I have been in hundreds of client presentations over the years; often, it was quite acceptable to not finish your 122-slide PowerPoint deck.  It was only 122 slides because we used acronyms in every other sentence.  Welcome to the ‘Industry of Acronyms’.  Yes, I am talking about the IT industry (including the ITES, BPO, BPM, KPO sectors).

One such presentation I attended not too long back went as follows.  The BDM starts off thanking the client for inclusion in the RFI and RFP process.  Then he proceeds to introduce the executives with their abbreviated names – NSR, MRN and BMK.  The fourth person self- introduced himself and had this exchange:

Team member: Hi, I am SPM and I have 7 years’ experience in the BFSI sector.

Client:  You mean you are a Senior Project Manager.

Team member: No, that’s my name – Singanlluru Puttaswamayya Mutthukrishna, SPM for short.  I am the TA (Technical Architect) on this project.  And this to my right is Thirunavalur Ananthagoparaju, TA for short.  He will be the SPM on the project.

One client member ventured to pronounce the name; he quickly gave up after butchering the name, and said, “Well, we’ll call you SPM”.  Laughs ensued, ice was broken, and the Presentation of Acronyms had just gotten off to a great start.

This was no different from other presentations.  During the presentation, the presenter would go on to present the company credentials i.e. they were are an SEI CMM Level 5, and also ISO certified, and that they follow ITIL processes, and had partnerships with AWS and SFDC.

And of course, like most of the Service Providers worth the paper the slides are printed on, they had colorful logos of clients like GE, JPMC, BofA, MS or EMC.

One of the presenters belonged to the IMS Practice, and appeared knowledgeable talking about VDI and ITSM.  One belonged to the ES practice, and positioned the company’s ERP or SAP credentials, and the Cloud VP waxed eloquent about IaaS, PaaS, and SaaS.

Through the course of the presentation, they laboriously detailed out the KT process, and showed nice glossy pictures of the ODC, OMC, GDC or RMC.  Some talked about the GDM approach to SDLC.

It really does not matter whether the SME in these presentations was talking about delivering an HRMS, SCM, CRM or an RFID solution.  If the client asked him/her about Service Levels, the standard response was that they did not have enough data in order to list out SLAs and give an FP proposal.  The options were to undertake a DD, or alternatively execute a T&M SoW post negotiating the Ts and Cs of an MSA.

Over the years, the acronyms have also progressively gotten longer.  Obviously – since we have run through all the two and three letter combinations.  For example, it is not uncommon to hear about SEICMMI or ITILV3.

After sitting through countless presentations, one also realizes that they all sound the same.

“Once again, which company are you from ?”  It doesn’t matter.  You could be from IBM, TCS, HP or HCL.  By the way, these companies, which once had descriptive names have reduced their names down to acronyms.

Going by this trend, it will not be long before we hear an entire Corporate presentation delivered only with acronyms, to describe who you are, what you do and how you do it.  I am preparing for the day when I could just say, “I M BRP N V R … …ABCDEFGHIJKLMNOPQRSTUVWXYZ”, and everyone listening would immediately know that I meant, ” I aM Balakrishnan Ramaswamy Palamadai aNd we(V) aRe… …A Best-in-class Company Delivering (to) Enterprises, Fortune 1000 (and) Global 2000 Holistic IT (services) Judiciously (and) Knowledgeably Leveraging Managed Next-generation Offshore Processes, Quality Resources & Smart Technology, Uncovering Value, Working eXceptionally Yet Zealously”.

Please note: This is a work of fiction. Names, characters, places and incidents either are products of the author’s imagination or are used fictitiously to make a point. Any resemblance to actual events or locales or persons, is entirely coincidental.

Acronyms used:

ITES – IT Enabled Services

BPO – Business Process Outsourcing

BPM – Business Process Management

KPO – Knowledge Process Outsourcing

RFI – Request for Information

RFP– Request for Proposal

BDM – Business Development Manager

BFSI – Banking, Financial Services & Insurance

SPM – Senior Project Manager

TA — Technical Architect

SEI CMM – Software Engineering Institute Capability Maturity Model

ISO — International Standards Organization

ITIL – Information Technology Infrastructure Library

AWS — Amazon Web Services

SFDC — Salesforce.com

GE – General Electric

JPMC – JPMorgan Chase

BofA – Bank of America

MS — Microsoft

EMC — EMC

IMS – Infrastructure Management Services

VDI – Virtual Desktop Infrastructure

ITSM – IT Service Management

ES – Enterprise Solutions

ERP –Enterprise Resource Planning

SAP — SAP

IaaS — Infrastructure as a Service

PaaS — Platform as a Service

SaaS — Software as a Service.

KT – Knowledge Transfer

ODC – Offshore Development Center

OMC – Operations Management Center

GDC  — Global Delivery Center

RMC – Remote Management Center

GDM – Global Delivery Model

SDLC –Software Development Lifecycle

HRMS – Human Resource Management System

SCM – Supply Chain Management

CRM – Customer Relationship Management

RFID – Radio Frequency Identification

SLA – Service Level Agreement

SME – Subject Matter Expert

FP – Fixed Price

DD – Due Diligence

T&M — Time & Material

SoW — Statement of Work

Ts & Cs — Terms & Conditions

MSA — Master Services Agreement

SEI CMMI – Software Engineering Institute Capability Maturity Model Integration

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2 COMMENTS

  1. Don’t we all just love TLAs(Three letter acronyms) in the IT industry. As if, the multitude of technologies and the pace of change were not sufficient to intimidate a newcomer into the field, we throw in some more fun with cryptic, code-like language with our acronyms. May be we will need a software interpreter soon for decoding them on the fly. I can see google glasses doing that. Did I just give google another great idea.

    So I thought only IT industry had a monopoly over abbreviations until I met the mighty US Army along the way. The first year of being an Army spouse, I think I had a much harder time understanding their lingua franca than dealing with my hubby’ overseas deployment. I was welcomed to the Army fold with the following questions

    a) Are you PCS ing ?? PCS- Permanent Change of Address
    b) Have you enrolled into DEERS (Defense Enrollment Eligibility Reporting System)
    c) What’s your husband’ MOS (Military Occupation Specialty)
    d) You will need to apply for your Military ID at the PX(Post Exchange)
    e) The BAH(Basic Allowance for Housing) and COLA(Cost of Living Adjustment) for Germany is XYZ Euros
    f) Join us for an FRG(Family Readiness Group) meeting
    g) Is your husband a part of 18th ENG BDE (Engineer Brigade)

    ..
    …The list goes on but the point is, we are more than surpassed by the military in use of code language. Wait a sec!!! Shouldn’t that be no surprise. Isn’t that how they have to communicate? May be I’ve traced the origins of acronyms almost accidentally.

    Coming back to IT industry jargon. I’m reminded of my conversation with my colleague
    Colleague: Did you see the new MOM ?
    Me: There is a new mom at work. Good for her, Congrats.
    He sighed and said, “No, not that MOM”.
    Me: Oh, I get it now. I dont see Minutes of Meeting. Its a waste of time
    Colleague: I was referring to IBM’ new Message-Oriented-Middleware

    Chuckle…Chuckle…Chuckle

    BFN…TC…Ciao

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