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.

  • I

    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 computer server used to facilitate interaction between diverse operating systems and applications across internal and external networked computer systems.

  • intelligent agent

    On the Internet, an intelligent agent (or simply an agent) is a program that gathers information or performs some other service without your immediate presence and on some regular schedule.

  • 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.

  • intermediary

    In general, an intermediary is a person or service that is involved as a third party between two or more end points in a communication or transaction.

  • Internet Advertising Bureau (IAB)

    The IAB (Internet Advertising Bureau) is an organization that fosters the growth of advertising on the Internet.

  • intrapreneur (intrapreneurship)

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

  • IPO (initial public offering)

  • ISBN (International Standard Book Number)

    The ISBN (International Standard Book Number) is a unique number assigned to a book title by its publisher for tracking and ordering purposes.

  • ISO 20000

    ISO 20000 is a global standard that describes the requirements for an information technology service management (ISM) system. While ISO 20000 was developed to mirror the best practices described within the IT Infrastructure Library (ITIL)...(Continued)

  • 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 business transformation

    IT business transformation is a thorough or dramatic change in the business processes and technologies a company employs to reach important business goals.

  • 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 technology 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 technical knowledge an employer needs to meet business objectives and the capabilities of the organization's employees.

  • 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.

  • ITAA (Information Technology Association of America)

    The ITAA (Information Technology Association of America) is a trade organization of corporations involved with all aspects of information technology.

  • 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).

  • ITSO (International Technical Support Organization)

    ITSO (International Technical Support Organization), a creation of IBM and its Lotus and Tivoli subsidiaries, provides information technology (IT) professionals and customers with technical information, assistance, guidance, and training.

  • 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. 

  • kludge

    In information technology, a kludge (pronounced KLOOdzh) is an awkward or clumsy (but at least temporarily effective) solution to a programming or hardware design or implementation problem.

  • 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.

  • 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 Guide: ROI

    Discover more about return on investment, including how to calculate ROI, in this learning guide.

  • 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.

  • mbox

    The most common format for storing e-mail messages on a hard drive is the mbox format, in which all the messages for each mailbox are stored as a single, long, text file.

  • 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) is any type of payment structure in which a customer has access to potentially unlimited resources but only pays for what they actually use.

  • Microsoft Dynamics AX (Microsoft Axapta)

    Microsoft Dynamics AX is a multi-language, multi-currency, industry-specific global enterprise resource planning (ERP) software product.

  • 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.

  • migration

    In information technology (IT), migration is the process of moving from the use of one operating environment to another operating environment that is, in most cases, thought to be a better one.

  • 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

    Napster

    Napster is a controversial application that allows people to share music over the Internet without having to purchase their own copy on CD. After downloading Napster, a user can get access to music recorded in the MP3 format from other users who are online at the same time.

  • nearshore outsourcing

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

  • net metering

    Net metering is a utility resource usage and payment scheme in which a customer who generates their own power is compensated monetarily.

  • NetRexx

    NetRexx, a programming language designed to be easier to learn and use than Java, combines the syntax of the Rexx language and the semantics of Java.

  • 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

    ODMA (Open Document Management API or Application Program Interface)

    ODMA (Open Document Management API or Application Program Interface) is an industry standard interface for managing documents that allows users to store, retrieve, and share them with security and version control.

  • offshore outsourcing

    Offshore outsourcing, a type of business process outsourcing (BPO), is the exporting of IT-related work from the United States and other developed countries to areas of the world where there is both political stability and lower labor costs or tax savings.

  • 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.

  • Open Buying on the Internet (OBI)

    OBI (Open Buying on the Internet) is a proposed standard for business-to-business purchasing on the Internet, aimed particularly at high-volume, low-cost-per-item transactions.

  • 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.

  • out of the box

    "Out of the box" is an expression that describes nonconformal, creative thinking.

  • 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.

  • Outsourcing: Glossary

    This is a glossary of terms related both to offshore outsourcing and outsourcing in general.

  • 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.

  • portal software

    Portal software is a type of development tool used to create a portal (starting point) on a company's intranet so that employees can find a centralized starting place for access to consolidated enterprise-related functions, such as e-mail, customer relationship management (CRM) tools, company information, workgroup systems, and other applications.

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