Software Selection Glossary

The enterprise software world is full of acronyms, terms, and jargon. This page explains the meaning of those items you might find when evaluating and selecting software.

Acronym or Term Explanation
3PL Third-party Logistics (see Wikipedia)


Acceptance Testing Also called "Customer Acceptance Testing". See User Acceptance Testing (UAT).
AI Artificial Intelligence
ALM Application Lifecycle Management. Examples: Arena ALM.
API Application Program Interface. A way for one application to communicate with another application. Common with cloud applications.
APM Application Performance Management
APM Application Portfolio Management (see Wikipedia). Typically used in mid to large size IT organizations, APM software measures the financial benefits of each application in comparison to the costs of the application's maintenance and operations. This information is used to decide which applications to invest in, upgrade or retire.
App Short for “software application”
ATS Applicant Tracking System. Used by HR departments to recruit candidates for jobs.


BI Business Intelligence and analytics software. Examples: Birst, Domo, Looker, Qlik, Sisense, Tableau.
BPM Business Process Management. Examples: BP LogixSoftExpert BPM


CAD Computer Aided Design. Examples: AutoCAD, Solidworks, OrCAD
CAD Computer-Assisted Dispatch. Used by cities to dispatch emergency services like police, fire etc.
CCP Content Collaboration Platforms (previously called EFSS). Examples: Box and Dropbox. See Gartner peer insights.
Change order A change to the project scope that increases costs to the software purchaser. Usually takes the form of a change to the implementation contract.
CLM Customer Lifecycle Management
CLM Contract Lifecycle Management
CMMS Computerized Maintenance Management System
CMS Content Management System
Configuration The practice of setting initial values and parameters in software so that it can be used. This ranges from things like setting up charts of accounts in an ERP system down to placing a company logo on invoices. Note that configuration settings usually survive upgrades to new versions of the software.
COTS Commercial Off-The-Shelf software. Standard software that is sold by a vendor to multiple customers without any customization. 
CPM Corporate Performance Management. Examples: SoftExpert CPM
CPQ Configure, Price, Quote
CRM Customer Relationship Management. Software designed to help salespeople manage the relationship with their customers, for example, scheduling follow up calls etc.
CSS Cascading Style Sheets. A type of code used to control the layout of a web page in a browser.
CTMS Clinical Trials Management System
CTSM Customer Ticket Service Management. Also known as helpdesk or service desk software.
Customization The practice of editing the source code of a software product to make it conform to the needs of the organization. Customization requires access to the source code and underlying tables, which is why it is limited to COTS or open-source software. The chief problem with customizing software is that those changes must be redone if the software is upgraded to the latest version.


DBMS Database Management System
Denormalized data The same data existing in more than one place, for example, the same customer data repeated in the CRM, accounts payable and customer support systems. In practice, it is impossible to keep this data in sync manually.
Decision latency The time needed for a decision to be made. For example, if an implementation consultant has a question about how to implement a particular software feature, the decision latency is how long it takes to get the answer to that question. In large implementations with poor requirements, the decision latency can cause the implementation project to exceed schedule and budget by a large margin.
DMS Document Management System (Also EDMS)
DOM Distributed Order Management


EAM Enterprise Asset Management. Examples: SoftExpert EAM
ECM Enterprise Content Management. Examples: SoftExpert ECM
EDC Electronic Data Capture
EDI Electronic Data Interchange
EDM Enterprise Data Management
EDMS Electronic Document Management System (Also DMS)
EFSS Enterprise File Synchronization and Sharing services (See CCP: Content Collaboration Platforms) 
EHR Electronic Health Records
EHSM Environmental Health and Safety Management. Examples: SoftExpert EHSM
EMM Enterprise Mobile Management
EMR Electronic Medical Records
EMS Emergency Management System
EMS Emergency Medical System
EMS Energy Management System
EPM Enterprise Performance Management
ERM Enterprise Portfolio Management. Examples: SoftExpert ERM
ERM Enterprise Risk Management
EQM Enterprise Quality Management. Examples: SoftExpert EQM
ERP Enterprise Resource Planning. Software designed to manage all aspects of a business. Originally, ERP started in manufacturing where it managed the product orders to delivery cycle and the financial side of the business. ERP has grown to include things like HRIS, CRM  and time tracking. Today ERP is used by many industries other than manufacturing.
ETL Extract, Transform, Load
eTMF Electronic Trial Master File


Fit score A number that estimates how well a software product meets a particular set of requirements. Usually, this number is normalized so that 100 percent would mean that a product fully met every requirement.


