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IBM Planning Analytics Local 2.0 / TM1 10.3

The next major revision of TM1 was released in late December 2016, and is now called Planning Analytics Local. It’s all new, and is driven by the new Planning Analytics Workspace, which supports self-service interactive dashboards and visual analytics for web and mobile devices. There is also a new Excel add-on, IBM Planning Analytics for Excel (PAx), which is easier to use than TM1 Perspectives and also has synergy with Planning Analytics Workspace.

Don’t be alarmed though, the existing TM1 interfaces are still there with Architect and Perspectives largely the same, however TM1Web and Websheets specifically have a load of new UX, functional, and performance improvements. It also supports Windows 10 and Office 2016.

IBM Planning Analytics Local is not totally new, with many similarities to the existing cloud based version of TM1 (called IBM Planning Analytics), which has been available for over a year now. It is essentially the on-premise version of the cloud based TM1, hence the suffix of Local.

planning

Key Highlights

Here are the key highlights you can now do in Planning Analytics Local, which you could not do before in TM1:

  • Perform web-based authoring of input templates, analysis, and reports
  • Drag and drop data from all TM1 Servers into a single web canvas
  • Apply Excel calculations and cell references within a slice / dice / pivot Experience
  • Perform slice/dice/pivot analysis on attribute data
  • Perform deeper analysis on intersections of multiple attributes from a single dimension
  • Discover reasons behind the numbers through embedded collaboration tools
  • Perform input and analysis using interactive dashboards on iPad and Android tablets
  • A new Excel add-in “Planning Analytics for Excel” (PAX)

Virtual Dimensions

The above points 4 and 5 are worth delving into deeper as you can now turn attributes into virtual dimensions! This means cubes can now be half the size and twice as fast as you don’t need additional physical dimensions or multiple alternate hierarchies to drive analysis.

Attributes and hierarchies can be introduced into any query as ‘virtual dimensions’ for deeper analysis of your products, customers, projects, and locations. This also extends to multiple attributes or hierarchies for the same dimension in the same query. Furthermore, you can add fresh data to your analysis ‘on the fly’ with no disruption to cube structure, business rules, or processes.

In this below example, you can see how a single store dimension can be split up with an additional 2 virtual dimensions (by store type and by geography/location). This will significantly improve performance with reduced sparsity in the cubes and RAM usage, whilst also providing flexibility to add more attributes down the track which can be sliced out as virtual dimensions.

virtual-dimensions

Planning Analytics Workspace

The Planning Analytics Workspace is a completely new user interface which allows you to plan and report in an intuitive self-service environment. It shares the same technical DNA as Watson Analytics and Cognos Analytics so the look and feel is similar across the entire Business Analytics’ suite of tools. It is a canvas based user interface design, where you can simply drag and drop TM1 views or Perspectives/PAx templates into a canvas which supports rich visualisations. This allows you to easily combine data from various TM1 servers into a synchronised sheet to create interactive dashboards for planning, analysis, and reporting.

analytics-workspace

The key features include:

  • Interactive dashboards
  • Natural language discovery
  • Synchronized navigation of objects
  • Web & mobile interfaces
  • Collaboration & chat

Users at any level of experience can author and create content for web or mobile consumption. Workspace also supports for on the fly Ad-hoc calculations, over 25 Interactive chart types, websheets, videos, images, shapes, access to all web content links and navigation buttons to create managed applications.

Server Updates

There are also a host of server updates which will please administrators and developers of TM1. These include the following:

  • Dimension updates do not lock readers or writers
  • A TI Debugger (finally!)
  • Sandbox comparison
  • Workspace views / calculations
  • Faster loading when starting up servers with MTFeeders, which is similar to MTQ

TM1 Web

TM1 web has been overhauled and updated with a newer refreshed user interface similar to that of Planning Analytics Workspace. The improvements include:

  • Much quicker and faster loading/scrolling
  • Improved iPad support
  • Access to relational databases
  • A data picker

Planning Analytics for Excel (PAx)

The new Excel add-on is essentially a rebranded CAFÉ, with an updated interface and Excel ribbon menu with the following features:

  • WAN friendly so no need to rely on terminal servers or Citrix
  • 85% compatibility with TM1 Perspectives (they are working towards 100%)
  • Drill through
  • Print report
  • Cell commentary in custom and dynamic reports
  • Set editor is not 100% equivalent
  • The Planning Analytics set editor web interface can be launched from PAx

planning-analytics-for-excel

Existing TM1 Components

With the launch of the Planning Analytics Workspace and PAx, what happens to existing TM1 components? Not much really, IBM understands that existing customers are still highly dependent on Architect, Perspectives, TM1Web, and to a lesser extent Performance Modeller and TM1 Applications. However, much of the focus and development will be on Workspace and PAx, so support for the “older” components will not be great going forward.

You need not worry about your existing investment though as existing models can be enhanced with the virtual dimension, cube views are 100% supported in PAx and Workspace as well. Existing worksheets, active forms and templates created in TM1 Perspectives are supported in Workspace.

There is one component that will not be transferable to Workspace, and that is TM1 Applications, however IBM are working on something new to be released in 2018, which may also include an overhaul of TM1 Web as well.

Upgrade Path for Existing TM1 Customers

All existing TM1 on premise customers who are currently under maintenance can upgrade to Planning Analytics Local without any extra costs and will automatically get access to a lot of the new features and functionality described above. However, and this is a big however, only the Administrator/Performance Modeller will be entitled to Workspace under the existing maintenance, all other users must purchase a separate Workspace Add-on licence if they want to use Workspace.

In terms of technical deployment, Planning Analytics Local will install quite differently to how the existing TM1 is usually installed and upgraded. If fact you will need to first install Docker, which is an open platform that allows deployment of applications inside a “container”. These containers have their own filesystem, code, libraries and such and essentially wrap around an application like Planning Analytics.

upgrade-path

For any questions relating to the above, in particular the licencing entitlements as well as installation and deployment assistance, please feel free to reach out and contact us.