What’s New in Planning Analytics Workspace 88 and 89

What’s New in Planning Analytics Workspace 88 and 89
What’s New in Planning Analytics Workspace 88 and 89
Written by Mike Bernaiche, August 3rd, 2023

It has been a minute since I wrote about Planning Analytics Workspace so let’s jump into what is new in Planning Analytics Workspace 88 and 89.  There are some great new features in both versions so let’s get to it!

Books and Reporting

Planning Analytics Workspace 88

Synchronize Widgets at Group Level – you can create groups to synchronize visualizations at a group level.  Previously was only available at the book or sheet level.

Start by creating a synchronization group in sheet properties.  Once created you can click on your visualizations and assign them to groups.  Now you can limit what is synchronized or not with other visualizations.

Synchronize Widgets at Group Level in Planning Analytics Workspace 88

New Experience Dimension Editor in Books – previously only available in the workbench.

Subset Calculations in Context Section of View

Subset Calculations in Context Section of View in Planning Analytics 88

New Expand to and Keep with Options in Set Editor - Expand to adds members to the set, allowing you to display members of one level higher or one level lower, based on the selected hierarchy.  Keep with, previously named Show, replaces members in the set, based on the selected hierarchy.

New Expand to and Keep with Options in Set Editor in Planning Analytics Workspace 88
New Expand to and Keep with Options in Set Editor in Planning Analytics 88

Planning Analytics Workspace 89

New Selector Visualization in Books - The Selector visualization behaves much as selector list and selector tile widgets did, but there are multiple Custom visualization properties that you can apply to tailor the visualization for your purposes.

New Selector Visualization in Books in Planning Analytics Workspace 89
New Selector Visualization in Books in Planning Analytics Workspace 89

Pick Lists Use Font Assigned in Visualization - As of Planning Analytics Workspace 89, pick lists cells and pick list members use the font defined for the exploration by the Data cell font family property.

Resize Books to Fill Tab Space - Previously, the aspect ratio of the book and its contents was maintained. Now, all the contents in a book fit perfectly within the browser window and the aspect ratio setting is ignored. You can apply the Fill Space feature in several places: when creating a new book with tabs, a new book from a Fill Space template, and in Properties.

Applications and Plans

Duplicate Applications and Plans with Attachments – now when you duplicate an application or plan it will duplicate with any attachments in the original.

Complete Button for Tasks that Do not Require a Submission - A Complete button is now available on the contribution page for tasks that do not require submission. Previously, if a task in a plan did not require submission, there was no way to indicate that the task was complete.  This is new in Planning Analytics Workspace 89.


Create and Insert Custom Code Snippets for Processes - If you have TurboIntegrator process code that you use frequently, you can now save the code as a custom snippet. You can insert a custom snippet into the Script tab of a process.

Create and Insert Custom Code Snippets for in Planning Analytics Workspace 89

Access Process Error Logs from Database Tree – right-click process and then select error log.

Synchronize User Groups in Planning Analytics Databases with Planning Analytics Workspace - Administrators and modelers can now synchronize user groups that are in a Planning Analytics database with the groups in Planning Analytics Workspace from the modeling workbench.

Duplicate Cubes in Cube Viewer - Clicking on the Duplicate button allows you to create a duplicate of the current cube view.

Duplicate Cubes in Cube Viewer Planning Anlaytics Workspace 89

Depreciation Notice

Classic Cube Viewer – Starting in Planning Analytics Workspace 90, the classic cube viewer will no longer be available in Planning Analytics Workspace.


The updates for Planning Analytics Workspace 88 and Planning Analytics Workspace 89 include a number of updates to make your reporting and modeling experience even better. 

Do you need to upgrade?  Contact us at services@lodestarsolutions.com to discuss your need and our special upgrade bundles to save you time and dollars!! 

For more information on what is new in Planning Analytics Workspace, check out the below links.

2.0.88 - What's new, June 21, 2023

2.0.89 - What's new, July 24, 2023

And in case you missed it, here is what's new in Planning Analytics Workspace 87

Are you looking to level up your analytic knowledge?  Contact us at services@lodestarsolutions.com and ask about our Analytics Success Klub (ASK). Learn more here.  

Why Upgrade Planning Analytics?

Why Upgrade Planning Analytics
Why Upgrade Planning Analytics
Written by Heather L. Cole, May 18th, 2023

Are you challenged to get the funding or resources to upgrade your IBM Planning Analytics?  Maybe your team is too busy just keeping their heads above water with all the requested changes to your Planning or Budgeting models.  Maybe IT says it’s not a priority… Today I’ll share 3 talking points to help you make upgrading a priority.

1. Lack of Support for outdated Versions -

The most important reason for upgrading your IBM Planning Analytic software with the latest version is that older versions are not supported by IBM.  Like all software companies IBM only supports a specific number of versions.  At some point they will announce that a version will be sunset which means they will no longer offer support for the old version.  What this means is if you have an issue like the Log4G issue that presented itself in Dec 2021, they may require you to upgrade to resolve the issue or security risk. 

You may be thinking, but we haven’t had to log a support ticket with IBM in years.  What we find is disaster strikes, not because Planning Analytics had a bug, but rather because a client upgrades their SQL or other 3rd party software, and it breaks the connect with the old version of Planning Analytics. 

Imagine this… You are in the middle of your budget cycle and Microsoft updates their software.  But the new Microsoft update is not compatible with your version of IBM Planning Analytics and suddenly your Planning software is not working.  End users start calling and emailing.  After a little investigation you log a support case with IBM.  Then you get the news, that the update from Microsoft is not compatible with your version of IBM Planning Analytics but since you are on an old unsupported version, IBM will not create the patch, and you must upgrade.  All this in the middle of a budget cycle.  How stressed would you feel?  What would you do? 

Well, this has happened to a client.  The client was extremely stressed because the CEO, was apprised of the situation.  They called Lodestar Solutions, in a panic.  We were able to restore them to where they were before the update, but you could feel the panic.

Another client had the SSL Certificate expire 3 days before their budget cycle.

So, it happens, but you don’t want it to happen to you.  So, if you are on an old version, reach out to us at Services@lodestarsolutions.com  and let’s discuss your plan.

In order to see if you are on an old version of IBM Planning Analytics check out this link.

