Benefits to Using IBM Planning Analytics Workspace

What is Planning Analytics Workspace (PAW)?

IBM Planning Analytics Workspace (PAW) is a web-based interface for IBM Cognos TM1. It brings new exciting possibilities in terms of visualization of your TM1 data. IBM succeeded in expanding the TM1 interface options with a user-friendly and attractive experience aimed at a wide user community.

It is a view-based application which allows you to analyse data, plan and create new content. This is achieved primarily by using the built-in drag-and-drop tools, that come shipped with the product to build dashboards and reports. The tools themselves are visually intuitive and are easy to get started with. The created content can then be shared with others within or outside of the business

Dashboards and reports are structured around the concept of “books”.
You can think of a “book” in the same way as you do when visualizing a workbook in Excel.
A “book” can have multiple sheets and each sheet can contain multiple objects.

Objects that could be included to name a few:

  • Cube views
  • Single-cell widgets
  • Filter controls
  • Imbedded web sheets
  • Pictures
  • Text boxes / shapes
  • Visualisations (like charts or maps)


Is PAW the replacement for TM1Web, Perspectives and Planning Analytics for Excel (PAX)?

While there are some functionalities that overlap with TM1Web/Perspectives/PAX, it is just not the same. Instead of the question above, it may be better to ask yourself, “What is the primary need of my business user?”

As PAW strongly focuses on ad-hoc analysis and quickly generating reports/dashboards, it should suit the needs of the Business analyst, CFO and Financial manager quite well.

Another key question is:
Do I want to take this opportunity to redesign my existing user interface for my reports?

PAW is visually more appealing than TM1Web/Perspectives/PAX and today aesthetics does sway user acceptance levels for new software. For example, a nice feature available in PAW, is the ability to navigate between different sheets inside of a book with the use of custom navigation buttons. If you are designing a workspace which has multiple input sections, reports etc. it really enhances the user experience as it is easier to navigate the workspace and not “get lost” in the contents therein.

If overhauling the user interface is not a business priority, it may be better to stick to your existing “core” reports in TM1Web/Perspectives/PAX.  PAW can then be used as a complementary tool to the before mentioned clients, rather than a total replacement.

Frequent Releases

IBM is focused heavily on PAW feature enhancements and improvements with regular feature updates. With regular releases it may only be a matter of time before missing features are included as part of the product. One should however take care when upgrading between PAW releases though. New functionalities may impact on the workings of those in previous versions. Manual testing of existing workbooks in a development environment is advised before implementing a new release on production, to avoid breaking changes.