Gap analysis The process of measuring how well potential software products meet a specific set of requirements.
GRC Governance, Risk and Compliance Management. Example: SoftExpert GRC


HCM Human Capital Management
HDM Human Development Management. Examples: SoftExpert HDM
HRIS Human Resources Information System
HRMS Human Resources Management System
HTML A form of code used to create web pages in browsers.


IAM Identity and Access Management
IP Intellectual Property. For example, copyrights, patents etc.
ITSM Information Technology Service Management. Examples: SoftExpert ITSM


Legacy software Software that has been used for many years, is outdated, uses old methods or technology, and may need replacement.
LIMS Laboratory Information Management System
LMS Learning Management System


MDM Master Data Management
MMIS Medicaid Management Information System
MRP Materials Requirements Planning


NDA Non-Disclosure Agreement
NPD New Product Development


Operational life The time that the software is used in production after implementation and before retirement. For software like  ERP, you can expect an operational life of at least 10 years. For other major software purchases, you can expect at least 5 years.
OS Operating system. For example iOS, Android, or Windows.
Out-of-the-box An out-of-the-box feature or functionality (also called OOTB) is a feature or functionality of a software product that works immediately after installation without the need for any configuration or modification. 


PaaS Platform-as-a-Service
PIM Product Information Management
PLM Product Lifecycle Management. Examples: SoftExpert PLM
PMS Patient Management Software
PMS Project Management Software
POS Point of Sale
PPM Project and Portfolio Management. Examples: SoftExpert PPM
Product appraisal rating A measure of how well a software product meets a requirement, e.g. “fully meets” or “partly meets” etc. Sometimes abbreviated to “product rating.”
PSA Professional Services Automation


QMS Quality Management System. Examples: Arena QMS.


Reality distortion field The ability of a charismatic salesperson to influence a potential client. (See Wikipedia )
Reverse engineering The process of examining the features of multiple potential software products and writing them as requirements.
Requirements profile A comprehensive list of requirements that have been weighted for importance to the organization.
RFB Request For Bid
RFI Request For Information. In the context of selecting enterprise software, an RFI is used to assess how well a software product meets requirements.
RFI response An RFI where a vendor has evaluated how well their software meets the requirements on that RFI.
RFP Request For Proposal
RFQ Request For Quote
RFx Request For something: information, proposal, quote, bid etc.
ROA Return On Assets
ROI Return On Investment
RTIM Real-Time Interaction Management


SaaS Software-as-a-Service. Another name for software in the cloud.
SAM Software Asset Management
SCM Supply Chain Management
Sandbox account A user account set up to allow a potential customer to examine a software product in detail. This is quite common with cloud software products.
Seat A software license for one person
SFA Sales Force Automation
SIEM Security Information and Event Management
SME Subject Matter Expert. A person well versed in the type of software being considered, and the business domain in which that software operates. Typically, this person will have been through several implementations of different software products that involve their area of expertise. A key role for the subject matter expert is to help the organization think through scenarios they might not otherwise consider when weighting requirements.
Software agreement The same as a software contract.
Software application Another name for a software product.  May be abbreviated to “app”.
SOP Standard Operating Procedure
SSMS Software Selection Maturity Scale. A measure of software evaluation and selection process maturity.


TAMS Track Access Management System
TCO Total Cost of Ownership. The total cost of software to an organization, the TCO includes the costs of the software licenses, implementation, operation, and retirement.
Technical debt Updating software takes time and money. When many updates to a software product are skipped, the costs of doing an upgrade to the latest version of that product will be substantially higher. That extra cost is called the technical debt. 
TMS Transportation Management System
Traceability matrix A document that can trace all requirements back to who wants them, why they are wanted and how important they are to those people.


UI User Interface
UAT User Acceptance Testing. The last set of tests before going live with the software. Here the users verify that the software can handle the required tasks they need to do their jobs. Sometimes called Customer Acceptance Testing.


VM Virtual Machine
VMS Vendor Management System. An application (usually on the web) used to manage and procure staffing services like temps, contingent labor, and outside contractors.
VNA Vendor Neutral Archive
VoIP Voice-over-IP. A form of telephony that uses the internet instead of dedicated phone circuits.


WCM Web Content Management
WCS Warehouse Control System
WEM Workforce Engagement Management
WMS Warehouse Management System. Examples: Highjump WMS