2. New Functionality will save you time!

Another reason you should upgrade your IBM Planning Analytics is that they are always releasing new functionality.  IBM continuously adds functionality to the software.  The functionality is based on what clients are asking for, so the enhancements are often game changing.  But here’s the thing, if you don’t take time to learn what’s new you will continue to use the software the way you always have.

Imagine trading in your 2010 car and never using the auto breaking, blue tooth or airplay that comes with a modern car, because you didn’t bother to ask about the new functionality.  Well, with software it happens more than we would like to admit.  Clients upgrade and they never stop to explore the new features.  But there is a simple resolution.  Email Services@lodestarsolutions.com and we can discuss all the cool new stuff and share how our clients utilized the functionality.   Here’s the link to a previous blog on the new functionality.

3. Keep Talented Team Members

Would you mow you ½ acre lawn with a weed eater?  Probably not.  You would want the right tool, a lawn mower for the task.  Well top talent is the same way.  Top analytics performers want the latest tools to perform their jobs.  Keeping updated IBM Planning Analytics software and investing in their growth and learning will help you attract talent, keep it, and win the analytics race.

Call to Action

So, what are you waiting for?  Take the first step.  Open your IBM Planning Analytics and check your current version.  Then click the link Life cycle to see if it’s supported.  Next contact Lodestar Solutions to discuss the functionality you might not know exists in your current version.  Email Services@lodestarsolutions.com.

Persuading Your Executives to Adopt Analytic Solutions: Applying Pre-Suasion Principles

Persuading Your Executives to Adopt Analytic Solutions_Applying Pre Suasion Principles
Persuading Your Executives to Adopt Analytic Solutions_Applying Pre Suasion Principles
Written by Heather L. Cole, April 27th, 2023

In today's rapidly evolving business environment, the use of analytic solutions has become increasingly crucial for companies to gain a competitive edge and make data-driven decisions.  However, many companies face a significant challenge when it comes to the adoption of these solutions, as executives may not fully understand their value or be resistant to change.  As an analytic professional, it is essential to be persuasive and influential in your approach to gain the necessary support from your executives.

One approach that can help persuade your executives to adopt Analytic Solutions is applying Pre-Suasion Principles, as outlined in Dr. Robert Cialdini's book "Pre-Suasion: A Revolutionary Way to Influence and Persuade."  I have read this book many times, and believe it’s a MUST read book for all analytic professionals that want their voice heard!

In this blog, we will explore how analytic professionals can use the principles of Pre-Suasion to persuade executives to adopt analytic solutions.

Principle 1: Unity

The principle of unity emphasizes the importance of finding common ground and establishing a sense of shared identity with the person you are trying to persuade.  To apply this principle, it is crucial to understand the goals and objectives of your organization and present the benefits of analytic solutions in a way that aligns with those goals.  By highlighting the shared objectives, you can create a sense of unity and build a stronger connection with executives.

Principle 2: Similarity

The principle of similarity suggests that people are more likely to be persuaded by those whom they perceive to be similar to themselves.  As an analytic professional, you can use this principle by emphasizing your shared expertise and knowledge with the executives.  By demonstrating your understanding of the business and industry, you can build trust and establish a rapport with executives, making it easier to persuade them.

Principle 3: Familiarity

The principle of familiarity can be very effective in persuading executives.  This principle suggests that people are more likely to be persuaded by things they are familiar with.  As such, analytic professionals can leverage this principle by using case studies and success stories of companies similar to theirs that have successfully implemented analytic solutions.  By demonstrating how other companies in their industry have successfully implemented analytic solutions and the positive outcomes they have achieved, analytic professionals can build confidence in the decision to adopt these solutions.  If you are an IBM Analytics client, the IBM website has a number of customer videos and case studies.  Go to this link and scroll near the bottom.   Knowing how others in your industry have used analytic solutions like IBM Planning Analytics can help executives better understand the potential benefits of analytic solutions, as well as the challenges they may face during the adoption process.

Principle 4: Liking

The principle of liking is another important principle that analytic professionals should keep in mind when trying to persuade their executives.  This principle suggests that people are more likely to be persuaded by those they like and trust.  To apply this principle, analytic professionals should focus on building a positive relationship with executives based on trust, respect, and honesty.   The best way to build trust is start by adding a lot of value!  Here’s a link to our blog, Learn the Secrets to Massively Increase the Perceived Value of Analytics. 

By establishing a strong relationship with executives, analytic professionals can create a positive perception of themselves and their solutions, making it easier to persuade them to adopt analytic solutions.  It's also essential that they take the time to listen to executives and understand their concerns and objectives.  By doing so, analytic professionals can tailor their approach to better align with the executives' priorities and concerns.

Principle 5: Authority

The principle of authority suggests that people are more likely to be persuaded by those they perceive as credible and knowledgeable in the subject matter.  This is where analytic professionals can leverage their expertise and experience in the analytics field.  By demonstrating their authority on the subject matter, analytic professionals can build credibility and persuade executives to adopt analytic solutions.  They can also emphasize the potential competitive advantage that can be gained by adopting analytic solutions, helping to create a sense of urgency.

Principle 6: Scarcity

I believe the most important principle for analytic professionals is the principle of scarcity.  Scarcity suggests that people are more likely to desire something that is perceived to be scarce or limited.  Analytic professionals can use this principle by highlighting the potential competitive advantage that can be gained by adopting analytic solutions.  By emphasizing the scarcity of businesses that have successfully implemented analytic solutions, analytic professionals can create a sense of urgency and persuade executives to adopt analytic solutions.


In conclusion, analytic professionals can use the principles of pre-suasion to effectively persuade executives to adopt analytic solutions.  By leveraging the principles of unity, similarity, familiarity, liking, authority, and scarcity, they can build a strong relationship with executives, establish credibility and expertise, and create a sense of urgency around the adoption of analytic solutions.  It's essential to understand the goals and objectives of the organization, present the benefits of analytic solutions in a way that aligns with those goals, and demonstrate their expertise and experience in the analytics field.

Adopting analytic solutions can be a challenging process, and it's essential to have the right skills and strategies to navigate these challenges successfully.  If you want to learn more about how to effectively persuade your executives, attend Lodestar Solutions' Analytic Leadership Mini-Workshop on Thursday, May 18, 2023, at 10-1:30am Eastern.   REGISTER HERE.  Or scan the code below. 

