February 13th, 2020
Recently I met with a client who owned and was using both IBM Cognos BI and TM1. Their IT team was exploring if they should move from Cognos to Microsoft Power BI. Understandably, IT was trying to reduce the number of applications and tools they supported. I explained to them that neither Cognos BI nor Microsoft Power BI can replace TM1 now called IBM Planning Analytics.
What is Cognos Planning Analytics (TM1)?
BM Planning Analytics formerly known as TM1 is a powerful business performance management software designed to deliver collaborative planning, budgeting and forecasting solutions, interactive "what-if" analyses, as well as analytical and reporting applications. Over the years, IBM has added a lot of new capabilities to TM1 including hierarchies, Planning Analytics for Excel (PAX) and Planning Analytic Workspace (PAW). Planning Analytics Workspace provides not just powerful dashboard capabilities but can be used to build new models as well. See our earlier blog. For more information on Planning Analytics Workspace check out our team member Atif’s Video.
Confusion Between BI and Planning Analytics (TM1)
As IBM enhanced TM1 and added Planning Analytics Workspace (PAW) they delivered amazing dashboarding capabilities. They added balanced scorecard capabilities too. Unfortunately, this may have led to the current confusion. As you know dashboards are usually delivered through business intelligence tools like Cognos BI (Cognos Analytics) and Microsoft Power BI. Additionally, some finance teams have leveraged TM1 as a lightweight version of a data mart, which IT is not always thrilled about. So, when IT sees Planning Analytics (TM1) they can jump to the conclusion that the business intelligence tools they usually control like Power BI and/or Cognos Analytics and SQL Server Analysis Services (SSAS) cubes could replace Planning Analytics.
Cognos Planning Analytics Does what BI Does Not
Cognos Planning Analytics TM1 is very different than Cognos BI and/or Power BI! Although it can handle dashboards and reports, it’s not designed to do bursting of reports and other functionality tools like Cognos Analytics Excel, etc… But, Cognos Planning Analytics TM1 does so much that BI does not. Planning Analytics TM1 allows users to write back to the TM1 cubes structures to enter in budgeting and forecasting data. You would not want users to be able to change Cognos BI data that is typically historical data. TM1 is a flexible modeling tool that allows for “What if” analysis, sandbox scenarios and powerful spread capabilities. It’s no wonder why finance departments love the power and flexibility of the new Cognos Planning Analytics version.
If you want more information on the latest information on Cognos Planning Analytics check out the IBM web site or better yet, just email Lodestar Solutions and let’s chat. Contact us at Services@lodestarsolutions.com.
Why Finance Needs Unique Tools Like Planning Analytics TM1
It’s important to understand that in finance we live in a constant world of change. Finance teams need to forecast and plan the affects of changes on the financial statements of the organization. It’s not uncommon for an executive to email the finance team and ask to see data in a new way. For example, maybe a food distributor’s CFO suddenly wants to see sales by country of origin. When this happens the finance team previously became stressed out thinking about how they have to rebuild models to incorporate the change. But with Cognos Planning Analytics finance can leverage virtual dimension and rapidly provide these new insights. Once provided the CFO may then ask, “What would happen to our bottom line if all our avocados from Mexico were recalled.” With Planning Analytics TM1 the finance team could easily do a what if model entering adjustments to reduce Mexico avocados and increasing sales of avocados from the US. This on the fly modeling is often foreign to IT and business intelligence professionals that live in a world of governance, and control. But if IT tries to eliminate TM1, they run the risk of making finance return to the world of Excel which lacks controls and processes provided by Cognos Planning Analytics.
Finance Should Keep their Planning Analytics
In summary, neither Cognos BI nor Microsoft Power BI can replace TM1 because TM1 provides a flexible modeling tool with write back and data collection capabilities not available in most business intelligence. If your organization is having this internal debate, you don’t have to go it alone! At Lodestar Solutions we can help you facilitate workshops to define what your unique analytic and business intelligence roadmap should look like. We will provide our expert opinions and network you with other clients that have walked in your shoes. So, contact us at Services@lodestarsolutions.com.