Essbase was originally an Arbor Software product. Arbor then merged with Hyperion in 1998, and Hyperion itself was acquired by Oracle in 2007. The product is now marketed as Oracle Essbase, but still known to many as Hyperion Essbase, or just Essbase. Essbase comprises the underlying OLAP platform, plus the associated client tools. For many users the primary client tool is an Excel add-in called SmartView.
Over the years we have seen many customers looking for Essbase alternatives and migrating across to Microsoft Analysis Services, most often based on the annual renewal costs. In most cases the Analysis Services platform can deliver at least as well for reporting and analytics, and often at a fraction of the cost. The bigger part of the project is normally converting the data platform, but the users need to be on board, and Essbase and SmartView are often very popular with business users because of the flexibility and deep integration within Excel.
To SmartView users, Pivot Tables connecting to Analysis Services feels like a backward step, and they are reluctant to make the switch. XLCubed provides the in-Excel flexibility SmartView users love when connecting to Analysis Services, easing the user migration process.
From version 9.2 XLCubed can also connect directly to Essbase to provide richer analytics and reporting capabilities on existing Essbase data.
Like Essbase, XLCubed has the ability to source member selections from text in an Excel cell. This means that users can choose to work in a similar way to how they worked with Essbase, making XLCubed a straightforward Essbase upgrade from a user perspective. In many cases there are better ways to use XLCubed, but the approach can really help to ease the user transition process.