Recap of the annual IBCS conference in Amsterdam

This year's IBCS Annual Conference was held on June 19th, 2015 at Royal Philips Global Headquarters in Amsterdam, The Netherlands.

The morning part of conference featured case studies on IBCS implementation from 4 different companies:

  • Coca-Cola Icecek, Istanbul, Turkey (presented by Ilkay Furmaz)
  • Otto Group, Hamburg, Germany (presented by Ulrich Siegel)
  • Bundesagentur fur Arbeit, Nurnberg, Germany (presented by Michael Schopf)
  • Royal Philips, Eindhoven, The Netherlands (presented by Maurice Verhagen)

Coca-Cola İçecekThe highlight of the conference was the Coca-Cola İçecek (CCI) case study, where Mr. Ilkay Furmaz described the processes that led to successful implementation of IBCS in one of the largest Coca-Cola bottlers, covering 10 countries in the regions of Turkey, Middle East, Central Asia and Pakistan, with 23 plants and over 10.000 employees.

After a comprehensive search for the appropriate reporting or "dashboard" solution, CCI decided to break the standard "IT-driven" approach and initiate a thorough process of standardizing their business communication instead. This included:

  • An extensive analysis of existing reports from all possible sources, including "corporate" SAP Business Objects solutions, custom-made departmental tools, a huge pile of Excel spreadsheets and "creative" visualizations and numerous PowerPoint presentations being made by CCI employees or outside agencies / information suppliers
  • Developing CCI Corporate Reporting Standards handbook, based on IBCS and tailored to their specific needs, including a glossary of business terms and KPIs, example-driven guidelines and even such details as standard pictograms for key business dimensions
  • A quick reference guide in PowerPoint to introduce report designers and analysts to reporting standards
  • An agile proof-of-concept project realized with Zebra BI, redesigning 5 key top management and operational reports/dashboards from 5 different business areas (with 5 different small teams), which led to the final approval for project roll-out by the top management
  • Computer workshops on implementing reporting standards through practical examples with Zebra BI, for all key financial analysts, controllers, project managers and other employees involved in reporting processes
  • Brainstorming sessions with teams from different departments on redesigning their own reports and dashboards
  • Equipping users with Zebra BI and making sure that the official "CCI Style" was used consistently in Excel through Zebra BI's Reporting Standards features
  • Ongoing occasional mentorship by a Hichert Certified Consultant

At the end of his talk, Mr. Furmaz revealed that Coca-Cola Group, seeing the positive results in CCI, intends to roll-out IBCS implementation with Zebra BI across the whole Coca-Cola Group.

Before the lunch break all sponsors of the conference (Zebra BI was one of them) had a chance to present their software solutions in a 3 minute pitch. Zebra BI impressed the audience mostly with its ability to create an IBCS-compliant report in 2 minutes.

The conference resumed after the lunch with 5 breakout sessions, led by reporting and visualization experts. Topics ranged from color dilemmas in the IBCS waterfall charts to ideas that controllers and analysts can "borrow" from user experience designers. After a short (< 5min) introduction, the sessions quickly turned into lively discussions between all of the participants.

Of course, the IBCS-related conversations didn't stop when the official conference was over. They only moved from Philips HQ to nearby bars and restaurants. Here's the quick rundown: two nights, filled with Dutch beer and long talks about the detailed specifications for the future version of IBCS Standards. We'll spare you the details, but suffice to say it was not for the faint-hearted. 🙂

Our CEO Andrej Lapajne and Rolf Hichert even met the morning after the conference to sketch out the final details:

All in all, the conference was a success. If you missed it, make sure to join us next year.