What’s New in Planning Analytics Workspace 93

what’s new in planning analytics workspace 93
what’s new in planning analytics workspace 93
Written by, Mike Bernaiche, February 29th, 2024

In February 2024, IBM released the next version of Planning Analytics Workspace 93.  There are a few enhancements to highlight below.  As a reminder, when you upgrade to the latest version you have everything from previous versions.  At the bottom of this blog, you will find links to what is new in previous versions.

Books and Reporting

In Planning Analytics Workspace 93 the following was added or changed in books and reporting.

Books retain data format when saved as a template - When you save a book as a template, any data format that you applied to an entire view or visualization now also saves to the template. When you create a new book using the template, the retained data format automatically applies to the view or visualization when you populate the data.

New advanced selector widget to synchronize members - the new Advanced selector widget supports one-way synchronization and has multiple selectors with the same hierarchy that lets you pick members from different groups to form a set. This new feature lets you easily compare members, view data for a range of members, or create a multiple-selection list.

New advanced selector widget to synchronize members in PAW 93

Applications and Plans

In applications and plans the following enhancements are now available.

Manage email notifications in plans – You can now turn on or turn off email notifications for individual events on the new Notifications tab in a plan. Previously, plan users automatically received email notifications when actions, such as a task submission or task approval, occurred in a plan.

Improved handling of simultaneous actions in plans - Previously, when two users from the same group opened a plan to perform the same action at the same time, such as submitting or approving a task, both actions were recorded in the Submission log. Now, in IBM Planning Analytics Workspace 93, only the first action is logged in the Submission log.

Models

The following changes were made to modeling in Planning Analytics Workspace 93.

Copy and move multiple assets or folders – You can now copy and move multiple assets or folders to a new location on both the Reports and Analysis page and the Data and Models page in IBM Planning Analytics Workspace.

New filtering options available in the dimension editor – Additional filtering options are now available in the dimension editor, which allow you to further narrow the focus of members that are displayed in the editor. Previously, you could filter members in the dimension editor with Filter (optional) or use Search to generate a list of members that match the search term.

New filtering options available in the dimension editor in PAW 93

Replace an existing cube – You can now replace an existing cube with a new cube in the IBM® Planning Analytics Workspace Create Cube menu.

Map to existing dimensions when importing data to the new cube - you can now map to an existing dimension or control dimension when you import data to a new cube.

Summary

As you can see there are a few changes in IBM Planning Analytics 93.  Without giving too much away, I believe in the next few updates you will see some major enhancements coming.  Stay tuned for those, you will not want to miss it!

Below are links to some recent blogs on what has been added to Planning Analytics.

What's New in Planning Analytics Workspace 88 and 89

What's New in Planning Analytics Workspace 90

Please reach out to me at services@lodestarsolutions.com to discuss your situation and talk about upgrading your Planning Analytics environment.  We offer some great cost-effective options to upgrade.  Take advantage of our upgrade bundles! I look forward to speaking with you soon!

IBM Planning Analytics as a Service on AWS

IBM Planning Analytics as a Service on AWS
IBM Planning Analytics as a Service on AWS

Written by Mike Bernaiche, January 18th, 2024

IBM recently introduced a new partnership and offering for Planning Analytics.  Planning Analytics as a Service on AWS brings together impressive planning and forecasting software with the power of AWS.  While this offering is available to anyone, I would suggest the sweet spot is for those who have smaller teams and have AWS credits that can be utilized. Below I will expand on the offering and why I think this is an incredible opportunity for clients.

What is Planning Analytics as a Service on AWS?

IBM Planning Analytics as a Service on AWS refers to the deployment of IBM Planning Analytics, a performance management and business analytics solution, in a cloud environment hosted on Amazon Web Services (AWS). This deployment model allows organizations to leverage the benefits of cloud computing for their planning, budgeting, forecasting, and analytical needs.

Key Features of Planning Analytics as a Service on AWS

Just as you would come to expect with Planning Analytics on-premise or SaaS (IBM cloud) you get the following with Planning Analytics as a Service on AWS.

  • Interactive web experience - Workspace, the IBM Planning Analytics interactive and customizable web interface, provides a single, self-service experience for business users.
  • Native Microsoft Excel interface- Continue to use the Excel interface to leverage and automate existing spreadsheets while connected to the Planning Analytics solution.
  • Real-time decision-making ability - Support unlimited data volumes and users, providing real-time aggregation and calculation–without compromising on performance.
  • Secured, Governed, and Compliant - Rest assured that your critical financial and operational analytical data is properly secured and governed.
  • Highly Visual Analysis and Reporting - Don’t export data to external tools. Easily produce a variety of graphical charts within multi-tab displays to provide deep analysis.
  • Powerful Modeling - Move from conventional to advanced scenario modeling including “what-if” analysis. Run calculations and analyze large data sets quickly and easily.

3 Offers for Planning Analytics as a Service on AWS

  • Essentials – Perfect for small teams who want to create faster, more accurate plans and forecasts. Uncover deep insights and adjust plans in real-time without having to export data to other tools.
  • Standard – Tailored for companies that want to harness AI to plan smarter, pivot quickly, and feel confident with trusted insights. Anticipate outcomes and adapt to changing demands at the speed of business.
  • Premium - Designed for large enterprises that want to integrate business planning across every part of the organization.
    Prepare for tomorrow with an AI-powered planning solution that can handle your business's complexities.

