Is Cognos TM1 getting better?

are the theoretical billions of dollars being poured into Cognos TM1 making it better?

Yes
23
58%
No
9
23%
Not Sure
8
20%
 
Total votes: 40

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Is Cognos TM1 getting better?

Post by Kyro » Mon Apr 27, 2015 11:49 am

Don't know about you but I remember a time when the "Bugs" on the forum we're more user error than software problems. Having a quick look around now, it looks like it's mostly software errors. This should make a good poll and good discussion:

In your opinion, are the theoretical billions of dollars being poured into Cognos TM1 making it better?
Last edited by Kyro on Wed Apr 29, 2015 2:41 am, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: Cognos TM1 and Bugs

Post by Steve Vincent » Mon Apr 27, 2015 1:01 pm

Have made the post a poll :P
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Re: Cognos TM1 and Bugs

Post by declanr » Mon Apr 27, 2015 1:06 pm

Steve Vincent wrote:Have made the post a poll :P
Wonder who voted that first "no"... couldn't possibly me a man of your optimistic nature Vinnie!

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Re: Cognos TM1 and Bugs

Post by jim wood » Mon Apr 27, 2015 1:18 pm

Found somebody who might vote yes.....
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Re: Cognos TM1 and Bugs

Post by Alan Kirk » Mon Apr 27, 2015 10:15 pm

I think the question is oversimplified.

The back end developments in the 10.x series seem to me to be heading in the right direction, particularly with regard to parallel processing. And much as I hate to admit it I have to concede that switching from IIS to Tomcat for Web was probably a necessary longer term change to accommodate non-Windows sites, even though I won't trust the thing as far as I can kick it until it gets a few more iterations under its belt.

Have there been bugs in the process of these changes? Sure. But anyone thinks that there are more now than there were back in the olden days has a short memory. I distinctly recall the number of eye rolls that would accompany "So in 8.x.y / 9.x.y there is this regression bug where..." Of course, one may have hoped that the greater resources of IBM would ensure that fewer of these bugs came into existence, but that's a separate conversation. (Aside from which it's hard to say how many of the bugs we see are truly back end and which are user interface. I don't have the time or inclination to go bean counting but my gut feel is that the number of server issues probably has decreased, if only because the core of the server technology is relatively mature.)

Most of the recent issues seem to come from the front end junk. In the case of Perspectives components like the Editorsaurus, it comes down to the fact that IBM absolutely refuses to do any new development beyond the oh so important work of making new icon sets (each one slightly less intuitive than the last) which cost users productivity time in getting to grips with them. And in getting out their magnifying glass to distinguish between N and S elements in the measures dimension, another fact that makes me question whether the GUI designers have ever once needed to use the products in a real world situation.

The fetish for putting everything through a Java and/or Web interface is of course a particular point of pain, and will continue to be one for the foreseeable future. Part of this comes back to one of the reasons that I hate Java's living guts, which is the development of a half way decent GUI. Because Java aspires to be all things to all OS's, the GUI is necessarily more rudimentary and yet more convoluted to develop than, say, an equivalent application in .Net. That's how you end up with things like Muddler, though Muddler has underlying design issues that go way beyond GUI limitations.

All that said, these newer GUIs (including Tomcat-based Web for that matter) are relatively new, and it would be more likely than unlikely to see bugs in them once they're deployed in the wider world. The same will undoubtedly be true of any newish software on the market.
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Re: Cognos TM1 and Bugs

Post by tsw » Mon Apr 27, 2015 10:30 pm

In recent discussion with an IBM Support rep, at least one of the issue is how IBM is redefining what a defect is to make their internal KPIs look better than it really is... therefore less actual defects get fixed.

I've had a couple of real defects according to traditional software development, yet rejected by their development or support managers as "product behavior". Then, they ask us to enter an "enhancement request" into a special site's list for others to vote on. Not only that, my "enhancement request" is still stuck in "reviewing" status, other people can't even see it.

My question is this: How many of you actually go thru the list of enhancement requests to vote on it? I sure don't have the time to do that...

