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What Needs to Be Documented in IBM Planning Analytics, and How?

Keaton Alexander March 31, 2022 at 2:05 PM

If your business uses IBM Planning Analytics (formerly TM1) for financial reporting or modeling, documenting changes to analytics assets throughout their lifecycles will increase effectiveness.

How to Streamline IBM Planning Analytics Data Documentation

 

If a crisis happens, the last thing you’d want is to lose critical information, such as operational and institutional knowledge, leaving you ill-prepared to address pressing business needs.

 

That’s why you need powerful tools, like QUBEdocs, to get the most out of Planning Analytics.

 

Which Data Do You Need to Track with IBM Planning Analytics?

To determine which IBM Planning Analytics data requires documentation, you need to identify the most pertinent data to address your business needs. Specifically, any data pertinent to past and current financial records, and future projections based on these, needs to be documented.

 

Essential data to document when configuring IBM Planning Analytics data include:

 

  • Change management of existing and planned models
  • Processes involved in the administration of applications
  • Relationships between groups of data, including flows and dependencies
  • Practices that have been optimized and implemented for models
  • Methodologies for setting up and configuring applications

 

There are multiple data points to track within IBM Planning Analytics, which differ depending on your mission-specific needs, customers, regulatory compliance considerations, or industry.

 

The data above serves as a great starting point for streamlined TM1 documentation.

 

These categories of data likely drive the essential functions of your IBM Planning Analytics application and will help maintain business continuity and operational effectiveness at the enterprise level.

 

Data Documentation as a Solution to Planning Analytics Challenges 

IBM Planning Analytics can be a challenging platform for end-users, even with its fast, scalable, and dynamic business analytics solutions. But tracking data via TM1’s cube system will allow your business to transform its analytics capabilities, make the best use of data, and meet customers' needs faster—especially with the help of QUBEdocs’ Planning Analytics tools.

 

Documenting IBM Planning Analytics model lifecycles offers several benefits, including:

 

  • Enhanced usability across users
  • Streamlined business analytics
  • Increased TM1 return on investment

 

However, it all comes down to your business-specific needs or TM1 applications. 

 

Let’s break down some ways data documentation can enhance your business analytics and optimize decision-making capabilities, helping you get the most out of the TM1 architecture.

 

Reduce Change Management Risks

As your business expands and priorities change, you will need to document changes to critical IBM Planning Analytics processes to minimize risks associated with these changes. 

 

The most important data to document when it comes to change management includes:

 

  • Construction and optimization of novel Planning Analytics / TM1 models
  • Rollouts of new Planning Analytics / TM1 implementations
  • Lifecycle-related changes to Planning Analytics / TM1 applications 
  • Transfer of responsibilities across administrators and super-users

 

It is essential to document changes as they happen—but it's overly cumbersome to continually make retroactive changes just to bring your IBM Planning Analytics applications up-to-date.

 

Standardize Processes Across Users 

The complexity of IBM Planning Analytics can be simplified by documenting all standardized processes across your enterprise systems. By documenting changes to the IBM Planning Analytics machinery, you help end-users navigate the analytics tools and improve their productivity. Processes can also be tracked according to specific user groups and functions.

 

When standardizing IBM Planning Analytics processes and streamlining administration, you should prioritize documenting the following:

 

  • Performance of newly implemented elements
  • Impact analysis reports generated from changes to existing models
  • Compliance with corporate governance requirements and regulatory frameworks
  • Feedback reports from users implementing various optimizations
  • Customization of models and tools

 

Poor documentation of system-wide changes to core Planning Analytics functions can further complicate data modeling and potentially compromise downstream operational integrity.

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Collecting the most relevant data about your specific IBM Planning Analytics implementation will guide the enterprise-wide administration and rollout of analytics tools and help improve overall business intelligence.

 

Minimize Data Disparities 

As you scale up your organization and build new departments, you will likely need to converge all the disparate information (within and outside of individual departments) into a meaningful knowledge base.

 

To get the most out of IBM Planning Analytics, it helps to determine which data—if collected—will simplify the broader use of the analytics platform and improve overall efficiency. 

 

Ongoing documentation of each TM1 model in use will support CFOs’ priorities, such as:

 

  • Activities – Whether it's financial reporting or audit preparation, the activities your TM1 model performs will depend on how meaningfully data is integrated from each cube within your data environment. By documenting changes to your financial models or the data itself, you can reduce the data disparities across business departments and functions, maintaining data consistency and integrity.  

 

  • Processes – The integrity of an IBM Planning Analytics model also depends on visibility into changes made to data files and models, user permissions, and model rules. Each change event can affect TM1 model integrity and downstream data modeling events—hence the need for ongoing documentation of changes.

 

  • Business roles – Any departments or roles that rely on TM1 models to perform their functions must also have established processes for data documentation. For example, developers will need to document changes made to analytics models during optimization to streamline enterprise-wide rollout. However, compliance roles may only require consistently updated model data for seamless audit preparation. 

 

Regardless of the activities, processes, or business roles supported by IBM Planning Analytics, data documentation is critical to reducing data disparities across departments and simplifying business analytics.

 

After identifying which data to track within your model, the next step in effective IBM Planning Analytics data management is to develop a documentation system.

 

How Should You Track Data?

When it comes to tracking data in TM1, you need a robust and resilient documentation system that can consistently support data documentation during organizational changes. Building a documentation framework can help enhance the speed and efficiency of model development, mitigating risks related to data loss or compromised model integrity. 

 

Features of a Documentation Framework

To get the most out of your IBM Planning Analytics management, here are some features to include in a documentation framework:

 

  • Automation – Enhance the speed of model documentation, enabling faster data analysis and modeling, especially in rapidly changing business environments with vast amounts of highly-varied data. Automation eliminates cumbersome processes involved in manual model documentation and opens up operational bandwidth to address business needs.

 

  • Visibility – Promote transparency into user updates and permissions for all stakeholders who need to know about them, ensuring that all changes are documented as they occur. A documentation framework that tracks data in compliance with your corporate governance requirements will also help maintain alignment for compliance processes.

 

  • Simplicity – A documentation framework should not add to the complexity of existing IBM Business Analytics models. Instead, the framework should simplify complex models and identify critical dependencies between datasets and models across the organization. 

 

The most important aspect of data documentation with IBM Planning Analytics is ensuring that changes to financial models are not lost within the noise of a dynamic business environment. 

 

Automated data documentation, greater visibility of TM1 data models, and simpler visualizations of data environments will accelerate your data modeling. As a result, your finance team will generate data models faster and more efficiently—without worrying about backend documentation processes. 

 

Looking to achieve all the above with a single, powerful tool?

 

 

Use QUBEdocs to Streamline your Planning Analytics

Trusting QUBEdocs with your data documentation needs will help you streamline your IBM Business Analytics workflows. Our team of IBM TM1 experts will help enhance your TM1 model development, meet compliance with regulatory frameworks such as SOX, and enable robust data modeling across business departments and functions.

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QUBEdocs model visual mapping feature allows you to see all processes, rule flows, and more. 

 

Ask our expert team about some of QUBEdocs key features:

  • Automated model change documentation 
  • Visual mapping of your entire model 
  • Global search– find anything in your model with a quick search 

 

Furthermore, our documentation engine will automate model documentation and maintain the integrity of your analytics models, helping you generate clean data to serve your customers more efficiently. Let us know how we can help– request a consultation below and we'll set up a brief phone call to see how we can make your models more efficient. 

 

Let's get in touch 

 

 

 

 

Sources: 

IBM. IBM Planning Analytics. https://www.ibm.com/products/planning-analytics

 

 

 

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