IBCS Styled Bar Chart with Deviations

The International Business Communication Standards (IBCS) are a set of recommendations for making reports consistent and understandable. Part of these recommendations introduce the usage of scenarios, which are defined types of element formatting (color and fill) indicating what kind of data type they represent. Together with the usage of deviations these charts have a very distinctive look - clear and easy to read, especially when you are used to this kind of formatting.

In this example we look at how to create a chart following these guidelines. The result will be this:

You can download this example here. If you open it with Power BI Desktop, you need no license.

For this example we need data that contains the scenario values as columns (or measures). To build this chart we rely on three measures:

  • AC as our Actual,

  • PP as the Previous Period and

  • PL as our Plan

To name the measures exactly this way is important, as you will see down below.

The dataset looks like this:

We are using the Sales Person as our row dimension, but it could be any other as well.

To get started with building this chart we need to select the theme IBCS Colors from the menu or the property pane.

Currently, IBCS Colors is the default theme. From the upcoming update on (version 1.1, estimated release August 2023) the default theme will be Power BI. Furthermore from version 1.1 on scenarios will be applied only when selecting the IBCS Colors theme.

Now we add the values into the data fields. First we add our Sales Person into Levels. This will be our rows. We want to visualize AC and PP in the bar chart, so we add these into Values:

By default Innofalls shows our data as a waterfall chart. To change this into bars we select this in the menu:

This leads to an already formatted result:

As you can see, the formatting for AC (black) and PP (grey) have already been applied. This is because Innofalls recognized from the name of the measure that it is a scenario. (See here for more details.)

To finish this example, we now add the deviation charts. We want the deviation calculated between AC and PL. As well as an absolute deviation and a percentage deviation. We do this by adding AC and PL twice into the delta fields 1 and 2. Each delta field expects exactly two measures and represents one deviation chart. The deviation is calculated between the two measures filled in.

Two identical deviation charts appear next to our base chart. To show the second of these as a percent deviation chart, we need to select Percent as the chart type for Delta 2 in the menu:

Now we already look at our final result:

Note that you can sort by the values of the deviation charts by clicking the labels on top of them. This allows to identify quickly which entities performed best or worst. (The sorting feature is part of our upcoming release.)

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