E-Commentary -- Welcome To Technospeak!

What can technology do for you? The answer may confuse you.

Computer manufacturers use it. Software companies thrive on it. Information technology consultants swim in it. Most industrial folks' eyes glaze over like a blurred windshield when they hear it. The "it," in this case, is technospeak. More than mere jargon or stray acronyms, technospeak consists of an entire lexicon of technologically obscure terms and often-meaningless phrases. This stuff gets thrown about the heads of manufacturers like so much confetti at a high school football game. "Workflow and alerts extend human consciousness enabling new models of business intelligence to drive portfolio management performance," Oracle Corp. states on www.oracle.com. Pretty cheeky, huh? After all, no one in human history has been able to extend human consciousness, except maybe Plato. "The fundamentals of IT -- reliability, availability, security and manageability -- remain crucial but, as you work to ensure the cost-effective stability of your environment, you also need it to be flexible enough to meet changing needs and to generate rapid results," says Hewlett-Packard Co. on www.hp.com. Translation: if you're still using an IBM Selectric to fill out those shipping labels, you better wake up, smell the silicon, and buy a new personal computer from HP. "Our Enterprise Application Platform Services can quickly and cost-efficiently help you target and address a wide range of challenges, including massive scaling for user loads, integrating legacy environments, and improving security, as well as platform migration, installation, upgrades, benchmarking, and tuning, even on complex vertical platform stacks." In this item from the Sun Microsystems' Web site, "platform stacks" is a nice touch. "Intel contributes leadership for open standards-based modular communications platforms, the logical interconnect technology -- PCI Express -- to leverage trends in convergence and modularity and other key technologies in Communications." And why shouldn't a maker of tiny chips be brief? "As we roll out the first phase of this vision," states Cisco Systems on www.cisco.com, "the goal is to help companies achieve their business objectives and to underscore the exponential value realized when the network is implemented as a system." Don't you just love the claims of exponential or "order of magnitude" gains? "SAP solutions for mobile business are powered by SAP Mobile Infrastructure, a component of SAP NetWeaver, the open integration and application platform that drives lower cost of ownership across heterogeneous IT landscapes and enables business change." This gem comes courtesy of www.sap.com. "IBM's participation in the Cisco Network Admission Control program will extend its capability to automatically examine system and application credentials and provide more effective remediation strategies for non-compliant endpoints that could otherwise pose a security threat to business." Big Blue is not to be outdone by anybody. Consultants can technospeak with the best. "At the same time, a base of connected infrastructure is required and must adapt consistent with evolving tiers of differentiating requirements," states McKinsey & Company in an article appearing on www.cisco.com. Technospeak also is catching on in the media. "Businesses are seeking IT solutions that address critical requirements that will help them gain a competitive position and realize operational improvements," states an article in one nerdy magazine. Translation: Businesses want to use technology to be more efficient. Doug Bartholomew is a former IndustryWeek Senior Technology Editor. He is based in San Francisco.

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