I’m Lindy Robins, a Product Specialist at Aramar.

I wanted to come up with a brief overview of what exactly planning analytics is, which is quite a tough question to answer in such a short post!

Let’s begin at the beginning. PA has been around since the early 80’s in different forms and names, owned by several different companies. It started out as an in memory tool to allow quick and easy planning and analysis of data in an olap (cube) based format.

IBM bought the software in 2007 and since than they have continuously improved and changed the tool into the integrated suite of software we have now.

So what is that software?

Behind the scenes of the excel and web based front end, PA still uses the TM1 (table manager 1) engine that has been around since the inception of the tool.

TM1 stores data in an OLAP format allowing data to be structured in a way that is meaningful to the Business. Think about your chart of account or dates:- in a standard relational database those are individual fact tables. TM1 stores that data in dimensions which allow you to create useful groupings: – your individual staff expense lines rolling up into one total expense line, your days rolling up into months and then years. The data is then loaded against each dimension in the cube allowing you to look at the data at any level without having to spend a lot of time and effort changing queries or spreadsheets. I always tell people it’s like a giant pivot table allowing you to slice and dice data anyway you like.

Once you’ve got that data in the system whether that be from flat files, links into other database systems or user input you can use the front ends to analyse and report on that now structured information.

PAfe is an excel based tool which allows you to connect directly to the cubes you have created. It gives you the flexibility to use the both the standard Excel and additional PAfE tools to create quick, simple and timely analysis with capability to load data as well.

PAW is the web-based part of the tool. It allows the user to create the shiny front end of dashboards and scorecards. It can take the data created and present and model it in a way that is immediate and relevant to different user groups with the organisation. You want summaries for the board and detailed information for managers PAW can provide this.

Having worked with the tool for over a decade it really can be an amazing tool. It has been marketed in the past as a planning and forecasting tool but it is so much more. Almost any data can be stored and created and once you have that in the system, PAW and PAfE can guide you to produce really insightful models to help you use that data in a way that can really benefit your business.

I hope that gives a clearer understanding of what Planning Analytics functionalities are and how combining our service at Aramar with IBM’s P&A can help you and your business.

Visit here for more on our service: What does IBM Planning Analytics or Cognos TM1 do? – Aramar

Thanks for reading!

Lindy Robins