CA Workload Automation Review

We need to have things run in a very sequential order, so it is very useful that we can schedule work flows

What is our primary use case?

We schedule overnight and daily jobs, mainly on a Cc&B system. We do file transfers from outside agencies, things like financial pledges and meter readings.

It performs very well. As far as the product is concerned, all of our issues are really with the system that we call rather than with the AE product itself. 

How has it helped my organization?

We were able to eliminate an overnight operator job, for one thing. He just left, but we did not replace him.  We get better reports than we use to have. Basically it runs jobs on a schedule, but we already had the jobs. It also eliminates manual job starting.

What is most valuable?

Its scheduling and its notification to us. We need to know when things are taking too long and when it fails, but we really need to schedule jobs to run. We need to have things run in a very sequential order, so it is very useful that we can schedule the work flows.

What needs improvement?

There is a difference between a web interface and the thick client interface. We particularly like a thick client interface, and it has gone away. I am finding that is disappointing to me. Now, it looks like the web interface is where all the development is going, which means it will become more full-featured than any thick clients that might be compatible with the new version. I would hate to see the thick client be left behind. I would really like to see that thick client come along.

I would really like to see a feature where if you have a variable object and you reference it anywhere, in any object or script, that you could somehow click on it and resolve the value and display it.

This is one thing I would really like to see in a new release of it. I have no idea if that has already been implemented or not, because we do not have the latest version, but I would really like to see something like that.

For how long have I used the solution?

One to three years.

What do I think about the stability of the solution?

As far as I can tell, it is stable. We are just transferring to the AE version, but we were using Automation Manager for two years before that. 

I can't recall the actual product failing in any way. 

What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

The tool can probably handle way bigger stuff than what we are doing. 

We are a gas distribution company, but we also own other companies. We are only using this at one of our locations where there are several million customers. We are firing off jobs that are billing those customers, managing meter readings, and various other billing-related financials and lettering processes. We are not at a Netflix or American Airlines level. I am pretty sure we have way more capacity in the product then what we are using. 

How is customer service and technical support?

I do not think that I called technical support, though I think we have reported a software bug. There is one bug that we noticed, which is kind of annoying. So, aside from that, I do not think we used technical support at all.

I have looked up stuff on the CA Community. I might have gone into some of the Community pages to look for a solution. Nothing really memorable though.

Since we are still using the AE product and we are just transferring into it, we are still talking to the consultants, the people who actually came in and sold it to us, installed it, and trained us. So, we still have those as resources at this time. We have not really needed the Community.

How was the initial setup?

As I recall, there is a transfer application from our AM to our AE. That went very well. Any problems that we had with that we probably caused ourselves, because we wanted to rename a lot of stuff, which was probably a bad idea, but I could not control that. 

I think it was relatively smooth. It could have been smoother. I do not think it was a fault of the program. I think it was more our fault. 

What other advice do I have?

I would recommend it. Actually I do not even know another automation product. I would not know what else to recommend.

I appreciate training and support from a vendor. They should come in, train us on the product, and be around for a while, or at least available, to help us with anything we should have learned or did not. Or, things we discover we need. Training and early on support are really important and we really would like to see, like the same person providing it. 

I would like to be able to contact him and say, "Hey, how do I do such and such? How do I attach this report to this thing? How do I filter this?" And he would reply with, "Here are some codes you might find useful." I know these would be available out in the community, but I should not have to look it up because I am still in training. That is just one thing I would like.

Disclosure: IT Central Station contacted the reviewer to collect the review and to validate authenticity. The reviewer was referred by the vendor, but the review is not subject to editing or approval by the vendor.
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