Coming Soon in Planning Analytics Applications and Plans

Coming Soon in Planning Analytics Applications and Plans
Coming Soon in Planning Analytics Applications and Plans
Written by Mike Bernaiche, July 29th 2022

Recently, I had the opportunity to see what was coming in Planning Analytics Applications and Plans and received the approval to share some of what I experienced.  Actually, the first section is now available in Planning Analytics version 78 released July 13, 2022.  Those of you using Planning Analytics Applications and Plans will find these improvements much needed and exciting.  Those of you waiting for a similar experience to contributor applications in the older versions of TM1 will be excited to upgrade and have similar functionality.  Let’s get started!

Approval and Rejections of Submissions

Approvals and Rejections are now available in the planning process with version 78 released on July 13, 2022.  In addition, improvements to email notifications and the overall submission process make it easier to work with plans.  When you create a plan, you can now add approvers for each contribution.  These approvers can approve or reject the submissions.

Approvals and Rejections in Plans plus Improved Email Notifications

Also in version 78, enhancements have been made to email notifications.  Event triggered emails are now sent to relevant users in a plan when any of the following occur.

Event triggered emails

Examples of email notifications.

Examples of email notifications in Planning Analytics

You also have a new area to track submission and rejections with a logging screen.  Great for the plan admin to track progress and understand where each step of the plan is at.

Submission Log

Before I talk about future enhancements, please note that these are in the IBM roadmap and their release is planned for future updates.  There is no timetable for release, and I will update this blog based on their release version when available.

Monitoring the Plan

Plan owners will now have visibility to all information in a plan through a monitoring screen. 

Monitoring the Plan

Task Dependencies

For plan owners to put in place task dependencies for automatic task to open and close based dependent tasks.

Task Dependencies

Plan and Unlock

Plan owners will be able to lock and unlock contributed data allowing for a more contributor like experience in Planning Analytics Applications and Plans.  Once the plan submission is complete and approved, lock it, and ensure that data doesn’t change.

Plan Lock and Unlock

Schedule Plan Open and Close

You will be able to open and close plans based on pre-set dates based on your planning cycle.  Create your schedule, set it and forget it.

Schedule Plan Open and Close

Detailed Instructions with Attachments

Plan owners will be able to add detailed instructions with attachments to the plan to give guidance and detailed instructions to plan contributors.  Load your .pdfs to make the process more efficient and get rid of the back and forth on instructions.

Detailed Instructions with Attachments

Visual Workflow Authoring

To give clarity into the flow of the planning process you will be able to create a visual workflow of the planning process.  Use this to make it easier for end users to understand the flow of data.

Visual Workflow Authoring

Summary of What's Coming Soon in Planning Analytics Applications and Plans

As you can read there are several excellent enhancements coming to Planning Analytics Applications and Plans in the coming months.  Approval and rejection along with email enhancements are included in version 78 released on July 13, 2022.  The rest of the enhancements are coming soon, and this is a great opportunity to start planning your upgrade to utilize these great features.  We wrote a blog discussing upgrades and an exciting new bundle program for upgrades.  You can read all about it here, Solving the IBM Cognos Upgrade Challenge - Lodestar Solutions.  You can always reach out to us at services@lodestarsolutions.com.

I hope you find these enhancements as exciting as I do.  Some of our clients have been asking for these for many months and I’m excited for IBM to release all of the updates to Planning Analytics Applications and Plans.

New in Planning Analytics Workspace Version 77 and 78

New in Planning Analytics Workspace versions 77 and 78
New in Planning Analytics Workspace versions 77 and 78
Written by Mike Bernaiche, July 28th 2022

It is that time again!  Providing you everything new in planning analytics workspace version 77 and 78.  As most of you know, IBM releases a new version of planning analytics workspace about once a month.  Workspace version 77 was released in June and version 78 was just released on July 13.  I will break down everything new in planning analytics workspace version 77 and 78 below.

Version 77

Enable Feature to Use New Experience for Explorations – a toggle switch to try out the new explorations experience is in version 77 in the administration area.  This feature will be standard in version 78 and you can find more details further down this page.

Enable Feature to Use New Experience for Explorations

Update Text Properties for Explorations – you can now change the text properties for columns, rows, and data cells.  Each area has their own properties so you can set individual text properties for each.  More information can be found here: Changes to text properties for explorations - IBM Documentation.

