Scorecards and Metrics in Planning Analytics

Scorecards and Metrics in Planning Analytics
Scorecards and Metrics in Planning Analytics
Written by Mike Bernaiche, September 30th, 2021

Did you know that you can track your key performance indicators (KPI’s) with Scorecards and Metrics in Planning Analytics?  Many people do not realize that Planning Analytics has built in functionality to create the highly visual scorecards and metrics.  A while back the only way to create these up or down arrows or the red, yellow, green indicators was through Metric Studio in Cognos BI.  IBM moved this functionality into TM1 with the use of Performance Modeler and today you can create charts like the above along with visual maps or flow charts to track all your metrics.

What are Scorecards and Metrics in Planning Analytics?

Let’s start with the basics.  IBM Cognos Planning Analytics Scorecards and Metrics integrates scorecarding and strategy management capabilities to provide better integration of performance management with planning.

This allows you to:

  • Visually capture and monitor organizational strategy and goals
  • Define and monitor your key performance indicators (KPIs) with traffic light and trend icons
  • Compare your KPIs to corporate strategic goals
  • Create interactive scorecard diagrams and data visualizations

Components of Metric Cubes

Metric cubes are made up of the following:

  • Metric dimension
  • Metric Indicator dimension
  • Metrics cube
  • Impact diagram – auto created with metric cube
  • Strategy map
  • Custom diagram
  • History chart - - auto created with metric cube
Metrics Cube

Metric Dimension Properties

Metric dimensions are made up of the follow properties that need to be set:

Format property

      Specifies the numerical or date/time display format.

Performance Pattern

      Above target is favorable

      On target is favorable

      Below target is favorable

Tolerance Type

      Absolute - the value in the tolerance indicator is the tolerance and is used as-is.

      Percent - the value in the tolerance indicator is used to calculate the tolerance as a               percentage of target.

Tolerance Type

Metric Diagram Types

There are four types of diagram types that can be used with scorecards and metrics.

  • Impact diagram
    Impact diagrams visualize the positive and negative relationships between the metrics in your metrics cube.  This type of diagram shows how the business actually works by displaying how one metric influences another.
  • Strategy map
    A strategy map is an industry standard visualization that tracks business performance by perspectives, objectives, and metrics.
  • Custom diagram
    A custom diagram is a strategy map where you import a custom image and show metrics with dimensional context onto the image as data points.
  • History chart
    A history chart shows a column chart of data for a metric.

For even more information on scorecards and metrics from IBM check out this link, Understand Cognos TM1 Scorecarding - IBM Documentation.

IBM Planning Analytics and Transformational Planning

Recently we started researching and developing a program to teach clients transformational planning.  Heather Cole recently wrote in this blog, It’s Time for CFOs to Leverage Transformational Planning - Lodestar Solutions “the world has changed. Organizations of every size are being forced to rapidly adjust to the new world where distribution challenges are the norm and employee retention is top of mind. The uncertain world is forcing companies to create a transformation strategy. I believe this needs to start with the CFO. It’s Time for CFO’s to Leverage Transformational Planning.”

I couldn’t agree more with these words and believe that scorecards and metrics in Planning Analytics can help take you to transformational planning in your organization.

Here is another blog from Heather that further talks about getting on board the transformational train before some else does.  Finance Must lead Business Transformation Before Someone Else Does - Lodestar Solutions.  Also, inside this blog is a place to register for our free webinar titled - Mastering Transformational Planning: Why CFOs Should Lead this Initiative?  This webinar is on Thursday, November 18th, from 10:30am-noon Eastern.

In this free webinar you will discover:

  • Why every CFO must discover and lead Transformational Planning
  • How to identify where the quick wins are in your organization
  • How to move your organization to Transformational Planning
  • How to find more time for Transformation Initiatives

If you have any questions regarding the webinar or scorecards and metrics in Planning Analytics, please reach out to services@lodestarsoltuions.com.

Five Tips to Hosting a Virtual IBM Cognos & TM1 User Group

5 Tips to Host a Virtual User Group
5 Tips to Host a Virtual User Group
November 12th, 2020

The world has changed, and it is never going back!  A year ago we were able to attend the IBM Analytics event in Miami, listen to live Cognos Analytics and Cognos Planning Analytics/TM1 user success stories and network with other IBM Cognos users over a beer.  Not anymore, at least not for a while.  But Lodestar Solutions has decided to pivot.  We learned five tips to hosting a virtual IBM Cognos and TM1 User Group, and we have no intention to return to in person user groups!

Why Virtual Cognos User Groups are Better Than in Person

On November 11, 2020 we hosted a new format for our Lodestar Solutions, Virtual IBM Cognos and TM1 User Group and it was fabulous!  Our clients and team members loved it so much, we are not going back to in person group for three reasons: time, geography and flexibility.

Saving Time with a Cognos User Group

We value our Cognos Analytics and Planning Analytics TM1 Administrators’ time.  In the past we would host events in a main city like Chicago and attendees would have to travel an hour to get to the site and an hour home.  We would do our best to make the session of interest but sometimes, there were sessions that only applied to a subset of the population. 

With the virtual event we were able to tell the attendees the topics, why they should care or how it impacts them.  If the topic did not apply to them, they were able to do other things and return for the next session. 

Cognos User Group Geography

Our clients are all over the US and some internationally.  In the past we could not serve all our clients, so we focused our user groups on locations with a large cluster of clients.  We can now serve our IBM Cognos users even in the most geographically remote locations.

Cognos User Group Flexibility 

Most IBM Cognos BI or TM1 Administrators are very busy and often manage multiple systems, not just IBM.  It is not uncommon for them to get the emergency email or text and they must drop everything.  Lodestar Solutions understands our client’s needs, and so we prerecorded our session and let everyone know if they had to drop off, they could come back and watch the part they missed.  Cognos Administrators loved this feature and we discovered that they would leave, address the issue and return.  I believe that if we had not let them know they could watch what they missed; they probably would not have returned for the Q&A sessions.  

