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Blog: Are we done with the TLAs already?

Blog: Are we done with the TLAs already?

Build IT credibility by using plain language - avoid temptation to create more techno-speak

Do you even know what a TLA is? Exactly. That’s why we need to stop inventing more of them. Let’s try plain language and clear explanations of the value proposition instead. The only TLAs that were ever widely recognized are ERP and CRM. And now they are seen as somewhat suspect by a large segment of the business user community that has had to pay for, install, and figure out how to use those systems.

TLA stands for “three letter acronym”. The two TLAs mentioned above were phenomenal marketing success stories, and they did create a sales firestorm that made some IT vendors and consulting companies a lot of money. But I think those days are over. When you mention those TLAs today you’re more likely to make business people roll their eyes than make their hearts go pitter patter. And because of that, there are a lot of executives who wonder if their companies really need someone in the position with the TLA known as CIO.

As we pull out of the economic nose dive from the last nine months, business is already picking up and it will continue to do so for companies that position themselves well and respond quickly. Those companies need fast, flexible, cost effective (AKA agile) systems and infrastructure to enable their growth. Now there is a new generation of technology we can use to deliver the systems they need. This new generation of technology is based on cloud computing, software as a service, server virtualization, open source software, mashups, and wireless broadband Internet.

The IT industry can generate a new round of vaguely understood and technically focused TLAs to label these new systems (and hope to generate another sales firestorm); or CIOs, vendors and IT pros can use plain language to explain the value proposition to once (or twice) burned executives who don’t want to get burned again. I wonder which approach will generate more demand for new systems and services?

And if we have to resort to TLAs, do we even know what we’re talking about – really?

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