Tag Archives: TM1

Part 2 – Interview with the TM1 book author. More about TM1

Last Thursday, I posted an interview with the author of the new TM1 book Karsten Oehler. Here is the continuation of the conversation. This part of the interview focuses on the new IBM Cognos TM1 10.1 release.

Christoph Papenfuss: IBM Cognos TM1 10.1 was released in February of 2012. What is so special about this release?

Karsten Oehler: One of the central components of version 10.1 is a new modeling environment. It is called Performance Modeler. It really encourages finance and business professionals to develop their own models. Performance Modeler allows them to develop complex rules and links. You can also easily import data into applications. None of this requires deep technical knowledge.

Christoph Papenfuss: Does Performance Modeler replace Architect?

Karsten Oehler: Performance Modeler is an enhancement. The user can choose which tool to use. Architect is closer to Excel and has some features which are currently not supported by Performance Modeler. This includes dynamic subsets and report generation of Excel sheets from the cube viewer.

Christoph Papenfuss: There is a new desktop tool call Cognos Insight. It looks similar to TM1. Is there a relationship or connection between the products.

Karsten Oehler: Cognos Insight is a very powerful desktop tool that allows business people to conduct analysis, explore data and to develop prototypes. TM1 and Cognos Insight are closely connected – a local TM1 engine is part of Cognos Insight. It uses the same rule syntax and a simplified Turbo-Integrator version for data import. You can also import Cognos Insight models into Performance Modeler and refine them further.

Christoph Papenfuss: What is the advantage of using Cognos Insight in the planning process along with TM1

Karsten Oehler: There are two aspects: Planning applications are often created by prototyping. Cognos Insight is a great tool to express ideas and to develop prototypes. Secondly Cognos Insight can be used an additional front-end for contributors to the planning, budgeting and forecasting process.

TM1 Book

The TM1 book was the big star at the Budapest Finance Forum on May 9th

Christoph Papenfuss: Who should use Cognos Insight as a client for planning and forecasting models?

Karsten Oehler: TM1 has strong tools to support a highly decentralized planning and forecasting process. I recommend to use the IBM Cognos Contributor front-end because it is easy to distribute (non-local installation). With TM1 10.1 you can also integrate web sheets created via the Excel add in. However if somebody is using Insight for data discovery it is very interesting to contribute to the planning process directly within Cognos Insight. Another advantage is the scalability: With Insight it is possible to let the local insight engine do all the calculation which is needed for the planning slice assigned to the user.

Christoph Papenfuss: What do you like best about TM1?

Karsten Oehler: It is definitely the rule language. It is the most compact way to formulate all kinds of calculations to solve all kinds of business problems. The most complex cost and profitability calculations often look pretty easy after modeling them with TM1 rules.

Christoph Papenfuss: Thank you so much, Karsten!

You can purchase the TM1 book on Amazon.com: IBM Cognos TM1 – The Official Guide

About Dr. Karsten Oehler (author of the TM1 book):

Karsten is head of the Performance Management Client Technical Professionals at IBM Germany. Prior to joining IBM, he spent more than 15 years with several international software companies as a product manager, marketing executive, and consultant for financial accounting and business intelligence software. He has published several books and well over 130 articles about business analytics.

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Interview with the TM1 book author: IBM Cognos TM1 – The Official Guide (Part 1)

The new TM1 book

The highly anticipated 10.1 version of IBM Cognos TM1 was released in February 2012. Along with the software there is also a great new TM1 book: IBM Cognos TM1 – The Official Guide. My German colleague Karsten Oehler is one of the authors of this comprehensive TM1 book. We had the opportunity to catch up last week. It was very early in the morning and we were both on our first cup of coffee. This is the first part of two short interviews. Check back Tuesday next week to read more.

Christoph Papenfuss: Let’s start this discussion with an important question. TM1 is a strange product name. What does TM1 stand for?

Karsten Oehler: The name sounds still fresh and interesting after 25 years, right? Oh well…..it is an interesting name, indeed. And we do get a lot of questions about it. Here is the truth. Don’t be shocked – it stands for Table Manager 1. And it is the solution No 1 from my point of view.

Christoph Papenfuss: What is TM1? Can you describe it in an elevator-speech style?

Karsten Oehler: Cognos TM1 is the universal tool for the business person wanting to do all kinds of analytical work like forecasting, planning, simulation, analysis and reporting. Some people call it the ‘Swiss Army Knife’ for the business. The only thing it can’t do (yet) is to cook coffee ;-)

Christoph Papenfuss: Who can use IBM Cognos TM1 and why should they?