Virtual User Group

Five Tips to Hosting a Successful Virtual IBM Cognos & TM1 User Group

We appreciate that there have been local Cognos BI and TM1 user groups all over the world.  Lodestar Solutions also understands that many IBM Analytics User Groups have been forced to suspend their meetings and look for another way.  So, we thought we would share what we did and how to host a successful Virtual IBM Cognos and TM1 User group.

1. Cognos Content in Small Bites

The first thing is to plan your content in small bite size chunks, no more than 30-45 minutes per session. Once you have a list of your topics and speakers you will want to organize your agenda in a logical order.  For our Lodestar User Group, we hosted all the Planning Analytics/ TM1 sessions first, followed by TM1 Technical.  Then we moved into BI Technical, followed by other Cognos Analytics sessions.  This allowed people to join when the content applied to them.

2. Prerecord the Sessions

We prerecorded the sessions and hosted them on our training site, which is Kajabi.  You could put them on YouTube as well.  The reason we prerecorded is we wanted to ensure there were no technical issues with a presenter’s internet.  We were also able to edit the videos before posting.  We use Camtasia for editing.  You can get a free trial at here.

3. Zoom for Introductions and Q&A

We used Zoom for our user group.  All attendees joined by Zoom, then we guided them to our training portal where our sessions where prerecorded.  By zooming we were able to go on camera to create connections during our introductions and were able to answer questions as they came up about connecting to the sessions.  After each session they returned to Zoom for a live question and answer session with the presenter. 

4. Networking Session with Breakout Rooms

To further connections with our community we scheduled networking sessions after each topic area like Planning Analytics.  Through Zoom we divided all the attendees into breakout rooms and gave them a series of short questions to discuss with the group.  This allowed Cognos power users to connect with other power users they may never have met.  We also assigned a moderator to each room to ensure everyone had a chance to speak.  Our Cognos clients loved the breakout rooms and said they wish they had more of them.  Not sure how to use breakout rooms? Check out this blog

5. User Success Story Sessions

To add more value, we wanted to have a couple clients share their success stories.  But we know our clients do not have a lot of time to prepare a slide deck and presentation, so we made it easy.  We sent our Client Presenters a list of interview questions.  We then scheduled a time to record a zoom session where we asked the questions.  It was in an interview format.  The attendees loved hearing the stories and seeing the interaction.  The feedback was it was a lot better than a boring power point.  We were able to edit the interviews to get them down to the time allotted and upload them as a session on our portal. 

For More Information

So, are you looking to join a Cognos Analytics BI or Cognos Planning Analytics User Group?

For more information on the Lodestar Solutions Client User group, email us at services@lodestarsolutions.com.  Another good resource for finding user groups is on the IBM Community site.  Another option to check out for Cognos groups is meetup.com.

If you are looking to organize an IBM User Group, we recommend you follow our Five Tips to Hosting a Virtual IBM Cognos and TM1 User Group so you can ensure success for your event. 

To learn more of our tips and tricks be sure to check out all our blogs on our website, or sign up for our Lodestar Solutions Knowledge Center

Have You Secured Funding Yet? It’s Budgeting Season, Secure Funding Now For IBM Cognos

Have You Secured Funding Yet?  It's Budget Season.  
Secure Funding Now for IBM Cognos!

Do you need process improvement and require funds for Cognos consulting or need additional IBM Cognos licenses? Now is the time to reach out and get your funding in the budget! Far too often we see companies that have a need for a new software solution and services, but they don't factor it in their budget. As a result, this pushes their initiatives out another year!

We all know it's that time of year: budgeting season! So now that budgeting season is ramping up for most companies it is time to reach out to Lodestar Solutions. You need to solidify IBM Cognos software quotes, Cognos upgrade consulting resources, etc. Therefore, it's more beneficial to get what you think you'll need next year in your budget and secure funding now for IBM Cognos!

What You Need to Consider 

Here at Lodestar, we are big believers in helping you realize the importance of how to secure funding now for IBM Cognos. We have found with several clients the earlier you have these software and services conversations the easier it is to get them approved. Hence the longer you wait the less likely you are to get what you want.

In summary, think about it this way, it's kind of like saying what you want for the holidays now. If you don't start thinking about it and talking about it you're just going to get an ugly sweater you will never wear (no one wants that). You want to make sure to cover all topics: net new install or upgrade consulting,  IBM Cognos licenses, training and Cognos consulting services for next phases, etc. You want to get estimates now to put in your budget. Remember, it's all about securing funding now for IBM Cognos!

Budget to Upgrade to Cognos Analytics

Looking to upgrade to Cognos Analytics?   Don't forget Cognos BI 10.2 is unsupported after April 2018!

To help build your budget, check out our complimentary Cognos Analytics Upgrade Evaluation Kit.  

Challenged to get funding?  ​See our blog on 5 Steps to Get Funding.

In conclusion, email us at Sales@Lodestarsolutions.com to set up a call to discuss your needs in 2018. Furthermore, we will provide free estimates for your IBM Cognos licensing needs, Cognos upgrades and services needs to get the most out of your analytic solutions.

Simplifying Maintenance of Cognos Planning Access Tables w/ D-Cubes

11/8/2016

Are you a Cognos Planning client looking to simplify maintenance of your system? As a business analytics consultant specializing in Planning, I despise the maintenance of access tables. It seems like the process is still living in the 1970s. As a result, we are sharing with you today how to simplify maintenance of Cognos Planning Access Tables with D-Cubes. This technique allows for creating and updating Cognos Planning Access Tables by just changing the data values in an Cognos Planning Analyst D-Cube. I believe this is way better than manually maintaining the Access Tables in Cognos Planning!

The Challenge:

First of all, managing Access Tables for large and highly distributed Cognos planning models can be a labor-intensive and time consuming process. This is especially the case when the access rights change frequently. The Contributor Administration Console - Access Tables editor interface can be a royal pain.

The Solution:

Use an IBM Cognos Planning Analyst cube to manage access and update the Contributor Admin Access Tables. Once you create the Analyst D-Cube, you will be able to assign and maintain the data in the cube then export the cube data and import it into Contributor Admin. You can even put the process in a macro to automate it. This method is so much easier, more visual, and flexible. At least that’s my opinion. If you have simple access tables that don’t change, you might just want to use the Contributor Admin Console.

