42-47419893-dashboardsIt’s a familiar story.  Your company has invested heavily in business intelligence but you’re still listening to complaints from business users and struggling with lengthy dashboard projects. Your company has the same goal as most, to bring together two potential competitive advantages – big data and your talent – in a way that provides every single decision maker with the right insights for steering the company to more profitability. But it’s easier said than done.

I believe that one thing you can do, that will have the biggest impact towards achieving your goal, is to adopt visualization standards.

Why are visualization standards so impactful?

Standards provide benefits to two main areas:

1. Decision makers

Decision makers are under time pressure more than ever and getting flooded with information from all angles. So why are they being asked to take additional time to simply understand how the information designer has structured the information? When you have a standard, business users know exactly how to quickly read the charts. Items like time, averages, and deviations are always structured the same way, in the same colors and the key takeaways are transparent. It’s like a trained musician who can pick up a new piece and just sit down and play. Decision makers can rely on the fact that the metrics are all calculated in a standardized, correct manner. You don’t have information designers putting incomplete or misleading information into decision maker’s hands and decision makers don’t mistakenly misread the chart. Executives across geographies and business units will all speak the same financial language with trusted numbers. Standards have been implemented in engineering, music, geography and others – so why are we all reinventing information design with every new project instead of using expert-developed standards?

 2. IT budget and resources.

Currently, too many attempts to put the right insights into key decision maker’s hands start out with a blank slate. If you’ve adopted standards, you don’t have endless meetings between business users and IT talking about which chart style and which colors should be used. Your IT staff starts out with templates and executes dashboard and reporting projects in a fraction of the time. The hours saved allow you to execute on other high priority projects.

How do you get started?

SAP has adopted International Business Communication Standards (IBCS), like other large corporations and public authorities such as Philips, Swiss Post and KPMG Germany (see their website for longer list). If you are at SAPinsider BI 2015 in Nice this week, you can learn more when the founder of IBCS, Rolf Hichert, speaks on the benefits of visualization standards.

SAP is one of the first analytics software vendors to pursue HICHERT®IBCS certification. In April 2014, BARC confirmed the ability of SAP BusinessObjects Design Studio with graphomate charts to create charts compliant with the notation standards of IBCS.

“The speed with which completely new charts were produced as well as the flexibility in applying various analyses was amazing”, said Rolf Hichert, founder of IBCS.

The graphomate charts for SAP BusinessObjects Design Studio are available in the SAP Extensions Marketplace. Charts available for SAP Lumira (for v1.25) are free. They can also create bullet graphs, tree maps and Fiori like tiles.


IBCS® Template 12A created with SAP BusinessObjects Design Studio and graphomate charts



SAP Lumira and graphomate grouped column chart