What is our primary use case?
We have OpCon in our test environment, we're testing that right now and putting it into production next month.
Our primary use cases are for our core system that does batch processing for our core system, which is Symitar. We have automated about 90% of our daily processing. And we have started to branch out to utilize it more for Self Service where our other business units can automate some of their processing as well.
How has it helped my organization?
The fact that if you automate your core processing, in our case, alleviates the need to make sure that if somebody is running late or somebody calls in sick, your jobs are still going to run, they're still going to be on time. It has notifications built-in to let you know if something has failed or has missed the start time. It really keeps your business flowing and with proactivity. That's been the biggest example for my institution. It's the fact that we're a 24-hour shop. There's no downtime. It keeps us running and moving. We're about 90% automated if we look at our core processing.
The automation of manual tasks has reduced human error by at least 40 hours a week. It's essentially saving another person.
It has saved our IT team time by automating things a lot less wait time for people waiting for my team to actually run processes or transfer things. There's no delay in between the time when something is supposed to happen and when it happens.
We are able to move forward with business needs. My team is now able to learn, do additional training and other facets of IT. Rather than spending the time blending jobs, transferring, and doing things manually, they're now able to work on other projects within the organization. They're learning more about different areas of how other things function within IT. We become more project-oriented than process-oriented. We're able to identify things within the business that we can automate or that could be changed. We've gone from reactive to proactive
We are at least 80% more productive.
What is most valuable?
There are a lot of valuable features. The version that we're currently casting, Self Service, is going to be the most valuable to us. It is going to allow us to open up the doors, broaden our automation capability and help other business units to be able to automate a lot of the little things that they do from day to day. I'm really looking forward to being able to help other areas with their automation needs. Self Service is really key.
OpCon is pretty easy to use. I'm not a programmer, I had no formal training. They offer some basic training courses. They also have a lot of documentation online and their support staff is super helpful. So it's pretty easy as long as you can take the time to familiarize yourself. It's a pretty easy application.
For the Enterprise Manager, the UI is okay. It puts your processing in alphabetical order instead of the actual processing order, but they are building a new UI. They really are on track to make it even more user-friendly. It's like they're listening to some of the common complaints from their customers, or they started to build out what we need or what we are looking for.
We are setting up the Self Service feature right now. That's going to be our biggest list in our organization. We just installed it and went through our training a few weeks ago. My team is building Self Service buttons in our testing environment right now.
What needs improvement?
Enterprise Manager is a little clunky which I know they're addressing in the solution's manager.
It's annoying that our processes are listed alphabetically. It should be listed in dependency order or order of processing. That's one thing that drives me crazy. That's my biggest issue.
For how long have I used the solution?
I have been using OpCon since October of 2010.
What do I think about the stability of the solution?
They've gone through some changes recently with the owner, but I know that they're on the right track. I feel that they're very stable.
What do I think about the scalability of the solution?
They see that there are other competitors out in the market that do what they do. So they want to make sure that they stay relevant and are able to keep up with changing technology. They put a lot of stuff in the new release from 19 to 20. The team has been working really hard to take that stuff into account, like how to future-proof and make this more flexible. I think it's very scalable.
Currently, six of the admin users are me and my team. And we are primary users of OpCon, which means that we are monitoring and setting up. And then we have our Symitar administrative, our core host system administrative who's also involved. We also have our payments team who used to do ACH and draft returns. They are primary users as well.
For deployment, you really only need a couple of people, but I'd like to ensure that my entire team is well trained. You don't necessarily need seven people, if one or two people have a backup is plenty. My team's official title is Computer Operators. They're basically responsible for batch processing and file transfers within the credit union.
Right now 90% of the usage is my team with a small bit with our payments team. So one thing we've been able to do is learn more about the product, go out to our business and see what their needs are. With the new version and the Self Service features, we plan on branching out because Self Service allows business partners not to have to log in to either our core system or the OpCon system, it's through a UI or URL. And so the thought there is that we will be able to branch this out to accounting collections. The payments team has the other items and the card services team as well. There are certain processes in the run in our core and we would like to automate those so that they can just either run automatically or they control when they run them through.
How are customer service and technical support?
We will start with Symitar and sometimes Symitar will refer us back to SMA. They work really well together and we're able to come to a resolution, but sometimes it's both systems in OpCon and Symitar that have an issue.
SMA support is super helpful. They're a great team.
Which solution did I use previously and why did I switch?
We also looked at DMC. OpCon has a relationship with Symitar. That was a selling point for us because they have a close relationship and they already have several Symitar clients using OpCon and they came with great reviews. DMC had several other core systems that they were automating but Symitar wasn't the main system. So we just felt more comfortable going with SMA.
How was the initial setup?
The initial setup was pretty straightforward. We had a great team. We had both SMA and Jack Henry, which is our core vendor. They were both on-site. They worked really well together. They were very hands-on in training and had me and my team involved in the whole process.
The deployment took us two weeks. We wanted to implement it in the test first so that we could see how it interacted with our core and our other systems within our network. So that's where we first installed it so that we could do our basic setup and testing. And then once those testing passed, then we set aside some time to set it up in a production environment. Because we obviously didn't just didn't want to gung ho and go back into production.
What about the implementation team?
We use Jack Henry. They are our Symitar, which is our core processor, our integrator.
They told us about SMA because SMA has a relationship with Jack Henry as a core processor. They did a lot of their automation. Jack Henry told us about SMA, which is how I came to bring them on board. Because they had already built a lot of automation for our core processing. They already had a business relationship.
What's my experience with pricing, setup cost, and licensing?
We currently renewed with one of their new technology bundles. It's around $36,000 annually. We run a query of our SQL in our SQL database to see how many jobs we run. They're charging us per usage and whatever add-ons you want to use with OpCon.
What other advice do I have?
My advice would be to ask a lot of questions. Make sure that you involve your entire staff from beginning to end. OpCon was a really easy experience. Having them on-site, sitting next to you with hands-on experience, you can't beat it. They're not hiding anything. I really appreciated the amount of effort that they put into showing up, training, and following through as well. Whenever something did go wrong, they're always there to support you.
We consider OpCon to be one of our tier-one applications, meaning it's almost as critical and important as our core host system. We haven't done any vendor comparisons in ten years because we're very happy with them.
Typing matters. A lot of what you enter is manually typed. So watch your spacing, watch your fat fingers and copy and paste or copy schedules wherever possible. And then the other trick is eventually you always have a frequency. Those are the few things that I mess up on that really make my whole deployment delayed because I can't find why it's not working and it's always usually because I have an extra space somewhere or character I didn't need. Watch your typing and have a second set of eyes.
I would rate OpCon a ten out of ten.
Which deployment model are you using for this solution?
Which version of this solution are you currently using?
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