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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Is it Time to Redesign Your TM1 Planning System?

Is it Time to Improve and Enhance Your Planning Environment
December 12th, 2019

As business analytics coaches it is our passion to talk about latest innovations in the financial planning and analysis space. Today we're going to talk about some of your pain points and discuss some ways Lodestar Solutions can help you redesign your TM1 planning system.

TM1 Model Issues

We all have models or work with models in the past that we either inherited or have built a long time ago. Overtime, TM1 models can become sluggish and start to perform poorly. Some of this is due to poor design and or accumulation of large amounts of data. A lot of this also has to do with not fully understanding how multidimensional models work.

If you have a relational mindset you will take a little bit of retraining of the mind in order to adjust to multidimensional models. People who come from a relational background and built multi-dimensional models in a lot of cases added dimensions that were not necessary in the cube. These dimensions could have easily been attributes off a dimension and not an actual dimension within the cube. As you may know, adding more dimensions to a cube introduces complexity and likely makes the cube sparse and subsequently will perform poorly. As time goes on and more data is added to these cubes they start performing poorly and you end up with a sluggish environment. Add feeders to the problem and in a lot of cases data points are overfed and this results in higher memory consumption overtime. This all snowballs into problems that some of you may be familiar with, such as complaints from end users. Lengthy maintenance cycles in the shape of drawn out data loads, reconciliations and poorly performing reports.

So now that we have outlined all your pain points, how will Lodestar help you fix your TM1 Planning System? In the latest version of TM1 which is called Planning Analytics, IBM has introduced certain features that address the problems that we have outlined. We're going to attempt to provide certain ideas on how you can improve and enhance your current planning and forecasting environment by upgrading to the latest version of Planning Analytics. By putting in a little bit of work up front, you can not only fix the issues outlined above you can also take your planning and forecasting to the next level by employing latest technology and utilizing our expertise to create models that perform better and use the latest industry standards in creating a predictive forecast that ends up in a solid business plan. Here are some methods we can use to do it.

Ideas to Enhance and Improve your TM1 Environment

In Planning Analytics there is a feature called hierarchies. This is probably one of the biggest enhancements to TM1 to date. Dimensions in Planning Analytics are a collection of hierarchies. You can have unlimited amount of hierarchies in Planning Analytics. You can not only use hierarchies as an alternate consolidation of elements but you can also use hierarchies as virtual dimensions. What do we mean by virtual dimension you may ask? It's just a dimension that is created either temporarily or permanently and can be used in a cube for analysis. Any attribute within a dimension can be converted into a hierarchy. If you have cubes with dimensions that only have a few elements in them, you can actually remove those dimensions from your cube and use them as attributes for another dimension. Subsequently these attributes can be used as a virtual dimension and now you can do the same analysis as previously done but with a dense cube that uses less memory. It also gives you the flexibility to include or exclude this dimension at will.

Opportunity to Redesign

Using hierarchies as a virtual dimension will require a redesign of cubes and will provide the opportunity to look at the environment and do a deep health check. This may possibly include, removing redundancies in the form of cubes, dimensions or elements. Combining cubes and reducing the memory footprint. A health check will also provide the opportunity to create new models, possibly create a predictive model that provides a better forecast using statistical analysis, or maybe use algorithmic artificial intelligence to create models that help in decision optimization.

What Else Do You Get?

With Planning Analytics you get Workspace (PAW) which is a state of the art modeling, dashboarding and reporting environment. This is the new platform for all your needs. You do not need Architect to create models anymore. You also get the updated version of Perspectives which is called Planning Analytics for Excel (PAX). In PAX you can do everything that you are able to in Perspectives and more. Staring a new report takes seconds and within minutes you can have something presentable for any audience. All cubes are available at your fingertips and simple drag and drop capabilities make things a breeze. There is a huge improvement from years ago when the only reporting was Perspectives, TM1 Web or Cognos BI. Now you have modeling, reporting and dashboarding all in on space.

