Glossary

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  • a
  • AAA
    Authentication, authorization, and accounting. A subset of IAM, AAA provides authentication (vetting who you are), authorization (enforcing what you're allowed to do) and accounting (auditing what you do). - Read More
  • AARRR
    Acquisition, activation, retention, revenue, referral. The acronym AARRR, dubbed the "pirate metrics" by Dave McClure, refers to a specific type of SaaS user acquisition, retention, and monetization strategy. - Read More
  • AI
    Artificial intelligence. A type of computer programming which mimics human-like learning. - Read More
  • AI/ML
    Artificial intelligence and machine learning. - Read More
  • AP
    Accounts payable. A function of finance, typically within accounting, which manages outbound payments owed to suppliers. Simply put: if you provide a service to a company, then you would work with AP to get paid. - Read More
  • AR
    Accounts receivable. A function of finance, typically within accounting, which manages inbound payments owed by customers. For example, when you pay your utility bill, it is the electricity company's AR team that processes your payment. - Read More
  • ARR
    Annual recurring revenue. A metric used commonly adopted by SaaS companies to convey recurring revenue based on annual subscriptions. - Read More
  • b
  • Best-of-Breed
    The best product in a given category. The terminology is likely borrowed from animal shows whereby a particular breed of dog would have multiple contenders to win a prize. Similar to the animal kingdom, technology also has categories: ERP, CRM, CMS, etc. When a tool is considered to be the(...) - Read More
  • BI
    Business intelligence. The tools, processes, people, and data used to create actionable information from raw data. - Read More
  • Bottom Line
    The bottom line is a financial term which takes all incoming funds (revenue, or the "top line") and subtracts expenses. The bottom line is also known as net income. (Or net loss when a company isn't profitable). - Read More
  • Business Capability
    A business capability is what a business either does or can do. The focus is on the "what" and not the "how." Capabilities mapping is a crucial part of business modeling, because it allows strategists and leaders to focus on what the company should be doing before dwelling on the "how."(...) - Read More
  • Business Process
    While a business capability is focused on what should be done, then a business process focuses on how it should be done. For example: marketing management is a capability, which will have multiple business processes such as lead-scoping, which details exactly how a lead is scored, the scoring(...) - Read More
  • BVA
    Budget variance analysis. While budgets predict the future of money coming in and expenses going out, BVAs serve as the period "check-in" process used to determine whether budgets are on track or are deviating from prior projections. - Read More
  • c
  • CAC
    Customer acquisition cost. A sales and marketing metric used to convey how much it costs to acquire a new customer. - Read More
  • CASB
    Cloud access security broker. A security-focused application which monitors and/or actively protects cloud solutions. CASBs typically provide data loss prevention (DLP), configuration monitoring, and suspicious activity detection. - Read More
  • CDP
    Customer data platform. A data solution that stores multiple dimensions of customer data, typically sourced from multiple systems such as CRM, website trackers, and customer support tools. The data is extracted, transformed, and optionally enriched. It's then stored within a centralized(...) - Read More
  • Churn
    A term used to describe a percentage of customers lost given over a specific time period. Churn rates are often expressed as a percentage, calculated as: no_customers_lost_during_period / original_no_customers_during_period - Read More
  • CIA
    Confidentiality, integrity, availability. The "CIA triad" are three fundamental pillars of information security which ensure all systems have confidentiality (no unauthorized parties can eavesdrop on a conversation), integrity (unauthorized parties cannot alter content), and availability,(...) - Read More
  • Core vs Context
    A strategic principle coined by Geoffrey Moore used to classify which corporate activities differentiate a company (core) versus those which are more commoditized (context) and non differentiating. - Read More
  • COTS
    Common, off the self software. A term used to denote that software is a commodity solution, provided by vendor, and typically sold to more than one customer. As a commodity solution, COTS is the opposite of custom-developed software. - Read More
  • CRM
    Customer relationship management. Examples include Adobe Marketo, Hubspot, and Salesforce Sales Cloud. CRM systems have been around for many years, and traditionally house a hierarchical collection of accounts (which typically represent organizations), contacts within those accounts,(...) - Read More
  • Customer 360
    A customer 360 is a comprehensive (or "full circle," and hence 360-degree) view of the customer. A "customers" is typically an account, which represents a company, and that company will have multiple employees, opportunities, and potentially products associated with it. The data that makes up(...) - Read More
