Move to IBM Planning Analytics on Cloud

Move to IBM Planning Analytics on Cloud
Move to IBM Planning Analytics on Cloud
Written by Heather L. Cole, October 27th 2022

Is your IT department too busy to upgrade your IBM Planning Analytics, but you want the amazing new functionality IBM has added to Planning Analytics?  Well maybe it’s time to look at IBM Planning Analytics on the Cloud, which is SaaS (Software as a Service).  With the great resignation, companies on hiring freezes and all the mergers and acquisitions, it’s not uncommon to see IT teams stretched too thin.  By moving to IBM Planning Analytics on Cloud, you can free up IT resources and yet still get your upgrades.  

At Lodestar Solutions we are seeing more clients inquiring about moving IBM Planning Analytics from On-Prem to SaaS, IBM Planning Analytics on Cloud.  So today we will share with you your options and timing for migrating to Planning Analytics on Cloud…  But know with proper planning, it is possible and not hard to Move IBM Planning Analytics from On-prem to SaaS on Cloud.

What is Planning Analytics SaaS

Planning Analytics on Cloud is IBM’s SaaS version of Planning Analytics.  Which means IBM hosts Planning Analytics in their cloud environment and IBM handles most of the technical aspects like upgrades, backups, etc…  Clients don’t have to worry about doing the installations, upgrades, or backups.  IBM does all that for you, freeing up valuable IT resources.

For more details on Planning Analytics Cloud see IBM’s site on Getting Started with Planning Analytics on Cloud

Additionally, you might want to see our earlier blog What You Need to Know When Moving IBM Cognos and Planning Analytics on Cloud. 

How to Move from Planning Analytics On-Prem to SaaS

Licensing Options- 

When you are looking to move to Planning Analytics on Cloud there are a couple different approaches to consider. Typically, the approach is based on the type of licensing and/or size of your current deployment of IBM Planning Analytics.

Enterprise Licensing:

If you are a mid to larger size client on Enterprise Planning Analytics licensing, the option you should explore is the IBM promotion called Cloud Adoption Play (CAP).  This is a promotion that IBM is offering at the time of this blog but is subject to availability.  The Cloud Adoption Play allows you to have dual entitlements of Planning Analytics on Prem and on Cloud for 1 year.  This will cost you a little more then your normal on-prem support renewal but gives you plenty of time to migrate and test the cloud before committing to it. 

At the end of one year, you will have to decide whether you will continue to use Planning Analytics on Cloud or return to on-prem.  When you make the final decision, your renewal will be based on if you choose SaaS/Cloud or on-prem.  But the great news is if you choose to return to on-prem there is no penalty. 

Express Licensing:

If your deployment of Planning Analytics is under 50 users, or you are on the Express licensing model, the Cloud Adoption Play might not make financial sense as it does have minimum requirements.  But don’t worry, Lodestar Solutions and IBM can work with you to determine the best migration path to a SaaS subscription.

In order to understand your unique situation and what the best approach is for you to move to Planning Analytics on Cloud, contact us at Services@lodestarsolutions.com and we will be happy to help you explore your options and timelines.

Creating the Timeline

The first step to moving from IBM Planning Analytics On-Prem to Saas/cloud is to plan your timing.  Determine when your team will be available to move the models and do the testing you will require.  Remember finance teams have certain times of year that are really busy, like year end and you don’t want to overwhelm them.

Enterprise Client –

If the Cloud Adoption Play is the route you are going, then you may want to purchase SaaS at the time of your renewal.  This will be the best value.   But don’t wait until your renewal to start discussing your SaaS plan with Lodestar Solutions or IBM, you will want to start the discussions 3 months before your renewal.

Express Client -

If you are an Express Client and the Cloud Adoption Play does not make financial sense, then it’s important to note that you will want to ensure you have support with IBM for your on-prem Planning Analytics while you move to the cloud.  To save money, you want to review your renewal data as this could impact your timing.

For example, if you know your support renewal expires in March, and you want 3 months to test and migrate to the cloud, we recommend you start your Cloud subscription in January.  This will essentially create 3 months of dual licensing and support.

In order to plan your migration to Planning Analytics on Cloud, contact us at Services@lodestarsolutions.com and we will be happy to help you explore your options and timelines.

Moving your TM1 Planning Analytics Models

Once you have your Planning Analytics on Cloud environment you will need to move a copy of your models to your new cloud environment.  You will want to make sure you set up your users with the proper security and update the connections to your source data sources.

For some of you that don’t currently own Planning Analytics Workspace (PAW), you will want to educate yourself and your team on all the cool new functionality.  Here’s a link to one of our videos on PAW.  

If you would like training on PAW, please reach out to Lodestar services at Services@lodestarsolutions.com and we can discuss your training needs.

Testing

Never skimp on testing.  Make sure your team has plenty of time to fully test your Planning Analytics on Cloud solutions. 

Don’t go it alone!

Lodestar Solutions is here to help you understand your options, evaluate the costs of on-prem verse on cloud and help you successfully Move IBM Planning Analytics on Cloud.  Set up a chat today by emailing us at Services@lodestarsolutions.com.

