The Lexicon of CRM - Part 2: From J to Q

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The Lexicon of CRM

Part 2: From J to Q
R. Garland - October 19, 2001

The Lexicon is divided into three parts, this being the second of three. This second section covers the alphabet from J to Q. For A to I, see Part One.

J2ME - Java 2 Micro Edition. A highly optimized Java runtime environment targeting a wide range of consumer products, including pagers, cellular phones, digital set-top boxes, and car navigation systems.

JDBC - Java Database Connectivity. JDBC technology is an API that lets you access virtually any tabular data source from the Java programming language. It provides cross-DBMS connectivity to a wide range of SQL databases. There is also a new JDBC API, which provides access to other tabular data sources, such as spreadsheets or flat files.


Kbps - Kilobits per second. Note that Kbps is NOT the same as KB (Kilobytes). There are 8 bits per kilobyte. Hence, for example, if you have a 56 Kbps modem, it actually transmits 56/8 = 7 KB per second, maximum. This is often a source of confusion when users are downloading software from the Internet, and they see download rates of less than 7KB. 4KB, which is equal to 32 Kbps, is a typical, actual download speed.

Knowledgebase - A database that is stocked with information that has been reviewed by technical staff, with notes added, to make the information within it true "knowledge." Knowledgebases are often accessible by customers via the web, and may contain such items as Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs), known bugs, answers to previously asked questions, white papers, and the like. Used intelligently, a knowledgebase can be a time saver for both users and Customer Support Representatives alike.


LDAP - Lightweight Directory Access Protocol. LDAP is a client-server protocol for accessing a directory service. It is most often used to identify corporate network users, and maintain their passwords, on a central server repository. Some CRM and other enterprise-application vendors are building access to LDAP services into their programs, so that two lists of users and passwords do not need to be maintained (one on an LDAP server, one in the application itself).

Lead Aging - A statistic used by marketing and sales professionals to give them an idea of how long leads may be outstanding. It can give the company an idea of how well certain marketing campaigns are working, which types of users to target more successfully in the future, and the like.

Lead Qualification - Automation that pre-qualifies leads according to pre-established business rules before they are entered into a system and passed from Marketing to Sales for pursuit of sale.

Live Chat - A Customer Support service where a Customer Support Representative conducts a live, online text chat session with a user. Usually initiated by a website user who wants immediate access to help, but doesn't want to disconnect from the Internet to call the company by phone.


Mbps - Megabits per second. Similar in concept to Kbps. There are 8 bits per byte. Hence, the rate of 8 Mbps actually represents 1 MB per second.

mCRM - Mobile Customer Relationship Management. A new term that covers the area of field force automation and remote access to corporate information in real time. Such access is becoming more and more critical as economies move towards the service sector, and there are more people in the field working at client company sites who need access to corporate data.

Metadata - Metadata is "data about data." It's often used when talking about XML (eXtensible Markup Language). In XML, two pieces of information are sent for one piece of data: one is the data itself, and the other is information about the type of data that is being sent (the metadata). For example, we may send Contact Name information via XML to another company. We would not only send the actual name (for example, "Joe Smith"), but we would also send information to tell the other company that "Joe Smith" represents a Contact Name.

Middleware - Software that sits in between two disparate applications and helps those applications "talk" to each other. Examples of middleware include IBM's MQSeries and Microsoft's MQMS. Middleware can operate on one of four different levels: the data level; the application interface level; the method (or messaging) level, and; the user interface level.

Multi-Channel Support - Provides customers the ability to access the company via multiple "channels," or methods of communications. Typical communication channels include web chat, web forms submission, email, phone, fax, Voice over IP (VoIP), and live chat.


Natural Language Search - This is a type of search against a knowledgebase or database that allows the user to ask questions in a natural way; i.e., as if they were asking a real-live person the question, as opposed to restricting their input to some less intuitive method such as keyword searches with Boolean (and/or) options. An example of a natural language question might be: "Why is it that when I am using my computer, at various times the keyboard input freezes, and I am no longer able to type anything into any application? I must use my mouse to shut applications down and reboot to regain keyboard input."


ODBC - Open DataBase Connectivity. This is a standard protocol that is used to run queries against databases that are not "natively" supported (supported directly, with their own language) by an application. Most databases support ODBC connections to front-end tools, in addition to supporting specific applications natively.

ODS - Operational Data Store. Part of the data warehouse; fed with scores, behaviors, and clusters in near real-time, to be able to react live to customer actions on the web site. The idea is to better serve the customer by reacting to his actions in real time.

OEM - Original Equipment Manufacturer. The term is typically used to identify the company that actually creates the hardware or writes the software that customers ultimately buy. They may use channel partners or Value-Added Resellers (VARs) for everything from Sales, to Marketing, to Implementation, but the original source of the saleable item is the OEM.

