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EIDX Glossary

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This letter last updated 01 February 2003

B2B -Business-to-Business.  Refers to electronic commerce between businesses.  The term emerged to describe conducting business between two more more companies over the internet, but in fact, refers to any automated, computer-enabled exchange of business data between one or more companies.  B2B is contrasted to traditional modes such as telephone, snail mail and face-to-face, and to other computer-enabled modes such as A2A, B2C, and B2P.

B2C - Business-to-Consumer.  Refers to electronic commerce between a business and an individual consumer.

B2P - Business-to-Person.  Not a widely-used term, but some have used it to refer to interactions between a business and an individual that is not an electronic commerce interaction (not B2C).

Back-end Systems - Systems that handle companies' internal processing and computing tasks, such as inventory, receivables, and order processing; applications that are inside a company's intranet firewall.

Backbone -High-speed routers that connect several powerful computers - that link the interconnect points. In the U.S., the backbone of the Internet is often considered the NSFNet, a government funded link between a handful of supercomputer sites across the country.  Backbones make up the fastest and most direct routes for data to take on the internet.

Backward compatibility - Generally means that a subsequent version of a program or system will support all of the functionality and specific interfaces that enable programs developed for an earlier version  to execute properly when the subsequent version is implemented.

Bandwidth - Measurement in cycles per second (hertz) or in bits per second (bps) of the quantity of information that is able to flow through a channel.

Basic Semantic Unit (BSU) - A semantically complete data element that acts as an attribute of a data class or entity type in a Business Information System. The reference point for BSU is the Basic Semantic Repository (BSR).

Bar code - The encoding of alphanumeric characters by a series of varying thickness bars to be read by a scanning device.

Batch job - Program or set of commands that can be run without any kind of user intervention.

Baud - The speed at which modems transfer data. One baud is roughly equal to one bit per second. It takes eight bits to make up one letter or character. Modems rarely transfer data at exactly the same speed as their listed baud rate because of static or computer problems. More expensive modems use systems, such as Microcom Network Protocol (MNP), which can correct for these errors or which "compress" data to speed up transmission.

Benchmark - Measurement standard used when testing the performance of different brand names of equipment to rate them.

Bill of Materials (BOM) _ a/k/a Material List.  A list what materials are needed to build a product, how many of each component is needed, and average production yield for each component.

BIM Warehouse - A facility for the storage and re-use of Business Information Modeling (BIM) activity and data models.

Binding - Refers to the way in which an application (requesting application) can refer to objects in another application.

  • Static binding is when the binding occurs at compile time - the reference to the object(s) in the other application are hard-coded in the requesting application.
  • Dynamic binding is when the binding is selected at run-time.

Bisynchronous - A type of synchronous(1) communication for binary data, all but obsolete (which is why you can't find it in whatis.com and webopedia.com).

BITNet - Another, academically oriented, international computer network, which uses a different set of computer instructions to move data. It is easily accessible to Internet users through e-mail, and provides a large number of conferences and databases. Its name comes from "Because It's Time."

Break Even Time - The amount of time that elapses before an investment starts realizing a cost savings or profit.  This should be considered when analyzing a Return on Investment (ROI).   For example, if implementing a new application is estimated to have a positive return on investment, but is not going to start realizing profit for 5 years, and you are reasonably certain that you will have to replace the application within 5 years, it may not be a good investment of resources.  Other factors must be examined, such as potential for loss of business.

Bridge - A device that forwards data from one network segment to another.  Bridges are faster than routers because the just forward data via the next available path without trying to determine what the fastest route might be.

Brick and Mortar - Used to describe a traditional business interacting with customers face-to-face in a physical location; manual commerce.  Term origin comes from the fact that bricks and mortar are common building materials in some places.   Californians might have coined different terminology, since mortar in bricks and masonry dissolves under even moderate shaking; we might have ended up with the phrase "steel and stucco."  c.f. Click and Order.

Browser - A software program used to look at World Wide Web pages. 

Bounce - What your e-mail does when it cannot get to its recipient -- it bounces back to you -- unless it goes off into the ether, never to be found again.

Business - A series of processes, each having a clearly understood purpose, involving more than one organization extending over a period of time, realized through the exchange of information and directed towards some mutually agreed upon goal.

Business Area - An area of a business consisting of a strongly interrelated collection of functions, data and information flows. Example: Materials Management, Production, Finance.

Business function - Un upper level business activity that is achieved via the performance of component activities. Examples: Manufacturing, Shipping

Business information system - A set of business practices, procedures and processes that are implemented by computer application programs.

Business Intelligence (BI) - The broad category of information, processes and/or solutions that allow an enterprise to make business decisions.  Business Intelligence encompasses tools and methods such as Decision Support Systems, Data Warehouses, Data Marts, Data Mining, OLAP, Intelligent Agents, and others.

Business Model - A pictorial view of a business process at a high level.

  • Should clearly identify the parties involved and how events flow.
  • Ideal end goal: A user can look at the business model and supporting documentation and know what they need to do to implement the chosen business process.

See also When is it a component business process model and when is it a scenario?

Business Object Document (BODâ„¢) - The Open Applications Group's architecture for business process models.  The architecture used to communicate messages or business documents between software applications or components.  The design of the Business Object Document (BOD) includes a noun, which corresponds to an object handle, and a verb, which corresponds to a method.

Business practices - The major management and control systems operated by a business organization.

Business Procedures - The procedures that are employed to utilize the Business Processes in carrying out the Business Practices.

Business process - A set of logically related tasks performed to achieve a desired business outcome. 

  • Macro level - fundamental, technology independent, application-independent process
  • Micro level - implementable, technology-specific and data standard-specific process

Business Process Re-engineering (BPR) - Radical analysis and redesign of business processes in order to achieve dramatic ROI, performance and quality improvements, etc.  BPR was the hot buzzword in the early 1990's and has now been subsumed by concepts like ERP and Virtual Enterprise.

Business signal - Messages that "signal" the current state of a business transaction.  A business signal has as its subject a business process activity or business document.  For example a Receipt Acknowledgment indicates that the state of a document has changed from "sent" to "received".   The business signal does not address the business contents of the subject activity or document.

Business transaction - A predefined set of Business activities which is initiated by an organization to accomplish an explicitly shared business goal and terminated upon recognition of one of the agreed conclusions by all the involved organizations although some of the recognition may be implicit.

Buyer - Anyone who purchases goods or services; customer.

Byte - Size of memory space needed to store a single character, which is usually 8 bits. The computer's memory size is measured in kilobytes; 1 kilobyte = 1,024 bytes.