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Cognos TM1 is a product that I consider to be in between business intelligence and business performance management, or CPM. It has the ability to provide reports, like a bi tool, but it can also model itself to do planning.

TM1 ended up In the IBM Business Analytics suite by way of the big Cognos acquisition, who had earlier acquired Applix.

The biggest competitor for TM1 is Oracle’s Hyperion, especially Essbase and Planning products. To that end, its more frequently seen in the CFO’s end of the business, whether with planning, budgeting, forecasting or reporting. The ability to model in calculations, along with TM1’s in-memory technology is the big draw to financial teams. Using MOLAP, the models can quickly rollup departments and push out calculations down to the users. Its often considered Excel on steroids. Used in a planning or budgeting role, it might be seen as a little bit of a competitor to the Cognos Planning line. It remains to be seen how these products will remain separate, or if they will merge.

TM1 keeps on a little bit of a different release schedule than the BI suite. Version 10.1 was released in Q1 2011, while BI version 10.1 had been released back in 2010 Q4. I think long-term the version numbers will be synced up.

The biggest updates to the most recent updates included the addition of an Operations Console, for monitoring server operations and activity. This was a lacking feature in previous iterations of the software, and can be deployed in a browser based setup, avoiding resource draining server agents or installed software. Another of the bigger updates was Cognos Insight. This is a desktop based tool for additional analysis of TM1 data, locally on a machine. This may have been a response to the new popularity of Qlikview’s in-memory desktop technology. These analyses still sync with the TM1 server data, so it doesn’t require different back-end hardware, but it does require new licensing.

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