Why IBM should sell off TM1 by James Wakefield

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BariAbdul
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Why IBM should sell off TM1 by James Wakefield

Post by BariAbdul » Fri Jul 19, 2019 10:41 am

Hi Gurus, I know I am opening a pandora's box out here, but being a passionate TM1 lovers, how much do you agree with James on the below:

https://www.linkedin.com/pulse/why-ibm- ... wakefield/ Thanks
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Re: Why IBM should sell off TM1 by James Wakefield

Post by Alan Kirk » Fri Jul 19, 2019 1:21 pm

BariAbdul wrote:
Fri Jul 19, 2019 10:41 am
Hi Gurus, I know I am opening a pandora's box out here, but being a passionate TM1 lovers, how much do you agree with James on the below:

https://www.linkedin.com/pulse/why-ibm- ... wakefield/ Thanks
I think that it's a really interesting piece of writing. Thanks for bringing it up because I for one would probably not have seen it otherwise, given my distaste bordering on loathing for Lumped In.

Here's my "off the cuff writing far too late on a Friday night" reaction to some of the points, which means I may need to revisit some of them later.
The first few years of IBM ownership of TM1 really did bring a lot of momentum. Large enterprises embraced TM1 due to the IBM label and attempts at a mid-market push was made too.
I would not disagree at all, but I've been saying for years (even into the Applix days) that this is pushing from the wrong end. The overwhelming majority of employment is down in the S end of the Small And Medium Enterprises market. and this is becoming increasingly the case as western companies continue to scale back to try to avoid going broke. (A job for life at Ford? Or {insert any airline name here}? Good luck with that.)

Had there been an entry level TM1 option at a "commodity" price, TM1 skills would be as ubiquitous as Excel skills and as people moved from job to job they would know and want TM1. The market would have grown organically from the ground up.
IBM had two amazing products in Cognos BI and TM1, but IBM did nothing to bring them together.
I'm not disagreeing with the key assertion, but I've never applied "amazing" to Cognos BI. It can probably generate prettier output than TM1 but there's way more to life than that. If there wasn't I'd spend more time on Instagram. As for CAM, well, once I saw it in action I could only think "I never want to see that thing in action again."
During these first few years we also started to see IBM start to offload some great capability. Executive Viewer (EV) was by far the best non-Excel front end I had ever worked with on TM1. Once it was updated to support canvas style widgets all talking to each other it was amazingly powerful.
I used EV back in the olden days, but I never, ever got to like it. Granted this is like comparing the Wright Brothers plane with an F-117 but if I needed an EV type product in my life I'd much prefer Cubewise Canvas. Now THAT is a front end tool.
TM1 in the last few years has also now gone into the cloud as an offering. Here though is probably my biggest issue. Instead of IBM rewriting TM1 for the cloud, it was copy/pasted into the cloud i.e. just normal TM1 installed on a VM.
I don't think I entirely agree with this. It's worth remembering that PA1 (really 10.3) was a web first offering. I also know that there is still a lot of work going on to optimise TM1 for a cloud environment. But it's also necessary to remember that at the moment cloud is still a relatively untested junior partner and there is still a need to be able to switch models back and forth between the two environments. The work may not have yet optimised TM1 for the cloud, but it's ongoing.

I don't think that this is intrinsically a bad thing. Cloud, as such, offers great opportunities such as scalability.

Where I foresee a problem is if IBM tries to push TM1 down the path of being primarily, or even worse exclusively, a Software As A Service (SAAS) offering run by them on their own cloud, and nowhere else.

I'm sure that regular readers will be aware of my opinion of the Docker install for PAX and PAW in a Windows environment. I don't need to rehash it here except to say that if I didn't know any better I might, possibly, think that they were making installation and running of the software so convoluted and unreliable that "we can make it all go away if you just sign on to our SAAS implementation for.... say how much money DO you have, exactly?" (No, I don't actually think that was the prime motivation for it. It would not, however, surprise me if it crossed some minds.)

IF that happens, then I can see a pretty significant walk-away looming. First, it's because people will no longer fully control their own data. Sure, a lot of companies have put a lot of data into cloud-based SAAS applications already. But we have yet to have the "s**tstorm of all time" hack which will, at some point, come.

In this respect I see two different forms of SAAS; good SAAS and bad SAAS. Good SAAS is for example Amazon's AWS, where you can rent a generic server as a commodity. Amazon hacks you off? You can go to Microsoft, or Google, or even a niche provider, and have new servers in minutes.

Bad SAAS is where the software is proprietary and if you sign on, you are bent over a barrel. The vendor controls your data, how it's structured, how you can access it. Indeed, WHETHER you can access it. This is one reason why, in my humble, on prem will never fully die.