Analytic Leadership Workshop 2023

This workshop will provide you with the tools and strategies you need to become a more persuasive and influential analytic leader.  For additional events and dates go to www.lodestarsolutions.com/events.

Register now to secure your spot for the May 18th event!

Stop Spreadsheet Anarchy, Increase End User Adoption of Cognos and IBM Planning Analytics

Stop Spreadsheet Anarchy, Increase End User Adoption of Cognos and IBM Planning Analytics
Stop Spreadsheet Anarchy, Increase End User Adoption of Cognos and IBM Planning Analytics
Written by Heather L. Cole, March 1st, 2023

The number one question I get asked from our IBM Cognos and IBM Planning Analytics customers is, “How can we increase end user adoption of Cognos and IBM Planning Analytics?”  One client made me laugh when they asked, “How do you control spreadsheet anarchy within an organization?  The ongoing trend by some is to grab large amounts of data from multiple published data sources and spin up highly customized versions of existing reports or parts of other reports.”   Spreadsheet Anarchy, what a great way to describe it.  It’s time to stop spreadsheet anarchy and increase end user adoption of Cognos and IBM Planning Analytics.

Today I’ll share a few secrets to increasing end user adoption of Cognos and IBM Planning Analytics.

Listen to End Users Challenges

The first step to solving spreadsheet anarchy is to understand why end users are not using the tools you are providing.  When you stop telling them to use Cognos or Planning Analytics and start listening to their challenges and why they feel the tools are not meeting their needs, you will discover the cause.  In our experience the cause is one or more of the following:

  •  the end users were not properly trained on Cognos or Planning Analytics.
  • clients are on an outdated release and the functionality they seek is in a new release.
  • the data they seek has not been incorporated into Cognos or Planning Analytics.
  • functionality has been restricted by administrators.

Share the WHY!

After you listen to their challenges and why they are using spreadsheets, it’s important to share the WHY.  Why is it important that they use the tools you provide?  Is it that you want to ensure everyone is working from the validated and secured data?  If so, share what happens when decisions are made on bad data.  Is it to eliminate the errors that spreadsheets are prone to having?  We recommend you create a list of why you need your users to standardize and make sure your team knows how to communicate the message.

Engage Users in The Creation (WORKSHOPS)

It’s been long proven that people support and embrace what they create.  A fast way to increase end user adoption is to engage end users in the design and development of the solution.  I know you may be thinking whoa that would be nuts, they don’t know how to create reports or models.  But hear me out, you don’t need them to create the Cognos reports or Planning Analytics models, you need to let them discuss the business goals they are tasked with achieving and the challenges they are facing.  The best way to do this is by hosting workshops.  Workshops can be held live, in person, or virtually via zoom.  If you are not familiar with workshops check out or blog on Discovering Requirements.

Continuous Training of New Functionality

The next step to increase end user adoption of analytics is to provide continuous training.  Do you see that?  CONTINUOUS!  IBM keeps adding new functionality to the software and end users typically only really learn what they need to use at the time.  So, it’s important to provide continuous training and workshop opportunities for your end users.  Consider building a training program internally.  If you need help with training, here’s a link to how Lodestar Solutions can help. 

IBM Infusing AI & Improve Self Reliance

IBM has done a great job of working to help increase end user adoption of Cognos and Planning Analytics as well.  They have done this in a number of ways.

Better In Application Help

Do you remember the day of the Red Books?  They were guides to help you use Cognos.  Or maybe you purchased the big, IBM Cognos TM1 The official Guide, and had it on your desk.  Lugging that around was a good workout. 

IBM Cognos TM1 The official Guide

Today IBM has incorporated the details you need into their in application help and search.  This empowers end users to try new things and feel more confident using the solutions.

Natural Language Processing (NLP)

IBM has incorporated NLP capabilities in Cognos Analytics and Planning Analytics, which enables users to ask questions in natural language (normal words) and get answers in a human-like response.  This allows for more intuitive and user-friendly interactions with the software.

Predictive Analytics

One of the coolest things we are seeing from IBM is the integration of  predictive analytics capabilities into Cognos Analytics and Planning Analytics.  This allows users to forecast trends and identify patterns in data.  This is especially useful for Planning Analytics users that want to leverage the data to forecast out the future.  The result is end users can make more informed decisions and optimize their business strategies.

Cognitive Computing

Did you notice IBM changed the name of their products again?  Cognos is now IBM Cognos Analytics with Watson, and TM1 became Planning Analytics, and is now IBM Planning Analytics with Watson.  Well, it was not just the marketing team being creative.  IBM has incorporated cognitive computing and Watson technologies into Cognos Analytics and Planning Analytics.  This includes the use of machine learning algorithms and other advanced analytics techniques to automate data analysis and decision-making processes.

Intelligent Automation

IBM has introduced greater automation capabilities in Cognos Analytics and Planning Analytics, which allows for the automation of routine data tasks such as data preparation, cleansing, and transformation.  Automation is the key to increasing productivity, so look at where you are spending time doing repetitive tasks and see if you can automate it.  This will give you time to focus on more complex data analysis and strategic decision-making.  (Cognos Automation)

Cognos SDK

For Cognos users the IBM Software Development Kit (SDK) is used to automate many tasks.  But what a lot of users don’t know is IBM includes the Cognos SDK in the Admin license.  This has not always been the case.  You used to need to buy a separate license.  Here’s our very old blog, where we informed everyone of this change. 

The Answer

We can all agree it’s time to stop spreadsheet anarchy and increase end user adoption of Cognos and IBM Planning Analytics.  The first step is to create a Plan that includes engaging with your end users.  I am a huge fan of workshops because they can align the teams and build camaraderie even if done virtually.  Keep an eye out, Lodestar will be sharing more on hosting workshops soon.

If you are on an old release of Planning Analytics or Cognos, it’s probably time to upgrade.  Lodestar solutions can help you plan your upgrade and provide technical services and training for your team.  For more information email services@lodestarsolutions.com.

New in Cognos Analytics 11.2.3

What's New in Cognos Analytics 11.2.3
Written by Mike Bernaiche, September 8th, 2022

At the end of August 2022, IBM released Cognos Analytics 11.2.3.  There is a lot to unpack in the release as IBM has been hard at work enhancing Cognos Analytics.  Below you will find all the details of what is new, what has changed and what has been removed.  As always, if you have any questions or want to discuss an upgrade please reach out to us at services@lodestarsoltuins.com.

