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.

  • L

    Lean Six Sigma

    Lean Six Sigma is a data-driven approach to improving efficiency, customer satisfaction and profits.

  • lean startup

    Lean startup is an approach to building new businesses based on the belief that entrepreneurs must investigate, experiment, test and iterate as they develop products.

  • learning management system (LMS)

    A learning management system (LMS) is a software application or web-based technology used to plan, implement and assess a specific learning process.

  • LOB (line-of-business)

    An LOB (line-of-business) application is one of the set of critical computer applications that are vital to running an enterprise, such as accounting, supply chain management, and resource planning applications.

  • localization

    Localization (sometimes shortened to "L10n") is the process of adapting a product or service to a particular language, culture and desired local "look-and-feel." The process of first enabling a product to be localized and then localizing it for different national audiences is sometimes known as product globalization.

  • M

    managerial grid model (The Blake and Mouton Managerial Grid model)

    The managerial grid model was developed by Robert R. Blake and Jane S. Mouton in the 1960s to help companies and individuals analyze and improve management styles.

  • Merchant Customer Exchange (MCX) CurrentC

    Merchant Customer Exchange (MCX) CurrentC is a mobile payments application backed by some of the nation's largest retailers including Target, Walmart, CVS, Best Buy and Rite Aid, as well as banks like Capital One.

  • metacoin platform

    Metacoin platform is the information technology infrastructure that enables digital currency and digital asset transactions.

  • metered services (pay-per-use)

    Metered services (also called pay-per-use) are any type of payment structure in which a customer has access to potentially unlimited resources but only pays for what they actually use.

  • microtargeting

    Microtargeting is (also called micro-targeting or micro-niche targeting) is a marketing strategy that uses consumer data and demographics to identify individuals or small groups of like-minded individuals and influence their thoughts or actions.

  • mind-brain identity theory

    Mind-brain identity theory is a philosophy that purports the mind and brain are the same.

  • mobile experience

    Mobile experience, or mobile user experience (UX), is the practice of fostering a certain user perception before, during and after the interaction with a mobile product or offering.

  • mobile IT (mobile information technology)

    Mobile IT (mobile information technology) is the ability of IT departments to deliver enterprise information technology solutions to employees working anywhere on any device.

  • mPOS (mobile point of sale)

    An mPOS (mobile point-of-sale) is a smartphone, tablet or dedicated wireless device that performs the functions of a cash register or electronic point-of-sale terminal (POS terminal) wirelessly.

  • multisig (multisignature)

    Multisig, also referred to as multi-signature, describes the requirement of obtaining two or more signatures to authorize or execute a transaction. The term often refers to its application within Bitcoin cybercurrency and comparable electronic transactions.

  • multisourcing (multi-sourcing)

    Multisourcing (multi-sourcing) is an outsourcing approach, most frequently employed by large enterprises, whereby IT operations and technology infrastructure are contracted to a series of vendors, rather than kept in-house or contracted to a select few providers.

  • N

    nearshore outsourcing

    Nearshore outsourcing is the practice of getting work done or services performed by people in neighboring countries rather than an organization's country.

  • newsfeed

    A news feed (newsfeed) is list of newly published content on a website. End users can receive push updates for new content on a site by subscribing to the site's news feed. 

  • Nexus of Forces

    The nexus of forces is a concept developed by consultancy Gartner Inc. that describes how the convergence and mutual strengthening of social media, mobility, cloud computing and information patterns are creating new business opportunities.

  • Ning

    Ning iNing is an web-based social network platform that allows an organization to build customized social websites and interactive virtual communities. 

  • O

    onshore outsourcing (domestic outsourcing)

    Onshore outsourcing, also known as domestic outsourcing, is the obtaining of services from someone outside a company but within the same country.

  • OODA loop

    The OODA loop (Observe, Orient, Decide, Act) is a four-step approach to decision-making that focuses on filtering available information, putting it in context and quickly making the most appropriate decision while also understanding that changes can be made as more data becomes available.

