Top TM1 Automation Techniques Used by Expert Consultants

Top TM1 Automation Techniques Used By Expert Consultants

As a TM1 modeler, you likely have more tasks to do in a day than there is time. You have two options: either work more hours or work smarter. Be smart and start implementing TM1 automation techniques used by expert consultants.

Here are the top techniques Lodestar Solutions' senior TM1 Architects use and teach our clients to build smarter, more efficient models and processes. Individuals implementing just one or two of these are significantly increasing their productivity and reducing their stress.

Since your time is limited, start by using the 80/20 rule and pick a single technique. Which one of the expert time-savers below can you implement with the least amount of effort but get tons of valuable time back once completed?

tm1 automation
tm1 automation

TM1 Automation Used By Experts To Get Back Time In Your Day:

  • Is A Dynamic Subset Really Dynamic? - Many subsets are dynamic only at the beginning of a cycle, not throughout the process. If the subsets are dynamic only at the beginning of a cycle, consider creating them using a Turbo Integrator process. This will save you time and aggravation down the line as items change or are added/removed.
  • Creating Aliases - When creating aliases, use consistent attribute names. "Name" or "Desc" will usually suffice. (We frequently find that "Name" is used on one dimension. "Desc" is used on a couple others. "Description" is used on a few more.) This reduces those "uh....oh..... what did I call that attribute?" moments when creating a process or updating rules.
  • Updating Dimensions with a Turbo Integrator Process - If there are multiple dimensions using the same data source and are updated on a consistent basis, consider using only one TI process. It is frequently possible to update an overall P&L dimension along with a Revenue account dimension and an Expense Account dimension. This is especially the case when the Revenue or Expense Account dimensions require coding.
  • Building Phase Subsets - Views have a tendency to morph during the initial build phase. Furthermore, creating subsets can be time consuming if they are in flux especially if one needs to add items back. This would be required since you must start over from the entire dimension list. Set up an attribute on your row and/or column dimension that corresponds to the items that may be needed in a particular view. Add a simple "Y" to the attribute and create an attribute based subset that filters on the "Y".
  • Large Cube or Smaller Cubes? - Just because you can doesn't mean you should. Yes, TM1 cubes can include as many as 256 dimensions. However, that doesn't mean a model should consist of one cube with every dimension possible. Smaller cubes are both admin (rules/feeders are less cumbersome) and user friendly (easier to understand) as well as performance friendly.
  • Confirming Proper Dimension Updates - If a dimension, particularly a GL related dimension, is being updated via a TI process, periodically open the dimension via the dimension editor. Next, click "All" followed by Hierarchy Sort. Condense the top parent. If the entire dimension doesn't collapse or there are lone "n" items visible, the dimension may not be updating properly.
  • Defining Rules - Avoid using Aliases in Rules. Yes, Rent is easier to understand in a rule as opposed to [Account] 7552. TM1 can read alias, however, an alias is more apt to be modified. If Rent becomes Bldg Rent, the Rule is now broken. Use comments to explain the purpose of the Rule. For example, #This rule calculates monthly rent (Account #7552).
  • Leveraging Control Cubes For Security - Another TM1 automation is that Control Cubes can be useful to view attribute or security information. If migrating from Cognos Planning, it may even be possible to use an existing Excel spreadsheet to load security via a TI Process (into the Control Cube).
  • Using A Text Editor Like Notepad - Always use a text editor to copy Rules. The TM1 Rule editor cannot read the smart quotes used by Word.
  • Fixing A Corrupt Rules Editor - If your new rules editor corrupts, try copying the rules to a text editor. Then delete the Rules [cube via Architect or Perspective], (re)creating the rules [cube via Architect or Perspectives] and copy the rules back from the text editor.

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As a professional, you are committed to being a TM1 expert. Therefore, you are serious about your career and skill development. Lodestar’s Business Analytics Coaches are also serious about your professional development. This is why we offer many free programs and training to our valued club members.

As a club member, you have access to nine additional expert time-saving and TM1 automation techniques, In addition we offer complementary Cognos techniques and training on TM1. Join now to expedite your TM1 expertise.

Lastly, we want to provide a couple links to other sources of time savers for Cognos TM1. IBM's Analytics Zone has a number of different blueprints and blogs. In addition, the Lodestar Solutions YouTube channel is a great place for tips and tricks on numerous Cognos or software agnostic topics.