Technical Planning


IBM Cognos TM1

Business ChallengeChallenge

This publisher is a global provider of content and content-enabled workflow solutions in the areas of scientific, technical, medical and scholarly research. It also offers professional development and education. The core business produces scientific, technical, medical and scholarly journals, reference works, books, database services and advertising. Its additional offerings include professional books, subscription products, certification and training services, and integrated online teaching and learning.

The company had a global planning system in place, and wanted to develop a custom technical planning model for its complex and unique business needs. The publisher turned to Revelwood to design, develop and implement the technical planning model. The technical planning model would enable them to plan down to a very granular level such as planning by individual subject categories and product types. Additionally, the new technical planning model needed to reflect the company’s existing approach of top-down planning.

Since the publisher already used IBM Cognos TM1 for its global planning solution, it made sense to turn to TM1 for the technical planning model. To some that might seem an odd choice, since TM1 is typically used for bottom-up planning and financial reporting. However, the team at Revelwood knew that TM1 could not only do top-down planning, but it was also the best solution for the publishing company’s complexity and volume of products for which it wanted to plan.


Some client engagements are straightforward technology implementations, and others require taking a step back and assessing some of the internal business processes before developing the model and application. This publisher was a case of the latter. The Revelwood team helped the company to reevaluate what it needed to plan for, versus what it needed to analyze. For example, before using the TM1 technical planning model, the company would plan to a level of detail that included whether the books sold were hard cover or paperback. In the end, the Revelwood team and the publisher determined that for planning, it was not necessary to factor in the type of material of each book sold. It was more important to plan by category and by product type.


With this new technical planning model, the publishing company can ask:

  • Which subject categories are growing in revenue and which categories are stagnant or shrinking?
  • Is there seasonality for specific subject categories or product types?
  • What product types are increasing in popularity and what product types are declining?

Today, using the TM1 technical planning model, this publishing firm takes a top-down approach to planning, and can do so multi-dimensionally. It can plan with one consolidated number and then spread that down to tens of thousands of individual SKUs. This new model, with a traditional approach the company preferred, delivers a much easier and faster approach to planning.