By John Leahy

Creating multiple scenarios to understand the financial and operational impact of changes to internal and external factors is critical to effective decision-making. IBM Planning Analytics makes it easy for users to create as many of their own scenarios as they like and then compare those scenarios side-by-side.

In the example below, we see a comparison of a Base forecast for Unit Sales and a scenario where a merger occurs. We also see the difference in absolute terms and as a percentage change. This side-by-side comparison makes it easy to see the impact to demand under the proposed merger.


IBM Planning Analytics - base forecast

In order to enable side-by-side comparisons of user created Sandboxes, the first step is to modify the Planning Anaytics tm1s.cfg file for the specific TM1 model. Ensure that there is an entry that reads: EnableSandboxDimension=T

The image below shows an example of the Tm1s.cfg file that has enabled the Sandbox comparison feature.


IBM Planning Analytics TM1 sandbox comparisons


Once the Tm1s.cfg file has been updated and saved, restart the IBM Planning Analytics server.

You can verify that the capability is enabled by expanding the Planning Analytics tree view and looking at the dimension list under the cube. You should see a dimension called Sandboxes. Also, you will see a dimension box called Sandboxes when viewing the cube.

The image below shows the Sandboxes dimension in a Planning Analytics model.


Sandboxes dimension in an IBM Planning Analytics model


Now that the Sandbox dimension is enabled you can create and compare as many sandboxes as you like. In the example below we will create a new sandbox by entering edit mode and choosing the bucket and shovel icon from the cube view context menu.


Creating a new sandbox in IBM Planning Analytics


We will name the new sandbox “Proposed Merger.”


Naming a new sandbox in IBM Planning Analytics


Now that the new sandbox has been created, you can see it listed under the Sandboxes dimension box.

Sandboxes dimension box in IBM Planning Analytics


Just like any other dimension in Planning Analytics, I can drag and drop the dimension as a row or column or nest it above or below other row and column dimensions.


Row and column dimensions in IBM Planning Anaytics


Data can be entered directly into the new Sandbox data and changes are tracked in blue.


Sandbox data changes tracking in IBM Planning Anaytics


Calculations can be added dynamically by end users simply by selecting the rows or columns they want in the calculation and then right-clicking on the selected column to bring up a context menu.


Adding calculations dynamically in IBM Planning Analytics


Users simply select and adjust the calculations they want to perform and provide a name to the calculation.


Selecting and adjusting calculations in IBM Planning Analytics


After adding a couple of calculations, we arrive at our desired view that compares the proposed merger to our base forecast.


Comparing multiple scenarios in IBM Planning Analytics

Allowing end users to easily create and compare multiple scenarios is a capability that will please end users and provide the ability to make smarter data-driven decisions.