BUILDING A COMPLEX INFORMATION SYSTEM FOR SPP – DISTRIBUTION, A.S.
AQIST solution for SPP – Distribúcia, a.s.
SPP – Distribúcia, a.s. (SPP-D) deals with the sales of distribution capacities, development activities, operation and maintenance of the gas distribution network through which approximately 98% of the total distributed volume of natural gas in the Slovak Republic is distributed. SPP-D emphasizes the quality of services provided to 22 suppliers and customers to more than 1.5 million delivery points. With nearly 33,000 kilometres of the network, the company annually distributes over 5 billion m3 of natural gas, which is one of the most environmentally friendly and comfortable types of energy.
The incentive to start the transformation of information and communication technology systems (ICT) at SPP-D was the legislative changes resulting from the content of the third liberalization package. Based on these changes, a program of the SPP-D IT department from the systems at Slovenský plynárenský priemysel, a.s. (SPP) was initiated. The department’s program and the entire transformation of IT at SPP-D had to be prepared in such a way that all statutory conditions of the Office for Regulation of Network Industries (URSO) for the separation of the distribution network in the area of IT were fulfilled.
Before the IT transformation at SPP-D, the information systems used and their architecture reflected the period when SPP-D and SPP were one company.
Business processes were different from today’s SPP-D needs, the IT and its architecture requirements were different as well.
The transformation process itself took place in two stages. The goal of the first stage as of 1 January 2014 was to achieve the thorough separation of information system databases containing the confidential information of both companies. The goal of the second stage as at 30 June 2016 was to completely separate SPP-D IT systems from SPP.
At SPP-D it was necessary to build an IT department whose role is the operation, management and development of information systems and IT infrastructure. IT was considered from the beginning, where a substantial part of the activities would be outsourced.
SPP-D has launched the procurement for the construction and operation of the Complex Information System (COIS), including its further development, particularly focusing on its progressive technical and operational optimization. An important criterion for building the COIS was the URSO’s requirement that billing from the system for gas distribution to users of the SPP-D distribution network SPP-D must be executed, calculated and documented at each delivery point.
After the successful completion of the procurement and selection of the contractor, Aqist, a.s., on 30 April 2015, the implementation of the COIS project was launched with the signing of the “Information Technology Service Contract”.
THE PROJECT WAS DIVIDED INTO MULTIPLE STAGES
Building the infrastructure and its commissioning
Deploying the SAP ERP service and its support systems
Deploying the Distribution Information System – BillienDistribution and FSMC service
Deployment of geographic and mobile services (GIS, GPS monitoring of vehicles…)
The systems were modified and migrated sequentially in the individual stages and their backward integration was secured by a number of temporary interfaces defined by a transitive architecture.
Stage 0 focused on building the COIS HW infrastructure in data centres, building and migrating support services, Active Directory, MS Exchange, installing and configuring the Service Desk, installing support infrastructure applications such as the IBM Websphere, BPM, ECM and MS Sharepoint.
Stage 1 deployed and started the operation of the SAP ERP system and related systems/modules along with supporting ISs, in which data partitioning was required.
Stage 2 was the most challenging because it deployed the new BillienDistribution system, challenging data migration from the existing DIS systems, SAP IS-U, the deployment of the new FSMC system (support IT system to manage maintenance of mobile workgroups), and the disconnection of systems, which were gradually replaced by new systems and applications.
At this stage, systems were deployed replacing the original solutions covering the main business processes at SPP-D, among others:
This step required the migration of data from the existing SAP IS-U systems and the distribution information system (DIS) into new systems. This system already has new features, for example billing at the level of a delivery point, clearance invoices and so on. What is important is that the BillienDistribution system unified the database, including key data on delivery points, readings and consumption, distribution contracts, dates of installations/de-installations of measuring devices and so on. The data are recorded and stored in one place and accessible to the application parts that use these data. By eliminating the number of systems operated and their interfaces, the simplification of the technical architecture as well as the associated maintenance of systems and integration requirements was achieved. BillienDistribution replaces DIS, SAP IS-U, web connection forms, outsourcing of readings as well as some services associated with these systems, such as EZoP.
This greatly reduces the number of stand-alone systems with demanding communication and integration. Data is removed in connection with reducing the number of systems is removed, e.g. information about installing and de-installing the measuring devices existed in 2 systems without a guarantee of data consistency. In the final third step, the deployment of the other adopted existing systems was suggested.
Stage 3 deployed systems that did not require data partitioning. They include the Geographic Information System (GIS) and the GPS monitoring system, which is used to monitor vehicles. When deploying IT systems into operation, an agreed testing strategy was used. Testing scenarios included functional integration tests on synthetic data, migration tests on production data, acceptance tests to check system functionalities, and performance tests to control the speed and responses of the system prior to deployment into production.
KEY PROJECT PARAMETERS
PROJECT BENEFITS FOR CUSTOMER
“The IT transformation project at SPP-D was a major challenge with its scope and demands. Over the course of 2-and-a-half years, a new organizational structure was created, a technical specification for procurement, implemeted public procurement and a successfully implemented project for IT detachment. Thanks not only to all the SPP-D colleagues involved in the project, but the contractor’s employees and last but not least, to the colleagues from SPP. The replacement of SAP IS-U, DIS and other BillienDistribution-based solutions has brought us much greater flexibility, the simplification of technical architecture, and associated maintenance of systems and integration requirements.”
Ing. Miroslav Majerčík
COIS Program Manager at SPP – distribúcia, a.s.