Select the Sets that Display in Dimension Drop Down – using the new experience you can limit the number of sets that appear in a drop down.  You are able to select up to 20 sets.

Select the Sets that Display in Dimension Drop Down

Upload Files to Planning Analytics Database with Action Button - You can now upload a file through an action button to use in a process.  This can be helpful if you want to, for example, import data from a specific file into a view you are using.

Upload Files to Planning Analytics Database with Action Button

File Manager – a new tool has been added to your Planning Analytics toolbox called file manager.  File manager is only available in the workbench.  To access the file manager, click on the database in workbench and find the file manager option.  You can do the following with file manager:

  • Upload a file, or multiple files at once
  • Delete a file, or multiple files at once
  • Create folders
  • Organize uploaded files into folders
  • Delete folders
  • Download files
  • Refresh files

Expand and Collapse Regions in the Process and Rules Editor

Expand and Collapse Regions in the Process and Rules Editor

View the TM1 Database Version – Admins only can view the TM1 database version in the admin area. Simply click on the database in the admin area and go to configuration and look towards the bottom of the screen.

Auto Complete in the Search Pane – First, if you aren’t using the learning area you are missing out.  Prior to version 77 you could type in what you are looking for and PA would return tons of helpful information.  Now, with auto complete, the learn pane helps you find what you are looking for.  Have you ever googled something and noticed google is being helpful trying to auto complete what you are searching for?  Well, IBM has added that similar feature.  Simply start typing something and let IBM help you finish it.

Auto Complete in the Search Pane

There are a number of other items new in version 77.  Please see this link for a complete list. 
2.0.77 - What's new, June 2, 2022 - IBM Documentation

Version 78

Rules Must be Created and Maintained in Modeling Workbench – Starting with Planning Analytics Workspace version 78, all rules must be created and maintained in the modeling workbench.

New Experience View now available on Modeling Workbench – This will now apply to all existing views and new ones.  The new experience provides a more efficient and easier way to navigate experience when working with explorations and the set editor.  There is a lot to unpack with the new experience and everything can be found here: New experience view now on modeling workbench - IBM Documentation.

Approvals and Rejections in Plans plus Improved Email Notifications – Approvals and rejections are now (finally) available in the planning process.  In addition, improvements to email notifications and the overall submission process make it easier to work with plans.  When you create a plan, you can now add approvers for each contribution.  These approvers can approve or reject the submissions.

Approvals and Rejections in Plans plus Improved Email Notifications

Event triggered emails are now sent to relevant users in a plan when any of the following occur.

Event triggered emails

You also have a new area to track submission and rejections with a logging screen.

logging screen

Updated Menus for rows, columns, and data cells - There is no change in how the menu options function, but the new design includes usability improvements.  Several menu options were renamed:

  •  Create calculations is now Calculation options
  • Format values is now Format
  • Conditional format is now Conditional rules

Several menu options are now grouped so you can easily see all related options together. For example:

  •  All sorting options are now under Sort
  • Word wrapping options are under Text format
  • Show totals options are under Show totals

Adjust Page Size in Books – You can now adjust the sizes of explorations in books with the new zoom feature.

Adjust Page Size in Books

Update to Planning Analytics Local Install on Windows Server 2016 - In Planning Analytics Workspace Local version 2.0.78 and later, the Docker service file is no longer bundled with the installation kit.  In previous versions, Docker is a prerequisite for installing Planning Analytics Workspace Local on Windows Server 2016.

When you now install Planning Analytics Workspace Local on Windows Server 2016, the installation script looks for Docker and if an existing version is not found, displays an error.  To resolve the error and continue the installation process, you need to download Mirantis Container Runtime.

Before Planning Analytics Workspace Local 2.0.78, the installation script used the Docker file that was bundled with Planning Analytics Workspace to continue installation if Docker was not found on your system.

Enable Email Notifications in Planning Analytics Local - Planning Analytics Workspace Local now supports both SMTP and SendGrid email services.  For instructions on how to set up, please see: Enable email notifications in Planning Analytics Workspace Local - IBM Documentation.

Depreciation Notice for Classic Experience – In August Planning Analytics Workspace 79 will be released and the classic experience will no longer be available.

For all items in release 78 please check out 2.0.78 - What's new, July 13, 2022 - IBM Documentation.