  • d
  • Data Mart
    A data mart is a subset of an enterprise data warehouse (EDW). An EDW is essentially a collection of dimensions (attributes of business objects such as customer or employee, etc) and facts which are essentially measurements. An EDW can have many facts and dimensions, so a subset of those(...) - Read More
  • DLP
    Data loss prevention. Tools and processes which detect and/or prevent sensitive data from leaking from the organization; either accidentally or intentionally. Sensitive information may be personally identifiable information, proprietary intellectual property, or other generally non-public(...) - Read More
  • DMP
    Data management platform. Not to be confused with a CRM or CDP, a DMP is typically used in conjunction with an advertising demand side platform (DSP). Put simply, a DMP is a key-value store used to associate anonymous IDs with audiences. If we assume CNN.COM has a DSP and DMP, you may be(...) - Read More
  • e
  • EAM
    Enterprise architecture management. Used by enterprise architects, these tools holistically manage enterprise artifacts such as software, business capabilities, processes, and vendors as portfolios. - Read More
  • EAM
    Enterprise architecture management. The tools, processes, and ultimately capability of managing the architecture of the enterprise itself. Common capabilities include application portfolio management, capability mapping, and demand forecasting. EAM processes include design reviews and(...) - Read More
  • EDW
    Enterprise data warehouse. A data warehouse extracts data from multiple sources, and normalizes the data into subject-oriented views. While transactional and ODS systems view data in terms of systems ("Salesforce data" or "Google Analytics data") the EDW views data as more generic nouns:(...) - Read More
  • ELT
    Extract, load, transform, An alternative approach to traditional ELT whereby data is first loaded into the target database, then transformed. This essentially shifts the transformation duties from the middleware to the database infrastructure itself. - Read More
  • Enterprise Architect
    A practitioner of enterprise architecture. An enterprise architect has the broadest set of architectural skills, encompassing the domains of business architecture, application architecture, data architecture, and technology (network/compute/storage infrastructure) architecture. - Read More
  • ERP
    Enterprise resource planning. Refers to a combination of software and processes intended to centralize core enterprise processes and data records to streamline resource planning and management. Resources may include people (recruiting, hiring), financials (money coming in and going out),(...) - Read More
  • ESM
    Enterprise service management. ESM is the framework used to manage service requests, incidents, and other processes across multiple internal departments. An example of mature ESM in action is when an employee sends an email to payroll, asking why her paycheck seems inaccurate. An ESM system(...) - Read More
  • ESP
    Email service provider. A staple of any martech stack, an ESP is a bulk email tool capable of running large-scale email campaigns for marketing and PR teams. Beyond being able to send to millions of recipients, ESPs provide advanced tracking analytics, A/B testing, and many other advanced(...) - Read More
  • ETL
    Extract, transform, load. Three sequential processes used to pull (extract) data from a source system, transform the data (such as merging fields, creating calculations, etc) and finally loading the data into a target data store. See ELT for an alternative approach. - Read More
  • f
  • FP&A
    Financial planning and analysis. A function of finance which builds a forward-looking plan of income and expenses in order to establish budgets and revenue targets. - Read More
  • g
  • GL
    General ledger. The financial source of truth for all financial transactions, assets, and liabilities. The general ledger is the core of a financial ERP system, and is one of the most fundamental components of accounting. - Read More
  • GRC
    Governance, risk and compliance. A set of tools and processes used to methodically measure, track and monitor risk management in an enterprise setting. - Read More
  • h
  • H2R
    Hire to retire. The overarching enterprise process and all of its sub-processes related to hiring and retiring an employee, contractor, or consultant. A common set of sequences may include recruiting, applicant tracking, onboarding into multiple systems, role changes, name changes (in the(...) - Read More
  • i
  • I2O
    Idea to offering. An enterprise process which details how products and services are launched. This includes product inception (idea), to product development, to sales and marketing (offering). - Read More
  • IaaS
    Infrastructure a service. A form of cloud computing which delivers general infrastructure computing components as a service. The subscriber of these service may then build a wide range of applications on top of these general components based on a subscription fee. Unlike SaaS, the customer(...) - Read More
  • IAM