Setting Up Components in Cognos Planning Analyst

Step1 - Create a D-list with 3 items: READ, WRITE, and HIDDEN as shown below:

cognos planning

Please note that you might want to consider also using NO DATA in your d-list.

Step 2 – Create the Access Table cube in IBM Cognos Planning – Analyst by choosing the dimensions on which access levels will be determined.

cognos planning

An example of the Access Table in Contributor Admin is shown above.

In this example, we will create a cube with 2 dimensions (AcctsIncStmt and the e.List). To format this cube for consumption by Contributor Administration Console as an imported Access Table, a D-Cube format is applied. Make sure the D-Cube is open and active. From the Analyst drop-down menus choose: D-Cube > Format. For format type, choose D-List and select the D-List created in Step1. This will leverage the option of Read, Write and Hidden (No Data).

cognos planning

Above the rows correspond to AcctsIncStmt and the columns correspond to the e.List. Page holds the access [READ/WRITE/NODATA/HIDE] because we set up the format as the D-List formatted.

Step 3 Populate the cells in the cube.

The Analyst D-Cube can be populated manually, automatically via d-link, automatically via formula or some combination of the aforementioned. Note that while not every cell needs to be populated, a default access level can be specified when importing this Access Table into Contributor. Any blank values will be populated with the default access level, in this case NO DATA.

"So what's the next step in the process?"

Step 4 – Exporting the Access Table from IBM Cognos Planning - Analyst

Now that the Access Table D-cube has been created and populated, the next step is to export the table from IBM Cognos Planning Analyst in a format that the Cognos Planning Contributor Admin understands. This is accomplished by having the Access Table D-cube you created open and then selecting D-Cube from Analyst Main Menu bar and then choosing Export Selection involves only the items needed for the Access Table. Choose the following options from the Export D-Cube settings:

cognos planning

a) Select Ascii File and then click the ellipsis to set the export file location; b) In the Format box Select Tab as the separator c) Format Column Headings None d) In the Groups box Select Multiple Column e) In the Dimension Order box ensure that the detail dimension is first, the e-list dimension is second (if applicable), and the data dimension is last. The dimension order MUST correspond to the order required by the Access Table.

In order to suppress items that have not been granted READ, WRITE, HIDDEN or NO DATA access levels. Click on the Zeros tab and highlight the line that represents Rows. When the import is executed, the Base Level Access will be set to NO DATA and any untagged dimension items will be set to NO DATA in the Contributor access table.

cognos planning

Import The Exported File Into Contributor Admin

Now that you’ve created the Export file from the Analyst D-Cube defining the access levels, you will import the Access Table data into IBM Cognos Planning – Contributor. To import the tab-delimited file that was created above, open Cognos Planning – Contributor Administration Console, expand the Datastores, expand the application, expand Development, expand Access Tables and Selections, and choose Access Tables.

In Access Tables, select the correct dimension and cubes that the access table will be applied to and select the Import access table radio button. If you are using the eList in the access table, check the Include e.List checkbox.

cognos planning

Next, click the Add button. After the new row has been added, select it and click on the Import button. Click the ellipsis to select the file that was exported from IBM Cognos Planning – Analyst. Choose the Base Access Level that will be applied to the access table that is being imported. You might want to select NO DATA, which will result in NO DATA being applied to any items not defined in the import file. Also, ensure that Options – Import is checked. First row contains columns headers should remain unchecked.

cognos planning

After these selections have been made, click OK and the import should run with no errors. This will stage the updates to the access table but before they are applied in Contributor you will need to run a GTP process.

Note: View of the Access Table is a different order than the order required by the import file.

cognos planning

Automate It

Once you set this process up, you could automate it with a macro. By leveraging an Analyst D-Cube to define the access table you will simplify the maintenance. This is recommended when you have complex access tables, they change often or they just seem inefficient.

In conclusion, these are a few short steps you can create a cube to define and maintain access tables in Analyst, export the definitions and import them into the Contribution Administrator. For more information on Cognos Planning check out the IBM knowledge center for the latest product documentation and user guides.

There's Got To Be A Better Way...

Let’s now talk about how challenging it can be to define the security in Cognos Planning. The maintenance time of just waiting for the GTP processes to run can be frustrating. But there is an alternative. You know IBM has a more powerful planning and budgeting solution, called TM1 (Performance Management). The beauty of TM1 is that assigning security even down to the cell level is much easier. You can make changes in your model and not even have to do a sync or GTP process!

Here at Lodestar Solutions, we feel the future of Cognos Planning is in question! So, we encourage you to start considering and defining your migration to a better tool. Check out our blog on the benefits of TM1 over Cognos Planning to learn more information.

Lodestar Solutions wants you to be educated, so we created a library of videos that will help you evaluate TM1. Check out our Move to TM1 Program to get access to our library of videos and templates and there is NO COST TO YOU. Finally, if you have specific questions, please contact us at Coaching@lodestarsolutions.com and one of our analytics coaches will get right back to you.

For more tips and tricks regarding Cognos Planning...

If you learned something from this blog, we encourage you to refer back to the previous tips in this series.

Check out Tip #1 on what your future plans should be for Cognos Planning by CLICKING THIS LINK.

For Tip #2 on the questions most asked by Cognos Planning clients, learn more by CLICKING THIS LINK.

Refer back to Tip # 3 on simplifying D-List maintenance by CLICKING THIS LINK.

The previous Tip #4 regarding the re-ordering your E-List can be found by CLICKING THIS LINK.

For Tip #5 on why your cubes may not be opening, CLICK THIS LINK to learn more.

Check out Tip #6 on how to zero out data in Planning Contributor, CLICK THIS LINK.

And for our final Tip #7 on making an analyst library copy in Cognos Planning, visit our previous blog by CLICKING THIS LINK.

How to Copy and Archive Cognos Planning Models

11/1/2016

That time of the year is approaching when you either need to rollover your budget or you need to create new Cognos Planning Models. This requires you to make a Cognos Planning Analyst library copy. We have some clients also asking, “Can you remind me how to copy and Archive Cognos Planning Models?” However, before we start with some instructions and tips to creating a Cognos Planning Model Analyst library copy, let’s talk about a few key points.

