CIO Definitions

This glossary explains the meaning of key words and phrases that information technology (IT) and business professionals use when discussing CIO strategy and related software products. You can find additional definitions by visiting WhatIs.com or using the search box below.

  • D

    disruptive innovation

    Disruptive innovation is the introduction of a product or service into an established industry that performs better and, generally, at a lower cost than existing offerings, thereby displacing the market leaders in that particular market space and transforming the industry.

  • distributed ledger technology (DLT)

    Distributed ledger technology (DLT) is a digital system for recording the transaction of assets in which the transactions and their details are recorded in multiple places at the same time.

  • dot-com bubble

    The dot-com bubble, also referred to as the Internet bubble, refers to the period between 1995 and 2000 when investors pumped money into Internet-based startups in the hopes that these fledgling companies would soon turn a profit.

  • What is digital transformation?

    Digital transformation is the incorporation of computer-based technologies into an organization's products, processes and strategies.

  • E

    e-business (electronic business)

    E-business (electronic business) is the conduct of business processes on the internet.

  • e-commerce

    E-commerce (electronic commerce) is the buying and selling of goods and services, or the transmitting of funds or data, over an electronic network, primarily the internet.

  • e-form (electronic form)

    An e-form (electronic form) is a computer program version of a paper form.

  • e-procurement (supplier exchange)

    Electronic procurement, also known as e-procurement or supplier exchange, is the process of requisitioning, ordering and purchasing goods and services online.

  • ebXML (Electronic Business XML)

    EbXML (Electronic Business XML or e-business XML) is a project to use the Extensible Markup Language (XML) to standardize the secure exchange of business data.

  • embedded analytics

    Embedded analytics is the integration of business intelligence (BI) tools and capabilities into business software, including customer relationship management (CRM), enterprise resource planning (ERP), marketing automation and financial systems.

  • embedded IT

    Embedded IT is the process of inserting information technology staff and expertise into other business units in order to quickly and more effectively identify and pursue new business opportunities and increase the likelihood that IT projects are deployed successfully.

  • emotional intelligence (EI)

    Emotional intelligence (EI) is the area of cognitive ability that facilitates interpersonal behavior. The term was popularized in 1995 by psychologist and behavioral scientist Dr. Daniel Goleman. According to Goleman, emotional intelligence is the largest single predictor of success in the workplace.

  • employee assistance program (EAP)

    An employee assistance program (EAP) is an arrangement between a corporation, academic institution or government agency and its employees that provides a variety of support programs for the employees... (Continued)

  • enterprise architecture (EA)

    An enterprise architecture (EA) is a conceptual blueprint that defines the structure and operation of an organization.

  • enterprise data hub

    An enterprise data hub, also referred to as a data lake, is a new big data management model for big data that utilizes Hadoop as the central data repository.

  • enterprise IT (enterprise-class IT)

    Enterprise IT, also known as enterprise-class IT, is hardware and software designed to meet the demands of a large organization. In comparison to consumers and small companies, an enterprise has greater requirements for availability, reliability, scalability, performance and security, among other things.

  • enterprise risk management (ERM)

    Enterprise risk management is the process of planning, organizing, directing and controlling the activities of an organization to minimize the deleterious effects of risk on its capital and earnings.

  • enterprise social media

    Enterprise social media is a category of online communications channels dedicated to corporated-based input, interaction, content-sharing and collaboration.

  • enterprise social networking

    Enterprise social networking is an organization's use of social media, internally and externally, to connect individuals who share similar business interests or activities.

  • enterprise social software

    Enterprise social software is a general term that describes social networking and collaboration tools used in large organizations.

  • entrepreneur (entrepreneurship)

    An entrepreneur is an individual who identifies a need in the marketplace and works to fulfill it.

  • ephemeral messaging

    Ephemeral messaging is the mobile-to-mobile transmission of multimedia messages that automatically disappear from the recipient's screen after the message has been viewed.

  • executive dashboard

    An executive dashboard is a computer interface that displays the key performance indicators (KPIs) that corporate officers need to effectively run an enterprise.

