Create templates so you can reuse Investment Analysis settings

Get the most out of Investment Analysis in IBM Rational Focal Point

IBM Rational Focal Point Version 6.5.2 can be used to create templates for the Investment Analysis component. This article explains how to create and use these templates.

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Björn Kylberg (bjorn.kylberg@se.ibm.com), Senior Software Developer, IBM

Author1 photoBjörn Kylberg is a senior software developer at the IBM Nordic Software Labs in Linköping, Sweden. He has been a member of the Rational Focal Point team since 2005 and has contributed with development of various components. Most recently, he has been working with the Investment Analysis component. He has a Master of Science in information systems analysis from Linköping University.



25 September 2012

Also available in Chinese

IBM® Rational® Focal Point™ Version 6.5.2 includes several improvements for the Investment Analysis component. It offers a great deal of detail, but the setup has to be redone for each new element in Focal Point. In Version 6.5.2, it is possible to create a kind of template so that all of those detailed settings can be reused.

A module in Rational Focal Point can, for example, be used to represent projects. When Investment Analysis is used, the financial model for each project will probably be similar to the other projects. The templates contain those settings that are common for all of the projects in the project module. They will also guide users of that module on how they are expected to use a particular Investment Analysis setup.

This article explains how to set up these templates

Prerequisites:

  • You need to be familiar with basic use of Rational Focal Point in general and Investment Analysis in particular.
  • You will also need workspace administrator access to an instance of Rational Focal Point.

Create and use a template

An Investment Analysis template is the combination of predefined streams, calculator tapes, and variables. An instance of the template is created every time you create a new element in the module where the template was defined. When you enter Investment Analysis, you will have the predefined streams and default variables. The streams will be empty in a new element, but the variables will have predefined values.

Investment Analysis uses the time grid attribute to store its data. This means that the template setup is part of time grid attribute configuration.

It is also possible to make changes to the template from Investment Analysis mode, because you will typically need to test and run them before you know exactly how they will be defined.

Set up streams

The streams are set up as rows in the time grid attribute configuration. You can add three different types of streams: cost, benefit and variable streams. Variable streams are also known as time series variables.

To add a stream to the template:

  1. Select Configure > Attributes and select the module and time grid attribute that is used for Investment Analysis.
  2. In the section called Rows, click Add Row.
  3. Specify the name and type of your stream:
    • If you want to add a benefit stream, mark the Benefit check box.
    • If you want to add a cost stream, mark the Cost check box.
    • If you want to add a variable stream (time series variable), do not mark any check boxes.
Figure 1. Row section of time grid attribute configuration
Screen capture of configured rows

All rows will appear as streams in Investment Analysis for all elements in the module.

Set up default calculator tapes

Calculator tapes are used to enter data into Investment Analysis by expressions that can reference streams and variables. Default tapes show as a local tape that a user can load when entering data into Investment Analysis.

There are two ways to create a default calculator tape. You can create and modify directly in time grid attribute configuration, or you can create a calculator tape in Investment Analysis and save it as a default calculator tape. The benefit of the latter approach is that you can run and test your calculator tape before saving it.

Add a default calculator tape from the time grid attribute configuration

  1. Select Configure > Attributes, and then select the module and time grid attribute that is used for Investment Analysis.
  2. In the Calculator Tapes section, click Add Calculator Tape. You will see it added, clearly named New Calculator Tape.
  3. Click the link for the new calculator tape to get to the dialog window for the tape.
  4. Define the calculator tape by adding the expressions that you want, and click Save.
Figure 2. Editing a default tape
Screen capture of a tape editing dialog window

Add a default calculator tape from Investment Analysis

  1. Select a module and an element where there is a time grid attribute configured for Investment Analysis.
    Tip: If it is a new module and you haven't added any elements yet, you can use the top folder.
  2. Enter Investment Analysis.
  3. Create a new tape and elaborate with values and variables until you have a calculator tape that you like.
  4. Click Tapes > Save to Default Tapes to save the tape to the time grid configuration.
Figure 3. Saving a calculator tape as default
Screen capture of the Save menu options

The calculator tape has now been stored as a default calculator tape in the time grid configuration. It can also be viewed and edited from there.

The new calculator tape will be added to any element created after the new calculator tape was added. In other words, it will not be added to any existing elements in the module.

Set up default variables

The variables are used in Investment Analysis to share values between different calculator tapes.

