white books stacked with vl logo business intelligence and data integration definitions

Data Integration & Business Intelligence: Key Terms Defined


Running a business today is more complicated than it has ever been.

More sales channels, more supply chain partners, more trading partners, more applications. Running a business today – even a small one – is no simple feat. Business owners, executives and managers have a lot on their plate with a variety of technical and non-technical aspects that require oversight. But with a seemingly endless array of applications, communication methods, technology and standards being introduced every day, it can be a real challenge for already busy professionals to keep up.

At VL, being a middleware integration service between various applications with a number of communication methods and standards, we’re in the unique position of knowing a lot about a lot of things. We’ve summarised some of the more frequent data integration, application, and technical business intelligence terms we often reference in our own documentation and have compiled these terms into two lists: General Business Intelligence and Technical Business Intelligence. The first list includes basic terminology VL thinks every business executive or manager should know, while the second is a more technical follow-up to the first that we think business executives/managers should at least have a basic grasp on.

We strongly recommend you bookmark this article if you find yourself Googling any of these terms with any frequency!


General Business Intelligence:

Basic Technical Terminology Every Business Executive or Manager Should Know


Term Definition
3PL; Third Party Logistics 3PLs are companies that specialised in distribution and warehousing services.
API; Application Programming Interface APIs are the way programs and applications can communicate via the internet. An API must be present for data integration to be possible.
CRM; Customer Relationship Management The application where all existing and potential customer information is stored. CRMs improve customer service, customer retention, and sales efforts by organising and categorising based on customizable fields and tasks.

Watch this video on how integrating your CRM with your ecommerce platform can help your business

Data Migration The process of transferring data between storage types, formats, or systems.

Need help with data migration?

EDI; Electronic Data Interchange EDI is the process of exchanging business documents in a structured format between trading partners.

Need help integrating your EDI?

ERP; Enterprise Resource Planning A key piece of technology that provides a place for essential product information for a company (Order management, Inventory, Pricing, Product information, Accounting, etc). 
Fulfillment The activities performed once an order is received (fulfilling an order).
MRP; Materials Resource Planning This application keeps track of the materials and resources required for manufacturing processes. Its primary functions include production planning, scheduling, and inventory control.
Marketplace A website that sells a wide array of products from a wide range of sellers.

Check out VL’s Marketplace How-To Guides for SMBs here

Omni-channel (also known as omnichannel and multichannel) The use of a variety of channels to sell products; for example, selling through a bricks-and-mortar storefront, on an owned website, and an ecommerce marketplace is an omni-channel retail strategy.
POS Point of Sale. This is the time and place where a customer makes the transaction. POS can also refer to technology or applications that allow for transactions between customers and businesses to occur.
SaaS Software as a Service. Where the software (hosted in the cloud with a recurring fee structure) provides a service for users.
Shopping carts This is a software application that allows products to be listed and sold on a website – an ecommerce store. Most shopping cart providers offer various packages that enable varying levels of services.

Watch this video on how integrating your shopping cart can help your business

WMS; Warehouse Management System The core system used in warehousing and distribution operations (Daily Planning, Pick and Pack, Task Directing, Drop Shipping Information, etc). A WMS should improve warehouse and distribution functionality.
iPaaS Integration Platform as a Service, where the services rendered via the application or service is data integration.

Learn more about VL OMNI here.



Technical Business Intelligence:

Technical Terminology Every Business Executive Manager Should Have A General Understanding Of


 Term Definition
ANSI ASC X12 American National Standards Institute – The EDI document standard used in North America.
UN/EDIFACT United Nations EDI Standard administered by the ITU and used around the world.
AS2 A specification about how to transport data securely and reliably over the Internet. Security is achieved by using HTTPS and digital certificates for encryption.
ASN Advance Ship Notice: a standard transaction between trading partners – in EDI, this data transaction is known as an 856.
SCAC Standard Carrier Alpha Code, a unique code used to identify transportation companies. It is typically two to four alpha characters long.
Amazon S3 Amazon Simple Storage Service. Used to store public facing images for example.
Amazon EMR Amazon Elastic MapReduce is an Amazon Web Service (AWS) for data processing and analytics that makes processing large amounts of data fast and cost-effectively.
MWS Amazon Marketplace Web Service also known as Seller Central.
 FBA Fulfillment by Amazon allows many incentives to both sellers and buyers involved in the professional selling framework. Usually used by professional sellers on Amazon.

Download the Amazon How-To Guide for SMBs here

XML eXtensible Markup Language, which defines a set of rules for encoding documents in a format which is both human-readable and machine-readable.
CSV Character separated value file that are often imported and exported via spreadsheets or databases. Usually a CSV is a comma separated file.
ISV Independent software vendor refers to an organisation specialising in making or selling software designed for mass or niche markets.
Web Service A service offered by an electronic device to another electronic device, communicating with each other via the World Wide Web.
REST REpresentational State Transfer. An architectural style and an approach to communications that is open used in the development of Web Services. The use of REST is often preferred over the more heavyweight SOAP because REST does not leverage as much bandwidth. As such, REST is a popular building style for cloud-based APIs (source).
SOAP Simple Object Access Protocol. A protocol specification for exchanging structured information in the implementation of web services in computer networks. It uses XML Information Set for its message format and relies on other application layer protocols, most notably Hypertext Transfer Protocol (HTTP) or Simple Mail Transfer Protocol (SMTP), for message negotiation and transmission.
OAuth Allows client applications to have a ‘secure delegated access’ to server resources on behalf of a resource owner. It specifies a process for resource owners to authorise third-party access to their server resources without sharing their credentials.
Interface An import export interface allows data to be uploaded and exported from legacy applications. The data payload is a flat file.
Flat File Data payload from a legacy application. Can be  CSV or other character delimited file.

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