BPM, POS, CMS… Acronyms causing confusion

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By Linda Forrest

Working in the technology realm as we do, it is inevitable that we encounter many, many acronyms in our daily work. A quick scan of the blogosphere reveals that it’s a hot topic amongst technology marketers like Chris Hoskin and analysts alike.

There are so many acronyms in play and unfortunately a lot of them overlap. When you see CMS, do you think it means content management system, or contact management system, or code management system, or client music synthesis, or…

What about BPM? Coming from a musical background, I had always associated this particular acronym with beats per minute. How wrong I was. It can also mean business performance management, business process management, or business process modeling. POS could mean point of sale, point of service, or piece of… you get the idea.

When you come across these acronyms, are you willing to dig a little deeper to find out which definition makes sense? Or, if it isn’t immediately obvious which one the acronym pertains to, do you skip over it? More importantly, are your potential customers willing to go that extra step?

As consumers of information, I agree that we need a frame of reference (FOR?) in order to be able to categorize data so that we can compare and contrast it to other items in the same space, but as creative marketers, can we not at the very least come up with discrete acronyms so that we avoid the confusion of multiple definitions?

Sometimes it seems as though these acronyms are making things worse instead of better. In our particular field, we can come across an acronym on an editorial calendar that covers horizontal IT and need to go a few extra steps in order to find out which POS or CRM the editor is looking for perspective on. Why the tendency to utilize the short-form, leaving the door open for potential customers to become confused? If a customer is searching for a business performance management solution but does an online search for BPM vendors, will your company come up? Or will it be a mishmash of business process management and business performance management solution providers?

What steps can we take to more clearly communicate for what space we’re providing solutions and simultaneously make it easier for potential customers to find us online, without falling into the traps set by acronyms that have multiple meanings?

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