Things to Consider for Corporate Budgeting in Uncertain Times

Things to Consider for Corporate Budgeting in Uncertain Times
Things to Consider for Corporate Budgeting in Uncertain Times
October 6th, 2022

It’s that time of year again when most companies are frantically creating their budgets.  But this is not a normal budget year.  This is a year of extreme uncertainty!  Inflation, supply chain issues, workforce issues, crazy politics and unrest in many countries are all creating a budgeting environment we have not seen in decades.  For many in the budgeting and planning world this means late nights, and stress as they try to contort their models to provide the modeling they need in this uncertain world.  So, we thought we would share a few things to consider when budgeting in uncertain times.  First, we will start with expenses and then look at revenue.

What Got You Here Won’t Get You There!

The models or Excel spreadsheets you used last year are probably not designed to handle the questions executives have today!  Companies that use the same templates year after year without updating them for the changes in their industry and world are going to struggle more to gain certainty than those that see around the corners and anticipate changes like interest rates, and inflation.  If your models don’t allow you to do “what if” modeling, well you really need to look at a redesign and maybe even invest in more robust tools. 

If you don’t have flexible models and software that allows for rapid changes, then it’s like you are mowing your acre lawn with a weed whacker.  It can be done, but how long will it take? 

If you want to discuss your current models or want to see the power of an industry leading planning and budgeting system, IBM Planning Analytics/TM1, email us at sales@lodestarsolutions.com.

Change Your Frequency

According to McKinsey in their article, Just-in-time budgeting for a Volatile Economy
A volatile economy makes traditional budgets obsolete before they’re even completed.” 

We agree, many corporations still do the big annual budgeting process that is outdated the day it is approved.  The annual budget process worked in a stable world.  But news flash, we are not in a stable world.  Changing your frequency to quarterly instead of annual or better yet a rolling forecast will allow your budget to be more current.  As the Harvard Business Review article, Three Ways to Bring Flexibility to Your Budget states, “These “just-in-time budgeting” solutions got popular during the 2008–2011 economic crisis but for many were perceived as a temporary fix. Today, with high volatility a permanent feature, it’s time to accept that they’re here to stay.”

At Lodestar Solutions we have been encouraging clients to move to a Rolling Forecast for years.  Here’s a link to my 2016 video Rolling Forecast verse Budgeting – Let it Roll.  This may be more relevant today than it was when I initially presented this at CFO conferences years ago.

Zero Based Budgeting -

We appreciate that taking last year’s actuals and providing them to business units as a starting point for the budget is easier.  However, given the uncertainty and changes in almost every industry, Lodestar Solutions recommends a zero-based budget.  By having budget unit owners start from zero, you will cause them to really think about how their department budget has changed or how it needs to change.  A zero-based budget mentality will allow team members to reflect and understand how the business drives value and where it is lacking.  I am not opposed to providing last year’s actuals, but you really want to encourage people to reflect on changes and anticipate the future.  Unfortunately, I believe inflation and employment challenges will be here for a while.

If you subscribe to the Wall Street Journal, check out Zero-Based Budgeting Gains Clout as a Way for Companies to Find Savings.

Outsourcing Verse In-House

Consulting:

Many companies are dealing with staff shortages in their finance and analytics teams.  This can result in team members bearing the burden of doing the work of two or more people.  This can cause them to start considering their options.  This is one of several factors that cause companies to take a closer look at what functions are handled internally vs externally.  If you are like many clients and you have experienced attrition during the great resignation, you know how difficult it is to find talent.  When you find talent, they are very expensive.  These increased labor costs may motivate your organization to think maybe instead of hiring we should outsource.  This is a valid question, but it’s important to note that the consulting firms are having the same talent pool challenges.  Therefore, we want to remind everyone that in your budget, you need to include an increase in consulting fees.  We are seeing inflationary increases in almost every service industry so make sure you are increasing your professional service fees, including IBM Cognos and IBM Planning Analytics consulting.  Everyone is raising their rates! 

Software as a Service:

Another option to consider when you are faced with staff shortages, especially in IT is to consider moving more software applications to a hosted or Software as a Service (SaaS) model.  When you have SaaS your IT department typically does not have to allocate internal resources for patches, upgrades, backups… 

SaaS is a good option if your IT resources are limited.  Additionally, many SaaS structures like IBM Cognos’ structure allow you to add more users for a short period of time. 

Take IBM Planning Analytics on Cloud (SaaS).  Let’s say throughout the year you need 100 users in the system but during budget cycles you need 100 additional users for only 3 months.  You will pay a small upcharge for users not originally contracted for the year, but you could end up paying only for three months for the budget season users.  The result is you have more control over your expenses and therefore cashflow.  For more info on what you need to know when moving to the IBM cloud, see our blog, What You Need to Know When Moving IBM Cognos and Planning Analytics on Cloud

If you are an IBM Cognos or Planning Analytics client and would like to explore an outsourced model where your power user is a consultant contact use at services@lodestarsolutions.com.

