The Rise and Fall of the TLA
By Ben Weiner, Chief Executive Officer at Conjungo
We, in the ICT sector more often than not forget that the industry has its' own terminology and sometimes to the layman what probably appears to be another language. I state this because the amount of meetings that I sit through where three letter acronyms or the dreaded TLA's as we should refer to them are so often used. Of course we've moved way from TLA's to some extent and complicated matters further by using longer terms such as VoIP and even more confusing analogies such as 'Cloud' and 'Virtualisation'.
If you're about to stop reading this, I have every sympathy with you but more importantly remember that this magazine is aimed squarely at the ICT sector so imagine how our potential customers feel when we start using these expressions? There is a tendency to over complicate matters and I am not sure why. Perhaps it is a historical issue from the 1970's and 1980's when technologist would sneer at people who didn't know what ROM or RAM meant. I would imagine it was a feeling of power over the customer and non-technical people. It must have been like to going to my doctor many years ago who would pretty much speak to me in Latin and have a look of pity when I asked if he could explain what the terms meant and how long left I had to live. Invariably after taking a couple of aspirins I managed to survive.
We have on our website at Conjungo.com a wide array of what we call 'Go Understands' which explains in lay terms what technology is, for example, what is does & the business benefits. We get a huge amount of traffic and interest in these even to the point where major publishers and business portals such as the Chambers of Commerce use the information on their sites because it really does explain things in simple but not patronising terms.
We all need to remember to qualify our target audience or customers in order to find out how technical they are before we potentially confuse them with terminology that frankly most people in our industry don't understand.
My point? Well, if people don't understand what technology is and what it can actually do or how it might be of benefit, then they won't buy. The starting point is knowledge and understanding. The irony is that many people in the ICT industry read our content because they find it a useful resource as so often sales people don't want to appear ignorant in front of their peers by admitting that they don't really know what for example, 'Virtualisation' actually is.
So I bid you all a profitable and tech free jargon New Year!