Analyse your data with Google Map and IBM TM1/Planning Analytics

Canvas for TM1 gives your company the freedom to easily create modern, sophisticated IBM TM1/Planning Analytics applications. There is almost no limit with the things you can do now, such as displaying your business data by locations with Google Map. For example we have seen sales field rep benefiting from this new type of visualization:

Integrate Google Map into your application

With Canvas for TM1, it is really easy to link Google Map with your IBM TM1/Planning Analytics data. All you need to do is query your cube using MDX Query and then use Canvas for TM1 to display it in Google Map:

Create your own Google Map

Even better, you can customize Google Map to the way you want it. Show/Hide roads, parks or monuments. There are lots of settings that you can play with! Google Map has a Google Maps APIs Styling Wizard which will help you create your own style:

Canvas for TM1 at IBM Vision

This year at IBM Vision in Orlando, there will be two great examples of Canvas applications presented by Jabil Circuit and Apliqo C3.

Jabil Circuit

Jabil Circuit is building a refreshed web-based user interface for its 2,500+ Cognos TM1 users leveraging Canvas for TM1. Jabil will be presenting on stage, the session code is FPM-1205.

Apliqo C3

Apliqo C3 provides a pre-built Performance Management Solution with unified reporting, analysis and planning in ten different modules. They have chosen Canvas to rebuild their existing Cognos TM1 Web application into a whole new modern interface. The Apliqo team will be presenting on stage, the session code is FPM-1281.

Meet us at our booths 13 & 14

You can meet the Cubewise and the Apliqo team at their booths 13 & 14. Swing past our booths and get a selfie with Manny Perez, Cubewise CTO and the inventor of TM1!

Canvas examples

TM1 migration has never been so convenient

At first sight, the TM1's file-based architectural makes TM1 migration from one instance to another quite straight forward: 

Even if it looks easy, you have to make sure that you picked all the files from the source instance. For example if you are migrating a cube, all dimensions have to be included and to migrate a dimension with its attributes you have to include all control objects.

If you miss one TM1 object, you will have to restart the target instance again. It might not be a big deal if you are working on development but if you are in production it might be difficult to find a new time-slot.

The Pulse migration feature overcomes TM1's file-based architectural limitations with a centralized model that reduces risk of mistakes.

Advantages of using Pulse for TM1 migration

  • Never forget a TM1 object: When migrating a TM1 object, Pulse finds all dependencies which should be included during the migration.
  • View changes before migration: Pulse tells you exactly what is going to be updated in the target instance. You can view in details the exact lines of code which are going to be updated.
  • Automatically back-up the database folder.
  • Very robust: It is used by many clients for the past years. With Pulse v5.5, we optimized the migration to make it even faster.

How it works?

Pulse provides a structured approach to migration, which follows two important steps: 

  1.  Create migration package: Gather all TM1 objects you want to migrate into one package from one source instance.
  2. Execute migration package: Import all TM1 objects from the package to the target instance.

Each package contains all the information and files required to update a target instance.

Migration methods


Pulse has several methods for creating a migration package. The two main methods are source control and manual migration:

  • The Source Control option allows you to query for a list of changes based on a date range and also by developer/user (leave this blank for all users) and then select the items you want to migrate.
  • The Manual option allows you to pick the objects you want to migrate manually. It is not restricted by changes that have been made, any object can be migrated (except views and subsets). Pulse will then find all dependencies of the TM1 objects selected:

Types of packages

Once you picked which methods you want to use to create the package, you will then have to decide the package type:

  • Live Update: The execution of packages can be performed while the server is still running.
  • Offline Update: Pulse will create a folder with the TM1 object files. You can then copy the files manually into the target instance.

Pulse provides enterprise grade migration features allowing you to easily move changes in your TM1 models between servers.

Read more:

Responsive design with Canvas and Bootstrap

Excel vs HTML

The first thing you notice when you start building a web page is that the layout is not defined. You literally start from a blank page. First you have to create the containers before adding some contents. 

In Excel, when you create a new sheet, you can easily add some contents into the cells. The advantage is that you don't have to worry about defining the containers but the downside is that the layout is fixed. The size of the cells will always be the same no matter the screen-size. It is not responsive, on a small screen it is likely that you will have to use the scroll bar to see all the contents.

