Project Management

Sanity check: Seven hot acronyms IT pros are talking about

IT professionals adore acronyms and shorthand. That's part of the reason why normal people think IT pros are speaking a foreign language when we talk amongst ourselves. If you want to "be in the know" in 2008, familiarize yourself with this list of hot acronyms that IT pros are talking about.

IT professionals adore acronyms and shorthand. That's one of the reasons why normal people think IT pros are speaking a foreign language when we talk amongst ourselves. If you want to keep up with trends in IT management for 2008, familiarize yourself with this list of hot acronyms that your fellow IT pros are talking about.

7. BPM

Business Process Management is all about using technology to make business processes more efficient and less time consuming, and thus completing the same processes with fewer resources. In other words, it's about streamlining operations to save money. Many IT departments and IT service agents -- such as IBM -- are focusing on BPM as a way to transform the image of IT from a cost center to a value center.

6. CMDB

A Configuration Management Database collects configuration data about the various pieces of an IT infrastructure and stores them in a unified repository that can be systematically analyzed and managed. In this system, the various pieces of data are called "configuration items" (CIs) and the goal is track changes to the CIs and to ultimately auto-discover new items. CMDB is a critical component of the ITIL framework, and it can be an extremely valuable asset for standardizing IT management.

5. BI

Business Intelligence is a fancy name for the high-powered reports and dashboards that smart companies use to track the performance of their businesses. For example, my colleague Larry Dignan of ZDNet likes to say, "BI is the way you get ROI out of ERP." What he's getting at is that BI is what gives full value for the hard work of implementing an ERP or data warehousing project, because BI allows you to mine the data to better understand the trajectory of your company.

4. MDM

Master Data Management is the new buzzword for unifying data sources to provide a single, reliable source of information about customers, products, employees, and other assets. This may sound similar to data warehousing (DW), but it's actually bigger. While DW is mostly about unifying backend log files and tracking data in order to produce reports, MDM is about unifying critical business data that are typically live and dynamic, such as customer and product data.

3. TCO

Total cost of ownership is a phrase coined by the Gartner Group in 1987, and it has developed into a useful formula for arriving at the full costs involved in deploying and managing technology tools. TCO calculations provide assistance with product selection, because they are a valuable part of estimating return on investment (ROI). With tech budgets tightening in 2008, TCO and ROI will become even more critical in helping IT departments decide how to best spend their constrained budgets.

2. SOA

Service Oriented Architecture has a few distinguishing characteristics, but it's the same type of cloud computing that has been referred to as "Web services" and "Software as a Service" over the past decade. The difference with SOA is that it goes a step beyond cloud computing by breaking down software services into standard building blocks that can be re-used, distributed, and fed into other sites, programs, and projects.

1. ITIL

Information Technology Infrastructure Library has evolved into a set of standards and best practices for organizing and running an IT department. Originally developed by the British government with inspiration from IBM, ITIL is now an international phenomenon and a hot commodity in the United States, where ITIL-trained professionals are in strong demand. ITILv3 was published in April 2007, and one of the most important revisions was a stronger alignment between IT and business -- another critical theme for IT in 2008.

Are these the hottest acronyms in IT right now? What other acronyms do you think should be on the list? Join the discussion.

About

Jason Hiner is the Global Editor in Chief of TechRepublic and Global Long Form Editor of ZDNet. He is an award-winning journalist who writes about the people, products, and ideas that are revolutionizing the ways we live and work in the 21st century.

137 comments
duckboxxer
duckboxxer

From a developer's perspective, if you need help figuring out a code issue, start by Reading the F*cking Manual. I've got things to do, don't whine to me over something you can fix yourself.

BALTHOR
BALTHOR

IMCITA=It's My Computer I'm The Administrator,TAB=Take A Break----

No User
No User

First of all Business Intelligence (BI) is an Oxymoron ;) All that the software products amount to are merely concepts. They are a result of a product being advanced to a new level or taking that (next step) and so it can do things differently or new things altogether. It's a wow we can finally do (X) sort of thing. Business seeks to capitalize on it (X) so it takes that new advantage built into the product and creates a concept which it turns into a Buzzword/Acronym and pedals it's BS. Gee it's not just revision 5 it's ( )

mrinds
mrinds

The Acronyms are sometimes longer spoken than the words they represent.