What is included?

What is Included in Planning Analytics on AWS

As you can see there is a plan for everyone!  Unless you have a large finance and accounting team, the standard will be great for most.  Essentials provided a great entry point with a minimum of 5 users.

The good news, as you grow you move from essentials, to standard or standard to premium.  Scalability is easy and seamless.

The cost of entry is very reasonable, better than you will find with any competing planning solution for what you get with IBM Planning Analytics as a Service on AWS.

Summary

There you have it!  An excellent solution at a great price providing awesome planning and forecasting features.  Maybe you own planning analytics and are looking to move to software as a service on the cloud.  Perhaps you do not own a planning solution today or are in the process of exploring.  If so, reach out to us today at sales@lodestarsolutions.com.  We can provide all the information you need to make an informed decision.  To learn more about the latest version of Planning analytics check out these blogs:

Revolutionize Your Financial Stability with Better Planning Models

Revolutionize Your Financial Stability with Better Planning Models
Revolutionize Your Financial Stability with Better Planning Models
Written by Heather L. Cole, November 9th, 2023

As a financial executive, you are constantly facing the challenge of ensuring the financial stability and success of your company. To make informed decisions, accurate and reliable data is vital. However, the traditional planning models used by many organizations today often fall short of providing the necessary clarity and accuracy. In this blog post, I will highlight why these planning models need to be overhauled and provide recommendations for a more efficient and reliable approach.

The Pitfalls of Traditional Planning Models:

1. Limited Accuracy:

One of the key issues with traditional planning models is their reliance on outdated and simplistic assumptions. They fail to capture the complexities of the modern business environment and usually cannot adapt to changing market dynamics or unforeseen events. As a result, financial executives often must face the consequences of decisions made based on inaccurate and unreliable forecasts.

2. Poor Integration:

Many companies rely on a variety of software tools to manage different aspects of their operations, including financial planning, sales forecasting, and budgeting. The lack of integration between these tools hinders the ability to have a comprehensive view of the company's financial stability. This fragmented approach leads to inefficiencies, duplication of efforts, and wasted time and money.

The Case for Overhauling Planning Models:

1. Real-Time Data:

In today's fast-paced business world, the ability to access real-time financial data is crucial for making informed decisions. By overhauling planning models, financial executives can incorporate advanced technology solutions that enable the integration of data from various sources in real-time. This allows for a more accurate and dynamic assessment of the company's financial health, improving decision-making and risk management.

2. Predictive Analytics:

Traditional planning models often lack the ability to analyze historical trends and predict future outcomes accurately. With advancements in data analytics and artificial intelligence, companies can now leverage predictive modeling techniques to evaluate different scenarios, identify potential risks, and uncover growth opportunities. By integrating predictive analytics into planning models, financial executives gain valuable insights into the company's financial stability, enabling them to make proactive and strategic decisions.

Recommendations for a Better Approach:

1. Identify Limitations:

To initiate an overhaul of planning models, it is crucial first to identify the limitations of the current systems. Conduct a thorough analysis of the existing planning processes and systems, pinpointing areas where inefficiencies and inaccuracies occur.

2. Seek Expertise:

Engage with financial software providers and consultants who specialize in modern planning and budgeting solutions. Look for companies with a track record of delivering successful implementations and a client base that includes organizations similar to yours. Their expertise can guide you in selecting the right software that aligns with your specific needs.

3. Follow Established Procedures:

When implementing new planning models, following established best practices and procedures is important. This includes conducting thorough tests, training staff, and providing ongoing support. Taking the time to ensure proper implementation will lead to better adoption and utilization of the software, ultimately providing the clarity and visibility you seek.

Conclusion

By overhauling planning models and adopting modern financial software solutions, financial executives can gain the clarity and accuracy needed to ensure the financial stability of their companies. Leveraging real-time data and predictive analytics, executives can make informed decisions that drive results and set their organizations on a path to success. It's time to revolutionize your approach to financial planning and embrace the future of finance.

So, your gut is telling you that you need to overhaul your planning models, but you don’t know where to start? 

Join us in December for our Transformational Planning Webinar Series

Transformational Planning Webinar Series

Session 1: Breaking Barriers, Building Bridges - Uniting Finance and Strategy in a Seamless Planning Process -Tuesday, Dec 5th, 2023

Are you a Financial Executive aspiring to be a highly respected and sought-after CFO? Discover the power of embracing state-of-the-art planning processes in our transformative webinar, "Transformational Planning: Breaking Barriers, Building Bridges." Discover agile strategies to navigate market uncertainties, master cutting-edge analytics for data-driven decisions, and become a change catalyst. Empower your teams with a future-focused mindset, balancing your role's demands and personal well-being. Join us to embark on a journey toward confident leadership. Thrive amidst challenges, empower your teams, and revolutionize your finance approach with advanced planning techniques. Say goodbye to outdated systems and financial uncertainties. Register now and step into a future where you lead with strategy, foster growth, and earn the trust of CEOs and Boards. Your transformation starts here! Don't miss this opportunity to shape your CFO legacy with cutting-edge planning practices.

