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After a long absence we’re back on the new platform.

A new start is a good time to review the doctrines underlying our terminology management. For example, one of the questions we deal with constantly is, “What is a term?” or, sometimes more specifically, “What is an SAP-relevant term?”

The top priority has to be terms related to safety. Use of the wrong terms could put customers or employees at risk. For example, international standards clearly define precautionary statements when describing product risks. Our products (as far as I know) don’t merit the use of the word “danger”, denoting life-threatening issues, but they do require “warning” and “caution” notes about online security issues and safe data storage.

Next in importance are terms vital to the company’s continued business. Incorrect use of terms related to patents, regulatory requirements, and terms from other companies needed for integration with SAP products could result in liability suits or loss of intellectual property. Amongst the tens of thousands of examples in the SAPterm database published on www.sapterm.com are concepts such as “Free Alongside Ship” (foreign trade regulations), “Airworthiness Directive” (aerospace requirements), and “dynpro” (SAP’s proprietary technology for interfaces and flow logic).

Directly related to the company’s business are terms supporting brand recognition and corporate language. Incorrect management and sloppy use of our brands and trademarks all weaken our corporate identity and the protection of our intellectual property. High-level product names and registered company trademarks, such as “SAP S/4 HANA” and “SAP Leonardo”, are all managed by Brand Voice at SAP. By making these available outside the company on SAPterm.com we support the proper use of our corporate language by our partners and customers (and distinguish ourselves from the “Distinguished Competition”).

All these are obvious terminology priorities. Next time I’ll look at lower, less-obvious levels, searching for where we have to draw a line and say “no further; this isn’t a term”. Or, put more flippantly, “How low can we go?”

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