Managing Cognos TM1 with Effective Documentation: Part 1
Cognos TM1 provides a solid platform for building Financial Performance Management (FPM) models and applications. It contains a powerful, flexible and functional tool set that enables organizations to develop solutions that can evolve with them, as their business requirements change.
With such a scalable tool set, it is even more important to ensure that practices are put into place to manage Cognos TM1 effectively, otherwise, the very strengths of the platform may in fact hinder the solutions. For this three-part blog post, I wanted to discuss the characteristics of Cognos TM1 that need to be managed in order to get the most out of the offering, to make the best use of time, keep costs low and ensure that the solution is quality. Moreover, it offers a framework for managing TM1 models through documentation.
The three key factors that need to be managed in TM1 are in essence its key differentiators. These include complexity, its ability to cater for changes and its flexible approach to solution development.
Let's start with complexity:
Cognos TM1 solutions have the ability to be as simple or complex as the business requires. Even the simplest of solutions however typically contain a data source, calculations, business logic, data entry templates and reports. Common drivers of complexity include: • Business logic and modelling • Volume of TM1 objects and models • Interconnectedness of models • ETL (extract, transfer, load) routines • Custom interfaces and coding
When auditing or testing a solution, communicating how it works to a colleague or trouble shooting an issue, data flows and business logic needs to be interpreted and traced. Simply put, the solution needs to be understood.
What's more, even if the solution was understood when it was developed, things change! Not only are changes made to the models and applications but over time people move on or simply forget. It becomes very difficult to keep track of the intricacies of solutions unless the model and its applications have been clearly documented and the documentation has been kept up to date.
For example - your most experienced TM1 user, developer or administrator has left the company and you have employed someone new to look after your Cognos TM1 solution - how long would it take to get someone up to speed and performing at the level of their predecessor and....how would you do it?
The key for managing complexity is being able to put it in such a way that people can understand it. If that is not achievable, the investment in time can be significant.
Check out our next blog for Part 2 of this TM1 Series where we discuss changes.
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