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Explorations in Planning Analytics for Excel: Pros and Cons

Explorations provide ad-hoc analysis to Planning Analytics for Excel users that allows them to pivot tables, drill and slice and dice TM1 data right inside the Excel grid. They are a fantastic, easy to use method of finding information.

Advantage of using Explorations

  1. Easy to create and manipulate

Creating an exploration view is easy; just right-click on the cube or cube view and select Exploration. It will automatically open a view in excel where user can play around with the dimensions by drilling down to details.

  1. Fast response time

Explorations provide a faster response time when retrieving data sets.

  1. Dynamic rows and columns

With the capabilities of pivoting data with the use of TM1 dimension, you are also able to filter the rows and columns by editing the set for the dimension.

  1. Support Hierarchies

Prior to the introduction of hierarchy in Planning Analytics, the term hierarchy was used interchangeably with roll up or consolidation. However, moving forward hierarchy should not be confused with roll up or consolidation. A dimension can have multiple hierarchies with their own set of consolidation can include elements shared across multiple hierarchies. You can use hierarchies and their set in Explorations.

  1. Utilise MDX Statements

With MDX, you are able to create dynamic sets that will provide greater flexibility in your report. MDX generated by this method can then be copied and used elsewhere in Planning Analytics.

  1. Writeback to Planning Analytics cubes

Explorations allow you to writeback data to the Planning Analytics cubes.

  1. Source structure for other reports

With an Exploration, you can pivot the dimensions around until you have your desired data layout that you can use to create another type of report by using the Convert To function in PAX. You can convert an Exploration to a Quick, Dynamic, Custom and Universal report. If you do though, remember to do it on to a new sheet, so if you stuff it up, you can go back the Exploration, modify it and convert again.

  1. Save as View

In an Exploration, you can save views that can be utilised in TM1Web or PAW.

Disadvantages of Explorations

  1. One cube view per sheet

The flexibility of moving dimension around prevents you from nesting other reports or cubes in the report or view.

  1. Cannot use Excel formula

The downside of using exploration is you cannot use Excel formulae as it isn’t intuitive to know when you have adjusted filtering in dimension or moved dimension that the formula could be using an empty cell reference.

  1. Formatting limitation

Excel will allow you to format any excel sheet, however when you try to refresh the data, all data formatting will revert back to the original formatting if Use Server Formats is activated.

  1. PAW and TM1Web (PASS) Publishing Restriction

The PAX ribbon provides users access to publish Excel reports. However, publishing Exploration would not be ideal as it removes the flexibility of moving and filtering dimension.

Need Help with PAX?

If you need any help with Planning Analytics for Excel, hit us up. We’d love to help you out.

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