This approach may or may not be useful for Production libraries. Deleting the objects will also delete the data. However, not deleting the objects could result in objects remaining in the Production library that are no longer needed or used. Depending on the timing, it may be better to create a new production library into which the Development objects are copied. The prior Production Cognos Planning Models library could serve as an archive or historical library.

D-Links, Reports, and Macros...

Inter-library D-Links (source and target have different libraries), reports (linkage between more than one library), and macros (objects referenced reside in more in than one library) will require additional steps. D-Lists, which reside in a library other than where the associated d-cubes reside, will also require additional steps. However, at this point in time, the only inter-library D-cube D-list references are to the d-lists found in the Dev Common.

If unsure of the contents of a library, it is best to check the integrity. Checking the integrity of the Cognos Planning Models library will alert one to objects in other libraries with which the current library shares a reference(s).

To Check the Integrity of Objects in Cognos Planning Models...

In Analyst, go to File/Library/Objects and select the Appropriate Library. Select the Appropriate Object type. In most cases, All should be selected. It is possible to check the integrity of a specific object(s). In that instance, move only the object(s) against which an integrity check needs to be run.

Move All Objects to the bottom half of screen via the down arrow icon in middle of screen.

cognos planning models

Select the highlighted exclamation point in the middle of the screen to check the integrity. Depending on the size of library, this process could take a minute or two for completion.

cognos planning models

The following screen will appear. Review the results of the screen, especially for unexpected references e.g. a d-link saved to the source library, not the target library. It is usually most helpful to look at the Probable and Suspects. Required can also be helpful but keep in mind that if a d-cube is required, it will also list all the d-lists and even d-list formats required.

A determination needs to made for any references to other libraries; should the reference be broken/severed, copied or moved as is, copied to a new library so that the referenced item(s) is (are) updated or modified in some other manner.

cognos planning models

To Delete Objects From Library - Cognos Planning Models:

File/Library/Objects. Select the appropriate Library. With referential integrity of the system, it is usually necessary to delete objects in order:

  1. Reports

  2. Macros

  3. D-Links

  4. A-Tables

  5. Save Selections

  6. D-Cubes

  7. D-Lists

  8. File Maps (as they can be used to update d-lists)

  9. Formats

Next, select the Object Type and move the objects to the bottom half of screen via the down arrow icon in middle of screen. It is possible to delete all objects from a library at the same time by moving the objects to the bottom half of the screen based on the order above. However, the “All Objects” method works best with self-contained, uncomplicated libraries.

cognos planning models
cognos planning models

Select the Red X in the middle of the screen to delete the objects.

If the Object cannot be deleted due to references to other objects, a message similar to the one below will be returned:

cognos planning models

The reference(s) must be broken before the object can be deleted. (In some instances the referenced object can be deleted at the same time.)

If the object can be deleted, the following message will be returned. Select Yes to complete the deletion.

cognos planning models

Follow the steps above until all objects have been deleted.

To Copy Objects - Cognos Planning Models:

File/Library/Objects and select the Appropriate Library. Select the Object Type. All Objects or Specific Objects can be selected.

To aid in filtering out objects that should not be copied, most notably the “z’d” objects, click on the filter icon (funnel with an =) at the top of the screen.

cognos planning models

Under the Name drop down, select either <> or =.  As noted, * is the wildcard so <> z* will return all objects that do not begin with z. (It is possible to use *criteria* if the string may be found anywhere within the objects’ name.) Select Okay.

All items not beginning with a z are returned.

Move the objects to the bottom half of screen via the down arrow icon in middle of screen.

Cognos Planning Models

Select the Copy icon from the middle of the screen.

cognos planning models

Select the Target Library (the library to which the objects will be copied) and ensure the BETWEEN and FROM boxes are checked.

Ok....what's next?

If D-cubes already exist in the target library and the data in those D-cubes should not be overwritten, also select Do not overwrite existing D-Cube data. The structure (D-lists comprising the D-cube, D-cube itself, and D-links referencing it) will be updated with the results of the copy but the underlying data will not be copied over. Data integrity may be lost if the underlying structure of the new cube differs from the existing cube i.e. new calculations or items no longer on a D-list.

cognos planning models

If objects with the same name are found to already exist in the target library, the following warning will be returned. The name of the object must be identical. If a D-list originally named fund is renamed funds, Analyst will not recognize the rename during the copy and both objects will exist in the target library.

Answering Yes will overwrite the existing objects with the new objects. Answering no will stop the copy process.

​If target items should not be replaced, the items need to be removed from the source copy. Select Cancel from the copy window.

cognos planning models

Remove the objects from the bottom half of the selection screen by using the up arrow.

cognos planning models

Once the list of objects to be copied has been modified, proceed as before. Once the initial copy has been completed, the newly copied D-links need to have their source modified to reflect the same environment i.e. training, development, production.

To Modify a D-Links Source

Using the File/Library/Object* method (see previous), select the D-links to be copied.

  • *File/Library/D-Links can also be used in this instance.

Note: Any D-links with a source existing in another library are prefixed with i*_. Integrated Expense D-links have a prefix of ie_. The filter (see previous) can be used to select the relevant D-links.

The Copy default is the BETWEEN option. Leave the default [BETWEEN] and select the original source library. If there is more than one source library for the set of D-links, each must be handled separately.

cognos planning models

Once the D-Links are copied to the original source library, select them [from the original source library] and copy them to the corresponding source library in the new environment e.g. from Dev TA Revenue to Training TA Revenue.

Ensure both BETWEEN and FROM are selected.

cognos planning models

Once the D-Links are copied to the new source library, select them [from the new source library].

Select the move icon from the middle of the window.

cognos planning models

Move them to the corresponding target library in the new environment e.g. from Training TA Revenue to Training Integrated Expense.

What's the next step?

Delete the D-Links from the original source library (the library to which the D-link were copied in step 1.) Step 1 can be done via Move instead of copy. Steps 2 through 4 remain the same regardless. Steps 1 through 4 can also be used to modify Reports with links to other libraries and Macros with objects in other libraries.

