The functionality of IBM® Planning Analytics has just become even more accessible, particularly to SMEs, with the launch of Planning Analytics on Demand.

This new offering complements the full Planning Analytics product suite but provides an extremely affordable access point for smaller businesses who may have previously hesitated, despite the clear cost-saving implications of using this software.

In the current uncertain climate, timelines will be contracting for many businesses and FP&A processes like reforecasting and determining cash positions will be shifting from monthly to weekly, or even daily, activities. We’ve talked previously about the issues of trying to manage these calculations using a spreadsheet-based system and these difficulties will only multiply as the frequency of calculations and remodelling increases.

Flexible and affordable

This Planning Analytics on Demand release presents an ideal opportunity for SMEs to ease the pain of their currently unwieldy FP&A activities by leveraging the power of IBM’s software at a new, low price point. It is driven by the same, powerful TM1 technology and uses Workspace as the front-end interface to deliver valuable insights. This fully-configurable Planning Analytics solution lets you choose the functionality, mix of user roles and number of databases to create a custom system to suit all requirements.

With this entry-level software small businesses can have access to multi-dimensional planning capabilities; self-service contribution and dashboards; what-if modelling and sandboxing potential. The standard offering includes a 2GB database but there is on-demand capacity for multiple additional databases for an extra fee. An AI element which will be able to design models from a spreadsheet source is also due imminently.

Expands with your business

A key benefit of this approach is that it is entirely scalable; businesses can design solutions within the digital tier which can be scaled up to enterprise level as and when needed. Because the applications use the same software, it is a seamless journey through to full Planning Analytics and so the product can grow with the organisation over time.

The new digital tier is ideal for immediately putting ideas into action where spreadsheets are not suitable or access to in-house applications takes too long. It will also suit any businesses looking to produce specific valuations, say a cash flow projection to support a grant application as more resources become available in the evolving scenario we face.

Resources and support

You can be up and running with the software almost instantly and testing your ideas and scenario planning without having to implement and operate within an enterprise-wide system. With a 30-day trial, all work you carry out will roll straight into your plan if you choose to continue and you will have access to tutorials, samples, templates, industry driven starting points and guided experience. If you find yourself wanting some additional support, we can help you to load data and create the models you will gain most benefit from.

Most organisations contain people who need to solve a particular business problem with a small footprint, and this is an efficient and affordable option with the additional benefit of potential future integration into a larger application. So, if you tend to gravitate towards Excel but need something more dynamic to see you through these complex times, get in touch with us today to find out how we can support you on the start of your journey with IBM® Planning Analytics.

Simon Bradshaw

I have worked in finance and business systems development since 2001 and am an associate member of the Chartered Institute of Management Accountants. In 2016 I became a founding member of Spitfire Analytics, a consultancy specialising in IBM Planning Analytics. We are committed to building long-term relationships across all industries. I focus on my CPD through CIMA and IBM badges, ensuring I am always abreast of best practice and developments within the industry.


The great thing about working with Spitfire Analytics is their financial background.  We can just explain what we need in our own terms and they understand exactly what needs to be done.

- Phil Talbot, Finance Director, Robertson Group

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