Building a webpage takes a bit more time at the beginning because you have to define the layout. The advantage is that it offers you the freedom to set your layout as you want. To help you to define a responsive design for your TM1 applications, Canvas includes the Bootstrap framework.

What is Bootstrap?

Bootstrap is a pretty nice HTML and CSS framework for developing responsive web applications. In other words it helps to create a layout which will adjust depending on the screen size.

The bootstrap grid system allows for up to 12 columns on the page. You can group multiple columns to create bigger containers:

For example if you want to show 4 columns of the same size in the same row, you will need to create 4 containers with a width of "col-md-3", you define a container by using div tag:

  <div class="row">
    <div class="col-md-3">
         Column 1
    </div>
    <div class="col-md-3">
         Column 2
    </div>
    <div class="col-md-3">
        Column 3
    </div>
    <div class="col-md-3">
        Column 4
    </div>
  </div>

This is what your page will look like, 4 columns with the same width:

If you work on a smaller device where the 12 columns cannot fit, instead of staying on the same row and use the scroll bar to see them, the columns will be pushed to the next rows:

Bootstrap allows you to manage the look and feel of your TM1 applications as you resize your web browser or switch from a tablet to a smart phone.

Dashboard with responsive design in Canvas

In the following video, you can see an example of dashboard with a responsive design:

With Canvas and Bootstrap you have the freedom to define the look and feel of your TM1 applications. You do not need to know Bootstrap or HTML before starting to build Canvas pages. Canvas comes with a complete set of samples which will give you plenty of ideas on how to build out your own TM1 applications, and if you want to go even further there are plenty of contents online such as forum and training courses.

10 Tips to improve your TM1 application

Over the years your TM1 application will grow, you might create new cubes, create/update rules or TM1 processes, create new elements.... All these changes will have an impact on your application performance. 

If you want to minimize this impact, here are 10 tips that you should look at. When you design an application, it is always difficult to find the right balance between users requirements, design standards and performance that is why these tips might not all be relevant to your application.

1. Improve TM1 rules

As the size and the complexity of systems grow, your TM1 rule files become more complex so if you do not want to lose calculation time, here are some best practices that you can follow:

  • Use skipcheck algorithm.
  • Use TM1 attributes instead of text functions (SUBST, SCAN): Text comparison in TM1 are slower than operating on attributes.
  • Try to create consolidations instead of rules: Consolidation is the fastest way to calculate values:

Use FTE as a consolidation of Hours with a weight of (1/8)

instead of

['FTE']=['Hours']/8;

  • Area statements are faster than IF statements:
['A'] = N: 1;
['B'] = N: 0;

instead of

[{'A','B'}] = N: IF( !Column @= 'A' , 1 , 0 ) ;

Pulse for TM1 can help you to follow these best practices. The validation report can help you to validate your best practice rules against your model.

2. MTQ (Multi-Threaded Query)

Even if TM1 was already fast, IBM made TM1 even faster with the introduction of MTQ with v10.2. Instead of doing the calculation on one CPU, TM1 can now use several CPU at the same time. As IBM recommendations, the best practice is to set the MTQ value such that the maximum available processor cores are used.

3. Run TM1 processes in parallel

Parallel processing is a TM1 feature which unfortunately is not enough used. Imagine for instance that instead of running one TM1 process which copy data for one year, you could run one TM1 process which then launches one TM1 process per months (12 processes running at the same time) using TM1RUNTI.

 

Instead of

If you want to do parallel processing, I highly recommend you to use Hustle. It is a free tool which will help you to handle the number of threads you want to run at the same time.

4. Avoid User Locking

Having users locked and not able to access their data is one of the worst situation for a TM1 Administrator, hopefully it does not happen often in the TM1 world. Here some tips to avoid user locking:

  • Turn off cube logging by using CellPutS( 'NO', '}CubeProperties', 'cubename', 'LOGGING' ) instead of CubeSetLogChanges( 'cubename', 0 ).
  • Avoid dimensions update during working hours ( Split metadata update and data update in 2 different TI)
  • Use CellGetN with cautiou, it can create locking.
  • Security Refresh (use processes over rules to update TM1 security).
  • Set up Alerts to be the first to know when there is an issue.

