OpCon Review

Streamlined ops by enabling end-users to run things without getting permission within the host system

What is our primary use case?

We're a credit union, so we use it for daily operations. We have over 1,700 jobs automated. We are still working on it. The list is growing every day. I add two or three whole, automated processes — schedules with projects — every two weeks.

How has it helped my organization?

This isn't our first automated system, so it's hard to say how it's improved anything. The best thing is that the communication with our host system is better. It allows us to have more security. It allows us to have more information and more control than we previously had over the processes that are running in host systems. That has been an improvement.

This solution has streamlined operations by giving end-users the ability to run things without having to get permission within the host system. That eliminated the need for other departments to have to send messages to operators in IT to run processes and host. Now we can give them access to run very specific jobs without giving them access to those systems.

It has also freed up employees to do more meaningful work as a result of automation. There are multiple departments within this organization. We use it throughout the organization so it's huge; it has affected hundreds. The employees, as far as I can tell, are okay with it. They like it. I don't have a lot of contact with end-users after the development is over, so there may be different ideas, but I haven't had any complaints.

What is most valuable?

All of the features are important. The best thing about it is the communication listing.

There's a learning curve, but it's a fairly easy system to use. It doesn't require a lot of technical skill.

What needs improvement?

The system needs better communication, better advanced warning, and better stability with SQL database systems. The latter is the only Achilles heel to the software. The SQL database connections are the only time that we've had issues with reliability and stability of the software.

For how long have I used the solution?

We've been using OpCon for three years.

What do I think about the stability of the solution?

The stability is really good.

What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

It is vastly scalable. We've grown up to 1,700 jobs and it hasn't had any problems. As we grow, with each development, we're learning more about its capabilities and pushing limits of what we feel is safe, and it has never failed us.

It is used in a lot of ways and it's used every day. It's a critical component of our daily ops, and we are going to continue to expand and include other departments in IT, helping them manage some of their systems.

How are customer service and technical support?

SMA is great at replying to inquiries. Their support is great.

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

Before we got OpCon we did have another automated system, AutoMate. We switched due to OpCon's capabilities of communicating with the host system. And OpCon runs faster than the last one. There are some scenarios where it has been more capable and some where it has not been.

In terms of the time to implement OpCon versus our old solution, they're very different. The last system was geared closer to, and was more in tune with, developers than OpCon. It was very capable, as long as you had the skillset. Whereas OpCon is very simple and the GUI is very click-and-point. OpCon is faster at delivering some of the smaller things. But when it comes to more complex things, the last system was better because it was more prepared to handle those systems.

How was the initial setup?

The initial setup wasn't difficult. It was pretty straightforward. The install wizard is easy to follow and there weren't a lot of hidden things to look for. We also had SMA staff on site, so they made it easier.

Our initial install was done in about an hour-and-a-half to two hours.

Because this is part of a conversion project, it's been managed by a PMO, and we follow a scrum-board, sprint-style implementation plan. That's pretty standard though.

Our first process was automated in about 10 minutes after install. The first one we did was one of the easiest things and it was done in a second. It was very fast.

What other advice do I have?

There's a lot to be said about using the embedded script systems and having good error handling. Hopefully, anybody who's doing development with scripts, writing code, is not a novice, because that part is really important.

The biggest thing I've learned using OpCon is convention. With the last solution, it wasn't such a big deal because the UI design was very simple. With OpCon, it handles schedules and jobs differently, so convention is very important with this: Learning to stick to a standard.

When it comes to end-users they are only using the Self Service option to click a button. Their roles vary within the different departments, but it's still the same thing. They log in and click a button. But when it comes to developers, there are only three of us, including me. For maintenance, there are three of us involved. Two of us are primarily developers and one is an operator who will monitor and report.

OpCon is a good eight out of 10. There is room for improvement with every system, of course. As I mentioned, the SQL database is the weakest link. There are some changes that have happened since our initial version that may not have been the best. Those types of things are really hard to improve because it just has to happen. That's an evolution.

Which deployment model are you using for this solution?


Which version of this solution are you currently using?

**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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Accel­er­ate dig­i­tal trans­for­ma­tion through work­load automation

Automate repetitive tasks so you can focus on projects that drive your business forward. Find out how OpCon workload automation enables you to create repeatable, reliable workflows - all managed from a single platform.

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