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IBM Cognos® TM1: A new frontier in enterprise planning

Written by Andrea Leandri, Partake Consulting Netherlands, 26/03/2010


founder of Applix.5 differs from its 9. Source: IBM website 1|Page . The roots of Table Manager 1 (TM1) start instead in 1984 when Manual Perez. TM1 9. as for financial analytic applications like planning. namely 9. For IBM Cognos. at that time still very young. Keeping in mind the above we shall explain first the core strengths of TM1 and only then dive into what IBM has in stock in terms of real advantages for somebody looking to enhance their EPM environment. and is therefore perfectly suited to support all sorts of Enterprise Performance Management (EPM) applications. The core TM1 solution is a realtime. Their origins are to be traced back in the late 1960s when Kenneth Iverson of IBM first introduced the base foundation for online-analytical-processing (OLAP). budgeting and forecasting (Cognos Planning) and consolidation (Cognos Controller). in fact preceding by almost a decade the corresponding Oracle and Microsoft rivals. Figure 1 Example of Enterprise Planning with IBM Cognos TM1 IBM plans are to further combine TM1’s core multidimensional engine in the next major release(s) of the Cognos platform. a term which actually gets officially coined by “Ted” Codd only in 1993. interactive multidimensional OLAP database with in-memory and write-back functionalities.4 predecessor as a seamlessly integrated cube engine/platform which allows incoming and outgoing information flows to and from the other Cognos software packs. was developing the first TM1 version to emerge in the OLAP tool market. As such it greatly impacts the scalability of the current EPM suite and unfolds brand new grounds to develop a better solution. following Cognos' acquisition of Applix in 2007. both for OLAP reporting/analysis purposes (Cognos BI). In their pursuit of this goal they have already released a newer version of TM1. just prior to its own acquisition by IBM.5.Introduction: Why TM1? Multidimensional language and its computer programming languages are not a new concept. TM1 is a relative new addition to the IBM Cognos software suite.

Processing IBM Cognos Planning data. Thanks to its performing OLAP nature TM1 can considerably enhance the overall user experience of the IBM EPM suite solely by acting as a data provider Secondly the read/write functionality translates in a technology that can also be used for user input online (in contrast to Microsoft SSAS and Oracle Essbase ASO Cubes). Providing the user-friendly OLAP functionality to slice and dice. Processing IBM Cognos Controller data. picking up roles as: 1) Updating in real time the content of Reports and Dashboards built in IBM Cognos Business Intelligence with data modifications occurred in IBM Cognos Controller or Planning. The in-memory functionality allows for faster dimensional processing than any other disk based multidimensional engines (e.IBM Cognos TM1: The OLAP engine TM1 is a multidimensional database engine. Calculations are triggered by any change and fired automatically. Planning and Controller). The maintenance of the model is central and all cubes pick up the modifications onthe-fly. combine it with other data sources. The main two differences are that TM1 is a memory-resident OLAP database while offering interactive read/write functionality. combine it with other data sources. based on a considerably different architecture than the current Cognos' PowerCubes (Powerplay) or the base level engine of Cognos Planning (Analyst) and even any of its competitors (Oracle Essbase and Microsoft Analysis Services). breaking through the common 2|Page . TM1 OLAP engine comes also in a 64-bit flavor. calculate and/or feed it to an IBM Cognos Planning application. Oracle Essbase BSO cubes). calculate and/or feed it to an IBM Cognos Controller application. Figure 2 Median Data Load/Calculation Performance (in minutes) tool among its three main components (BI. To exploit the maximum performance a server can deliver.g. 2) 3) 4) The result is described in a simple manner by Figure 3 where IBM Cognos TM1 acts as a linking pin among the current IBM EPM suite: Figure 3 TM1 enhances the current IBM EPM suite acting as a data provider with OLAP functionality Source “OLAP Survey 4: Key Results” by Applix Due to its nature. common cube data explosion problems are less of an issue when complex queries are fired against TM1 as they are nevertheless answered in what a human brain can resolve as realtime. drill up and down through the set of data enhancing the analysis of the data.

data input or data loads. As simple as it may sound imagine the convenience when working on numbers to actually undo calculations. slice and dice. Figure 4 TM1 is a very powerful Planning solution and as such can improve the current IBM EPM suite 1. Completing the online input interface by adding extra features that users always looked for while submitting their planning 3|Page .understanding of BI as a science purely devoted to reporting and therefore one way communication. support of massive data volumes and calculations/aggregations done in memory resulting in an immediate reflection of the outcome describe the true essence of TM1. The possibility to create personal scenarios. 3. Figure 5 TM1 and "What-If" Analysis 2. Integrating the powerful workflow manager available in Cognos Planning: TM1 Contributor interface as the workflow manager to guide and secure users data input. data held in one central location. read/write technology as "spreadsheet like” interactivity. namely sandboxes. budgeting and forecasting tool but to make what-if analysis even more effective. This allows the creation of personal shadow copies of the data. The possibility to Undo&Redo. In fact seeing how much commitment IBM is placing on TM1 we strongly believe that it will phase out IBM Cognos Planning itself. Because of these reasons TM1’s usefulness is not captured by functioning only as a data sharing interface but it results in an excellent candidate to replace or enhance one’s planning. budgeting and forecasting processes as well whether they are based on Excel or any other analytical tool. IBM promptly added several features to this power pack of which only four are mentioned below: 4. drill up and down. Figure 6 Workflow is managed by TM1 Contributor Source: IBM website IBM Cognos TM1: IBM add-ons The TM1 architecture makes dynamic analytics (what-if analysis) truly possible thanks to the read/write functionality and real-time outcome reflection of any kind of user input. Only when input is truly finalized a copy can be submitted and integrated into the full model. It already is a perfect planning. The combination of RAM-based.

