You might have read my previous blog posts on things to look out for when evaluating enterprise planning applications. (I’ll link to each of them below.) As we’ve seen in those posts, some applications have serious limitations which can severely compromise your performance management journey.
But there is one application on the market that uses proven technology and does not have these limitations — IBM Planning Analytics. In this post I’ll explain why.
Data Volumes for Planning
Check out my my post on data volumes. It would be embarrassing, not to mention ineffective, if your organization selected a new planning application and then discovered that it couldn’t hold all of your data. Well, IBM Planning Analytics does not have those limitations, thanks to its ability to handle “sparsity.” In other words, it does not allocate space in the database for zero values. In fact, we recently did the math and we discovered that one of the other solutions on the market can max out its data volume at 1% of the size of a typical IBM Planning Analytics implementation.
Imagine a world where your analysis is hindered because your account and cost center dimensions are combined, your data is split across multiple cubes, and you are always living in fear that any new versions or products you add to the cube might push you over the limit — causing your model to stop working, thus forcing a model redesign. Not the world you want to live in.
In another recent post on getting to a “single version of the truth,” I discussed how the cube limitations of some applications can severely limit your analysis. Analysis was the main reason you acquired your new planning solution in the first place, right? Remember your initial goal: “Spend less time crunching numbers in spreadsheets so you can spend more time on analysis.”
IBM Planning Analytics has powerful “unbounded” analytics built into the application. It natively supports alternative views of the same data within the same cube. In addition, attributes may be treated in the same way as hierarchies when it comes to analysis. So there’s no need to move your data into different cubes to get different views of the same data. Furthermore, the reporting and visualization options are built in and in real time — again, no need to move data in order to produce your highly formatted financial report.
The comfort zone of some of these other applications is for building data entry templates and then assembling the plan. Analytics and reporting are really an afterthought. Those vendors would much rather you exported the data into another tool or into your own data warehouse to do detailed reporting and analysis.
By contrast, with IBM Planning Analytics . . . there are no compromises!
I hope you’re intrigued. And I invite you to try out IBM Planning Analytics for yourself in this quick 10-minute guided demo. You’ll get hands-on experience by building a book for revenue planning, and see for yourself how flexible the solution really is.