CIO Development

Article IT above the law in jargon

UK small and medium-sized businesses are losing competitive advantage afforded by new technologies because they don’t understand routine technical jargon according to research from AT Communications Group (ATC).

The survey found that 42 per cent of business owners and executives thought the IT sector the most guilty of using jargon, significantly beating sales people (20%) and lawyers (16%). It also revealed that over four in ten professionals (41%) switch off and don’t listen when confronted by jargon-users, and that nearly one in three (31%) pretend to understand what is being said to them when jargon is used or feel embarrassed they don’t know what is being talked about.

This is self-defeating in the engagement of business executives by IT professionals and a major turn-off in relationship building. Are you confident that your team is able to engage fully in their customer relations or might they be guilty of making the same mistakes?

Campbell Williams, ATC’s Strategy Director, says: “the survey shows what we have long suspected; that the IT sector speaks an entirely different language to the business person. The big problem with such miscommunication is that businesses are unable to understand how they could save money and improve customer service through using new technology.”

To find out the depth of misunderstanding, the survey asked interviewees what, “asking your SI to handle you VoIP” means. Just 21 per cent of respondents correctly identified the phrase, with over half (54%) replying that they didn’t know and one in ten (10%) believing it meant, “asking a safety inspector to conduct a visual office inspection procedure.”

The ATC research suggests those providing technology solutions must go back to basics and assess how they speak to prospective customers, dropping the jargon and starting to communicate in terms of simple, understandable and practical business benefits. While many larger companies employ technical experts to understand and implement technology, many smaller companies do not.

Williams concludes: “successful business people tend to be straight talkers and we believe the tech industry owes it to them to be the same, which is why we are campaigning for the industry to drop the jargon and start talking the language of business.” ATC plans to launch a campaign to champion the use of plain English in the technology sector in the coming months. To find out more visit:

Contact Brinley Platts on 07973 745 640 at CIODEVELOPMENT.COM to find out how you can engage your colleagues and team on the issues raised by this article.

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