Session 2: Strategic Planning Unleashed: Driving Growth Together by Aligning Your Organization for Success - Tuesday, Dec 12th, 2023

Dive into the future of organizational success with our sequel webinar, Strategic Planning Unleashed: Driving Growth Together by Aligning Your Organization for Success" Experience the transformative power of state-of-the-art planning processes that extend beyond finance, shaping every facet of your organization.

Discover the strategic impact of aligning your entire organization with objectives, driving remarkable growth and profitability. Uncover practical techniques for collaborative planning, breaking down silos, and fostering shared accountability. Gain insights into maximizing resources and optimizing efficiency through advanced planning methods.

Join us to embark on a transformative journey.

Breaking Down Barriers: Unleash Corporate Agility with Extended Planning and Analytics

Breaking Down Barriers: Unleash Corporate Agility with Extended Planning & Analytics
Breaking Down Barriers: Unleash Corporate Agility with Extended Planning & Analytics
Written by Heather L. Cole, November 2nd, 2023

In the ever-evolving landscape of business, the traditional Financial Planning and Analysis (FP&A) process has long been the backbone of strategic decision-making. Finance teams meticulously crunch numbers, create forecasts; and assess financial impacts to steer the ship in the right direction. However, there’s a catch. FP&A, with its sole focus on financial perspectives, often leaves out a crucial element – the interconnectedness of various departments that collectively shape an organization’s success.  So, it’s time to Break Down Barriers and Unleash Corporate Agility with Extended Planning and Analytics.

Too Many Silos

Picture this: your sales team sets ambitious targets, marketing gears up for a series of compelling campaigns, HR plans for talent acquisition and compensation, and production meticulously schedules resources, materials, and capacities. Each department meticulously crafts its operational plan, but in isolation, these plans lack a holistic view. The rise in sales demands increased production, which, in turn, requires more manpower and machinery. It's a domino effect, and without a cohesive understanding of these intricate connections, businesses can find themselves stumbling in the dark.

Extended Planning and Analytics

Enter Extended Planning and Analytics (xP&A), a revolutionary approach that transcends the boundaries of traditional FP&A. xP&A isn’t just a buzzword; it's the catalyst for breaking down silos and fostering transparent collaboration across departments. Think of it as the ultimate backstage pass that unveils the grand orchestra of business operations.

Orchestra of Collaboration

In the world of xP&A, every department's plan, be it sales, marketing, HR, procurement, or supply chain, is interconnected and interdependent. Instead of isolated islands of strategies, there’s a seamless flow of information and insights, painting a comprehensive picture of the business landscape. This interconnectedness is the key to unlocking the true potential of organizational agility.  xP&A is a key factor in Transformational Planning.

Transformational Planning

So, what does this mean for your business? It means shattering the limitations of conventional spreadsheets and embracing a future where collaboration isn’t just encouraged – it's ingrained in the organizational DNA. Imagine the sales team aligning their targets with production schedules, marketing campaigns dovetailing seamlessly with procurement plans, and HR strategies adapting in real-time to accommodate shifts in other departments. It's a harmonious synergy where each department's impact is not just recognized but optimized for the greater good of the entire organization.

As financial professionals, our goal is to provide predictability and certainty in the numbers.  According to a Forbes article, Uncertainty Underscores CFO’s Role to Drive Digital Transformation, xP&A provides the certainty we all seek.

Reference:

If you are on Excel, you might should check out our earlier blog, The Power of IBM Planning Analytics for Mid-Market Companies: Leveling Up from Excel.

Getting Started

But how do we start on this journey beyond finance? 

On November 8th, we invite you to join our webinar, "Breaking Down Barriers: Unleash Corporate Agility with Extended Planning and Analytics." In this transformative event, we’ll delve into the transformative power of xP&A using IBM Planning Analytics. Our experts will guide you through the process of dismantling organizational silos, enabling seamless collaboration, and achieving unprecedented corporate agility.

Don't miss this chance to revolutionize your planning processes. Register now and let us guide you in unlocking the keys to building a truly agile and successful organization. Together, we'll navigate the complex terrains of global changes, industry shifts, and supply chain intricacies with confidence. It’s not just a webinar; it's your ticket to a future of seamless integration and unwavering agility.

Join Us

Join us on November 8th at 1 PM Eastern and be part of the evolution. Embrace xP&A, break free from the shackles of isolation, and step into a world where collaboration knows no bounds. Register now and embark on a journey toward a future of boundless possibilities.  

Breaking Down Barriers: Unleash Corporate Agility with Extended Planning & Analytics

What’s New in Planning Analytics Workspace 90

what’s new in planning analytics workspace 90
what’s new in planning analytics workspace 90
Written by Mike Bernaiche, September 22nd, 2023

Planning Analytics Workspace 90 was released on September 19, 2023, and there are several items in this update to talk about.  For those of you who went to IBM Tech Exchange in Las Vegas in early September, you heard that there is some amazing stuff coming to Planning Analytics soon.  Stay tuned to our blogs for some big announcements concerning Planning Analytics.  Now on to what’s new in Planning Analytics Workspace 90.

