IBM Planning Analytics Review

Provides the users with flexible modeling environment that does not call for much of the programming or IT skills

Performance Management is an integral part of Business Intelligence Software and Analytics. As mentioned in the article on Performance Management. Planning, Budgeting, Forecasting and Analysis need a systematic approach. There are challenges experienced in each of these processes.

When these activities are carried out in a traditional way, they take longer time delivering limited value. Technology is used to support the best practices and address the full life cycle planning processes – analytics, modeling, contributing and reporting on common IT platform. Streamlining the planning process demands technological tools capable of supporting a faster, more flexible and adaptive approach. IBM Cognos TM1 software is used exactly for this purpose. In addition to enabling collaborative participation by all users, IBM Cognos TM1 can radically transform the enterprise processes by using powerful analysis and flexible modeling.

If we look at the history briefly, the word TM used to stand for Table Manager. A company called Applix developed TM1 software and this was absorbed by IBM about 5 years back. And then this became part of the Cognos software family and part of OLAP – Online Analytical Processing architecture. Though we can figure out several other planning and forecasting software tools, including competing SAP BPC or Oracle’s Hyperion essbase OLAP, IBM Cognos TM1 is extensively found used by enterprises drilling down large datasets. According to IBM, Cognos TM1 can reduce planning cycles in enterprises by 75 percent. The power to various layers and slicing the complicated financial data of a large or even medium-size company means TM1 can be used to perform a number of functions.

It is well known that IBM Cognos Business Intelligence (BI) software provides a proven enterprise BI platform with an open data strategy, providing customers with the ability to leverage data from any source, package it into a business model, and make it available to consumers in various interfaces that are tailored to the task. From business intelligence to financial performance, from strategy management to analytics applications, Cognos software makes enterprise top-performing and analytics-driven. In the featured Cognos software products – Cognos TM1 is used by Finance line of business for planning and reporting. Cognos TM1 provides the users with flexible modeling environment that does not call for much of the programming or IT skills. Also, there are interfaces choices for the users like Microsoft Excel or it can be TM1web interface. Participation by all is facilitated by Contributor client.

When we look at the features and capabilities of Cognos TM1, we find that in addition to collaborative planning, budgeting and forecasting solutions, analytical and reporting applications are definite attractions. Data in IBM Cognos TM1 is stored and represented as multidimensional OLAP cubes. OLAP can be termed as a computer based technique for analyzing data and OLAP cube is a multi dimensional data set. IBM Cognos TM1 also includes a data orchestration environment for accessing external data and systems, as well as capabilities designed for common business planning and budgeting requirement including work flow. Unique value propositions of Cognos TM1 are excel spreadsheet based approach, usage facility by non technical users, large data base handling and real time faster performance. TM1 is available as Modular, Contributor and Viewer licenses. The current version is 10.1. Personal, Mid Market and Enterprise editions are available.

As corporate performance management (CPM) supports cost optimization leading companies worldwide take steps to manage this effectively. Budgeting Planning and Forecasting (BP&F) is one of the important constituent of CPM. IBM’s core strength remains in BP&F with its offering of TM1. It is not only TM1 users are growing but it is also reported most of the cases most of the user acceptance is on the higher side. IBM Cognos TM1 is packed with right features and certainly considered as a leader in this space.

**Disclosure: I am a real user, and this review is based on my own experience and opinions.
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