That, however, is not as important as the second issue, which is the impact on the PNL. Sure, data centres and IT staff cost money to run. But if you have a perpetual licence and YOU are running your own instance (whether in a local data centre or a cloud), YOU can control things like when or whether upgrades happen, how many staff are assigned to run and maintain your instance and so on. On the other hand if you have a proprietary provider of software who has control over your data then eventually, whether it be this year, next year or 5 years from now, you will pay what they SAY you will pay, or your toys will be taken away. And in that way you lose any control over those cost lines in your PNL in a way that you don't with perpetual licences and you running the thing.

Having a fully supported cloud offering isn't a bad thing, in fact it's essential in the long term. But if it becomes the only game in town then I see a significant shrinkage in TM1 usage.

You can disagree with me on that, but if it ever happens then I invite you to meet me for a nice cacio e pepe at Trattoria Da Enzo al 29, let's say 10 years after the event, and we can discuss who was right. (Hint: It'll be me.)
PAW was probably the biggest improvement in TM1 web capability for years
{Sounds of liquid bubbling can be heard from my keyboard...}
My personal view is that TM1 has to leave IBM in order to flourish again. The best thing that could happen to TM1 is for IBM to sell it off and ensure it goes to a home that will love it, for what it does best.
OK, I see his point but to my mind there is one huge obstacle in the way of doing that, and that obstacle goes by the name of Hubert Heijkers. For those of you who don't know of him, and if you're a TM1 user you really should, he's the current Chief Architect for the TM1 Server.

He also has an intellect the size of an average continent. No matter how smart you are, when you start discussing deep techie stuff with him you rapidly start to feel like you're a 14 year old who has picked up a tennis racquet for the first time, only to find Roger Federer on the other side of the net.

Over the next few years he will be taking the server in directions that some of us would never have even thought possible. If you think 11 represented any major changes, it didn't. 11 was simply "you ain't seen nothing yet", but obviously there's an issue of retaining compatibility with the existing TM1 applications out there. The fault lines have started to appear with the introduction of hierarchies, but that's barely the start.

And here's the problem. If TM1 is sold and Hubert doesn't go with it, then the TM1 that we will have 5 years down that alternative timeline will be very different to the TM1 that we will have 5 years down this one.

Does one person really make that much of a difference? Sometimes, yes. Manny Perez did with the original incarnation of TM1.

I do not dispute for a second many of the issues that James raised, and overall I have a very, very ambivalent relationship with IBM in general, but on balance I really do think that right now is the wrong time to cut it loose from IBM. Over the next few years we're going to reach a tipping point as new feature come on line and keeping someone with the right vision at the helm of that is way more important than pretty interfaces.
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Re: Why IBM should sell off TM1 by James Wakefield

Post by David Usherwood » Fri Jul 19, 2019 4:48 pm

I was working as a graduate consultant and asked by my boss to start learning TM1. I installed TM1 Perspectives, but then couldn't understand why companies would pay for a very bland looking pivot table product. I was then asked to install the server (version 6) and again was thinking, wow this DOS command stuff seems old school.

It wasn't until I really got into project work for a large retail company that I started to realise the magic.
Since James came to InfoCat in 2000 with an OFA background I have a feeling it might have been me who asked him to learn TM1. I wonder if he remembers - I don't (but I'm entitled not to :shock: )

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Re: Why IBM should sell off TM1 by James Wakefield

Post by Alan Kirk » Fri Jul 19, 2019 11:01 pm

David Usherwood wrote:
Fri Jul 19, 2019 4:48 pm
I wonder if he remembers - I don't (but I'm entitled not to :shock: )
I hope that's not an ageist slur upon yourself there David! After all, {mumble} is the new 20.

Just look at the new Top Gun movie. A guy in his late 50's is still supposedly flying front line fighter missions as if almost 4 decades of catapult shots, extreme G forces and carrier landings wouldn't have trashed his body. Also, he's mentoring the son of his long dead friend to be a newbie hotshot notwithstanding that the "kid" is in his late 30's. In old-school-think, that's almost two decades after his reaction times, reflexes, eyesight, stamina etc all peaked.

I'm sure that you're as sharp as you ever were. So are we getting together with Steves Rowe and Vincent for another round of shirtless beach volleyball when I'm over there in September?
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Re: Why IBM should sell off TM1 by James Wakefield

Post by Bakkone » Sun Jul 21, 2019 1:35 pm

Interesting read. But it really needs to be read as a text written by someone that worked with TM1, and now work with one of its main competitors, Anaplan. So as much as it is interesting, its aim is to deem TM1/PA as an inferior system. Now I haven't worked with Anaplan for a few years. But as far as I saw it Anaplan was a small dog with a big bark. But Im sure its a better system now.


All in all I think PA would become a better system if it was bought out by some smaller private equity firm. Maybe they would give it the focused love it would need. For example make it a priority to cut all ties to Cognos Analytics. CAM is a mess and the BI-capabilities could be developed with some open source JS packages.

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