Absolutely
Absolutely

I think this is going to be the Year Of The Ponzi Scheme.

mark.delport
mark.delport

I think most of us in IT can relate to these two. IT = In Theory - It should work IP - In Practice - It does not work ;)

lsasadoorian
lsasadoorian

I guess I'm not a smart IT person. What is the point of this article. They are abbreviations, not acronyms, as others have pointed out. Where's the sanity check? And to the person who mentioned homophones; aren't they similar to sousaphones?

garyleroy
garyleroy

This is a joke; the worst part is when people try to post "how to" articles, then clutter them up with acronyms that mean nothing to the reader. Techs aren't the only ones who do this; online photography forums are filled with useless messages with headers like "Getting a BIF with HDR IQ using RDS", turning it into a waste of space instead of a possibly helpful message. Spell it out, at least once, and define the acronym if you're going to repeat it to save space. I can't imagine why anyone would want any of the acronyms on the "7" list, if your life is crammed so full that you can't say an actual word or type one and need to save that miniscule effort, you may have even less time than you think.

mightyruben
mightyruben

there are new jargons keep coming everyday.....but how many of us do we remember....we would keep only that is relevant to the work field......am i correct??

michael.baldelli
michael.baldelli

Which stands for Money Talks, Bullshit Walks. Please. You called this article a "Sanity Check" but all I'm seeing is vapid trend-setting being done by a person not "in the know". Want to be a trend-setter? Try being sane for once, instead of trendy.

JohnnyStompanato
JohnnyStompanato

this ome remains the most important... TLA (Three Letter Acronym).

don.gulledge
don.gulledge

You need to add SOS and ASAP. These will never die in the IT arena.

Bobbymak
Bobbymak

Coining acronyms has become a subculture in marketing departments for the past 10 years essentially painting lipstick on pigs (remember RISC computing?) But the bigger picture is bleak: There really hasn't been any substantive developments in hardware or software in quite a while; something that stops you in your tracks and makes you say "Gee, I really gotta have that!" All this is the result of years of slashed R&D spending.

gstrickland
gstrickland

MDM eh? I'll add that to the ever growing list.. MDM Machine Debug Manager (Visual BASIC) MDM Multiservice Data Manager MDM International Conference on Mobile Data Management MDM Metre Data Management MDM Multiplexer/Demultiplexer + MDM Master Data Management :-)

loveblessings
loveblessings

Over-used of acronyms is a sign of sickness esp when it is ITU (Inventing The Unnecessary).

craig
craig

Really these are none of the terms that will be a buzz this year, and most of it is old. These terms you should know and should have 5 years ago. This article missed the mark.

JoeRJr
JoeRJr

Let us not forget another three acronyms that have been seen and heard for years in corporate and government... 8. ROF - Return On Fraud 9. POG - Profit On Greed 10. ROS - Return On Stupidity None need a detailed explanation.

pmwork1
pmwork1

You forgot TLA - Three Letter Acronym CPM - Critical Path Method FEA - Finite Element Analysis

chandramouli.ibm
chandramouli.ibm

Hi, Acronyms page is very good. Useful, What our team wants to know is there any tool to capture CMDB data in Windows ,AIX and Linux OS Platforms? Currently being captured by running seperate scripts. Chandramouli

rob_l
rob_l

These are NOT acronyms. An acronym is an abbreviation that can be pronounced as a word, like laser or scuba. These are simply abbreviations. Sorry for the pedantry.

youdnever
youdnever

Will someone puhleaese tell me WHY the hell we have to put up with these stupid acronyms ? . There are so many of them that one term can mean 18 things - it just depends who you are talking to !. Go on.... Spend 10 seconds of your SO precious time ... TELL me what it is .. Yours .. PFLLOA

Absolutely
Absolutely

I suppose somebody must have peed in your Cheerios. Do you think it was a TR member? Why the bile?