Learn Pane in Planning Analytics Workspace 90

AI-Generated Recommendations Available in Learn Pane - The Learn Pane now provides dynamic AI-generated recommendations as well as static recommendations.  When you interact with the content inside the Learn Pane, the recommendation engine makes daily updates based on what you and other users are viewing. For example, if you and other users use books and views more often, more content about books and views is generated in the Learn Pane.

Learn Pane in Planning Analytics 90

Books and Reporting in Planning Analytics Workspace 90

Set Synchronization Properties for Multiple Widgets Simultaneously – You can now set synchronization on multiple widgets at the same time.  Previously you could only do this one widget at a time.  Simply “ctrl-click” on the widgets and then under properties go to synchronization and choose the items you want to synchronize on.

Removed Ability to Use Delete Key to Remove Single Cell Widgets – You can no longer remove the delete key to remove single cell widgets.  You must now use the delete icon in the icon bar.  Also, a new property in a single cell widget called “Show as Cell”. This must be enabled to modify a single-cell widget.

Select a Member or Set by Typing its Name in an Exploration View – You can now search for a member by typing that info.  Simply click the 3 dots next to a dimension and select enter member.  Now type in that member name and your exploration will update with selection.

Select a Member or Set by Typing its Name in an Exploration View in PAW 90
Select a Member or Set by Typing its Name in an Exploration View in PAW 90

Insert Spacer Rows or Columns – you can now add spacers to your explorations to make the end-user experience better.

Insert Spacer Rows or Columns in PAW 90
Insert Spacer Rows or Columns in PAW 90

Replace Button Now Works on Current Selections in Set - The Replace button in the set editor now also works on the selections you make in the Current set pane. You can select members on both sides of the set editor, either the Available members or the Current set, and replace members in the view.

Modeling in Planning Analytics Workspace 90

Work with Database Logs in Modeling Workbench - You can now access a database's server log, transaction log, and audit log directly from the modeling workbench in Planning Analytics Workspace.

Work with Database Logs in Modeling Workbench in PAW 90

New Baseline Forecast Option - A baseline forecast is a new Planning Analytics Workspace asset that administrators and modelers can create and share with other users in your organization. Administrators, modelers, and analysts with the appropriate permissions can run the baseline forecast at any time and use the forecast to improve the planning process. Consumers cannot run baseline forecasts.

Baseline forecasts enhance the existing forecasting capabilities in Planning Analytics Workspace. You can still create and run ad-hoc forecasts on explorations in a book.

New Baseline Forecast Option in PAW 90
New Baseline Forecast Option in PAW 90
New Baseline Forecast Option in PAW 90

Administration in Planning Analytics Workspace 90

Simplified process to Rename Databases, Snapshots, and User Groups - A new Edit option on the Databases, Lifecycle Management, and Users and Groups pages simplifies the renaming process.

View Users Last Login - An enhancement in Planning Analytics Workspace 2.0.87 added the ability to view the last login for a user when you downloaded a user report from the Users and Groups page. You can now view the last login for a user directly in Planning Analytics Administration without downloading a report.

View Users Last Login in PAW 90

Summary

Planning Analytics Workspace 90 brings good enhancements to your Planning Analytics deployment.  We recommend staying current on the latest releases as many enhancements and bug fixes are included.  Reminder updates are cumulative so if you update to 90, you will get everything from prior releases.

To find fixes that have been included in updates please see this link.  

IBM put together a great list of everything added since Planning Analytics Workspace 58.  You can find this list here

To schedule an upgrade discussion please contact us at services@lodestarsolutions.com.

Escaping the Budgeting Blues: Rolling Forecasts with IBM Planning Analytics

Escaping the Budgeting Blues Rolling Forecasts with IBM Planning Analytics
Escaping the Budgeting Blues Rolling Forecasts with IBM Planning Analytics

Written by Heather L. Cole, September 1st 2023

Budgeting – the word alone can send shivers down the spines of even the bravest financial warriors. It's like a necessary evil, a financial straitjacket that stifles our creative dreams of abundance. In this blog, we're diving into the reasons why budgeting can be a real buzzkill and exploring a financial superhero - rolling forecasts, here to save the day with a little help from IBM Planning Analytics!

The Scarcity Mindset of Budgeting

Picture this: traditional budgets are like the Grinches of the financial world, setting a "maximum spend" for departments and a "minimum earn" requirement, making us feel like we're always one step away from bankruptcy. While we need benchmarks, budgeting can sometimes feel like having a budget babysitter watching our every financial move.

(Reference: Annual Budgeting is for the Birds)

The Excel Nightmare

And oh, the horror of using Excel for budgeting! It's like trying to build a sandcastle in a windstorm. Here's the lowdown on why Excel can be a real party-pooper:

  1. Siloed Data: Excel budgeting often results in data islands, where different departments use their own spreadsheets, creating a maze of disconnected plans.
  2. Human Error: Fat-fingered numbers can easily sabotage our formulas, leading to financial fiascos that are harder to spot than Waldo in a crowd.
  3. Endless Changes: Executives have a knack for demanding last-minute changes. Updating Excel sheets with these tweaks is like trying to juggle flaming torches – it's bound to end in chaos.
  4. Lack of Agility:   Excel budgets are as flexible as a brick wall - they can't adapt to the ever-changing business landscape.