OLAP - OnLine Analytic Processing. In the business-intelligence world, OLAP represents a "live" report in which users can employ such devices as pivot tables, drill downs, and real-time calculations to derive much more information from one report than is typical with a static report. As an example, a report that shows sales per state, through OLAP technology, may allow the user to drill down on a specific state to see sales per city within that state, in real time.

OLTP - OnLine Transaction Processing. That portion of the software that enables daily business operations such as order entry.

Operational CRM - This is the heart of what we have traditionally just called CRM. It represents those pieces of CRM that automate functions internal to the company, such as Sales, Marketing, or Customer Support functions. It's that part of CRM packages that interact with ERP packages to get product moving, facilitate the flow of internal information between individuals and teams, and automate or facilitate daily tasks. For more on Operational CRM, see the Article CRM is Busting Out of Its Britches: Operational, Analytical, and Collaborative CRM are Born.

Opt-In Marketing - This is a type of marketing where users give a company their permission, either directly or indirectly, to market to them. You often see requests for Opt-in marketing when filling out User Profiles on web sites. They often ask at the end if it would be OK for them to send your information to related and relevant parties who might have offers that would be interesting to you. By saying 'Yes,' you have "Opted-in" to marketing from those associated companies.


PBX - Private Branch Exchange, which is a private telephone network used within an enterprise. Users of PBXs share a certain number of outside lines for making telephone calls external to the PBX. In conjunction with PBX's, Automated Call Distribution (ACD) software is often employed in call centers to enhance the function of PBX's, by providing such capabilities as rules-based routing of calls, call queuing, and the like.

PDA - Personal Digital Assistant. The short-hand term for the handheld devices currently on the market, such as Palm-OS-based units, Pocket PC-based units, and units based on the Symbian OS from Psion (Symbian is due to make a bigger splash in the U.S. as the OS of choice on so-called "smart" phones - cell phones with PDA features - in the near future).

POI - Point Of Interaction. An internal shorthand to indicate at what "touchpoint" a customer began his interaction with the company. Relevant to companies that want to know what channels of communication customers prefer and are most useful for the company to develop.

Portal - A web site that combines elements of targeted information relevant to a given audience. For example, a company might set up a supplier portal, including information only relevant to their suppliers (such as inventory levels, corporate contact information, instructions for shipping and invoicing the company for parts shipped, etc.).

Portlets - These are sub-areas, or windows, within a Portal, that contain different pieces of information. For example, in an Employee Portal, you might have Portlets that separately contain: HR information, Corporate Announcements, Industry information and news relevant to their position, and maybe a Portlet to their favorite web site.

PRM - Partner Relationship Management. Third-party sales channel automation capabilities, allowing companies to distribute Leads, perform web-based sales, conduct promotions and establish discounts, etc. It also provides a mechanism for the initial partner to analyze the performance of its partners via analytics.

PSA -Professional Services Automation. These are services, now associated with CRM packages, that help automate the tasks of, say, a consulting company that offers Professional Services to clients. A PSA package might contain Quoting tools, Project Management Tools, personal time and expense reporting, as well as personnel optimization schemes, matching the customer need to the employee who is both capable and available to fill that need.


QBE - Query By Example. There are a lot of ways to search databases. You can submit keyword searches, conduct natural language searches, and you can perform a QBE. With a QBE, you use an existing screen to enter information into the various editable fields. The values you enter represent the criteria you want to use in your search. For example, if two fields contain a First Name and Last Name for a contact, and you wanted to find all the Joneses in the database, you would type 'Jones' in the Last Name field, and run the query. The query would return information on all the Joneses in the database.

QoE - Quality of Experience. It's no longer acceptable to simply produce a great product. Next year, the competition will have caught up, and maybe even surpassed you, on your features and functionality set. Instead, companies are now focusing on the more broad term Quality of Experience, which represents not only the strength of the product, but also the ease with which the customer can do business with the company, rounding out the customer's entire Experience with the company, from Sales, through Purchase, through Support. See the article CRM and Technological Solutions: Be the Customer for more in-depth information about customers' total experiences with companies.

QoS - Quality of Service. Not quite what you might think. It means, what level of network services are provided to each client on the network. Companies, having to deal with network and storage performance and capacity bottlenecks, are turning to this concept of QoS, where the level of service that is offered a user on the network may be prioritized, based on a certain set of criteria. For example, the CEO might demand the highest QoS at all times, and would be given preferential treatment at printer queues, storage devices, and network bandwidth.

Queues (Work Queues) - Repositories for work orders that one or more employees have access to. It's a collection of actionable items, from which employees select the items that they will personally work on, and move them to their WIP (Work in Process) bins, or personal queues (see definition of WIP bins, in Part 3 of this series).

This concludes Part 2 of the series. Part 3 covers the Lexicon of CRM from R to Z.

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