Creating the COVID Forecast with Cognos Planning Analytics, TM1

COVID Forecast
COVID Forecast
April 30th, 2020 ​

Wow, the world has changed in just a few weeks!  Our way of life as we knew it may never be the same, nor will our businesses. Lodestar Solutions has been working with our Cognos Planning Analytics TM1 clients to respond to the new risks and opportunities they are facing. For almost every business it’s time to update the plans and create a COVID forecast.  But don’t worry, creating a COVID Forecast with Cognos Planning Analytics, TM1 should be relatively easy. 

Steps for Creating a COVID Forecast in TM1 –

Define the COVID Forecast

The first thing you want to do is define what the COVID forecast in Cognos Planning Analytics should look like.  Schedule a Zoom or remote meeting with Senior Managers to discuss what they need in a COVID forecast. Before the meeting send the request and include the goal of the meeting and an agenda. You should also send examples of reports they currently receive and ask them to print them, so they have them handy.  For the meeting I recommend going on camera, as this is your time to shine and show how indispensable you are!Enter your text here...

During the meeting Lodestar Solutions recommends the following: 

  • Ask what information is important to track more granularly for a COVID forecast? Do they want a forecast or budget level details? Do they want more detail for sales and staffing?
  •  Have them write down on sticky notes everything they want in the COVID forecast and prioritize each item.   
Sticky Notes
  • Don’t commit!  Tell them you are collecting their ideas and will look at what’s easily done without massive overhaul of your TM1 models.
  • What assumptions do they want to use as “what if” scenario drivers to model the business in the new COVID forecast?
  • Refer to the current reports that you sent in advanced and have them write down what they want to see differently for the COVID forecast in TM1.  If they make a lot of changes have them screen shot or take a picture of the changes with their phone and send them to you. This will be your audit trail when they change their mind again.
  • Have follow up virtual meetings as you build your new structures to ensure you are on the right path and more importantly find out if they have changed their minds since your initial meeting on the COVID forecast models in TM1.

NOTE:  They almost always change their minds, but rarely do they communicate their new thoughts.  So, the follow-up, status check meetings are very important.

After the Meeting Planning

  1. Review the diagram of your TM1 model. If you don’t have schematic of your model now would be a good time to create one.  We like Visio for this, but PowerPoint or Word can work as well. This should have the various cubes and IT processes displayed.
  2. Update your Cognos Planning Analytics Development or Test environment with the latest version of your models, so you can make your changes in a development environment.  If you don’t have a development environment for TM1 we highly recommend it. Lodestar is happy to help you with any licensing needs for your non-production environment.  See our blog on this topic for more information. 
  3. Look to see which model or components you would need for your new COVID Forecast.  Many Cognos Planning Analytics, TM1, clients have a forecast model that is not as detailed as the budget which could be leveraged for the COVID forecast in TM1.
  4. Check for any Versions dimensions that you could add a COVID forecast too.  For example, if you have a version dimension in TM1 that has Budget, Actual, Q1 Forecast… consider adding COVID forecast to it.
  5. Identify which TM1 TI processes would need to be updated for the COVID forecast and if you need to create new TM1 model components to provide more details in specific areas.
  6. As you identify what changes need to be made, we recommend documenting items to test. The easiest way to do this is just start writing testing idea on sticky notes.  One test per note and create a pile. Later you will use this to create TM1 test scripts.
  7. Create a project plan for the your COVID forecast TM1 model changes. If you don’t have a good tool to manage your projects, Lodestar Solutions recommends and resells  Smartsheet. For more information email us at Sales@lodestarsolutions.com.
  8. If you need assistance or just want to get another opinion, seek help from Lodestar Solutions’ team of TM1 consultants.  Email us at services@lodestarsolutions.com  or check out Lodestar’s Small Project Program.

Testing Your New TM1 COVID Models

  1. Create and execute TM1 COVID forecast test scripts based on the testing sticky notes you have been creating.
  2. Demo the updated Cognos Planning Analytics TM1 model to Sr. Managers.
  3. Assuming they love it, move the TM1 models to production.
  4. Celebrate with your kids and family!

Your Moment to Shine with TM1

See that wasn’t too bad was it. A few key points. When creating the COVID forecast with Cognos Planning Analytics, TM1, Planning is the most important point.  Since you are probably working remote, you must not assume you know what the executives want.  Heck they don’t really know what they want.  We have never been in this situation!  So, you MUST schedule virtual meetings with them.  When you meet with them, go on camera.  You want to be seen as indispensable to the organization and this is your moment to shine! 

Remember you don’t have to go it alone!  Lodestar Solutions can help you along the way.  Just email us at Services@lodestarsolutions.com and schedule a time to chat about creating your COVID forecast in Cognos Planning Analytics.

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