A Better Way: Rolling Forecasts

But fret not, for there's a shining knight in financial armor - rolling forecasts. But what's this magical solution all about?

What is a Rolling Forecast?  

Rolling forecasts are the agile acrobats of financial planning. They keep things fresh by continuously planning with a set number of periods. For example, if your forecast covers 12 months, as each month ends, another month magically appears, ensuring you're always peering 12 months into the future. Rolling forecasts can be like a box of chocolates - you can have 12, 18, 24, or even 36 months! (Rolling Forecast According to Gartner)

 Why Use Rolling Forecasts vs. Traditional Budgeting? 

The deal-breaker with rolling forecasts? They're nothing like traditional budgeting:

  1. No Countdown:   Traditional budgets create an annual countdown, making us feel like we're stuck in a financial time warp. Rolling forecasts are the cool kids - they're a living document, no more annual budget dread!
  2. Accuracy:   Traditional budgets often become relics before they're even finished. Rolling forecasts allow for quick fixes, preventing financial fiascos from piling up.
  3. Agility:   Rolling forecasts can adapt to the ever-changing business landscape, like a chameleon changing colors. Your outlook is continuously updated, giving you the power to make informed decisions faster.
  4. Driver-Based:   Rolling forecasts aren't stuck in the past; they use key business drivers like market share and customer satisfaction to improve forecasting accuracy.

IBM Planning Analytics: Your Financial Superhero

But here's the real game-changer - IBM Planning Analytics. It's like giving your financial planning a superpower boost! With IBM Planning Analytics:

  • Interconnected Components:   All the components of your plan are interconnected. No more scattered spreadsheets; it's like having a financial control center at your fingertips.
  • Dynamic Adaptability:   Easily change components to meet your dynamic business needs. Just as having the right gear is essential to finish an Ironman, having the right tool is crucial for a successful rolling forecast.

Challenges of Rolling Forecasts  

Rolling forecasts aren't without their hurdles. Some organizations resist change because they're stuck in the quarterly earnings rat race. And yes, transitioning to rolling forecasts can require a bit of a financial facelift.

Is Rolling Forecasting Right for Your Organization?  

Ask yourself:

  • Is your organization stuck in a time warp when change is needed?
  • Have budget targets been missed, and the reasons are shrouded in mystery?
  • Does your budgeting process feel like an episode of "Survivor," with siloed departments and unclear ownership?
  • Are budget discussions more about financial mysteries than business operations?
  • Does the annual budget process feel like a never-ending episode of "Groundhog Day"?

If you nodded along, rolling forecasts might be your financial superhero, and IBM Planning Analytics is your trusty sidekick.

Join Our Event on October 19th.

The Pain of Outgrowing Excel Midmarket CFOs Discover Relief with IBM Planning Analytics

Ready to learn more about the financial superhero known as rolling forecasts and how IBM Planning Analytics can help you conquer Excel's clutches? Join us for our event: "The Pain of Outgrowing Excel: Midmarket CFOs Discover Relief with IBM Planning Analytics."

Date: Thursday, October 19th, 2023
Time: 1:00 – 2:30 PM Eastern

In this event, we'll uncover the secrets of breaking free from Excel's grip and embracing a world of financial freedom with rolling forecasts and IBM Planning Analytics. Don't let Excel rain on your financial parade. Register now to secure your spot and set your financial plans free:

Conclusion

Budgeting may have its woes, but it's not all doom and gloom. Rolling forecasts are here to save the day, offering flexibility, agility, and the power to adapt to the ever-changing financial landscape. With IBM Planning Analytics by your side, you're not just escaping the budgeting blues; you're soaring to new financial heights! So, let's bid farewell to budgeting blues and welcome the future of finance with open arms – it's time to roll with the forecasts and let IBM Planning Analytics light your financial path!

For more insight on some of what we are discussing in our upcoming Webinar, check out another recent Lodestar blog - Unleashing Profits with Strategic Analytics: Introducing the PROFIT Framework.

What’s New in Planning Analytics Workspace 87

What's New in Planning Analytics Workspace 87
What's New in Planning Analytics Workspace 87
Written by Mike Bernaiche, June 28th, 2023

On May 17, 2023, IBM released Planning Analytics Workspace 87.  A reminder that each update to Workspace is cumulative and all enhancements and fixes from previous releases are included in Planning Analytics Workspace 87.  This update includes some nice enhancements and fixes.  You can always find a detailed list of fixes by clicking here

I suggest checking this link out to see if any of the issues you may encounter have been solved in a recent release of Planning Analytics, Planning Analytics Workspace, or Planning Analytics for Excel.

Books and Reporting

Search and Filter Capability Available for Current Set in Set Editor - The Current set pane in the new experience set editor now has search and filter capabilities. Previously, these features applied only to the Available members pane in the set editor.

Search and Filter Capability Available for Current Set in Set Editor
Search and Filter Capability Available for Current Set in Set Editor

Target Selection Design and Usability Improvements – The target selection is now available on the toolbar in a book.

Expand and Collapse Rows and Columns asymmetrically or symmetrically - You can now expand and collapse rows and columns in a view either asymmetrically or symmetrically.  Click the new Expand/Collapse icon in the toolbar and select how you want to expand and collapse rows and columns.