  • executive leadership

    Executive leadership is the ability of an organization's management to guide and motivate employees while meeting organizational goals.

  • extended enterprise

    Extended enterprise is the concept that a company does not operate in isolation because its success is dependent upon a network of partner relationships.

  • F

    field-level encryption

    Field-level encryption is the ability to encrypt data based on entire fields.

  • FMEA (failure mode and effective analysis)

    FMEA (failure mode and effective analysis) is a step-by-step approach for collecting knowledge about possible points of failure in a design, manufacturing process, product or service.

  • Fortune 500

    The Fortune 500 is Fortune Magazine's annual ranking of the United States' 500 largest corporations. The list is important because it provides the general public with a sense for which companies have the ability to influence the economy in the United States and whether or not those companies are healthy.  

  • FQA (frequently questioned answers)

    FQA (frequently questioned answers) are conventions or mandates scrutinized by individuals or groups who doubt their validity.

  • fractional CIO

    A fractional CIO is a high-level consultant who specializes in aligning information technology (IT) with business goals. Quite simply, a fractional CIO works for a fraction of the time, at a fraction of the cost it would take to hire a full-time executive to fill the post.

  • G

    gap analysis

    A gap analysis assesses the differences between the current and desired performance levels of a company's systems or applications.

  • Generation Facebook (Generation F)

    Generation Facebook (Generation F) is a term used to define millennials who have grown up using social media as their primary networking tool.

  • globalization

    Globalization is the process by which ideas, goods and services spread throughout the world.

  • Google Wallet

    Google Wallet is a mobile payment system developed by Google that allows smartphone users to store debit and credit card information for online and in-store purchases.

  • Gramm-Leach-Bliley Act (GLBA)

    The Gramm-Leach-Bliley Act (GLB Act or GLBA), also known as the Financial Modernization Act of 1999, is a federal law enacted in the United States to control the ways financial institutions deal with the private information of individuals.

  • great recession (Great Recession)

    Great recession is a label used by journalists and  economists to describe a severe, prolonged economic downturn.

  • green IT (green information technology)

    Green IT (green information technology) is the practice of environmentally sustainable computing.

  • group think

    Group think (also spelled groupthink) is a phenomenon that occurs when group's need for consensus supersedes the judgment of individual group members.

  • growth potential

    Growth potential is an organization's future ability to generate larger profits, expand its workforce and ramp up its production.

  • H

    hackathon

    A hackathon, also known as a codefest, is a social coding event that brings computer programmers and other interested people together to improve upon or build a new software program.

  • hard skills

    Hard skills are specific abilities, or capabilities, that an individual can possess and demonstrate in a measured way.

  • holistic (holistic technology)

    Holistic (holistic technology) is a concept concerned with treatment of entire systems, rather than the analysis, treatment or segmentation of parts of those systems.

  • Honey Encryption

    Honey Encryption is a security tool that makes it difficult for an attacker who is carrying out a brute force attack to know if he has correctly guessed a password or encryption key.

  • human-centric BPM

    Human-centric business process management is an approach to BPM  that considers human skills and activities first and uses automated functions to support them. Most BPM suites include human-centric BPM features.

  • hurdle rate

    A hurdle rate is the required rate of return above which an investment makes sense and below which it does not.

  • hyperautomation

    Hyperautomation is a framework and set of advanced technologies for scaling automation in the enterprise; the ultimate goal of hyperautomation is to develop a process for automating enterprise automation.

  • Hyperledger

    Hyperledger is an open source project created to support the development of blockchain-based distributed ledgers.

  • I

    ICT (information and communications technology, or technologies)

    ICT, or information and communications technology (or technologies), is the infrastructure and components that enable modern computing.

  • ideation management

    Ideation management refers to creating, gathering, analyzing, disseminating and executing on idea generation within the enterprise.

  • incremental innovation

    Incremental innovation is the introduction of small improvements or upgrades to already existing products, services, processes or methods.