Feature Updates

  • Integrations with Microsoft Teams - Much like Slack integration of past versions, IBM Cognos Analytics 11.2.3 now supports Teams integration.  Share dashboard and report content along with messages in Teams. Please note, your company must be using the Microsoft 365 developer program with an E5 subscription.
  • Use the up down arrows – utilize the up and down arrows to move through certain menus and content areas.  Previous versions only supported the tab button.
  • Full page property view – view properties for an item in full screen view.
  • Context sensitive search – define the context of your search and see only items in that context, also a new tab that shows all search results.


  • Enhanced Time Filtering – The Assistant now understands even more time related searches.  Use text like YTD, QTD, MTD and abbreviations like Mon for Monday and Thur for Thursday and Xmas for Christmas to narrow you search in the assistant.


  • Insights and Forecast on New Analytics Panel – Open the Analytics Panel to turn on or off insights and forecast.
  • Create a multivariant Forecast – You can now add in optional data points to take into account in your forecast in Cognos Analytics 11.2.3.  For more information check out this link, Creating a multivariate forecast - IBM Documentation.
Dashboards in Cogons 11.2.3
Dashboards in Cognos 11.2.3 v2
  • Enhanced Forecasting with the Watson Core Time Series Library - Using the Watson Core Time - Series Library increases the prediction accuracy of the forecasts and allows the use of multiple seasons (or nested seasons).  Time series that have regular repeating cycles can be modeled with a seasonal component.
  • Embedded Dashboard in Microsoft Teams - In Microsoft Teams, you can add a tab with an embedded dashboard from an external Cognos Analytics environment.  On any platform, Teams users can then perform interactive analyses of the dashboard without having to log in to Cognos Analytics themselves.
  • Cascading Filters – There is a lot to unpack in Cascading Filters.  Check out this excellent link from IBM.  Cascading filters - IBM Documentation
  • New Bar Visualization –

The bar chart includes the following value label formats:

  •  Value and percentage of category – two values in the value label
  • Value and percentage of color – two values in the value label    
  • Value delta of target
  • Percentage delta of target
New Bar Visualization in Cognos Analytics 11.2.3
  • New Area Visualization – a new gradient option on the area chart.
New Area Visualization in Cognos Analytics 11.2.3
  • Tree map Visualizations Enhancements - Leaf labels in treemap visualizations can now be shown as value, item, or both.
  • Area and Line Visualization Enhancements – A property has been added to handle null values in a better way.
  • Display Multiple Measures on Rows Instead of Columns in a Crosstab.

For all dashboard enhancements check out this link. Dashboards - IBM Documentation


Explorations has been enhanced with the following.  For complete details see the dashboard section as these are the same.

  •  Insights and Forecasts in New Analytics Panel
  • Enhanced Time Forecast with Watson Core Time Series Library
  • Multi Variant Forecasting


  • Controlling Drill Through Behavior when Context Filters are used - You can change the default package-based drill-through behavior in Cognos® Analytics - Reporting when using context filters.
  • New Treemap Visualization – as discussed above under Dashboards.
  • New Properties for Bubble and Scatter Charts – The new properties allow you to specify the border width color, and size of bubbles, minimum and maximum size of bubbles, and label rotation.

For a complete list of Reporting enhancements check out this link. Reporting - IBM Documentation

Other Enhancements

Depreciated or Removed

In Cognos Analytics 11.2.3 the following is not supported:

  • Windows 8 and 8.1
  • Microsoft Internet Information Services (IIS) 7.5
  • IBM InfoSphere Information Server 11.3 and 11.5
  • Microsoft .NET Framework 4.0
  • IBM Connections
  • Mozilla Firefox ESR 68 and ESR 78
  • Adobe Reader XI and DC
  • FileNet Content Manager 5.2

Removed Data Source Connectors

As of release 11.2.3, connectors for several types of data sources are removed from IBM Cognos Analytics with Watson.  If you have existing connections to these data source types, they will no longer work.

Connectors are removed for these data source types:

  • IBM Weather Company
  • TM1
  • IBM Planning Analytics versions prior to 2.0.6
  • Microsoft Analysis Services (OLEDB) versions prior to SQL Server 2016 Service Pack 2

Depreciated Data Source Connections

In a future version of Cognos Analytics, support will be removed for the following data source connections:

  1. Planning Analytics 2.0.6 - 2.0.8
  2. Snowflake prior to 3.10
  3. Oracle Database 11g and 12c
  • Oracle Database 11g Standard Edition Release 2
  • Oracle Database 11g Enterprise Edition Release 2
  • Oracle Database 12c Release 2 (12.2) Standard Edition
  • Oracle Database 12c Release 2 (12.2) Enterprise Edition
  • Oracle Database 12c Release 1 ( Enterprise Edition
  • Oracle Database 12c Release 1 ( Standard Edition
  • Oracle Database 12c Release 1 ( Standard Edition

4. IBM Db2 Server 10.5

  • IBM Db2 Advanced Enterprise Server Edition 10.5
  • Db2 Express Server Edition 10.5
  • DB2 Workgroup Server Edition 10.5
  • DB2 Enterprise Server Edition 10.5
  • DB2 Advanced Workgroup Server Edition 10.5

5. Essbase

Supported Versions of Cognos Analytics from IBM

Reminder that Cognos Analytics version 11.0.x end of support was in September of 2021.  Cognos Analytics 11.1.7 is the long-term support version and we HIGHLY recommend you are on that version or later.  What happens when you are on an older unsupported version?  Well in a few words, you will be asked to upgrade to a latest supported version and will not receive support directly from IBM.


As you can see Cognos Analytics 11.2.3 offers a lot of new features and enhancements.  Schedule your upgrade now with us at services@lodestarsolutions.com.  We would also be happy to schedule a demo with you to see if this version is right for you!

Create Support for KPIs Across the Organization

Create Support for KPIs Across the Organization
Create Support for KPIs Across the Organization
Written by Heather L. Cole, June 9th 2022

Are you struggling with standardizing a common view and in some cases defining the KPIs for your organization?  Are you feeling like you are dealing with the “flavor of the day” where only the teams promoting the KPIs use them?  Well, you are not alone!  Today we will share tips on how to create support for KPIs across the organization.  Next week we will share additional tips to develop the KPIs.