5. Train your users

After implementation it is usual for users to develop their own TM1 spreadsheets that may or may not be designed according to best practices. Depending on what they build (Large cube view or do spreading on a high consolidation), it might slow down or even lock TM1 during working hours. In order to avoid these issues you should make sure that they know the TM1 basics:

  • Use VIEW function in a slice.
  • Use DBRW instead of DBR.

Pulse analyses all Excel workbooks linked to your TM1 application and can help you to identify users who need training.

6. Restart your TM1 server on a weekly basis

TM1 elements that are deleted aren't removed from the TM1 indexes until a server restart. So if you are frequently removing and adding elements your memory will grow overtime. Restarting the TM1 instance will help removing temporary files.

7. Clean dimensions

The number of elements in dimensions increase over time. Even if it is not an issue for a cube to have lots of "0" cells, having lots of elements in your dimension will slow down all your MDX query or dynamic subsets.

This is relevant only for Large dimensions (>100,000 elements) such as Product or Customer dimensions. Be very careful during this step because if you delete an element, you will loose the data attached to it.

8. Snapshot old data

Rules should be applied only on a specific cube area where data changes. You do not need rules if your data is static such as last year data for example. What you could do is export cube data for the specific year, remove the rules and then load the data back, the data for this year will then be static and it will be much faster to query them.

9. Tune VMM/VMT

TM1 keeps the calculation in memory, the first time you open a cubeview, if it takes more time than the VMT value (default is 5 sec), TM1 will keep this view in memory (TM1 creates a stargate view), next time you open the cubeview, it will be much faster because TM1 will open the stargate view instead of recreating the view from scratch.

VMM is the amount of RAM reserved on the server for the storage of stargate views. Increasing this value will allowed TM1 to store more stargate views which means that TM1 will be much faster but it will consume more memory.

10. Disable anti-virus on the TM1 data folder

Virus scan software can negatively impact your TM1 application performance. You should set up your anti-virus to skip TM1 folders.

Read more:

Monitor and manage your TM1 environment in one place

Managing the performance of your company’s IBM TM1 applications has never been an easy task with the limited built in tools. You and your company can appreciate that as the size and complexity of systems grow you need the right tools to understand your model, track what is happening and then diagnose issues as they arise. Pulse for TM1 has been developed for this very purpose; it is the one and only all-encompassing management tool for TM1.
With Pulse for TM1 you and your company can take the management of your system to the next level: be the first to know when there is an issue, deliver performance reports to your users and understand the design of your system more than you ever have before.

What's the magic behind Pulse:

Pulse constantly tracks your TM1 services. It is composed of two services which update two internal databases. Pulse must be installed on each server where TM1 is installed.

The Excel Addins:

Pulse comes with the Extend Excel add-in. Extend monitors how Excel is used by the TM1 users. It communicates back to the Pulse server each time a user creates, saves, opens or closes a TM1 enabled Excel workbook. A TM1 enabled workbook is one that contains at least one of the following formulas: TM1RPTVIEW, VIEW, SUBNM, DBRW, DBR or DBS.

Key features:

Read more:

 

 

Happy TM1 users by Pro-Active support

Over the years your TM1 application is growing, as your TM1 application grows, your TM1 user base is likely to grow as well. Supporting a large number of users can be time consuming, especially during month end closes and budgeting/forecasting periods, I can bet that these questions have been asked of you many times before:

  • Where is this data coming from?
  • Why can't I access my reports?
  • My Excel is freezing, is there something running on the TM1 application?

Typically we see that by giving the appropriate tools to your TM1 users to better understand the TM1 application, you'll reduce the number of support calls and increase the user adoption. Thanks to different assets that I will refer to in this article, I'm going to show you that Pulse for TM1 can be the answer.

Give User's transparency

With Pulse's Live Monitor capability users can view exactly what's happening on the TM1 application. If the TM1 users think there is something wrong with the TM1 application, they can go and investigate the issue by themselves instead of calling the TM1 support team.

One of our clients reduced their number of support calls by 50% by exposing the Pulse Live Monitor to all its TM1 users.

bring confidence to TM1 users

To truly trust the data, TM1 users need to understand the TM1 application. Explaining how the application works or where the data is coming from, is time consuming, especially if you have to explain the same things to different users.

