by Ed Merriman
| April 13, 2017
TruePlanningXL is the new Excel based interface to TruePlanning. TruePlanningXL gives uses the ability to work with TruePlanning projects in Excel. This includes allowing users to update inputs, calculate, calibrate and even create new projects. Much of the work performed in Excel on TruePlanning projects involves setting input values. The majority of inputs are single values and are available on the PBS sheet provided by TruePlanningXL. There are, however, some inputs that do not fit well on the PBS sheet: temporal inputs. Temporal inputs are inputs that contains multiple values to reflect values over time. In the TruePlanning application, temporal inputs are updated using a specific GUI that allows users to specify values for specific time periods.
In TruePlanningXL each temporal input gets its own Excel worksheet. This allows TruePlanningXL to display all of the values for each temporal input where each column is a unit of time. For most temporal inputs, the unit of time is a month. For a few temporal inputs, the unit is year. TruePlanningXL knows the appropriate unit of time for a temporal input and will provide that unit of time when temporal data is pushed to Excel. Note that in the TruePlanning application, the GUI provided for temporal inputs will let users enter yearly data for month based temporal inputs, but under the covers the data is stored as monthly and this is how the data is represented in TruePlanningXL.
In keeping with the TruePlanningXL ethos of ‘data first’ TruePlanning will process and fill any Excel Worksheet that is properly formatted for a temporal input. When a TruePlanning project is opened in TruePlanningXL, any properly formatted sheet will be filled in. Users can also define which temporal inputs should be processed in a GUI selection dialog that is accessed through the TruePlanningXL menu. Any temporal inputs that are selected in the temporal selection GUI, but do not have a corresponding Excel Worksheet will have an Excel Worksheet created for that input and that sheet will be populated with data. Sheets that are properly formatted, but not selected in the GUI will also be populated when project is opened.
To format an Excel Worksheet to contain temporal data in TruePlanningXL, cell “A1” must contain “Temporal Cost Object” and cell “B1” must contain the name of the input. More than one type of Cost Object can contain a temporal input with the same name so each Excel Worksheet for a temporal input may contain data for multiple Cost Objects. An example of this is System Deployments, which belongs to System Cost Objects and Assembly Cost Objects.
Users can define the set of temporal inputs they would like to be loaded when a project is opened through the “Select Temporals” menu button. This will launch the temporal selection dialog which allows users to select temporal inputs by Catalog and Cost Object.
As temporal inputs are time based and different Cost Objects may target different time periods, the data displayed in TruePlanningXL for temporal inputs will be adjusted so the data is relative to all time periods for the project. For example, in the screenshot below for the “Number of Production Units” temporal input, a System Cost Object has production units, but the time is offset because the System Cost Object’s start date is later than other start dates from the project. Note in the screenshot below how the values start in Year 3.
Start dates can be updated in temporal sheets. When temporal data is pushed from Excel to TruePlanning checks are made to ensure that all of the temporal worksheets have the same values for start dates. The actual values will be used, but if the values position in the columns doesn’t match the start date, the values will be moved to the appropriate column based on the start date of the Cost Object.
By exposing temporal outputs in Excel users have at ability to perform large scale updates to the temporal data in a TruePlanning project with ease. It is possible to make significant changes to the data quickly compared to performing the same updating task via the GUI’s in TruePlanning.
Please feel free to contact PRICE if you have any questions about this feature, TruePlanning, TruePlanningXL, or any other PRICE products and services.