  • infonomics

    Infonomics is a social science that involves studying the production and consumption of information and the transfer of money to produce, sell or obtain it. Simply put, infonomics is the economics of information.

  • Information Age

    The Information Age refers to the idea that access to and the control of information is the defining characteristic of this current era in human civilization.

  • Information and Content Exchange (ICE)

    Information and Content Exchange (ICE) is an XML-based standard protocol for electronic business-to-business (B2B) asset management.

  • information superhighway (infobahn)

    Information superhighway is a term that was used mainly in the 1990s to describe a national communications network that would span the United States and allow Americans to quickly access and exchange information via voice, data, video and other services.

  • innovation culture

    Innovation culture is an environment that organizations cultivate in order to nurture new, creative thinking and its application.

  • innovation management

    Innovation management is the process of managing an organization's innovation procedure, which helps increase competitive advantage and drives business growth.

  • innovation management software

    Innovation management software, a subset of enterprise collaboration software, helps company digitally manage the generation, collection and evaluation and launch of new ideas from internal employees and external sources.

  • innovation manager

    An innovation manager fosters the development of new products, services and processes. Innovation managers are skilled in unleashing individual and collective creativity and in implementing structures that help shepherd an innovation from idea stage to fruition.

  • innovation process management (IPM)

    Innovation process management (IPM) a systematic approach to nurturing the creative capabilities of employees and creating a workplace environment that encourages new ideas for workflows, methodologies, services or products.

  • Instagram

    Instagram is a free, online photo-sharing application and social network platform that was acquired by Facebook in 2012.

  • integration server

    An integration server is a type of computer server that facilitates the interaction between different operating systems (OSes), services and applications across an enterprise IT environment.

  • Intelligent workload management (IWM)

    Intelligent workload management (IWM) is an approach to running IT systems in a way that rationally optimizes and maximizes use of computing resources and directing them toward better processing, workflow and delivery of services.

  • interim CIO (interim chief information officer)

    An interim CIO is an experienced chief information officer employed by a company on a temporary basis to lead or transform its IT organization.

  • intrapreneur (intrapreneurship)

    Intrapreneurs are employees who use entrepreneurial skills and critical thinking to seek out initiatives that could benefit the organization financially.

  • IT asset management (ITAM)

    IT asset management (information technology asset management, or ITAM) is a set of business practices that combines financial, inventory and contractual functions to optimize spending and support lifecycle management and strategic decision-making within the IT environment.

  • IT blueprint

    An IT blueprint, like an architectural blueprint, is a planning tool or document an information technology organization establishes in order to guide its priorities, projects, budgets, staffing and other IT strategy-related initiatives.

  • IT budget (information technology budget)

    IT budget encompasses the money spent on information technology systems and services. The IT budget, typically overseen by the CIO, includes compensation for IT professionals and expenses for building and maintaining enterprise-wide systems.

  • IT centralization (information technology centralization)

    IT centralization (information technology centralization) is the act of concentrating an organization's technology resources under a single entity.

  • IT continuity (information technology continuity)

    IT continuity (information technology continuity) is the holistic management of technology systems toward the guarantee that essential business operations will proceed in the event of a major disruption.

  • IT cost structure

    IT cost structure is the relationship of different types of costs within a larger IT budget.

  • IT director (information technology director)

    An IT director (information technology director) is an employee in charge of technology within an organization. IT director is sometimes used interchangeably with CIO but, in the majority of large enterprise organizations, they are two separate positions. The CIO focuses more on technology strategy while the IT director works directly with the technology tools.

  • IT elasticity

    IT elasticity is the ability to adapt an IT infrastructure to seamless changes without hindering or jeopardizing stability, performance, security, governance or compliance protocols.

  • IT innovation

    IT (information technology) innovation in an enterprise is about using technology in new ways, where the result is a more efficient organization and an improved alignment between technology initiatives and business goals.

  • IT leadership (information technology leadership)

    IT leadership (information technology leadership) refers to the senior management in an organization responsible for driving business strategy via IT infrastructure and applications.