Having the Right Tools

As a software reseller of IBM Planning Analytic software, I would be remiss if I didn’t remind you that having the right tools for your budgeting and planning process is essential.  I am amazed how many mid-market and large organizations still rely on Excel for their planning and budget process.  Don’t get me wrong, I love Excel, but also appreciate it’s limitations.  One of the things to consider when budgeting in uncertain times is the tool you are using.  If you want flexibility and to be agile in your planning, you need software that helps streamline the modeling and planning processes.  

LEARN MORE:

Tackling the Top 3 Performance Management and Budgeting Struggles - Talent, Time and Tech

If you would like to learn what industry leading tools like IBM Cognos Planning Analytics can do for you, join us on Thursday Nov 10, 2022, at 1 PM Eastern for our webinar Tackling the Top 3 Performance Management and Budgeting Struggles - Talent, Time and Tech.

New in Planning Analytics Workspace 79

New in Planning Analytics Workspace 79
New in Planning Analytics Workspace 79
Written by Mike Bernaiche, September 15th 2022

On September 1, 2022, IBM released Planning Analytics Workspace 79 or 2.0.79.  There are a number of enhancements, especially within the applications and plans area in this update.  I wrote and spoke about this in a prior blog post titled, What is Coming in Applications and Plans.  Well in Planning Analytics Workspace 79, we now have a lot of what is coming.  Please read below for more details.

Latest versions of Planning Analytics Components.  We highly recommend staying up to date on versions for all the fixes contained in the below link.

  • Planning Analytics Workspace – 2.0.79
  • Planning Analytics for Excel – 2.0.80
  • Planning Analytics TM1 Web – 2.0.79
  • Planning Analytics Server – 2.0.9.14

For all fixes in each component of Planning Analytics please see below link.
IBM Planning Analytics 2.0 Fix Lists

Applications and Plans

  •  Track and report on plan progress with the new Overview Report.  You can view a plan  oriented report on the progress of your plan in Planning Analytics Workspace 79. 
  • The Overview Report contains 3 main areas:
  1. Timeline - The Timeline panel shows the status of tasks within a plan against a timeline, which can be configured to show either months or weeks.
  2. Contributions - The Contributions panel provides details for individual contributions in a plan.
  3. Plan Progress - The Plan Progress panel displays progress for all contributions and for individual tasks in a plan.
Applications and Plans in Planning Analytics Workspace 79
Contributions in Planning Analytics Workspace 79
Plan Progess in Planning Analytics Workspace 79
  • Send email reminders to contributors of a plan.  You can now send an email reminder to plan contributors from the Contributions panel of the Overview report.
Email Reminders in Planning Analytics Workspace 79
  • Set task dependencies to automate plans.  You can now automatically open a task upon completion of one or more dependent tasks.  When you create or edit a task, use the Task Dependency option on the Task Details tab to set the dependencies.
Set Task Dependencies in Planning Analytics Workspace 79
Dependencies in Planning Analytics Workspace 79
  • Set a task start and end date  
Task Start and End Date in Workspace 79

Cloud Enhancements

  • Planning Analytics Workspace Classic no longer available on Cloud 2.0.79 – guidance was previously given that in 2.0.79 the classic workspace was no longer available.
  • Features and Configurations Tiles – Separated into two tabs now in the administrator area to make your experience easier.
  • Configure an Inactivity Timeout on cloud – previously this was set to 60 minutes.  You are now able to set as you see fit.

Miscellaneous Enhancements

  • Process editor only available on Workbench – Starting in Planning Analytics Workspace 79, the process editor is only available on the Workbench.
  • Use new interface to manage chores in a specific process – simplifies chore management by presenting two distinct options when you open the context menu for a process in the Databases tree: Edit related chores and remove from chores.
  • Select multiple variables in process editor - You can now select multiple variables in the process editor.  When multiple variables are selected, you can apply any option on the selected variables bar to multiple variables simultaneously.
Multiple Variables in Planning Analytics Workspace 79
  • Apply formatting to an axis in a visualization 
Formatting in Planning Analytics Workspace 79
  • Wrap text in data cells – you can now format string values in a data cell to wrap text.
  • Chore Editor to only be available on the Workbench in Planning Analytics 81.

Summary

Well, there you have it!  Everything that is new in Planning Analytics Workspace 79.  Applications and Plans provides a ton of enhancements and if you are using this, you should look to upgrade as soon as possible to take advantage of these great new features.  IBM continues to update Planning Analytics bringing a ton of new functionality to make your planning experience industry best.  If you want to discuss an upgrade or see a demo of the latest and greatest, please reach out to us at services@lodestarsolutions.com.

Help I Inherited IBM Cognos and IBM Planning Analytics, Now What?

Help I Inherited IBM Cognos and IBM Planning Analytics, Now What
Help I Inherited IBM Cognos and IBM Planning Analytics, Now What
Written by Heather L. Cole, September 1st 2022

With the great resignation in full swing, there are a number of people that find themselves in charge of systems they are not familiar with.  If you find yourself thinking, “Help I inherited IBM Cognos and IBM Planning Analytics, Now What?”  Stay tuned this blog is for you.  We will share the questions you should be asking when you take over.

