The ABCs of IT: A Guide to IT Acronyms

It’s no surprise that one of the few professional industries named by an acronym is also defined by them. The field of Information Technology, more commonly known as IT, is rife with acronymic jargon. And, in an effort to minimize the head-scratching we’ve put together the following translation tool for your use (yes, this impact is slightly tongue-in-cheek, but also very practical when you take a look at just how many IT acronyms are used with regularity).

  • AD: Active Directory, a directory service created by Microsoft for Windows networks; it provides a central location for network administration and security.
  • BI: Business Intelligence, a recognized industry term for organizational analytics, including historical, current, and predictive views of business operations.
  • BYOD: Bring Your Own Device, a business and technology policy that allows employees to bring in personal mobile devices and use these devices to access company data, email, etc.
  • CMS: Content Management System, a computer system that allows for the easy editing and creation of content for a website
  • CRM: Client Relationship Manager, a system that manages, tracks, and records  a company’s interactions with clients, prospects, and vendors
  • DBA: Database Administrator, the person responsible for the administration and maintenance of an organization’s database.
  • DBMS: Database Management System, software package that allows an organization to develop databases for a myriad of applications
  • DMS: Document Management System, a computer system used to track, store and search for electronic documents.
  • DNS: Domain Name System, a distributed naming system for all resources connected to the Internet, translates hostnames (like URLs) to IP addresses to locate websites and internet services all over the world.
  • ERP: Enterprise Resource Planning, an integrated software application that facilitates the flow of information and processes across an organization. Often used in manufacturing.
  • ISP: Internet Service Provider, an organization or company that provides access to the Internet
  • MDM: Mobile Device Management, any routine or tool intended to distribute applications, data and configuration settings to mobile communications devices. The intent of MDM is to optimize the functionality and security of a mobile communications network. Must be part of a coherent BYOD strategy.
  • NAS: Network Attached Storage is a stand-alone set of usually redundant hard drives that store and deliver files on a network.
  • OWA: Outlook Web Access is the webmail service of the Microsoft Exchange server. It can be used to access mail, calendar, contacts, and tasks using a web browser.
  • PC: Personal Computer
  • RAM: Random Access Memory, a form of computer data storage that allows timely access of data, independent of storage location.
  • SAN: Storage Area Network is centrally-managed storage that connects to file servers and acts like their own hard drives.
  • VoIP: Voice over Internet Protocol refers to the protocol that converts voice into digital signals that can be put over an Ethernet network. This can be used internally with an office phone system, or externally with providers like Skype.

Last word:

We understand that IT’s acronym obsession makes understanding your company’s technology strategy challenging. Hopefully, this serves as a quick reference for the IT acronyms being commonly used right now. I’m confident there are hundreds more not included in this list; as always, we can answer any questions you may have—about acronyms or otherwise. And we promise to use full phrasing whenever possible.

Topics: business, byod, computing, voip