  • IT management

    IT management is the process of overseeing all matters related to information technology operations and resources within an IT organization.

  • IT organization (information technology organization)

    An IT organization (information technology organization) is the department within an organization charged with establishing, monitoring and maintaining information technology systems and services, and with strategic planning around current and future IT initiatives.

  • IT outsourcing strategy

    An IT outsourcing strategy is a plan derived from assessing which IT functions are better performed by an IT outsourcing service provider than by an organization's internal IT department.

  • IT prioritization

    IT prioritization is the process of initiating IT projects and procedures based on both the immediate and long-term needs of an organization.

  • IT procurement

    IT procurement is the series of activities and procedures necessary to acquire information technology products or services.

  • IT productivity

    IT productivity is a reference to the relationship between an organization's technology investments and its corresponding efficiency gains, or return on investment.

  • IT project management

    Every IT project should begin with two questions: What business problem are we trying to solve? And does everyone agree it's worth the effort to solve it?

  • IT project manager

    An IT project manager is a professional charged with overseeing the process of planning, executing and delegating responsibilities around an organization's information technology (IT) pursuits and goals.

  • IT service catalog

    An IT service catalog is a list of technology resources and offerings available from the IT service provider within an organization.

  • IT skills gap (information technology skills gap)

    In human resource management, an information technology (IT) skills gap is a mismatch between the capabilities an employer needs to meet business objectives and what the organization's employees know and can do.

  • IT strategic plan (information technology strategic plan)

    An IT strategic plan outlines a company's technology-enabled business management processes that it uses to guide operations and prioritize business goals.

  • IT strategist (information technology strategist)

    An IT strategist (information technology strategist) is someone in an organization who is given the responsibility and authority to establish initiatives that affect the organization's IT and business strategy.

  • IT strategy (information technology strategy)

    IT strategy (information technology strategy) is a comprehensive plan that outlines how technology should be used to meet IT and business goals.

  • IT transformation

    IT transformation is a complete reassessment and overhaul of an organization's information technology (IT) systems in order to improve the efficiency and delivery in a digital economy.

  • ITIL v3

    ITIL v3 is the third version of the Information Technology Infrastructure Library, a globally recognized collection of best practices for managing information technology (IT).

  • technology addiction (internet addiction)

    Technology addiction (Internet addiction) is an impulse control disorder that involves the obsessive use of mobile devices, the internet or video games despite negative consequences to the user of the technology. The disorder may also be referred to as digital addiction or internet addiction.

  • K

    key risk indicator (KRI)

    A key risk indicator (KRI) is a metric for measuring the likelihood that the combined probability of an event and its consequence will exceed the organization's risk appetite and have a profoundly negative impact on an organization's ability to be successful.

  • knowledge

    In information technology, knowledge is, to an enterprise or an individual, the possession of information or the ability to quickly locate it.

  • knowledge-based systems (KBS)

    A knowledge-based system (KBS) is a form of artificial intelligence (AI) that aims to capture the knowledge of human experts to support decision-making.

  • L

    labor arbitrage

    Labor arbitrage is the practice of making use of the least costly labor for producing products or goods.

  • labor automation

    Labor automation refers to the use of technology to perform specific tasks or jobs traditionally done by humans. As artificial intelligence and machine learning become integral to labor automation, experts believe entire jobs, not just specific tasks, will be automated.

  • LBO (leveraged buyout)

    An LBO or leveraged buyout is the purchase of a company or single asset using a large amount of borrowed money, supplemented with some equity from the acquirer.

  • leadership

    Leadership is the ability of an individual or a group of individuals to influence and guide followers or other members of an organization.

  • leadership skills

    Leadership skills are the strengths and abilities individuals demonstrate that help the oversee processes, guide initiatives and steer their employees toward the achievement of goals.

  • leadership traits

    Leadership traits are the personal qualities that shape effective leaders.

  • lean management

    Lean management is an approach to managing an organization that supports the concept of continuous improvement, a long-term approach to work that systematically seeks to achieve small, incremental changes in processes in order to improve efficiency and quality.

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