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UN 3.2  UNIFY scenarios

Scenarios (data categories, data types) represent different layers of a business model. Typical scenarios are “Actual”, “Previous year”, “Plan” or “Budget”, and “Forecast”. In special cases benchmarks such as competitor data or market averages are also called scenarios.

 

Often comparisons and variances between different scenarios are calculated to provide business insights.

 

Using standard notations for data scenarios is important as they are frequently applied to all forms of business communication. This requires standard notations for abbreviations and area fills.

   

Actual

The “Actual” scenario designates actually materialized data, typically for the current period or the last completed or closed period (e.g. actual day, actual week, actual month, etc.).

  • Abbreviation: The abbreviation of the “Actual” scenario is “AC”.
  • Area visualization: Use a solid dark fill for areas, i.e. bars, columns, semantic axes, line chart markers, table header notations, etc. to identify actual data.

   

Previous year

The “Previous year” scenario concerns actual data from a respective period (e.g. month, quarter, or year) of the last year. “Previous year” is frequently used for comparisons such as “May of this year compared to May of last year”.

 

Use the following notation for “Previous years” when distinguishing from “Actual”, e.g. when showing a scenario analysis. In a pure time series analysis without any comparisons or variances, note actual data of previous years as “Actual”.

  • Abbreviation: The abbreviation for “Previous year” is “PY”. Distinguish between different types of PY periods using PYm or PYq for monthly or quarterly periods of last year respectively.
  • Area visualization: Use a solid light fill for areas, i.e. bars, columns, semantic axes, line chart markers, table header notations, etc. to identify previous year data.

Sometimes “Previous year” does not mean actual data, but budget, forecast or plan data of the respective previous year period. In these cases combine the visualizations of budget, forecast or plan data with visualizations of previous year data, e.g. a medium gray outline frame for last year’s budget or plan.

 

 

 

Previous period

The scenario “Previous period” means the actual data of the previous period. A typical previous period data comparison is “May of this year compared to April of this year”.

 

A future version of the IBCS might address the visualization the scenario “previous period”.

   

Plan and Budget

Plan” and “Budget” scenarios represent the mental anticipation of future actions.

  • Abbreviation: The abbreviation of “Plan” is “PL”, the abbreviation of “Budget” is “BU”.
  • Area visualization: Use outlined areas without any fill for bars, columns, semantic axes, line chart markers, table header notations, etc. to identify plan or budget data.

   

Forecast

In general, the “Forecast” scenario means an updated plan or budget for the current year.

  • Abbreviation: The abbreviation of “Forecast” is “FC”.
  • Area visualization: Use hatched areas for bars, columns, semantic axes, line chart markers, table header notations, etc. to identify forecast data.

   
   
   

 

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© 2015 IBCS Association. Except where otherwise noted licensed under Creative Commons BY-SA 4.0 International.