Yes, it’s true. Those of us in managed IT support have our own language and we love to use it…and it can be confusing. Remember when “On” and “Off” become “Power Up” and “Power Down”? So here are some buzzwords that have become popular over the past few years with(we hope) explanations. Note that we have included basic information to help you in general conversation. In every case, however, we have included links to resources that provide in-depth explanations should you care to dig a little deeper:
1: _____as a Service (XaaS). First of all, the “X” is just a placeholder for things like SaaS (Software as a Service), or IaaS (Infrastructure as a Service), and PaaS (Platform as a Service)…they go on and on. These terms reflect the cloud based services that many companies today are taking advantage of. For example: IaaS – Infrastructure as a Service – simply means that instead of having your own IT infrastructure on your premises, you are using the cloud based infrastructure of a service provider, such an an IT support company, and for that service, you are paying a monthly fee. Of course, this eliminates the need for you to have expensive equipment, which must be serviced, monitored and updated.
2: Actionable Analytics: There is sooo much data available today and with the use of digital technology, businesses are gathering more and more. Not all of this data is useful. In fact, most of the time, only a small percentage of this data can actually be translated into valuable information in terms of improving your business. The portion that can be useful, and thereby can be put into action, is called “actionable data”, or “actionable intelligence”, or “actionable insight”.
3: Artificial Intelligence (AI): Forget Terminator or The Matrix. That’s not what real Artificial Intelligence is all about. What it really is, in reality, is the use of computers that can process a vast amount of data coming from many sources and actually making inferences about what it all means, then using that information to grow your business. Pretty cool. This includes things such as speech recognition, problem solving and planning. The computers “learn” as they accumulate more data.
4: Blockchain Technology: We’re going to give you a simple explanation of what can be a rather complicated, though ingenious, concept. Blockchain started as a method of controlling virtual currencies such as Bitcoin, but has grown to encompass many other areas. It provides for encrypted and secure logs of changes made to all types of files. Say you have a Google document that requires changes by numerous people in numerous locations. Every edit made by every person is recorded and encrypted in a separate log that cannot be changed. For things such as legal or medical records, it means that no one can ever go back into a file and change its history.
5: Chatbots: These clever pieces of software are able to translate in real time conversations that are either spoken or written (typed). You can actually have a virtual meeting with someone who speaks a language completely different than your own and have the chatbot translate for you. But simple translations are only the beginning. Chatbot’s versatility has grown to make them valuable for many other uses.
That’s it for now. Stay tuned tomorrow for Part II.