In English, please! Small business owners demand tech jargon ban

7 Oct 2010

While using techie jargon may make you seem pretty smart, new findings have revealed that using overcomplicated terminology could lead to “potentially catastrophic business decisions.”

Opal, the b2b division of TalkTalk Group, have found that the use of jargon in the IT and telecommunications sector is both confusing and damaging to small business owners.

The study asked 500 SME owner managers in regards to their attitudes to dealing with third-party suppliers.

It revealed that 40pc of owners managers said the IT and telecommunications area was most likely to use confusing jargon.

This came ahead of the finance sector, sales and marketing and HR and legal.

Seventy-one per cent of owner-managers also said that use of tech babble in the sector had increased in the last five years.

This has been shown to be more than just an annoyance – 55pc admitted that confusing technical terms occasionally caused them to make decisions about telecommunications that they did not fully understand.

Thirteen per cent of respondents said it happened regularly for them.

Forty-one per cent of business owners said that they have been sold a technical solution in the past that they did not want or need thanks to the use of niche tech talk, while 13pc said that this happened frequently.

Worrying for IT and telecommunications vendors, 78pc of owner managers said they’re often put off scoping out new projects or even talking with suppliers over fears of overcomplicated jargon during the sell.

A fifth of owner-managers believe the use of jargon fosters distrust and 18pc say it shows a lack of understanding of their business needs.

Forty-five per cent of business owners said that the solution is simply to give more straight forward advice in the industry. Twenty-seven per cent want the industry’s governing bodies to play a greater regulatory role.

“What’s clear from the survey is that and the way certain technologies are being sold or explained by vendors is not making it easy for a busy small business manager to make clear decisions,” said Chris Collinson, director of Small Business at Opal.

The end result is that businesses could be missing out on powerful technologies, taking solutions that just aren’t required, or even avoiding IT and telcos operators completely.”