Karsten Oehler: Everybody with a need or desire to perform analytical work should use TM1. TM1 links typical analytical office work (Excel) with a high performing analytical database. However it doesn’t require that much conceptual overhead so that a business user is able to define his own data structure. TM1 doesn’t replace spreadsheets or data warehouses. It literally brings both worlds together.

Christoph Papenfuss: There are many planning, budgeting and forecasting solutions out on the market. What makes IBM Cognos TM1 so special?

Karsten Oehler: I am heading up a research group at the Controller Verein, the biggest European community for management accountants and finance experts. We describe several classes of planning tools: spreadsheet enhancements, ERP enhancements, OLAP, specific (financial) planning solutions and generic planning solutions. The last category is the most powerful one because it provides a lot of flexibility while also allowing you to leverage strong predefined planning functions like workflow, simulation, financial intelligence. Within this group TM1 is the best one because it has the most modern architect (scalability, write back queuing, rule optimization, batch processing environment) and the newest interface.

Christoph Papenfuss: Is TM1 just for planning, budgeting and forecasting?

Karsten Oehler: Absolutely not! As I mentioned before, TM1 is extremely powerful and flexible. Planning, budgeting and forecasting is just one area where TM1 can add tremendous value. Other important areas where TM1 excels at is profitability and sales analysis, costing (an area where TM1 is extremely strong), management consolidation, and last but not least production planning.

Christoph Papenfuss: You have just released the book IBM Cognos TM1 – The Official Guide. What prompted you to write this book?

Karsten Oehler: When you look at the bookstores and see shelves of SAP books and hardly any book about the best analytical tool, you have to scratch your head. We wanted to change that. Also, together with our customers we had developed a lot of valuable business content over the past decade. We really wanted to share this with others.

Christoph Papenfuss: What can you expect to learn from the book?

Karsten Oehler: How to live a better life – just kidding. No, in all seriousness it should help you with your daily TM1 work. It explains the architecture in a focused and structured way. This is an area where the standard documentation is sometimes a bit too extensive. Also, we have included a ton of business content. There are several small models that explain how TM1 can solve specific business problems like rolling forecasting, inter-company matching, variance analysis, activity based management etc..

Christoph Papenfuss: Who should read the book?

Karsten Oehler: Anybody who has an interest in TM1! Early feedback shows that power users and business consultants are the primary readers of this book.

Christoph Papenfuss: What is the best way to read your TM1 book? Is it more like a workbook or a resource guide that you pull out when you need it?

Karsten Oehler: Of course you could read the entire book, but I wouldn’t recommend that. It’s 800 pages strong! I would rather suggest to focus on just those business areas that you are interested in. Simply read it section by section. I would imagine that most people will use the book as a powerful reference.

Christoph Papenfuss: IBM recently released TM 10.1 . Do you cover the latest version in your book?

Karsten Oehler: We certainly cover it but it was not easy because there were a lot of short term changes in the development process. The business models are backward compatible. We wanted to make sure that users from the older releases are also able to leverage the book.

To be continued next Thursday…..the second part will focus on the 10.1 release.

Karsten-Oehler

About Dr. Karsten Oehler (author of the TM1 book):

Karsten is head of the Performance Management Client Technical Professionals at IBM Germany. Prior to joining IBM, he spent more than 15 years with several international software companies as a product manager, marketing executive, and consultant for financial accounting and business intelligence software. He has published several books and well over 130 articles about business analytics.

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The other side of Cognos Insight – A powerful planning client for TM1 (Guestpost)

Cognos Insight and TM1

There is a lot of buzz about Cognos Insight. It is a great tool for analyzing and discovering data. There is also the ability to perform powerful what-if analysis through the use of write-back capabilities. But Cognos Insight is actually more than just a personal desktop analytics tool. You can use it to create visually appealing planning applications for IBM Cognos TM1.

An awesome planning client

Many business users literally hate the mandatory planning, budgeting and forecasting processes. Part of the issue are the cumbersome spreadsheet templates. Cognos Insight provides a radically new approach. You can develop visually appealing applications that connect directly to your TM1 model. Here are some of the great things you can do with Cognos Insight:

  • Create detailed instructions for the planning or forecasting process
  • Instructions can include images and hyperlinks
  • Automate process steps by including action buttons
  • Provide additional planning context by including dashboards that connect to your Cognos 10 models

To do that, you simply have to connect Cognos Insight to the workflow of a specific TM1 planning application.

Cognos Insight and TM1

Let’s take a look at a simple example – a sales forecasting model. It is a well-known best practice to include specific instructions in a planning template. That helps the business understand the model and to identify specific tasks that they need to focus on. Cognos Insight allows you to insert text boxes, images and hyperlinks. Action buttons make it easy for casual users to jump between different planning pages and cubes. The result is a clean-looking set of pages.

