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Desktop analytics – IBM Cognos TM1 and Insight

So just how easy is it to perform simple forecast modeling using Cognos Insight? Let see.

First, I took an MS Excel file and did a “Get Data” and “Import Data…”

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On the “way in”, Insight let me examine my file and exclude fields I didn’t care about and also (most importantly) tell it which fields I wanted to use as:

  • dimensions and which would be my
  • measures.

After the import completed, Insight automatically creates a cube for me and displays it in the Data panel of my desktop. From there, it was easy enough to do some “cleanup”. For example, right-clicking to rename the cube and its dimensions to what makes more sense to me (Insight based its names on the first row of my file) and I was also able to “rearrange” my cube dimensional order to a more “optimal” order.

2

Then, I reviewed each of my cube dimensions and edited them to add or rename appropriate roll-ups, add additional elements, etc. (Note: you can “key in” values or even import from exterior data sources):

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The data I imported included a value for actual (sales) and a budget. I wanted to add a new value to calculate any “gap” between what the budget was and what the actual value was, so I edited the version dimension and added “Gap” as a new element:

5

My last step was to add some rules to the model.

But, before I start coding my rules, I know that I will want to be adding some “budget drivers” – to automatically create a budget for certain accounts – based upon a rate, so I created my own rate cube.

Again from the Data panel, I choose “Blank Cube”. Insight gives me a blank cube with 2 dummy dimensions (all cubes require at a minimum, 2 dimensions) and from there, I simply “dragged” the period and model dimensions from my forecast cube to my new “DriverRates” cube (Insight asked me if I wanted to share or duplicate the dimension and I chose “share”).

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Now I need some rates, so I clicked over to “Tab 2” (on the Insight desktop) and “dropped” my new cube there. It was easy and fast to “past in” some driver rates.

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Now the rules.  From the desktop I selected “Set Cube Rules…” to access the Insight rules editor.

The rules editor allows me to add my rules – the first to do a simple gap calculation (actual less budget) and the second to drive the budget amount for a particular account (in my example I simply choose to use a similar model as a base line and apply a particular rate pulled from my rate cube:

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So, now with some quick ”dragging and droping” on the Insight desktop, I have a forecast model showing my results with the calculated budget vs. actual “gap” and a budget driven a rate for a particular account:

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There are so many features offered in Insight – so much to explore (I feel more blog posts to come), but for now, in about 20 minutes, I have created a simple model I can use to monitor and adjust my budget!

I give IBM Cognos Insight “two thumbs up!”…

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