longwayoff
longwayoff

Here's the list of definitions for the abbreviation/acronym NRA from google: NRA National Recovery Administration NRA National Rifle Association NRA Naval Reserve Association NRA N?uds de Raccordement d?Abonn?s (France Telecom) NRA Nachos, Rifles & Alcohol (Simpsons) NRA Naked Run Association (Ireland) NRA NASA Research Announcement NRA National Rail Association NRA National Railway Authority NRA National Recovery Act NRA National Recreation Area (US National Park Service) NRA National Recreation Association NRA National Reform Association NRA National Register of Archives NRA National Registration Authority (Australia) NRA National Regulatory Authority NRA National Rehabilitation Association NRA National Renderers Association NRA National Resistance Army (Uganda) NRA National Restaurant Association NRA National Revolutionary Army (Republic of China) NRA National Ringworm Association (The Simpsons) NRA National Rivers Authority (UK) NRA National Roads Authority (Ireland) NRA National Rocketry Association NRA National Ronin Award NRA NATO Refugees Agency NRA Navy Reporting Activity NRA Neighborhood Retail Alliance NRA Net Rate Analysis NRA Net Rentable Area NRA Netherlands Racquetball Association NRA Network Resource Architecture NRA Neural Representational Assembly NRA Niagara Redevelopment Act NRA No Repair Action NRA Non-Refundable Amount NRA Non-Resident Alien NRA Nonregistered Accountable NRA Normal Retirement Age NRA Nuclear Reaction Analysis NRA Nuclear Resonant Absorption NRA Occupation Postal Tax (Scott Catalogue prefix; philately) You pays your nickel & you takes your choice

cawwilsontx
cawwilsontx

OMG, weren't you psychic! 2008 was the giant Ponzi year, thanks to Madoff. I've enjoyed reading through these all over again, 10 months later.

Absolutely
Absolutely

[i]What is the point of this article... Where's the sanity check?[/i] If I say "Jason seems certifiable," would that answer your question?

jasonhiner
jasonhiner

You should always spell out the acronym/abbreviation the first time, unless it is something that is widely know (e.g. IRS, FBI, FYI, etc.).

john3347
john3347

I thought MDM meant "multiple device management".

jasonhiner
jasonhiner

I said they were hot. Please name seven others that you think will be hotter than these in 2008.

St00
St00

...PEBKAC Error.

srawcliffe
srawcliffe

BBB ... tihsllub baffles brains (have to type that first word backwards to get past the censors!)

steven.clarke
steven.clarke

Have a look at the OCSNG project. This project has an service agent for both Windows and Linux that collects data from the client systems.

belgariontheking
belgariontheking

You're right. The world needs to be educated that these are not acronyms. Common usage be buggered. Millions of people can still be wrong. Aside from the improper use of the word acronym and the ordering of the initialisms, I agree with the article. I would put BI and SOA at the top. It's just that most ITIL people I know are ignorant hacks and can't put what they do at the top of anything.

ben
ben

but I reject the pedantry in deference to the common usage model. It has long been established that common usage is what makes it "right" in IT. Microsoft. 'nuff said.

BeltwayTech
BeltwayTech

Actually, these are acronyms. You are correct in stating an acronym is a abbreviation. By definition, an acronym is a word formed from the initial letters of a name or a compound term like CIA-Central Intelligence Agency. Merriam-Webster, a creditable source, says nothing about an acronym be pronounceable. The fact remains is these acronyms are not new.

ChrisWh
ChrisWh

Continuing your pedantry theme. Apparantly, according to Sharon Taylor (Chief Architect of Itil V3.0), "Itil will be kept as the brand but no longer stand for the IT Infrastructure Library, she added. Instead it will be referred to as 'Itil ? IT service management practices'." http://www.itweek.co.uk/articles/print/2189193 So ITIL is not even an abbreviation.

ke_xtian
ke_xtian

There is nothing that raises the FUD* factor in a CIO* (no, the "I" does not stand for "Intelligence") than hearing about a hot new acronym from a well-dressed consultant. The last thing a CIO wants to have happen is to be the last person in the Executive Level to hear about the latest acronym. FUD is, of course, the best weapon that consultants and vendors have against sagging sales. These 7 acronyms are new only in that they are new acronyms. The underlying principles have been discovered and under development by many fine IT* departments over the 36 years that I have been working in the industry. The first company I came to work with in 1972 was working on 6 out of these 7. Of course implementation was limited by the punch-card technology of the times and by the myopia of upper management, but it was on the minds of the guys running the shop. They knew their ultimate survival in the corporation depended on addressing the underlying principles, and they promoted the principles upward in every way they could. * For the acronym-challenged out there: FUD -- Fear, Uncertainty, and Doubt. Also called the FUD Factor. CIO -- Chief Information Officer

oz penguin
oz penguin

All of these are management speak used by consultants, they love this ^%#&^. They are giving real IT Pro's (dig dig) a bad reputation. I would have liked to see some technical acronyms in there, I think that iSCSI will remain huge in 2008.