Creating Support for KPIs

To gain support for your KPIs you need to first start with the strategic goals of the organization, then ensure that you are engaging the right stakeholders from the very beginning and finally communicate the WHY.

Start with the Strategic Goals

For KPIs to be effective they should reflect the strategic initiatives of the organization.  I am always amazed that when I teach business intelligence and analytic courses, I survey the audience and ask, “How many can clearly articulate the strategic goals of their organization?”  Amazingly less than 4% of the attendees raise their hands.  Think about that.  Assume you were having a soccer tournament that had 8 teams registered.  Each team had 15 players (11 players and 4 substitutes) so there were 120 players registered.  Now assume that of the 120 players only 5 of them knew what goal to shoot on to score.  Is anyone else picturing a tournament of 4-year-olds?  

If you don’t want your business run by 4-year-olds, you MUST first make sure everyone especially the analytic professionals know the strategic goals of the organization. 


The next step is to ensure you are engaging the right stakeholders.  But how do you know who the key stakeholders should be?

Start by looking at the strategic goals.  Who is your organization serving?  Typically, it’s our customers, employees, suppliers, and shareholders.

According to Graham Kenny in his blog, Create KPIs That Reflect Your Strategic Priorities 
in Harvard Business Review,  “The first step, clearly, is to identify the key stakeholders of your organization or strategic business unit. Understand that your relationship with each is a two-way street, then develop measures on both sides of those relationships.”  For example, a distribution company’s stakeholders may be employees, suppliers, and customers.  The stakeholders are people that the organization needs to have strong relationships within order to succeed.  Mr. Kenny says, “measuring performance is measuring relationships.” 

I absolutely agree with this philosophy, but many organizations make the mistake of assuming they know what their customer, suppliers and employees want out of the relationship.  They never stop to ask the stakeholders what they want.  By connecting with the stakeholders like employees you will be able to better define the KPIs that need to be measured to help retain talent. 

By designing your KPIs to be aligned with the strategic goals and providing visibility on how you are serving your stakeholders from both your perspective and theirs you will naturally be able to get your teams to see the value of the KPIs.  But this may require executives and managers to educate their teams on the WHY!  

As my favorite author Simon Sinek says, “People don’t buy WHAT you do, they buy WHY you do it.” Simon Sinek, Start with Why: How Great Leaders Inspire Everyone to Take Action.

Leverage the Power of Consistency

I would be doing you a disservice if I did not share with you one of the most powerful ways of increasing adoption of your KPIs, and dashboards the Power of Consistency.

The Power of Consistency is one of 7 principles of Influence developed by Dr. Robert Cialdini, the Regents' Professor of Psychology and Marketing at Arizona State University and Distinguished Professor of Marketing in the W. P. Carey School.  When used correctly consistency can increase adoption and usage of your KPIs and therefore help the organization achieve the strategic goals faster. 

The first step to consistency is to engage people in the development of the KPIs. “Consistency is a principle that asserts that people want to be and to be seen as consistent with their existing commitments," says Cialdini. 

You start with small steps. For example, you could ask people to create a list of items they would like to see measured as a KPI.  By just asking them to create a list they are taking a small action toward your initiative.  Once that have taken a small step, they are more likely to take another step, and another.  They are also more likely to support a project they feel they have participated in creating even if their role is minimal. 

“You don't create a commitment inside people that they don't already have," Cialdini explains. "But you can look for commitments that they've already made, and then you can align your requests with that, so what you're offering them gives them precisely what they're looking for in a business partner.”

Action Steps

Now that you understand how to create support for KPIs across the organization by clarifying the strategic goals, then identifying the stakeholders, communicating the WHY to the teams and finally engaging people in the process, it’s time to act.

  1.  Validate the strategic goals for the organization.
  2. Create a list of stakeholders.
  3. Ask the stakeholders what they want out of the relationship with your organization.
  4. Create a survey of team members asking their opinion on what KPIs are important.

Remember Small Steps are the key to success. 

IBM Planning Analytic and Cognos Clients

Did you know IBM has amazing tools for monitoring your KPIs?  To learn more contact us at Services@lodestaresolutions.com and visit our blogs:

Why You Aren’t Attracting Analytics Talent!

Why You Aren't Attracting Analytics Talent
Why You Aren't Attracting Analytics Talent
Written by Heather L. Cole, May 12th 2022

Are you looking to hire analytics talent but struggling to find people to even apply for your open positions?  Are you blaming the Great Resignation?  STOP!  The people are getting hired by someone… So, today I’ll share what I have been coaching our Lodestar Solutions clients on hiring talent and Why You Aren’t Attracting Analytic Talent.

Your Job Posting Sucks.

The first place to start is sit down and read your job posting!  Most suck.  When you read it, think I was of the experience level I am looking for, would I respond to the post?  Most job posts are written in the old school way when employers have tons of candidates to choose from.  The world has changed and so should how you write your job posts.  It’s not so much what you are looking for but what you offer the candidates with analytics talent!  See our earlier blog, Job Posting Tips to Attract Analytics Talent.

Do You Allow Remote or Hybrid Work?

If the pandemic taught us anything it’s that major corporations can survive and thrive even when employees work from home.  As someone who used to deal with Chicago’s commute, I can tell you when I started working remote over 20 years ago, I vowed I would never work for someone that made me go to an office every day.  Talented people know they can demand a remote or hybrid work environment and if you don’t put it on your post that you offer it, top analytics talent are doing the proverbial swiping left and rejecting you.  

Executive Team Needs to Face Reality

I appreciate that there are many executive teams that want to require people to come back into the office, but the data is showing us that hybrid work and remote work is here to stay.  Even one of my favorite authors, Bernard Marr discusses this in his book,  Business Trends in Practice: The 25+ Trends That Are Redefining Organizations. A quick way to validate this is to ask your team.  Create an anonymous survey and see what your people are saying.  You do realize that if your people want to keep working at least some days remotely and you want them in the office you risk losing them, right?

Evaluate your Pay!

Inflation is real.  The market is benefiting the job seekers, so they are demanding more pay.  But many companies are failing to look at market conditions and adjusting pay.  I had one client post a job and when a friend saw the posting, he said Heather they are extremely low paying for the title they are posting.  This discussion led them to do their research and sure enough they weren’t even close.  It’s easy today to find market rates.  There are many sites like www.glassdoor.com or www.indeed.com where you can put in search parameters and see what the market is paying. 

