IBCS is a standard for consistent business communication that defines rules on how to structure reports, presentations and dashboards. Best-practice techniques such as IBCS ensure reports and charts are unambiguous and communicate information effectively. Consistency is also key; what looks the same means the same, making communication and interpretation easier.

The IBCS standard advocates for the use of a consistent color code in which red is "bad" and green is "good". Therefore a year-on-year decrease in sales would be shown as red, while a decrease in costs would be shown as green. Actual, measured, data is displayed in charts as a solid dark grey fill. Measured data of previous periods is displayed as a solid light grey fill. Plan, expected, data is display as white outlined.


For instance, using this approach it is immediately clear that this chart compares the previous year to the current year...

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...while this chart compares Plan to Actual.

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We love this philosophy and the way it is implemented in the standard. We also love the uncluttered look of IBCS-compliant plots. We strive to make our charts compliant.