IBM Cognos TM1 Review

It is a modeling tool that allows us to create customized budgeting, planning and reporting solutions.

Valuable Features

It provides all the required functionalities for Financial Performance Management, such as planning, budgeting, forecasting, consolidation and dimensional reporting and analysis.

TM1 is actually a modeling tool that allows us create our own customized budgeting, planning and reporting solutions.

Improvements to My Organization

We have been using this software to implement solutions in many different areas of business.

For example, in budget applications, it helps a lot in running the budgeting process properly. All budget inputs, calculations, submissions, reporting and analysis during the budgeting process are handled with TM1 properly.

Room for Improvement

The CAFE Excel plug-in needs to be improved to handle all the features of older TM1 Perspectives plug-in for Excel.

CAFE is an Excel add-in that allows interacting with TM1 data from within Excel, especially for generating Excel-based reports out of TM1 data. It is actually called IBM Cognos Analysis For Excel, but usually referred to as IBM Cognos CAFE. It comes with TM1. For the same purpose, we have been using IBM Cognos Perspectives for Excel for many years. CAFE is a newer tool than Perspectives, and it needs to be improved to cover some of the functionalities that already exist in Perspectives.

We know that IBM is already working on improving CAFE. In the upcoming release, probably, we will see a lot better functionality in CAFE.

Use of Solution

We have been using it for the last seven years, since version 9.4.

Stability Issues

It is a very stable software product; no major stability issues.

Scalability Issues

Scalability is the best feature of TM1; it is highly scalable. As the data and model grow, all we need to do is to keep the HW aligned with the increasing size of the model.

Customer Service and Technical Support

All technical support information is available by Google search, but for new issues, IBM provides a good level of remote support.

Previous Solutions

Prior to TM1, we had been using IBM Cognos Planning.

TM1 is a lot more scalable than IBM Cognos Planning. IBM Cognos Planning is only an Enterprise Planning tool. However, TM1 is also an OLAP reporting and analysis tool, in addition to being an enterprise planning tool. TM1 provides more capabilities for customization.

Initial Setup

TM1 is not a packaged application. It is an application development platform and toolset for performance management. Hence, you need to do a good implementation project to get an application built based on your requirements. Therefore, it is important to work with people with the proper technical skills and business knowledge. Technical installation of the platform was relatively straightforward.

Pricing, Setup Cost and Licensing

For companies that require less than 50 users in TM1, it might be better to get IBM Cognos Express PM licenses. If you require more users, then you might need to get IBM Cognos PM licenses. There is also an unlimited user licensing model, which is based on server PVUs.

Other Advice

I recommend making a proper requirement analysis and model design before start developing models with TM1.

In your first implementation of TM1, it is very important to work with experienced TM1 developers.

It is better to choose TM1 consultants with both technical and financial skills and knowledge.

Disclosure: My company has a business relationship with this vendor other than being a customer: My company is an IBM Business Partner and we provide implementation services to companies using IBM Cognos TM1.
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