Unfortunately, for some of you, your prior behavior has given you a bad reputation.  If your online reviews in the job boards is not so stellar you will need to face it head on!  Would you apply for a job with a company that had a 2.8 rating out of 5?  You might want to consider writing in your job post how the environment is changing if you are in this situation.

Learn How to Manage Hybrid Workers

After you check your job posting to attract talent, and you know you are paying a fair wage, you should start to see applicants apply.  Now the hard work comes!  You must learn not only how to manage hybrid workers and remote teams but also how to hire people that would thrive in the new world. 

Ask the Right Questions –

You will want to review your departmental and corporate core values and ask questions to flesh out if applicants have your core values.  I don’t believe this is something we can teach; I believe core values was something our parents taught us when we were children or it’s part of our DNA.  For example, do you really think integrity is taught later in life?  To get yourself started read the book Hiring for Attitude: A Revolutionary Approach to Recruiting and Selecting People with Both Tremendous Skills and Superb Attitude! by Mark Murphy.

Display How You Manage Your Team Hybrid Workers –

During the interview process you want to share what you do that is unique to help them grow and thrive as a manager.  The younger generation want constant feedback and to be part of something important.  As a manager you want to create ways to help meet their needs so you can inspire them.  More on this in future blogs.

Show them the Path.

Finally, you want to make sure you are mapping out a growth plan for any new hires.  With the speed of technology and the rapid changing world, you MUST hire growth minded people.  But as a manager you also must help them define that path for the future and provide feedback.  If your company is willing to invest in their learning and “upskills” make sure you communicate that.  Soft Skill training programs are always a great growth path for analytic professionals.   Another idea is to offer group coaching to your team members.  If you want to learn more about group coaching and professional development programs, email us at Services@lodestarsolutions.com.

Analytic Talent Resources

Here’s another resource you might want to check out if you are seeking talent.

Gartner’s article on How to Attract and Retain Talent for Your Data And Analytics Team.

Summary of Attracting Talent

Hopefully you had a couple ahh moments while reading our thoughts on why you aren’t attracting Analytic Talent.  Hybrid work and remote teams are here to stay.  We would love to hear about your struggles and creative ideas you have had to address them.  Please email us at Services@lodestarsolutions.com to set up a chat.

What You Need to Know When Moving IBM Cognos and Planning Analytics on the Cloud

What You Need to Know When Moving IBM Cognos and Planning Analytics on Cloud
Written by Heather L. Cole, March 23rd 2022

Are you wondering if you can move your IBM Cognos and Planning Analytics on a cloud?  Maybe your organization has an initiative to move all applications to Azure, AWS or IBM Cloud.  Or maybe you want IBM to do the work and maintain your environment to free up IT resources, so a Software as a Service (SAAS) would be better.  Today we will explain what you need to know when moving IBM Cognos and Planning Analytics on a cloud.

What are my cloud options for Cognos and IBM Planning Analytics TM1?

First you need to know that clouds come in many forms.  There are Software as a Service clouds, where the vendor maintains the environment, handles upgrades, backups…  And there are clouds where you are just outsourcing the hardware to Amazon, Microsoft or IBM and you use your licensing for the software and install the software in their clouds.  Under this cloud model, you will still need to handle upgrades, and patches.

IBM offers Cognos on Cloud as well as IBM Planning Analytics on Cloud which are their Software as a Service models.  They also allow you to put your regular licenses on a cloud that you maintain.

Migration to IBM’s Cognos on Cloud or IBM Planning Analytics on the Cloud

If you are looking to have IBM do most of the technical work to maintain your Planning Analytics or Cognos environment, you will want to explore their Software as a Service (SAAS) option.  IBM likes to change the names of their programs, but what you need to know is that IBM has a program that allows clients to migrate to the SaaS while maintaining their old environment for a period of time.  With the proper paperwork, they will give you dual entitlements for your on-premise and cloud subscription while you test and transition. 

Our older blog will help to provide you an overview, IBM’s Bridge to Cloud.

Timing of Migration to SaaS

Typically, you will want to explore moving to Cognos on Cloud or PA on cloud at least 3 months prior to your software support renewal to make it cost effective.  For details on cost and timing, email us at renewals@lodestarsolutions.com

Functionality Parity

Additionally, you will want to ensure that the IBM Cognos on Cloud or IBM Planning Analytics on Cloud has parity with your current environment and that all the functionality you need is in the SaaS version.  Previous cloud versions were missing some functionality.  For example, earlier versions of Cognos on Cloud only allowed for DQM (Dynamic Query Mode) and CQM was not available.  I will not go into the details on CQM and DQM here, but you should check out these IBM resources:

Can I move my existing IBM Cognos & TM1 Licensing to a 3rd Party Cloud?

Yes, the good news is IBM allows you to move your “perpetual” or on-premise licensing for IBM Cognos and Planning Analytics TM1, anywhere!  A perpetual IBM Planning Analytics or Cognos license is an asset you purchased that you could use indefinitely.  However, to get access to download the latest version to move to your new cloud, you must be current and pay annual IBM support to either IBM or a reseller like Lodestar Solutions.  If you would like a competitive support quote, email renewals@lodestarsolutions.com.

But the answer is yes, you may move your perpetual Cognos or Planning Analytics licensing to AWS, Azure, or even the IBM Public Cloud, which has made amazing progress!  (We love it!  More on that in a minute.)  However, when you move your Cognos licensing or TM1 to a new environment whether on cloud or something else you want to be careful. 

Caution on Cloud Migration

If you have licensing that includes Processor Value Units (PVUs), which is very common with Planning Analytics TM1 and often in larger Cognos clients, you must make sure the new environment does not expose you to failing an audit.  You MUST make sure you don’t exceed your PVU licensing when you move to the cloud.  For more information checkout our earlier blog, What the Heck is an IBM Cognos PVU and then email us so we can answer any questions at services@lodestarsolutions.com.

