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The history of IBM TM1

24 July 2023 | EN

In the world of Business Intelligence and Business Analytics, there are certain technologies that have played a key role in shaping the way organizations make decisions and plan for the future. One of the tools used in planning and multidimensional analysis is IBM TM1 (IBM Planning Analytics). It is a powerful, multidimensional database, a powerful calculation engine and a comprehensive solution for planning, reporting and benchmarking.

Let’s delve into the exciting history of IBM TM1, from its beginnings in the 1980s to its current status as the state-of-the-art EPM (Enterprise Performance Management) enterprise performance management platform.

The beginnings of IBM TM1

The roots of IBM TM1 date back to the early 1980s, when a small team of programmers decided to create an innovative solution. This solution was designed to address the challenges facing organizations in managing complex financial data. Working at Exxon, Lilly Whaley suggested to the IT team to develop a scheduling system using the IBM mainframe time sharing option (TSO) to replace the previous IBM IMS based scheduling system. This was due to the high cost of maintaining the IMS system, very limited functionality and the inability of many users to participate in the implementation of plans. Manny Perez, who worked in the IT industry for most of his career, started working on a prototype of the solution. Manny’s main idea was to keep multidimensional cubes and some calculations in the computer’s main memory. This gave the ability to quickly query the cube and generate large reports with consolidated data in the blink of an eye. The first version of the system was implemented in 1981.

Table Manager #1

When Visicalc (the first spreadsheet) was released, Perez was convinced that it was the perfect fit as the user interface of a financial system into which data was entered and then analyzed. In 1983, Manuel Perez and his colleague Jose Sinai founded Sinper Corporation and released the first commercial version of their product – TM1 (Table Manager No. 1). It contained the aforementioned spreadsheet as the basic tool for interaction between the user and the database. The system was presented at the PC Expo in New York that year.

In the nineties, the TM1 gained the recognition of many enthusiasts thanks to its unique capabilities. In 1996, Applix, a specialist in multidimensional databases, acquired TM1 and began working to improve functionality, increase performance, and spread the solution. Applix’s most important goal was to improve the core functionality of TM1. Focusing on its speed, scalability and  simple and user-friendly interface, it has become an irreplaceable tool for financial planning and analysis.

After 2000, IBM saw the great potential of Applix and their TM1 tools and acquired Applix in 2007, including TM1 in its modern suite of business intelligence products – Cognos. Acquisition by IBM and investments in tool development, global reach and scalability have put TM1 in the spotlight as a key component of the company’s portfolio of BI tools.

Many possibilities with one tool

TM1 quickly gained popularity in the corporate world for its ability to simplify complex data collection, modeling and financial analysis processes. The multidimensional structure of data cubes has enabled organizations to consolidate, multifaceted segmentation and quickly analyze large amounts of financial data, enabling more accurate and faster decision making.

In recent years, TM1 has evolved and adapted to the changing business analytics landscape. IBM took advantage of artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning (ML) by integrating them with TM1 to improve data analysis, forecasting accuracy and scenario planning. Furthermore, TM1’s integration with other IBM products such as IBM Watson has opened up new avenues for advanced analytics and cognitive capabilities. These integrations enable organizations to harness the power of AI and machine learning for a purpose gain deeper insights, automate processes and drive innovation.

The most modern EPM solution

From humble beginnings to today – as a cutting-edge EPM solution, IBM TM1 has left an indelible mark on the world of business analytics. Its ability to streamline financial planning, analysis, and decision-making processes has transformed the way organizations maintain their data, manage the budget process, and report and analyze financial performance.