It really depends on who you ask and what you are asking them and in too many cases the answer is driven by what someone wants to sell you.
I was reading a blog post from the Doctor over at Sourcing Innovation today titled “A Hitchhiker’s Guide to e-Procurement: Terminology” and I thought it was great as well as very timely.
Ultimately it is up to practitioners and solution providers of these tools to educate their customers as to what the proper terms are for the tools they are using. As an example E-RFI, E-RFP, E-RFQ. I have numbers of customers that have used other solution providers and not only are the definitions different by customer; they are actually different within a specific company. In some cases everything is referred to as a reverse auction and in other situations the companies have made up their own name for the service or tool.
This author uses Wikipedia and Wictionary quite often as a source and in this case, they have a very good definition that covers most of the terminology in the entire e-procurement space as well as related B2B and B2C internet based or private network based functions. As your company moves in the direction of a computerized supply chain management solution for your company understanding what you are asking for and what you are using will make both your job and that of your solution provider easier.
We look forward to and appreciate your comments.