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XML for Analysis Version 1.0

Microsoft and Hyperion Publish Open XML for Analysis Specification

XML Message Interface Expected to Drive Adoption of Business Intelligence and Analytical Web Services

Microsoft .NET Platform to Deliver Full Support for XML for Analysis

Redmond, WA, and Orlando, FL, USA. April 23, 2001.

Today at the Hyperion Annual Global Conference, Solutions 2001, Microsoft Corp. and Hyperion announced that they have joined forces to publish the XML for Analysis specification, allowing open access to multidimensional databases from any platform. The collaboration between two leading OLAP vendors is expected to accelerate the adoption of Internet business intelligence software and represents significant momentum for XML-based analytic Web services. The joint effort will benefit customers, developers and independent software vendors in the following ways:

  • Customers will gain the ability to protect server and tools investments and ensure that new analytical deployments will interoperate and work cooperatively.

  • Developers will gain the ability to leverage existing developer skills and to use open access XML-based Web services, eliminating the need to program to multiple APIs and query languages.

  • Independent software vendors will be able to reduce complexity and costs for development and maintenance by writing to a single access interface.

"The joint sponsorship of XML for Analysis specification by Hyperion and Microsoft represents a substantial shift in the industry," said Mike Schiff, vice president of E-Business and Business Intelligence at Current Analysis Inc. "A uniting of two leading OLAP vendors, both of which have a significant number of organizations and partners that utilize their respective OLAP engines, will clearly benefit users because client-side, Web-based applications will be able to readily access either vendors' servers, as well as the servers of other vendors that adopt the specification, without having to program for multiple APIs."

As the first open access XML Message Interface solution designed to address the unique challenges of Internet-based analytical data access and manipulation, XML for Analysis has gained immediate support from business intelligence software developers, including Adaytum, AlphaBlox Corp., ANGOSS Software Corp., Brio Technology Inc., Business Objects Americas, Cizar Software, Cognos Corp., Comshare Inc., Crystal Decisions Inc., digiMine Inc., Harmony Software Inc., Keylime Software Inc., Knosys Inc., Lawson Software, MetaEdge Corp., MicroStrategy Inc., OutlookSoft Corp., Panorama Software Systems, SAP AG, Simba Technologies , SPSS Inc. and Visual Insights.

"It's good news for everyone that two competing major OLAP server vendors are finally putting their differences aside to come up with an agreed, XML-based OLAP query API," said Nigel Pendse, lead author of The OLAP Report ( "If this initiative succeeds, it will finally be possible to query multiple major OLAP servers in a standard way, just as it has been possible to do with all the SQL-based relational databases for many years. This will give users more freedom, encourage the development of good front-end tools and help the growth of the market."

XML for Analysis is a set of XML Message Interfaces that use the industry standard Simple Object Access Protocol (SOAP) to define the data access interaction between a client application and an analytical data provider (OLAP and data mining) working over the Internet.

"XML for Analysis extends both Microsoft and Hyperion's cooperative vision of analytical Web services," said Bill Baker, general manager of the Microsoft SQL Server Business Intelligence Product Unit. "This joint initiative will allow application developers to provide analytic capabilities to any client on any device or platform using any programming language."

"Hyperion is committed to support for open standards and universal access to our analytic platform," said Robert Gersten, general manager of the Essbase Technologies Business Unit at Hyperion. "Just as we have lead the drive for open technologies across multiple technical environments, we are pleased to work with Microsoft to jointly develop XML for Analysis for Microsoft .NET and other Web services. Our customers win on all accounts."

The first release of the specification is available for Web download at and Hyperion will be offering customers and partners a preview at their annual Global Conference, which runs April 22-25, [2001] in Orlando, Fla. Microsoft will be releasing the final version of the XML for Analysis software development kit in mid-May, and it will be available for download at

About Hyperion

Hyperion is a global leader in business analysis software. Hyperion helps business leaders plan, manage and execute on strategies by analyzing information on e-business initiatives, supply chain execution, customers, operations and finance. The company's market-leading Hyperion Essbase technology, packaged business analysis applications and tools are used by more than 6,000 organizations worldwide, including more than 60 of the Fortune 100, 64 of the Nikkei Top 100 and more than 40 of the Financial Times European 100. In addition, more than 400 Hyperion alliance partners deliver technology, applications and services to increase the flexibility and choice for customers. Headquartered in Sunnyvale, Calif., the company has offices in 22 countries. More information is available at,, or 1 (800) 286-8000.

