Why Should You Upgrade from TM1 to Planning Analytics
By now most people will have upgraded from TM1 version 10 (or, even 9) to Planning Analytics. But if you haven’t, here are some really good reasons for you to upgrade to Planning Analytics (TM1 version 11).
Planning Analytics for Excel
Planning Analytics for Excel (PAX) is the replacement for TM1 Perspectives. There are a few major reasons why PAX is better than Perspectives:
PAX is almost thin client. I say almost because the only data that is downloaded to the local PC is the data that is displayed. Compared to Perspectives, this is a huge change as Perspectives downloaded all data for each element in the active subset for each dimension. So lets say you have a dimension in rows of, say, 10 elements. Another in columns with 10 elements and three context dimensions with 10 elements in each, but obviously with one selected. Then in PAX you will download 100 cells of data from the server (10 x 10 x 1 x 1 x 1 x 1). If you have the same in Perspectives with the same selections in each dimension, you will download 10 x 10 x 10 x 10 x 10 x 10, one million cells of data will be downloaded.
These, quite simply, are brilliant. Think of the ability to create a view in Architect. You drag dimensions around, nest dimensions, select subsets etc. Well, Explorations are the same sort of analytics capability, but done directly in Excel over TM1 cube. Then with a click of a button, you can convert them to a Dynamic or Custom report.
These are awesome, and they are available to you in Explorations and Quick reports in PAX. We’ll cover them more below, but in short, you can create a virtual dimension using the contents of an attribute, rather than rebuilding a cube with a new physical dimension. Very, very cool!
Planning Analytics Workspace
Planning Analytics Workspace (PAW) is a completely new, highly graphical, visualisation space that works directly with TM1 cubes. Hosted in Docker on it’s own server (so you’re not taking up valuable TM1 server CPU and PVU’s), PAW is a fantastic addition to the TM1 ecosystem.
PAW Ease of Use
Planning Analytics Workspace is a very easy to use, browser based front end. In it you can create books of multiple pages. Then on each page you can have have either Excel reports or views. Then have all of them linked so dimension selections are synchronised. Your views can then be any one a large number fo visualisations to highlight the desired outcome over your data.
Next, as you would expect, Planning Analytics Workspace allows the user to enter data directly into TM1 cubes. You can also consume TM1 data on a mobile device, like an iPad.
Obviously, you can also use the new Virtual Dimensions in visualisations created in PAW.
For the administrator, Planning Analytics Workspace includes the replacement to TM1Top and Operations Console. This allows you to monitor TM1 databases and perform all those admin tasks you used to do in those older tools.
Rules and Processes in PAW
For the developer, we can now create and edit Rules and Turbo Integrator processes directly inside the Planning Analytics Workspace environment. It is moving towards being a full replacement for Architect (although I suspect there will be a load of developers who choose to stay in Architect for a considerable time!).
Finally, it is expected that PAW will be the home fo the replacement of TM1 Contributor – IBM’s workflow enabled, web based planning environment.
The only downside is that PAW is a separately licenced product. In other words you have to buy it for everyone except the Administrator.
Virtual Dimensions (Hierarchies)
Virtual Dimensions are awesome. Here we can essentially create a new dimension using an attribute on an existing dimension. Let’s say you have a product dimension and then on that you have an attributes for Colour and Size. In the old TM1 you would’ve created separate dimensions for both Colour and Size to analyse them against each other. You also would have had to have thought about it when you were designing the cube. Painful! No more. Now you can create virtual dimensions (or as IBM calls them, hierarchies) for Colour and Size and then analyse them like you would normal physical dimensions. Then, when you want a new one, say Weight, you just add the attribute and then define it as a virtual dimension. Boom tish!
TM1 Web Upgrade
Not to be forgotten, TM1 Web has also had a upgrade – making it a similar look and feel to Planning Analytics Workspace – but without the graphical and visualisation capabilities of PAW, or the ability to author directly, like you can in PAW.
What’s the Cost to Upgrade to Planning Analytics?
Assuming you are have an active IBM support contract, the only licence cost you should incur is if you want to use Planning Analytics Workspace. Other than that, your TM1 10 server licences allow you to use Planning Analytics server and your user licences contain rights to Planning Analytics for Excel.
From a deployment perspective, you will probably need to move your TM1 models to a new Windows server (2016). You’ll also need a separate host for Planning Analytics Workspace to run inside Docker. Don’t put Docker on your TM1/PA server as it is a resource hungry beast and you’ll waste precious TM1 PVU’s on it!
You then need to migrate your Excel reports and forms to PAX and test.