To overcome this challenge we recommend using Pulse's dynamic reports and documentation which can help the users to understand how the TM1 application works at the click of a button:

Having current documentation and the ability to view a TM1 model visually via relationship diagrams also means your users will feel confident about the application knowing all source and relationship between cubes.

Train your users

Users building large views or doing data spreading on large dimensions can slow down the TM1 application. Pulse can help you to identify which users are making these requests and might require TM1 training. With Pulse you can for example analyze all workbooks in your application, the number of sheets, number of rows and if they are using VBA:

Conclusion:

You can improve your TM1 application as much as you want but if your TM1 users do not know how to use it, or do not understand how it works, you will likely continue to receive a disproportionate number of low level support calls. The best way to reduce the number of support calls is to give your users the tools to understand the TM1 application themselves.

What is the TM1 REST API?

The TM1 REST API is a new way of accessing data and everything else in TM1. Rather than being a proprietary API like old TM1 interfaces it is based on web standards making it accessible to a wide range of developers.  

REST stands for REpresentational State Transfer and is an architectural style (not a standard) that has become the common way of designing API for applications on the internet. The TM1 REST API does however support the OData standard (v4) which provides a common way for accessing data through queries and also updating data. OData is used by multiple vendors and is supported by companies like Microsoft, SAP and of course IBM

If you want to become a true TM1 REST API guru you should read up the documentation on the odata.org website. TM1 supports v4 of the standard, you may find examples out on the web that are an earlier version of the standard that won't work with TM1.

An important distinction to make about REST and OData is that neither of these are programming languages. The REST API is language agnostic, you can use the language of your choice: Java, JavaScript, Python, C#, Visual Basic, etc. All of these languages have HTTP libraries that will allow you to access the REST API.

What is great about the REST API?

  • It is fast! The REST API is built in to the TM1 server, there is no external web servers or parts you need to install. Because of this the REST API has direct access to all of that data stored in memory in your TM1 server.
  • It is fast over slow networks! The REST API is optimized for access over the internet, it takes advantage of all of the goodness that is built into the HTTP protocol such as compression, streaming, etc.
  • Did I mention it is fast? In our applications, we are noticing no discernible difference in speed when accessing applications from a local server to one that is hosted on the other side of the world. Our application framework Canvas optimizes this further by batching requests so they are returned in milliseconds rather than seconds.
  • You can use any programming language. Whatever your favorite programming language is the chances are you can use it with the REST API. As long as there is a HTTP library for your language, you can use it. Examples of these are:
    • Java: Apache HTTP Client, okHttp, etc.
    • C# and VB.NET: Built into the .NET Framework: System.Net.WebClient and System.Net.HttpWebRequest
    • JavaScript: jquery, Angular $http.
    • Python: httpie.
    • Others: Search github.
  • It is very easy to get most information out of TM1, there is even a built-in document that describes the API called $metadata (more on that later).
  • It is cloud and big data enabled! I just added that to make the article sounds cooler.

What ARE the hard bits ABOUT the REST API?

If we are going to make an objective assessment of the REST API we also need to understand that it isn't all smooth sailing with the REST API. In fact, because of the points below Cubewise decided to build a framework on top of the REST API called Canvas to help TM1 developers build beautiful user interfaces without all of the scary bits.

  • It is low level. The REST API is built to access TM1 objects directly, this is easy for many queries but is more difficult for updating data, accessing application entries and a number of other things.
  • Difficult for the traditional Accountant who recently became a TM1 Developer. As stated before, the REST API can be complicated for people without an IT background.
  • Little cross-over from existing TM1 concepts and terminology. If you are a long time TM1 person you will be very familiar with functions such as DBRW and SUBNM as well as Active Forms and Slices. These concepts don't exist in the REST API but do in Canvas.

What can you use the REST API for?

Anything, the REST API is NOT a user interface however, it is a way to access objects/data in TM1. It could be used for pretty much anything:

  • As an ETL tool to move data into and out of TM1.
  • As a data source for a user interface.
  • To sync data between TM1 servers.
  • To backup data to another source or file. 
  • Create, update and delete TM1 objects.