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Re: Cognos TM1 and Bugs

Post by Alan Kirk » Mon Apr 27, 2015 10:52 pm

tsw wrote:In recent discussion with an IBM Support rep, at least one of the issue is how IBM is redefining what a defect is to make their internal KPIs look better than it really is... therefore less actual defects get fixed.

I've had a couple of real defects according to traditional software development, yet rejected by their development or support managers as "product behavior".
Care to share the specifics? You've got me curious about this one.
tsw wrote:Then, they ask us to enter an "enhancement request" into a special site's list for others to vote on. Not only that, my "enhancement request" is still stuck in "reviewing" status, other people can't even see it.
You don't get to see the "reviewing" deliberations, but people can still see the request when it has that status. (They have to to be able to vote on it.)
tsw wrote:My question is this: How many of you actually go thru the list of enhancement requests to vote on it? I sure don't have the time to do that...
Fair point. I don't go there as often as I should. The site (looks like) it will get us the long overdue AsciiAppend function (though I'll reserve cheering until I see it in code), so it looks like the things don't always just go in there to get buried. That being the case all of us should probably set aside some time to go there occasionally and vote up the more important issues. It's easier at the moment because there aren't that many of them. As the number increases, I agree that finding the time will become more of an issue.
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Re: Cognos TM1 and Bugs

Post by Kyro » Mon Apr 27, 2015 11:13 pm

tsw wrote:In recent discussion with an IBM Support rep, at least one of the issue is how IBM is redefining what a defect is to make their internal KPIs look better than it really is... therefore less actual defects get fixed.
That doesn't sounds like IBM at all!
Alan Kirk wrote:The back end developments in the 10.x series seem to me to be heading in the right direction, particularly with regard to parallel processing.
Admittedly I had a fist pump moment when I read about MTQ / PI in the release notes. From my perspective it was a sign that at least one aspect of what we know, and love to hate in TM1 was still getting better.
Alan Kirk wrote:I don't have the time or inclination to go bean counting but my gut feel is that the number of server issues probably has decreased, if only because the core of the server technology is relatively mature.
Server issues I agree (sort of), but what about Perspectives and Web bugs?

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Re: Cognos TM1 and Bugs

Post by Kyro » Wed Apr 29, 2015 2:35 am

tsw wrote:My question is this: How many of you actually go thru the list of enhancement requests to vote on it? I sure don't have the time to do that...
Are we talking about the list of 110 requests where only 2 requests have been completed over the five months the register has been active?

Of the 2 completed requests:
  • One is for copy-paste in Chrome/Firefox which I personally believe is more of a bug with the initial release than a feature request.
  • The second completed request was for TM1Web to auto-login the users without making the user select a security domain, where there is only one security domain configured - another bug fix.

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Re: Is Cognos TM1 getting better?

Post by Andy Key » Wed Apr 29, 2015 7:55 am

I'm of the impression that the vast majority of the current bug notifications are around TM1Web. Look at the PMRs covered by the 10.2.2 fix packs. Given that this is still basically a version 1 product I think this is to be expected, and I think that the frequency of fix pack releases is an admission that this wasn't tested thoroughly enough. The robustness of the new features in the main engine doesn't seem to be any worse than previously.
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Re: Is Cognos TM1 getting better?

Post by stephen waters » Wed Apr 29, 2015 8:56 am

Kyro wrote:In your opinion, are the theoretical billions of dollars being poured into Cognos TM1 making it better?
Agree with Alan about short memories. In the early days when I first started getting involved with TM1 managing projects ( late 90's, early 2000's) the product seemed very buggy with occasional islands of stability (eg 7.1.4 SR2 and 8.1.8). New releases were always treated very, very carefully. I am sure long term users (many longer than me!) remember the disasters such as Dynamic slices, the version 8 TM1 web, Integra, or Version 9.1 which was so bad it affected the share price.

IBM have put a lot of effort and money in developing (and marketing) TM1. I think the stuff they have done on the back-end database, improving reliability, scalability and performance have been great. And, from what I hear, there are even better things coming down the development pipeline in the next year or so.

I am less convinced about the front-end changes. Creating a more user friendly development\admin interface was needed but I don't think that trying to reproduce Cognos Planning was the best approach. Maybe Prism will give them a chance to re-think.

