OpCon Review

Improved our consistency on how batch jobs are run and their schedule


What is our primary use case?

The solution is for our core system processing, which runs our scheduled programs. We are a financial institution, so it does our postings, reporting, nightly processes, and file transfers for anything which needs to go in and out of the core going to designated places. OpCon now does any type of repetitious work that we would have an operator do.

I have it implemented in our accounting and card departments for their processes, our payment systems, and HR for the onboarding/offboarding of employees. We also have it in IT.

How has it helped my organization?

It improved our consistency on how batch jobs are run and their schedule. It used to be left up to me or another operator to do the postings of these jobs. They were not always done on time. If it was supposed to be done at 8:00, then it'd be done at 8:10 or 8:15. Now, 8:00 is 8:00. Jobs are more efficient, and with the schedule, there is no variation on the time. These things will be run.

The other part is some of these jobs have prompts in them. You had to answer those prompts and make sure you were consistent in your answers. If you rely on a person to do it, sometimes those answers are not done correctly. Whereas, with OpCon, it will always be a consistent response to those answers. There is no deviating whatsoever. This reduced the responsibility of another operator who can be moved over to do something else. It went from that person doing the job to monitoring what is going on in OpCon. It also has expanded their job responsibilities to other things that need to be done.

The solution has streamlined operations. E.g., we have at least 20 different jobs in our nightly process. These have been streamlined within OpCon using one master job that does each one of those different batch jobs for us.

It has freed up my time because the other operator and I use to tag team. It also helps because I don't have to come in for month-end or nighttime processing. We don't need a nighttime operator, which is nice.

You can sleep in and get notifications if something fails, which was a nice part of it. If something is processing, and you want to make sure that it processes okay, this is probably one of the best things about the scheduling and automation of the solution. It does free up your employees to do other things. You no longer have to worry about them missing a step or not posting on time.

It gives me more time to program. For others, they now work on other things that we have in our IT department. This goes to some of the networking things that we have going on, help desk situations, and looking at what is the latest and greatest in things out there that we can dive into in terms of home banking products, e.g., if we can add things to those features.

What is most valuable?

Being able to copy what we already have, then apply it to another task is one of the cool features. It saves time. When I know there is another new process coming up, I can copy an existing one and just change a couple of things in it that need to be changed for it to run the new job process. The nice part about the copy part is I don't have to go back and look at what I had to call it, put in those settings, etc. I already know what those settings are, which is great. I just need to tell it the new job has to run, then schedule a time, and if there is a different time for it.

I am getting into the self-service part of it, which means I can then assign users to kick off odd processes which are not on a true set schedule. They can pretty much initiate it themselves. That is one of the features that I really like. 

I like the notifications of when jobs have completed or failed. This is a big plus because you can either have an email or email and text sent to you. That is very helpful.

What needs improvement?

There is some difficulty with the ease of use when I don't have some of the templates that were already created. I know they have to make general templates across the board for everyone to use with different types of systems, but it is good to have the templates done. Then, the solution becomes very easy to figure out, and I know that I will always use OpCon in this way or in this different scenario, as it will work for me with these usages.

More templates would be great. Non-core featured templates are my biggest struggle. For example, the PowerShell functionality is really cool, so I dove into that a bit where I wrote scripts using PowerShell for our Active Directory.

For how long have I used the solution?

We have been using it since 2013.

What do I think about the stability of the solution?

It's a stable solution.

We require one person and a backup for deploying and maintaining the solution.

What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

It's capable of working with other system, which is very good. It is very scalable.

We have about 4,328 daily jobs with 897 daily scheduled. We probably had about a hundred jobs when we first started. We have been adding them here and there as we go along.

We have at least 15 employees using the solution, plus another employee and me.

OpCon has been implemented 100 percent for IT in what we do at our core. For the rest of the departments, this solution is around five to 10 percent of what they do.

Besides our core, we're trying to see if we can branch out to other types of things that can be automated. There is always room for growth. I think we have tapped out on what OpCon can do for our core. It is now what else can it do for us that is not core. That is why we are looking at our HR department and networking stuff, and being able to automate some of the system processes there. E.g., pinging network servers to make sure they are online, up, and available, and also scheduling any type of tasks that they might have.

How are customer service and technical support?

They are average for technical support. I still have to do my own research on some things.

Which solution did I use previously and why did I switch?

I have never used an automation system other than Windows Scheduler, which is probably the best way. You go into Windows, restart your computer every day or run updates at this time. Whereas, OpCon gives us more prompts and things to do where you can set up different PCs or servers to do certain things.

How was the initial setup?

I was involved in the initial setup, but that was back in 2013. I was excited at the time, but wasn't sure what I was getting into. The initial setup was complex because it was something I knew I wanted, but didn't know what it was.

When we first set it up, we requested a book of jobs to be done for us. This was like a set standard of batch jobs that would need to be automated. I have been able to elaborate and expand on those.

It took us a week after deployment of OpCon to automate our first process.

Our implementation strategy was to first start simple, then go into our complex processes. 

Simple for us would be running a batch job that has maximum three or four prompts in it. Then, we go complex with the RACH process, where we receive files, process those files, and schedule times for them to post. Then, we run intermittent jobs in-between to produce a return file that goes back out. 

What about the implementation team?

We had an onsite person come for a week from SMA. Our overall experience was great. He was a nice guy who handheld us through some of the processes, making sure that we were good and explaining everything to us. That was probably the best thing of having him here onsite, and not remotely, because he could see where our questions were stemming from and why we were asking certain things. He then helped us set up the different templates for our processes.

What was our ROI?

Manual processing has been automated 99 percent by OpCon. With new processes, we give it at least two weeks manual so we can write down the details of how to do the steps, then we automate it. Within a month, it has been automated, then it's no longer a manual process.

It has freed up my time. I don't have to stay late at night. We don't need a nighttime operator, which is one of the biggest things, at least for me. Some places I know, they need to have other employees besides the two basic ones during the day do operations. Now, we don't need an extra person for that. 

It has freed up our time for other things. We get to program a little more.

What's my experience with pricing, setup cost, and licensing?

Our licensing is on a yearly basis.

Which other solutions did I evaluate?

We did not evaluate other vendors. 

I had seen OpCon a few years ago before at a conference for Coresystems and they were the only ones there. Jump to 2013, I find out that our executives had said, "Yes, we're going to go with them." I was very happy with this.

What other advice do I have?

Have a list of items that they would like to have automated. That way they can sit there, and say, "Yes, I did accomplish what I wanted with the system." Then, what do I want to expand on afterwards? 

The work upfront is great. In the long run, it makes your life a lot easier. You will have to do some work upfront, which is knowing your manual processes, remembering them, and knowing what they are step-by-step. Once this is mapped out, it makes it easier to implement OpCon. You also have a template that tells you where you might have missed a step if something fails within OpCon.

It has made my life very easy. In a way to me, it is an AI. Though, we still have to tell it what to do, it is one step closer.

OpCon is probably about a nine (out of 10). There is always room to grow.

Which deployment model are you using for this solution?

On-premises

Which version of this solution are you currently using?

18.03
**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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