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T.L.A! W.T.F?!

T.L.A! W.T.F?!

21/01/2016 11:21 by Gavin Murphy
Product Manager

TLA, or the ‘Three Letter Acronym’ is prevalent within the IT industry.  Our industry prides itself on developing new technology and solutions to make lives easier so why does it complicate everything by using industry specific acronyms?  Is it laziness? Is it elitism? Is it just the fact that everyone else is doing it so we do too? 

The telco industry is wonderfully terrible for acronyms but we don’t restrict ourselves to TLAs oh no! ADSL, FTTC, PSTN, Gb, GB, MB; Mbps; MPLS; WLTO; EoFTTC– the list goes on…  Even upper or lower case can change meaning, for example to denote speed and usage on a broadband line (GB is usage and Gb is speed BTW). Good grief!

What really infuriates me is when people use a TLA and just expect everyone to know what it means….a great example happened to me recently which was outside of the industry which was the final straw for me.

It was a cold frosty late November morning on an early morning flight from Exeter to Manchester, a trip I have done quite a lot thanks to Flybe’s fantastic efforts to connect Devon with the rest of the UK quicker and cheaper than by train or car.  But I digress… whilst waiting to take off I was flicking through the inflight magazine and read an interview about one of the airline’s employees.  On the second question the employee talks about what their day-to-day job involves explaining that they work closely with the “MRO” – what on earth is the MRO? 

The interview did not clarify in anyway –do they work closely with the “Mermaid Retirement Office?”  or the “Marine Research Organisation?”  Whatever it stands for I am sure it’s very important but it’s just a great example of people/companies/industry assuming we know what you mean.  In the vast majority of the cases we don’t, or worst still someone will pretend they do and will end up explaining the wrong meaning to a wider audience.  If we communicate and educate correctly in the first place then this reduces the risk of misunderstandings and everyone feels a little bit more knowledgeable – which can only be a good thing!

At Eclipse we pride ourselves on providing straightforward solutions for all types of businesses. Everyone from small offices with 5 connected users who usually don’t have an IT team, to multi-site organisations with hundreds or even thousands of connected users managed by a large IT team.  Every customer has a different level of technical understanding and that’s fine; part of what we enjoy so much is simplifying technology, not feeling smug because we know more TLAs than you.

Do we get the technical level right for all?  I think our teams do a great job at communicating and explaining but there is always room for improvement so if you see anything from us that uses an acronym that’s not fully explained or if something does not make sense please do email me or Tweet us at @EclipseInternet

Today, I put out a plea to this industry and every other industry – let’s not assume everyone knows we are talking about, let’s not sit on elitist perches belittling anyone that doesn’t understand what a PSTN is and claim they are not part of our “club” – let’s say NO to acronym bullying and let’s say what we mean and mean what we say.


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