About Microsoft and the .NET Enterprise Servers

The .NET Enterprise Servers are Microsoft's comprehensive family of server applications for building, deploying and managing next-generation integrated Web experiences that move beyond today's world of stand-alone Web sites. Designed with mission-critical performance in mind, .NET Enterprise Servers provide fast time to market, as well as scalability, reliability and manageability for the global, Web-enabled enterprise. They have been built from the ground up for interoperability using open Web standards such as XML. The .NET Enterprise Servers are a key part of Microsoft's broader .NET strategy, which will enable a distributed computing model for the Internet based on Internet protocols and standards to revolutionize the way computers talk to one another on our behalf.

Founded in 1975, Microsoft Corp. is the worldwide leader in software, services and Internet technologies for personal and business computing. The company offers a wide range of products and services designed to empower people through great software -- any time, any place and on any device.

Quote Sheet Addendum

April 2001

"AlphaBlox has always supported open industry standards in its solutions. We look forward to the two leading OLAP providers driving the evolution of XML for Analysis to support a single XML (Extensible Markup Language) representation of a multidimensional query."

- Len D'Amico

Vice President of Product Marketing

AlphaBlox Corp.

"Since Brio's first OLAP product in 1991, Brio has been committed to help our customers drive business performance through an open Web-based architecture. Brio applauds Microsoft and Hyperion for their cooperation in publishing the XML for Analysis standard. As we integrate the new standard into the Brio Enterprise Decision Platform, our world-class customers will benefit from complete and universal data access, regardless of platform or device."

- Dan Jewett

Vice President, Product Management

Brio Technology Inc.

"We are pleased both Microsoft and Hyperion are supporting the XML for Analysis specification. Since Business Objects is an enterprise-scale vendor of OLAP products, supporting industry standards is in line with our goals for offering our partners and customers flexible products that can integrate with any platform. Business Objects looks forward to continuing to collaborate with Hyperion and Microsoft to deliver e-business intelligence solutions for their OLAP servers."

- Mark Tice

Group Vice President for Global Alliances

Business Objects

"Cognos is pleased to support the development of XML for Analysis - an open, Internet-based standard for analysis. Having a standard for analysis based on XML and SOAP (Simple Object Access Protocol) is a positive move for our industry."

- Patrick O'Leary

Vice President of Strategic Alliances

Cognos Inc.

"Open standards such as XML for Analysis among competitors benefit everyone, especially the customer. Comshare's use of standard database technology including Microsoft SQL Server 2000 Analysis Services and Hyperion Essbase coupled with the new XML for Analysis standard offers our customers an enhanced open framework for delivering management planning and control solutions."

- Dave King

Senior Vice President, Product Development

Chief Technology Officer

Comshare Inc.

"Microsoft's release of XML for Analysis is a logical next step in the Microsoft. .NET vision. digiMine, the leader in data mining, relies on .NET to build and deliver our hosted data mining services. Now, through digiMine's use of XML for Analysis, our customers can access their own multidimensional data via the Web just as easily as if they were pulling a stock quote or a weather report. For example, by using XML for Analysis, digiMine customers can easily access their own analytic cubes hosted at digiMine and display the results on their portal site."

- Bassel Ojjeh

COO and Co-Founder

digiMine Inc.

"Lawson Software enthusiastically supports the proposed XML for Analysis standard, which meshes well with Lawson's overall product strategy of delivering all Lawson's Web-native applications on an XML foundation. In addition, this initiative is synergistic with Lawson's current 'open' OLAP server approach for Analytic Solutions. We see the potential for significantly reducing the development overhead associated with the support of multiplatform APIs for both Hyperion and Microsoft OLAP servers. This will allow Lawson to speed delivery of critical value-add functionality to our customers."

- Eric Lopez

Vice President

Analytic Solutions R&D

Lawson Software

"As a leader in data access solutions, Simba is committed to supporting XML for Analysis within our Simba Provider for OLAP."

- Amyn Rajan


Simba Technologies


Prepared by Robin Cover for The XML Cover Pages archive. See "XML for Analysis."

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