Similarly with end-user interfaces for reporting. Cognos Insight is an interesting tool but has awkward positioning (I suspect it was originally developed to compete any Qlik etc). CAFÉ will replace Perspectives but has a quite a way to go. Cognos BI is a a clunky beast that can do great things but needs lots of IT type skills to get good reports
I think much of this development was driven by Cognos BI people who have a different perspective and do not understand the attraction to end-users of a simple, flexible tool such as Excel fro designing reports than can be delivered via the web.

On balance? IBM could have done better but I think have still done a good job.

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Re: Cognos TM1 and Bugs

Post by camembert » Wed Apr 29, 2015 9:09 am

tsw wrote:In recent discussion with an IBM Support rep, at least one of the issue is how IBM is redefining what a defect is to make their internal KPIs look better than it really is... therefore less actual defects get fixed.

I've had a couple of real defects according to traditional software development, yet rejected by their development or support managers as "product behavior". Then, they ask us to enter an "enhancement request" into a special site's list for others to vote on. Not only that, my "enhancement request" is still stuck in "reviewing" status, other people can't even see it.
Yep I'm with you on the above. The issue for me is that the Support teams act as overzealous guardians who will do everything in their power to requalify a bug as "as design" and incite you to make an enhancement request. This way the issues never get escalated up to the Product Development teams.
We have recently had to escalate to a very high level and get Dave Corbett on the phone to get some things corrected.

But that's nothing compared to our experience of Cognos BI, where 95% of defect tickets raised by us have been requalified as enhancements. And we've even had bug fixes announced in a next fix pack only to find after testing that the correction hasn't been made and the defect has since been requalified as an enhancement (but noone thought to tell us... :roll:)

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Re: Cognos TM1 and Bugs

Post by stephen waters » Wed Apr 29, 2015 9:41 am

tsw wrote:I've had a couple of real defects according to traditional software development, yet rejected by their development or support managers as "product behavior".
To be fair, I don't think that approach is unique to IBM. Having dealt with various software vendors over the years I have come across changes that are achingly stupid and wrong from functional viewpoint but are not classified as defects because some IT idiot with no knowledge of end-users needs programmed it that way. Not to say the approach is right though.

Many years ago I remember a major problem with PC Express (ignoring decimal points when reading data in I think) being described as "an unintended side affect of a recent performance enhancement" , not a bug.

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Re: Is Cognos TM1 getting better?

Post by blackhawk » Wed Apr 29, 2015 3:06 pm

Some of you have touched on the topic that I am most concerned about. Not necessarily the bugs nor the classification of what is a fix or not. To give credit where credit is due, IBM TM1 Product Management and the development team has actually been pretty responsive to us (when approached directly, not via the PMRs).

What we struggle with is that they are constantly chasing the latest craze rather than setting it. For heavens sake, get a few of your developers and project managers to actually implement a TM1 solution and then learn what the problems really are; and what is needed to make it right. Getting feedback from a bunch of sales reps and engineers about what needs to happen to make a sale is leading to product confusion.

Hmmmm....lets see....TM1 Web, Contributor, Executive Viewer, Cognos BI, Insight, Concert, Prism. Not to mention the back-end Architect, Performance Modeler and TM1 Ops Console.

Well of course we are going to have all kinds of bugs not being addressed....there are too many UI's to support!

Get a cohesive, clear, and well executed game plan together about how TM1 can be an enterprise solution and stick with it until it is complete.

Ok...stepping down from my soapbox.

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Re: Is Cognos TM1 getting better?

Post by Steve Rowe » Wed Apr 29, 2015 4:14 pm

I'm kind of surprised the result is so even, TM1 is a far better product than it used to be but I guess it depends on your frame of reference, better being a relative term.

If you have been working with it for 15+ years, the last 3-4 have seen big improvement in the core engine.
If you have only been using it for three years you probably have seen little change.

If the question was more in this space.
Do you think you get value for money from your maintenance payment?
Is IBMs R&D focussed on the right area?
I think we might see a different response.

Not sure why the OP is using the Bugs forum as a driver for this poll, nothing posted for three months should indicate a pretty healthy product I think?

Believe the core product right now is pretty robust and by core I mean TM1 and Perspectives.

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Re: Is Cognos TM1 getting better?

