CIO Definitions

This glossary explains the meaning of key words and phrases that information technology (IT) and business professionals use when discussing CIO strategy and related software products. You can find additional definitions by visiting WhatIs.com or using the search box below.

  • M

    microtargeting

    Microtargeting is (also called micro-targeting or micro-niche targeting) is a marketing strategy that uses consumer data and demographics to identify individuals or small groups of like-minded individuals and influence their thoughts or actions.

  • mind-brain identity theory

    Mind-brain identity theory is a philosophy that purports the mind and brain are the same.

  • mPOS (mobile point of sale)

    An mPOS (mobile point-of-sale) is a smartphone, tablet or dedicated wireless device that performs the functions of a cash register or electronic point-of-sale terminal (POS terminal) wirelessly.

  • multisig (multisignature)

    Multisig, also referred to as multi-signature, describes the requirement of obtaining two or more signatures to authorize or execute a transaction. The term often refers to its application within Bitcoin cybercurrency and comparable electronic transactions.

  • multisourcing (multi-sourcing)

    Multisourcing (multi-sourcing) is an approach to outsourcing in which IT operations and technology infrastructure are contracted to a number of vendors, usually in combination with some internally provided elements of information technology.

  • N

    nearshore outsourcing

    Nearshore outsourcing is the practice of getting work done or services performed by people in neighboring countries rather than an organization's country.

  • newsfeed

    A news feed (newsfeed) is list of newly published content on a website. End users can receive push updates for new content on a site by subscribing to the site's news feed. 

  • O

    Office of Management and Budget (OMB)

    The Office of Management and Budget (OMB) is the business division of the Executive Office of the President of the United States that administers the United States federal budget and oversees the performance of federal agencies.

  • onshore outsourcing (domestic outsourcing)

    Onshore outsourcing, also known as domestic outsourcing, is the obtaining of services from someone outside a company but within the same country.

  • OODA loop

    The OODA loop (Observe, Orient, Decide, Act) is a four-step approach to decision-making that focuses on filtering available information, putting it in context and quickly making the most appropriate decision while also understanding that changes can be made as more data becomes available.

  • organizational change management (OCM)

    Organizational change management (OCM) is a framework for managing the effect of new business processes, changes in organizational structure or cultural changes within an enterprise. Simply put, OCM addresses the people side of change management.

  • organizational goals

    Organizational goals are strategic objectives that a company's management establishes to outline expected outcomes and guide employees' efforts.

  • outsourcing

    Outsourcing is a business practice in which a company hires a third-party to perform tasks, handle operations or provide services for the company.

  • P

    paternalistic leadership

    Paternalistic leadership is a managerial approach that involves a dominant authority figure who acts as a patriarch or matriarch and treats employees and partners as though they members of a large, extended family. Employees are listened to, but the leader makes the final decision.

  • PCAOB (Public Company Accounting Oversight Board)

    The Public Company Accounting Oversight Board (PCAOB) is a Congressionally-established nonprofit that assesses audits of public companies in the United States to protect investors' interests.

  • PICK chart (Possible, Implement, Challenge and Kill chart)

    A PICK chart (Possible, Implement, Challenge and Kill chart) is a visual tool for organizing ideas. The purpose of a PICK chart is to identify which ideas can be implemented easily and have a high payoff.

  • pilot program (pilot study)

    A pilot program, also called a feasibility study or experimental trial, is a small-scale experiment that helps an organization learn how a large-scale project might work in practice.

  • platform economy

    Platform economy is the tendency for commerce to increasingly move towards and favor digital platform business models.

  • PMO (project management office)

    A project management office (PMO) is a group, agency or department that defines and maintains the standards of project management for a company.

  • power user

    A power user, also called a super user, is someone whose computer skills are better than those of an organization's average end user. 

  • PPM (project and portfolio management)

    PPM (project and portfolio management) is a methodology used to prioritize IT projects based on cost, benefits and use of resources to achieve business goals.

  • prescriptive analytics

    Prescriptive analytics is a type of data analytics that provides guidance on what should happen next.

  • privacy compliance

    Privacy compliance is a company's accordance with established personal information protection guidelines, specifications or legislation.

  • process innovation

    Process innovation refers to a change in an existing operation or product that creates significant value for an organization.

  • procurement plan

    A procurement plan -- also called a procurement management plan -- is a document that justifies the need for an external supplier and explains how the process of finding a supplier will be performed.

  • product development (new product development -- NPD)

    Product development, also called new product management, is a series of steps that includes the conceptualization, design, development and marketing of newly created or newly rebranded goods or services.

  • project charter

    A project charter is a formal short document that states a project exists and provides project managers with written authority to begin work.

  • project management

    Project management is the discipline of using established principles, procedures and policies to successfully guide a project from conception through completion.

  • Project planning: What is it and 5 steps to create a plan

    Project planning is a discipline addressing how to complete a project in a certain timeframe, usually with defined stages and designated resources.

  • project post-mortem

    Project post-mortem is a process intended to inform project improvements by determining aspects that were successful or unsuccessful.

  • project scope

    Project scope is the part of project planning that involves determining and documenting a list of specific project goals, deliverables, tasks, costs and deadlines.

