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Hyperion's New 'Crystal Ball'

The ability to predict whether a business decision will triumph or crash and burn can be a huge competitive advantage for manufacturers.

That is why Hyperion Solutions , which dashed fiscal estimates for the second quarter, agreed to buy predictive analytics software maker Decisioneering for an undisclosed sum.

Decisioneering makes Crystal Ball, a package of Microsoft Excel-based analytics, simulation and modeling software used for advanced planning and forecasting.

Such planning helps businesses avoid risks associated with uncertainty about the outcome of business decisions and planning. This could include anything from choosing the right time or place to ship a product to choosing the right personnel to oversee a task.

Hyperion said in a statement it will integrate Crystal Ball's software to flesh out its System 9 business performance management stack with risk management.

The acquisition is expected to close within the next month, and Decisioneering's roughly *80 employees will join Hyperion, which will run the Denver-based company as a separate business unit.

Analytics software remains a key ingredient of business intelligence software, as the recent acquisition activity in the market and research from Cowen and Company can attest.

Cowen and Company analyst Peter Goldmacher said in a research brief that Decisioneering is a strategic complement to Hyperion's existing portfolio.

Goldmacher also noted that predictive analytics is the least commoditized area of BI that offers the most growth potential. Hyperion rivals Business Objects , Cognos  and MicroStrategy  have all boosted or are looking to bulk up their predictive analytics portfolios.

Hyperion was unavailable for comment as of this writing; but the company is brimming from fine Q2 financial results.

The software vendor reported profit of $21.5 million in Q2, a 39 percent boost from the 15.5 million tallied in Q2 2005. Total revenues for the quarter increased 20 percent to $222.9 million, compared to $185.5 million for the same period a year ago.

Goldmacher attributed the solid profit and increased sales to better sales execution and greater BI attach rates for the Hyperion System 9 suite.

Looking forward, Hyperion said it expects Q3 revenues between $215 million to $220 million; Cowen and Company estimates $220.6 million in sales.

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  • Previous version incorrectly stated the number of Decisioneering employees.