Recently I faced the challenging task to build a dashboard (using the BusinessObjects Dashboard Design Tool – former Xcelsius; I worked with version 4.0 SP6 for my proof of concept) on top of IBM Cognos TM1 data – specifically, I wanted to build a dashboard on top of a TM1-view. Apparently, so far the BusinessObjects BI tools do not offer a direct connectivity to TM1. This Blog-post gives a brief overview of my approach in order to build a BusinessObjects Dashboard on top of a TM1-view.

I scanned through web- sites,  blogs and forums in order to find any information helping me find a way to retrieve data from TM1. Most sources that I found suggested to export TM1 data to a flat file and consume that flat file by the BusinessObjects BI tools.

Well… not really a 21st century approach, is it?!

Then I had a look at the TM1 documentation  and found that TM1 has a Java API that offers the opportunity to read data directly from a TM1 cube or TM1 view. However, how does that help the Dashboard Design Tool connecting to TM1? I explored some opportunities and came up with the following scenario:

tm1_dashboard.PNG

The Dashboard Design Tool has the opportunity to retrieve data from a Web Service – what if I create a Web Services that connects to TM1 and returns the data from a TM1-view? So I started coding…

I had the following TM1-View on top of a TM1-Cube – nothing too fancy but still enough to proof that I’m able to create a dashboard on top of a ‘live’-TM1 connection:

/wp-content/uploads/2013/09/tm1_view_271871.png

I created a Web Service which connects to the TM1-view through the Java-TM1 API and retrieves the data from the view. I simply hosted the Web Service on the web application server of my BO-BI platform ensuring that the dashboard is able to access the Web Service.

In a next step I created a new Web Service Connection in the Data Manager within the Dashboard Design Tool. I pointed the dashboard to my Web Service definition and specified the cells for the input and output values of the TM1-connection Web Service.

Data Manager.PNG

After that configuration step my dashboard was able to directly communicate with TM1 through my Web Service and retrieve data:

Dashboard.PNG

My simple proof-of-concept confirms that the BusinessObjects Dashboard Design Tool is able to directly retrieve data from TM1, some programming effort by using the TM1 Java API is necessary to create a connection to TM1 though. However, the Web Service connectivity is a great example that shows the flexibility of the Dashboard Design Tool in order to virtually connect to any data source.

Further References:

SCN-Dashboards Info: http://scn.sap.com/community/businessobjects-dashboards

Dashboard Design Tool – connect to a Web Service: http://scn.sap.com/docs/DOC-21290

TM1 Introduction: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/TM1

TM1 API Documentation: http://www-01.ibm.com/support/docview.wss?uid=swg21440270

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3 Comments

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  1. Harald Anton Mueller

    Hi Dominik,

    thanks for the interesting article. I am currently looking for an option to connect BO to TM1 aswell. Did you get any further with this approach (or maybe found out other alternatives) to get TM1 data? Without knwoledge of your code it’s just an asumption, but your connector is probably restricted to the underlying view/cube, isn’t it? A flexible connector would be much appreciated. Any ideas on that?

    Thanks and regards,

    Harald

    (0) 
  2. Aashutosh Hore

    Hi Dominik,

    We have started the discussion to integrate TM1 data in our EDW. Could you, please help us to identify APIs and programming scripts to extract data using web services?

    Thanks and Regards,

    Aashutosh Hore

    (0) 

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