As technology advances, it's tough for everyday users to keep up with the times, let alone understand every piece of tech jargon that gets flung their way. And for executives, knowledge gaps on these business acronyms can have serious consequences. Managers who simply nod and smile may find themselves backing projects they would have never otherwise approved, while those relying on the hard "no" may discover a sudden uptick in the spread of shadow IT.
The solution? Track down the tech terms you need to know this year before you make any big decisions. Oh, and you're in luck: We've got you covered with this handy guide.
1. Software-as-a-Service (SaaS)
You've probably heard this term before, but if this is your first exposure to SaaS, consider yourself lucky that you didn't embarrass yourself by asking about it during a tech briefing. Put simply, SaaS is taking over the world by offering software delivered via the cloud rather than requiring companies to download and install massive files on their hard drives. According to Cloud Tech, the SaaS market was worth $12 billion in 2016 and is on track to reach $50 billion by 2024. Bottom line? You'll be investing big in SaaS, so it's best to understand the basics.
2. Unified Communications as-a-Service (UCaaS)
As the cloud becomes the go-to technology foundation for many companies, you'll have technology experts in your office waxing poetic about the benefits of Unified Communications as-a-Service. It sounds a little new-agey at first, but it's really just the integration of all communication services — think Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP), video, and over-the-internet meetings — all rolled into one and supported by a solid provider. Opting for a cloud-based unified communications solution lets you better manage costs and optimize networks to ensure quality of service (bonus acronym, QoS) is maintained even if employees are downloading big files or otherwise hogging network bandwidth.
3. Minimum Viable Product (MVP)
No, this does not stand for "most valuable player." It's actually a reference to the bare minimum needed to get a tech project off the ground and onto live servers. Recently, there has been a push to change the term and make it "most valuable product," since doing the bare minimum in a mobile-driven world is a good way to grab terrible social reviews and find customers jumping ship for more innovative alternatives. The best advice for the IT business decision maker? Track down the real intention if your team starts throwing this one around. Make it clear that you know exactly what it means and that the bare minimum won't cut it. It's better to be an MVP with an MVP rather than an MVP, right? Right.
4. Artificial Intelligence (AI)
Next on the list of business acronyms is AI. Nope, we're not talking about the type of AI found in "I, Robot" or "Terminator." While the concept of super-smart, human-like machines makes great movie fodder, real AI is a little bit more down to earth. More importantly, innovators aren't actually trying to mimic human interactions — instead, they want to design tech that's incredibly intelligent within the context of a specific job or role. In the workplace, AI usually refers to specific tools that streamline automation, so companies can focus on their IT ROI.
5. Internet of Things (IoT)
This one gets a ton of play in the news, but despite the hype, there's huge potential here. Simply put, IoT relies on a collection of (typically) small, connected devices that store and share information. In turn, this gives companies access to a huge amount of potentially actionable data.
Examples here include smart thermostats that measure office temperature or vehicle sensors that help manage logistics. Next-generation uses include wearables to help monitor performance and the evolution of even smaller devices across more disparate networks to produce granular data from any possible source. Expect IT to talk about this business acronym regularly, so be ready to dig in and discover exactly what they're proposing.
So, there you have it: five tech terms you'll probably come across in the next few months and should know something about before IT pros start tossing them out like candy. Come back in six months, and we'll have another set on deck to get you through the rest of 2017.
Contact Vonage Business for more information on useful tech that will promote engagement and collaboration.