Evolution of Business Computer Terminology
Information technology is a field completely submerged in confusing acronyms and jargon. What used to be known in the 60's as DP (Data Processing) or EDP (Electronic Data Processing) morphed into MIS (Management Information Systems) during the 70's and progressed to become known today as IT (Information Technology).
Similarly, the Computers themselves were inevitably split into size ranges which included Mainframes, Minicomputers and Microcomputers. Today, the modern computers are again reclassified into categories including Personal Computers, Workstations and Servers. These Servers won't bring you a pizza anytime soon, as their "Clients" are typically Windows based Personal Computers or Workstations. This shift becomes even more confusing when we understand that a personal computer or workstation class computer can often be used in the role of a server.
Business computer software terminology has also changed. We have now moved on from the older semi-recognisable terms which were used to describe software found in a typical businesses setting. Most people had some idea what was meant when reference was made to software for Manufacturing, Distribution, Point of Sale or Accounting. Things are very different today....
Todays hot (but confusing) terminology seems to be ERP (Enterprise Resource Planning). Most people believe this term had evolved from the manufacturing sector to replace and expand upon the earlier acronyms of MRP (Material Requirements Planning) and MRP2 (Manufacturing Resource Planning). Unfortunately we are starting to hear even more confusing terminology including ERP II (Open ERP Architecture of Components) and EAS (Enterprise Application Suite). Most employees and proprietors of small to medium sized businesses have never even heard any of these terms, let alone understand what they mean. It should come as no surprise to anyone that jargon obscures progress for us all. Unfortunately plain language and clarity has never been a strong suit when it comes to the marketing of computer based technology. If you really want to go to town with this stuff, take a look at SOA (Service Oriented Architecture), Cloud Computing and Virtualisation. Most of the people working within the computer technology industry have scant understanding of these terms.
JCS Business Software Solutions (A.K.A. ERP)
Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) attempts to integrate all data and processes of an organization into a single unified system. A typical ERP system will use many pieces of computer software and hardware to achieve this integration, although it is commonly expected that a single database will be used to store data for the various system modules. To qualify for consideration as an ERP system, a software offering must technically supply the functionality of at least two subsystems. An example of this would be Inventory Control and Financial Accounting. In practice the scope of a typical ERP software package is much broader.