Summary

As you can see Planning Analytics Workspace version 77 and 78 has brought many enhancements and improvements.  IBM continues to improve this excellent product.  I will be writing a blog in the coming weeks on everything coming to applications and plans and trust me, you will want to read it!  We are here to help you with your upgrades.  Please reach out to us at services@lodestarsolutions.com.  Also we have upgrade bundles that can save you lots of money.  For more information check out this blog from Lodestar Solutions,  Solving the IBM Cognos Upgrade Challenge - Lodestar Solutions.

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What’s New in Planning Analytics Workspace 75 and 76

What's New in IBM Planning Analytics Workspace 75 and 76
What's New in IBM Planning Analytics Workspace 75 and 76
Written by Mike Bernaiche, May 19th 2022

Typically, once a month, IBM updates Planning Analytics Workspace.  In April version 75 was released and the most recent version is Planning Analytics Workspace 76, released in May 2022.  Both of these updates bring some new features, enhancements and depreciation of certain items.  Please read below for the full details of both recent releases.  Please note that each update is cumulative.  Upgrading to Planning Analytics Workspace version 76 will add all features in previous versions.

Planning Analytics Workspace 75

  • Display parents, children or leaves for selected members – the new experience set editor now allows you to show parents, children or leaves for selected members.
planning analytics workspace 75 set editor
  • Update to predictive forecasting service – additional capabilities added for outlier and detection and correction, meaning more accurate predictive forecasting.
  • Adjust for outliers in your forecast – click adjust outliers button to adjust.
adjust outliers in your forecast
forecast preview
  • Cube creation – cubes can now only be created in the modeling workbench.
  • Add variable in TI process editor – up until now PA automatically created variables based on the number of columns in the data source.  You can now add more variables to the process.
  • Search and filter on hierarchies – now have an option to search and filter hierarchies.
  • Depreciation notice on editing processes – Starting with version 78 all processes must be created and edited in the modeling workbench.

Planning Analytics Workspace 76

  • Custom theme for Planning Analytics Workspace - You can now create and upload a custom theme to reflect your corporate branding in Planning Analytics Workspace. You can use a theme to modify the colors of the application bar and the navigation bar, set the corporate name shown on the home page, and specify an image to display on the home page.
  • Send email notification when step in a plan is opened – send an email notification to user when you open a step in your plan created in Planning Analytics Workspace 76.
Email notification in planning analytics workspace 76
  • Create control objects in Modeling Workbench – you can now create control objects for cubes, dimensions and processes in the modeling workbench.
Create control objects in Modeling Workbench
  • Preview additional rows in the TI process editor – a button has been added to preview more rows of data when creating a TI process.
  • Sort members in new experience set editor – option to now sort available members in set editor ascending or descending.
  • Delete sets from new experience set editor – previously you could only delete sets from the data tree.  You can now delete sets from the new experience set editor.
Experience Set Editor in Planning Analytics Workspace 76
  • Cell comments updated with new look – cell comments have been updated to review comments in an easier way.
  • Enhanced search features – you can now search by using “match all of the following” or “match any of the following”.
  • Customize the color or background of data and header cells – you can now use the extensive color pallet to customize the color of data rows or headers to provide a better look and feel for your data.  This can be found in the visualization properties under custom.
  • Updated design for data spread options – IBM is working hard to standardize the look and feel in the entire Planning Analytics Workspace experience.  In Planning Analytics Workspace 76, they have updated the spread options look and feel.
Spread Data Options in Planning Analytics Workspace 76

Summary

As you can read Planning Analytics version 75 and Planning Analytics version 76 added a number of new features.  To see all of the details please check out 2.0.76 - What's new, May 5, 2022 - IBM Documentation and 2.0.75 - What's new, April 7, 2022 - IBM Documentation.

Did you know that some versions of Planning Analytics are reaching end of life?  Read more here - IBM Planning Analytics Versions Are End of Life - Lodestar Solutions.

To read all Lodestar blogs related to PA - Cognos TM1 Blogs by IBM Cognos Expert Consultants & Coaches (lodestarsolutions.com)

If you have any questions or need some help upgrading, please reach out to me at services@lodestarsolutions.com.

What’s New in Planning Analytics Workspace 73 and 74

What's New In Planning Analyitcs Workspace 73 and 74 copy
What's New In Planning Analyitcs Workspace 73 and 74 copy
Written by Mike Bernaiche, April 7th 2022

Typically, once a month, IBM updates Planning Analytics Workspace.  In February version 73 was released and the most recent version is Planning Analytics Workspace 74, released in March 2022.  Both of these updates bring some new features, enhancements and depreciation of certain items.  Please read below for the full details of both recent releases.

