Comments archive

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

Jens Herrmann

I can confirm Andrejs observation. BU is indeed very often preoccupied by
‘Business Unit’.

I usually just use PL and keep the existence of BU in secret to prevent confusion.

BG seems to me to be a better alternative.


Ronald van Lent

In the examples and templates it is chosen to flip the colours of each stack to create a big contrast.

What I am currently missing is the situation of the use of ordinal data. This data has a sequence. For example output of surveys (scale 1 to 5 how happy somebody is), or within in HR the grouping of employees based on experience/years of service.

Ordinal data could be visualised easily as we can rank the opacity of a colour (ie. sort light to dark grey) and would make analysis/pattern recognition easier. Please note: I am not suggesting that the opacity is linked to a value. It is linked to a sequence.




Rolf Hichert

This is a suggestion for a better way to explain four figures of SAY.
We should change the content of 4 figures but leave the titles as they are.
Why? In several trainings we have experienced that participants do not always understand these figures and their relationship.
(To make this clear: All of this was heavily influenced by the work of Barbara Minto).
Here is my suggestion: We use 3 practical cases A, B, and C which are referred to in all 4 figures:

SA 1

SA 1.1 Map situation
…before explaining the problem:
A   “Plan is production cost of mEUR 23”
B   “Web based tools are important for us”
C   “East Asia is the fastest growing market”

SA 1.2  Explain problem
…before raising the question:
A   “Annual forecast is production cost of mEUR 25”
B   “Our reporting tool is not web based”
C   “We have only one partner in East Asia”

SA 1.3   Raise question
…which then leads to your message:
A   “What can we do to reduce production costs?”
B   “Which web based reporting tool should we buy?”
C   “How can we come to more partners in East Asia?


SA 2.2   Detect, explain, or suggest
A   “3D printers will reduce annual cost by mEUR 2.5” (detection)
B   “We think we should buy product xy because of…” (explanation)
C   “We should contact the nm association” (suggestion)

I have no suggestion for the layout of these figures yet. Using icons for A, B, and C might be a good idea.
I suggest to leave the present numbering for the time being although I think that SA 2.2 should be the first figure of SA 2.


Dear IBCS-Association,

I think there is a contradiction between the rule CH 4.3 and UN 5.2. CH 4.3 recommends scaling indicators with a “power of 10”. However, “UN 5.2–scaling lines” states that a “multiplier of ten” may be used.

From my experience, a multiplier of ten is easier to understand by report recipients and hence I recommend adapting CH 4.3 to “a multiplier of ten”.

Best regards


Heinz Steiner

Perhaps we could ask the FH OÖ (Ober Österreich) who already did some eye-tracking experience in this field.

Jürgen Faisst

Hi Andrej,

IBCS Association would be more than happy to fund some IBCS specific research on this. However, the IBCS Association is not for profit does and does not have financial resources. Maybe we could fund this in a joint effort of commercial companies benefiting from IBCS (software vendors, providers of consulting and training).


Jürgen Faisst

Hi Andrej,

I guess the 1.2 is due to rounding differences. However, the “+” is missing. We will fix that. Thank you for the tipp.

Kind regards

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!


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…

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):