End Dating Calculations in IBM ICM: Options and Benefits
The IBM ICM system (formerly Varicent) is great at organizing data and providing result sets (from calculations) that can be used for supplying payout information. However, an increase in records per calculation results in an increase in calculation time and a decrease in performance, thus increasing strain on the system. When attempting to optimize a system modelâ€™s performance, one of the main goals is to reduce such system strain. End dating calculations can reduce some of the stress by decreasing records and processing times.
End Dating Options
Active Compensation Plans within models may undergo Plan Changes at various times and frequencies; sometimes, these plan changes require updating calculation methodologies or even creating new calculations. However, the original calculations can only be modified to a certain extent.
When a newly amended plan requires a calculation modification, best practice dictates that the old calculation be end dated and a new version created. There are two end dating methods that can be used:
- End Date by Partition
- End Date by Restriction
With both options, end dating the calculations restricts result sets to only display up to the ending date specified.
While both methods are effective at restricting the result sets of a calculation, there is a slight difference in their purpose that sets the two apart and makes one more effective over the other depending on the situation.
End Date by Partition
When creating calculations, Step 4 requires adding partitions in order to shape the result set of that calculation. Generally, one of the partitions included is the Date partition (Figure 1).
This partition is necessary when generating records that requires a user to reference dates associated with the information. Incorporating a date partition also tells the system how many records to generate when the Calculation task is executed. The figure above shows the dialog when selecting a date partition. The control allows a user to select a calendar, calculation & accumulation date references, start dates and end dates.
The start and end dates govern the periods that will be produced upon system calculation.Â Selecting an end date tells the system to only produce results for any time period before the end date. End Dating by Partition is an effective method for the following reasons:
- Reduces calculation time of a calculation
- Reduces calculation time of dependent calculations
This method works well for two particular scenarios:
- Optimizing System Performance
- Plan Changes
End Dating by Partition is particularly helpful while working with a locked calendar.The following scenario is an example of when End Dating by Partition is most useful:
A company is making a change to their bonus calculation method. The company is also planning to lock their annual Calendar. To prevent the previous method of bonus calculation from generating results, End Dating by Partition can be used to discontinue the generation of record sets and calculations for future dates.
End Date by Restriction
Step 5 of the calculation creation process allows a user to add restrictions, or filters, to modify the record set. This feature can also be used to restrict the number of records that are returned by using the end date method in Figure 2. Using this technique helps improve performance because it reduces the number of rows being passed through dependent calculations. It is recommended to use this method for end dating old calculations and creating new ones to continue the data stream resulting from the functionality of the original methodology. Not end dating the original calculation could result in:
- Increase in calculation time
- Increase in calculation time resulting from duplicated data
- Reduced performance and speed
End Dating by Restriction works most effectively when making Plan Changes for calculations with a Date Partition using an unlocked calendar.The following scenario is an example of when End Dating by Restriction is most useful:
A company wants to make changes to how data is presented in a report. One group of users only needs to view a historical version of the report, which has less information than what other groups require. The annual Calendar will not be locked. The calculation that feeds the report will need to be updated using the End Dating method. The historical version of the Calculation will be end dated. The current version will have additional information added to it for display. In this case, there is no need to end date the partition.
End dating calculations restricts the result sets of calculations and cuts down the processing time. The ultimate goal is to get the system to perform as efficiently as possible. End Dating can assist with that goal. Which End Dating method to use depends on situation.
Regardless of which method suits your purpose, when it comes to improving calculation and system performance, both methods have their positives.