Planning Analytics Workspace 73

  •  Depreciation notice for IBM Planning Analytics Workspace classic experience.  What does this mean?  This refers to the look and feel of Planning Analytics workspace prior to the 56 release from October 2020.  If you are on version 56 or higher you are using the “new experience,” and this will not affect you.  If you are on version 55 or before you will see a new look and feel when you upgrade and will not be able to revert back to the classic experience.  The “new experience will be standard starting in July 2022.
  • Creation of Modeling Books – Starting in version 73 you create models in the workbench area and will no longer be able to create modeling books.
  • Copy assets or folders to shared or personal folder – Now you can copy all assets to a different location.
  • Copy and paste images, links, pictures, webpages, and text directly into a workspace book.
  • View all and view less replaced by new menu.
  • Sort members, attributes, and properties in the new set editor.  To enable the new set editor in version 73 you will need to ask your administrator to turn on that feature in the admin area.  You can see the new set editor below.
New Set Editor
  •  New Process Editor – IBM is working to standardize all areas of Workspace and as you can see below they have updated the process editor to be more in line with other areas.  You can read more about all the changes to the process editor here -  New process editor - IBM Documentation.
New Process Editor

Planning Analytics Workspace 74

In the most recent update, Planning Analytics Workspace 74, IBM has added a number of great items.  You can see the list below.

  •  Windows 2019 Support (Local only) – For more information - Install Planning Analytics Workspace Local on Windows Server 2019 - IBM Documentation.
  • Add a view by dragging it from the data tree.  In the data tree, expand the cube that contains the data you want to use.  Select the view that you want to add and drag it on to a cube viewer (new or classic).  If you drag a view on a cube viewer that is not empty, you can either replace the existing view with the new one, or add the view as a new widget.
  • Apply text styles to axis labels in visualizations.
text styles to axis labels in visualizations
  •  Color pallets for conditional formatting now available.
  • Border lines and zebra stripes now available for explorations.  Find in properties.

Border Lines -

Border Lines In Planning Analytics Workspace 74

Zebra Stripes -

Zebra Stripes in Planning Analytics Workspace 74
  •  Updated Rules editor.  Like the process editor update in version 73, Planning Analytics Version 74 updates the rules editor to be more in line with the look and feel of other areas of Planning Analytics.

Summary

As you can read Planning Analytics version 73 and Planning Analytics version 74 added a number of new features and even Windows Server 2019 support.  To see a list of all new versions of Planning Analytics check this out. 

What's new in Planning Analytics Workspace - IBM Documentation

Did you know that some versions of Planning Analytics are reaching end of life?  Read more here - IBM Planning Analytics Versions Are End of Life - Lodestar Solutions.

To read all Lodestar blogs related to PA - Cognos TM1 Blogs by IBM Cognos Expert Consultants & Coaches (lodestarsolutions.com)

If you have any questions or need some help upgrading, please reach out to me at services@lodestarsolutions.com.

IBM Planning Analytics Versions Are End of Life

IBM Planning Analytics Versions Are End of Life
IBM Planning Analytics Versions Are End of Life

Written by Heather L. Cole, March 3rd 2022

Are you an IBM Planning Analytics TM1 user that has not upgraded in a while?  If so, you MUST know that this year several versions of Planning Analytics TM1 are being sunset so they will no longer be supported by IBM.  Today we will discuss what IBM Planning Analytics versions are end of life. 

This is very important to know because the world has changed, and hackers are evil.  We all witnessed security teams scrambling to update Log4j vulnerability in almost every software.  For more information check out our recent blog, 911 – Log4j Security Risk Affects IBM Planning Analytics, Cognos… 

 The best way to stop hackers is to be on a current supported version and be on IBM support.

What IBM Planning Analytic Versions are Sunsetting?

If you are on Planning Analytics versions 2.07 or earlier IBM will no longer support it effective April 30, 2022.  If you are on 2.08 IBM will no longer support it after September 30, 2022.  And if you are on a Cognos TM1 version 10.2 or earlier you probably already know you have been unsupported since 2019.  So, it’s time to upgrade PA!  More on that in a minute.