    Identity and access management. IAM systems handle a broad range of authentication, authorization, logging, and user-lifecycle management functions for online systems. - Read More
  • iPaaS
    Integration platform as a service. In iPaaS is low-code and/or no-code environment which simplifies data integration between systems; be them on-premises or SaaS-based. Unlike custom-developed data engineering platforms, iPaaS solutions lower the barrier to entry with data integration and(...) - Read More
  • IPAM
    IP Address Management. The combination of managing IP addresses and associated protocols such as DNS and DHCP. - Read More
  • k
  • KPI
    Key performance indicator. A KPI is a target used to measure success of a project, operations, or other business activity. Within a sales organization, a common KPI may be the (hopefully high) number of opportunities won within a month. For an IT organization, a KPI may be (hopefully low)(...) - Read More
  • l
  • LTV
    Lifetime value. LTV is a sales and marketing metric which conveys the total value (typically sales) of a customer or account of a period of time. - Read More
  • m
  • MAU
    Monthly active user. A SaaS key performance indicator (KPI) which measures the number of system users who login at least once within a month period. - Read More
  • Microservice
    A design pattern used to create small, functionally independent services which can produce, manipulate, and/or store information. In contrast to large and monolithic systems, systems of many microservices allow broader logical system to be upgraded and modified faster and by independent teams. - Read More
  • ML
    Machine learning. AI based algorithms which learn from data sets over time. - Read More
  • MRR
    Monthly recurring revenue. A metric used commonly adopted by SaaS companies to convey recurring revenue based on monthly subscriptions. - Read More
  • MSA
    Master services agreement. Most business relationships involve one or more contracts, typically delivered in the form of an SOWWhile SOWs cover contract specifics, an MSA is an overarching set of general language. For example, a long-term business(...) - Read More
  • n
  • NPI
    New product introduction. A subprocess of I2O focused on the latter stages of product introduction, specifically bringing new products to market. - Read More
  • NPS
    Net Promoter Score. A common metric used to gauge customer satisfaction or loyalty with a company. NPS questionnaires are intentionally minimal, and use an ordinal numeric range of -100 (lowest score) to +100 (highest score). Other similar test metrics have been derived from NPS, such as(...) - Read More
  • NPV
    Net present value, or NPV, is a formula used to project the value returned on a particular investment. Unlike it's simplistic counterpart ROI, net present value takes time into consideration. NPV is often expressed as: value / (1 + discount_rate) * time_period. - Read More
  • o
  • O2C
    Order to cash. The overarching enterprise process and of its sub-processes which captures the activities associated with fulfilling a customer order. A high-level set of O2C sub-processes would include lead generation, sales opportunity management, contract management, account onboarding,(...) - Read More
  • ODS
    Operational data store. In business intelligence, reporting can occur on the TPS / OLTP system itself, but this often taxes the system and provides limited analytical visibility into the business. An ODS takes multiple operational systems' databases and consolidates them into a reporting(...) - Read More
  • OKR
    Objectives and Key Results. OKRs are a component of an overall enterprise performance management (EPM) program. Objectives are qualitative goals, and key results are quantitative measures of success. OKRs are strategic in nature and should be created in sparing manner. An organization should(...) - Read More
  • OLA
    Operational level agreement. Like an SLA, an OLA defines a minimum level of service for a service provider and a service consumer. While SLAs are used between two different entities, an OLA is typically used within an enterprise; for example between the IT department (service provider) and(...) - Read More
  • OLAP
    Online analytical processing. While online transactional processing (OLTP) systems are designed to run the business, OLAP systems are designed to analyze the business. OLAP systems aggregate transactional data into logical structures that can be sliced and diced by various dimensions or time.(...) - Read More
  • OLTP
    Online transaction processing system. These are core applications within the enterprise that perform key business functions, from CRM to ERP. These systems are often the source of truth for business objects such as customers, orders, and so on. - Read More
  • p
  • P2P
    Procure to pay. The overarching enterprise process and of its sub-processes which captures the activities associated with internal ordering of goods and services. Procurement itself may have multiple sub-processes, such as an approval workflow, the creation of a purchase order, and so on.(...) - Read More
  • PaaS
