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International Business Communication Standards: first baby steps

This week I brought a report live that uses the International Business Communication Standards (IBCS) as the guideline in presenting information. Although this report can only be considered as a small baby step, still the benefits of using standards are clear.

In the begin of this year I was at the book launch of the book: SAP BO Design Studio – The Comprehensive Guide. At this book launch, Dr Rolf Hichert presented his SUCCESS formula on IBCS. He didn’t send his audience away empty handed, everybody got his poster with the SUCCESS principles explained. For me, the best place to have a poster like this is at the project site since it can be inspiring.

Then after the summer, a change to the quarterly management reports is required. With a glance at the SUCCESS poster, this is an opportunity to standardize the look and feel of this report in a consistent language using IBCS as guideline.

The end result of the management report is in the form of a word document. So very pragmatic it was decided that the datawarehouse will deliver per chapter the mandatory tables and graphs in an automated way, formatted according to the IBCS guidelines. The users will use a screen capture tool to copy and paste them in the Word document and will then add commentary and explanation to the figures in the Word document.

With a strict deadline for this 3rd Quarter report, a small project team was formed, and priorities were set.

The steps to deliver this report were basically the same as any other report. In addition, I made a mock up in Word and Excel following the IBCS guidelines , to see how it would turn out. I also investigated the use of the graphomate add on, which is a very beautiful tool to use, but in this stage not feasible to procure. So in the end I used the standard graph components of Design Studio, and a SDK  customizable table component to meet the special formatting requirements.

The IBCS guidelines had a positive impact on speeding up the process. Especially in the design phase, in the translation of the list of required topics into graphs and tables, it really helped to have clear guidelines.

So far, the reactions in general have been positive. The report has been brought live last week, and will be used in the coming period more intensively. The end product will be used in the quarterly management meetings. Hopefully these small steps in using IBCS guidelines will be appreciated and embraced by the organization.

To conclude: with limited amount of time and resources, a consistent and clear management report was build using the IBCS guidelines