Expand and Collapse Rows and Columns asymmetrically or symmetrically in PAW 87

Zoom Bar now Available in Additional Visualizations - The Zoom bar is now available in the following visualizations.  The Zoom bar allows you to scroll and focus on a smaller area of a visualization.

  • Box plot
  • Marimekko
  • Heat map
  • Waterfall
  • Bullet

New Properties in Map Visualization – New properties include World View, Icon, Allow Overlap, and Show Map Labels.

New Properties and Changes for the Bullet Visualization

  • New Categories Slot - A new slot under Fields lets you draw multiple bullets without the use of Repeat slots. The Categories slot allows additional sorting capabilities such as sorting by Target and Bar values.
  • Padding Properties – You can now set bullet and target marker padding under Chart in Properties.
  • Style Gridlines, Axis lines, and Labels - You can style gridlines, axes lines, and axes titles and labels.
  • Zoom Bar
  • Manual Range Values - You can now specify minimum, mid, and maximum range values manually under the new Ranges section in Properties.

Ledged Alignment in Visualizations - You can now align a legend vertically to display at the start, center, or end of the plot area in visualizations.  In combination with the Legend position, this new property allows you to position the legend in twelve different areas in the visualization.

Configuration Modification for Learn Pane - The cognitive Learn Pane in Planning Analytics Workspace Local is now hosted on a new domain.  This change requires the following configuration modifications to Planning Analytics Workspace Local and Planning Analytics on Cloud Pak for Data to ensure continued access to documentation and other information through the Learn Pane.

This is an important change and I have put a detailed link HERE for instructions to make this change and continue using the learn pane.

Applications and Plans

New Tabs on the Contribution Panel Show Submissions and Approved Tasks

New Tabs on the Contribution Panel Show Submissions and Approved Tasks in PAW 87

Modeling

New View Related Cubes Option - You can now quickly identify which cubes on a Planning Analytics database include a specific dimension.  This is helpful when you are thinking about deleting a dimension and want to see the impact of the deletion on the cubes in your database.

Import a Data Source with Multiple Data Value Columns to an Existing Cube - If a data source includes multiple data value columns, you can now create mappings to import all data columns simultaneously into an existing cube. This is useful when importing data that has multiple value columns for days, weeks, or months.

Use New Editors to Manage Attributes and Security for Data Objects - New settings editors are available from the Databases tree on a modeling workbench, which simplifies the task of managing attributes or security for your database objects.

Manage Cell Security with a More Flexible Control Cube Structure - Previously, a cell security control cube contained all dimensions from the data cube, plus the }Groups dimension. In Planning Analytics Workspace 87, you can select which dimensions to include in a cell security control cube, which can make it easier to manage security.

Administration

View the Last Login Date for Planning Analytics Users - The last login date is not exposed in the Planning Analytics Administration interface but is included when you download a user report to a .csv file.

Include Modeling Workbenches in LifeCycle Management Snapshots - You can now include modeling workbenches when you use Lifecycle Management to copy and deploy Planning Analytics assets.

Summary

Some great enhancements in Planning Analytics Workspace 87.  Please make sure you read the bit on the Learn Pane.  This does require a small change in the setup and we are here to help you!  Reach out to us at services@lodestarsolutions.com.

Have you heard about our Analytics Success Klub (ASK)?  We believe that the best investment you can make is in yourself.   But analytic professionals are often too busy to attend expensive training. So, Lodestar Solutions in partnership with Heatherized, Inc. is bringing a unique membership program for ambitious analytic professionals that want to go to the next level. Regardless, of whether you use IBM, Power BI, Tableau, or Qlik, social skills are the secret to promotions, raises, and interesting projects.

Check out the full blog on ASK here.

The Power of IBM Planning Analytics for Mid-Market Companies: Leveling Up from Excel

The Power of IBM Planning Analytics for Mid-Market Companies Leveling Up from Excel
The Power of IBM Planning Analytics for Mid-Market Companies Leveling Up from Excel
Written by Heather L. Cole, June 14th, 2023

In the fast-paced world of mid-market companies, there's a hero waiting to rescue you from the clutches of outdated spreadsheets.  No, it's not a caped crusader, but something even better - IBM Planning Analytics!  Buckle up and get ready for an exciting journey as we uncover the game-changing benefits of IBM's solution and bid farewell to Excel, the aging superhero of yesteryears.

Pricing that Won't Give You Nightmares:

Forget about breaking the bank or sacrificing your firstborn for a planning and analytics tool.  IBM understands that mid-market companies have budgets too, which is why they offer pricing options designed specifically for smaller deployments and departmental use.  Finally, a solution that won't leave you in tears when you check your bank account!  Email sales@lodestarsolutions.com to get a quote and save yourself from financial frights.

Join Forces with the Mid-Market Masters - Lodestar Solutions:

Who needs a trusty sidekick when you have Lodestar Solutions by your side?  We have been laser-focused on making mid-market companies successful with IBM Planning Analytics since 2004.  With IBM Planning Analytics’ superpowers of robust budgeting, planning, and what-if capabilities, Lodestar Solutions will guide you through the planning galaxy and help you conquer any data-related challenges.  Schedule a call with them at sales@lodestarsolutions.com and unleash your inner superhero!

