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IT & Telecom Distribution Glossary


ICT (Information Communications Technology) - includes all technologies for the communication of information and covers: any medium to record information, technology for broadcasting information and technology for communicating through voice and sound or images. The communication of information is currently performed with the help of Personal Computers or any (mobile or not) device networked through the Internet through information technology that can transfer information using satellite systems or intercontinental cables. Information technology has become a kind of a hub for communicating information, most often using computers.

ICT Manufacturers - companies whose business is focused on manufacturing or exclusive representation of a manufacturer.

IT (Information Technology) - represents the study, design, development, implementation, support or management of computer-based information systems, particularly software applications and computer hardware. IT deals with the use of electronic computers and computer software to convert, store, protect, process, transmit, and securely retrieve information.


Assemblers – implement a symbolic representation of the numeric machine codes and other constants needed to program a particular CPU architecture. This representation is usually defined by the hardware manufacturer, and is based on abbreviations (called mnemonics) that help the programmer remember individual instructions, registers, etc. They are thus specific to a certain physical or virtual computer architecture.

Broadliner – is a big-size distributor owning a wide variety of accounts and selling a wide variety of products.

Consulting – services companies that design and advise companies about the deployment and processes related to IT or Telecom issues.

Distributor – is a seller of products to retailers, to industrial, commercial, institutional, or other professional business users, or to other wholesalers and related subordinated services. The distributor frequently physically assembles, sorts and grades goods in large lots, break bulks, repacks and redistributes in smaller lots.

Integrators – link together different complex computing systems and software applications physically or functionally. They value-add to the system by bringing together discrete systems using a variety of techniques such as computer networking, enterprise application integration, business process management or manual programming.

ISV (Independent Software Vendors) – are companies specialised in developing or selling software, usually for niche markets, such as real estate brokers, scheduling for healthcare personnel, barcode scanning and stock maintenance. Specialised products generally offer higher productivity to organisations than more generalised software such as basic spreadsheet or database packages. ISVs make and sell software to be added to platforms.

ISV dedicated to a company process – software publishers that develop in house software addressing generic corporate needs (i.e. accounting software, networking software, CRM software, etc.).

ISV dedicated to a a specific business – software publishers that develop in house software addressing a specific industry or activity (i.e. Catia for CAO industry).

Master VARs – specialize in taking products from wholesalers, combining them with their own intellectual property, and selling them to fellow solution providers and end-user customers.
Major assemblers – companies whose business is focused on assembling and that do not sell directly to companies or end users.
OEM (Original Equipment Manufacturers) – refer to containment-based re-branding, where a company uses a component of another company in its product, or sells the product of another company under its own brand. OEM refers to the company that originally manufactured the product. They usually use hardware platform components to build larger products.

Resale to companies (assemblers, hardware, software, services, etc.) – companies that purchase and resell ICT products to end user companies.

Resale to home users – companies that purchase and resell ICT products to end users.
Software publisher – Software companies that develop in house software meant for general use by companies (i.e. linguistic tools, word-processing, antivirus).

Telecom & Network systems integrators – Services companies that handle all or part of the integration of hardware and software dedicated to telecom usage.

Telecom services– services companies to which Telecom needs can be either subcontracted or outsourced.
VARs (Value Added Resellers) – companies adding some features to existing products, then reselling them (usually to end-users) as integrated products or complete "turn-key" solutions. This practice is common in the electronics industry, where, for example, a software application might be added to an existing hardware. This value can come from professional services such as integrating, customizing, consulting, training and implementation or can be added by developing a specific application for the product designed for the customer's needs which is then resold as a new package. VARs incorporate platform software into their own software product packages.


First Tier – are companies in the business of distribution who perform as selling locations for certain brands. They represent the first level of their indirect distribution chain.

Second Tier – companies who have selected First Tier resellers as one of their suppliers of a certain brand and who generally sell to the end-user. They represent the second level of the distribution chain.


BPO (Business Process Outsourcing) - contains the transmission of processes along with the associated operational activities and responsibilities, to a third party with at least a guaranteed equal service level and where the client contains a firm grip over the vendor for mutual long term success. BPO is positively related to the search of more efficient organizational designs: cost reduction, productivity growth and innovative capabilities.

MDF (Market Development Funds) – are monetary funds given by a manufacturer's sales or marketing department to help a partner/reseller/distributor sell its products or to market the manufacturer's brand. The percentages or amounts vary according business or products. Typical amounts are 1 - 1.5% of product sales.

