Walker Horizon 3.0 integrates data from enterprise resource planning (ERP) applications--such as SAP's R/3, PeopleSoft's PeopleSoft 7.5, and Baan's BaanSeries--to give business users an easier way to analyze financial data for planning, forecasting, and budgeting, the company said.
Available now, the price for the package starts at $50,000, based on the number of users.
Horizon runs on Windows NT, Unix, and AS/400 operating systems.
The suite consists of three modules that address a range of enterprise financial management and planning needs. The Performance Analysis module is a Web-enabled reporting and analysis tool that utilizes OLAP (online analytical processing) technology to view business and financial information from various perspectives.
The Planning and Forecasting module automates planning, forecasting, and budgeting processes. Finally, the Financial Consolidation module manages the collection, adjustment, and reporting of statutory and tax information.
Analysts see Horizon as a bright spot in the analysis tool market.
"This product is a step up from just reporting what happens in a financial system to understanding what is happening in the system," said Henry Morris, an analyst with International Data Corporation. He added that ERP vendors aren't yet offering the same sort of tools in their business applications packages, so companies will be looking to vendors such as Walker to fill the void.
But James Holincheck, an analyst with the Giga Information Group, said ERP vendors aren't that far behind in providing the same technology in their own systems. "They're going to be competing in the same market. SAP's Business Information Warehouse [which ships with R/3 version 4.0] contains a lot of the same type of functionality."
Holincheck said where Walker and other analytic application vendors will differentiate themselves is in providing packages that can pull data from disparate systems.
Walker also announced that Horizon 3.0 will support Microsoft's OLAP database, code-named Plato. Historically, Walker had only supported the Arbor OLAP database, something that limited earlier versions, according to Holincheck.
"This is good because now they are not tied to just one OLAP engine," he said.
Earlier this week, Walker gained a new, well-heeled competitor in the analytic applications market when Arbor Software and Hyperion Software announced they are merging to create a new software company, to be called Hyperion Solutions. Hyperion competes with Walker in the budget and financial analytic applications market.