Standards are the key to interoperability. Whatever appliance you buy will fit into your electric socket. In your country at least.
Standards also provide a second, important, advantage.
Standards make you save time by eliminating a ton of small choices you would otherwise have to make, and substituting them with a set of (hopefully well thought) pre-defined rules.
You do not want to reinvent the wheel because (i) it has already been invented and because (ii) if you try you have little chance of coming up with a much better wheel.
This is the situation you face when you plot a chart. There are a ton of big and small formatting details to define: colors, number format, axis,…
If you use common sense, chances are your choices will be OK and not make a big difference. However, the simple fact of having to make those choices will make you lose time. And medium and small differences add up.
So it makes sense to “outsource” the definition of all the formatting rules to an external entity capable of coming up with something better.
Unfortunately, these rules might dictate the use of a less brilliant set of colors — or of no colors at all 😟. But are you that invested in using your corporate color palette (designed for external marketing communication) in your internal sales dashboard?
These rules might also dictate how to declare that a given chart is “year to date February 2023 vs same period 2022”. This will be equivalent to whatever you have now, just no need to invent it. It might also be more succinct and effective.
Another important — if often overlooked — advantage is that you will not have to deal with new hires and PowerBi consultants showing off new plotting styles that you know by experience would add little to the effectiveness of your reports.
This is IBCS.
IBCS is a little known (outside Germany and Switzerland) set of rules designed to improve financial plots and tables.
Chances are IBCS will vastly improve the effectiveness of the charts and dashboards used across your organization. Even if your internal charting guidelines are already good — you are a top tier consulting firm — outsourcing them to IBCS will make your organization save time, with no loss in the effectiveness of your presentations.
But the look and feel of my charts is an important part of my brand 😨! Seriously 🙂?
I have a further reason to be in love of IBCS.
'Mparanza is a no code business intelligence tool that vastly simplifies chart plotting. Developing the application would have been a lot more complicated if I had left the choice of all formatting options to the user.
IBCS gave me all the answers I needed.
‘Mparanza charts have no more than 3–4 parameters (the choice of dimensions and the number of items to be plotted). All others are set on IBCS rules and non-changeable. As a result, any chart can be plotted in a matter of seconds.
IBCS (and ‘Mparanza) disadvantages?
You cannot use your beloved corporate colors (already talked of that). You also cannot cut the axis of a sales bar chart to make a 1% increase look like it was a 20% gain 😎.