by Mindy Blodgett

Communicating IT Value: How to Translate Geek Speak

Jan 01, 20023 mins
IT Leadership

You’ve probably said something like it 20 times a day while bantering with your IT colleagues: “Let’s take this ERP discussion offline with Chuck, who can penetrate the FUD on this.” This makes perfect sense to your network manager, but your CFO will be baffled. As you prepare to do battle with that same CFO over your budget, being clear and concise is more important than ever.

So the next time you’re in the boardroom trying to sell upper management on a plan to migrate away from your company’s legacy systems, don’t speak geek. Instead, speak the language of business. Here’s a guide to help you translate some examples of techy talk into the kind of lingo any CFO (or CEO) can understand.

“We’ll need to kludge around a bit to fix that bug in the system.”

Translation: “We’re going to avoid some computer problems by working around them.”

“This will give us a multitier architecture that’s low maintenance, flexible and robust.”

Translation: “The technology is useful, cheap and it won’t break.”

“We have very scarce PC real estate.”

Translation: “We don’t have room on this computer for all those nutty programs you want to add.”

“Version 5.1432 of Acme Technology’s new suite of integrated KM, CRM and ERP wireless tools suffers from software bloat.”

Translation: “This software contains more features than we’d ever need, and it’s too complicated to run.”

“The vendor is gonking when he tells you the software will instantly give us a robust SFA system.”

Translation: “They’re lying. That sales-force automation product doesn’t work.”

“We’ve got to get rid of this meatloaf.”

Translation: “We’re going to install a system to block the jokes, pyramid messages and other useless e-mail.”

“I realize that this m-commerce software has a lot of object value.”

Translation: “I know you really want this wireless e-commerce technology, but let’s figure out what it does before we buy it.”

“I can leverage that inventory-management module across multiple channels.”

Translation: “I can track inventory online and in our stores.”

“That consultant thinks he’s a member of the digerati.”

Translation: “That guy says he knows something about computers and the Web, but he’s clueless.”

“Promising to install an ERP system in two weeks was a real CLM.”

Translation: “Now that I’ve deep-sixed my career, what kind of severance package do you think I can get?”