Post by jim wood » Wed Apr 29, 2015 4:22 pm

Steve,

That's the very reason I voted not sure. The question is very open ended and depending on what way you look at it it could go either way. With a sales persons head on, you would be mad to think it's not got better, as it demos better, it has more user friendly options etc.... From a technical point of view it go the other way, or not. While I agree with others that some things have been added like multi-threading queries and parallel interaction that are clearly making it better, but with all the R&D put in it would be hard to argue that it has become that much better if at all. I really don't think that the likes of rules and feeders perform as well as they used to. I've loaded models that I built a few years ago that used to fly and they just seem that little bit slower,

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Re: Is Cognos TM1 getting better?

Post by blackhawk » Wed Apr 29, 2015 10:07 pm

Jim,

I second you on that one. However, from what I know that is coming (timeframe to be determined) there are some pretty nice changes (to the core engine) that will make it advance quite a bit for what we see quite often from our customers. Still though, when you think about it, fundamentally over the last 15 years, the engine really has not changed much.

To some extent that speaks volumes about how good the engine really is, but I still think there is a lot of room for improvement. I.e.:
  • Date dimensions
  • Browse and slice by attribute
  • Group based views, applications, subsets etc.
  • Cleanup of the TI scripting language and make it more like a modern language (VB/JavaScript/C#/etc.)
  • MDX based (server side) views
  • TI Scripts that can pull data from remote servers.
and on...and on... etc.

There certainly is a lot of room for improvement and it would be nice to see some of these things rather than adding UIs.

BTW: Need to add CAFE to the list. I forgot it... :shock:

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Re: Is Cognos TM1 getting better?

Post by stephen waters » Wed Apr 29, 2015 10:31 pm

Blackhawk

As well as things you mentioned other things that would be nice to see include
- named hierarchies
- more granular calculation caching
Both of which were on Applix wish list for years. Guess we just have to wait and see if IBM will deliver ;-)

Hope to see you in Vision

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Re: Is Cognos TM1 getting better?

Post by Steve Rowe » Fri May 01, 2015 1:30 pm

Blackhawk wrote
•Cleanup of the TI scripting language and make it more like a modern language (VB/JavaScript/C#/etc.)
I get the first bit, there is the odd inconsistency that could do with tweaking, the UI needs plenty of work and debugging aids added, but I don't really get the second half of your statement "make it more like a modern language ".
What functionality do you think is missing that prevents or makes it hard to deliver end-user requirements?

For me the TI language itself is pretty good at what it does and I very rarely come across something that is just plan impossible.

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Re: Is Cognos TM1 getting better?

Post by garry cook » Fri May 01, 2015 2:22 pm

Yes for me - in my opinion it is absolutely getting better, especially in the back end. Never mind MTQ, remember the days before PI??? "Who's running something now?" was the phrase that used to make me shudder more than any other as the server locked for the 88th time that day. That wasn't all that long ago in the grand scheme of things for many companies.

I agree that the front end focus is terrible and in some cases regressive. I also think that the comments around chasing the latest big thing rather than setting it is spot on and that they should concentrate on Excel and Web as the two main tools most users are comfortable with. The key point for me though is that the back end has improved substantially in terms of scalability with both enterprise size and with technical architecture in terms of core usage, etc. This alone has put TM1 as a true option for more big companies which it never was before. I have certainly looked at a TM1 implementation in companies and thought to myself that they were using the wrong tool due to the limitations of the engine and that has mostly gone now with more beneficial changes due in the near future.

True this has alienated SME's and stomped all over the market that put them in the position in the first place with PVU costings, higher license and maintenance costs, etc. This is the direction that IBM are taking it and personally that suits me as it has opened up a number of opportunities that never existed before. I have moved all over the country based on where jobs are available in the past and now they're much closer to home. I remember when the Applix / Cognos / IBM rapid fire transition took place I thought that I may need to change to a different product as there was a lot of uncertainty around what would happen with the product. What has in fact happened is that it has transitioned from being "that product IT hate" to a solution that many IT departments are really taking to. This has generated the unfortunate situation of outsourcing the build to companies with no idea / expertise which ruins the brand but this is the same with most systems in this situation to be honest.

That's my thoughts :)

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