Words Matter

Words matter. They have meaning. Unfortunately, some words have more than one—especially if they’re coined by Microsoft.

Microsoft has a habit of recycling product names within its suite of offerings. That means when you’re looking for ‘Groups’, for example, there are seven different uses of the word within Microsoft Office 365.

When a SharePoint developer talks to an Exchange engineer and they use the term ‘Groups’, they are each 100% sure they know what they’re talking about. They’re also 100% sure they understand what the other is talking about. Each one is 100% right and each is talking about something completely different.

Since communication is one of the biggest challenges facing most businesses, it’s baffling that IT firms often confuse matters by giving the same name to different software products. This can mean that when an employee calls in a service ticket using the term he knows for a particular application, the IT professional thinks he’s referring to an entirely different product. Is it Skype or Skype for Business? Should I archive or journal? What’s the difference?

Getting everyone in your organization on the same page is a top priority, but software providers make it tough. That’s why one of the first things I do when working with a new client is ask a lot of questions. I learn what they do, how they do it, and what words they use to describe it. Is there industry-specific terminology and what does it really mean? I ask several people the same question to be sure the entire company uses each term the same way. Then I brief employees on techie usage and build a glossary in SharePoint. It’s easy to create and serves as a great point of reference for staff.

Shiny new software is exciting, especially for geeks like us, but if no one understands or can discuss it accurately, folks get intimidated and won’t use it.

In subsequent articles, we’ll highlight apps that have the same name, but different functions. When you’re trying to run a business, words matter.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *