The ability to analyse data and derive insight within the confines of your own desktop is one thing. It’s an entirely different experience when you include the ability to manage budgets, forecasts and planning models within the same interactive workspace.
Married to a Chartered Accountant, I’m all too familiar with the intricate copying, pasting, calculations and hidden functions required to create an interactive forecast using Microsoft Excel. Which begs the question: should I tell him how much easier his life could be using software for which interactivity is an inherent part of its DNA?
If IBM Cognos BI is the Queen, and IBM Cognos TM1 is the King, then IBM Cognos Insight is the Prince of Performance Management. Which is why, this week’s Cognos Insight challenge was to analyse the past three years worth of income and expenses for the Prince of Wales, and create a forward-looking forecast to help him manage his Jubilee year budget.
Following on from previous challenges, I used the same approach of simply dragging the past three years of data, contained in an Excel spreadsheet, into my Cognos Insight workspace. I allowed the software to work out the best way to store and format the data, with only a few manual naming adjustments for readability. This gave me the baseline to conduct simple analysis and evaluate the proportion of income and expenses across each of the accounts.
To create his forecast for this year, I simply copied his income and expenses from the previous year into the new year. Given the current financial markets, I though it would be prudent to reduce his expenses and income outlook for the year. Instead of having to make adjustments at every level in the forecast, I simply reduced the category totals and allowed Cognos Insight to proportionally spread the decrease across the lower level accounts. This ability is made possible by the embedded IBM Cognos TM1 technology.
Current employees of the Prince of Wales would be pleased to know I did not give them a pay cut. Although, I didn’t give them a pay rise either 🙂
Ready to share these results with the Monarchy, I can email them a copy of the IBM Cognos Insight workspace, or can simply publish the entire workspace to the IBM Cognos Enterprise platform so that others can contribute and collaborate on the forecast.
Alternatively, they can log into Analytics Zone and download a copy of the forecast like everyone else!