Where to next?

Over the coming weeks we will be posting regular articles on how to use the REST API including examples. We will also provide a comparison and reasons why we developed Canvas to leverage the goodness of the REST API and provide something that is easy to work with for regular TM1 developers. 

Stay tuned!

How to measure TM1 user adoption

User adoption is good way to evaluate the success of any application. You can build the most efficient application ever created but at the end of the day if users are not using it, it's ROI is questionable.
Typically, in most projects, only key users are involved during the design phase. While most business users will only ever see the application at the end of the project… which might be too late to get their buy in.

Knowing who is using your application, when are they using it and how they are using it, is very important if you want to improve your application, increase its user adoption and measure the applications ROI.

 

How to measure it ?

Without Pulse, it is very hard to know who is really using the TM1 application and what are they consuming.

Pulse keeps track of user sessions. You know who is using your TM1 application, when are they using it, what are they consuming and lots of other statistics like number of sessions, session times...:

With this data, you will be able to see who is not using your TM1 application and ask them why. Maybe you just need to make a few changes to get them back on board.

And there is more, Pulse tells you exactly how the users are using your TM1 application, you can see if users are consuming the TM1 reports you built or if they prefer to build their own:

Pulse keeps track of TM1 spreadsheets in both Excel and TM1 Web. If you want to know more about User Analytics or Excel Analytics with Pulse just click on the links.

Enabling the TM1 REST API

The TM1 REST API is not enabled by default, you need to update your tm1s.cfg on your TM1 server with the following parameter:

  • HttpPortNumber=8881

The port number can be anything but not be used by any other application. You must make sure you use a different port number for each TM1 instance (server). 

You now need to restart the instance of TM1 for it to take effect using the Windows Services panel:

To see if the REST API is working open your favourite browser (my recommendation is Chrome) and enter the following URL (replace the port number with your one). It is important that you enter the URL exactly as it is below. Note the https as the protocol, TM1 uses SSL by default.

https://localhost:8881/api/v1/$metadata 

Because the SSL certificate used by TM1 is for tm1server rather than localhost you will receive an error about your connection not being private (example of Chrome below). It is safe to ignore the error (in development only) so click on ADVANCED and then Process to localhost (unsafe)

You will now see the content below, which is the TM1 REST API $metadata page that describes all of the objects / actions you can take against the REST API.

Retrieving Information from the REST API (The GET Request)

It is very simple to test out the functionality of the REST API using your browser. In the previous article I discussed how you both enable and connect to the REST API. Here I am are going to describe how you query the REST API to retrieve information about your TM1 model.

Before we get into the detail we need to understand a couple concepts about REST APIs in general. In REST terminology TM1 has a number of resources that can be retrieved, created, updated and deleted. From a TM1 perspective these are just objects: cubes, dimensions, processes, chores, cells, etc. 

Each resource has a unique URL that identifies what information is to be retrieved from TM1. For example if we want to retrieve information about a cube called General Ledger we would issue a GET request using the URL:

https://localhost:8881/api/v1/Cubes('General Ledger')

A GET request is called a HTTP method and TM1 REST API supports 4 different HTTP methods:

  • GET: Retrieves information about the resource specified in the URL.
  • POST: Creates a resource in the TM1 server.
  • PATCH: Updates an existing resource in the TM1 server.
  • DELETE: Deletes an existing resource from the TM1 server.

The GET request is something that can be executed easily from your browser by typing the address into the Address Bar and pressing Enter. The other methods can only be executed in the browser with the assistance of an add-in like Postman (for Chrome), I will provide more information on how to do this in subsequent articles.

FIRST EXAMPLE - RETRIEVING A LIST

The first thing we are going to retrieve is a list of the cubes in our TM1 model. Go to your browser and type in the below URL and press ENTER:

https://localhost:8881/api/v1/Cubes

NOTE: If your TM1 model has SSL enabled (the default) you will receive a warning about it being an untrusted or insecure connection. It is ok to ignore this message and proceed. 

You will be greeted by a pop-up dialog like the image below that will ask you for your TM1 credentials. This dialog uses what is called BASIC authentication and it is only supported when using traditional TM1 security, i.e. IntegratedSecurityMode 1 or 2. If you are using CAM security you should revert back to mode 1 or 2 on a dev/test environment so you can follow these examples.

