Friday, January 30, 2009


Another catch-all term that appears frequently in information technology (IT) articles and press releases is ‘enterprise.’ It’s used in the sense that considers a business as a collective organization, but it also conveniently hints at its other meanings, suggesting the readiness to undertake any bold, challenging activity.

That might be fine, harmless optimism as far as it goes, but now this buzzword often appears to be used as though it were inherently a measure of quality. For example, in eWeek, Andrew Garcia writes about “Enterprise-Grade Wireless LAN” technology, which suggests it performs at a certain level.

Meanwhile, a headline in PC World claims ‘Netbooks Aren’t Enterprise-Worthy,’ yet the first paragraph of the corresponding story argues, “they might be okay for small businesses.” The implication, then, is that large businesses are enterprises, but small ones are not. This is nonsense.

In the truest spirit of the word, an enterprise may well only consist of a handful of people working toward a common business goal. And their needs may be paltry compared to the promised benefits—and high prices—of so-called enterprise-grade products and services.

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