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Hi all,

As we went through the workaround which IBCS rules where mandatory and which were optional, Edyta, Jurgen and myself picked up one part of the Express rule which is not complete.

We are clear that time series should be horizontal and structures should be presented vertically but what about scenarios and measures.

Multiple Scenarios

If for example, we had a number of scenarios for one period. For example, PY, ACT, ACT adjusted for FX, Plan, Forecast and prior forecast. I would think this would be presented horizontally but it’s not overtly clear in the standard.


Again if we were looking at a number of measures say KPI calculations for one business unit and one time period, again I would think that this would be presented vertically but it’s not clear in the standard.

Be very interested in other peoples thoughts.




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I agree Jens. The quality of IBCS implementations could be confirmed by IBCS notation manuals. These way we could also be aware what companies do really good job with IBCS reporting. However I think these manuals will be updated from time to time by both sides:

company, while there is a need of change (i.e. changes in Management Board, in company ownership, in business model etc.)
IBCS Institute, while we have new versions of standards

This means such a ‘Seal of Quality’ would need to have a ‘Date of Approval’.

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Rolf Hichert

In our book we give attribution to Andrej (thank you, Andrej!) – because with his contribution above he triggered figure 2.10-10 in chapter “Skalierung” in the German edition of our new book.



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Rolf Hichert

In my office there is still a poster of “HICHERT+PARTNER” of 2006(!) hanging at the wall. I made this photo of “rule 104S Use a consistent scaling concept” – see below.
To be honest – I had forgotten this…. But it is not far away from our present discussion, isn’t it?

And next to it I have found rice “102S Visualize different scales”…
This is very close what we now call “Scaling indicators” in CH 4.3.


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In addition to the described topic we should think about a further
Certification or ‘Seal of Quality’, which is awarded to notation manuals.
This seal certifies that the notation manual successfully implements IBCS.

Such a seal would have several advantages.
On the one hand, the customer can have the quality of the notation manual confirmed.
No watering down of the Brand IBCS with poorly written notation manuals.

The customer can use the seal for its own as a marketing tool
and confirm that their reports (or at least their notation handbook) are IBCS compliant.

The seal itsself is a marketing tool which will improve the visibility and brand recognition
of IBCS which will result into new people beeing interested into IBCS. (which is a good thing :))

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Hi Juergen,

you have succeeded “to reduce to the max” the scaling indicators, with two items:

1) One single rung (of the scale) which  is the only graduation. It is  shown as a line (dotted for one, dashed for ten, and solid for hundred)

2) the unit showing the “thousand” multiplier  (1 dot for ones, 2 dots for thousands, 3 dots for millions and 4 dots for billions)
Comment : I fully agree to put these dots just in front of the rung graduation, in order to show that this line is only here as a scale (and not for any other reason, such as “objective”). Therefore I also think it’s mandatory to put one dot for ones.

My question : As it is shown on the second chart in your first picture, we may want to show thousands (or a second graduation/rung if there is a large amplitude between values), would you put a double line for thousand ?

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Andrej Lapajne

Hi Juergen,

When I submitted the suggestion to use the dots for orders of magnitude (K, M, B) last year, I proposed:

1 dot for K, because there’s 1 thousands separator in the number representation (e.g. 1.000 EUR)

2 dots for M (e.g. 1.000.000 EUR)

3 dots for B

Also, standard number formatting options in BI tools use such representation. For example, to format the numbers in K in Excel, you add 1 dot behind the number, 2 dots for M, 3 dots for B.

If I see 2 dots, I interpret it as millions.

Here are the pictures from my original proposal:



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Here is the concept Rolf and I suggest in our upcoming book:

We also discuss (as one of multiple alternatives) the usage of dots for the thousand multipliers. However we suggest 1 dot for ones, 2 dots for thousands, 3 dots for millions and 4 dots for billions:

The main reason why we start with 1 dot for ones instead of 0 dots for “no multiplier” is, that 0 dots is ambiguous: Is there no dot because you don’t apply the semantic notation of scales, or ist there no dot because you mean “ones”?

However, indicating the thousand multiplier e.g. with dots is not sufficient. In case we have two charts with numbers of the same multiplier on one page, with a big spread in the size of the numbers (e.g. Sales and EBIT), than we need to also show the ones, tens, and hundreds within a thousand multiplier. Here we suggest to use different line types: dotted for one, dashed for ten, and solid for hundred:

Looking forward to your comments.

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Thomas Terbuch

Many ways for distinction of thousands, millions, billions are thinkable. From my point of view it is important to see it, not to read it. Furthermore not to add additional objects to the chart and to reserve colours for highlighting and deviations. Of course the scaling notation must work for all chart types recommended by IBCS for visualisation of absolute values.

As you can see in the attachment, my approach is easy and not very spectacular: Adding dots to the axis to symbolize how many decimal places have been shifted. Therefore 3 dots symbolize thousands, 6 dots millions and 9 dots billions forming groups of three.


Semantic Notation Concept for Scales_ThomasTerbuch

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