When is Your Support Renewal Due?

The first thing you need to know when you are assigned responsibility for IBM Cognos or IBM Planning Analytic licensing is when is your support renewal bill is due.  The reason this is so important is that if you let support lapse you could find yourself with a system down and you won’t be able to log a case with IBM!  This is not how you want to be known when you take over responsibility for a system.  Additionally, if you let IBM support lapse you may have to pay a reinstatement free to get support back. 

IBM Proof of Entitlements: To find out when your support renewal expires you can check your most recent IBM Proof of Entitlements.  This is a PDF that IBM or your partner sends you when you renew.  It states the quantity and type of licenses and the duration of your support.  This document will also tell you your IBM site number which you will need to update IBM that you should receive the support bills in the future.

If you don’t have access to your Proof of Entitlements, Lodestar Solutions can help.  Just email us at Renewals@lodestarsolutions.com or call 813-415-2910.  Christina our support renewal specialist is happy to help.

How Do I Renew Support?

It’s important to know that IBM will automatically send clients a support renewal quote about 90-120 days prior to your renewal.  But they will send this email to the person on record in the IBM systems for the renewals.  If the prior IBM Cognos or IBM Planning Analytics owner left the company, then you probably will not receive the IBM Quote.  Note it’s been our experience if IBM receives a kickback email stated Jane Doe is no longer with the company, they do not try to find the new person.  So, you want to make sure you update the contact names with IBM.  See our blog, How to Change Your Primary Contact with IBM.

Renew with Lodestar Solutions - A better option is to renew your support with an IBM business partner, like Lodestar Solutions.  At Lodestar Solutions, we will educate you on what you own, evaluate if you are in the optimal license mix for your situation, explain licensing and clients get access to our private client only user group.  So, if you would like a competitive quote and to better understand your options email us at Renewals@lodestarsolutions.com or call 813-415-2910. 

Warning:  There are a number of what we call “paper pushing partners.”  These are partners that might offer you a discount on support to handle your renewals of many different software brands.  But watch out!  We have received numerous calls from clients that have renewed their support with a “paper pushing partner” only to find out they were at risk of failing an audit, misclassified causing them to pay 60% more than they needed to, or they were paying for support on licensing that did not allow them to download the latest version of the software like flexpoints.  (Flexpoints and Cognos What You Need to Know) 

If IBM or your IBM partner is not walking you through licensing options and functionality with your renewal, it’s time to find a new partner!   Lodestar Solutions can help! Email us at Renewals@lodestarsolutions.com or call 813-415-2910.

Update Your IBM Contacts

Believe it or not IBM periodically sends important information to the names they have on file.  For example, IBM will send you a quote for support renewal to the renewal name on file.  This is important in the event the partner you worked with fails to send you a quote.  Additionally, the names on file with IBM also determine who can contact IBM support with an issue.  For more information on updating your IBM Contacts see our earlier blog.

How to Change Your Primary Contact with IBM.

IBM Site

How do I get support when I have issues?

If you inherited IBM Cognos or IBM Planning Analytics you might find yourself with an issue, the worst being your system goes down.  And you need help ASAP.  There are a couple options when you are having issues. 

  1.  If you are current on IBM support, you can log a case with IBM and wait for their response.
  2. If you are not current or want help immediately, Lodestar Solutions has a team of amazing resources we can assign to help.  Note if you are not current on support, we can help but will not be able to log a case with IBM on your behalf or provide any IBM patches or software updates.  We recommend that you consider signing an emergency support SOW with Lodestar so we don’t have to wait for paperwork before we can help you.   For more information on our services email Services@lodestarsolutions.com or call 813-415-2910.

What Do You Own?

Another question you need to ask when you inherit IBM Cognos or IBM Planning Analytics is what the heck do we own?  If you are now responsible for the analytic system, you need to know what licensing you own, what functionality it has, what version is supported….

The fastest way to discover what you own is to first see if you have a copy of your Proof of Entitlements from IBM, that will tell you the quantity and type of licensing.  Next you want to find out what version you are on and if that version is a currently supported version.  IBM has a web page they update with the supported versions: Here’s the link to IBM Lifecycles

Next, call Lodestar Solutions and ask to see a demo of the latest functionality and for a complimentary What the Heck Do I Own Session.  This session will get you up to speed quickly.  To schedule this meeting email services@lodestarsolutions.com or call 813-415-2910.

In Summary

If you are tasked with overseeing IBM Cognos or IBM Planning Analytics because you inherited IBM Cognos, you need to first get a lay of the land.  The questions above will get you started.  But you don’t have to go it alone!  Lodestar Solutions is here to help guide you through the process, and IBM red tape if you need it.  So, let’s have a chat. 

Contact Heather at 813-415-2910 or email hcole@lodestarsolutions.com.

Who Should Keep the IBM Cognos When Part of the Company is Sold?

Who Should keep the IBM Cognos When Part of the Company is Sold
Who Should keep the IBM Cognos When Part of the Company is Sold
Written by Heather L. Cole, August 18th 2022

The mergers and acquisition world has been busy recently.  If your company divested part of the organization, who should keep the IBM Cognos?  The original entity or the sold entity?

