By November 27, 2017 Read More →

Business Software: Jargon is ‘holding businesses back’

Latest research from Epicor Software suggests that technical jargon may be holding businesses back from progress. Stuart Hall, Sales Director for Epicor UK and Ireland, explains why.

With technology jargon constantly changing, business professionals around the world often struggle to gain a proper understanding of the technologies they need to embrace in order to shape the future of their businesses.

Our global survey of business decision makers and employees, which set out to understand the key drivers for business growth, has found a worrying lack of understanding around industry terminology in the UK.

One-in-five business leaders admitted they had heard of, but were not familiar with, common technology terms such as big data (22%) and cloud software-as-a-service (22%). This is despite the fact that many technologists moved on from talking about these as trends years ago, and are now exploring the strategic use of innovative technologies such as artificial intelligence (AI), digital twins, and conversational systems.

Around one-in-three, for example, admitted they are unfamiliar with the Internet of Things (29%), 3D printing (32%) and machine learning (34%) and many had never heard of these innovations at all.

A prolific amount of jargon in the fast-changing technology world might account for the fact that so many business professionals are unfamiliar with the key innovations affecting their sector, as they happen, despite recognising the important role technology has to play in business.

Although they find the jargon baffling, business professionals do recognise the importance of technology investments for driving the growth of their businesses. The same research found that 88% of fast-growing businesses consider IT investment to be a high priority, compared to just 41% of businesses experiencing weak growth. In addition, half (47%) agree that IT will help their organisations overcome future challenges in the market, work more efficiently (38%) and plan better (33%).

It appears that many businesses are convinced of the importance of technology investments – and many are reaping the rewards. Yet some are not fully aware of the latest technologies available to them, and it’s possible that the complex terminology and fast-changing landscape could be factors.

This is concerning because if business leaders cannot tell their AI from their IoT, or see the potential of a smart and connected factory, they may hold back from investing in the latest technologies. Businesses are tired of being baffled by buzzwords and jargon. We believe that it is time vendors and the technology community did more to engage with distributors, manufacturers or retailers in their own language. Talking about the business benefits that new technology can bring will help organisations to easier make critical decisions for the future.

Jargon buster

Artificial Intelligence (AI): The use of computers to fulfil tasks which normally humans would have to carry out. So, this could involve intelligent activities such decision-making, the need to see objects and translating languages.

Big Data: Large sets of data which reveal patterns and trends, which can be harnessed to improve services, products and behaviour.

Robotics: The use of robots in design and manufacturing.

Cloud: Off-site IT infrastructure, such as networks, servers and storage which are available quickly and efficiently over the internet.

Predictive Analytics: The use of analytics to predict unknown events in the future.

Internet of Things (IOT): The use of the internet to connect everyday items to send and receive data. So for instance, a fridge can sense you are running out of milk, so it reorders automatically from your supermarket. Many industries and manufacturers see this as a game changer.

3D printing: It is now possible to build objects, using a 3D printer, from a digital file. So, you can design items and then send them to be printed – and made real.

Conversational systems: A computer system designed to coherently “talk” to a human.

Digital twins: A digital twin is the digital replica of a physical object, most often referred to in relation to the Internet of Things. It contains all of the data and information of the real world object, including how it operates through its life cycle.

ERP software: Enterprise resource planning software, such as Epicor BisTrack that helps distribution companies to plan their resources, track sales, manage deliveries and improve their customer service.

Machine learning: A branch of AI (see above), this is the process of systems self-learning and improving from experience.