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Data Input Interface for Cognos TM1

When a client is evaluating the use of Cognos TM1 or migrating from Cognos Enterprise Planning (EP) one of the first questions I typically hear is “What Input Interface for Cognos TM1 should we use?” Currently there are 3 main interfaces into Cognos TM1: TM1 Application (formerly called TM1 Contributor), TM1 Web, and Cognos Insight. Technically additional interfaces exist such as Cognos Architect but these are typically only for Administrators and are not used by the everyday end user.

 

IBM Cognos TM1 Contributor / Application
TM1 Application (formerly TM1 Contributor)
This interface is very similar to the Cognos Enterprise Planning Contributor interface and is going to be what your end users are most likely used to if you are migrating from that application. TM1 Application is deployed via the web and is a workflow based input hierarchy where users take ownership of nodes in the hierarchy and input their data. Some considerations of TM1 application are:

  • No software needing to be installed on a users desktop
  • Managed Workflow where one user can input into a node a time
  • Strong security on the workflow hierarchy
  • Visual representation to management on the status of a forecast or budget

 

TM1 Web
Similar to TM1 Application, TM1 web is a web based input tool and was the primary interface when TM1 was originally released. Many clients still use TM1 web; however IBM’s investment is being put into TM1 Application. With TM1 Web you can build input cubes and websheets that multiple users can contribute to. This tool does not have a managed workflow and there is limited control in only allowing only one user to input to a data set at a time. Some considerations of TM1 Web are:

  • Web Based tool requiring no software to be installed on a clients desktop
  • No managed workflow, user are provided with cube views which they input there data into
  • Quicker input tool for wide collaboration across the same data. No control in only allowing one user to input to a data set at a time

 

Cognos Insight
As of the time of this writing, this is the newest input tool released by IBM. This is an application that is installed on an end user computers and uses TM1 as the backend to allow data analysis. This application is very powerful in allowing end users to analyze data residing in spreadsheets, databases, etc. Imagine a pivot table in excel on steroids with more powerful analysis. What this tool currently lacks is controlling wide-spread contribution to a forecast or budget (ie. more than a few users contributing to a plan). If you do have a small office of finance or a small user base inputting into TM1 then this tool can be a great fit.

 

The bottom line is that there is no one input interface that is right for every situation. The great thing about Cognos TM1 is that you have options you can evaluate so that you can find the right interface for your situation. Please contact BEM Partners if you need assistance in evaluating a Cognos TM1 input interface.

Brandon
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