When part of the entity is sold there are many moving parts.  But it’s important to think through how the licensing components of your IBM Cognos or IBM Planning Analytics software are handled.

True Story:

Lodestar Solutions had a client that spun off a significant portion of their business.  Both the original company and the spin off wanted to keep the IBM Cognos licensing.  It was determined that the original company would keep the Cognos licensing and the new entity would have to buy new licenses.  But the when the new company went to purchase their Cognos licensing, the partner, not Lodestar, and IBM failed to create a new enterprise number.  They just created a new site under the original company.  So, the new company didn’t technically own their licenses.  The issue was not discovered until the support tickets for the two entities were getting comingled.  Needless to say, this was not a good situation.  And you don’t want to go through this!

Today, I’ll share things you need to consider and do when you are spinning off part of your organization.

Deciding Who Gets the Cognos Licensing

The first decision is who should get the IBM Cognos BM Planning Analytics licensing.  Now you might be thinking, of course the original company should keep them and the spin off should purchase their own.  But that’s not always the best solution, at least not for the original company. 

Do you need all the licenses after the divestiture?  The original company may not need all the IBM licensing after they spin off part of the company.  In this case they may allocate a portion of the licenses to the spin off, so they do not get stuck with the support bill on licensing they won’t need.

Are you in the optimal IBM Cognos or Planning Analytics licensing type?  IBM has a number of types of licensing such as Express for smaller deployments under 100 users, authorized users and processor value unit licenses, for large deployments.  They also have SaaS versions of Cognos and Planning Analytics.  If your user count will significantly reduce after selling off part of your organization, you may be better off including the Cognos licensing in the sale and buying new licenses that put you in the optimal licensing mix.

Is Your IBM Support Bill at List Price?  Another thing to consider is the current cost of your IBM Cognos support subscription bill.  If you are paying list price for your support, which means you typically have owned Cognos or IBM Planning Analytics for a number of years.  You may find that by including the licensing in the sales of part of the company, it would allow you to buy new licensing at a discount, and therefore lower your support renewal costs. 

True Story:

I had a client that was divesting part of their company to an overseas entity, and they gave them all of their Cognos licensing because they were able to buy new licenses at a discount and change the type of licensing saving them 100K a year in support.

Get Help!

You are not expected to be an expert in IBM licensing.  So, if you are planning to or recently sold off part of your company, Lodestar Solutions can help you evaluate your unique situation to determine what’s best for you.  Just email us at Sales@lodestarsolutions.com and we can discuss your situation.

Confirm the Licensing is in the Right Name

Now that you have decided if you are going to keep all the IBM  Cognos or Planning Analytics licensing, or sell it as part of the transaction to divest part of your organization, we need to focus on the process with IBM.

If you decide to give all or part of your IBM Cognos licensing to the new company, you will need to sign some documents with IBM stating you are transferring your interest to the new company.  Lodestar Solutions can help facilitate this process. 

First the new company must get a new Enterprise account set up with IBM, if they don’t have one already.  You do not want them to just create a new site under your enterprise number.  They will also need to create a new site number under their new IBM enterprise number for the licenses. 

Once that is done, IBM can create the transfer documents that should specify the from account, the too account as well as the quantities and part numbers to be transferred.

If you go it alone, double check the quantity and part numbers on the documents are correct.  You also want to make sure that all the site numbers are correct.  Attention to detail is very important in this process.

If you decide to give all the licenses away, you will want to work with someone to identify your optimal licensing configuration and determine if there are any special promotions available.  The important thing is to not let your licensing lapse.  So, make sure you buy new licensing before giving yours away.

Check the IBM Contact Names on File

When companies spin off parts, it’s not uncommon for the players associated with Cognos or Planning Analytics to change.  If this is your situation, or if you have had attrition of team members, it is important to update the contact names within IBM.  If you don’t update them, you might not get support renewal quotes, notices of versions or licensing changes, and worse you might not be able to log a support case.

Look for an upcoming blog on changing contact names, but if you need help contact renewals@lodestarsolutions.com and our team will walk you though the process.  Or check out IBM’s information

At Support Renewal Time

When you receive your first support renewal quote after the divestiture, you want to double, no triple check that they have not accidentally left the licenses you sold with the divestiture on your site.  I have seen it happen.  IBM moves the licensing to the new site but does not remove them from the original company site.  You don’t want to be paying for support on something you don’t own!

Lodestar Solutions is happy to help you review your support bill and provide a competitive quote for your renewal.  For help with renewals email renewals@lodestarsolutions.com

Call to Action:

It’s important to review your licensing after a divestiture because you don’t want to be paying too much for support, and you don’t want to accidentally lose your licensing because someone moved the wrong site.  So, don’t go it alone!  Lodestar Solutions is here to help.  Call us at 813-415-2910 or email  personally at hcole@lodestarsolutions.com.

