Special Reports

Key terms and acronyms

TUI: TUI Consulting Inc.: TUI, which stands for Total Utility Integrators, is the private company that customized and installed the SAP software for the city. CEO Ballu Khan moved the company from Melbourne, Australia, to Tacoma shortly after it won the initial contract with the city in 2002.

SAP: (pronounced S-A-P): Both the name of the software on which Tacoma now does almost all of its business and the Walldorf, Germany, technology giant that produces it. The five former IBM employees who founded the company in 1972 named it Systemanalyse und Programmentwicklung (Systems Analysis and Program Development), according to the sapfans.com Web site. More than 12 million people use SAP software in 88,000 installations around the world, the company says. Its bread-and-butter business has been manufacturing companies, including Chevron, DaimlerChrysler and Starbucks.

Go live: Activating a computer system. A go-live date is the day you plan to turn the system on for the first time. Also known as going live.

BIS: Business Information Systems (Department). The 90-employee city department responsible for maintaining the new computer system. Dave Otto heads the department, which is under Tacoma Public Utilities.

TPU: Tacoma Public Utilities, the municipally owned utility that provides electricity, water and Click! cable network services to Tacoma and several surrounding communities.

ERP: Enterprise Resource Planning. A platform or software system that integrates and automates things for an organization. In Tacoma, ERP software and its companion pieces do virtually all of the city’s business, from billing utility customers, to paying employees to dispatching work crews.