General Business TerminologyB2B - Business to Business - marketing, advertising, communications, sales and other activites perpetrated between businesses.
B2C - Business to Consumer - marketing, advertising, communications, sales and other activities inflicted by a business on consumers.
PC - Politically Correct - as in recommending a Windows NT server to management at a Fortune 500 company who's CEO has just returned from an all expense paid trip to Microsoft's Redmond campus, or recommending a Linux server to management at a small ISP. The opinion or action that will upset "the powers that be" least.
PHB - Pointy Haired Boss - The utterly clueless boss who presides over Dilbert and his coworkers in the cartoon strip of that name. Any boss who's only significant skill is in climbing the corporate management ladder. The PHB is too incompetent to realize he is incompetent - in short, he represents nearly all mid and high level mananagement in corporate America. Note that being too incompetent to realize one is incompetent is not limited to PHBs, but can also be found in technical circles - or in any other field of endeavor.
Proprietary - Property of a particular company which has effective control. Said of software, protocols, hardware, etc..
Open - Said of "standards" that are published and available to everyone (sometimes for a fee). Ideally said of publicly controlled standards but much abused by marketing departments who refer to proprietary protocols as "open" if at least a small part of the specification is available to public view. The term "Open Systems" generally refers to Unix and the communications protocols surrounding it.
POS - Point Of Sale - Refers to computer equipment and software specialized for retail point of sale, particularly cash drawers, pole displays, receipt printers, bar-code scanners and software that supports them.
MRP - Material Requirement Planning - Major business
buzzword of the 1980s, displaced by new buzzword ERP - see our article
Trade AssociationsTrade Associations are organizations devoted to promoting some particular commercial angle of computing (or to eliminating competition).
EDI - Electronic Data InterchangeElectronic Data Interchange was conceived as a way to electronically imitate paper documents, generate them automatically, transfer them by wire and automatic entry them into the business management systems of the receiving party. For reasons of security and cost of implementation, this has rarely been fully accomplished.
Most EDI transactions go through a VAN (Value Added Network) service, which provides the proprietary networks required and translates documents between different companies' formats. When the company at one end is relatively small, generation of outgoing documents into the VAN's system and entry of incomming documents into its own system is generally by hand.
The standard for EDI documents is X12, which standard large corporations feel free to modify as much and as often as they wish.
EDI is currently undergoing a transition from VANs to the Internet, and from the current difficult to interpret list of fields to the use of XML where the definitions can be part of the document.
BizTalk - a scheme for using XML for Business to Business transactions spearheaded by Microsoft. Other participants are DISA, SAP, PeopleSoft, Baan, Boeing and UPS (United Parcel Service). For more info www.biztalk.org
UN/EDIFACT - European standards for EDI, set by
RosettaNet - an organization developing a standard dictionary of definitions for product and transaction properties using XML for EDI. RosettaNet concentrates on the Electronics and Information Technology fields. For more information www.rosettanet.org.
CommerceNet, OBI - Open Buying on the Internet -
an organization working on using XML for high-volume low-dollar Business to
Business EDI transactions More information at OASIS - Organization for the Advancement of
Strutured Information Standards - another standards group defining the use of
XML for EDI. Check them out at
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