If you happen to be acquiring a company that also has Cognos or Planning Analytics see our blog, Tips for Acquiring a Cognos Client

I hope you found this blog on “Who Should keep the IBM Cognos When Part of the Company is Sold?” beneficial.  If you have questions please include them in the chat so everyone can learn.

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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Time to Evaluate Your Budgeting & Planning Software?

Time to Evaluate Your Budgeting and Planning Software
Time to Evaluate Your Budgeting and Planning Software
Written by Heather L. Cole, June 30th 2022

Are your budgeting and planning processes meeting your needs?  Wondering if what you own is what you need?  Don’t know where to start?  Maybe you are thinking it might be time to do a software evaluation of your budgeting and planning software?  Lodestar Solutions has been helping clients evaluate and implement Planning solutions for over 18 years and we have learned a few things along the way. 

The biggest mistake teams make in evaluating their budgeting and planning software is jumping right into a request for proposal process or asking vendors to just do a demo.  This is like going to multiple car dealerships and test driving all different vehicles without first determining how you will use your vehicle.  Is it for commuting, or towing your boat?  Do you need room for kids, or is it just you and your dog?  By not determining how you want to use the software first, you will experience extra meetings, delayed selection process, potentially extra costs, and you will risk selecting the wrong solution.  If you don’t know what you need, how do you know what questions to ask or who to ask?

So how do you run a budgeting and planning software evaluation?  We will share the steps below:

How to Run a Budgeting and Planning Software Evaluation

1. Requirements Discovery (MOST IMPORTANT)

Lodestar Solutions’ recommendation is that you focus on doing proper Requirements Discovery before talking to vendors.  This requires starting with the end in mind. What are the strategic goals of the organization?  What information is needed to help accomplish those goals?  What type of reporting do you have today and want in the future?  What type of “what if” analysis will users desire?  What data sources are available?  What frequency do you want to update it daily, weekly, monthly, quarterly?  How do you anticipate the business will change in the next 3 years?  What type of solution is optimal, SaaS or On-Prem...?

Proper requirements discovery also requires getting feedback from various areas of the business.  You may start in finance, but the right solution will inspire you to connect all the different plans of the business-like marketing, sales, human resources…

To learn more about facilitating analytic discovery check out our blog – Facilitating Analytic Discovery for Success.

Lodestar Solutions’ Requirements Discovery Services:

Lodestars Solutions can help you not only complete a proper requirements discovery process, but we can also train your team to do so.  Planning systems are not supposed to be static.  As you have seen over the past two years, the world changes, your business changes, and you will want to periodically run an update requirements discovery process.  By empowering your teams by training them on requirements discovery and revisiting the discovery a couple times per year, you can ensure your models will not become outdated in the future, and you will save on expensive consultants.

2. Software Evaluation

Once the requirements have been defined it’s time for the software evaluation process.  Since you have a detailed list of what you need the software to do, you need to prioritize the functionality you desire. 

You should first evaluate your needs to the functionality of your current software.  So, call your software representative and set up a meeting to learn about the functionality in the latest release.  Your issue might just be you haven’t upgraded in a while.

You will want to provide all vendors you invite to participate in your software evaluation with the priority list and ask them to show the functionality on the list.  It is very important that you control the process, not the vendors.  If you fail to provide the detail list, vendors will show you what they think is their strengths, and you risk the software not being able to do what you need it to do.

In an effective software evaluation, you will control the process, not the vendors.  

Lodestar Solutions’ Software Evaluation Assistance

Lodestar Solutions does not formally run selection processes because we are a reseller of IBM Planning Analytics and running the process for a client and then pitching them on the benefits of IBM Planning Analytics lacks impartiality.  We can work with you and provide templates so that your team can easily run the software evaluation process.  Our goal is to assist in the software evaluation procedurally but let you run it.  The benefits of this are that your evaluation process is expedited and leverages templates that Lodestar has created after decades of working with clients.  The templates will help you save time and money.  Additionally, your team will learn techniques in evaluation that they can use when evaluating other software solutions.

Request for Proposals (RFPs) - I would be remised if I didn’t address RFPs.  At Lodestar Solutions we are not a big fan of the formal Request for Proposal process.  In the Planning Software space all the major players are going to be able to say yes, they can do what you need, but it’s how they do it that matters!  And RFP’s will never disclose that a certain functionality requires advanced coding to accomplish.  So, Lodestar Solutions recommends that you spend your time focusing more on the requirements and preparing for the evaluation than compiling a long list of questions and then compiling the results.

IBM Planning Analytics

A solution you should consider when choosing your budgeting and planning software is IBM Planning Analytics.  At Lodestar Solutions we are amazed at the new functionality IBM has been adding, and when designed properly, based on your requirements, IBM Planning Analytics is extremely flexible and robust!  Lodestar Solutions is available to share with you the power of IBM Planning Analytics.  But if you want more information check out these resources.

Gartner Peer Insights.

IBM Website

3. Negotiation

Once you have selected your top vendor it’s time to negotiate.  This process is very important as the savings you receive initially often will determine the annual rate in future years. 