AI, the Crystal Ball of Analytics:

Prepare to be mind-blown!  IBM Planning Analytics has been infused with AI, giving you the power of advanced forecasting capabilities.  No more relying on fortune cookies or flipping a coin to make critical decisions.  With AI-driven insights, you'll feel like you have a crystal ball that predicts market trends, demand patterns, and future scenarios.  

Lodestar is consistently releasing blogs on all the latest updates for IBM's Planning Analytics and much more! Be sure to follow us on Linkedin and check out all our blogs

Excel's Retirement Party:

Let's face it - Excel has served us well, but it's time for a retirement party.  Bid farewell to the days of dealing with complex formulas, error-prone fat-fingering, and hair-pulling frustration.  IBM Planning Analytics is here to save the day with its intuitive interface, real-time data consolidation, and advanced modeling capabilities.  Say goodbye to Excel's wrinkles and hello to a streamlined planning process that will make you dance like nobody's watching!  To learn more about what is possible with IBM Planning Analytics and how it compares to Excel see our video - Have You Outgrown Excel for Budgeting & Planning? 

Expand Your Way to Success:

With IBM Planning Analytics, the fun never stops.  Extend your planning processes beyond finance to include sales, marketing, and distribution... all connected to reflect the constant changes in business today.  Say goodbye to spreadsheet nightmares and hello to features like multidimensional modeling, scenario modeling, driver-based planning, and dynamic reporting.  You'll be dancing with joy as you uncover deeper insights, make accurate forecasts, and outsmart your competition.  Who said planning and analytics can't be fun?

Conclusion:

Get ready to unleash your inner Analytic superpowers and embrace the agile world of IBM Planning Analytics.  With tailored pricing, support from the thought-provoking experts at Lodestar Solutions, AI-driven forecasting, and the retirement party of Excel, mid-market companies can find success while having fun.  So, take the first step and email sales@lodestarsolutions.com to schedule a call and discover how IBM Planning Analytics can turn your financial processes into an industry-dominating adventure.  It's time to level up your Planning with IBM!

BONUS!

Should you choose to partner with Lodestar Solutions as your sidekick, you gain access to several client-only offerings such as our quarterly Planning Analytics User Group where we share all the latest and greatest of IBM’s Planning Analytics tools.  Featuring live demos, Q&A, and breakout discussion time, you’ll leave with a wealth of knowledge and support.

Also free to Lodestar clients is our Analytics Success Klub!  Are you ready to ASK for success?  Our Analytics Success Klub is not your ordinary monthly subscription program.  It's a community of ambitious analytics professionals who are serious about their soft skills.  We're talking about communication, influence, facilitation, presentation, negotiation, storytelling, and more.  And this is FREE to Lodestar Solutions clients.  Click here to learn more about our ASK program and contact sales@lodestarsolutions.com to become a client!

What’s New in Planning Analytics Workspace 86

Planning Analytics Workspace 86
Planning Analytics Workspace 86
Written by Mike Bernaiche, May 12th, 2023

On April 18, 2023, IBM released Planning Analytics Workspace 86.  Continuing with their monthly update schedule for Planning Analytics Workspace, this release has a few enhancements of note.  This is not a large update but does include a future change that deals with the cognitive learn pane you can read about below.

Books and Reporting

Synchronize same hierarchies across different databases - when you enable synchronization for the same hierarchy that is in two different databases, changes you make to the data in one widget is reflected in the synchronized widget.  To learn more about how to enable this synchronization please see this link

Disable select spread methods on Planning Analytics Workspace local - You can configure your Planning Analytics Workspace Local environment to disable any combination of the Repeat, Repeat leaves, Equal leaves, and Straight line data spreading methods.  To read more on how to disable select spread methods see this link

Plans and Applications

Duplicate Tasks and sections in Plans and Applications – you can now duplicate tasks and sections easily with a click of a button in Plans and Applications. 

plans and applications in paw 86

New look and usability enhancements in Plans and Applications overview – These include a new progress bar, advanced filtering, new tasks, and submission panel.

plans and applications view in paw 86
plans and applications view in paw 86

Modeling

Git repository integration for Planning Analytics Database objects – In Planning Analytics Workspace 86, IBM added in Git repository integration.  You can now access a Git repository (GitHub, Microsoft Azure, or AWS CodeCommit) directly from Planning Analytics Workspace. You can use the Git repository to store Planning Analytics database objects such as cubes, dimensions, rules, and processes that are common across multiple models.  You can also use the repository to move database objects from one environment to another.  For example, you might want to copy database objects from a development environment to a production environment.

Git repository integration for Planning Analytics Database objects

Dimension editor search and locate in hierarchy - The dimension editor search function now includes a menu item called Locate.  Searching in the dimension editor acts as a filter to generate a list of members that match the search term.  After searching, right-click a member from the generated list and select Locate to remove the filters and locate the member in the hierarchy.

Hide databases in preferences – you can now hide databases from the database tree on the modeling workbench.

Change in Planning Analytics Workspace 87

The following change is being accounted with Planning Analytics Workspace 86 and will take effect in Planning Analytics Workspace 87. 