The point is that it your models are probably outdated, and they need an overhaul. We are here to provide you the knowledge and expertise to get there. Make Lodestar your partner in this new journey to improve and enhance your TM1 Planning System, and we will make you look like a Rockstar! Contact us now at services@lodestarsolutions.com

Here are some links to information regarding Planning Analytics and Hierarchies

Complete Model Development in Planning Analytics Workspace

Model Development in Planning Analytics Workspace
November 11, 2019

As business analytics coaches it is our passion to talk about latest innovations in the financial planning and analysis space. Today we're going to talk about Planning Analytics and the ability to create complete models using Planning Analytics Workspace.

With Planning Analytics version 2.0, IBM has added capabilities to create fully functional models that were only possible by using TM1 architect in the past. This approach worked fine for seasoned developers and modelers that knew their way around TM1, (legacy name for Planning Analytics) and its components. New modelers and developers had to familiarize themselves with all the components of TM1 which created a bit of a learning curve.

IBM's go forward strategy is to take Planning Analytics to a place where all model development and reporting can be done in one platform.

Key Features

Let's talk about some of the key features that should encourage seasoned developers to consider modeling and developing in Planning Analytics Workspace.

  1. Processes - At the top of this list is writing complex Turbo Integrator processes. In Planning Analytics Workspace, you can use your TI processes from your existing code library and with little modifications you can use them in Workspace. Once you have converted these TI processes you can continue to use them in Workspace for future projects. The intellisense and code completion capabilities within Planning Analytics Workspace is very robust and helps you write extensive lines of code in a short period of time. The 4 advanced sections of a TI process are available on one page and it is extremely easy to follow the flow of the Prolog, Metadata, Data and Epilog when it is on a single page.
  2. Rules - Rule writing is equally easy and has the same intellisense and code completion capabilities as Turbo Integrator processes. You can drag and drop items from the object tree into the rule editor. All the find and replace features are still there along with a multitude of other short cuts that make rule writing a breeze.
  3. Control Objects - All control objects like Element attribute cubes, Element security cubes and Picklist cubes are available to modelers just like they were in architect. They all appear under the object tree in Workspace and can be used normally for data manipulation and or reference.  
  4. Administration - In our opinion this is the best feature and capability in Planning Analytics Workspace. Modelers can create specific books just for administration. Each tab can represent an aspect of administering either a dimension update, data loads or element attribute updates. When organized in specific tabs along with documentation, it becomes very easy to manage a model. We have embedded specific videos regarding certain aspects of administration within the book to help a novice or new modeler manage the model.
  5. Documentation – We are finding ourselves doing less documentation in external places and we all know how much we love to do documentation. Workspace is the perfect place to document procedures, definitions and descriptions regarding the planning process right where it is relevant. As an example, a workforce planning book can have steps listed in relevant tabs as to how to add an employee, or transfer or select benefits for a new employee. These instructions are available to the planner right where they are needed and makes for a quicker, productive user experience.
  6. Security - Just like administering a model you can have a specific book just for security, and each tab can represent a different area of security. You can have a specific tab for users, groups, cubes and dimensions. And this way a security administrator can go from tab to tab checking security for a certain user or group.
  7. Server Administration - IBM recently added administrative capabilities for planning analytics servers. You can manage the actual servers, control threads and conduct most of the activities that were previously done through the operations console. In in every new version IBM is adding more capabilities to manage the servers and have a central place for all administrative activities.
  8. Workflow - IBM shared their plans to bring workflow capabilities into planning analytics at the 2019 Data and AI form in Miami FL. This new workflow capability is going to be centered around specific steps of the planning process like Workforce planning, capital planning, etc. It is going to be highly customizable and, in our opinion, will fill the gaps that exist currently in Planning Analytics today.
Workflow

In Conclusion we think IBM’s emphasis on using Workspace for model development is the right step in reducing the number of tools needed to create a fully functional, robust planning model. This is going to be enormously helpful for our sales team when compared to competing industry products.