IBM Public Cloud

I mentioned we love the IBM public cloud, so I wanted to take a minute and explain.  A few years ago, IBM had Softlayer as their cloud and well, it was not great.  But IBM spent tons of money and invested in better technology and now their IBM Public Cloud rocks!  At Lodestar Solutions we use it for our demonstration environment and its fabulous.  Here’s IBM’s take on IBM Cloud versus Amazon Web Services (AWS)

FEI Webinar April 13th

Cloud Considerations in an Uncertain World

If you want to learn more and are a member of Financial Executives International (FEI), I will be hosting a webinar to FEI Members discussing IBM Cloud.  Cloud Considerations in an Uncertain World on April 13th 2-3pm Eastern.  In this webinar I will be joined by Hillary Hunter, CTO of IBM Cloud and Chris Doroszczyk, IBM Global Managing Director Financial Services Clients.  Members of FEI can register and get CPE credits for attending.

After the event I will write a blog with the highlights for non-FEI Members.


In summary you can move IBM Cognos and Planning Analytics on the cloud, but like anything, proper planning in advanced is highly recommended.  But you don’t have to go it alone.  Lodestar Solutions’ team of experts can guide you through what you need to know when moving IBM Cognos & TM1 licensing to a cloud.  Just reach out to us at Services@lodestarsolutions.com.

Benefits of Diversifying Your IBM Planning Analytics and Cognos Consultants

Benefits of Diversifying Your IBM Planning Analytics and Cognos Consultants
Benefits of Diversifying Your IBM Planning Analytics and Cognos Consultants
Written by Heather L. Cole, February 24th 2022

Don’t put all your eggs in one basket!  It’s quote we often hear in reference to investing.  There are horror stories of people who put all their money in the stock of one company like Enron or one investment advisor like Bernie Madoff only to watch their life savings go poof!  But did you know that saying also applies to hiring consultants?  Today we will discuss the Benefits of Diversifying your IBM Planning Analytics and Cognos Consultants. Diversifying your IBM Cognos and IBM Planning Analytics Consultants means you work with more than one consulting firm. 

Having a Second Set of Eyes

Have you ever had a problem you were trying to solve and just wanted to have a second set of eyes?   Or maybe you have a repetitive task, and you think, “there has to be a better way”.   Whenever I have that thought, I reach out to someone I think will know the answers.   It took me years to learn, but I now know that although I probably could figure out the problem myself, time is the most limited resource we have.  And if I just phone another IBM Planning Analytics or Cognos expert in my network, I can solve the problem in a fraction of the time. 

If you diversify and contract with multiple Cognos consulting firms, and you have access to not just the consultants assigned to you, but also their teams.  The bigger your network the faster you will get answers.

But let me share a little secret, if a consultant makes a mistake, many firms will back them and their work.  They don’t want to admit that a mistake was made.  By diversifying and using more than one Cognos or IBM Planning analytics consulting firm you have a built in BS detector.

Diverse Offerings & Experience

The next benefit of diversifying your IBM Cognos and IBM Planning Analytics consultants is that firms often time have different offerings.  One might be really good at Data Warehousing and Planning Analytics, whereas another might offer executive strategy sessions to discover what really needs to be designed.  Additionally, one might have a financial service background while another distribution.  Believe it or not, you can benefit from someone with industry expertise that is different from your own, as they can bring innovative ideas to your project.

Different Cognos and IBM Planning Analytics partners have different offerings and expertise.  You can benefit from their wealth of knowledge.  In the U.S. most of the partners know each other and many partner with each other all the time.

Knowledge of New Releases

Not all Cognos and IBM Planning Analytics consulting firms invest in educating their teams on the latest versions.  Candidly if they are primarily focused on billing and revenue generation, training takes away from billing.  So, there could be functionality that is available in a new release that your consultant doesn’t know about.  By diversifying your Cognos consultants, you increase the likelihood of leveraging the latest functionality.  At Lodestar Solutions, we pride ourselves on educating our clients on what’s new every quarter. 

Knowledge saves time and money copy

Knowledge of IBM Licensing

Did you know there are Cognos and IBM Planning Analytic consulting firms that don’t know IBM licensing?  Yes, there are some amazing consultants that are fabulous on the product but don’t know how to save you money on your IBM licensing and IBM support renewals.  Lodestar Solutions has many clients that came to us after working with another partner and failing an IBM Audit.  It doesn’t have to be that way!  By diversifying and working with a partner that understands licensing you can save money and reduce the risk of failing an audit. Here’s a link to our webinar on, How to Avoid Failing an IBM Analytics Audit.   And our blog, How to Save Money on Support Renewals

 If you have IBM licensing questions or are in the middle of an IBM audit, email us at Services@lodestarsolutions.com.

Additional Client Offerings

Finally, a big benefit of working with multiple Cognos and IBM Planning Analytics consultants is that some offer client only benefits.  For example, at Lodestar Solutions we host a client only virtual user group every quarter where we share the new releases, what works and what doesn’t, and have straight talk.  We share 3rd party tools we think clients will benefit from and we network with our peers.  But that’s not all, we record the sessions, so clients can access our client only portal and watch the sessions at any time.   Our clients love the user groups, but it is a closed group.  

Want to participate, in our next user group?  Have us quote your IBM support renewal.  Email Renewals@lodestarsolutions.com for a license evaluation and renewal quote.

Tips in Working with Multiple IBM Planning Analytics and Cognos Consulting Firms

Now that I have shared some of the benefits of diversifying your IBM Planning Analytics and Cognos Consultants.  I want to share a few more tips. 

  •  Be transparent.  Don’t hide the fact you are working with multiple firms, find firms that can work together.
  • Find a firm like Lodestar that is willing to subcontract other firms, so you have the diversification but one stop shopping.
  • Interview a few firms and ask around about their strengths.  Here’s a link to where you can find IBM Partners. 
  • Check Linkedin and see how well connected their team members are.  A strong network can provide rapid, creative solutions.

Next Step

Let’s talk about your project and challenges.  Lodestar Solutions can help you diversify your consultants, save money on IBM licensing and support, learn the latest version and network with your peers.  We would love the opportunity to be one of your go to partners and show you the benefits of diversifying your IBM Planning Analytics and Cognos Consultants.  Contact us at Services@lodestarsolutions.com for a complimentary review.

Finance’s role in Post Pandemic Planning: Why it is Imperative that You Reset your Strategy, Processes, and People

Finance’s role in Post Pandemic Planning- Why it is Imperative that You Reset your Strategy, Processes, and People
Written by Heather L. Cole, October 7th 2021

The world has changed.  If we learned anything from the Pandemic, it is that our organizations must be able to respond quickly.  For many the old methods of strategic planning, financial planning and operational planning are not flexible enough.  Finance teams were sent scrambling to run scenarios in Excel.  What we discovered is that organizations must become more agile.  It’s imperative that organizations reset their strategy, processes and train their people in new methods and approaches that will enable rapid responses to market and world changes.  Today I’ll introduce Finance’s role in Post Pandemic Planning:  Why it is Imperative that You Reset your Strategy, Processes, and People.