Update to configuration for the Cognitive Learn Pane - The cognitive Learn Pane in Planning Analytics Workspace Local will be hosted on a new domain in the near future.  This will require configuration changes to Planning Analytics Workspace Local installations to ensure continued access to documentation and other information through the Learn Pane.  This applies to Planning Analytics local only.  Full details will be provided when Planning Analytics Workspace 87 is released in the next few weeks.

Summary

As I mentioned above, this is not a large release but does include some nice enchantments for some.  To read in more detail please see this article from IBM.  

Click here to read other Lodestar blogs on Planning Analytics Workspace

Lodestar is hosting a number of events this month all centered around Analytics Leadership and Requirements Discovery.  I highly suggest you check them out and sign up if you want to level up your analytics knowledge.  Please see our events page for more information. 

We can always be reached at services@lodestarsolutions.com for any questions you have on Planning Analytics Workspace or anything else planning related.  Reach out!

What’s New in Planning Analytics Workspace 85

What’s New in Planning Analytics Workspace 85
What’s New in Planning Analytics Workspace 85
Written by Mike Bernaiche, April 4th, 2023

In March 2023, IBM released Planning Analytics Workspace 85.  Updates to Planning Analytics Workspace are cumulative.  If you are currently on version 76, you only need to upgrade to 85 and you will have all the new content from version 77 to 84 included.  I provided a list of blogs below that lay out all the new enhancements in recent previous versions. 

Ok, let’s get to everything new in Planning Analytics Workspace 85.

Books and Reporting

Set Editor Usability Improvements – These improvements will make working with the set editor easier and more user friendly.  These changes do not introduce new functionality. Rather, some options on the set editor have been moved or made more intuitive.

  • Available Members Option - now appears immediately adjacent to the Available Members label, rather than beneath the label.
  • Current Set - menu now appears above the current set, rather than on the header.
  • Available Members Search Bar - always visible and you no longer need to click a Search icon to reveal the search bar.
Set Editor in Planning Analytics Workspace 85

Plans and Applications

Improved Approval Process for Plan Submissions - Plan owners and approvers can now approve or reject a submission from multiple contributors in one go.

When approving or rejecting a submission, you can select the contributor(s) whose submission you want to approve or reject.  You can also click Select All to apply your action to all the contributors for that submission.

Approve Submission in Planning Analytics Workspace 85

Save Task Flows in Plans as PDF - You can now save your plan's task flow as a PDF file. In the task flow view on the Plan tasks tab, click the Export icon to save the task flow as a PDF.

Save Task Flows in Plans as PDF in Planning Analytics Workspace 85

Modeling

Modeling in Planning Analytics Workspace 85 sees the most enhancements in this update.

Reopen Recently Opened Objects from Any Database - You can now reopen recently opened objects from any database.  The recent list contains the last twenty objects that were opened, with the most recent at the top.  To remove an object from the recent list, click on the x next to the object name.

Workbench Preferences – There is now a preferences icon always visible in the Workbench.  By default, all sections are collapsed, but retain their previous state when the user opens or closes the Preferences panel.  Opening and closing Preferences also refreshes the selected values.

You can set the following preferences:

Database tree

  • Display members.


Dimension Editor

  • Compact header.
  • Show value bar.
  • Show dimension editing warning.
  • Page size.

Cube viewer

  • Show hierarchy name. 
  • Show context information.
  • Show icons.
  • Show section header.

Process editor

  • Font
  • Font size.
  • Enable line wrapping.
  • Lock generated statements.

Rules editor

  • Font
  • Font size.
  • Enable line wrapping.

Process Editor Preferences – You can now set a toggle to lock or unlock generated statements in the process editor.  When the Lock generated statements option is enabled, users cannot edit the process script between the #****Begin generated statements and #****End generated statements lines.

Lock Dimensions in Planning Analytics Workspace - A user must have either Admin or Lock privilege for a dimension to lock the dimension.

When a user locks a dimension, only those users who have Admin rights for that dimension can modify the dimension. Even the user who locks the dimension cannot modify it, unless they have Admin rights for that dimension.

When a dimension is locked, options are disabled for these actions:

  •  Add members to any of the hierarchies in the dimension.
  • Remove members from any of the hierarchies in the dimension.
  • Create a hierarchy in the dimension.
  • Delete a hierarchy in the dimension.

Users can create, delete, or update subsets under any locked dimension.

To lock a dimension, right-click the dimension on the Databases tree in either a book or a modeling workbench, then click Lock dimension.  A lock icon appears on the dimension name indicating that the dimension is locked.

Lock Dimensions in Planning Analytics Workspace 85

Create Formulas when Importing via .CSV - When you use the Import data or Import members options to import from a .csv file into a workbench, you can define formulas to manipulate the source data.

Create Formulas when Importing via .CSV in PAW 85

New Location Data Source Option via TI - You can now specify a local or network location for a TurboIntegrator process data source.

New Location Data Source Option via TI in PAw 85

Summary

Lots of great stuff in this update, especially in the Modeling area.  Definitely worth checking out in my opinion.  For a detailed list of everything new from IBM check out this link

For Lodestar blogs on all new items in recent updates to Planning Analytics Workspace 85 check out the below link.  If you are on an older version of Planning Analytics you should really consider upgrading.  We offer great programs to help you upgrade at a reasonable cost.  Reach out to us at services@lodestarsolutions.com.

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