POS (Point of Sale or Point of Service) – can mean any type of retail establishment: a retail shop, a checkout counter in a shop, or the location where a transaction occurs. More specifically, it often refers to the hardware and software used for checkouts, the equivalent of an electronic cash register.

Sales In – represent the number of products sold by a manufacturer to the first tier resellers. This is an illusory estimation as these products might or might not be sold to the end-users.

Sales Out – represent the manufacturer's effort to sell its products at the second tier level.

SOW (Share of Wallet) – is a survey method used in the performance management that helps managers understand the amount of business a company gets from specific customers. It represents the percentage of a customer's expenses for a product that goes to the company selling the product.

TCO (Total Cost of Ownership) - is a financial estimate designed to help consumers and enterprise managers assess direct and indirect costs commonly related to software or hardware. It is a form of full cost accounting and reflects not only the cost of purchase but all aspects regarding the further use and maintenance of the equipment, device, or system considered.


Cloud Technology Provider - A vendor (not a reseller) that provides hardware or software solutions to build Datacenters A vendor (not a reseller) that provides hardware or software solutions to build Datacenters.

Cloud Resource Services Provider - A hosting company that provides hosting resources for other companies (not SaaS) 

Cloud Advisor - Consultant specializing in the evolution or transition of an information system to the Cloud.

Cloud Managed Services Provider - A MSP is a subcontractor providing access to applications services, services, digital infrastructure.
The concept of MSP corresponds more to a quality rather than an activity, that quality is defined by the ability to offer a range of services to original end users by integrating a component of outsourced management and periodic payment or usage.

Cloud Application Provider - A SaaS publisher that provides solutions

Cloud Broker Platform - Intermediary - like a wholesaler - aggregating different types of  Cloud or SaaS offerings, arbitrating their advantages and disadvantages to a target of partners.

Cloud Market Place - Platform aggregating services and SaaS solutions from different vendors.
These bouquet solutions may also be marketed via white label  platforms.

DataCenter - Physical space designed to accommodate servers and manage priority to the energy problems of access to flow and high physical security networks, hosts Cloud Provider server, client server.e.g. Telecity

Cloud Builder - An integrator or reseller that sells and implements the infrastructure and solutions to create private or public clouds .

Cloud Provider - Company that uses DataCenter and resells its services in the form of synicated resources, usually charged for use.e.g. Numergy, OVH, Amazon,

Managed Services Provider- Provider of services in the cloud charged as subscription or use . It is not necessarily the cause of the proposed service can just sell and deliver in a Cloud Provider.

Cloud Advisor- Consultant specialized in developments and the transition from an information system to the cloud . The consultant may be external to the IT field but must know how to integrate Cloud bricks into its offer.

Cloud Application Provider - ISV- Software vendor in "Software as a Service " (SaaS mode)

Broker Cloud Platform - Through aggregating different SaaS or Cloud offerings in a catalog arbitrating their advantages and disadvantages and in order to market to a target of partners. Azlan, ArrowSphere

Cloud / SaaS Market Place - Platform aggregating services and SaaS solutions from different vendors . These bouquets of solutions may be proprietary or marketed as white label platforms Sales Force,

Cloud Comparaison sites - Company comparison (benchmark) different suppliers to measure , objectively , their respective performances e.g. CloudScreener


IaaS - Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS) is the first layer of the cloud, where the provider maintains virtualization, server hardware, storage, networks. By extension, the IaaS provider works with providers PaaS and SaaS

PaaS - Platform as a Service (PaaS) is the second model of Cloud, the supplier maintains runtimes, SOA integration, databases, server software. By extension, the PaaS provider relies on other IaaS providers or is itself a PaaS provider and works with SaaS.

SIaaS & SaaS - SaaS is the ultimate cloud layer, where the provider maintains applications. By extension, the SaaS provider relies on offerings via other IaaS and PaaS providers. When this layer refers only to the management of the infrastructure it takes the name of SIaaS - Software Infrastructure as a Service-  which includes the concepts of infrastructure management and security, SaaS being only an additional application layer.

BPS - Basic Print Services or the provision of basic services related to printing such as the sale printing capability on a rental basis, on-site maintenance ...

MPS - Managed Print Services extends the notion of software services management,  print administration tools, and related monitoring services. It can be likened to a form of outsourcing printing.

MDS - (Management Document Services) extends the MPS notions of process management and management of software streams, it also touches on dematerialisation, and the management of documents authenticity.