Alan Whitehouse's Ramblings

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Posts Tagged ‘Planning’

Update on the TGO Planning Solution

Posted by Alan on October 7, 2011

It has been a while since I did any serious posting.  My off hours have been busy with summer activities (mostly drinking beer and mojitos on the back deck) and work has been consumed with our new planning solution.  Any of you who have followed me know about my long and sordid history with planning solutions.  To avoid the pains of the past we here at TGO Consulting decided to take matters into our own hands and over the past 6 months have been working on building our own solution.

I am very happy to report that a half-year of joy, frustration, awe, anger and a dozen other emotions has finally resulted in our first release.  Below is our first semi-formal write-up for True Sky Planning, Budgeting and Forecasting.  I am sure it will undergo some marketing transformations as we refine our message, but it should give you a good overview of what we have accomplished.

* * * * * *
True Sky Planning, Budgeting and Forecasting™ is a powerful and flexible solution that helps organizations manage and streamline their planning process.  The basic philosophy of True Sky™ can best be described as:

  • Budget in Excel
  • Manage in SharePoint
  • Store in SQL Server

Read the rest of this entry »


Posted in Excel, SharePoint, SQL Server, True Sky Planning | Tagged: , , , | Leave a Comment »

TGO Budgeting Solution – Why SharePoint for the Administration Interface

Posted by Alan on February 2, 2011

Today’s post on the TGO Budgeting Solution will discuss why we think SharePoint is the ideal interface for administering the solution.  At TGO Consulting, SharePoint is one of products that falls under our Business Intelligence practice.  We deploy SharePoint not only for the Business Intelligence features but for the traditional SharePoint features as well.  We started dabbling with SharePoint when it was SharePoint Portal Server 2003, advanced our usage with Microsoft Office SharePoint Server 2007 (driven largely by PerformancePoint Server) and have fully added it to our product mix with the SharePoint Server 2010 release.   We were even lucky to have an early adopter customer in the TAP program which allowed us to really take some arrows.

We knew for our budgeting solution we would need some interface to manage the administrative functions.   Read the rest of this entry »

Posted in SharePoint, True Sky Planning | Tagged: , , | Leave a Comment »

TGO Budgeting Solution – Why Excel for the End User Interface

Posted by Alan on February 1, 2011

As we at TGO Consulting were working on designing the high-level architecture plan for the TGO Budgeting Solution we had to decide upon the interface the end-user would use to interact with the system. In the past I have worked with solutions that use Excel for the interface, Office Web Components  presented through Internet Explorer and custom data grids that look like Excel but aren’t quite.  When it came time to decide we ultimately went with full-fledged Excel, even though there are some technical and business process challenges associated with using it.

So what were the factors that tipped the scales in favour of Excel?   Some of them were that:

Read the rest of this entry »

Posted in True Sky Planning | Tagged: , , , | 1 Comment »

TGO Budgeting Solution – Relational vs. OLAP

Posted by Alan on January 27, 2011

As we were brainstorming the design for the TGO Budgeting Solution we eventually touched upon the topic of the back-end storage model and whether we should go with a solution that is primarily relational or “cubular” in nature.  

[NOTE:  I am not sure if “cubular” is a real word or not, but those of us in the BI group here TGO Consulting use it in day-to-day conversation.  So if it isn’t a real word then consider this post is me copyrighting the term right now.  Over the course of time you will see more of these wacky words we are trying to get into the mainstream vernacular.]  

So in the past, along with Excel, I have worked with solutions that were completely relational based (i.e., Forecaster), those that were primarily relational based but with some smattering of OLAP (i.e., Enterprise Reporter), those that were fully OLAP based (i.e, PerformancePoint Planning) and those that utilized a combination of the two (i.e., Clarity CPM).  The fact that I have worked with 4 different structured solutions, that were created by 4 different developers and there are 4 different storage models, pretty much shows that there is no one general consensus of the best way to design the storage for an enterprise planning solution. 

No clear winner in this arena meant we had to make this decision for ourselves.  To aid our decision process we laid out the pros and cons of each type of storage model into an all encompassing matrix.  A  cut-down, bullet point version of our matrix is shown below: Read the rest of this entry »

Posted in SQL Server, True Sky Planning | Tagged: , , , , | Leave a Comment »