Dr. Hichert's IBCS: Designing reports, dashboards and presentations

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In spite of growing popularity of data visualization, the major problem in business communication is yet to be solved. Most business reports still fall somewhere between messy spreadsheets and dashboards, that simply do not get the message across to the decision-makers. Countless reports and presentations are created throughout organizations daily, all in different formats, lengths, shapes and colors, depending on personal preferences of the person who prepares them.

Dr. Hichert’s International Business Communication Standards (IBCS (http://ibcs-a.org)) are world’s first proposal for a standardized design of business communication. IBCS consistently defines shapes and colors of actuals and budgets, variances, different KPIs, etc. The “traffic signs for management” are an extensive set of rules and recommendations that went viral in Europe and have solved business communication problems in companies such as SAP, Coca-Cola bottlers, Bayer, Lufthansa, BMW, Philips, etc.

The IBCS standards are not just about charts. They help

(1) organize and structure your content by using an appropriate storyline,

(2) present your content by using an appropriate visual design and

(3) standardize the content by using a consistent,uniform notation.

We'll present the key features of IBCS through real-world examples

(https://zebra.bi/gallery/) (https://zebra.bi/gallery/%29)

and discuss their slightly controversial proposition: the design of business information should look (more or less) the same across all companies, regardless of their size, industry or location.


Andrej Lapajne, CEO at Zebra BI ( https://zebra.bi ), is a founding member of the IBCS Association ( http://ibcs-a.org ) and one of Dr. Hichert's closest associates. In his 15 years of experience as a consultant, he's helped 50+ international and regional companies achieve consistent and efficient internal reporting throughout the organisation. He's implemented reporting systems and business intelligence dashboards in pharma, telco, retail, FMCG, manufacturing, insurance, banking, energy, media, public sector and high tech industries.

Andrej is a lecturer on information design at Faculty of Economics and Faculty of Computer Science and Informatics in Ljubljana. He's a frequent speaker at European conferences, utterly passionate about data visualization.