From a relational consolidation model towards a multi-dimensional reporting model
With TM1 FAP, IBM provides an out of the box solution for transferring all data, dimensional information (structures) and security definitions from Cognos Controller towards TM1 cubes.
As a result, all information which resides in the Cognos Controller relational database, is transferred into a multidimensional cube within TM1. As TM1 is a very powerful in-memory multi-dimensional database, this allows for real-time reporting, since every few seconds all information is synced between Cognos Controller and TM1.
Real-time reporting of consolidated numbers in TM1:
- Every Cognos Controller user finds back all Cognos Controller information within TM1, in line with the appropriate security profile as defined towards Cognos Controller, in real time
- Any data updates in Cognos Controller, are transferred in real time towards TM1 and are instantly ready for analysis. There is no need to create a data dump using excel retrieve functions.
- Upon maintenance of master data, such as adding new elements to the company structure etc., the new elements are immediately passed through towards the dimensions in TM1. Any summations or calculated fields are instantly updated and available. The same principle applies to adding accounts or any other structure updates.
- Upon ‘dimensional’ changes, reports will automatically update, there is no need to manually change the structure of any report.
This FAP functionality comes out of the box and is included within the regular Cognos Controller license. As such TM1 FAP offers a standard integrated reporting platform upon which one can further build, optimize and integrate reporting processes far beyond the context of legal consolidation. Integration of actual data with forward looking data sets, such as forecast or even strategic planning, as well as integration of the analytical information from the management reporting (such as product, customer or geographical information) into a consolidation view are frequently realized.
Reporting for Consolidation and beyond
When deploying TM1 FAP onto Cognos Controller, it is best practise to elaborate the default cubes that are made available as they include too much ‘dimensional’ information in one place to allow fluid reporting. Therefore, we advise to enrich the default content with additional reporting cube(s) that favour the typical reporting queries for specific user-groups. As such we typically distinct a more ‘controlling’ oriented reporting cube from a typical ‘consolidation’ reporting since both teams commonly differ their analysis both in content as approach.
Where a financial consolidation analysis is often driven from a reconciliation perspective, ensuring the correct, complete and consistent processing of data, the controlling data exploration will often look at data from an operational rather than a financial perspective, with a need for additional analytical information in the context of a trend and or variance analysis.
Unquestionably the dimensionality within each of those datasets differs, the comparatives for the datasets are different, as well as the required calculations. Where a consolidation analysis will benefit from precision towards the origin of the data (closing version, contribution version, journal number, etc.) from a controlling perspective potentially a cost centre or region identification may be more relevant. Where a consolidation analysis might benefit from a comparison against prior month or year-end, the controlling request may want to see periodic data against a 12-month (rolling) time series at constant (budget) rates.
Concluding, the above context, and much more, is easily addressed in a proper dimensional reporting model, whereas the consolidation tool tackles the more financial complexity. The combination of both in an integrated setup, is a best of both worlds solution, provided of course that from the different angles, the setup is correctly realized and is matching the company-specific business requirements and reporting characteristics.