As our team returned from IBM Vision 2016, we began to think about the themes that emerged throughout the week. Vision continues to attract some of the most experienced and knowledgeable users of IBM Cognos TM1, IBM SPSS and related technologies. This year’s conference took place in Orlando, Florida from May 17-20 and was packed with the learning, sharing and networking IBM customers need to deliver value and grow their business with IBM solutions. There were thought-provoking keynotes and real-world case studies in an intimate setting with fellow professionals. Here’s a recap of the conference.
IBM is listening to users and partners
One of the things that struck me was that the IBM product team is listening to end users and incorporating their feedback into making adjustments to various products. Just two examples are Watson Analytics and Planning Analytics. Over the last few months IBM has been receiving a lot of good information on Watson Analytics and its usefulness. This input is proving to be very valuable in making Watson even better.
Similarly, IBM has taken feedback from both users and partners and infused it into making IBM Planning Analytics even better, particularly Planning Analytics Workspace. The team has added visualization and workflow, tightened up the product and is releasing new features at a much faster clip than they can do with an on premise solution. Overall, Planning Analytics has a great foundation and is now very interactive.
One of the more exciting product developments is that Planning Analytics now offers attribute-based hierarchies. This is going to allow partners and clients to build much more flexible environments that will perform better. It may sound like a small advancement, but it promises big things.
Significant interest in predictive analytics
Throughout the conference there was considerable buzz around predictive analytics. Many IBM Cognos TM1 users were talking about or asking questions about how to combine TM1 with IBM SPSS for demand planning and predictive forecasting. It’s clear more and more companies want to add a predictive component to their TM1 applications. For more on predictive analytics at Vision, read Justin Croft’s recent blog post.
Moving to the cloud
There was also a great deal of interest in moving to the cloud. Current TM1 users are looking to understand the positives and negatives of migrating to Planning Analytics. They want to know what they will get out of a migration, and how the cloud-based product is different from the on premise product. Many of them like what they see in Planning Analytics Workspace, but are interested in learning more about how it looks and works from a developer’s perspective and from an administrator’s perspective. If you want to know more about migrating to Planning Analytics, contact us.
Revelwood at Vision
This year Revelwood was a gold sponsor of Vision. As both a sponsor and a participant we had the opportunity to participate in a number of special events. Ken Wolf, our CEO, gave a Lightening Talk: High Velocity FOPM Implementations with Accelerated ROI. During this quick session he unveiled Revelwood Lightspeed, our out-of- the-box implementation accelerator running on TM1, Cognos Express and IBM Planning Analytics. The tool enables us to deliver analytics solutions in a fraction of the time required by a standard implementation. It integrates budgeting, forecasting, long-range planning, financial reporting and operational analysis in a single solution.
I had the pleasure of presenting the work we did with our client, New York Blood Center, during a packed-room presentation, “High-Impact Modeling at NYBC with IBM Cognos TM1.” This was a deep-dive look at a complex application that transformed the organization’s financial processes and systems. The end result is a solution that empowers users to find the answers they need in the data, delivers consistent, timely reporting, and enables the organization to easily integrate strategic acquisitions into their operations.
Lastly, Ken had the unique opportunity to participate in a panel discussion during a live, online broadcast, “Outthink Disruption: Innovate New Possibilities with Analytics. Ken, Doug Barton, the director of marketing, Analytic Solutions, IBM Analytics and Dahlia Gitelson Sheldon, senior director, financial planning and analysis, Hot Topic/Torrid talked about where analytics is today and where it is headed. In particular, Ken talked about how analytics solutions are not just for large enterprises—many mid-sized businesses have the same problems as larger organizations. Their needs for analytics are as pressing as those of the big guys.
This year’s Vision conference confirmed that analytics is playing a larger and larger role in a wide range of organizations. More and more organizations are pushing the boundaries of what IBM solutions can and should do – from more sophisticated financial and operational performance management to the use of predictive analytics. Clearly, there’s much more to come!