What is our primary use case?
We use it to schedule nightly batch jobs. We also have jobs that run during the day on a cyclic basis to provide up-to-date, real-time information for the company.
I'm also pretty much focused on keeping things going. I'm the only scheduler at the company. We have about 4000 jobs in the daily schedule with around 42,000 iterations of jobs.
How has it helped my organization?
Everything that we schedule is run through Control-M. It supplies and provides what is needed, whether it is nighttime processing or cyclic job streams that are needed for the company to do what it needs to do.
What is most valuable?
The whole Control-M scheduling package is valuable.
The most important features are that it is easy to use and graphical, since I'm a graphical person. This allows me to see it on the screen. I've used other scheduling tools, and the information wasn't there. Being able to see the jobs that connect to another job is real important to me.
It can do anything that I need. We do real-time jobs. We also do jobs that have to run at certain times. I have not been presented with a scheduling need that I was not able to do. It is very flexible and dynamic.
I learned it intuitively, and it's easy to use. I speak to operators who sometimes have limited technical knowledge and they are able to pick it up with my help. They're able to pick it up pretty easily and do the functions that they need to do.
What needs improvement?
I'm not sure how the solution fits together with our business modernization initiatives, as there are things outside of my area, even though Control-M is the scheduling tool of the company. They may use other things, e.g., Big Data.
What do I think about the stability of the solution?
It always works. There is never a problem with Control-M. If there is a problem it is either with the server Control-M runs on or a scheduling error that was made.
Control-M is always running and never breaking. I always tease server people about rebooting, since my application is always running.
We were on version 6 and went to version 8 about four years ago. Everything worked just like it used to, but it was more streamlined. When we went to version 9 last year, it was even more streamlined. Things just looked more up-to-date, and it was more web-based.
Sometimes, I don't think of what can happen next, but I see the new version, and think, "Oh wow, that was a great idea!"
What do I think about the scalability of the solution?
We keep growing in number of jobs. We have more jobs every year, and it is never a problem. Everything still runs like it is supposed to. It works quite well, and there is never an issue with the job count getting bigger.
Compared to large companies, we are small as far as our Control-M footprint.
How are customer service and technical support?
The technical support is great. On their website, they have a knowledge base, where a lot of times, I find the answer to my problem. If not, whether it is a question or technical problem, I open a case online, and I get responses very quickly. If it is a high level problem, I will get a call back right away. They have follow-the-sun support, so I always have access to someone to talk to. If production is down, I will get someone on the phone right away, and I've never had a problem. They always answer my questions, which is very helpful. They never say, "Hey, you could have looked this up over here." They give me great answers back, which have helped quite a bit.
If you previously used a different solution, which one did you use and why did you switch?
When I got there, we had Robot Schedule. With this solution, I couldn't see the job connecting, which was sort of frustrating. It was like, "Hey, where does this one go?"
I know Robot Schedule has advanced. However, we had Robot Schedule and Control-M, and we migrated off of Robot Schedule and moved everything to Control-M. and I was part of that process. I just felt so much better after we phased off Robot Schedule.
How was the initial setup?
The upgrade process is great. They have a whole department with their AMIGO program, where you can have someone walk you through it. We have upgraded to 9.18. When we go to 9.19, it will be real quick. It should be almost hands off from what I understand, and that is what I am attending this BMC event to find out about: the upgrade process. When we did the last one, it was real easy. I understand it will be even easier going forward, so I'm happy with that.
What was our ROI?
This product saves hours in a day based on my experience working here versus other companies with manual operations.
The solution has helped reduce IT operations costs. Years ago, I would get many calls in operations. I get zero calls now. I may get an email or two about a question operations has, but everything runs. It doesn't break and works like it is supposed to.
Which other solutions did I evaluate?
I have been exposed to a little bit looking online. We talked to someone through our rep. They were looking at Control-M and some other source scheduler. They went with the other scheduler for some reason. I looked at it online, and thought "Wow, this looks really weird."
What other advice do I have?
Do your due diligence. Look around at what is out there. However, I would 100 percent be behind Control-M. It's a great company. Their support is good. The product is great. It's a good investment. It will keep growing and cover any needs that we have. This product can do everything I need and can help me do anything I need to do to schedule for real time information, supplying things, and batch jobs at night.
We are automating more things. I sometimes hear an application team say, "We are running this manually, and we want to make it automated." I will make a few jobs to save them from doing what they are doing manually and automate it. I am always looking for more things to automate.
The people who are in development of this product seem like they are very forward thinking, and always thinking, "What can we do next?" I think that is great.
Disclosure: I am a real user, and this review is based on my own experience and opinions.