INSIGHT: Why business has a technology language shortage

“A traditional view holds that information technologists generate way too much jargon but I think we have flipped to the exact opposite problem.”

A traditional view holds that information technologists generate way too much jargon.

According to Mark Raskino, Vice President of Research, Gartner, it irritates business people; a source of friction that impedes progress.

“As an analyst I have certainly seen that problem many times in the past, but it isn’t troubling me these days,” he adds.

“I think we have flipped to the exact opposite problem. Technologists are not creating enough of the new technology-related business and management terminology needed for a productive business conversation to advance more quickly.”

While there’s no doubt the industry is amidst a tech boom period, one that is rivalling the dot com boom of the late 90’s to early 2000s, Raskino considers some of the valuable terms that were added to the management lexicon back then.

• B2C and B2B

• E-commerce

• Business model

• Reintermediation

• Value network

• Freemium

• Longtail

• Open innovation

“You have probably used most of those,” Raskino adds. “They allow us to easily and quickly discuss new and better ways of doing business through the application of information technologies.”

But today, Raskino believes technological change to business seems to be outrunning organisation’s ability to create words to describe it.

“For example,” Raskino explains, “I can find no generally accepted term for the business model type operated by Uber and AirBnB, despite their signal importance in boardroom discussions about digital disruption.

“Meanwhile, older terms such as “I T” are in all kinds of trouble. These days it seems IT is constrained to meaning only some combination of older back office computing and supporting services.”

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