  • organizational change management (OCM)

    Organizational change management (OCM) is a framework for managing the effect of new business processes, changes in organizational structure or cultural changes within an enterprise. Simply put, OCM addresses the people side of change management.

  • organizational goals

    Organizational goals are strategic objectives that a company's management establishes to outline expected outcomes and guide employees' efforts.

  • outcome economy

    Outcome economy describes an economy based on the marketing, pricing and selling of the results provided by goods and services rather than their face value.

  • outsourcing

    Outsourcing is a business practice in which a company hires a third-party to perform tasks, handle operations or provide services for the company.

  • P

    paternalistic leadership

    Paternalistic leadership is a managerial approach that involves a dominant authority figure who acts as a patriarch or matriarch and treats employees and partners as though they members of a large, extended family. Employees are listened to, but the leader makes the final decision.

  • PICK chart (Possible, Implement, Challenge and Kill chart)

    A PICK chart (Possible, Implement, Challenge and Kill chart) is a visual tool for organizing ideas. The purpose of a PICK chart is to identify which ideas can be implemented easily and have a high payoff.

  • pilot program (pilot study)

    A pilot program, also called a feasibility study or experimental trial, is a small-scale experiment that helps an organization learn how a large-scale project might work in practice.

  • platform business model

    A platform business model is a plan for creating revenue by allowing registered members to create content that can be consumed by a specific user group or general audience.

  • platform economy

    Platform economy is the tendency for commerce to increasingly move towards and favor digital platform business models.

  • PMO (project management office)

    A project management office (PMO) is a group or department within a business, agency or enterprise that defines and maintains standards for project management within the organization.

  • Porter's Five Forces

    Porter's Five Forces is a framework developed by economist Michael E. Porter to determine the profitability and therefore attractiveness of a market or market segment.

  • power user

    A power user, also called a super user, is someone whose computer skills are better than those of an organization's average end user. 

  • PPM (project and portfolio management)

    PPM (project and portfolio management) is a methodology used to prioritize IT projects based on cost, benefits and use of resources to achieve business goals.

  • prescriptive analytics

    Prescriptive analytics is a type of business analytics that focuses on finding the best course of action for a given situation, and belongs to a portfolio of analytic capabilities that include descriptive and predictive analytics.

  • process innovation

    Process innovation refers to a change in an existing operation or product that creates significant value for an organization.

  • process-centric BPM

    Process-centric business process management is a holistic approach to BPM that centers on processes themselves, rather than individual  components such as  documents, workflow or people.  

  • procurement plan

    A procurement plan -- also called a procurement management plan -- is a document that justifies the need for an external supplier and explains how the process of finding a supplier will be performed.

  • product development (new product development - NPD)

    Product development, also called new product management, is a series of steps that includes the conceptualization, design, development and marketing of newly created or newly rebranded goods or services.

  • programmable economy

    The programmable economy is a term created by research firm Gartner Inc. in 2014 to describe the revolutionary changes happening in the global economy due to technology innovations.

  • project charter (PC)

    A project charter (PC) is a document that states a project exists and the project manager has written authority to begin work.

  • project management

    Project management is the discipline of using established principles, procedures and policies to successfully guide a project from conception through completion.

  • Project planning: What is it and 5 steps to create a plan

    Project planning is a discipline addressing how to complete a project in a certain timeframe, usually with defined stages and designated resources.

  • project post-mortem

    Project post-mortem is a process intended to inform project improvements by determining aspects that were successful or unsuccessful.

  • project scope

    Project scope is the part of project planning that involves determining and documenting a list of specific project goals, deliverables, tasks, costs and deadlines.

  • proof of concept (POC)

    A proof of concept (POC) is an exercise in which work is focused on determining whether an idea can be turned into a reality.

  • Prototyping Model

    The prototyping model is a systems development method in which a prototype is built, tested and then reworked as necessary until an acceptable outcome is achieved from which the complete system or product can be developed. table prototype is finally achieved.