If a D-cube has D-lists residing in other libraries and the D-list references need to be modified, copy the D-cube using only BETWEEN objects, to the library in which the D-lists reside (Step 1). Copy the D-cube and the associated D-list(s) to the new D-list source library (Step 2) using BETWEEN and FROM. Move the D-cube back to the ‘D-cube starting’ library (Step 3). Delete the D-cube only from the D-list’s original source library (Step 4).

If self-contained libraries are desired, use the Copy Wizard. File/Library/Copy.

If additional information is needed before deleting an object, determine which objects are used by the object. Use the Show Using icon.

cognos planning models

If additional references are needed, select the down arrow or level 1 through 4.

cognos planning models

An alternative to using the Show Using option to determine the target and source of a D-link is to select the D-links and move them to the bottom of the window. This can be used to quickly determine if the aforementioned process was successful.

Finally, and to save paper, select print preview and view the source and target of the D-links on the screen.

cognos planning models

If you are looking for more reference material check out the IBM Cognos Planning documentation on IBM’s site.

So WHY this need to copy libraries so often? Is there a better solution?

Are you running out of size in Cognos Planning Models? You can’t even add one more year to the model without blowing it up? Maybe you have too many sales people and just need to break your sales model into two separate applications? Well, the writing is on the wall! You have outgrown your Cognos Planning Models!

The good news, however, is IBM has an even better solution for you! IBM Cognos Performance Management, more commonly known as TM1, handles MUCH bigger models! It has the ability to hold 256 dimensions in a single cube.

We encourage you to start considering and defining your migration to a better tool. We suggest hopping over to our blog to learn the benefits of TM1 over Cognos Planning.

A 24/7 Video Library At No Cost To You....

Lodestar Solutions is also creating a library of videos and templates that will help you evaluate TM1. Check out our Move to TM1 Program where there is NO COST TO YOU! If you do, however, have specific questions, please contact us at coaching@lodestarsolutions.com and one of our analytics coaches will reach out to you.

Lodestar Solutions is working to educate readers with our blogs so we encourage you to refer back to the previous tips in this series....

Check out Tip #1 on what your future plans should be for Cognos Planning by CLICKING THIS LINK.

For Tip #2 on the questions most asked by Cognos Planning clients, learn more by CLICKING THIS LINK.

Refer back to Tip # 3 on simplifying D-List maintenance by CLICKING THIS LINK.

The previous Tip #4 regarding the re-ordering your E-List can be found by CLICKING THIS LINK.

For Tip #5 on why your cubes may not be opening, CLICK THIS LINK to learn more.

And for last week's Tip #6 on how to zero out data in Planning Contributor, CLICK THIS LINK.

How to Zero Out all of the Data in Cognos Planning!

10/25/2016

Do you need to reset a cube to zero in order to clear out all the data in the contributor so users can start over? Maybe you are updating processes and you require a reset of your cubes in Contributor? Below, we will share how to zero out all of the data in Cognos Planning on a per cube basis only.

It’s an all or nothing option – every cell within a cube will be set to zero. Please note that the option to zero out only a selection of the cube like a version, does not exist. However, you can run an Analyst to Contributor link to zero out a selection of the Cognos Planning Cube. For more information on zeroing out a selection check out this IBM link on how to zero out contributor dcube data on the web. Before you run this process, please ensure your users are ok with a complete reset of the cube to zero.

Steps to Zero Out Data in Cognos Planning Contributor

The first step in zeroing out all of the data in Cognos Planning Contributor is to go to Cognos Planning Contributor Administration. Next, select the appropriate application as noted below. Make sure you have the right application! Then, inside the development folder, go to the import section and select the prepare tab. Next, check the zero data box next to the appropriate cube and click the prepare button at the bottom. These steps are noted below in the screen shot.

Cognos Planning

After you click prepare, the following message will appear.

If you then click on the Job Management folder for the application, you will see the Prepare_Import job running. Once complete, you will need to run a GTP process. (Go to production) by clicking the green arrow at the top. Please note that if you forget to run the GTP process, it will not zero the data out until you do.

ZERO OUT THE DATA QUEUE

There may be a situation arise when you load data via a Cognos Planning Analytics to Contributor link. Then, after you ran the link, you realized you didn't want to process the data all the way to Contributor. Don't worry. You can zero out the data queue. This will basically delete the staged date before you send it to Production. A couple important notes about this process. This should NOT be used in conjunction with the aforementioned Zero Data in a Contributor Model procedure. Reason being that it would result in deleting the import queue created by the previous prepare_import job and the data would not zero.

Steps to Zero Out the Data Queue

The first step is to go to Cognos Planning and then the Contributor Administration area. Then select the appropriate application as noted below. Next, go to the development folder and select import data area. Select the prepared data blocks tab and choose delete import queue. This will delete the staged or prepared data blocks. Also note that a Go To Production process is not required for this action. If you need to, you can fix the data in Cognos Planning Analyst and rerun the Analyst to Contributor link with the good data.

Cognos Planning

Hopefully this helps you understand how to zero out all of the data in Cognos Planning! My recommendation when you do this type of maintenance in Cognos Planning is to always FOCUS! Shut down your email and turn off your phone! I learned that lesson the hard way.

Some food for thought...

If you really want to simplify the maintenance of your budgeting and forecasting models, you should absolutely consider looking at TM1. At Lodestar Solutions, we feel the future of Cognos Planning is in question! Hence, we encourage you to start considering and defining your migration to a better tool. Check out our blog to learn the benefits of TM1 over Cognos Planning.

Lodestar Solutions is wanting you to be educated, so we are creating a library of videos that will help you evaluate TM1. Check out our Move to TM1 Program to get access to our library and don’t forget that there is NO COST TO YOU for this program.

If you have specific questions, please contact us at Coaching@lodestarsolutions.com and one of our analytics coaches will contact you.

If you learned something from this blog, we encourage you to refer back to the previous tips in this series....

Check out Tip #1 on what your future plans should be for Cognos Planning by CLICKING THIS LINK.

For Tip #2 on the questions most asked by Cognos Planning clients, learn more by CLICKING THIS LINK.

Refer back to Tip # 3 on simplifying D-List maintenance by CLICKING THIS LINK.

The previous Tip #4 regarding the re-ordering of your E-List can be found by CLICKING THIS LINK.

