With technology jargon constantly changing, professionals are struggling to gain a proper understanding of the technologies they need to embrace, to shape the future of their businesses, it has been found.
In a study conducted by US-based Epicor Software Corporation, a worrying lack of understanding around industry terminology was identified.
One-in-five business leaders admitted they had heard of, but were not familiar with, common technology terms such as big data (22 percent) and cloud software-as-a-service (22 percent).
This is despite the fact that many technologists have moved on from talking about these as trends years ago, and are now exploring the strategic use of innovative technologies such as artificial intelligence (AI), digital twins, and conversational systems.
While ‘applied AI and advanced machine learning’ and ‘intelligent things’ are among technology trends for 2017, the Epicor research suggests users are even less comfortable with these terms than cloud and big data.
Around one-in-three respondents admitted they are unfamiliar with the Internet of Things (29 percent), 3D printing (32 percent), and machine learning (34 percent), and many had never heard of these innovations at all.
A prolific amount of jargon in the fast-changing technology world might account for the fact that so many business professionals are unfamiliar with the key innovations affecting their sector, as they happen, despite recognising the important role technology has to play in business.
Although they find the jargon baffling, business professionals do recognise the importance of technology investments for driving the growth of their businesses.
The same research found that 88 percent of fast-growing businesses consider IT investment to be a high priority, compared to just 41 percent of businesses experiencing weak growth.
In addition, half (47 percent) agree that IT will help their organisations overcome future challenges in the market, work more efficiently (38 percent), and plan better (33 percent).
“It appears that many businesses are convinced of the importance of technology investments—and many are reaping the rewards. Yet some are not fully aware of the latest technologies available to them, and it’s possible that the complex terminology and fast-changing landscape could be factors here,” said Celia Fleischaker, Executive Vice President and Chief Marketing Officer at Epicor Software.
“This is concerning because if business leaders cannot tell their AI from their IoT, or see the potential of a smart and connected factory, they may hold back from investing in the latest technologies. Businesses are tired of being baffled by buzzwords and jargon and we believe that it is time vendors and the technology community did more to engage with distributors, manufacturers or retailers in their own language.
“Talking about the business benefits that new technology can bring will help organisations to make critical decisions for the future.”