Cognos Insight TM1

Planning and forecasting should go hand-in-hand with analysis. Cognos Insight allows you to include dashboards and reports from your Cognos 10 or TM1 environment. This makes it very easy and pleasant for the business people:

Cognos Insight Dashboard

You can finally also include traffic lights and real-time charts right in your actual planning application. This provides users with instantaneous & visual feedback. We all know that a picture says more than a thousand words, right?

Cognos Insight TM1

Last but not least, you can also leverage great short-cuts for entering data.

Cognos Insight & TM1

Cognos Insight is much more than just a personal analytics tool. Using it as a client for TM1-based planning or forecasting models offers up some fantastic opportunities. Business users love the visual and interactive applications you can build. Is it hard to create these applications? No, not really. All it takes is drag and drop.

Paul BremhorstAbout our guest blogger – Paul Bremhorst

Paul is currently working as a Solution Architect for the IBM Business Analytics Product Marketing team. He joined Cognos as a BI Consultant in 2007 from a background of developing sales reports in the banking and finance sector. He lives in beautiful Stuttgart, Germany and loves to ride his motorcycle.

 

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Business Analytics news for the week

Business Analytics news

This has been an extremely busy but exciting week. It seems like the whole world is full of energy. Here are a few things you might want to be aware of.

CFO.com Webinar Forecasting

If you are interested in forecasting, make sure to register for the upcoming CFO.com webinar ‘Forecasting in turbulent times‘. Together with Tom Willman (Principle, The Hackett Group), I will discuss trends and best practices for improving your forecasting processes. The webinar is scheduled for Thursday, March 15th.

cfo.com

Cognos Insight & TM1 10.1 launch

Yesterday was the official launch event for Cognos Insight and TM1 10.1. I was blown away by how many people participated. As a track host, I was especially excited to see so many questions coming through. In case you missed it, you can still watch most of the sessions on demand. I highly recommend the keynote. Robby Meyers from DirecTV gave a fantastic demo of Cognos Insight. Make sure to watch that one. It’s great to see how a successful company like DirecTV leverages Cognos Insight.

Analyticszone.com

There is a great new website and community entirely dedicated to Cognos Insight. Make sure to check it out. The new site provides you with a bunch of great stuff: sample Insight models, tutorials, discussion forums etc.. You can also download a revised version of the famous IBM Cognos Blueprints. Yes, they have been redesigned to work in Cognos Insight. Make sure to also upload your files and share your experiences!

Analyticszone.com

Updated iPad app

There is an updated version of the Cognos iPad app. You can downloaded it directly from the iTunes store. The latest version has a slightly different look and feel. It also feels snappier. There are also a bunch of other enhancements under the hood. And there is also additional demo content in there. The upgrade takes about a minute. And….can you imagine how awesome all your Cognos report will look on the new resolutionary iPad?

Harriet & Christoph – the story continues

Want to see me as a bobble head? Some of you may have watched the Cognos Insight demo at the IBM BA Forum in October 2011. My colleague Harriet Fryman and I demonstrated how the business and IT can get along using Cognos Insight. Our creative team took that story and has created a series of hilarious bobble head movies. The latest edition was released last night. In the prior video, Harriet put Sleep-eeze into my coffee. Time to get even! The other parts are also available on You Tube.

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Please welcome IBM Cognos TM1 10.1

IBM Cognos TM1 10.1

There is a lot of exciting stuff happening in the Business Analytics area. Last week, I wrote about the release of the personal analytics tool Cognos Insight. But there is more. Along with Cognos Insight, IBM also released the latest version of TM1. And let me tell you, IBM Cognos TM1 10.1 is a significant release. There is a lot of new and really exciting stuff in there. Here is a really short preview. If you want to see more, make sure to register for the official virtual launch on Wednesday, March 7th.

Performance Modeler

One of the most significant enhancements to TM1 10.1 is the addition of Performance Modeler. This is the environment where you can build and maintain the different models for planning, forecasting, profitability analysis and such. Performance Modeler provides new and highly visual tools for getting the work done. There are guided processes for standard tasks such as importing data and deploying models to end users.

Performance Modeler

TM 10.1 - New modeling workbench

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A Few Thoughts About Planning

There is an interesting discussion going on right now. Actually, it’s been going on for a few years. There are some people that argue against planning: “Why plan today? The world is so volatile! Any plan is typically rendered useless within a few weeks or months.” And then there are others who argue that planning is more important today than it’s ever been: “Planning helps us prepare for the future. It helps us consider our options.” I personally support the later opinion. Planning is a critical process today.

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