Business Glossary

Glossary adapted from Provocative Business Change.  Copyright 2005.  All rights reserved.

ABC – a technique. Activity Based Costing. This accounting technique calculates and assigns cost to activities or business processes. For example, in the banking industry, this technique could identify the cost of processing a customer’s check. For an electric utility, this technique could calculate the total cost involved in printing and sending a hard-copy bill. ABC finds the actual total cost associated with a product, service, or process performed by an organization without regard to the organizational structure.  ABC is applicable to any industry, any business process, and any product or service. While ABC can be a powerful management tool, the technique remains somewhat difficult to perform in many organizations and is not yet widely practiced.

AICPA – an organization. The American Institute of Certified Public Accountants (AICPA) communicates accounting standards to its members, and provides a self-governing oversight-like function for the accounting professional code of conduct.

AIPMM – an organization. The Association of International Product Marketing Managers provides certification for marketing product managers. The Certified Product Manager™ (CPM) and Certified Product Marketing Manager™ (CPMM) credentials cross industry barriers, focusing on marketing best practices and strategic skills.

APICS – an organization. The Association for Operations Management was originally founded in 1958 and originally known as American Production and Inventory Control Society. The acronym, APICS, was a widely recognized brand when the mission and name change were later put into effect. The organization chose to retain the recognizable acronym while changing the official name to better reflect attention toward service organizations in addition to manufacturing organizations.

APQC – an organization. The American Productivity & Quality Center began in 1977 with the backing of leaders from several Fortune 1000 companies, union heads, and former senior government officials. Today, APQC is an internationally recognized resource for process and performance improvement assisting organizations to adapt to changing environments with new and better ways to work. Among the notable achievements, APQC spearheaded the creation and design of the Malcolm Baldrige National Quality Award™ in 1987.

ASTD – an organization. American Society for Training & Development is the world’s largest association dedicated to workplace learning and performance professionals. ASTD’s members have access to several substantial databases, discussion boards, and best practice repositories online, as well as access to local and regional expert groups interested in the subjects of training and professional development.

BPI – a technique. Business Process Improvement refers to an intentional effort to evolve the way work is performed to reduce cost or increase profit. BPI is a broad topic that is at various times relates to each of the following phrases prefaced with business process (BP): BP analysis, BP architectural modeling, BP assessment, BP design, BP development, BP engineering, BP flow management, BP reengineering, BP indicator, BP integration, BP management, BP management systems, BP manual, BP maturity model, BP modeling, BP object, BP optimization, BP outsourcing, and BP procedure.

CEO – a job title. The Chief Executive Officer is the corporate executive ultimately responsible for all financial, legal, and operational aspects of an organization, reporting to a board of directors. The CEO frequently appoints other managers.

CFO – a job title. The Chief Financial Officer is the corporate executive having financial authority to make appropriations and authorize expenditures for a firm. The CFO leads the organization’s finance and accounting functions, and sometimes leads other related functions or departments.

CMMI – a technique. Capability Maturity Model® Integration (CMMI) is a process improvement approach identifying the essential elements of an effective process. The practices guide project teams, departments, or an entire organization to set process improvement goals and priorities. CMMI is an outcome of efforts by the Software Engineering Institute, which is a federally funded research and development center operated by Carnegie Mellon University and sponsored by the U.S. Department of Defense.

COO – a job title. The Chief Operating Officer is the corporate executive responsible for the operations of the firm; reporting to the CEO. The COO may at times appoint other managers.

CRM – a technology. In this book, CRM always refers to Customer Relationship Management. CRM is used to abbreviate over fifty business concepts that are not related to customer relationship management at all. Some examples of these include computer resource management, compliance research and measurement, and cause related marketing. Customer relationship management refers to a large number of application software solutions providing data entry, and other sophisticated functions pertaining to customers, marketing efforts, and sales promotions. This acronym can be confusing without establishing which meaning of CRM is intended. Business Scientists should take care to clearly establish context and explanation of which meaning of “CRM” is being discussed.

CRP – a technology. Capacity Requirements Planning in the book refers to application software associated with a manufacturing facility intended to estimate the capacity, or absence of capacity to fulfill production demands. This acronym is often confusing because CRM abbreviates over seventy common three-word-expressions in business. Some examples of these alternative phrases include: Certified Recovery Planner, Child-Resistant Packaging, and Common Resource Pool. Business Scientists should take care to clearly establish context and explanation of which meaning of “CRP” is being discussed.

DMAIC – a technique. DMAIC (pronounced “Duh-MAY-ick”) is a problem-solving method. The letters are an acronym for the five phases of a Six-Sigma improvement effort: Define-Measure-Analyze-Improve-Control. Organizations which have adopted Six-Sigma frequently have employees certified with the designations of Black Belt and Green Belt.

ERP – a technology. ERP in this book always refers to application software known generically as Enterprise Resource Planning. Sixty other variations and uses of the acronym ERP are used in various business disciplines, which have nothing to do with Enterprise Resource Planning. Some examples include: Exchange Rate Policies, Estimated Retail Price, and Error Recovery Procedure. In practice, ERP software may include the majority of an organization’s departments, functions, and major business processes. ERP may include manufacturing software, financial software, human resources software, and other functions. Many organizations have an ERP system installed for their finance and accounting department only (for example), whereas other organizations may use the same vendor’s ERP modules for their supply chain and manufacturing operations. Business Scientists should take care to clearly establish context and explanation of which meaning of “ERP” is being discussed, as well as the business functions being managed with the ERP system.

