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Author's profile photo Anita Gibbings

Thought Leadership course in OpenSAP (free): Semantic Notation – The Next Big Thing in BI?

What if Mozart and Beethoven invented their own Notation Systems?

To appreciate why semantic notation can have such an impact on your business—step back for a moment and imagine if every composer from Mozart to Beethoven used a different notation system. How would conductors and musicians be able to interpret the music in a moment without standardized notation? And can you imagine if engineers didn’t have a standardized notation system? So many professions like engineering use a notation system and set out standards for communicating their vast amounts of information clearly and quickly.

Yet in business, there is an overabundance of ways to layout out corporate reports and dashboards and within even a single company you will find forecast data or averages defined and displayed differently.  Imagine, instead, if we had pattern recognition that allowed us to immediately understand the context? That is the essence of a standard notation system.

The two core benefits of adopting notation standards are clearer, data-driven insights and faster visualization turnaround.

Communicate vast amounts of data-driven insights with clearer, more aligned messages

Executives are able to more quickly digest and act on visual data when it is always laid out the same: forecast, averages, historical and all metrics always looks the same and are in the same layout. People learn quickly to recognize patterns and this is helpful to interpreting volumes of data. Critical to good business decision making is the ability to portray very dense amounts of information while maintaining clarity. This is vital in the business context as you need multiple metrics for data to have context. A visualization that shows a percentage break down of revenue into products is in itself not very useful. In order to be able to act – to make a better decision you need to understand how it has changed over time and to compare it to other product lines, the budget, profit margin and market share. In addition executives spend less time trying to align the data into one version of the truth when all metrics are calculated and portrayed using the same standards across all business units. Having a standard notation system in your business can help you to enable a data-driven culture and alignment for better decision making.

Faster and improved visualization of analysis and insights

Creators of content spend less time inventing their own system and layout but follows guidelines. In speaking with people who have adopted IBCS standards, they had found for example that the average time to get a dashboard created dropped by 3x. Standard notation systems help shorten implementation times and improve outcomes of analytics investments.

Don’t Start from Scratch – There Are Best Practices

One of the best developed semantic notation systems and the one that the SAP Board choose to adopt back in 2011 is based on an open source project called International Business Communications Standards. Anyone can join the association and benefit from the years of thought leadership and development of best practices developed over decades and now donated to the association by Dr. Rolf Hichert. The community is part of the evolution of the standards.

OpenSAP allows you to learn anywhere, anytime and on any device with free courses open to the public. On their new channel for “Thought Leadership” there is a course featuring the Semantic Notation Standards of IBCS that starts Oct 11th.

Register for the course here

Here is a 3-minute video to give you an overview on IBCS

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