You can define a set of variables and values that will be predefined when a new element is created. As when you are creating calculator tapes, there are two ways to define them, either directly in the time grid attribute setup or from Investment Analysis mode. The benefit of the latter approach is that you can test and run using the variables before saving them.

Add default variables to the time grid configuration

  1. Select Configure > Attributes, and select the module and time grid attribute that is used for Investment Analysis.
  2. In the Variables section, click Open. The dialog window that opens display the default set of variables.
  3. Define the variables and values that you want.
  4. Click Save to save and close the dialog window when you are finished.
Figure 4. Editing variables in time grid configuration
Screen shot of default variables edit dialog

Add default variables from Investment Analysis

  1. Select a module and an element where there is a time grid attribute configured for Investment Analysis.
    Tip: If it is a new module and you haven't added any elements yet, you can use the top folder.
  2. Enter Investment Analysis.
  3. Click the Variables tab.
  4. Enter new variables and then test and run until you are satisfied.
  5. Click Save as Default to save the entire set of variables to the time grid configuration. Any current default variables will be overwritten.
Figure 5. Editing variables in Investment Analysis
Screen capture of the Variables tab contents

The default variables will be added to any element created after the variables were saved. In other words, they will not be added to any existing elements in the module.


Make local variations

A template that makes all elements identical is great if all of them follow the same model. But sometimes you have an element that differs slightly from the template. For example, you might need a variable stream that's not relevant for other elements. In that case, it's possible to make a local variation of the template. A local variation means it the change will be applied to only one time grid attribute in one element. The local variations will not be part of the time grid configuration.

Streams

There are two ways to add a local stream to an Investment Analysis time grid:

  • From Investment Analysis
  • As an additional row to a time grid

Add a local stream from Investment Analysis

  1. Enter Investment Analysis.
  2. Click Menu > Add Stream to get the menu for adding the new stream,
  3. Enter the name for the stream, and select the type:
    • If you want to add a benefit stream, mark the Benefit check box.
    • If you want to add a cost stream, mark the Cost check box.
    • If you want to add a variable stream (time series variable), do not mark any check boxes.
Figure 6. Adding a stream in Investment Analysis
Screen shot of add stream dialog

Add a local stream as an additional row to a time grid

  1. Select an element, and find the time grid attribute.
  2. Click the edit pen icon to the right of the time grid attribute to see the options for the time grid.
  3. Click Additional Rows to display the next view.
  4. Click Add Row.
  5. Enter the name for the stream, and select the type:
    • If you want to add a benefit stream, mark the Benefit check box.
    • If you want to add a cost stream, mark the Cost check box.
    • If you want to add a variable stream (time series variable), do not mark any check boxes.
  6. Save the attribute.
Figure 7. Adding a stream as an additional row
Screen shot of additional row section

If you want to change or remove a local stream, you can do that from the Additional Rows section in the time grid attribute.

Calculator tapes

Local calculator tapes can be created as usual from the Tapes tab in Investment Analysis. See Creating and loading the calculator tapes in Rational Focal Point help for more information.

Variables

The variables can be changed in the Variables tab in Investment Analysis. These changes will always be local.


Use a local variation as an ad hoc template

If one of the local variations could be used in other cases but you don't want to change the template for all elements, there is a way to do that, as well. You can use the local variations that you've created as an ad hoc template.

When you have made local variations for an element that you want to use, you can make copies of it. There are two ways to create copies: Administrators can use the copy function in the tree mode of the module, and regular users can use the "Create element from" feature. See Adding elements by copying elements in Rational Focal Point help for more information.

Tip:
Create a folder element with the local variation. When you want an element using the ad hoc template, copy the folder as a regular element and place it in that folder.


Share templates

If you have created an Investment Analysis template that you like and that you want to use in another workspace or instance of IBM Rational Focal Point, you can share it. There are three ways of sharing it:

  • Module export
  • Workspace export
  • Workspace template

A module export creates a copy of the whole module. When you import it, you create a new module that is identical to the exported module. The module can be imported to the same workspace, another workspace, or another instance of Rational Focal Point. The module export can include all data or just the configuration information. See Exporting a module in Rational Focal Point help for more information on module export.

A workspace export creates a copy of the whole workspace. The workspace can be imported to the same Rational Focal Point instance or to another one. See Exporting a workspace in Rational Focal Point help for more information on workspace export.

A workspace template is also a copy of the whole workspace. It can be used if you want to create several workspaces from the same template. A workspace template can be created only in the same instance of Rational Focal Point. See Configuring workspace templates in Rational Focal Point help for more information on workspace templates.

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