Managing Cognos TM1 with Effective Documentation: Part 2
In my last blog post of Part one to my three-part blog series on Managing Cognos TM1 with Effective Documentation we talked about complexity of an organizations' Cognos TM1 environment. In this second part of my TM1 blog series, I will discuss another key factor that needs to be manage in Cognos TM1 - changes.
Another key strength of Cognos TM1 is its adaptability. The ability to make changes to underlying models and solutions is required in today's face paced world. With Cognos TM1, models can be built rapidly, adapted and evolved throughout its life cycle. Changes can be made on the fly or in a more controlled environment.
In fact, it is incredibly easy for users with the appropriate access controls to make changes to solutions and underlying models. Because of the interconnected nature of Cognos TM1, making these changes often introduces risk. Upstream and downstream models and reports may be affected and what is more, this may not be immediately obvious.
While having good practices in place such as change control processes and ensuring that changes are properly tested in non-productions environments go a long way to solving this problem, significant time is often taken:
Collecting information to perform an impact analysis
Identifying the areas that need to be tested
Recording and documenting changes
If the impact of changes is not understood, even more time (and frustration) can be taken with retrospectively fixing issues that the changes introduced.
In addition to this, once changes have been tested and signed off, they often need to be moved to production. Again, because of interconnectedness of Cognos TM1, this is not always straight forward. It is often difficult to isolate all changes or dependent files that need to be transferred across, particularly if you have other development activities occurring in parallel. While Cognos TM1 has inbuilt functionality to promote changes from one environment to the next, there is still scope to miss some changes which can result in post promotion issues. Ideally, changes should be able to be reviewed and analyzed before they are deployed.
Finally, changes should be able to be tracked and audited. While documenting changes is a good practice it can also be a tedious one. Many organizations now require that all changes to underlying models are captured and documented for regulatory and audit purposes. Tracking changes is also very useful for trouble-shooting. Perhaps your Cognos TM1 server is not humming along like it was last month and you have no clue why, however you are vaguely aware that some changes were pushed across at the end of the month. Being able to review these changes easily can really help to create efficiencies with diagnosing issues.
Check out the final part, part three, of this blog series where we will discuss the final key factor to managing TM1 documentation, flexibility.