Whether they're dealing with financial regulations or keeping track of the latest sales or cost trends for setting strategy, companies need technology that can unify far-flung operations. That's the aim of Hyperion Solutions Corp.'s latest update of its core business performance management (BPM) software solution, Applications Suite 4. The product allows users to conduct budget, finance and planning duties through a unified interface used across an organization.

Applications Suite 4 also contains something new, a workforce planning module, that lets line managers or others analyze how changes in employee numbers, salaries, bonuses and other metrics influence bottom line results or contribute to specific targets. "It's a packaged solution with predefined best practice templates and reports that help companies add or make changes in the construct of their workforce by department," says Michael Malwitz, a senior product marketing manager at Hyperion. "We're trying to make it easier for customers to do specific subtasks that go into the planning process." So, if a boss is feeling generous and wants to give all employees a 10% raise, he or she can see the impact on earnings, budget and expenses for a division or the whole organization. In addition, the system's "what-if" capabilities can help figure out whether a company should choose between such things as using contract staff or full-time employees to complete a

specific project in the most cost-effective way.

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