For Tip #5 on why your cubes may not be opening, CLICK THIS LINK to learn more.

Help! Emergency! My Cognos Planning Cubes are Not Opening!

Help! Emergency! My Cognos Planning Cubes Are Not Opening!

As a business analytics coach with over 15 years of experience implementing Enterprise Cognos Planning, I often get calls from clients saying, “Help! Emergency! My Cognos Planning cubes are not opening! What do I do?"

IBM Cognos Planning has performance and memory issues. This happens when the size of the Cognos Planning cubes or contributor models you’re opening includes large amounts of data. Cognos Planning was built on a distributed architecture. This means when the end users & contributors open their models, it downloads the data appropriate to them to their machine. When the end user changes the data, the system is using the memory of the end users machine to calculate the new values. If the end users’ laptop doesn’t have a lot of memory, this is when we get the help and emergency calls.

When the end user or contributor hits “save” or “submit”, the changed values are then sent back to the server.

cognos planning cubes

Back in the day, the distributed architecture was how Adytum (Cognos Planning's predecessor) was a leader in deploying budgeting & forecasting solutions to end users over the web. However today, we desire more data so we add items and dimensions till our models blow up in size, causing memory errors. Unfortunately, IBM Cognos Planning has size limitations. If you are trying to open multiple nodes at the same time or very large Cognos Planning Cubes in Analyst, you are very likely to have memory issues.

There are a number of solutions to this problem. Our recommendation is to start looking for a long term solution and we will discuss the option of moving to TM1/ Performance Management as a long term solution in just a moment.

Cognos Planning Cubes Not Opening - Quick Fix

Short term fixes for Cognos Planning Cube Memory errors include:

1. Add more memory to the power user and end user machines.

2. Leverage the “No Data” setting on the access tables to cut down what is passed to the contributors. See IBM site for information on No-Data Setting.

3. Another tip is to add dummy nodes in your elist so you can open fewer nodes at one time.

This is where reality sets in. With today’s increased demand for data, the issue ends up being bigger than just adding more memory.

IBM Cognos Planning is outdated technology!

The good news is that IBM does have a solution for you. TM1, also called IBM Performance Management, was purchased in 2007 for its tremendous calculation engine. Over the years, IBM has merged the things we love about IBM Cognos Planning and the powerful 64 bit in memory calculation engine of TM1. As a result, it is a powerful solution that can be deployed to a large number of users, while eliminating the memory issues Cognos Planning has inherently.

The calculations are done on the server as opposed to the end users machine. TM1 allows for large cubes and faster response times. Lodestar Solutions is successfully migrating many clients from Cognos Planning to TM1. Many of them are now able to merge multiple Planning applications, which were previously broken down because of size issue, into a single TM1 model. This is reducing their maintenance and eliminating the Cognos Planning Cube memory issue.

Benefits of IBM Cognos TM1

There are so many benefits to moving to TM1 we can’t cover them all here. Wouldn’t you like a more powerful tool that handles much larger models and doesn’t require time consuming Sync and Go To Production processes? IBM Cognos Performance Management TM1 is a much more flexible solution.

​Here at Lodestar Solutions, we feel the future of Cognos Planning is in question! We encourage you to start considering and defining your migration to a better tool. Check out our blog on the benefits of TM1 over Cognos Planning.

In addition, Lodestar Solutions is wanting you to be educated, so we are creating a library of videos that will help you evaluate TM1. Check out our Move to TM1 Program to get access to our library. There is NO COST TO YOU!

If you have specific questions, please contact us at Coaching@lodestarsolutions.com and one of our analytics coaches will contact you.

If you are learning valuable tips from this blog, we encourage you to refer back to the previous tips in this series....

Check out Tip #1 on what your future plans should be for Cognos Planning by CLICKING THIS LINK.

For Tip #2 on the questions Cognos Planning client are asking, learn more by CLICKING THIS LINK.

Refer back to Tip # 3 on simplifying D-List maintenance by CLICKING THIS LINK.

The previous Tip #4 regarding the re-ordering your E-List can be found by CLICKING THIS LINK.

The Secret to Reordering Your Cognos Planning E-list

10/11/2016

Have you ever tried reordering your Cognos Planning E-list and wondered, ”What the Heck is going on?” For years, I have told clients the E-list in Cognos Planning is the spine of your Cognos Planning Contributor model. Furthermore, you can avoid having surgery by reordering it. But sometimes you just have to reorder the E-List so that the data rolls up properly for the reviewers. So, here are your secrets to reordering your Cognos Planning E-list.

Let's begin...

In our example, we notice that location 0695.00.00 Rockingham NC is in the original E-list but it rolls up to 0001- FS1- System Improvement and therefore to Direct Projects. We need 0695.00.00 Rockingham NC to roll up to 0000- Corporate instead of to Direct Projects.

cognos planning e-list
cognos planning e-list

You will notice that 0695.00.00 Rockingham NC already has some data entered and we don’t want to lose the data the end users entered. Notice data entered and saved Employee Hours Cube Budget Version.

cognos planning e-list

When we look at the Cognos Planning D-List in Analyst, we see our 0695.00.00 Rockingham NC is in the middle of the list.

cognos planning e-list

However, we see 0695.00.00 Rockingham NC is included in the calculation for 0001- FS1 System Improvement. We will need to fix that because we want it to roll up to the 0000- COR -Corporate node instead.

cognos planning e-list

Note that the Calculation Order is important. See how 0695 is at the top of the 0001 calculation above. The order of the calculation determines the Contributor E-List order as you can see below.

cognos planning e-list

"Ok....what's next?"

