The buzz...

Buzzwords, needless terms, things every vendor claims to offer, and things we've been waiting for, for at least 15 years.

15 Buzzwords

ERP. Enterprise resource management. Grew out of simple financial and manufacturing software to become the implementation behemoth it is today. Having a bit of a resurgence by climbing onto e-business, supply chain management (SCM) and customer relationship management (CRM) bandwagons, and moving away from all-or-nothing approach of the past.

CRM. Customer relationship management. Software that lets companies peer into our buying habits as well as any A-A-Arkright and convince us to part with more hard-earned cash. Plus reps will know our name, rank and serial number when we ring up to complain. The ERP of the Naughties.

TCO. Total cost of ownership. A means by which IT execs can convince CEOs that buying that really expensive box in the corner will be worth it in the long run.

RFI. Request for information. Is anybody listening (and willing to spend good time and money replying)?

RFP. Request for proposal. Now that we’ve got your attention … (and you’ve already spent good money replying).

RFQ. Request for quotation. Come to momma.

ROI. Return on investment. A calculation of how much "return", in the form of profits or cost savings, will come out of capital spending or some other business proposal. Can be a good argument to take to the boss (see TCO). ROI might also be measured in terms of increasing market share, building infrastructure or readying a company or business unit for sale. Or even a salary rise at the end of a successful project.

Reader ROI. An abomination used by some publications to appear techno-hip. Always promises more than is delivered.

Client-server. A network architecture that consists of the bit in the back (server) providing services to the devices (clients) out front. A bit like a restaurant, only not.

Thin client. A form of client-server computing in which almost all processing happens on the server. A rallying cry dividing the Wintel crowd, who advocate ever-more powerful clients and those like Sun and Oracle, who want the bulk of applications delivered from the server to a thin client or “network computer”, a slightly smarter equivalent, popular circa 1998, of the dumb terminal.

Outsourcing. Shovelling your IT woes on to someone else keen to take your money. Incorporated the old service bureau.

Paradigm shift. Any minor change in business philosophy or technical approach.

B2B, B2C, P2P. Usefully short terms for headlines.

Open source. Software in which the source code is made available for all manner of geeks to prod and poke. Oh, god, no.

Enterprise. Another word for any business or organisation. “Enterprise” is an adjective vendors put in front of the name of their product to lull larger customers into a false sense of security that the expensive software they’re about to buy won’t fall over tomorrow.

15 verbisations and needless terms

architect (build)

grow (increase)

evolve (change)

task (delegate)

progress (aggressively promote)

permission (allow)

outsource (contract out)

brainstorm (think about)

business-critical (important)

going forward (ie not going back)

best practice (isn't what it used to be)

best of breed (has been ruined by GE and modern medicine)

leverage (piggyback)

end user (the poor suckers)

solution (absolutely anything technical)

15 things every vendor (it seemed) claims to offer


best performance

to be innovative


fully integrated

easily managed



lowest TCO

highest uptime

be the clear leader in e-business, ERP, CRM, thin client and client-server.

Things we've been waiting for, for at least 15 years



Four-day week

Paperless office

Voice recognition

Seamless telecommuting

True plug and play


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