This post was updated to reflect current trends and information.
We compiled a shortlist of business technology terms that are useful to keep on hand when looking for software solutions for your business or when speaking with an IT Service Provider. Because, sometimes a short and simple definition is all you need, and that’s exactly what we have here.
• ERP: Enterprise Resource Planning; a fully integrated business process management software suite. It allows users to view, manage and track core business processes and resources using one single database.
• CRM: Customer Relationship Management is a software system that allows your business to manage contacts, collaborate effectively, increase productivity & grow your business. It is based on the preservation and analysis of information to improve the marketing, service and business relations with your customers.
• BI: Business Intelligence; a performance optimization software that aims to produce detailed analyses with the help of customized drillable dashboards. BI provides immediate access to relevant and timely business information (through visualizations & reports)
• WMS: Warehouse Management System; a software application to manage warehouse operations (track inventory, shipping, receiving, stock locations, picking, etc.)
• eCommerce: Website used to make commercial transactions electronically over the Internet; in other words, an online store to sell products and services.
• eCommerce integration: is the synchronization of a company’s eCommerce website with its back-end accounting or ERP system.
• API: An application programming interface (API) is a set of subroutine definitions, protocols, and tools for building application software. In general terms, it is a set of clearly defined methods of communication between various software components.
• Implementation: The process of installing and configuring software; this phase includes many steps such as business process re-assessment, system testing, user-training and support.
• Integrated Software: A collection of computer programs (modules like accounting, purchases, sales, inventory management, sales forecasting, EDI & more) which share one database.
• IT Consulting: Consulting services provided by an outside organization/consultant to advise business executives or IT managers on appropriate strategies and solutions to bring efficiency into the company through technologies.
• Digital transformation (DT): Digital Transformation (DT) is the transformation of business by remodeling the business strategy or digital strategy, models, operations, products, marketing approach, objectives etc., by adopting digital technologies. This accelerate sales and growth of the business from end to end.
• Office automation: Office automation refers to the varied computer machinery and software used to digitally create, collect, store, manipulate, and relay office information needed for accomplishing basic tasks. Raw data storage, electronic transfer, and the management of electronic business information comprise the basic activities of an office automation system. Office automation helps in optimizing or automating existing office procedures.
• Artificial Intelligence (AI) Artificial intelligence (AI) is an area of computer science that emphasizes the creation of intelligent machines that work and react like humans. Some of the activities computers with artificial intelligence are designed for include speech recognition, learning, planning, and problem solving.
• Internet of Things (IoT) The Internet of Things (IoT) is the network of physical devices, vehicles, home appliances and other items connected to the internet, collecting and sharing data. An example of an Internet of Things device a lightbulb that can be switched on using a smartphone app is an IoT device.
• Industrial Internet of Things (IoT) The Industrial Internet of Things is a unified system of computer networks and production equipment with built-in sensors and software for collecting and exchanging data. This system has remote monitoring and control in automatic mode, without human intervention. Industrial Internet of Things allows creating industries that are more economical, flexible and efficient than existing ones.
• EDI: Electronic Data Interchange; the secure process of electronically exchanging business documents, like Purchase Orders, Invoices, ASNs, (in a pre-defined format) between Trading Partners
• EDI Standard: EDI documents are sent using standard-specific formats, describing what each piece of information is; these standards avoid trading partners sending documents back and forth using company-specific formats. Common standards include: ANSI ASC X12 (North American Standard), EDIFACT (International standard)
• EDI Translation System: Software application used to translate the EDI format (into a format readable by humans and systems) so the data can be read and used by business people and processed by a company’s internal management system.
• Communication Protocol: Communication method used to transmit data to and from Trading Partners; FTP, sFTP, AS2, VAN, Https
• Point-to-Point: Direct Connectivity; rather than having documents pass through a VAN, Trading Partners can exchange documents directly through secured communication protocols like FTP, sFTP, AS2, Https, etc.
• VAN: Value Added Network; a private network provider to facilitate electronic data interchange for Trading Partners; considered the “EDI post office” for incoming & outgoing documents.
• AS2: Applicability Statement 2; A point-to-point connectivity method that sends messages across the internet using the HTTP or HTTPS protocol, with increased verification and security.
• Trading Partner: Participant in an ongoing business relationship
• XML Extensible Markup Language; a markup language used to describe data. This is typically the go-to in EDI translation, since it is a format that is human and system-readable
• Data Mapping: The method by which information in one format is restructured into a different format.