Can you still use TM1 if they sunset your version?

First, it’s important to know if you are on an IBM Planning Analytics TM1 version that is not supported by IBM, you can still use it.  For many of you that own “on-premise” licenses you can even use it if you are not paying support, but we don’t recommend that.  Read our earlier blog, Consequences of Not Renewing IBM Cognos Support.

IBM will not help you.

However, if you are on an unsupported version of TM1 and something happens, IBM will most likely tell you, you must upgrade PA.  And no one wants to upgrade under duress.  You might be thinking, “but we haven’t called IBM for support for years.”  That may be true, however when issues arise, it typically is not the software.  It’s more often that IT upgraded something in your environment and it broke planning analytics.  Why? Because new software doesn’t always play well with old software.  When this happens, you will need to call IBM.  And well, they will tell you to upgrade PA. 

What if I can’t upgrade PA?

I appreciate for some of you upgrading your Planning Analytics when the system is down, and you need to get the reports to the executives is not realistic.  I appreciate the sense of panic this can create.  If you find yourself in this situation, call Lodestar or email services@lodestarsolutions.com with a subject line of 911.  Our tech wizards might be able to help get you up and running.

Planning your TM1 upgrade.

The latest version of Planning Analytics is 2.0.9.11  released December 21, 2021  (see link for more info).  Lodestar Solutions does recommend getting on this version.  There are a few steps you need to think about when you upgrade PA.

  1.  It’s recommended to upgrade PA into a new clean environment.
  2. You should review your license entitlements to ensure you don’t accidentally violate your license.  Email Lodestar to setup a complimentary what the heck do I own session. Services@lodestarsolutions.com.
  3. Learn the new functionality and plan when you will want to leverage the amazing new features. Email Lodestar to setup a discussion of new functionality at Services@lodestarsolutions.com.

Upgrading does not need to be a stressful experience but preplanning is important.  Lodestar Solutions is here to help!  We offer many options to help you with your upgrades.  We even offer upgrade bundles to make IBM Planning Analytics upgrading assistance more affordable.  See our blog, Solving the IBM Planning Analytics Upgrade Challenge

Take the Next Step.

If you are one of the many whose IBM Planning Analytics versions are end of life or you just want to upgrade to get the new functionality, email us and we can answer all your questions about upgrading Services@lodestarsolutions.com.

Scenario Planning with IBM Planning Analytics

Scenario Planning with IBM Planning Analytics
Scenario Planning with IBM Planning Analytics
Written by Heather L. Cole, November 4th 2021

Scenario Planning with IBM Planning Analytics

Did the Pandemic disrupt your business?  Did it make you think you need to look at your business in different ways?  Were you creating new Excel spreadsheets to run various scenarios and thinking there must be a better way?  Well, there is!  Scenario Planning with IBM Planning Analytics formally known as TM1 can be business changing!

What is Scenario Planning?

Scenario planning empowers decision-makers to identify various potential outcomes and anticipate the impacts, evaluate responses, and manage plans for all possibilities.  It starts with a question, “What if ___________ happened?”  Then you leverage robust models to project the financial and operational impact.  You want the model to allow for the scenario to flow all the way to earnings and estimating cash flow.  This will allow you to develop an action plan.  Scenario planning when done right is an integrated approach to dealing with uncertainty.

Scenario planning allows team members to recognize and mitigate risks and plan for growth opportunities.  It allows executives to anticipate different outcomes for the organization based on assumptions about forces that drive the market like interest rates, countries shutting down, and resource shortages

Why You Must Do Scenario Planning

I think we all can agree the world has changed!  If the pandemic taught us anything it’s that we must learn to deal with uncertainty and be prepared for various situations.  The only way to fully plan for uncertainty is scenario planning.  Your organization’s future depends on it.

Why You Need the Right Tool

During the Pandemic many organizations scrabbled to create Excel models to do scenario planning. It is also possible to do what if modeling in Excel.  But the question should not be can I do scenario planning in Excel, but should I? 

For many organizations, the answer is NO!  You need a robust tool designed for scenario modeling like IBM Planning Analytics (TM1). 

Use the best tool

Let’s say you move into a new house and now have a 5-acre yard and you need to mow it.  You currently own a push mower.  Could you cut your lawn with the push mower?  Yes.  But should you?  My guess is it would take you at most one cutting to realize that you need a better machine for the job at hand!