Enter your regular TM1 credentials in this box and press Log In, i.e. if you are using the Planning Sample model for testing it would be: admin and apple. You will then be presented with a full list of every cube in your model including the rules. It will also look like a jumbled mess like the screenshot below:

This data is the JSON response from TM1, JSON is a text based format that is human readable, supported by nearly every programming language and is natively supported in web browsers. To help you understand what this information is I recommend installing a Chrome add-in called JSON Formatter, it will turn that previously ugly mess into this:

SECOND EXAMPLE - RETRIEVING A SINGLE OBJECT

We can see from the screenshot above that TM1 is returning a list of cubes in the TM1 model. In this next example we are going to retrieve just a single object, in this case the General Ledger cube:

https://localhost:8881/api/v1/Cubes('General Ledger')

Enter the above request into the browser address by appending ('General Ledger') and press Enter. Make sure you use single quotes, it is best to type these directly into the browser or use a text editor like Notepad or Notepad++. If you type the same single quotes into Microsoft Word or Outlook it will convert them to Smart Quotes which aren't supported.

You will also note that any spaces are automatically converted by the browser to %20. This is called encoding the URL, for a full list how URLs should be encoded see this article.

The response you retrieve should look like this:

BREAKING DOWN THE URL

Before we move on to the next article Using $expand and $select with the TM1 REST API we should review the parts of the URLs above and describe what they mean. Example:

https://localhost:8881/api/v1/Cubes('General Ledger')

Parts:

  • https: This the scheme to be used, in this case https, which means use the HTTP protocol using secure sockets. If we were to disable SSL in the tm1s.cfg (UseSSL=F) we would use http instead.
  • localhost: The location as a server name, IP address or domain name to access the REST API.
  • 8881: The port number the TM1 REST API is running on, this has to the same number that you have used for the HttpPortNumber setting in the tm1s.cfg file.
  • api/v1/: The version of the TM1 REST API that you are using, if for some reason breaking changes are made to the REST API the version will increment so no existing applications are broken.
  • Cubes: The collection of resources that we are querying, this can also be Dimensions, Processes, Chores, etc. For a full list see the $metadata document:

https://localhost:8881/api/v1/$metadata

A journey through the TM1 REST API

The TM1 REST API is a way of accessing data and everything else in TM1. Since its first introduction with TM1 10.2, a number of fix packs have been released with additional improvements and extensions. All new products released by IBM such as CAFE (PAX) and Planning Analytics Workspace (PAW) are using it. It is the THE API for the TM1 server going forward.
The TM1 REST API can be used to do pretty much anything you want with your TM1 server such as building cubes, dimensions, extracting or loading data...

The TM1 REST API journey for a web application

You don’t need any extra components to access your TM1 server with the TM1 REST API. You can follow the IBM official guide and try to tackle the TM1 REST API by yourself, but you need to understand that it isn't all smooth sailing:

  1. Access TM1 server. This is the challenging part, there are lots of things which can be difficult to set up and not well documented such as cellsets, cross domain scripting and SSL certificates.
  2. Request data. The TM1 REST API supports the OData standard (v4) which provides a common way for accessing data through queries and also updating data.
  3. Transform data. The MDX query will return you a set of cells that you’ll need to transform in a specific format to make it fit in your application.
  4. Visualization: Once your data is ready, you now need to build your web application using HTML.

On the one hand, some things are very simple to do with the TM1 REST API, such as getting the list of cubes and dimensions. On the other hand some things which are trivial to do in TM1, can be very hard to do with the TM1 REST API. For example: getting a cell or updating a value.

Because of these points Cubewise decided to build a development framework on top of the TM1 REST API called Canvas to help TM1 developers to build beautiful user interfaces without all of the scary bits.

TM1 REST API with Canvas

Canvas handles all the way from the server access to data transformation so you can focus on the visualization part. With a mix of HTML and Canvas directives you’ll be able to build a modern web planning and reporting application:

With Canvas, you don’t need to know JavaScript or MDX, the assumption is that if you know how to write a rule or a TM1 process, you’ll quickly learn how to build a TM1 application with HTML. However if you do know JavaScript, you'll be able to build a more sophisticated application.

