Starting on March 15 of this year, the IT firm Lanit-Tercom (part of the Lanit Group) began work on a major new project under contract with the St. Petersburg State Unitary Enterprise that handles housing and related communal services. Lanit-Tercom is performing follow-up and revision of the city’s Urban Level System (ULS) and the Automated Information System (AIS). The ULS system calculates utility service fees for 70% of the St. Petersburg housing fund, which numbers about 1.4 million personal accounts. Payment of social support for citizens receiving social benefits in addition to monthly housing subsidies and utility services for low-income citizens are handled by the AIS system.
The Urban Level System must be available for use 24 / 7 during the week, which places high demands on system reliability; for this reason the overall condition must be constantly monitored. Functioning as the core is an Oracle database developed by PL / SQL. The system provides simultaneous connections for approximately1500 accountants from administrative organizations, allowing them to input readings from general housing meters for various services, such as hot and cold running water. Accountants can also make corrections to the database according to petitions from residents. This is a very dynamic system, as monthly invoices must be received by a certain date - any delay is unacceptable, or St. Petersburg residents will receive a delayed bill.
The General Director of Lanit-Tercom, Andrei N. Terekhov, noted that, "In the past year we had our first encounters with the Housing and Communal Services Department, for an initial order to develop a payment subsystem. We found that the main information system had been developed by many separate IT firms over a period of ten years. It had never been structured and at times required manual fixes and patches. The Department’s Director, V. N. Fedotovym, understood this perfectly well and this, combined with the good reputation of Lanit-Tercom, caused our relationship to get off to a very good start.”
“I told him that we wouldn’t accept just maintaining the system, as this is difficult, hands-on work. But if he allowed us to gradually improve, modernize and reengineer the system - which is primarily what we do - then our company is ready to proceed. As a result, the Department accepted our bid for maintenance and reengineering,” added Mr. Terekhov.
“I’m not going to hide it - the first month’s work was very tense and complicated. Our engineers had difficulty working with the existing legacy software code. But because the project is clearly very socially significant, the Lanit-Tercom development team feels strongly motivated to make a greater effort to improve the system. And now we have delivered a fully and seamlessly functioning system. Lessons learned during this project will help us to create architectures for future proposals.”