What is TM1 and Planning Analytics? History, Components and Uses

IBM Congos TM1 (otherwise known as Planning Analytics) is a multidimensional, in memory OLAP engine which allows write back to the TM1 database. Originally known as Table Manager 1, TM1 a client/server software platform. It uses Microsoft Excel and various web applications on the client side with an in memory, multidimensional datastore on the server side. TM1 allows write back from users and is commonly used for corporate planning, reporting and analysis.

History of TM1

TM1 was originally created in 1983 by Manny Perez at Sinper Corporation. In 1996 Sinper was purchased by Applix. Then Cognos bought Applix 2007 and Cognos in turn was acquired by IBM soon after.

What is Planning Analytics

Development by IBM

Since acquisition, IBM has dramatically improved the performance of the product, added a number of new front ends and integrated it (now) quite well with Cognos Analytics.

The most recent change has been IBM renaming TM1 to Planning Analytics. With this, we have also seen the migration to the cloud, where it can now be hosted by IBM in a SaaS environment or hosted locally, or managed in a hybrid configuration.

Additionaly, there has also been the introduction of Planning Analytics Workspace, a highly visual data exploration and dash boarding tool with write back into the source data.

IBM has also replaced the original Excel add-in, Perspectives, with Planning Analytics for Excel (PAX), significantly increasing the usability for the Excel user.

Uses for TM1

TM1 is now in use by organisations from the world’s largest corporations and government agencies to quite small companies. In those organisations, it is used for everything from budgeting, planning and forecasting, to consolidations, management reporting and analysis.

TM1 Compared to Spreadsheets

Check off these questions and ask yourself whether you could use TM1 in your organisation:

  • Do you have a spreadsheet based model that is used by multiple people?
  • Does your model contain multiple files?
  • Should you have security on your model that is more granular than just access to a file?
  • Can you refresh your model on demand with actuals?
  • Can you roll the spreadsheet model from month to month easily?
  • Should the spreadsheets be the source for BI reporting?
  • Do you have users who are not located physically together?
  • Are your calculations consistent right across your spreadsheet model?
  • Do you need instant update of all changes right through your model?
  • Can you change formulae in every spreadsheet instantly?
  • Are you able to create and compare new versions of a plan on the fly?

In short, with TM1 you can take a complex set fo excel spreadsheets and convert them into a highly controlled, secure, blindingly fast model.

Local, Cloud or Hybrid

Planning Analytics can be deployed onto your in house servers (as Planning Analytics Local), or on hosted cloud delivered as a subscription based service by IBM, or again hosted within IBM Cloud Pak for Data. It can also be deployed using a hybrid of on premise and cloud as required.

Core Components

From an application perspective, the core components of Planning Analytics include:

  • Planning Analytics Local (TM1) Server
  • Planning Analytics Workspace
  • Planning Analytics for Excel
  • Planning Analytics Spreadsheet Services (TM1Web)

Core Objects

The primary objects of TM1 include the following:

  • Dimensions
  • Elements (the individual members of a dimension, usually rolled into hierarchies)
  • Cubes (combining dimensions into a storage repository called a cube)
  • Rules (the formulae that determine how elements are calculated)
  • Processes (for loading data and managing the overall environment)
  • Chores (scheduled jobs)
  • Security (by cube, dimension, element or even cell)
  • Excel Reports and Forms
  • Dashboards and visualisations

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