OpCon Review

The product is always available and easy to use


What is our primary use case?

We use OpCon for scheduling batch jobs on the Unisys mainframe. It controls all of the batch work. Therefore, if we want to rerun a job or add a new job in, It is used for controlling this Unisys batch work.

How has it helped my organization?

It allows batch work to run as smoothly and efficiently as possible.

If we are talking about a one off job, it takes roughly five minutes to set that up, which is very quick.

Results are pretty much instantaneous. It depends what frequency you put on the job. It could be a job that will not run for another couple of hours. But, if you set up a job and want it to run straightaway, it will do it straightaway.

OpCon has streamlined operations. 

Going back 20 odd years ago, everything used to be controlled manually before. Now, it's just a flow of jobs. You kick one off, then there are just dependencies, one after the other. These jobs just follow those dependencies and do it all automatically, instead of somebody having to sit there and do it manually.

From when it was first deployed, the solution freed up around 100 or so employees to do more meaningful work as a result of the automation.

It reduced data processing times when it was first deployed. Back then, it probably saved a good six or seven hours on a daily basis. The amount time has shrunk since then, but that is not due to OpCon. It is more due to reduced processing times on the Unisys mainframe.

What is most valuable?

It is very simple and easy to use, but that might be because I've been using it for a long time.

The things that we use most often are:

  • NIST view
  • Job Master
  • The quick search option.

What needs improvement?

The way to view a schedule is called perch view, and that's not always the greatest. It can be quite slow.

Any issues we did have with earlier releases have since been addressed in later releases.

We are looking at something called Solution Manager which comes with it, because we don't use that currently. This shows more performance and is an easier way to access them. You can also set trends and do more analyzing.

For how long have I used the solution?

I have been using it for 12 to 13 years.

The company has probably had it for about 20 years.

What do I think about the stability of the solution?

The stability is very good. We don't ever seem to have any issues or major problems with OpCon. It's always been quite good.

We have currently been looking to upgrade to version 19. So, we are testing that.

What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

The scalability is quite good. The amount that we have on it doesn't ever cause any issues. I am not too sure how much more it could cope with, but I imagine it's a lot more.

We have approximately 50 scheduled jobs running various different processes. It varies between 20 and 100. Because it's a big organization, these automated process are not a massive part of the organization: Approximately 15 to 20 percent. I don't see this figure going up since a lot of stuff tends to be moving into cloud-based stuff.

Our use of OpCon needs improvement because I don't think we use it to its full capabilities.

There is a team of us who do the maintenance. There are mainly three people on the team with another hundred other people using it for view only purposes, such as viewing data results and what times certain jobs finish. They don't have access to make any amendments.

How are customer service and technical support?

The technical support is very good. I think we have a designated person who we contact if we ever have any sort of issues, etc. Their response time is fairly quick (within 24 hours).

How was the initial setup?

The initial setup is pretty straightforward. They give you some good user guides and information on how to do it.

If we are upgrading, it probably takes about two to three hours. We start the automation process within this two to three hour time slot. It is pretty quick.

When deploying a new version, we have to do a lot of testing. We have DR boxes which we do our testing on first. That's what we're currently doing it at the moment. Then, we have to run it through our change management to make sure all of the various other areas in the department are happy.

What about the implementation team?

SMA is pretty helpful, if we do ever have any questions. They are pretty quick to respond.

For upgrades, three or four are required. There are three of us on our side involved in upgrading it. Then, there is one person from SMA to help, if need be.

Which other solutions did I evaluate?

Compared to other solutions that we have in the organization, OpCon is a lot quicker to deploy. For example, Control-M takes almost double the time to deploy.

We use OpCon for Unisys and Control M for more server-based jobs.

What other advice do I have?

it's definitely an application worth considering and looking into. It is a pretty good tool. I don't really have too many issues with it.

My biggest lesson since using it has been to learn how to upgrade it. This is part of the process, as I've gone from the scheduling side of it, where no one else scheduled jobs to the next step of learning how to upgrade it.

I would rate it an eight (out of 10). The product is always available and easy to use. I like the overall general feel and view of it.

Which deployment model are you using for this solution?

On-premises
**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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