We are certainly continuing to use it and taking all our clients on this path of success. If you would like us to share these ideas with you in detail feel free to reach to us at. Sales@LodestarSolutions.com.

For more information on how to Model in Planning Analytics Workspace click here.

Model Directly in IBM Planning Analytics Workspace. A one stop shop

IBM Planning Analytics Workspace
1/22/2019 

Are you asking yourself if it is  possible to build a model directly in IBM Planning Analytics Workspace? There is a great effort by IBM to centralize model development and reporting in one space. As you may know,  IBM Planning Analytics comes with different tools such as Architect and Performance Modeler(PM) that allow you to build models. You also may know that at times new customers have experienced confusion as to which tools to use to build and manage models. Traditionally, we have recommended Architect to build and manage and PM to build and manage the planning application front end. This has worked in the past, specially when the clients get acclimated to the different tools that are available.  

Age of Cloud and SAAS

However, we are in the age of cloud and SAAS applications that allow the modeler to build and manage planning applications in one centralized tool on the web. This is a very attractive option for customers for the obvious reasons and we are not going to discuss the benefits of a cloud-based planning system since we are all aware of them. So, to get to this centralized planning application space, IBM introduced PA cloud a few years ago which has been a great success. Now, IBM is bringing all the modelling capabilities in Planning Analytics Workspace. This will eliminate the need for multiple clients and tool sets to build and manage models.  Read below for the capabilities of today and the hope for the future.

IBM Planning Analytics Workspace
IBM Planning Analytics Workspace Today

If you didn't know IBM Planning Analytics workspace allows you to create dashboards and reports in one central area.  What you may not know is the ability to build a model directly in IBM Planning Analytics Workspace.  For more info on why you should own workspace today see 7 Reasons Why You Should Purchase Workspace (PAw)  Also, check out this link from IBM IBM Knowledge Center on PAW

Build dimensions and Cubes
  • Using a TI process, you can create dimensions and cubes using all the available data sources that are available in Architect. One of the data sources is text file and you can drag and drop files right in a PAW tile and you are allowed to map all the columns.
  • Dimensions and cube build through TI is still a bit complex for new users and it requires training and practice to build them. If IBM adds a guided  / GUI based dimension and cube builder with the power of free from scripting that would be extremely powerful. This would go a long way to helping new users that are not well versed in TI coding to start modelling quicker and have environments up and running a lot faster.
Rule writing
  • PAW has the rule editor built in and it has some of the features that the Advanced rule editor used to have and some additional features that are very helpful. You have autocomplete to fill your area definition and the ability to insert functions as you are writing the formulas. It great to see that rule writing has been considerably improved from the limited capabilities that were available in Architect
Workspace Tomorrow?

Now let’s talk about the items that we would like IBM to add to PAW.  Let's hope that these will part of future releases.

  • Workflow Workflow Workflow and we are talking about real workflow. The functionality in applications (contributor) are good and they provide the ability to create planning input front ends but what has been always lacking is the visibility into the actual flow of the planning process. Some IBM competitors have created this capability into their applications and it provides visibility and transparency for everyone to see. If IBM could create the visual workflow snapshot that we have discussed and integrate that with the Chat capability it would eliminate the need for emails and other forms of communication outside PAW. Plus, it would be a record that would be maintained in one place
  • Another thing that would be nice in PAW would be some help related videos and or visuals that assist a new user in navigating workspace. There are many videos available out side PAW but nothing that is in workspace itself.
Contact Lodestar Now!

Are you ready to purchase the workspace add on? Contact us at sales@lodestarsolutions.com to schedule a quick call to review your situation and receive a quote for the workspace add on if you do not already own!

If you already own workspace and are not sure where to begin or you need some help taking your workspace to the next level contact us at services@lodestarsolutions.com

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