We use it for automating business processes.
We use it for automating business processes.
We're currently running 900 daily jobs in the system and OpCon allows us to do more because we don't have the human resources to run that many jobs. Now, with a system that can automate things, we are able to add a lot more volume to our day and to increase our job count. It allows our business to process a lot quicker. We can process more in real-time instead of waiting until the next day. It has enabled us to move from traditional batch processing to more real-time processing with a lot of our processes.
We've automated close to 250 tasks. In our IT space, we've automated 100 percent of the jobs that were running manually. We have also automated some tasks in our accounting and our item processing department. The automation on the accounting side drastically changed their jobs. I know because I was involved in working with their teams. And on the item processing team, close to 75 percent of the manual tasks around the core system have been automated.
OpCon has also reduced our data processing times because of the way you can build out workflows. It can run things in sequence. It's not restricted to a linear process, so you can run multiple jobs at once, allowing for multi-threaded jobs. As a result, we have been able to cut our nightly processing job from three hours to two hours.
The most valuable feature is its integration with our core system. There is a very limited number of vendors that integrate with our core system. OpCon allowed us to reassign three part-time people who were running jobs manually. OpCon is running those jobs automatically and those people now work in general IT support, instead of running manual jobs all day. Those people were very receptive to the changes because it was a lot of tedious and error-prone work and they were pretty happy to get it off their plates.
OpCon is also fairly easy to use, as long as you have some kind of process background for understanding workflow. If you understand workflows at a very basic level, you can use OpCon.
The biggest area where there is room for improvement would be integration with their code. They've got a function for embedded scripts and it would be nice if that worked with a code or versioning management system, like GitLab.
Overall, we haven't run into too many roadblocks where we tried doing something and we couldn't do it.
We've been using OpCon for four years.
We only have it running in a single instance, but they do support a failover cluster. It is supported to run in a high-availability mode. I wouldn't see any problems with the application's stability. We've never had issues. We run it on a virtual machine.
It scales easily. The only thing you have to be mindful of is licensing, because you pay per task. Other than that, it has handled as many jobs as we've thrown at it. We tried a few thousand in one day. It scales nicely.
It handles all of our critical-to-business processes. It handles all our ACH, our check-processing, our nightly processing, and various other daily tasks. We'd be in rough shape if we didn't have OpCon running.
Our plan is to always increased usage. We have a "continuous improvement" mindset here. If we can implement something in OpCon, we do.
SMA's technical support is excellent. They've always helped us out.
We did not have a previous automation tool. The reason we went with OpCon is that it has an integration with our core system.
The vendor handled most of the setup but it's more complex than other systems. We had some issues with setting up our service users with the domain. There is still some complexity with that — with which users have to run which jobs on which servers — because of permission models. That was the only thing that really was complex about the install. Actually installing the application is very straightforward, but the permissions model behind the service accounts is complex.
The complexity is because they allow you to do things in so many different ways. They didn't want to make an out-of-the-box setting for how you do things. Some of it is left up to the user to figure out the best way to handle things. In our case, we decided to use an Active Directory domain user and it was a little more complicated to do that because of security issues.
The installation itself, to where there was a usable product, took about two hours with their support team. Our experience with them during the initial deployment was very good.
After the initial deployment, it took about 10 minutes to automate our first process.
As for our deployment plan, we had all our manual jobs in a checklist and we ranked them all with a complexity rating. While the OpCon support was on site for our implementation and we had their attention, we worked through the more complex issues. After they left, we picked up the low-hanging fruit.
We have absolutely seen ROI. I don't have any way to measure it, but it's probably the most critical system to our organization, after Active Directory and email.
Yearly, we're paying about $62,000. OpCon has an all-inclusive feature and module license, but you pay per task. We have a 500 daily task count. Recurring tasks only count once. There are only additional costs if you want consulting hours for working on new projects. I think that cost is $250 per hour, a pretty standard consulting rate.
We evaluated one other solution, but I don't recall its name.
My advice would be to definitely involve the business units early in the process and get them all onboard, because you don't want to buy a tool that the business isn't ready for. They should be involved in process mapping.
The biggest lesson I've learned from using OpCon is not really about the tool itself, but more from going through the process and mapping with other departments. There's a lot of room or potential for OpCon, because the users in your company are definitely doing more manual processing than you could ever imagine. It made us realize how much manual work we are doing. It put eyes on that. We became hyper-aware of everything going on and would say, "Oh yeah, let's put that and that in OpCon". That went on nonstop for two years.
It's ongoing. We're still definitely growing the tool. There's always new stuff. Some teams were a little apprehensive at first and now they're more interested in it. When you talk about automation, it's always about someone's fear of being replaced by a machine. That wasn't the case with the core team for the critical pieces. All of those teams were willing to move their stuff because of availability and the criticality of what they were doing. They realized that automating it was a good move.
In our company, OpCon is primarily run by the IT department. The only other team that interfaces with the tool is accounting, and they use the Self Service feature. We have 12 users using OpCon on a regular basis. There are two people in IT who maintain it.
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