ERP Glossary - C: C-Level to Core Competencies


A generalization of the group of an organization's top leaders, so named because top leadership positions normally begin with C: CEO, CFO, CIO, COO, etc.

Cloud Computing

A broad category of technology strategies which have in common providing IT functionality over the internet. Cloud computing varies from traditional models in that software, data storage, and processing occur as an on-demand service, are incrementally scalable, and may physically exist anywhere. Many ERP vendors now offer cloud ERP options alongside local software licenses.


Cost of Goods Sold This is the invested expense in the production or purchase of materials that are subsequently sold. COGS normally includes all direct costs, and all factory overhead.


Commissions are payments made for generating revenue. Typically, commissions are a percentage of the sale, and as such, tend to benefit both parties; the more I sell, the bigger my commission. If I sold a million dollars worth of product on a three per cent commission, I would receive a commission of $30,000.

Common Stock

A financial instrument representing partial ownership in a company. A company receives cash, and an investor receives one or more shares of common stock. If the company grows and prospers, the stock (ownership share) grows and prospers; if the company fails, the stock loses all value. Common stock is different than preferred stock in terms of dividend priorities and other financial contingencies.


In ERP, compatibility refers to the ease and efficiency with which two separate applications can work together to produce a near seamless result. At the opposite end of the spectrum - a worst case scenario - two systems are said to be incompatible if they cannot exchange data and complement each other's functionality.

Compliance (regulatory)

Compliance is the condition of conforming with either legal requirements, or standard practices, (such as GAAP). The degree of compliance an organization practices is typically assessed by independent financial auditors. Compliance is an essential part of building and maintaining stockholder confidence and trust; companies that are routinely not in compliance open themselves up to suspicion of fraud or deception.

Computer Networking

The interconnection of two or more computers such that they can share data, programs, or other computing resources.

Computer Programming

Creating and assembling the appropriate machine commands that cause the computer to perform some useful activity.

Computer Software

Computer software is typically a stand-alone, prepackaged (or downloadable) group of computer programs, which have large robust functionality, and can be sold, installed, and operated on a variety of technology platforms.


Placing items for sale in another organization's location without transferring title of the items to the other organization. The second organization bears no inventory or obsolescence risk, and receives a small commission on any sales.


Also known as contribution margin, or variable margin, contribution is the mathematical difference between revenue and variable costs. Contribution becomes a big issue in a case where an operation is not profitable, yet because of fixed costs, ceasing operations would make the loss worse.

COO (Chief Operations Officer)

The COO is the highest leadership position in an organization responsible for the quality, service, and cost performance of the goods or services being produced. The COO is typically responsible for manufacturing, supply chain, and customer service performance, and for advising the CEO in ways in which operations can be better utilized to improve organizational effectiveness.

Core Competencies

Core competencies are the business skills that an organization possesses which contribute the most to making them successful. It is always a delicate balancing act for a company to adapt to changing times and conditions without abandoning its core competencies. Core competencies might be marketing skills, manufacturing skills, or even specific expertise around a certain area of technology.

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Tom Stephenson

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Tom Stephenson

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