One of my favorite quotes is “You are as young as you feel.” I don’t know who to give credit to. Google credits an Irishman in a book of Celtic wisdom! Sounds great to me. 

My friends and family know that I live by that quote. Maybe that’s why I can still do front flips and backflips on the trampoline. Youth is all in the mind. That said, I am struggling to embrace that I have a junior in high school. My nightly reading is about college and all these words that aren’t words: SAT, ACT, GPA. There are a whole lot of acronyms I don’t know, like LAC (didn’t have that when I went to Marquette — a solid LAC) and there is CLEP, LOR, OOS, COA, DOA, DOI, ED, EA, and my favorite, QOL, which of course we didn’t have either when I was deciding on colleges. You just went to a campus, walked around, met some people, and had a conversation! (Don’t worry, I’ve included a handy acronym legend at the end of the post.)

I started to wonder: why are there are so many acronyms? Is this acronym-izing a recent trend, based on being more efficient so we can communicate or text more quickly? Did we have this many acronyms in business a few years ago or farther back? If so, maybe the college process is more business-like now.

I did some research to see if I could find some answers. I went back to the 1990s in my business. I looked at the business process tools available at that time and if acronyms were as popular then. In the ’90s, we had mostly manufacturing tools like inventory solutions, finance, and accounting solutions, human resources and project management solutions. All of these solutions were independent solutions with non-acronym names until the term ERP was created. Enterprise Resource Planning, or ERP, was a term Gartner Group created in 1990 to describe a single system that encompassed all business functions within one platform. The first ERP was created by SAP — of course, another acronym. Go figure!

In the channel space and at Zift, as you would guess, acronyms are abundant: PRM, TPMA, TCMA, CMM, CIPM, CDM, LMS, and LDM. All are independent solutions, and it seems that no one uses the full wording. In talking with other industry pros, I’ve discovered that some don’t even know what some of those acronyms mean because the acronyms are so new. (I totally understand!) And this year Zift fully embraced the acronym game and launched ZiftONE: the first ECM. That’s the first Enterprise Channel Management system, a single system that encompasses all channel functions needed to create a thriving, successful channel program within one platform. 

ZiftONE is to ECM as SAP is to ERP. Isn’t that much easier to understand now? 

Let’s take it a step further: ZiftONE is a SaaS ECM — and the GOAT. 

I’m loving these acronyms now!  Maybe I can learn to love the college application and decision process, too. Fingers crossed.


Acronym Legend

CDM: Channel Demand Marketing

CIPM: Channel Incentive Management

CLEP: College Level Examination Program

CLM: Channel-Focused Learning Management

CMM: Channel Marketing Management

CMS: Content Management System

COA: Cost of Admission

DOA: Director of Admissions

EA: Early Action

ECM: Enterprise Channel Management

ED: Early Decision

ERP: Enterprise Resource Planning

GOAT: Greatest of All Time

LAC: Liberal Arts College

LDM: Lead Distribution Management

LMS: Learning Management System

LOR: Letter of Recommendation

OOS: Out of State

PRM: Partner Relationship Management

QOL: Quality of Life (at campus)

SaaS: Software as a Service

TCMA: Through Channel Marketing Automation

TPMA: To Partner Marketing Automation