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As TBMAs we need to create reports that effectively use color to convey information.  For example, we may use tables that display negative currency values in red or we may use arrows colored green or red to specify whether the direction the arrow is pointing is desirable or not.  Additionally, we frequently use charts to display information graphically.


In this blogpost, I'm going to explain how to change the colors of your charts at the project level.   For each chart component you add to your report,  there is a Color Spec property.  You set this value to tell the Apptio application how to display the metrics in your charts, you can access it by right-clicking on a chart component or selecting the actions menu and choosing Properties.

However, there are some cases where you wouldn't want to have to set the metric colors on a component by component basis. Suppose for example that your company has specific rules about which colors should be used in your dashboards and certain designated colors for specific metrics.  In this case, you'd want to set a project specific color set.   Keep in mind that project color specs can be overwritten at the component level, so if you think you'll be changing colors at the component level, I don't recommend setting a default project color scheme.


To set a default project level color scheme, you'll open your project and from the Project drop-down or Actions menu select Edit Project Settings.


In the Project Settings dialog, you can set values for various metrics in your projects. When you do this, any chart that contains the color defined metric will display that metric in the specified color unless overwritten at the component level.  Apptio recognizes a variety of colors by name, such as red, blue, green, light blue, etc.  For a complete list, look in Apptio Help under "Setting the default colors for projects".  the syntax is the "name of the metric"=color-spec separated by semicolons.

For example:



However you aren't limited to the color names that Apptio recognizes. If your organization has specific colors that you use for certain metrics, as long as you have the HEX codes for those colors, you can use them in place of the color names as in the following example.

Tier 1=#102F5E;Tier 2=#224477;Tier 3=#5473A1;Tier 4=#839CC3


Syntax notes:

You can use wild cards and exclusions in your syntax.  For example you can use an asterisk (*) as a wild card to cover multiple metrics containing the same value,   *Storage would affect all metrics that end with the value Storage. 


You can put "flat" in front of any of the colors to get a non-gradient version of the color, for example flatgreen, and you can choose flat colors such as black, gray, darkgray and white"transparent" is also supported.


Finally you can use an exclamation point in front of the color to tell apptio never to use that color in the chart.


For example:

NAS=blue;DAS=green;SAN=red;!orange  indicates which colors to use for each of the values specified but don't ever us orange if more metrics become available.


I hope you find this helpful.  Thanks for learning with Apptio University!

debbie hagen

Debbie Hagen

Update: view the latest certification details here.


Certification Behind the Scenes

At the beginning of 2015 we outlined our intent to create the Apptio Recognized TBMA (RTBMA) accreditation program and the second, more advanced Elite TBMA Certification (ETBMA). Since then, it has been our privilege and honestly our pleasure to help Apptio customers gain career defining skills and earn the Recognized TBMA title. If you're one of the individuals who has already earned RTBMA, you know that we are genuinely fueled by your success.


In the past six months we've observed the impact of RTBMA. We've seen RTBMA logos loaded to signature files and LinkedIn profiles and have met with RTBMAs successfully supporting TBM adoption in their organizations. The momentum of the RTBMA program has made it even more important for us to ensure the Elite TBMA Certification is:

  • Sufficiently advanced to support the growing knowledge and skill needs of our RTBMAs.
  • Both valuable enough and strenuous enough to capture market respect.


To meet these requirements, we:

  • Analyzed the skill sets of deeply experienced, highly successful TBMAs.
  • Talked to Apptio product experts to identify the advanced areas of knowledge that yield the highest return.
  • Polled leaders in Technology Business Management about the necessary knowledge and skills for success.
  • Asked our RTBMA's via an exclusive Community group, "what would you like to learn, next? How can we continue to support your success?"