Well, scenario planning is the same as your lawn.  To provide rapid results and what if modeling of your business with Excel probably isn’t going to cut it. (Pun intended).

Scenario Planning with IBM Planning Analytics with Watson

At Lodestar Solutions we recommend and believe in the flexibility and power of IBM Planning Analytics for Scenario Modeling!

What is IBM Planning Analytics?

So, you may be thinking, is this a glorified Excel tool?  No!  It’s so much more than that because IBM has infused their Watson Technology into their Planning Analytics tool providing enhanced Predictive Forecasting.  “Predictive forecasting augments human intelligence by using statistical and predictive analytics to identify and assess trends and seasonality patterns in historic values, greatly improving forecast accuracy” according to IBM’s Whitepaper you can download here

Take ACTION

But let’s cut to the chase.  You don’t have time to waste!  If you want to retain talent you MUST give them the right tools.  If you want to be prepared for a rapidly changing business climate, you MUST run scenarios.  So, you need the BEST TOOLS for Scenario Planning.  I believe the best tool for running scenarios is IBM Planning Analytics!

Want to learn more about Scenario Planning?  Email or call sales@lodestarsolutions.com,  813-425-2910 to set up a complimentary chat about scenario modeling and how you can lead transformation in your organization.

Not Ready for a Chat? Join our webinar.  On November 18th, 2021 at 10:30am - Noon Eastern I will be hosting a webinar.

Mastering Transformational Planning: Why CFOs Should Lead this Initiative?

You will learn:

  •  Why you MUST become a transformational leader to become the Modern CFO everyone looks up to.
  • How to attract the most in demand superstars that your competition wants so that you can realize transformation faster.
  • Why Continuous Forecasting is the most important sought-after skill in today's uncertain world.

Attend our webinar and walk away with proven methods you can implement immediately to start your transformational journey.  It all starts with a plan!

What’s New in Planning Analytics Workspace Version 67 and 68

What’s new in Planning Analytics Workspace Version 67 and 68
What’s new in Planning Analytics Workspace Version 67 and 68
Written by Mike Bernaiche, October 21st 2021

Over the last couple of months, IBM has released 2 updates to Planning Analytics Workspace, version 67 and 68.  I will detail the new features in each below.  IBM releases an update to Planning Analytics Workspace about once a month.  In this blog, I will detail everything new in version 67 and 68 for workspace.  However, Planning Analytics is now on version 2.09.10, released in Sept 2021 and Planning Analytics for Excel 2.0.67, released in July 2021.  I highly suggest upgrading to the latest version of each component.

Planning Analytics Workspace – Version 67

Updates to Planning Analytics Workspace version 67 include:

Checkboxes in Grid View

  •  You can see below that in grid view each item has a check box that once selected gives you different options including open and delete.
Checkboxes in Grid View
Checkboxes in Grid View2

Pin Widgets while in Consumption Mode

  •  You now have the ability to pin a widget without having to be in edit mode.  You do need to set the option in dashboard properties to allow pin widgets in consumption mode.  You will only do this if you want to allow end users to pin widgets.

Assign a Step or Action to Everyone in Plans

  •  Until now, you had to assign individual user groups to a step in a plan or to a section in an application. You can now assign a step or a section to everyone, allowing all users in your environment access to a step or section.

Planning Analytics Workspace – Version 68

Updates to Planning Analytics Workspace version 68 include:

Use Decision Optimization with Planning Analytics Workspace version 68.  (Cloud Only)

  • You can now use Decision Optimization (IBM® ILOG® CPLEX®) with IBM Planning Analytics Workspace on Cloud to deliver prescriptive analytics capabilities to help you make better decisions and deliver improved business outcomes.
  • With the Cloud Pak for Data Platform integration configured, and the required services IDs and views in place, analysts can easily view and run optimization jobs within the configured deployment space right from Planning Analytics Workspace. Additionally, they can configure action buttons to run any of the jobs of a deployment space, allowing any Planning Analytics Workspace user to run optimization jobs.
  • Administrators, analysts, and modelers can access optimization jobs from the new Watson AI jobs tab on a book.

Analysts and Modelers Can Now Create Plans

  • Analysts and modelers, not only administrators, can now create and manage applications and plans. The plan or application creator is automatically given full control over the asset.

