Planning Analytics

New IBM Planning Analytics Features Accelerate Use and Adoption

By Justin Croft posted Tue October 20, 2020 04:00 PM

  

IBM recently released IBM Planning Analytics Workspace version 2.0.57, which adds anticipated and exciting new capabilities to the powerful planning and analysis tool. All users of Planning Analytics will find something new, and users at QueBIT are no exception. We use Planning Analytics and Workspace to manage our daily business, and several of the new features will improve the ease of our operational planning and analysis.

New Look and Feel

The Planning Analytics Workspace user interface has been updated with IBM’s Carbon Design system. This brings the Workspace UI in line with many of IBM’s other offerings such as Cloud Pak for Data and Watson Studio. It’s a welcome refresh, and it makes the transition between IBM solutions seamless.

From the everyday user to the system administrators, this update focuses on improving the ease of use and clarity of the Workspace user experience. The updated navigation of the homepage provides shortcuts to user applications, books, and data exploration. It also has a convenient section for recently visited Workspace books and personal favorites.

 Content discoverability is enhanced as well. The Workspace folder structure is now presented in an organized-and-always-available context menu on the left side of the screen. Similar robust contextual menus are present throughout the update, making for a smoother interface and a welcome improvement from the old pop-up menus. Simple searching, filtering, and favoriting of Workspace content makes it easier to find and use. These changes result in an easier design-and-use experience in Workspace that just feels simple.

 

New Visualizations and Themes

Planning Analytics Workspace 57 introduces new data visualizations as well as themes. These enhancements bring Planning Analytics  closer towards IBM Cognos Analytics in terms of visual flexibility and display options. One of the newly available visualizations is the waterfall chart, which is often used to illustrate explanations of budget variances.

When editing Workspace books there is now a grid feature available to book creators. This makes it much easier to precisely lay out and present content and visuals within each sheet.


The introduction of custom palettes for book and visualizations design and formatting again makes it easy for designers to craft exactly the right user experience and to match branding guidelines.

 

 Forecasting

As we rapidly enter the annual budgeting cycle, the last major feature added to Workspace will be highly useful. Planning Analytics Workspace 57 introduces time series forecasting capabilities, bringing machine learning from SPSS and Watson Studio directly into the Workspace interface.

From the Workspace cube explorer view any user can create a time series forecast based on historical data. This forecast can be used either as a baseline for a forecast or to help a user understand trends to make budgeting easier and more accurate. The forecasting context menu walks the user through the process, making it simple for users without machine learning experience to create a meaningful forecast.

Planning Analytics does a great job at showing forecast results and accuracy metrics. Any user can determine which data points are resulting from forecasts and how accurate the forecasts are.

Overall, this latest release adds in some highly polished features that make Workspace easier to use and more productive than ever. As a company that considers Planning Analytics as a mission-critical business application, our users are embracing these new features to improve planning and decision making.


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