Planning Analytics: Cognos Analysis for Excel (CAFE)
Cognos Analysis for Excel (CAFE) has been around a long time. For those of us who come from the Cognos world originally, it emerged as an Excel add-in for building Excel based reports with BI data.
Why Cognos Analysis for Excel, not TM1 Perspectives?
Now CAFE has emerged as the path for TM1’s future use inside Excel as well. Why, I hear you ask? What happened to Perspectives? Well, simply, TM1 Perspectives is horrible to use over a wide area network because it downloads the entire data set for each subset in use in each view and presents that in Excel- thus downloads could be huge and take forever over a wide area network. CAFE, on the other hand, uses REST and only downloads the information required to present what is currently displayed – much like a browser does – making it much more efficient.
So why is that necessary? If you work in a distributed environment, then that is good news for you and you should push your TM1 admin sooner rather than later to roll out CAFE.
Also, with the emergence of TM1 Cloud, or Software as a Service (SaaS) model, called Planning Analytics, the TM1 server will be remote to your whole company – making CAFE mandatory.
What does CAFE look like?
So what does CAFE look like? For those of you that remember PowerPlay web or have used Cognos Analysis Studio, it looks kind of like those, in that there is a Rows area, Columns area and a Context (or filter) area. You can drop existing TM1 views onto Excel or create new worksheets. All data is live against TM1, which means that you can enter information or update the report directly.
Here is a short video from the guys at IBM that explains a little about CAFE over Planning Analytics.
IBM have stated that Cognos Analysis for Excel is the future interface for TM1. This means that Architect will be removed and all administration will occur inside CAFE. We have no more details on that though other than expected timing, however we expect this change to be made sometime during the first half of 2017 when TM1 will fully move to version 11.
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