Lodestar Solutions Negotiation Service 

Whether you choose IBM Planning Analytics or another software vendor, Lodestar Solutions can help you negotiate the price and terms of your purchase.  Because we have been selling software for decades, and we have in-house resources that teach negotiation classes to finance executives, we can assist in getting you the best deal.  With our Negotiation Services, you will learn our negotiation framework which will empower your teams to be more effective negotiators in the future.

4. Implementation

The implementation phase is the exciting phase!  This is where we get sh*t done!  Lodestar Solutions recommends a phased, agile approach to implementing, which we call our Business Analytics Agile Methodology (BAAM).  This means focusing on smaller chunks of the project and delivering results in small sprints. An Agile approach has been proven to be the most effective implementation methodology.

Lodestar Solutions’ Implementing IBM Planning Analytics

In the event during the software evaluation process, you determine IBM Planning Analytics is the best fit for you, the Lodestar Solutions team will work with you and your team to educate them on how Planning Analytics works, and the art of designing effective, flexible models.  Our goal is to make you self-sufficient, so that as you incorporate other areas of the organization like marketing or human resources, you can do so without pricey consultants.

Knowledge Transfer for Implementing an Alternatives Solutions

We appreciate that you may decide that another solution is a better fit for your needs.  If that is the case, Lodestar Solutions, will work with you and the implementation team for the software to transfer all the knowledge discovered in earlier steps.  Additionally, if you would like a Lodestar Solutions team member to periodically overview the process of the implementation team and serve as an accountability agent, we can do so.

Conclusion

We can’t stress enough the importance of the first Requirements Discovery phase when evaluating your budgeting and planning software.  By doing the discovery process properly you will deliver solutions your end users love, save valuable time in implementation, and save money on consulting services.  But most importantly you will ensure you select the correct software to meet your needs now and for years to come.

Lodestar welcomes the opportunity to discuss the next steps for your process.   

If you would like to receive our Software Evaluation Checklist which can be customized, click here.    

Additionally, here is a blog you may find beneficial – Software Selection Process.

Next Step

Email Lodestar to discuss the above and your specific project.  Services@lodestarsolutions.com

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Developing KPIs Executives Use

Developing KPIs Executives Use
Developing KPIs Executives Use
Written by Heather L. Cole, June 16th 2022

Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) can be more challenging than people think.   You create a Cognos or IBM Planning Analytics dashboard with the KPIs the company has been measuring and no one uses it.  People convince you to change the dashboard and someone else complains that it’s not meeting their needs.  As an analytic professional you start to feel like you are caught in the middle of a tug a war.  Today we will share Lodestar’s recommendations on developing KPIs executives use so you don’t get caught in the middle.

KPIs and the Strategic Goals

In last week’s blog, Create Support for KPIs Across the Organization we discussed that when defining 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.  If you did not read it go read it now, so you understand why strategic goals are so important in defining KPIs.

Steps for Developing KPIs for Cognos or Planning Analytics

  •  Start with Understanding the Strategy Goals and Initiatives of the organization
  • Define the stakeholders, the people that the organization needs to have strong relationships with to succeed. 
  • Facilitate a KPI discovery session (Facilitating Analytic Discovery for Success)
  • Define what you can monitor to make the relationship with the stakeholders stronger
  1. Ask the stakeholders themselves
  2. Engage your end users so they feel part of the process
  •  Identify your data needs & evaluate if you already have it
  1. IBM Planning Analytics can be a useful tool for calculating and collecting data you might need.
  •  Validate the measurement definition, calculation, and frequency
  • Share the WHY for the KPIs with the organization
  • Define how to communicate your KPIs 
  1.  Cognos and IBM Planning Analytics could be useful tools
  •  Review your KPIs quarterly to ensure they help improve performance

Common KPI Mistakes

Now that you have the basic steps, I want to share the common mistakes that can jeopardize your company’s future.

Not Evaluating Your KPIs Regularly

In the last 3 years the world has changed, your business has changed, and yet so many companies are still using the same dashboards and measures they defined years ago.  KPI’s are not intended to be static they should change as your business changes, as your employees change, as your suppliers and customers change.  At Lodestar Solutions, we coach our clients on hosting quarterly or at least semi-annual strategy sessions to identify how your Cognos Dashboards, KPIs and Planning Analytic models should change.  To learn more about hosting meetings check out our blog, Facilitating Analytic Discovery for Success.  

“What got you here won’t get you there!” 

Measure Everything

Another mistake is to create too many KPIs.  Hint the name says it all, they are Key performance indicators.  Not All performance indicators.  Start with what you believe best monitors the relationship with your stakeholders (as described in previous blog).  We are looking for the needle movers.  Things our teams can take actions on to improve the performance.  When you measure too many things, people don’t pay attention to any of them.  Remember if you are hosting regular strategy sessions you can change them.  Less is more.

Tying Bonuses to KPIs

Be very careful if you tie bonuses and incentives to performance on KPIs.  According to technology thought leader Bernard Marr, “The true purpose of a KPI is to help people inside the business know where they are in relation to where they want to be.  They act like a compass on a sea voyage.  But, once those KPIs are linked to incentives, they stop being a navigation tool and become a target an individual has to hit to secure their bonus.” 

