How stronger analysis and reporting sets IBM Planning Analytics apart—and drives profitability

IBM Cognos Content Marketing Manager

What differentiates IBM Planning Analytics from other planning solutions? Quite a lot, actually. But today I’d like to focus on the practical, real-world benefits of just two key functions: data analysis and reporting.

Analysis powered by IBM TM1 

Is one of your sales regions outperforming all the others? Complex, dimensional analysis with IBM Planning Analytics can help you learn why. IBM Planning Analytics offers the unique ability to create alternative data hierarchies so you can perform attribute-based analysis. For example, you could examine business performance by geographical region as well as time period, sales channel and a number of other variables. The relationships between these different factors can show what characteristics set one region apart from another and provide a lesson in how to improve product and customer profitability by optimizing your sales mix.

Such powerful analysis is possible because IBM Planning Analytics is powered by the in-memory calculation engine of IBM TM1It integrates multiple data sources and enables comparative analysis of information from all relevant systems. Finance and business users can perform fast, multidimensional analyses of large, historical and future-oriented data sets to give them the knowledge they need to identify the drivers of business performance. In the case of that stellar sales region, it could show how to replicate that same performance in regions that are lagging behind.

Built-in scorecards, dashboards and reports

Once you perform your analysis, the results need to be communicated and explained to others in the organization. That’s where the built-in, easy-to-use reporting capabilities of IBM Planning Analytics are especially valuable. With more than 25 different charts, tables, maps, graphs and images – plus text and video – to choose from, you can quickly create compelling visualizations to show trends and patterns in your business performance. 

Scorecards and dashboards help business users measure and monitor performance in the context of their specific roles and functions, which in turn helps drive strategy management and execution. Reports can be created by business users, without assistance from IT. And reporting is available without having to export data into another system, so there's no need to license software from another vendor. Users can also produce highly formatted reports with the option of publishing online from Microsoft Excel. 

SKU-level analysis at Continental Foods

We mentioned real-world benefits earlier, so let’s look at a concrete example.

Perhaps more than in any other industry, food is a business where local tastes and preferences drive sales. The number and variety of products presents an enormously complex challenge in planning and analysis. Continental Foods, a leading packaged food producer in Europe, deployed IBM Planning Analytics to evaluate financial performance across the organization and for individual sales divisions.

The ability of IBM Planning Analytics to track sales at a very granular level, down to the individual SKU, helped the company to pinpoint the products that perform best in each country. “The sheer level of detail that IBM Planning Analytics provides is very impressive,” said a senior manager at Continental. “We can calculate our sales and gross margins for each SKU in Planning Analytics and generate insightful reports at the click of a button.” 

He added that the analysis provides insight into how customer demand varies from geography to geography, which helps the company “optimize our production and marketing decisions to get the biggest returns, helping us drive up our profits.” Thanks to detailed analysis capabilities, the company is also able to build more accurate forecasts and make smarter strategic decisions

Learn more

These are just the highlights of two important capabilities of IBM Planning Analytics. And it’s worth adding that analysis and reporting can be more accurate – as well as more convenient – when you use the same solution for analysis and reporting as you do to create the original plans, budgets and forecasts.

To get the full picture, explore what’s possible on the IBM Planning Analytics web page