Lessons from IBCS – Scenario Handling

In the previous blog, we looked at how consistency is important throughout a set of reports and dashboards. It helps users to understand the reports quickly and easily. Another important aspect to maintain is scenario handling; this forms the UNIFY part of IBCS’ SUCCESS formula.

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Lessons from IBCS – Maintaining Visual Integrity

When reading reports and dashboards, we often find ourselves spending more time than we’d expect analysing the charts and tables tying to comprehend the data. In many cases that’s due to inconsistencies in the presentation, or poor design. Ideally a report should convey the message clearly and quickly.

One of the underlying rules of IBCS is maintaining visual integrity; this forms the ‘Check’ component of IBCS’s ‘SUCCESS’ formula. It requires reports and dashboards to present information in the most truthful and easily understood way. This involves avoiding misleading visuals including improper scaling and manipulated representations. When interpreting data, information that looks the same should also mean the same. Consistency is important and helps users to understand the report quickly and easily.

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Lessons from IBCS – Eliminating Chart Clutter

The core job of a chart is to convey information to the viewer as clearly, concisely, and quickly as possible. One thing that can detract from this is chart clutter – distracting or unnecessary additional elements which can mask the overall message.

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Choosing the right chart type

Lessons From IBCS – Choosing The Right Chart Type

Choosing the right chart type to display your data is key to communicating an understandable message to users. Bad or inconsistent use of chart types can lead to confusion and poor interpretations of the data. For a report to be effective, each visualisation must be carefully and deliberately chosen.

In this post, we will outline some of the guidance on chart orientation and type given by IBCS.

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XLCubed and IBCS

In the last few months we have significantly extended the charting elements within XLCubed. We wanted to get the product formally certified by IBCS, and I’m delighted to say we achieved that in early June. We’ve been aware of IBCS for several years now through some of our customers and partners, but it was really only at the beginning of this year that we started to look in detail, and it really resonated with us.

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Updating SQL Tables from Excel

Most of our customers use XLCubed for reporting, analysis and data visualisation, but an increasing number use it for data updates, either within budgeting and forecasting solutions or in niche applications.

XL3RunSQL is a neat method for running SQL updates from Excel, and allows users to build input forms (which can ultimately be web-enabled) quickly and easily.

In this blog, we will walk through the steps to set this up.

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XLCubed Custom Headers Blog Post

Custom Grid & Table Headers For Dynamic Sorting

Consider this simple grid. It shows a ranking of the top 10 products by Sales Amount. We are going to add our own headers to this grid allowing us to create our own column names as well as implement custom functionality for dynamic ranking.

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Grid Favourites Blog Header

Grid Favourites

Do you ever find yourself creating the same grid over and over again? Sometimes we want to add the same grid multiple times but with a few variations, or in different workbooks. This can be especially tiresome if the grid has complex member selections or if the underlying data model has a large number of dimensions and hierarchies.

Fortunately, XLCubed provides a simple and quick way to insert saved grids…

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Volatile formula in Excel Xlcubed blog header

Warning: Excel Can Get Volatile (revised)

This is a revised version of this post: Warning: Excel can get Volatile

Excel is a great tool for dashboard/report delivery and design (it’s why we created our addin in the first place!), but there is a hidden performance trap:

Offset, Now, Today, Cell, Indirect, Info and Rand

If you’ve ever used any of these formulae, you may have noticed that whenever you change a cell, or collapse/expand a data grouping, Excel recalculates. That is because these are VOLATILE formulae, as soon as you use one of these, Excel will enter a mode where everything is always recalculating, and for good reason.

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Customer Segmentation XLCubed blog header

Customer Segmentation By Revenue Contribution

We recently had a customer asking us for some assistance with a business challenge.

He had been asked to provide a report analysing their customer base by % contribution to company revenue. But that wasn’t all! He also had to produce an additional report that tracked the customers ‘lost’ by the company Year on Year by looking at sales activity.

This approach is also often used when looking at profitability, and many businesses like to classify their customers in this way:

  • group ‘a’ of key customers make up 40% of our company revenue and group ‘b’ make up the next 30%
  • which customers have we ‘lost’ or have become inactive over a period

This is where XLCubed’s capability and flexibility comes into play – we have an advanced selection mode for handling exactly this type of scenario.

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