We determined earlier that we needed to move 0695.00.00 Rockingham NC so that it rolls up to 0000- COR – Corporate. So let’s go look again at the calculations in the D-List in Cognos Planning Analyst. We will need to remove 0695.00.00 Rockingham NC from the 0001 Calculation by deleting it from the calculation and click Apply then Save.

cognos planning e-list

Now we need to add 0695.00.00 Rockingham NC to 0000 calculation. Once it’s added manually, move it to assure the item will be in the order you want it in the calculation because that’s the order that will be displayed in the Cognos Planning Contributor. Remember to save your work. See below.

cognos planning e-list

The next step is to Export D-List from Analyst as an E-List. Select Text to Column creating a .txt file in Excel. Now return to Cognos Planning Contributor Administration and expand the E-list folder for the application to see the structure. Click Import as a .txt file. Make sure there are no errors or warnings received during import. The Cognos Planning E-list is now updated and its appearance is based on the calculation order, not D-list item order in analyst. Notice that 0695.00.00 Rockingham NC now rolls up to 0000 COR- Corporate. However, we are not done yet.

cognos planning e-list

You will need to complete the Go To Production Process (GTP) in the Cognos Planning Admin. Make sure you see only changes and no deletions, no destructive changes!

cognos planning e-list

As you can now see, 0695.00.00 Rockingham NC rolls up to 0000 COR – Corporate.

cognos planning e-list

Finally, you will see that as we open 0695.00.00 Rockingham NC, the data still exists. Due to our previous steps, you'll see we didn’t lose the work already completed by the end users.

cognos planning e-list

So, that’s the secret to reordering your Cognos Planning E-list and not losing data. Hopefully this information will help save you time and frustation with Cognos Planning.

"I still get frustrated and want to better use my time!"

Let’s now talk more about your time and frustrations with Cognos Planning! Did you know that IBM has a much more powerful tool? One that handles much larger models! It doesn’t require time consuming Sync and Go To Production processes. Furthermore, it does not require the E-list. IBM Cognos Performance Management TM1 is an extremely powerful tool that allows greater flexibility. Here at Lodestar Solutions, we feel the future of Cognos Planning is in question! IBM’s lifecycle page tells you how long IBM will support IBM Cognos Planning.

We encourage you to start considering and defining your migration to a better tool. To learn the benefits of TM1 over Cognos Planning check out our “Migrating From IBM Cognos Planning To TM1” blog.

Lodestar Solutions wants you to be educated as possible, so we created a library of videos that will help you evaluate TM1. We encourage you to check out our Move to TM1 Program. And if you have any specific questions, please contact us at Coaching@lodestarsolutions.com and one of our analytics coaches will contact you.

If you learned something from this blog, we encourage you to refer back to the previous tips in this series....

Check out Tip #1 on what your future plans should be for Cognos Planning by CLICKING THIS LINK.

Refer back to Tip #2 on how to simplify D-List maintenance by CLICKING THIS LINK.

Simplifying D-List maintenance with a D-Cube in Cognos Planning

Are you looking to simplify D-List maintenance?

Simplifying D-List maintenance with a D-Cube in Cognos Planning can save you time and frustrations. Do you spend a lot of time maintaining your models and not have very much time for analyzing? Using a D-Cube in Cognos Planning to create or maintain D-Lists could be the solution you are looking for to save time and ease frustration.

Steps For Using D-Cubes To Create or Maintain Your Cognos Planning D-List

Below is a summary of steps to using D-Cubes to create and/or maintain D-Lists.

Create an All items D-List – This is a D-List that contains all source items. Later, we will show you how to filter this list to a subset which will reflect your new list. This could be accounts, locations, departments, etc. For this blog, we will be using GL accounts as you can see below. You may want to create this with a link to an OBDC connection or your source file.

cognos planning

Next, create a Yes / No D-List – This is a simple D-List of yes and no. When you create it, make sure you put the Yes first so the IID number is 1. We will use the IID in a calculation later.

cognos planning

Create a Calculation D-List – This list contains the calculations that will be used to determine which D-list will contain specific items from the All Items D-List you created in the first step. So basically, as we set the Y/N flag in the cube, that will determine when the account will be included. For example, if an account from the All Items DList has a yes next to Bal Sheet Flag, it will appear on the Balance Sheet D-List.

Ensure that 1 item of your calculation D-List is formatted as a D-List format selecting the All Items D-List. In our example, the Accounts item on the Calculation D-List is set to D-List format.

congos planning
congos planning

Create Flag Item(s) and D-List format with the Yes No Flag D-List - The flag items in the Calculation D-List will determine whether an item from the All Items D-List belongs to a particular D-List subset of items. In our example, we create Flags for the Balance Sheet Income Statement and Other Inc/Exp. The Flags will be assigned a Format of D-List Format.  You will select the Yes/No Flag you created earlier as the D-List for the format. Please note you will want to set all the “Flag” Items, like Income Statement Flag and Other Inc/Exp Flag, to D-List format selecting your Yes/No D-list.

cognos planning

The Next Step Is Calculating Items...

Create Calculation Items - The calculation is a conditional formula that is the secret sauce to simplifying D-List maintenance with a D-Cube in Cognos Planning. The calculation will look at the flag D-List item.  If it’s set to Yes, then it will use the respective account from the All Items D-List. If it is set to No or blank, it ignores the account from the All Items D-List.

​In our example, we put the calculation on the Balance Sheet item. Then, we used the calculation IF (Bal Sht Flag)=1 THEN Accounts ELSE 0. Please note that the 1 represents a Yes from our Yes No Flag D-List because that's the IID number for Yes. If you have added and deleted items or put No before yes in your Yes No Flag D-List, you may need to use a different number. If something seems off, look up the correct IID number from the Yes No Flag List. On the other hand, it might just be easier to create a new Yes No Flag making sure you put Yes first.

cognos planning
cognos planning

Now Set D-List Format Calculations with the [Step 1]All Items D-List - For the DList items in the calculcation D-List, you need to assign a D-List Format to all the calculation items. In our example, we will assign a D-List Format to our Balance Sheet, Income Statement, and Other Inc/Exp. The format will leverage the All Items D-List we created in step one. Please note the Flag line items should all have a D- List format using the Yes No format. Make sure you don’t assign them the wrong D-List Format.

cognos planning

Note: Additional items [or calculation items] can be added as needed if a hierarchical d-list is needed.

Create D-Cube – Create a new Cognos Planning D-Cube using the All items D-List you created in step 1 and the Calculation D-List you created.

cognos planning

"Ok...now what?"

Populate the D-Cube - You will now populate your cube so the accounts are listed from All Items D-List.