Canvas is built with TM1 Developers in mind – it uses immediately recognizable TM1 concepts like DBRs, SUBNMs, Views, etc. and for the first time makes these easy to plug into any web application. DBR in Canvas looks like this:

<tm1-ui-dbr tm1-instance="dev" 
             tm1-cube="Regional Assumptions" 
             tm1-elements="Actual,2012,Jan,13,Super Rate" 
             >
 </tm1-ui-dbr>

With Canvas, the TM1 REST API is now available to anyone who does not want to rely on limited drag and drop tools to develop sophisticated applications.

What is the Return on Investment of Pulse?

Pulse brings many new opportunities to those responsible for the administration and development of TM1 systems. Up until now what is actually happening within your TM1 servers has very much been a black-box. Pulse enables you to shine a light on your system and actually deliver better, faster and more maintainable system to your users.

Save time doing during migration process

Pulse moves TM1 from a departmental solution to one that can be managed at an enterprise level with large development teams and hundreds or thousands of users. 
Source control enables accountability and oversight of your developers by giving full transparency of changes that have been made.
The migration features allow you to separate the duties of your developers and those that are responsible for support of your production system. Developers no longer need access to your production systems and all changes can be applied in a managed way that is tracked. 
This makes the process of complying with the strict governance controls required by the governance models mandated in Sarbanes–Oxley (SOX) and Euro-SOX much easier.


License OPTIMIZATION

For any company with TM1 or Cognos Express there is a significant investment in purchase of licenses for your users. If you are a company that is expanding your TM1 footprint (or wanting to), you are moving from one license scheme to another or conversely you are worried about whether you are within your current entitlements Pulse can deliver the information you need. You can make informed decisions by actually having hard evidence of how your system is used.
Each time a user logs into the system the type of user (admin, write or read-only) is logged to the internal database. The following statistics are available out of the box:

FOLLOW TM1 BEST PRACTICE

Best practice is often talked about but rarely is it followed and enforced, developers have their own ideas on how a system should be built. Pulse for TM1 allows you to validate your best practice rules against your model. This allows you to ensure consistency in design. A consistent system is one that is easy to maintain, saving countless hours and shortening the time taken for new developers to understand how it all fits together.
Shipped as part of the Pulse, are 40 best practice rules that have been formulated with decade’s worth of collective TM1 consulting experience. You can use these straight out of the box on your own models or develop your own to fit your particular needs.

PULSE DOES THE DOCUMENTATION FOR YOU

Documentation is a long and costly task that is often ignored for more “interesting” tasks by developers and administrators alike. Pulse for TM1 automates much of this process by doing all of the tedious tasks for you. For a typical integrated TM1 model we have found that Pulse saves between 10 and 15 days of work giving you significant savings. The information produced by Pulse is also up to date and can be generated quickly at any time. 

Quality Control

The documentation features gives you an insight not only to the system architecture but can also identify and highlight common bad practices. If you are managing large development teams in can be very difficult to efficiently review the code base, Pulse can reduce this time by highlighting issues that are known to lead to performance degradation. 
The changes between development iterations can be easily identified and viewed ensuring best practices and overall architectural design has been adhered to.

Conclusion

In conclusion, Pulse for TM1 is a tool for all companies interested in maximising their Business Intelligence investment through developing End-to-End Sustainable Competence – from Server through to the Users. With this tool you will have the information to develop, remedy, measure and maintain core TM1 applications and be sure your users are benefiting and growing with you.

 

 

TM1 Web vs Canvas - Timesheet application

Here's an example of how your TM1 application would like if you replaced TM1 Web with Canvas. For this example the TM1 Web and Canvas user interface have been built on top of the same TM1 cubes:

Moving to Canvas will give you many benefits such as:

  • Canvas is mobile ready: resize automatically to fit on any device.
  • Give your TM1 application WOW factor.
  • New kinds of applications that you didn’t think were possible: You can swap rows and columns in your table.
  • Columns are dynamic: hide/show as you like.

Google for your TM1 model

Pulse is your friend. If there is something you'd like to know about your TM1 application such as, how a cube is updated, where an attribute is used or where a specific string is referenced, just ask Pulse.