FTE – a unit of measure. Full Time Equivalent refers to an amount of time. If one person works full time for one year, then that equals one FTE for that year. If two people work half-time for a full year, that too equals one FTE for that year. A third example would be if one person works full time for the first half of the year, and a second person works full time the second half of the year, that also equals one FTE for that year. Project managers commonly use this term to refer to the number of hours their team members will be dedicating to an effort during a fixed length of time. More than twenty alternate meanings of FTE are used in business, including: Facilities, Terminals, and Equipment, Factory Test Equipment, and Fully Taxable Equivalent. Business Scientists should take care to clearly establish context and explanation of which meaning of “FTE” is being discussed.

HR – a department. Human Resource departments within an organization are responsible for the people processes and obligations of the firm. Beyond compliance with legal requirements related to employers and employees, these processes include forecasting needs of staff, recruiting staff, developing and evaluating employees, compensating and rewarding employees, retention efforts as well as employee separation and severance processes.

HRCI – an organization. Human Resource Certification Institute (HRCI) provides professional certification to HR professionals. Since 1976, more than 53,000 HR professionals have been certified through this organization.

ISO – an organization. The International Organization for Standardization is the world’s largest developer of standards. Several other business phrases are abbreviated with ISO, including: Inspection of Services, Information Security Officer, and Internet Sales Outlet. Business Scientists should take care to clearly establish context and explanation of which meaning of “ISO” is being discussed.

IT – a department. Information Technology is a function within an organization providing the installation and subsequent support of communications equipment, computer hardware, applications software and related items. While the acronym IT is widely understood to mean information technology, there are over fifty alternate business and professional phrases that also use the acronym. For example: In Transition, Income Tax, Individual Training, Inflation Target, Informational Theory, Investment Trust, and Interstitial Transfer. Business Scientists should take care to clearly establish which meaning of “IT” is being discussed.

KPI – a unit of measure. Key Performance Indicators are a set of quantifiable measures that an organization uses to gauge or compare performance in terms of meeting their strategic and operational goals. KPIs vary between organizations and industries, depending on their priorities or performance criteria. Sometimes these are also referred to as “key success indicators (KSI)”.

MRP – a technology. Materials Resource Planning refers to application software primarily used with manufacturing organizations. In this book MRP is used only to refer to Materials Resource Planning. In business and professional venues, MRP may alternatively be used to abbreviate over thirty common expressions including: Mid-Range Plan, Maintenance Recovery Period, Manufacturer’s Recommended Price, and Most Reliable Path. Business Scientists should take care to clearly establish which meaning of “MRP” is being discussed.

PBC – a category. Provocative Business Change™ serves to provoke, excite, or stimulate discussion, resistance and controversy. An estimated 75% of business projects, programs, and major initiatives each year in major organizations fit this category. If adopted within an organization as an abbreviation, it should be noted that PBC is also used for over twenty other business expressions including: Pay by Computer, Postal Business Center, and Prepared by Client. Business Scientists should take care to clearly establish which meaning of “PBC” is being discussed.

PMI – an organization. The Project Management Institute provides authoritative and widely recognized certification for project managers. Over thirty other business and professional expressions are abbreviated with the acronym PMI including: Pre-Market Indicator, Private Mortgage Insurance, and Pensions Management Institute. Business Scientists should take care to clearly establish which meaning of “PMI” is being discussed.

PMO – a team. Program Management Office, or Project Management Office, is a group of professionals who have oversight of one or more significant projects or business change efforts. PMO also serves as an abbreviation for phrases such as Present Method of Operation, Preventive Medicine Officer, and Plant Maintenance Order. Business Scientists should take care to clearly establish which meaning of “PMO” is being discussed.

ROI – a unit of measure. Return on investment is typically expressed as a percentage. ROI is used as a financial unit of measure for the purpose of making business decisions. ROI calculations require knowledge of cost and benefit of an action. While ROI almost always means Return on Investment during a business change conversation, there are a few alternate meanings of ROI including: Record of Invention, Radius of Influence, and RAM Optical Instrumentation. Business Scientists should establish which meaning of “ROI” is being discussed

SDLC – a technique. Systems Development Life Cycle is the process of developing information systems through investigation, analysis, design, implementation, and maintenance. Using SDLC should result in a high quality system that meets or exceeds customer expectations, within time and cost estimates, works effectively and efficiently in the current and planned information technology environment. Sometimes SDLC is used to mean Software Development Life Cycle, which is essentially the same thing.

SEI – an organization. Software Engineering Institute is a federally funded research and development center sponsored by the U.S. Department of Defense and operated by Carnegie Mellon University.

SHRM – an organization. Society for Human Resource Management is the world’s largest association devoted to human resource management. SHRM aims to advance the human resource profession. Except for the single occurrence within the construction industry of “Saw Horse Roof Mount” I am not aware of another usage for this acronym.

SME – an individual. The expression Subject Matter Expert very nearly approximates this book’s description of a Business Scientist. The acronym is also used to abbreviate Sales Management Engineer, Security Message Exchange, Spatial Modeling Environment, and Systems Maintenance Engineer, as well as other phrases.

SMEI – an organization. Sales & Marketing Executives International is a worldwide knowledge-growth and relationship-building forum created primarily for sales and marketing executives. It has over fifty affiliate chapters around the world. Care with this acronym is appropriate because at times it is used to refer to a Small/Medium Enterprise Initiative.

XBIG6 – an abbreviation.  Former IT and management consultants from one of several large consultancies are frequently called “xbig6”.  Other ways to express xbig6 include exbig6; x-big6; ex-big6; xbig six; x-big six; exbig six; and ex-big six.  The expression xbig6 might be used in conjuction with any number of the accroynms liste above in this glossary.  For example xbig6 SAP, or xbig6 PMO might be used to convey an SAP or PMO initiative using or requiring xbig6 resources.

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