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Software and Information Technology Glossary of Terms: A-C

Software & Information Technology Glossary of Terms

Business software and information technology are changing rapidly, and so is the terminology used by business professionals, software and IT professionals. For your reference, following is an alphabetical listing of terms that will be updated frequently for accuracy. Have a suggestion for a term? Please contact the Business Software Education Center via our website contact form.


Agile software development refers to a group of software development methodologies. These are based on iterative development, where the requirements and solutions are created through collaboration between self-organizing cross-functional teams.


Analytics has emerged as a catch-all term for a variety of different business intelligence (BI) - and application-related initiatives. For some, it is the process of analyzing information from a particular domain, such as website analytics. For others, it is applying the breadth of BI capabilities to a specific content area (for example, sales, service, supply chain). In particular, BI vendors use the “analytics” moniker to differentiate their products from the competition. Increasingly, “analytics” is used to describe statistical and mathematical data analysis that clusters, segments, scores and predicts what scenarios are most likely to happen. Whatever the use cases, “analytics” has moved deeper into the business vernacular. Analytics has garnered a burgeoning interest from business and IT professionals looking to exploit huge mounds of internally generated and externally available data.

Application Programming Interface (API)

An API is what helps different components of software work together so that they all seem to operate as a single software. Such interfaces are very common and help coordinate numerous “moving parts” to make a program or app easy to use.

Artificial Intelligence (AI)

Software that is capable of intelligent behavior. In creating intelligent software, this involves simulating a number of capabilities, including reasoning, learning, problem solving, perception, knowledge representation.

Artificial Intelligence Markup Language (AIML)

Artificial Intelligence Markup Language, is an XML dialect for creating natural language software agents. Augmented Reality (AR) – AR is the integration of digital information with the user’s environment in real time.

Back End

What you see when you click on a Web page is the front end. The back end is everything else behind the scenes of that page, like the content management system (CMS), web servers, databases or applications that make the page work. When developing your website, what is in the back end can have an effect on what search engines see.

Back Up

Computer programs used to perform a backup; they create supplementary exact copies of files, databases or entire computers.


The superior product or solution within a category of hardware or software.

Big Data

A phrase used to mean a massive volume of both structured and unstructured data that is so large it is difficult to process using traditional database and software techniques.


A blockchain is an expanding list of cryptographically signed, irrevocable transactional records shared by all participants in a network. Each record contains a time stamp and reference links to previous transactions. With this information, anyone with access rights can trace back a transactional event, at any point in its history, belonging to any participant. A blockchain is one architectural design of the broader concept of distributed ledgers.

Business Analytics

The combination of skills, technologies, applications and processes used by organizations to gain insight in to their business based on data and statistics to drive business planning.

Business Continuity/Business Continuity Planning (BCP)

An application or suite designed to make business continuity planning/business continuity management (BCP/BCM) processes, metrics and compliance more efficient and accurate.

Business Intelligence (BI) software

BI is the information a business collects about itself. This can include a very broad swath of data, which is why businesses often need business intelligence software. These programs let companies keep all their BI data in one place so that it is easier to access and analyze.

Business Process Automation (BPA)

A process of managing information, data and processes to reduce costs, resources and investment.

Business Process Outsourcing (BPO)

A generic term that involves hiring another company to take responsibility for a set of business activities or a single function.

Change Management

A systematic approach to dealing with the transition or transformation of an organization’s goals, processes or technologies.

Chief Information Officer (CIO)

A job title commonly given to the most senior executive in an enterprise who works with information technology and computer systems, in order to support enterprise goals.

Chief Technology Officer (CTO)

The individual within an organization who oversees the current technology and creates relevant policy.

Cloud backup

Data backed up in the cloud is transferred from a business to the data-storage provider’s servers over the Internet. Cloud backup, also called online backup, can be set up to occur automatically, making it a convenient data-storage option. It’s also an affordable service because it does not require the use of any additional hardware on the part of the business.

Cloud Computing

On-demand availability of computer system resources, especially data storage and computing power, without direct active management by the user.

Cloud Hosting

Companies that don’t lease servers may instead pay for data to be stored on virtual servers. These servers are said to be based in the cloud if they can be accessed only with an Internet connection. Businesses typically access cloud-based servers through software interfaces specific to their cloud-hosting service providers.

Cloud Management Platform (CMP)

A cloud management platform is a suite of integrated software tools that an enterprise can use to monitor and control cloud computing resources.

Cloud Security

A broad set of policies, technologies, applications, and controls utilized to protect virtualized IP, data, applications, services, and the associated infrastructure of cloud computing. Collaboration Tools – Broadly, collaboration includes file-sharing tools like Dropbox, to web-conferencing tools like Webex and GoToMeeting, to software and systems like Slack and Basecamp.

Content Management System (CMS)

Used to manage the content of a website. They usually include a Web-based publishing feature, which allows for editing and formatting of content without the use of a Web coding language, like HTML. Many CMS also feature one-to-one marketing tools that enable targeted advertising.

Corporate Performance Management (CPM)

Used to described the methodologies and processes that help you manage the success of an organization.

Crypto/Crypto Currency

A digital asset designed to work as a medium of exchange that uses strong cryptography to secure financial transactions, control the creation of additional units, and verify the transfer of assets.

Customer Experience (CX)

A customer management strategy that helps you decide what you have to do in order to deliver a remarkable customer experience across interactions, and measure the results to further improve your CX strategy.

Customer Relationship Management (CRM) software

Customer relationship management is the term used for the way a business collects and manages data about its clients. Companies use CRM software to keep track of all the information they collect on clients, such as service calls made, or previous products purchased. This helps businesses close future deals and grow relationships with customers.

Custom Software Development

Some businesses require tailor-made software for their daily operations. Instead of using mass-produced software packages, such businesses use programs created by software development companies or in-house software development groups.