As Business Analytics Coaches, it’s our passion and responsibility to find and talk about products that make your job easier. Today, we are going to talk about utilizing TM1 applications web previously known as Contributor. TM1 applications is a web portal for user inputs to a Planning and Forecasting model. Anywhere you need contributions to a plan or a forecast, you can create input forms and have them available on the web.
The forms are part of an application that gets created via TM1 performance modeler. You can create one application per cube and include as many input forms as you like from that cube. The forms are just TM1 views. You create the view in either Architect or PM and bring them into your application. Security of the underlying data is applied from TM1 and you also have to provide group access to the application in PM. Along with group access, you can set other options like having TM1 applications web or Cognos Insight being the default tool to open the forms. This is where it gets interesting because having the input forms available in Cognos Insight brings a whole other set of capabilities that is very exciting.
Prior to the full integration of TM1 applications with other products, the only option was to have simple input forms available on the web. That was not as popular as creating web sheets for input forms. Even today, a lot of consultants shy away from TM1 application and that is probably due to the fact that they are more familiar with creating websheets and using the excel VB & action buttons. However, with the availability of applications on Cognos Insight, there are additional capabilities that can provide a richer planning process. In Cognos Insight, a widget of your workspace can be an input form. Other widgets can be a summarized view of your P&L along with another widget showing some visualization based on the data. So as you input your plan, you can see the effects on your P&L and have a graphical representation of it. That is powerful and more informative to the planner than having to switch screens or not having that integration at all.
Another reason TM1 applications adoption has been slow is because in the past, contributor has had a lot of technical issues. Developers have found websheets as a better tool than worrying about contributor not working correctly in the long-term. But with the latest version of TM1, IBM has made numerous improvements to TM1 applications and has improved performance & scalability. With Cognos TM1 working in multithreading mode and better memory optimization, TM1 applications web should be the tool of choice for most planning applications. There is a lot being offered concerning the integration with other products in the performance management suite.
There is still a place for using websheets created with perspectives or CAFÉ as that capability is still available. One of the areas that TM1 applications web is still lacking is the use of Action Buttons as most complex planning models use action button to kickoff TI processes. There is an option for that too. You can kickoff action buttons in Cognos Insight. The only solid reason for not using TM1 applications could be that your planning process and subsequent input forms are so complex that TM1 views cannot be created. In that case, perspectives and active form would be the tool of choice.
Last but not least, the workflow capabilities that come with TM1 application are great. In a large matrixed organization with hundreds of departments, maintaining a workflow process can be a daunting task. TM1 application provides this functionality and there are three options available as far as workflow is concerned: Central, Approval or Responsibility. For more information on these workflow types, please refer to the URL provided below.
We at Lodestar Solutions, strive to get you the highest amount of ROI from your technology investment and we want to help you utilize all the tools that are available to you under your entitlement. For additional information on how we can do that for you please feel free to call us at 813-254-2040 or email us at Sales@LodestarSolutions.com.