duckboxxer
duckboxxer

No one relieved themselves in my cereal. Just seen coders ask for help before they even make any attempt to help themselves; especially something as simple as picking up the book next to them. I think it says a lot about a 'developer' if they won't pick up the manual to look for answers. Worse yet is the person that doesn't even realize that answers are out there in the manual. Heck, some solutions are there just by hitting F1. And of course I'm not talking about newbies. Just a pet peeve of mine. :)

ben@channells
ben@channells

In 1989, a random journalistic asked hacker Paul Boutin "What do you think will be the biggest problem in computing in the 90s?" Paul's straight-faced response: "There are only 17,000 three-letter acronyms." "(To be exact, there are @Math {26^3 = 17,576}.)" But NOW it's {26^4 for ETLA's} about 0.45 million and 26^5 for the very long Five letters about 11 million. Although I have only come across 38,000 is active use in publications and web sites that are IT related

keith_deininger2
keith_deininger2

HWCTTPWEMBSTAA? Short for: Have we come to the point where everything must be switch to an acronym? I know that there are some abbreviations that have grown to become common knowledge by just about everyone in the modern business world, but converting every title of person, place or thing into an acronym is utterly ridiculous! In the computing age it all began with companies like International Business Machines, Advanced Micro Devices and Advanced Logic Research. Those who can remember the technology of telegrams, you used to pay by the letter so people learned to shorten everything in messages. Though the technology might have changed and the cost for sending a message around the world has significantly dropped, when people use mobile devices (cell phone and PDA) we still tend to convert everything into 3 or 4 letter 'codes'. In my opinion the only place where acronyms should be used in when listing your professional credentials on your business cards or email tagging. That is all! Stop trying to be all 'cool-like' by using 20 different acronyms when posting to forums or blogs. It does get quite annoying trying to play decipher-sleuth when reading blogs for information. Ooooooh, where is my secret decoder ring? There is it is, this week set yours to D4! Cheers, KD

Nehpets
Nehpets

Hmmm so what is your take on the pronunciation of the last letter of the English alphabet? Correct is "ZED" Common USA usage is "ZEE"

Absolutely
Absolutely

No apology is necessary, and the use of "pedant" and derived words as insult, is symptomatic of the intellectual and moral decay of US society.

Absolutely
Absolutely

You dismiss correctness with name-calling. ben: [i]...but I reject the pedantry in deference to the common usage model.[/i] Oh, and appeal to popularity. That's the most popular fallacy, so it must be the best. edit: spacing in quoted text, improved word choice

Nehpets
Nehpets

ITIL is still an acronym, it still stands for Info Tech Info Lib, however Itil as a brand is not.... :-)

mike_patburgess
mike_patburgess

Circa 1980 or thereabouts... Picture this... Mainframes, real processes, real datacenters real everything and ITSM...which died a slow an horrible death or, was it just in hibernation until some Brit decided to publish a set of books and called them ITIL... Now you can read these books and you will be no furhter ahead than you are now. I think that I'll publish some books as well, " IT and the common sense approach..". Anyone in?

ozgurgul
ozgurgul

RTFM is a hit... and it also works on Linux cases about those man files they got there...

duckboxxer
duckboxxer

OK, I apologize to all, and am crawling back into my little cave. I've actually never used it. Thought about it, but actually said (typed) it.

Absolutely
Absolutely

[i]I think it says a lot about a 'developer' if they won't pick up the manual to look for answers. Worse yet is the person that doesn't even realize that answers are out there in the manual. Heck, some solutions are there just by hitting F1. And of course I'm not talking about newbies. Just a pet peeve of mine.[/i] What I wondered is why you posted that in this thread?