hyperion is amazing. OBIEE only allows you to open the charts you have created in Excel or powerpoint and analyse but Hyperion places the entire cube in front of you in excel and you can drill down, add or remove dimensions, apply filters, pivot data, slice and dice and much more and also the write back capability which makes it the first choice for budgeting and forecasting applications. This is very important from implementation perspective as most of the users are already working on excel and they do not even think twice of acceping the system I mean users adaptibiliy is high and fast as compared to any other system which generally take atleast 15 days to learn and 1 month to understand and atleast 2 months to get fully used to the system and 3 months to accept the system. So a very big factor interms of a project being successful. Also, saves a lot of cost on training.

4. Pre built applications available for OBIEE- Oracle has created pre-built schemas, reports and dashboards for some major ERP's like SAP, Oracle Apps, JD Edwards, peoplesoft etc. Those warehouse pre-built schemas can be used by Hyperion but only to some extent and as the dashboards are created in OBIEE, Hyperion cannot use it. This is the scenario as of now but soon they will be available for Hyperion as well.

5. Very easy for end users to design dashboards in OBIEE. If you need a system only for your BI and reporting needs, OBIEE will be a good value proposition.

6. Advance analytics, what-if's, predictive modelling and very fast infact lightening fast system Hyperion Essbase would be effective.


Sanjaya Balasuriya said...

Can we really compare OBIEE and Essbase?
My undestanding was they are operating in two different domains; OBIEE is more towards analysing operational data and Essbase is in CPM.

Manohar Singh Rana said...

Hi Sanjay,
Absolutely correct. In real sense we can compare OBIEE with the reporting components of Hyperion like IR and web analysis(BI Answers and Dashboards) and SQR( BI Publisher).
For Essbase, there is no match.
But do you think for a moment that we can compare Essbase with BI Administrator.

I would be happy to hear your views.

Anybody else reading this can also join.

Thanks for making it correct.

Anonymous said...

I am looking out for OBIEE professionals for an assignment in Bangalore.Please let me know,if any of you are interested or please ref your friends.Kindly send across your profile to


angie said...

Can you tell me what is the diffrence between Hyperion interactive reporting and teh hyperion web analysis?


red analyst said...

Hi Manohar,

Does anyone have any ideas/pointers on how to implement drill across on Essbase cubes or Multidimensional sources in general.

For Eg:

Cube 1 with aggregate data at Country Level

Cube 2 with detail data at City Level

Geography is the conformed dimension here.

I need to implement drill across from the Country level in the Geography Hierarchy to go to the City level, across cubes. Facing a problem desinging it in the BMM.

Any help would be appreciated.


Manohar Singh Rana said...

Hi Jboy,
I am not sure if you tried linked partioning.
BMM, I am not sure.

Anonymous said...


Why do compare Siebel Analytics/OBIEE with Essbase on Planning/Budgeting? OBIEE is not in that domain. There is no match to OBI Server. OBIEE is database agnostic and can handle heterogenous databases. BI server has some other compelling features such as function-shipping, etc. Essbase cannot handle if the data size is huge and if there are lot of dimensionality. I have seen three big Essbase projects fail that was implemented by big and experienced players. OBIEE was replaced in two of these with resounding success. Just my 2 cents.

BIProfs said...

Instead of comparing these technologies as competing products, I would encourage you to look at them as complimentary technologies which can be leveraged to get the max ROI on your infrastructure invetments.

BI Server can federate queries to multiple different data sources (including Essbase) using optimized SQL/MDX and display the result set using Answers or Dashboards.

Visit my website if you are interested in learning more about how these technologies can be used together in real life situations.

Manohar Singh Rana said...

Till now in this post I have observed some resistance while comparing these two products and technologies. Also, I have observed that Hyperion is seen only as a financial tool used for planning and budgeting.
But my understanding is that Essbase is an Multidimensional OLAP technology which helps an Organisation in analysing different metrics, understand and analyse operational as well as history data. This is what exactly any BI tool like OBIEE do. On top of that it also facilitates to make forecasts based on the Historical data and create different what if scenario models based on different predictions using write back capability And this is the feature which makes it useful and favourable for Budgeting and planning. Let's keep aside these advance features and I am not taking into consideration while comparing it with OBIEE. I do not see a valid reason why Essbase cannot be compared with OBIEE. Anyone who have worked on oth the technologies or understand both of these can share views. Also when you don't agree to these points, please provide supporting statements.

Anonymous- Essbase has implementations references of very large datasets and large dimentionalities using ASO(Aggregate storage option) available in Essbase which treats highly sparse structures with large dimentionalities and huge datasets in a very optimised and efficient manner and ptimising techniques like 3GT, use of dynamic calc helps in leveraging cache memory benefits. There may be some examples where OBIEE is replacing Essbase but I am sure mere capabilities may not be the reason for failure. Essbase also works on heterogenous data sources. Oracle BI Server definately is powerful but it converts the logical SQL submitted by the client into optimised physical SQL which is then sent to the backend database where as Essbase uses MDX which is native to Essbase which I think makes it much much faster system.
BIProf's- I understand how Essbase can complement OBIEE but I want to understand from you how OBIEE can complement Essbase. I visited your website but couldn't find anything related to this. It would be useful if you could provide direct links to something related to this.

Manohar Rana

Manohar Singh Rana said...

Those you have any comments on OBIEE complementing Hyperion Essbase or OBIEE advantages over Essbase in BI space only, please post your comments on

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Shek said...

The only major differences between OBIEE and Essbase are
1. OBIEE is Real Time Reporting, Essbase is not (you need to refresh the data)
2. OBIEE's performance is slower than ESSBase in analysis as Essbase uses MDX (cubes) making it very fast
3. OBIEE has dashboarding facility (compared with Hyperion IR/FR etc) whereas Essbase can be used for building static reports

OBIEE can complement Essbase in these ways
1. OBIEE will allow dashboarding and adhoc charts (where u can drill down, navigate etc)
2. Scheduling and alert systems can be in place

There is no point comparing the two as they can be used as bread and butter.

Jas Yalavarthi said...

I agree with some of the above comments that OBIEE cannot be compared with Essbase as such. Correct my if I am wrong on this, but OBIEE is an OLTP system whereas Essbase is an OLAP system.

Aslo point two is entirely wrong. Essbase is a multi-dimensional database itself and doesn't need any relational database support for holding metadata. Now the the other components related to Essbase like shared services and Financial Reports do require the relational database support for configuration.

Joy said...



Nice detail about OBIEE posted by Rana. Me in banglore if you have OBIEE assignment

let me know


Giotto Masawi said...

The good news is that now you can intergrate the two platforms.