  • public data

    Public data is information that can be freely used, reused and redistributed by anyone with no existing local, national or international legal restrictions on access or usage.

  • Q

    qualitative data

    Qualitative data is information that cannot be counted, measured or easily expressed using numbers. It is collected from text, audio and images and shared through data visualization tools, such as word clouds, concept maps, graph databases, timelines and infographics.

  • R

    radical innovation

    Radical innovation refers to an invention that represents something new to the world. Radical innovations typically carry more risk, promise greater reward and are more disruptive than incremental innovations, which in general improve upon something that already exists.

  • rainmaker (business)

    A rainmaker is an individual who generates an unusually high amount of revenue for an organization by bringing new clients and new business to the company.

  • Reddit

    Reddit is a social news website and forum where content is socially curated and promoted by site members through voting.

  • repeatable process

    A repeatable process is a set of actions that allow for a more efficient use of limited resources and reduce unwanted variation during the development and implementation of various projects.

  • reshoring

    Reshoring is the practice of bringing outsourced personnel and services back to the location from which they were originally offshored. 

  • resource allocation

    Resource allocation is the process of assigning and managing assets in a manner that supports an organization's strategic goals.

  • retargeting

    Retargeting is a type of online advertising whereby companies focus on particular audience members for promotions based on users' prior Internet search history or site visits.

  • reverse mentoring

    Reverse mentoring is a management practice in which a senior employee seeks to gain business insights from a less experienced, often younger employee.

  • rightsourcing

    Rightsourcing is selecting the best way to procure a service and deciding whether a company is best served by performing a business requirement in-house (insourcing) or contracting it out to a third-part service provider (outsourcing).  Rightsourcing literally means "choosing the correct source."

  • risk assessment framework (RAF)

    A risk assessment framework (RAF) is a strategy for prioritizing and sharing information about the security risks to an information technology (IT) infrastructure.

  • Risk Management Framework (RMF)

    The Risk Management Framework (RMF) is a template and guideline used by companies to identify, eliminate and minimize risks.

  • risk management specialist

    A risk management specialist is a role appointed within organizations to identify potential risks that might negatively affect the business.

  • robotic process automation (RPA)

    Robotic process automation (RPA) is a technology that mimics the way humans interact with software to perform high-volume, repeatable tasks.

  • rogue IT

    Rogue IT is the use of unsanctioned information technology resources within an organization. 

  • ROI (return on investment)

    Return on investment, or ROI, is a mathematical formula that investors can use to evaluate their investments and judge how well a particular investment has performed compared to others.

  • S

    Sarbanes-Oxley Act

    The Sarbanes-Oxley Act of 2002 is a federal law that established sweeping auditing and financial regulations for public companies.

  • security audit

    A security audit is a systematic evaluation of the security of a company's information system by measuring how well it conforms to an established set of criteria.

  • selective outsourcing

    Selective outsourcing is a targeted sourcing strategy that relies upon sending very specific functions and work off-premises while keeping other functions on-premises.

  • servant leadership

    Servant leadership is a leadership philosophy built on the belief that the most effective leaders strive to serve others, rather than accrue power or take control.

  • shared services

    Shared services is the consolidation of business operations that are used by multiple parts of the same organization.  

  • sharing economy

    The sharing economy, also known as collaborative consumption or peer-to-peer-based sharing, is a concept that highlights the ability -- and perhaps the preference -- of individuals to rent or borrow goods rather than buy and own them.

  • Silicon Valley

    Silicon Valley is home to some of the world's largest technology corporations and thousands of technology-related startup companies.

  • SIPOC diagram (suppliers, inputs, process, outputs, customers)

    A SIPOC (suppliers, inputs, process, outputs, customers) diagram is a visual tool for documenting a business process from beginning to end prior to implementation.

  • situational leadership

    Situational leadership is based on the belief that there is no single way to direct people; successful leaders will adapt the way they lead to the needs and abilities of their employees.

