Wednesday, April 13, 2011

What's in a name?

Every now and then I hear that we are supposed to speak in the language of the business. In principle I agree to that, after all it's about communication and since we are the service provider and the business is the customer we have to fall back on the taxonomy they are using. But that's about it, don't exaggerate.

Take for example the service catalog, why would you refer to "E-Mail" as "Messaging Service" or "SAP" as "Enterprise Resource Planning" when for the past decade the customer has gotten used to these terms and is more confused by us trying to impose a perceived business language on them. My guess is that the user is perfectly OK with "Primavera" and probably confused if you suddenly start referring to it as "Enterprise Project Management". Maybe you can use those business terms in categorization, grouping etc. or in the service description but not necessarily in the service name if it's deviating from what business is really using on daily basis. 

The point is that we are not on a crusade to stomp out technical jargon if it's perfectly well understood and used by the business. IT is no longer alien and it's an integral part of everyday life. OMG and LOL are to be included in the the Oxford English Dictionary, the times have changed.

Don't loose focus of what the services are offering but don't necessarily brand them forcefully with supposedly business friendly terms.

And while we are talking about names, what were they smoking when they came up with "IT Infrastructure Library"? It's such a lousy name, it has no meaning at all. Every now and then I catch myself talking and referring to ITIL as if it were something self contained (that's the best word I could come up with to describe it). The goal of improved Service Management becomes an after thought and that stupid (forgive my 5 year old choice of words) ITIL moniker abstracts it and doesn't help.