A more detailed discussion will take place on Wednesday Oct 27, 2021 at noon eastern where Heather Cole, President of Lodestar Solutions is teaming up with Financial Executives International for a webinar.  Registration required and CPE credit available.

Click Here To Register 

The Planning Process is Broken

Strategic Plans are Not Communicated

For the last 10 years while I have been running seminars, and training classes I always ask the question, “How many of you can clearly articulate the strategic goals of your organization?”  And I pause and look for a show of hands.  Guess how many hands go up?  On average it’s less than 4% of my session attendees.  But the scary part is these are people whose job it is to deliver data, analytic and planning solutions to their organizations.   So, if the people creating and administering the business intelligence solutions and planning template don’t know the strategic goals, how are they expected to give the executives what they need? 

Try this test.  Contact a few co-workers and ask them to articulate the strategic goals of the company.

For some organizations the executives struggle to find time to even create the strategic goals and plans.  This will be a topic of another blog.  But for now, we have established there’s a communication problem. 

Reference Point:  Here’s an interesting blog by Gartner,  Reset your Business Strategy in Co-Vid 19 Recovery. 

Operational Plan Not Measuring What Matters

The operational plan, the process of planning strategic goals and objectives to technical goals and objectives.  The goal of the operational plan is to improve the day-to-day actions and processes of your business.   For many organizations what they need to focus on daily is very different than it was two years ago.  However, many are still using the same templates.  If you have not paused and examined what is important to daily success in the Post Pandemic world and determined how the measure what matters, you may find that your teams are not doing what you need them to do. 

Reference Point:  A great must read book is, Measure What Matters: OKRs: The Simple Idea that Drives 10x Growth By John Doerr. 

Finance teams are in a unique situation to add more value in the transformation to Post Pandemic Planning.  They understand the value of the strategic plan, financial plan, and operational plan.  They often work with every department on the budget process, and they understand what makes money for the organization.  I believe that Finance must play a big role in becoming agile. 

For more information on why Finance needs to step up, see our blog, Finance Must Lead Transformation Before Someone Else Does.

Agile Planning Processes

Post Pandemic Planning must include an agile planning process that can respond rapidly to market and world changes.  But what exactly does that mean? 

Post Pandemic Planning must include a connect between the strategic plan, the financial plan, and the operating plan.  The process must be flexible enough to allow team members to do “what if” or scenario modeling.  For years thought leaders like me have been emphasizing the need to have all the moving parts of planning connected.  Marketing plans should lead to Sales plans, which connect with the production schedules and inventory.  The sad reality is most companies don’t have connected plans.  But the Pandemic has created shortages in staff and supplies we never anticipated.  So, in Post Pandemic Planning we must connect all our plans. 

How to Create a Connected Post Pandemic Planning Process

After over 25 years in the Performance Management and Planning industry, I have learned there are three areas that organizations faulter on that impede their success in creating a truly connected planning process. 

People in Planning

They call this time the Great Resignation.  Attracting and retaining talent is harder than ever.  However, many organizations are just missing the clues when it comes to talent.  In this Post Pandemic world people are reassessing what matters most, and they are finding it’s not money.  Talented people are valuing family time, work flexibility, and thought-provoking work of MEANING!  That’s correct they want to know their hard work is valuable. 

I believe that finance team members that are part of the planning process need to be heard.  Stop doing things the way you have always done them and think differently.  Let the planning team members voice their ideas and implement change.   The fastest way to start this is to host planning meetings that are facilitated by a skilled facilitator and update your processes.

Reference Point:  Here’s an interesting article in Forbes, Facilitation Skills Might Just be The Best Kept Leadership Secret. 

Train Your People

The second issue I see is that too many organizations fail to give their teams the proper training.  They just think finance professionals should know everything about leveraging data and finding insights.  Guess what?  WE DON’T KNOW IT ALL!  Investing in your finance teams, by teaching them advance analytics skills, agile methodologies and how to facilitate meetings is a huge step not just to have a more skilled team, but it will help you retain your people too.

Reference Point:  Here’s an interesting blog by Indeed, The Importance of Training Employees: 11 Benefits.

Find the Right Tools

The third area that many organizations can improve on to see better results in their Post Pandemic Planning processes is to have the right tools.  Don’t get me wrong, I love Excel.  But organizations that are considered mid-market or larger should not be doing their planning processes in Excel.  Excel is not scalable.  Excel is extremely flexible but to do proper scenario modeling in Excel in a connected planning process, is very time consuming and difficult. 

Your teams need the right tools.  Not securing robust planning tools is like asking your lawn service to mow your acre lot with a weed whacker. You can do it, but you shouldn’t.  You need the right tool for the job. 

At Lodestar Solutions we believe IBM Planning Analytics (TM1) is a fabulously flexible, scalable tool for mid-market and larger organizations.  For more information on Planning Analytics contact us at Sales@lodestarsolutions.com.  And watch our video on Planning Analytics on YouTube.

Today I just shared a few ideas on Finance’s role in Post Pandemic Planning:  Why it is Imperative that You Reset your Strategy, Processes, and People.  But this is just an introduction.   On October 27th, 2021 at noon eastern I will be hosting a webinar with Financial Executives International were we dive deeper into this topic and provide proven methods for you so you can transform your Post Pandemic Planning processes to become agile, and responsive to change.  You will discover the benefit of a connected planning process where Strategic plans are connected to Financial and Operating plans.  Where various business units share information and create a collaborative planning process.

What you will learn in the webinar:

  •  What’s broken in the planning processes and how to fix them.
  • How to empower your team in a way that not only retains talent but attracts it.
  • Why the ability to rapidly model various scenarios is essential to resiliency.

About the author, Heather Cole is an Executive High-Performance Coach and Analytic Advisor who coaches US organizations how to leverage data and analytics, empower teams and experience substantial growth.  Heather is a two-time bestselling author.  Additionally, she is a founder of the global Artificial Intelligence Data and Analytics User Group (AIDAUG) and a board member of Financial Executives International.