Dashboard Grid Size Enhancements

  • You can now use a template to display widgets in books and websheets in a tabbed page or single page.  In previous versions of IBM® Planning Analytics Workspace, a hardcoded template with a single widget was used.  When you save a view by using the Save view as option, you can select a template.

For more information on Planning Analytics see the below resources:

Summary

Enhancements and updates to Planning Analytics Workspace continue to be released monthly.  It continues to improve an already great product.  Give IBM credit for continuing to improve Workspace.  Planning Analytics can be such a useful tool in transformational planning.  Heather Cole recently wrote two great blogs on transformational planning.  Those can be found here.

It’s Time for CFOs to Leverage Transformational Planning - Lodestar Solutions

Finance Must lead Business Transformation Before Someone Else Does - Lodestar Solutions

As a bonus, in the Finance Must Lead Business Transformation blog you can register for a free webinar hosted by Lodestar solutions! Sign up now!

If you have any questions regarding anything here, please reach out to services@lodestarsolutions.com.

Forecast in Planning Analytics with AI

AI and Forecasting in Planning Analytics
AI and Forecasting in Planning Analytics
Written by Mike Bernaiche, October 14th 2021

Did you know that you can forecast in Planning Analytics Workspace by using automated tools that model time dependent data?  What does this mean for you?  You can take a series of time related data and let Planning Analytics suggest a forecast for the coming years based on statistics and trends from years past.  You can create a forecast, forecast low or forecast high version simply based on the trends of the past.  Below I will walk you through the steps to get started and create a forecast in Planning Analytics.

Requirements to use Forecasting

Time Dimension

  •  One or more time dimensions can be used to forecast against, and they must all appear on the column of the exploratory view.  In either case, the leaves must result in contiguous, evenly spaced periods of time.

Historical Data

  •  The historical data must represent at least double what is being forecasted.
  • The historical data must represent at least two seasons of data if it has seasonality.  For example, if the data cycles yearly and the leaf time members are at a month level of granularity, then it must have at least 24 months of data in the history.  This way, the feature can automatically detect the cycle.

Forecasting Data Cells

  •  The historical data must represent at least two seasons of data if it has seasonality.  For example, if the data cycles yearly and the leaf time members are at a month level of granularity, then it must have at least 24 months of data in the history.  This way, the feature can automatically detect the cycle.

Version Dimension

  •  The version dimension, if you want to use one, must appear in the context of the exploratory view.
AI and Forecasting in Planning Analytics

In the example above we have historical data to 2013 and will be forecast 2014 to 2019.

The Process to Forecast in Planning Analytics

The process starts by highlighting the members you want to forecast.  In the example below you will see that I selected all members shown.  Then click the forecast button .  This will open the forecast dialog box.  You will see 2 options.  Set up and advanced.  The first forecast we will create is in the set-up area.  I am forecasting years 2013 to 2019 based on the set up below. 

forecast button
forecast in planning analytics

Once you have selected everything correctly you will see the preview and forecast button enable and you can select one.  Preview will provide the below info.  You will see I changed the drop down to member 4 and the accuracy based on the AI in the Planning Analytics is high.

forecast preview

If you click the statical details tab you will see all the different statistical points.  This is for all of you data scientist out there!  You can click the learn more link and it will open a window that explains all of this information.

statistical details

If you like what you see you can simply close the preview window and click forecast.  The process will run and you will see all of the forecasted data in the cube.  You will notice the comment flag in 2013.  If you open the comments, you will see that the system has added in the statical information for each member.

forecasted data
comments

Advanced Tab Forecast

Keeping the time frame loaded in the set-up tab, you can now choose to have the forecast written to the optional version dimension (if you created one for your cube).  You can also ignore certain time frame(s).  This can be useful for times like the last 18 months of Covid data that may skew your data high or low, depending on your business.  Now you can select the version dimension and hierarchy.  And assign where you want the values to be loaded.  See below.

select version dimension and hierarchy

Now hit the forecast button and watch the forecast in Planning Analytics get loaded into the version dimension.  I moved the version dimension to the rows to show the below results.  As you can see Planning Analytics wrote data to the Forecast, Forecast Low and Forecast High fields.

forecast low and high

For detailed information on Forecast in Planning Analytics

Forecasting - IBM Documentation

For what is new in Planning Analytics Workspace

What’s New in IBM Planning Analytics Workspace Version 64, 65 and 66 - Lodestar Solutions

Summary

As you can see the process is very simple to get the automated forecast in Planning Analytics.  Take your planning process to the next level with this automated forecasting process.  Is it perfect, no.  But does it give you a great starting point with some artificial intelligence, yes!  For more information on forecasting or anything else planning analytics related reach out to us at services@lodestarsolutions.com

Are you ready to become a Transformational Leader?

