Comments archive

The pages of this comments archive list all public comments on the latest version of the IBCS® Standards in chronological order.

Andrej Lapajne

I would love to get some scientific experimental results regarding this for the above example (text/categories + chart shapes/bars). I believe that in most practical cases right aligning the labels works best, but there’s controversial scientific evidence for this. Many scientific papers have been published on the “rapid serial visual presentation” (RSVP), e.g. by the author K.L. Shapiro et al. There was even a popular application called Spritz ( that took advantage of RSVP, however, it is limited to reading the words in serial order only (not words + observing bar lengths in charts).

Eye-tracking has revealed some surprising facts about how we read the labels or at least how our eyes move (fixation + eye saccades). There’s the phenomenon like the attentional blink (AB), many studies that suggest we fixate our eyes on every second label in charts only, fixate our view on the middle of charts with an equal chance of going left/right from there, etc.

That being said: should IBCS Association fund research or cooperate with people like Dr. Heimo Lobichler to provide scientific-based answers to questions like these? Juergen?

I would love to see this happen!


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Andrej Lapajne

I agree with Jens, because the benchmark, in this case, is clearly a kind of a “target” or an internal plan.  In the extreme case of Beyond Budgeting methodology, the benchmark is, in fact, a substitute for the “plan” or budget.

On another note, has anybody had a problem with the abbreviation “BU“? According to my practical experience, the “PL” is understood and fairly unique, but the predominant terminology is still the “budget”. Surprisingly,  the “BU” is quite controversial since most people already use “BU” for Business Unit (as in BU Asia, BU Tools, etc.). In some of my projects, the clients had “budgets”, but refused to call them “BU” and preferred to use “BGT” or “Bgt”. I suggested the “PL” or “BG” in order to achieve consistent 2-letter scenario abbreviations, but in a few cases I failed and the client went for “Bgt”.

Any thoughts on this? How do you feel about “BG” for budget (instead of “BU” or “PL”)? Personally, I am fine with BG – many times using just the consonants helps…

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Andrej Lapajne

I personally prefer to avoid redundancy so if the column header states for example “Gross Margin in %” or “ΔPL%“, then I would display the percentage values with numbers only (no % sign behind the numbers). In an average chart you’ll save 12 characters (possibly avoid overlapping as well) and in a typical table column, you’ll save about 25 chars. In my view it’s about “avoiding redundancy” and I strictly use italics for percentages, (at least as long as we’re talking about internal reporting to more or less the same users repeatedly):





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Andrej Lapajne

Hi guys, that’s +1.2 in the picture. Or is it +1.1? Anyways, the plus (+) sign is missing.

Cheers! Andrej

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Ronald –
here my personal opinion – as far as I know, there has not been an in-depth discussion within the IBCS community yet.

I do not like these tiles, and I do not think that they are helpful.
The reason? They unnecessarily separate different charts, values, tables, or other content. Why separating content if it belongs together on one page?
I always try to put material together on one page which belongs together – see the CONDENSE issue Show related charts on one page.

In my opinion there is no reason of constantly rearranging the tiles – there should be one best way of presenting data: top or bottom, left or right, in the center or not.
And then we should stick to this arrangement. Pilots would not find their instruments quickly enough if their cockpits looks different in every airplane. Pushing content around on the screen makes it much more difficult to remember a certain page setup. Reporting standards mean that we should use the same layouts for the same analyses.

Instead of using tiles I suggest to use “fixed arrangements” such as some of the examples at

These suggestions are not perfect at all but I think that they point in the correct direction. My personal “vision” here is a set of 20 to 30 good standard business analyses – ready to use, always looking the same. We will use them for typical balance sheet analyses, cash flow statements, market analyses, HR ratios, plant productivity, etc. – similar to standard views and cross sections in architectural drawings.

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Jürgen Faisst

Hi Viola,

I would like to answer as follows:

>What is the behaviour for tables showing values in % only? Shall the subtitle say “in %”?

Yes, IBCS suggest that you should mention the unit % in the second line of the title.

>What if % is the majority and some values are raw (unformatted)?

I would absolutely agree to your suggestion and always show the % behind the numbers in the table as long as there is no generally accepted semantic notation for percentages (e.g. showing them always in italics and not using italics any more for other purposes than showing percentages).

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Hi. I have a question regarding the number formatting in tables. For example if a table contains only values in Million USD the “in Million USD” is written in the subheader to simplify the table and to avoid clutter. Values in percentage are still displayed in the table (e.g. 3%). What is the behaviour for tables showing values in % only? Shall the subtitle say “in %”? What if % is the majority and some values are raw (unformatted)? I suggest to always show the % in the table no matter if percentage is the majority or not. What do you suggest? Many Thanks, Viola

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We could argue about benchmarks not being fictitious.

An Index for example is a arbitrary calculated number (there are various formulas to determine a Index), same for market benchmarks/ averages which is an calculated number and therefore fictitious.

If we ignore the current explanation why the PL is outlined (see. Warsaw), then Plan is just a special case of an Benchmark. A future target which i Planed to reach.

If we do want to follow the Warsaw definition of the outlined bars, we have to create a new visual rule for this use case.

In my first drafts I used a blue as color for representing benchmarks.

I tried to mark benchmarks as a kind of virtual/ artificial KPI.

If we do not want to use colors we could try a dotted line.

Here a small example the blue line represents the benchmark line

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In Switzerland within our current projects our clients are all talking about “YTG” key figures, e.g. “Revenue-to-go”. Rolf also knows one of our clients personally using this scenario description (we joined/met hin together in March 2016 in Basel).

For me all mentioned abbreviations are clear and comprehensible. For sure I am not a native speaker.

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