  • proof of concept (POC)

    A proof of concept (POC) is an exercise in which work is focused on determining whether an idea can be turned into a reality.

  • Prototyping Model

    The prototyping model is a systems development method in which a prototype is built, tested and then reworked as necessary until an acceptable outcome is achieved from which the complete system or product can be developed. table prototype is finally achieved.

  • public data

    Public data is information that can be freely used, reused and redistributed by anyone with no existing local, national or international legal restrictions on access or usage.

  • Q

    qualitative data

    Qualitative data is information that cannot be counted, measured or easily expressed using numbers. It is collected from text, audio and images and shared through data visualization tools, such as word clouds, concept maps, graph databases, timelines and infographics.

  • R

    radical innovation

    Radical innovation refers to an invention that represents something new to the world. Radical innovations typically carry more risk, promise greater reward and are more disruptive than incremental innovations, which in general improve upon something that already exists.

  • rainmaker (business)

    A rainmaker is an individual who generates an unusually high amount of revenue for an organization by bringing new clients and new business to the company.

  • Reddit

    Reddit is a social news website and forum where content is socially curated and promoted by site members through voting.

  • RegTech

    RegTech, or regulatory technology, is a term used to describe technology that is used to help streamline the process of regulatory compliance.

  • Regulation Fair Disclosure (Regulation FD or Reg FD)

    Regulation Fair Disclosure is a rule passed by the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission that aims to prevent selective disclosure of information by requiring publicly traded companies to make public disclosure of material, nonpublic information.

  • Regulation SCI (Regulation Systems Compliance and Integrity)

    Regulation SCI is a set of compliance rules designed by the SEC to monitor and regulate the technology infrastructure of U.S. securities markets.

  • regulatory compliance

    Regulatory compliance is an organization's adherence to laws, regulations, guidelines and specifications relevant to its business processes.

  • repeatable process

    A repeatable process is a set of actions that allow for a more efficient use of limited resources and reduce unwanted variation during the development and implementation of various projects.

  • reshoring

    Reshoring is the practice of bringing outsourced personnel and services back to the location from which they were originally offshored. 

  • resource allocation

    Resource allocation is the process of assigning and managing assets in a manner that supports an organization's strategic planning goals.

  • risk assessment framework (RAF)

    A risk assessment framework (RAF) is a strategy for prioritizing and sharing information about the security risks to an information technology (IT) infrastructure.

  • risk intelligence (RQ)

    Risk intelligence (RQ) is a term used to describe predictions made around uncertainties and future threat probabilities.

  • Risk Management Framework (RMF)

    The Risk Management Framework (RMF) is a template and guideline used by companies to identify, eliminate and minimize risks.

  • risk management specialist

    A risk management specialist is a role appointed within organizations to identify potential risks that might negatively affect the business.

  • robotic process automation (RPA)

    Robotic process automation (RPA) is a technology that mimics the way humans interact with software to perform high-volume, repeatable tasks.

  • rogue IT

    Rogue IT is the use of unsanctioned information technology resources within an organization. 

  • ROI (return on investment)

    Return on investment, or ROI, is a mathematical formula that investors can use to evaluate their investments and judge how well a particular investment has performed compared to others.

  • S

    Sarbanes-Oxley Act

    The Sarbanes-Oxley Act of 2002 is a federal law that established sweeping auditing and financial regulations for public companies.

  • Sarbanes-Oxley Act (SOX) Section 404

    Sarbanes-Oxley Act (SOX) Section 404 mandates that all publicly traded companies must establish internal controls and procedures for financial reporting and must document, test, and maintain those controls and procedures to ensure their effectiveness.

  • Securities and Exchange Act of 1934 (Exchange Act)

    The Securities and Exchange Act of 1934 (Exchange Act) is a law that governs secondary trading and stock exchanges.

  • security audit

    A security audit is a systematic evaluation of the security of a company's information system by measuring how well it conforms to an established set of criteria.

  • servant leadership

    Servant leadership is a leadership philosophy built on the belief that the most effective leaders strive to serve others, rather than accrue power or take control.

  • shared services

    Shared services is the consolidation of business operations that are used by multiple parts of the same organization.  

  • sharing economy

    The sharing economy, also known as collaborative consumption or peer-to-peer-based sharing, is a concept that highlights the ability -- and perhaps the preference -- of individuals to rent or borrow goods rather than buy and own them.

  • Silicon Valley

    Silicon Valley is home to some of the world's largest technology corporations and thousands of technology-related startup companies.

  • SIPOC diagram (suppliers, inputs, process, outputs, customers)

    A SIPOC (suppliers, inputs, process, outputs, customers) diagram is a visual tool for documenting a business process from beginning to end prior to implementation.

  • Six Sigma

    Six Sigma is a business methodology for quality improvement that measures how many defects there are in a current process and seeks to systematically eliminate them.

  • SkunkWorks project (Skunk Works)

    A skunk works is a small group of people who work on a project that needs to be completed quickly. The group's purpose is to develop something quickly with minimal management constraints.

