As you may have noticed (how could you not?!), the tech world is awash in jargon, lingo, languages, letters, numbers, texts, characters, codes, abbreviations, and initials — a veritable alphabet and acronym soup! In fact, the phrase “information technology” itself is rarely used any more, having been forcibly replaced by the now ubiquitous acronym “IT” which — by the way — is how and why the “IT” got into our old name “DREAMIT” (before we became Randomatrix) in the first place.
I suppose abbreviation has a long history (not an abbreviated one), going back to the oldest, long-winded stories, accounts and speeches, as writers sought tricks to shorten their workday, and lighten their loads. Over time, language evolved, becoming more complex and wordy, so writers no doubt contended with overly long or literal (word-for-word) entity names, repetition of key phrases or multi-word references in documents, and other similar manners-of-speaking and elements of writing.
Legal Note: Abbreviation is the antithesis of lawyers, who have reveled in words (as many as possible) and billed by them (by the pound of paper/text I’m told), since the dawn of legal time. Why say something in brief, when you can say (or write) the long version for twice the price?! 🙂
As our laws and our technology evolved, we needed to discuss and communicate about more sophisticated things and ideas, our language also “evolved” (apparently). We devised more sophisticated names for complex things, created and used longer words, and strung more of them together in longer phrases and terms — more detailed, literal, descriptive ways of communicating. Over time, it seems that abbreviations and acronyms were a natural and inevitable result of such an evolutionary process – how else could we communicate effectively in our evolved state?
So we began to shorten long words and phrases down to initials and acronyms — their essence, in short form. They say “brevity is the soul of wit” so perhaps we all wish to be soulful and witty in our writing? Brevity is also the opposite of verbosity. Or maybe it’s a combination of human laziness, and the sheer fact that — with technology in particular – we have created too many, overly extended, literal, keyword-laden and long-winded names for people, places and things, so we must abbreviate, to keep our sanity?
Initials and acronyms refer to something (or the name of someone) larger, longer, and grander, which would take too much time and effort to speak or write completely, especially when repeated often throughout a document or speech. It seems that the goal of any acronym is to aurally or visually SHORTEN a word or phrase, so it is easier and quicker to speak and/or write. Visually, you “acronym” (verb?) to cut down the alphanumeric count, while aurally, you acronym to cut down the number of syllables. Sometimes, the acronym is as many (or more) syllables to speak, as the word or phrase it replaces. For example:
MGR = Manager (both Acronym and Word are three-syllables)
In such cases, the acronym benefit is purely visual, and you’re better off speaking the word(s). Alternatively, when acronyms are formed of characters, with minimal syllable count, the primary benefit is aural, shortening speeches and allowing the tongue to catch its breath. Alphanumeric characters with long-winded spoken names, such as “W” are the anti-acronyms aurally, and only offer visual brevity.
Quite often, acronyms replace multi-syllabic utterances or writings, and become words themselves. Such “acronym-words” may transcend simple brevity, and take on new, greater meaning, standing for or referring to something greater and grander. So, acronyms are ultimately symbols, with greater meaning beyond the alpha and numeric characters of which they are formed, or the syllables they replace.
This acronym-word symbolism is typified in any lingo or jargon; specialized, contextual language(s), spoken by those familiar with or involved in a certain type of work, a region, an element of society. Lingo and jargon are full of cryptic, shortened words, terms, phrases and acronyms — the symbols of a world, which are only meaningful to those who live or work in it. And nowhere is lingo, jargon and acronym-word symbolism used more frequently (rampantly) than in the world of IT (Information Technology)!
Here are twenty (20) of our favorite, tried-and-true Randomatrix tech solution acronyms — the ones we bandy about most often — in a handy table graphic for your viewing pleasure. Click on the table image to go to our Solutions page for more information, and read through our simple definitions of this “Gang-of-20” acronyms below.
The “Gang of 20” Tech Acronym Definitions:
- ERP = Enterprise Resource Planning
- WEB = you should know this one (a non-abbreviated word)!
- MOB = Mobile, Mobility, Apps, etc.
- POS = Point Of Sale (+Retail Management)
- CMS = Content Management System (Web / Blog / e-Commerce)
- PMS = Property Management System (Hospitality / Hotel / Spa)
- OMS = Order Management System (Omni-Channel)
- WMS = Warehouse Management System
- MFG = Manufacturing (Discrete, Process, etc.)
- PLM = Product Lifecycle Management (Design / Pre-Production)
- CRM = Customer Relationship Management
- SaaS = Software As A Service (Hosted / Hybrid-Cloud Apps)
- B2B = Business To Business (sales / e-Commerce)
- B2C = Business To Consumer (sales / e-Commerce)
- OTB = Open To Buy (a critical retail inventory forecasting/buying tool)
- EDI = Electronic Data Interchange (+XML / UBL Documents)
- KPI = Key Performance Indicators (critical business numbers)
- BI = Business Intelligence (Analytics / Data Warehouse / Mining)
- AI = Artificial Intelligence (the HOT topic today!)
- TMI = TOO MUCH INFORMATION!!!! (you should have known this one already – it’s a well-known “acronym-word” used in daily life, both in and outside of the technology world…)
For more details and definitions of other tech acronyms, terms and abbreviations, check out Wikipedia’s comprehensive list at: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_information_technology_acronyms
And, of course you should email RMX if you have any questions about our “Gang-of-20” tech acronyms listed and defined above, have other acronyms you want defined and clarified, or if you want to put any of the services or technologies “acronym’d” above to work in your business.
May your business and technology life be long, but your technology terms and jargon be short. Live long and abbreviate! 🙂