    Platform as a service. PaaS represents a form of cloud computing which is higher level than IaaS (as it doesn't require management of low-level operating systems or network configurations) yet lower level than SaaS as a it enables developers to build a wide range of applications using(...) - Read More
  • PII
    Personally identifiable information. Typically protected by privacy laws, PII is any information that can be used to identify, locate, or contact an individual. - Read More
  • P&L
    Profit and loss. An income statement which summarizes top line revenue with expenses over a period of time. - Read More
  • q
  • QBR
    Quarterly business review. A periodic review of business metrics, typically focused by department. For example a sales QBR will cover insights and metrics around deals won vs lost, contracts renewed, churn, and other sales-centric metrics of interest. Alternatively, an information technology(...) - Read More
  • r
  • R2R
    Record to report. Every month, quarter, and year-end, finance teams must "close the books" and officially report on revenue to internal stakeholders, and for public companies, external shareholders as well. The end-to-end processes associated with processing all period-related transactions,(...) - Read More
  • RACI
    Responsible, accountable, consulted, informed. A framework for conveying responsibility in a matrix format, which intersects specific people or roles with the four aforementioned responsibilities. Responsible parties are the doers, accountable people are often the managers of the doers.(...) - Read More
  • Reference architecture
    A reference architecture is a high-level design, typical void of vendor-specific solutions. The goal is to convey the general solution approach, aligned with best practices, while intentionally omitting implementation details. For example: a business team may need a data warehouse. A solution(...) - Read More
  • ROI
    Return on investment, or ROI, is a formula used to project what value (return) an investment will have. Unlike other performance measurements such as NPV, return on investment is simple and does not take time into consideration. ROI is expressed in formulaic form is: (value_of_investment(...) - Read More
  • RPA
    Robotic process automation. A specific type of automation which simulates human users by manipulating end-user computer interfaces. - Read More
  • s
  • SaaS
    Software a service. A form of cloud computing which delivers a software application as service. The cloud provider handles all infrastructure and management while the customer typically pays for the software as a monthly or yearly subscription. - Read More
  • SAM
    Software asset management. A general term used to refer to managing software assets, both on-prem and in the cloud. - Read More
  • SIEM
    Security (or System) Information and Event Management. A SIEM is essentially a purpose-built EDW, intended for security and systems operations analysis. Like an EDW, a SIEM extracts data from many operational systems, aggregates the data, and conveys multi-dimensional views of that data. A(...) - Read More
  • SLA
    Service level agreement. An SLA is used to define a minimum level of service between a service provider (such as an internet service provider) and a customer. SLA requirements may include availability uptime targets or maximum wait time for customer support call backs. - Read More
  • Source of truth
    Source of truth is a database term which refers to where a business object, such as a customer, is created and/or modified. In other words, out of all systems which interact with the customer, the source of truth is the system which is most trustworthy/accurate in terms of data ownership. - Read More
  • SOW
    Scope of work. A SOW (sometimes pronounced "sau-w") is a legal contract that outlines the worked to be performed by a service provider such as a contractor, consultant, or software-as-a-service company. One or more SOWs are typically created under a single MSA. - Read More
  • SWOT
    Strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats. A swot is a common 2x2 matrix used for strategic analysis and planning. A SWOT diagram conveys an entity's internal strengths and weaknesses and external opportunities and threats. - Read More
  • System of reference
    Unlike a source of truth system which is the official "owner" of a business object, such as a customer, a system of reference is intended to work with a (mostly) read-only copy of that business object. For example, an HR system may be the source of truth for employees, but an authentication(...) - Read More
  • t
  • TMS
    Tag management system. Also known as "tag managers." Modern websites tend to load multiple JavaScript routines. Some scripts load from the site itself ("first-party" locations) and others from remote sites ("third-party" locations). Having to alter code every time a script needs to be added(...) - Read More
  • Top Line
    Synonymous with revenue, the top line is a financial term used to describe all money earned over a period of time. It essentially records all money coming in, but ignores expenses. - Read More
  • TPS
    Transactional processing system. A type of operational system used to power a business. Common examples include ecommerce systems, point-of-sale systems, or a hotel registration system. The term TPS is often used interchangeably with the term: OLTP. - Read More