I have seen this firsthand.  Prior to the real estate bust, I was working with a large Chicago home building designing an IBM Planning Analytics model.  Just prior to the crash we noticed that the number of spec homes was increasing significantly, which was odd as spec homes are the models used to help sell houses.  When we asked the CFO about it, he said, oh yeah that’s because we have had people back out of closings.  He then added we pay our project manager based on completions, so they keep building.  Fast forward the billion-dollar home building is no longer in existence.  I believe the warning signs were there, but the company didn’t act fast enough to change how people were paid.  Foundation Crumbles on Kimball Hill homes.

Get an Analytic Success Coach

Success leaves clues and there is a methodology of developing the KPIs executives use.  The above gets you started but if you want rapid success you may want to consider getting a coach to guide your thought the process.  Yes, there are analytic success coaches!  At Lodestar Solutions we work with clients to empower you and your teams to successfully facilitate analytic strategy sessions.  If you would like to learn more about how a coach can help you achieve success in weeks not years, email us at services@lodestarolutiosn.com.

All Companies Should Care About ESG Reporting!

All Companies Should Care About ESG Reporting
All Companies Should Care About ESG Reporting
Written by Heather L. Cole, June 2nd 2022

Every company even privately held companies should pay attention to ESG reporting!  ESG stands for Environmental, Social and Governance and is a set of standards used by socially conscious investors to screen potential investments.  But wait it’s so much more than that!!!  The SEC will most likely require companies to provide ESG Reporting in the future.  But all companies should care about ESG reporting and today we will discuss why.  And if you are an IBM Cognos or IBM Planning Analytics client, we have good news for you…

What is ESG?

First let’s clarify what ESG reporting is.  As we mentioned it’s a set of standards that will help not only investors, but employees, customers, credit reporting agencies and more evaluate how your organization is performing in three areas.

  • Environmental - criteria consider how a company safeguards the environment, including corporate policies addressing climate change.  So, are you a polluter, or generating too much CO2?  
  • Social - criteria examine how a company manages relationships with employees, suppliers, customers, and the communities where it operates.  For example, do they have diversity and inclusion programs?
  • Governance - deals with a company’s leadership, executive pay, audits, internal controls, and shareholder rights.

Why You Should Care

All companies and team members should care about ESG for several reasons.

SEC Rules:

Initially ESG will impact publicly traded companies. The SEC in March 2022 proposed rule changes that would require registrants to include certain climate-related disclosures in their registration statements and periodic reports. These included information about climate-related risks that are reasonably likely to have a material impact on their business, results of operations, or financial condition, and certain climate-related financial statement metrics in a note to their audited financial statements.  So if you are with a publicly traded company or invest in one, this will provide transparency on organizational behavior.

Trickle Down to Private Companies

If your company is private but provides goods or services to a public company, you will see that they are starting to require vendors to provide information about their emissions and other ESG measures.  The reason is that the Greenhouse Gas Protocols define what they call Scope 3 emissions as “all indirect emissions that occur in the value chain of the reporting company, including both upstream and downstream”.  Therefore, businesses are now working to engage with suppliers and create low-carbon and easily recyclable products and services to reduce value chains emissions.  The net effect is that almost everyone that provides goods and services to publicly traded companies will need to report or risk losing large contracts.

Credit Ratings

Many experts including the S&P Ratings believe ESG factors will affect your credit rating.  So, if you want to borrow money in the future, your ESG scores may help you get a better rate, or they could hurt you.

Employees Care and want to work with companies in alignment with values.
Customers Care and want to work with companies in alignment with values.
Investors are researching and investing in companies with better ESG ratings.
Executives Care - Your Executives are discussing this with other executives, so if you are responsible for reporting or analytics, you should care.

The Guidelines for ESG Reporting

The guidelines for ESG reporting are still evolving and there are a number of organizations that are working to help create standards such as the Greenhouse Gas (GHG) Protocol Corporate Standard which classifies a company’s GHG emissions into three ‘scopes.

The Sustainability Accounting Standards Board’s (SASB) Standards, which are industry-specific, sustainability disclosure standards focused on financial materiality.

And the Task Force on Climate-related Financial Disclosures to improve and increase reporting of climate-related financial information. (TCFD)

But companies looking to begin tracking their ESG measures should know it’s ever changing so your tools must be flexible.

Call to Action

If you are a business intelligence professional or maybe you are in the finance team, I urge you to do your research.  Understand what ESG is.  Ask what your organization is doing about ESG!  You might find the legal department is running with it initially, because it’s an SEC risk item.  But let’s think about it.  Business Intelligence and finance teams are in a unique position to help.  They know the data; they understand reporting and can help develop scorecards and dashboards to keep ESG on everyone’s radar. 

If you are an IBM Cognos or IBM Planning Analytics client, did you know IBM has samples of ESG reporting using their tools.  Email us at services@lodestarsolutions.com and we can provide a demonstration on how you can leverage the tools you own today to do ESG reporting with IBM Cognos and IBM Planning Analytics.

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.

Summary

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.

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