Guest Post: The importance of easy-to-understand reports

July 19, 2021
minute read

It’s been our pleasure to interview Dr. Jürgen Faisst, Managing Director of the International Business Communications Standards institute (IBCS). We prompted Jurgen to share high-level information around IBCS and his outlook on the communication problems that he aims to influence within both private and public organizations.

Dr. Jürgen Faisst is currently using Konveio to facilitate feedback around Version 1.2 of IBCS’s Standards.

What are the problems that you see [all types of] organizations making and what are some of the reasons they are making them?

Jürgen: The problem we see in many organizations is that they suffer from a plethora of different-looking reports, making them hard to understand. This is because the design of reports follows the personal taste of the creators and the features of the software in use rather than generally accepted principles.

If we had a standardized notation for business communication as there are for many other disciplines such as architecture, engineering, or music, then ‘same things’ would consistently look the same. The International Business Communication Standards (IBCS) is a Wikipedia-like Creative Commons project trying to define such a standardized notation for reports.

In your words, how or why are standards for business communication relevant to local governments?

Jürgen (laughing): Don’t we also have reports, presentations, and dashboards in local government? They are probably reporting on different topics than businesses but from an abstract point of view it’s just the same. We know of several municipalities already applying the IBCS Standards, e.g. San Francisco in the US. The City of Graz in Austria has even won the International Golden Award of ARC in New York for their IBCS-styled Annual Report 2015, see

City of Graz, Austria - Award winning report

One of our goals at Konveio is to make it easier for people to understand planning and policy-making documents - it seems many of the standards you promote apply to the kinds of documents you see on our platform, therefore…

Could you highlight some of the key communication standards you recommend?

Jürgen: IBCS recommends to focus on message conveyance rather than just providing pure data, to standardize labeling, to ensure proper scaling, to use appropriate chart types, and to unify the visual design of typical report aspects like actual and plan data, variances, and all kinds of highlighting.

Click to view full resolution
Click to view full resolution

Which areas of the ‘success’ framework do you think Konveio might be able to help with?

Jürgen: IBCS consists of seven rule sets, whose initial letters form the acronym SUCCESS. It’s especially the U = UNIFY section that sets IBCS apart from existing frameworks. The notation rules of this section have initially been developed by Prof Rolf Hichert and been transferred to the not-for-profit IBCS Association in 2013 for public consultation and further development. For this development and consultation process, we need a digital outreach platform to collect feedback and prepare approval.

You're currently in the process of updating your guiding document and are reviewing it with your members from all over the world using Konveio. Could you tell us a bit about how the process has been going so far?

Jürgen: We are preparing Version 1.2 of the IBCS Standards and we’ve uploaded some PDFs with drafts to Konveio. We invited the almost 6000 members of the IBCS Association to comment on it and got great feedback. Both regarding the content of the documents and the Konveio platform. We hear from our community members that the Konveio platform is so straightforward and much easier to handle than the WordPress site we used previously.

Where would interested communities go to learn more about your work and how they can use it to strengthen their work?

Jürgen: Our website is an inexhaustible source for inspiration. You will find the IBCS Standards online, you can register for the IBCS Association (it’s free) and get a complimentary copy of the IBCS Standards as a 150page PDF document. And you find all kind of support such as training courses, certified software packages, associated consultants, report templates, recommended reading and so on. Our video course “solid, outlined, hatched” ( might also be a good starting point.

We would be happy to welcome many Konveio users there.

We at Konveio also believe that communication is communication whether your stakeholders are government officials, the public, or private enterprise. It’s about communicating and interacting from one person or entity to another without friction. Additionally, that unifying people is a difficult yet manageable problem in the online era.

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