When Robin Washington was named the CFO of Hyperion Solutions Corp. a year ago, it all felt very familiar. Having served as senior vice president and controller at PeopleSoft Inc. for nine years, before the enterprise application software maker was acquired by Oracle Corp. in 2005, she knew all too well that moment when a company is on the verge of exponential growth. "I view Hyperion at a place where PeopleSoft was [when I started]," Washington says, "at that very critical inflection point of being a $750 million to $900 million company trying to become a $1 billion to $2 billion company." So her mission was clear: She needed to take business performance management (BPM) software maker Hyperion to that next level. But Washington knew it wouldn't be easy.

"PeopleSoft went through some of the growing pains that Hyperion is going through now," she says.

Like PeopleSoft, Hyperion will use acquisitions to expand, but it also has its eyes on the middle market. While most of Hyperion's customers are large multinationals, the company is now looking to sell to midsize companies increasingly in need of BPM sophistication. But its entry into the middle market will not go unchallenged: Microsoft Corp. is bringing new BPM software to market that ties into its other Microsoft Office software.

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