Aug 1, 2022

Introducing MDX Forms in Slice for TM1

We’ve always been working to push the boundaries with our Slice offering and we’re excited to announce the new version (v3.3) introduces a brand new way to build Excel reports with IBM Planning Analytics (TM1).  We’re calling it the MDX Form.  This particular report is driven by one MDX query making it much faster and more flexible than traditional TM1 Active Forms.


Why MDX Forms?

MDX forms are a natural extension and expansion of the TM1 Active Forms that are at the heart of the product.  Slice has added many new features to Active Forms over the years, including features that the community has been asking for such as expanding/collapsing on columns, virtual consolidations, and support for hierarchies.

However, even with all these features improving the product significantly, there are still several weaknesses:

  • It is sometimes hard to manage because they are driven by multiple functions.

  • It is challenging to duplicate Active Forms and to troubleshoot when things go wrong.

  • They have a static structure, which means that you can’t swap dimensions on rows and columns.

  • You can expand/collapse rows but not columns.

With all this in mind, we wanted a new way to build Excel reports that gives more flexibility than the Active Forms and make it easier to troubleshoot so that users can fix problems more easily.


How Does it Work?

The MDX report is driven by one function.  The main parameter is the MDX statement that you can find in a cube view.  By driving the report with just one MDX statement, it makes the report very flexible and thus very useful.  You can easily swap rows and columns as you wish, or you can stack more dimensions if you like by switching between MDX.

This makes it:

  • Easier to maintain because everything is driven by one MDX query.

  • Possible to expand and collapse both rows and columns.

  • Possible to create on-the-fly calculations by using calculated members in MDX.

And to make it as accessible as possible, MDX forms can be created from a cube view or directly inside Excel – whatever makes more sense for your use case.

We hope that this offers powerful new functionality that can improve your user experience and help you to get more flexibility and agility out of your TM1 system.

You can learn more about how to build an MDX Form here.

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