Outsourcing: Glossary

Offshore outsourcing is a controversial practice, especially when domestic unemployment rates are rising. A number of states in the U.S., including New Jersey, Connecticut, Missouri, Maryland, and Wisconsin, have attempted to place restrictions on offshore outsourcing. We've put together this handy glossary for you with terms related to offshore outsourcing, and outsourcing in general. We invite you to print out this Words-to-Go glossary for your convenience and "learn by definition."

To learn more about offshore outsourcing, visit our Information Kit

application service provider - offers enterprises access over the Internet to applications and related services that would otherwise have to be located in their own enterprise computers.  

benchmark - point of reference by which something can be measured.

best practice - technique or methodology that, through experience and research, has proven to reliably lead to a desired result.

business process outsourcing - contracting of a specific business task, such as payroll, to a third-party service provider.

core competency - fundamental knowledge, ability, or expertise in a specific subject area or skill set.

data center - centralized repository for the storage, management, and dissemination of data and information organized around a particular area or body of knowledge.

e-outsourcing - buying information technology products and services that could be furnished in-house.

extranet - part of a company's intranet that is extended to suppliers, vendors, partners, customers, or other businesses outside the company.

file sharing - public or private sharing of computer data or space in a network with various levels of access privilege.

global information infrastructure - communications framework intended to eventually connect all telecommunications and computer networks world-wide.

globalization - tendency of businesses, technologies, or philosophies to spread throughout the world.

groupware - refers to programs that help people work together collectively while located remotely from each other.

help desk - place that a user of information technology can call to get help with a problem.

hosting - business of housing, serving, and maintaining files for one or more Web sites.

ISO 9000 - series of standards developed and published by the International Organization for Standardization that define, establish, and maintain an effective quality assurance system for manufacturing and service industries.

ITIL - set of best practices standards for information technology service management.

management service provider - company that manages information technology services for other companies.

nearshore outsourcing - practice of getting work done or services performed by people in neighboring countries rather than in your own country.

onshore outsourcing - obtaining services from someone outside a company, but within the same country.

outsourcing - arrangement in which one company provides services for another company that could also be or usually have been provided in-house.

portal - Web site that serves as starting site for users when they get connected to the Internet or that users tend to visit as an anchor site.

return on investment (ROI) - how much profit or cost saving is being realized.

service level agreement (SLA) - contract between a network service provider and a customer that specifies, usually in measurable terms, what services the network service provider will furnish.

storage service provider - company that provides computer storage space and related management to other companies.

teleconference - telephone meeting among two or more participants involving technology more sophisticated than a simple two-way phone connection.

total cost of ownership (TCO) - type of calculation designed to help consumers and enterprise managers assess both direct and indirect costs and benefits related to the purchase of any IT component.

vendor - person or company that sells goods or services to somone else in the economic production chain.

vertical solutions provider - company that focuses on delivering industry-specific application hosting services to customers in a specific vertical market such as manufacturing, health care, retailing, or financial service.

videoconference - live video connection between people in separate locations.

virtual area network - network on which users are enabled to share a visual sense of community through high band-width connections.

virtual call center - call center in which the organization's representatives are geographically dispersed rather than situated at work stations in the same building.

virtual hosting - Web server hosting services.

virtual organization - company whose members are geographically apart, usually working by computer e-mail and groupware, while appearing to others to be a single, unified organization with a real physical location.

virtual private network - way to use Internet tunneling protocols to provide remote offices or individual users with secure access to their organization's network.

Virtual Storage Portal - proprietary software application with a Web browser interface that lets a customer manage the storage that they have rented from StorageNetworks.

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This was last updated in June 2007

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