  • If the original source of the All Item D-List is a File Map, add a duplicate column and select the second/duplicate column as data. Then use a d-link to import the data.
  • If the original source of the All Item D-List is an ODBC connection, use a D-Link and create [via SQL] a new column from the original All Item column.
  • If it was manual, you will need to manually populate it.
cognos planning

Next, populate the Flag columns with a Yes [in the column(s) to which the row belongs. The name of the item in the row should populate the corresponding column. For example, if you put a Yes in the Bal Sht Flag column, the account should appear in the Balance Sheet Column. Remember to Save your work.

cognos planning

Create D-Lists that are a Subset of the All Items D-Dist – Now you will create D-Lists that represent the subset of the All Items D-List based on the values in the cube you just created.

Create/Update the Subset D-List(s) using the Import from D-Cube Data. Then select the appropriate “calculated item(s)” to import. (Don’t grab the flags). In our example, we select the Balance Sheet item so we can create the D-List for just the Balance Sheet items.

cognos planning

Ensure the All Items D-List is the row dimension and the Calc D-List is the Column.

cognos planning

Finally, ensure the Suppress Zero Rows box is checked - The first column shown is the row column from the D-Cube. In most instances, it should be skipped when selecting attributes. (The where setting depends on what type of order is needed for the d-list: alphabetical, hierarchical, etc.)

cognos planning

Congrats! You have set up the D-Lists needed. Also created is the D-Cube to define which accounts should be assigned to your new subset D-List. Furthermore, you can modify your subset D-List by just updating the information in the cube. Use this method to simplify D-List maintenance with a D-Cube in Cognos Planning. It can save you time and frustrations.

"What's the next step for us concerning Cognos Planning?"

It’s now time to talk more about your time and frustrations with Cognos Planning! Did you know that IBM has a much more powerful tool? One that handles much larger models! A tool that doesn’t require time consuming Sync and Go To Production processes. IBM Cognos Performance Management TM1 is an extremely powerful tool. It allows for an even easier way to maintain your account structures. Here at Lodestar Solutions, we feel the future of Cognos Planning is in question! IBM’s lifecycle page tells you how long IBM will support IBM Cognos Planning.

We encourage you to start considering and defining your migration to a better tool. To learn the benefits of TM1 over Cognos Planning check out our blog.

Lodestar Solutions wants you to be educated, so we are creating a library of videos that will help you evaluate TM1. Check out our Move to TM1 Program and remember that there is NO COST!

If you have specific questions, please contact us at Coaching@lodestarsolutions.com and one of our Analytic Coaches will get back to you.

If you learned something from this blog, we encourage you to refer back to the previous tips in this series....

Check out Tip #1 on what your future plans should be for Cognos Planning by CLICKING THIS LINK.

For Tip #2 on the questions most asked by Cognos Planning clients, learn more by CLICKING THIS LINK.

What Is The Future Of IBM Cognos Planning?

9/1/2016

There are rumors flying around about “What is the Future of Cognos Planning?” I think IBM accidentally created the buzz in July 2016 when their website showed the lifecycle of Cognos Planning 10.1.x was having an EOS (End of Support) date of September 2017. Typically, an X means all.

This raises some alarm bells, so the Lodestar Solutions team started asking IBM a lot of questions about their intentions for the older Planning product. There are rumors out there that IBM might be selling Cognos Planning to a partner. However, it turns out those were just rumors but I would not rule it out. Unicom is known for buying products IBM doesn’t want any more like Cognos Finance.

Cognos Planning

We never did receive a direct answer from IBM when we asked, “What is the future of Cognos Planning?” However, IBM did update their website on August 3, 2016 to show that 10.1.0 is EOS (End of Support) in September 2017. It currently looks like IBM gave Cognos Planning 10.1.1 a longer life. How long is the million-dollar question. To find out how long IBM is going to support the IBM Cognos Enterprise Planning Product, use THIS LINK.

We think the writing is on the wall as to the future of Cognos Planning. We have heard it for years that TM1 is the go forward strategy for IBM’s budgeting and forecasting solution. Over the years, IBM has added so many kick butt features to TM1. This old Adaytum (the predecessor to Cognos Planning) consultant is wondering why clients are still on Cognos Planning.

I know for a fact there are a large number of companies still on Cognos Planning. So I have to ask you… how long are you going to wait? Do you not know the benefits of how much better your life can become by moving to TM1? For benefits on moving from Planning to TM1 check out our blog.

What are your options for Cognos Planning?

I get that it has not been a priority, but let’s play out your options…

  1. Act now and start to plan your migrations. Begin to ask for funding in your next budget process. You’re able to plan your resources around your schedule. The migration can begin and have your Cognos Planning system as a backup until you receive the new TM1 system just the way you need it.
  2. You wait and stay on your current Cognos Planning system. Memory challenges, size restraints & laborious maintenance, and inflexibility will just have to be tolerated. Then, one day, IBM announces that it is sun setting Cognos Planning forcing you to possibly run unsupported. (We never recommend running unsupported especially with the frequency of updates from Microsoft which can cause issues.) Worse yet, you have to scramble to find funding and resources at a time when all the other Cognos Planning clients are doing the same thing. Do I need to explain to you what happens to consulting rates when demand for consultant knowledge on Cognos Planning and TM1 skyrockets? I didn't think so.

So which option to you prefer? The great thing about Option 1 is you just have to start planning. To make it really easy, we have a little video on “What is the Future of Cognos Planning?” After you watch our video, the next step is to click the green button next to the video. You will then be asked to set up your free account with your name, email address and password.

Why sign up for our Move to TM1 Program?

This gives access to Lodestar Solutions’ Move to TM1 Program which consists of an exclusive library of videos and templates covering IBM TM1 Cloud (SaaS) vs on premise, Cost and benefits of moving from Planning to TM1, a demo of TM1, an ROI calculator, and much more.

Once you subscribe to our Move To TM1 Program, you can return to the library at any time by going to our website   LodestarSolutions.com and clicking the login button in the top right corner. If you have questions or comments, please add them to the videos and we will respond so everyone can see the answers.

If you wish to speak with one of our business analytics coaches or our service manager directly, email us at coaching@lodestarsolutions.com or call us at 813-254-2040.

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