For example if you want to know all TM1 processes which update the "General Ledger" cube, just type "General ledger" in the search bar:

and you will see the list of all TM1 objects which contain the string "General Ledger" in the code:

If you want to know which TM1 process updates a specific attribute or hierarchy. Just type the hierarchy name in the search bar, click the search button and Pulse will tell you which line of the TM1 process contains this hierarchy or attribute:  

Having current information about your TM1 application will bring you more confidence to change your application knowing all possible impacts.

Why PVU is important to TM1 performance

Depending on your license agreement, when you buy TM1, it is likely that you buy a limit number of PVUs. Knowing how many CPU your TM1 server requires will help you to adjust the number of PVUs you really need.

What is a PVU?

A Processor Value Unit is a unit of measure to quantify the capability/speed of the processor on your TM1 server. IBM uses the PVU as a common licensing metric used accross IBM technology. 

How to calculate your total PVU

The number of PVU per core depends on the processor technology (defined by Processor Vendor, Brand, Type and Processor Model Number) on which the customer is running the software.

Total PVU = Number of Cores x PVUs per core

if you want to know exactly how much PVU your server has, you can use the IBM PVU calculator. In the example below the server has a Total PVU = 560:

PVU and TM1 performance

Having lots of PVU enable you to increase the number of CPU your TM1 server can use to do the calculation. To enable TM1 to use multiple processor cores, you have to update the MTQ parameter in the tm1s.cfg. MTQ will significantly increase the speed at which TM1 can perform calculations and queries by allowing queries to split into multiple processing threads.

It is important to notice that an increase in cores doesn’t have a pro rata speed impact. This is attributed to the fact that the non-stargate operations associated with displaying a view still require a fixed amount of time, you can see below that after 32 you do not win lots of time:

Increasing the number of processors on your TM1 server typically has a positive impact on TM1 performance…. However it isn’t necessarily a silver bullet and needs to be considered in the context of:

  • Model complexity
  • Number of users
  • Load processing times
  • Other applications on the server

analyse the CPU usage of your application

You should analyse how much CPU your server requires. Maybe you're paying for more PVU than you need. 

Pulse can help you to know how many CPUs your application is using. In the Pulse live monitor at the top left you can see the CPU % your application currently uses:

or you can use the server performance report to see all maximum CPU events during a timeframe:

Knowing how many CPU your application is using will help you to adapt the number of PVU you need.

For more information about PVU, you can check the IBM PVU FAQ.

Is Canvas the best reporting tool for TM1?

TM1 has by far the most powerful calculation engine on the market, but it is also well known that it is missing a modern user interface. Lots of companies using TM1 for planning and reporting also use an extra Business Intelligence tool for management reporting.

Most of the BI tools on the market do not take full advantage of TM1. Even if it is possible to build beautiful dashboards on top of TM1 data, they are not built for TM1. The main issue is that they do not have direct access to TM1. Indeed, they require either an extra component to connect to TM1 or you'll have to extract TM1 data into flat files in order to process them. By adding an extra step between TM1 and your reports, you're losing the beauty of TM1 which is its speed.

CANVAS IS FAST

Canvas uses the TM1 REST API to connect to TM1 which means that it has a direct access to TM1 with no extra ETL required. Canvas optimizes access to TM1 further by batching queries and updates so that TM1 can process multiple requests in one go.

CANVAS LEVERAGES TM1

Canvas is built for TM1 by people who have worked with TM1. Canvas gives you access to all TM1 features:

  • Cell orientation
  • Read/Write
  • Attributes
  • Subsets
  • Hierarchy
  • Cell Reference
  • Numeric or String data

CANVAS IS MOBILE READY

Canvas includes responsive design libraries that enable you to support all types of devices. This modern web technology is smart enough to manage how it should appear on your browser. You have full control and can optimize your interface for mobile, tablets, the desktop or support all three:

SIMPLE CELL BASED DBR CONTROL TO RETRIEVE AND UPDATE TM1

Similar to TM1 and Excel, Canvas is a cell based application, each cells has its own DBR formula to retrieve and update TM1. If you're used to build TM1 reports in Excel, you will quickly learn how to build reports or data entry template in Canvas.