This component automates the process of extracting data in close to realtime from IBM Cognos Controller into IBM Cognos TM1. When taking into consideration IBM Cognos Controller. VI. TM1 Web and the Contributor client for managed participation V. and flexible modeling. II. On top of the TM1 cube. Offers a choice of interfaces: Microsoft® Excel®.5 (currently available) into IBM Cognos BI has reached a level mature enough that exploits the real-time OLAP engine of TM1. Reduces planning cycles by 75% and reporting from days to minutes. IV. Query Studio. 4|Page . The solution is optimized for many simultaneous users and suits both legal and management reporting. such as for customer and product profitability. IBM Cognos BI applications or other supported viewers can be used for both inprocess and management reporting as well as adhoc analytics. version 8. To achieve the integration a Framework Manager model needs to be built or for a quicker result TM1 Viewer Portlets can be used. Is owned and managed by Finance and lines of business. Report Studio. you can rapidly analyze and model planning requirements for your entire organization and use them to anticipate the correct course of action for better business outcomes. sophisticated models and large data sets. Provides a flexible modeling environment that requires no programming or traditional IT skills.Figure 7 Online features available online Next to those IBM has been committed to fully integrate TM1 into their IBM Cognos EPM suite. Figure 8 IBM Cognos Controller 8. III. Once configured the TM1 cube will be updated continuously. real time financial analytics. to enterprisewide contribution from all business units. Cognos TM1 is a complete enterprise planning solution. With IBM Cognos TM1. it facilitates use of planning best practices such as driver-based and rolling forecasting. as well as single sign-on security. The integration of TM1 9.5 is being delivered with a new integration component called Financial Analytics Publisher. In addition. Features personalized planning and analytics— within a managed planning process—to explore performance gaps and validate corporate drivers. Provides exceptionally fast performance for large. Event Studio. It supports a full range of business requirements from high performance. Metric Studio. IBM Cognos TM1: Features and Benefits for enterprise planning Table 1 IBM Cognos TM1 Highlights IBM Cognos TM1 Highlights I. More than budgeting and forecasting software.5 and TM1 data flow Next we’ll discuss how your enterprise planning can really benefit from the latest features of TM1. in all their BI tools: Analysis Studio.

Analytic processing automates contribution from systems and staff to help eliminate delays in rolling out plans—a 75% reduction in planning cycles is possible. Finance and lines of business have total control over planning. Cognos TM1 supports a full range of enterprise planning software requirements—from high-performance. Analysis Studio. Reporting Studio. Cognos TM1 Web or Cognos TM1 Contributor. financial analytics and flexible modeling to enterprise-wide contribution from all business units. TM1 will answer your wishes. The combination of robust multidimensional engine and IBM add-ons are an essential asset for typical financial applications dedicated to planning. Cognos TM1 facilitates the use of best practices such as driver-based planning and rolling forecasting. With access to the IBM Cognos Performance Management platform. divisions and whole companies can respond faster to changing conditions. Model design and data access adapt to your business process and present business information in familiar formats. The traditional Business Intelligence tools like Query Studio. to measuring progress and reporting.Figure 9 IBM Cognos TM1 Real time analytics    status of every participant in the planning process. When peeking over the future IBM’s roadmap the expectations for an even stronger one-stop solution for its EPM environment are going to be certainly met and we are even not talking years… In other words:  A multidimensional. Managed contribution makes it possible to personalize hierarchies. To conclude TM1 9. dimensions and rollups and to receive an up-to-the-minute       5|Page . you realize consistent scorecarding. budgeting and forecasting processes. You can work with a choice of interfaces: Microsoft® Excel®. teams. Dashboard and Scorecarding. real-time profitability analysis. Personal scenarios created with advanced personalization enable an unlimited number of ad-hoc alternatives so individuals. 64-bit. budgeting and forecasting. Event Studio will benefit by the real time data feed of TM1 in producing up to date outcomes essential to decision making. Source: IBM website IBM Cognos TM1: To conclude TM1 is certainly bringing about a wind of change. large data sets and even streamed data. reporting and analysis—the complete picture from goal setting and planning. IBM Cognos Controller and IBM Cognos Planning integration with the BI portal will be enhanced in terms of speed and interaction adding value to data analysis for users. If you are lacking a true “What-if” scenario modeling and feel that the dataflow from the input stage to the report consumption is too slow or complex. in-memory OLAP engine provides exceptionally fast performance for analyzing complex and sophisticated models.5 sets already solid grounds for use within the IBM Cognos EPM suite as a multifunctional tool. Its functionalities will increase the effectiveness of the current IBM Cognos 8 EPM suite.

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