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I sell a web based software application to companies that enables my customers to take and fulfill orders over the Internet. One of the features in the software is called Installed base. The primary purpose of this feature is to enable my customers to know which sold goods will require attention even after the sale so that they can perform after-sales activities in a structured and transparent manner. The way this feature works is that a user marks a product as Warranty applicable. Then, any unit of that product that gets sold becomes a unique Installation and starts appearing in the Installed base as a unique record. My customers can then organize an installation of that unit, start tracking warranty, offer warranty extensions, annual maintenance contracts, etc. on unique Installations.

I am now receiving interest from a new segment of customers who find my software fully relevant to their business needs and would also want to track warranty and maintenance contracts for durable products, but those products do not require installation (for example, mobile phones). These customers therefore find the phrase Installed base confusing and have requested a more neutral wording.

Any suggestions for what Installed base could be renamed to in the given context?

Note: I have bounced off Equipment database, which customers in mobile phone and watch industries do not like because their products are not equipments (in their minds). I have also offered Device database, which customers in infrastructure industry do not like because their products such as cranes, earth-moving vehicles, etc. are not devices (in their minds).

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    Ask each customer what they want to call it. Then call it that in their copy of the software. – Lawrence Oct 3 '17 at 15:53
  • I'm sorry to say it seems clear this Question belongs somwhere dealing with design of databases or user interfaces, not English… as evidenced by your customers' various rejections. Either way what’s the other option outside installed base, for sold goods not requiring after-sales attention, please? My experience is that terms like installed base are literal, meaning broadly the item is up and running in use… nothing about the way it came into use matters. – Robbie Goodwin Oct 4 '17 at 23:38
  • Could you just call it the "user base"? – Max Williams Mar 2 '18 at 14:52
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I think Active Database might work best as a general term in this case. It doesn’t suggest that products were bought (as opposed to rented/leased). If I understand correctly, the intent is to provide a list of active warranties, leases, rentals, etc. depending on the user. Active Database simply indicates that the listed items are current and the buyer/renter/leasee maintains an active relationship with (or is actively covered by) the company.

If that doesn’t work either, you could consider adding a setting in the software to allow the user to change the name to suit their own needs.

  • Active database? It is not the database that is active. It's parts of whatever the license agreement states. – Lambie Jul 1 '18 at 16:18
  • @Lambie true, however in this case “active” refers not to the status of the database, but the warranties/rentals/leases of the items within. – Vyren Jul 1 '18 at 16:23
  • A product can have items (warranties/rentals/leases). Active product items or Activated Items per customer. – Lambie Jul 1 '18 at 16:27
  • @Lambie whether the database is sorted by sale, warranty/rental/lease, item/product, or customer is irrelevant to my answer. Regardless, I feel like “active” is a fitting general and neutral term (as per the users’ requests). – Vyren Jul 1 '18 at 16:43
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It sounds like your software is generic enough to apply to any kind of product, so you might have a hard time finding any word that would please everyone, short of very generic words like "product", "component", or "item". Even if you find something today, who's to say that you won't get new customers tomorrow who sell yet a third kind of product that your word doesn't describe? So instead of trying to name this database to reflect the types of products it contains, maybe you should name it to reflect what is expected to be done to all these items? If what all these items have in common is that they get to this database by being marked "warranty applicable", maybe you can just call it the "Warranty Database" or "Warranted Units Database".

In general, after-sale activities are usually labeled as "service" or "maintenance", so you can call it the "Service Database" or "Maintenance Database". Or even just simply the "Post-Purchase Database" or "After-Sale Database".

  • I agree with your comments and have a similar thought process to yours. However, sometimes equipment is leased as well and requires similar tracking and management as sold items, so post-purchase or after-sales do not apply either. The phrase installed base was borrowed from ERP software that usually refer to all sold capital goods as installations, regardless of their type or use. So, probably, there is no better phrasing for this. – manish Oct 3 '17 at 9:24
  • @manish, if rental is also a possibility, maybe "post-distribution" or some synonym of that? But if they are familiar with ERP software (or should be :) ), then your original term might in fact be the best and most professional. Maybe just a slight change to "installations database" might help clarify it for them? – filistinist Oct 3 '17 at 9:42
  • Warranted? Don't think so: warrantied is the word or something else. A product warranty is one that guarantees some performance. – Lambie Jul 1 '18 at 16:15

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