Are you wondering how you become the transformational leader?  Lodestar Solutions is here to help!  You might want to check out our blog, It’s Time for CFOs to Leverage Transformational Planning.  

But more importantly Enroll in our complimentary webinar on Thursday, November 18th  from 10:30am-noon Eastern.

Mastering Transformational Planning: Why CFOs Should Lead this Initiative?

In this 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
  • And more….

To Register for this complimentary webinar, click here.

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.

What’s New in IBM Planning Analytics Workspace Version 64, 65 and 66

New Workbench
 New Workbench in Planning Analytics Workspace
Written by Mike Bernaiche, August 19th 2021

IBM continues to update Planning Analytics Workspace on a regular basis.  The pattern has been the middle of each month for an update.  Bravo IBM, for continuing to make a great product even better!  As such, you might be a few releases behind and need to see what is new over the past few months.   Look no further, I have included a highlight of the new and important features below.

Planning Analytics Workspace version 64

Version 64 was released on May 18, 2021, and includes the following:

  • Beta version of the modeling workbench.  What is the modeling workbench?  The modeling workbench is a dedicated modeling space optimized for all modeling activities.  In short, a dedicated area for modelers to work in which is much easier than through the normal Planning Analytics Workspace.  Non beta version was released in 66 (see below).
New Workbench
  • Forecasting improvements. Define historical multiple time periods to be ignored by the forecasting engine.
  • Apply Value formats on visualizations.
Value Formats on Visualizations in Planning Analytics Workspace

For more detailed information on what is new in Planning Analytics Workspace version 64 check out this link from IBM, 2.0.64 - What's new, May 18, 2021 - IBM Documentation.

Planning Analytics Workspace version 65

Version 65 was released on June 16, 2021, and includes the following:

  • Beta version of the modeling workbench.  Beta version continues in version 65.
  • See updated view name when you save view to server.  When you save a view by using the Save to server option, the new view name is displayed in the view details box.
  • Abbreviate format to display large numbers.
Short Abbreviations in Planning Analytics Workspace


  • Assign multiple data items to a slot in visualization.  A very useful feature to add 2 or more items to different chart slots.
  • Create calculations for names sets.
Calculations for Name Sets in Planning Analytics Workspace

For more detailed information on what is new in Planning Analytics Workspace version 65 check out this link from IBM, 2.0.65 - What's new, June 16, 2021 - IBM Documentation.

Planning Analytics Workspace version 66

Version 66 was released on July 14, 2021, and includes the following:

  • Modeling workbench is now a standard product feature.
  • Data and Models page fully integrated.
Data and Models Page in Planning Analytics Workspace
  • Apply proportional or relative proportional data spreading to a forecast.  Just like in spreading data in an exploration with proportional or relative proportional spreading, you can now do this through forecasting.
  • Hide zero or null data points in select visualizations.
  1. Box plot
  2. Line
  3. Line & Column
  4. Radar
  5. Word Cloud
  • Include attribute headings when exporting an exploration.  In previous versions of Planning Analytics Workspace, attribute values were included when exporting a view to Excel, but attribute names were not exported as a header.
  • Use * or ? in search in set editor

A. * matches zero or any character
B. ? matched 1 character

For more detailed information on what is new in Planning Analytics workspace version 66 check out this link from IBM, 2.0.66 - What's new, July 14, 2021 - IBM Documentation.

Summary

As you can see there have been several great enhancements over the past few months in Planning Analytics Workspace.   At the time of writing this version 67 has not been released yet in August.  However, based on the release dates over the past year, I would suspect that version 67 will be out sometime soon.  Check back soon for a review of version 67.

If you need info on what is new in Planning Analytics for Excel check out this link.
What's new in Planning Analytics for Microsoft Excel - IBM Documentation

For more great blogs on Planning Analytics please check out the Lodestar blog site here. Cognos TM1 Blogs by IBM Cognos Expert Consultants & Coaches (lodestarsolutions.com)

If you need help getting the latest version installed or have general questions please reach out at services@lodestarsolutions.com.

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