  • SMAC (social, mobile, analytics and cloud)

    SMAC (social, mobile, analytics and cloud) is the concept that the convergence of four technologies is currently driving business innovation.

  • smart contract

    A smart contract is a decentralized application that executes business logic in response to events.

  • smart machines

    A smart machine is a device embedded with machine-to-machine (M2M) and/or cognitive computing technologies such as artificial intelligence (AI), machine learning or deep learning, all of which it uses to reason, problem-solve, make decisions and even, ultimately, take action.

  • Social media management software (SMMS)

    Social media management software (SMMS) is a tool that allows organizations to monitor and analyze online conversations from different communication channels.

  • social network

    A social network, in technology parlance, is a website or other application where people, often of similar interests, come together to communicate with each other and share information including photos, videos, audio and written messages.

  • soft skills

    A soft skill is a personal attribute that supports situational awareness and enhances an individual's ability to get a job done.

  • software license

    A software license is a document that provides legally binding guidelines for the use and distribution of software.

  • spatial computing

    Spatial computing broadly characterizes the processes and tools used to capture, process and interact with 3D data.

  • spoliation

    Spoliation is the destruction, alteration, or mutilation of evidence that may pertain to legal action. (Continued)

  • stakeholder

    A stakeholder is a person, group or organization with a vested interest, or stake, in the decision-making and activities of a business, organization or project.

  • startup accelerator

    A startup accelerator, sometimes referred to as a seed accelerator, is a business program that supports early-stage, growth-driven companies through education, mentorship and financing.

  • startup company

    A startup company is a newly formed business with particular momentum behind it based on perceived demand for its product or service.

  • startup culture

    Startup culture refers to how people within a new business, or startup, work together.

  • steering committee

    A steering committee is a group of high-level advisors who have been appointed to provide an organization or project with direction.

  • strategic innovation

    Strategic innovation is a company's process of reinventing its corporate strategy to encourage growth, create value for the company and its customers, and gain competitive differentiation.

  • strategic leadership

    Strategic leadership is a practice in which executives, using different styles of management, develop a vision for their organization that enables it to adapt to or remain competitive in a changing economic and technological climate.

  • strategic management

    Strategic management is the ongoing planning, monitoring, analysis and assessment of all necessities an organization needs to meet its goals and objectives.

  • strategic planning

    Strategic planning is a process in which an organization's leaders define their vision for the future and identify their organization's goals and objectives.

  • Superdome

    Superdome is a high-end 64-bit, Hewlett Packard Enterprise (HPE) PA-8600 processor-based UNIX server designed for e-commerce customers using very large databases.

  • sustainability risk management (SRM)

    Sustainability risk management (SRM) is a business strategy that aligns profit goals with a company's environmental policies.

  • SWOT analysis (strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats analysis)

    SWOT analysis is a framework for identifying and analyzing an organization's strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats.

  • synthetic data

    Synthetic data is information that's artificially manufactured rather than generated by real-world events.

  • systems of engagement

    Systems of engagement are decentralized IT components that incorporate technologies such as social media and the cloud to encourage and enable peer interaction.

  • systems thinking

    Systems thinking is a holistic approach to analysis that focuses on the way that a system's constituent parts interrelate and how systems work over time and within the context of larger systems.

  • T

    cyber threat hunter (cybersecurity threat analyst)

    A cyber threat hunter, also called a cybersecurity threat analyst, proactively identifies security incidents that may go undetected by automated security tools such as malware detectors and firewalls.

  • think tank

    A think tank is an organization that gathers a group of interdisciplinary scholars to perform research around particular policies, issues or ideas.

  • Total Quality Management (TQM)

    Total Quality Management is a management framework based on the belief that an organization can build long-term success by having all its members, from low-level workers to its highest ranking executives, focus on quality improvement and, thus, delivering customer satisfaction.

  • transaction

    In computer programming, a transaction usually means a sequence of information exchange and related work (such as database updating) that is treated as a unit for the purposes of satisfying a request and for ensuring database integrity.

  • transactional leadership

    Transactional leadership, also known as managerial leadership, is a leadership style where leaders rely on rewards and punishments to achieve optimal job performance from their subordinates.

  • transfer learning

    Transfer learning is the application of knowledge gained from completing one task to help solve a different, but related, problem.

  • transformational leadership

    Transformational leadership is a management philosophy that encourages and inspires employees to innovate and develop new ways to grow and improve the path to a company's future success.

  • U

    U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS)

    The U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) is a federal agency designed to protect the United States against threats.

  • user experience

    User experience (UX) design is the process and practice used to design and implement a product that will provide positive and relevant interactions with users.

  • What is user-generated content and why is it important?

    User-generated content (UGC) is published information that an unpaid contributor provides to a website.

  • V

    value chain

    A value chain is a concept describing the full chain of a business's activities in the creation of a product or service -- from the initial reception of materials all the way through its delivery to market, and everything in between.

  • value innovation

    Value innovation is the implementation of upgrades or new technologies designed to help a company differentiate its products or services while lowering costs.

  • value proposition

    A value proposition is a statement that clearly identifies the benefits a company's products and services will deliver to its customers.

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