  • Six Sigma

    Six Sigma is a business methodology for quality improvement that measures how many defects there are in a current process and seeks to systematically eliminate them.

  • SkunkWorks project (Skunk Works)

    A skunk works is a small group of people who work on a project that needs to be completed quickly. The group's purpose is to develop something quickly with minimal management constraints.

  • SMAC (social, mobile, analytics and cloud)

    SMAC (social, mobile, analytics and cloud) is the concept that the convergence of four technologies is currently driving business innovation.

  • smart machines

    A smart machine is a device embedded with machine-to-machine (M2M) and/or cognitive computing technologies such as artificial intelligence (AI), machine learning or deep learning, all of which it uses to reason, problem-solve, make decisions and even, ultimately, take action.

  • smart process applications (smart process apps)

    A smart process application is software that is designed to support an organization's business process management (BPM) efforts in a collaborative manner.

  • Social media management software (SMMS)

    Social media management software (SMMS) is a tool that allows organizations to monitor and analyze online conversations from different communication channels.

  • social network

    A social network, in technology parlance, is a website or other application where people, often of similar interests, come together to communicate with each other and share information including photos, videos, audio and written messages.

  • social shopping

    Social shopping is a type of e-commerce that seeks to involve people with similar tastes in an online shopping experience.

  • soft skills

    A soft skill is a personal attribute that supports situational awareness and enhances an individual's ability to get a job done. The term soft skills is often used as a synonym for people skills or emotional intelligence.

  • software license

    A software license is a document that provides legally binding guidelines for the use and distribution of software.

  • spoliation

    Spoliation is the destruction, alteration, or mutilation of evidence that may pertain to legal action. (Continued)

  • stakeholder

    A stakeholder is a person or group who has an interest -- vested or otherwise -- in an enterprise and whose support is required in order for an enterprise to be successful.

  • startup accelerator

    A startup accelerator, sometimes referred to as a seed accelerator, is a business program that supports early-stage, growth-driven companies through education, mentorship and financing.

  • startup company

    A startup company is a newly formed business with particular momentum behind it based on perceived demand for its product or service.

  • startup culture

    Startup culture refers to how people within a new business, or startup, work together.

  • steering committee

    A steering committee is a group of high-level advisors who have been appointed to provide an organization or project with direction.

  • strategic innovation

    Strategic innovation is a company's process of reinventing its corporate strategy to encourage growth, create value for the company and its customers, and gain competitive differentiation.

  • strategic leadership

    Strategic leadership is a practice in which executives, using different styles of management, develop a vision for their organization that enables it to adapt to or remain competitive in a changing economic and technological climate.

  • strategic management

    Strategic management is the ongoing planning, monitoring, analysis and assessment of all necessities an organization needs to meet its goals and objectives.

  • strategic planning

    Strategic planning is the process executives undertake in order to make thoughtful decisions about their organization’s mission, values and goals, and properly allocate resources to fulfill those directives.

  • sunk cost (SC)

    A sunk cost is money that has already been spent and cannot be recovered. Logic dictates that because sunk costs will not change -- no matter what actions are taken -- they should not play a role in decision-making. Emotionally, however, the more someone invests time, effort and money on something, the harder it becomes to leave it and move on.

  • Superdome

    Superdome is a high-end 64-bit, Hewlett-Packard (HP) PA-8600 processor-based UNIX server designed for e-commerce customers using very large databases.

  • sustainability risk management (SRM)

    Sustainability risk management (SRM) is a business strategy that aligns profit goals with a company's environmental policies.

  • SWOT analysis (strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats analysis)

    SWOT analysis is a framework for identifying and analyzing an organization's strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats -- which is what makes up the SWOT acronym.

  • synthetic data

    Synthetic data is information that's artificially manufactured rather than generated by real-world events.

  • systems of engagement

    Systems of engagement are decentralized IT components that incorporate communication technologies such as social media to encourage and enable peer interaction.

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