Our research culminated in enough spreadsheets to make us wish Apptio had an app for skills mapping but ultimately our findings fell into 5 distinct groupings. If you've been following ETBMA plans from the beginning, you know that we originally drafted the areas of proficiency around high level descriptors like "optimizer, and communicator" but pointing back to the need to ensure this certification is sufficiently advanced, and based on our post-RTBMA research, we've defined the final ETBMA areas against real-world skill requirements. The learning hours originally defined are roughly the same but we've tweaked the content toward more advanced concepts and specific skills.



Looking ahead

We honored our first ever Recognized TBMAs at TBMC15 in Chicago. We would like to award the first Elite TBMAs at TBMC16. Thank you for helping us define a category, advance TBM, and establish the Elite TBMA certification.


- Rhonda Keller Rhonda Keller

Director, Education Services

In our reporting classes, we make a point of telling you that if you're going to be creating a lot of custom reports, it's a really good idea to learn HTML or at least make friends with someone who knows HTML .   One of the things you can do with dynamic HTML is dynamically change the information on in your HTML component based on meeting certain conditions.


In this blog post I'll give you an example of how you can use conditional logic to change the font color in your HTML by including a function in your code.


Consider this example:

Suppose you are looking at a report that contains a KPI for Budget Remaining and you want to add an HTML component that alerts viewers when the Budget Remaining becomes a negative number... in other words you want the font to turn red when you have no budget remaining and are in deficit.


Start by adding an HTML component to your report.  You'll need to ensure that the value you want to display, Budget Remaining, is in the Values area of the HTML Configuration dialog.  This gives the HTML component the context it needs to access the Budget Remaining values.

Next, open the HTML editor and add the HTML Code to display the budget remaining value.


This displays the budget remaining value for your storage:

Now, suppose you'd like to take it a step farther so that the Budget Remaining value shows in Red font if the value becomes a negative number. You simply modify your code to include the NumberFormat function.  The NumberFormat function is used to convert numbers to a specified format.  The syntax for the NumberFormat function is:




in other words, first you tell it what to do if the value is positive, then what to do if the value is negative.  You'll add HTML code that does this:

"<font color='black'>  $#,###</font>;<font color='red'>($#,###)</font>"


Here is how it would look in the HTML editor:



Now, in October, when we still have Budget Dollars remaining the Component looks like this:

But when you move to December, where we no longer have Budget Remaining, and have spent more than was budgeted, the number shows in Red.


If you'd like to make your component even more dynamic, you could add code to reference a filter or selected slicer.  For example:


This screen shot shows an HTML Component that displays the Budget Remaining value for the specific location selected in the slicer.  Below is the code to display this:


I hope this has been helpful.  Thanks for learning with Apptio University!


Debbie Hagen

Are you a TBMA with a fully configured Cost Transparency Foundation project, working knowledge of Apptio basic navigation and terminology, and hands-on experience loading data sets, creating allocations in the model, and working with reports? If so, the new Cost Transparency Foundation: Part 2 instructor-led course is a great place for you to learn the processes and best practices needed to sustain your project from month to month.


I’m, Alison Pumma (Alison Pumma) Apptio Education Services Instructional Designer, and I had the pleasure of working with our Senior Instructor, Jenny Goodwin (Jenny Goodwin) as well as our Guided Services Analysts, Taryn Kane (Taryn Kane) and Lauren Griessel (Lauren Griessel), during the development of this course. Together, we have created a course that is designed to help you understand tough environment concepts, manage ever-changing users, use advanced time settings, understand implications of using the audit log, keep you upgrade compliant, familiarize you with IT Leadership Review process, prepare you for monthly data loads, and get you thinking about improving your model. This course recalls and reinforces knowledge you gained in the Getting Started with Cost Transparency course and builds upon the concepts learned there. You’ll be in great hands with one of our talented instructors who will present the concepts and guide you through hands-on activities in Apptio. We hope you enjoy the course and look forward to your feedback. Enjoy!


Length: 6 hours (3 hours a day for 2 days)


Format: Virtual Instructor Led


Audience: RTBMAs


Prerequisites: Cost Transparency Foundation: Part 1


Recognition Title: This course fulfills a requirement to be an Elite TBMA candidate.