Definitions of Terms

Below we define certain terms used on this website that otherwise have multiple meanings:

  • Software failure experts and software failure expert witnesses
  • ERP failure experts and ERP failure expert witnesses
  • Internet failure experts and internet failure expert witnesses
  • Computer failure experts and computer failure expert witnesses
  • System failure experts and system failure expert witnesses

EXPERT: someone widely recognized as a reliable source of technique or skill source of whose faculty for judging or deciding rightly, justly, or wisely is accorded authority & status by peers or the public. Experts are called on to advise/consult on their respective subject, and do not always agree on particulars.

EXPERT WITNESS: a witness, who by virtue of education, training, skill, or experience is believed to have knowledge in a particular subject beyond that of the average person, sufficient that others may officially and legally rely upon witness's specialized opinion re an evidence or fact issue within scope of expertise.

SOFTWARE (ABBREV: SW): refers to computer software, or just software – general term describing a collection of computer programs, procedures & documentation that perform some tasks on a computer system. Application sw (“apps”), like excel, performs productive tasks for users; System sw, like Windows XP, interfaces with hardware to provide necessary services for apps; Middleware controls/coordinates distributed systems. Term also includes ERP sw apps as well as Internet apps. We distinguish software, ERP and Internet apps because each can bring its own distinct risks, technologies & quirks – requiring different expertise. See

ERP: Enterprise Resource Planning – an IT term referring to a hardware or software system that serves all enterprise areas, e.g., SAP, Oracle, Peoplesoft, JDEdwards, Cerner & Microsoft Dynamics. An ERP system is based on a: common database that allows business departments to store/retrieve shared information in real-time; and a modular sw design so a business can select modules they need, mix/match modules from different vendors, or add their own modules to improve business performance. See

INTERNET OR WEB APPLICATION: an app accessed via web browser over a network (e.g., internet, intranet); also, a computer software app coded in browser-supported language (such as HTML, Java, etc.) & reliant on a common web browser to render the app executable. Common internet/web apps include webmail, online retail sales, online auctions, wikis, weblogs, and many other functions. See

COMPUTER SYSTEM: includes the computer PLUS any additional hardware/peripheral devices; application, operating system & middleware software; PLUS the people, policies and procedures needed to successfully use, run, maintain and repair it. See

SOFTWARE, ERP, INTERNET, COMPUTER FAILURE: in general, refers to state or condition of not meeting a desirable, intended or contractual objective or deliverable. SW failure includes failure to meet specific functional, control, or performance requirements. In worst cases, sw failures can lead to company bankruptcy or personal injury.

SOFTWARE, ERP, INTERNET AND COMPUTER PROJECT FAILURE: in general, refers to problems within a project to develop, integrate, implement or maintain software, ERP, internet or computer systems apps. Such problems can be caused by improper/poor project: methodology, plans, estimates, staffing, management, requirements, testing & acceptance procedures and more.


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