IBM Planning Analytics

IBM is one of the world’s largest vendors of IT hardware, software and services. The company has a global workforce of close to 350,000 employees and is active in over 170 countries. IBM offers a comprehensive portfolio of on-premises and cloud analytics and performance management solutions (in particular, for planning and financial consolidation). The core offerings consist of IBM Cognos Analytics with Watson and IBM Planning Analytics with Watson. For financial consolidation and regulatory reporting, IBM Cognos Controller is part of the performance management portfolio.

IBM Planning Analytics – the vendor’s strategic enterprise planning product – is a core element in IBM’s performance management portfolio and has been on the market since the 1980s. Due to its rich functionality for planning and OLAP analysis, and its underlying in-memory TM1 technology, the product plays a strategic role for IBM. Planning Analytics is available in both classical on-premises and cloud versions. Essentially, Planning Analytics is a high-performance, multidimensional in-memory database for budgeting, planning and forecasting with Excel and web front ends. The product is targeted at business power users for building all kinds of applications (planning, analytics, strategy management). Therefore it has no dominant focus on any one particular topic (financials, sales, HR, etc.). In the latest versions of Planning Analytics, IBM has strengthened the product’s web client user experience, charting options and visualizations, as well as workflow and predictive forecasting capabilities based on historical time-series data and a series of predefined algorithms.

IBM Planning Analytics is used by enterprises of all sizes and industry sectors, and is suitable for creating data entry screens for multiple sub-budgets, consolidating their results, and running simple to highly complex calculations. Hundreds of solutions – from small-scale departmental tools to installations with thousands of users – have been implemented worldwide. Resources and expertise for Planning Analytics are widespread.

IBM’s enterprise BI and analytics solution Cognos Analytics provides functionality for dashboards, pixel-perfect reporting, stories, data modeling and analysis in a web-based, integrated user experience. Included in Cognos Analytics’ wide range of analytics capabilities are smarts focused on enabling ease of use for new users as well as customization and governance features for administrators. The solution offers search-based analysis (NLQ) with encapsulated cognitive capabilities aimed at business users. IBM has also extended Cognos Analytics in the area of advanced analytics. For instance, Jupyter Notebooks has been incorporated in the user interface to provide greater flexibility in data preparation and statistical analysis. The product can scale to larger scenarios supporting the needs of many concurrent users as well as large data volumes.

User & Use Cases

60 percent of IBM Planning Analytics users are planning users – slightly below the survey average of 64 percent – reflecting the fact that IBM Planning Analytics is essentially a planning tool with complementary BI and analytics functionality. This is also reflected in the area of planning and other use cases. Customers leverage IBM Planning Analytics for financial planning (78 percent) and operational planning (68 percent). Here, planning takes place at different aggregation levels. IBM Planning Analytics is particularly used for budgeting (86 percent) and forecasting (65 percent). Besides planning, customers mainly use IBM Planning Analytics for ad hoc query (74 percent), standard/enterprise reporting (70 percent) and data analysis (mainly OLAP analysis, 68 percent). Many respondents plan to use it for strategic planning (37 percent), forecasting (29 percent) and dashboards/scorecards (27 percent) in the future.

IBM Planning Analytics targets large and mid-sized companies across all industries. 64 percent of our sample of IBM Planning Analytics customers come from large companies (more than 2,500 employees) with a median of 130 users (including 90 using planning functionality), but the mean of 709 users (355 for planning) indicates there are also several significantly larger implementations.

Current vs. planned use (planning use cases)


Current vs. planned use (besides planning)


Percentage of employees using IBM Planning Analytics


Planning users (as a percentage of all users)


Total number of users per company


Planning users per company


Company size (number of employees)


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IBM Planning Analytics

Peer Groups BI & Analytics-Focused Products, Business Software Generalists, Global Vendors, Large/Enterprise-Wide Implementations, Operational Planning-Focused Products
Number of responses69
ProductIBM Planning Analytics with Watson
OfficesGlobal offices in more than 170 countries worldwide
Employees350,000 approx.