OpCon Review

I've gained back two full-time employees to use in other areas


What is our primary use case?

Our primary use case is file movement.

How has it helped my organization?

It cuts down on phone calls from other departments because they can monitor their own work, once we set up their projects.

I've got eight individuals who work for me and, before we had OpCon, I lost about two of them a day to processing our Check 21 files. That whole process is now completely automated. Instead of performing the work, they're just monitoring it through OpCon. I've gained back two full-time employees to use in other areas. Instead of being "button-pushers," they now monitor the processes. Five of my team members, and me, have been through the OpCon training, and they're getting more and more involved every day. They're slowly rolling out some new jobs and learning how to tweak and manage it.

With ACH, I get about a half an FTE back. I haven't had to add anybody to my department, whereas without OpCon, I would have had to add one or two bodies.

In two weeks, OpCon has done 15,677 jobs that an operator would normally have had to do. It has significantly streamlined operations, and it does things right, every time.

What is most valuable?

All of its features are valuable. We use the heck out of it. I just went to a conference and there were only three of us who had our hands raised every time they asked about a different level of OpCon and how we have it deployed.

One of the things we like about it is that you can open it up to other departments so that they can see their own tasks running. We were one of three at that conference that said they had it deployed to other departments.

What needs improvement?

At first, it's a little clunky, but once you learn it, it actually is very simple. You have to get over that initial learning hump.

In addition, right now I've got two servers that are using 2008 and that's holding me up from getting to version 19.0 of OpCon. There are key products that I just can't ignore. I can't just upgrade. I wish SMA could go back a little bit further or give a little bit more support for older software, like 2008. I understand their point: The 2008 software is out of date, technically. But trying to get a vendor to update its application to work with something newer is out of our hands. I wish I didn't need to lock up my whole OpCon because of this process that probably does 600 jobs every two weeks. It's a big process that came in about three years ago and, when it came in, OpCon was key in getting it deployed into our bank. But the latest operating system it works with is 2008. I'm at the point now where I want OpCon 19.0, but I'm held to my current version because of that one application. It would be nice if they had a way that you could upgrade and still work with an older version a little bit longer.

For how long have I used the solution?

We've been using this solution for four-and-a-half years.

What do I think about the stability of the solution?

The stability of this solution is awesome. It's the only product I've ever seen that you can actually build to fix itself if it has a problem. You'll build something and, if you find an issue, you can say, "Hey, if this happens again, do this to correct it."

What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

Scaling is pricey. We've got 20-something servers and six AS/400s tied to it. If I want to add another five servers, it would be pricey. 

We currently have about 40 users. All they're doing is monitoring. Only five operators and I are actually making the changes, adding new procedures, etc.

In terms of increasing usage of OpCon, at the moment we're okay. It just depends on new products that the bank says it wants to buy. Currently, we have enough work for the next five years to get OpCon built and up and running 100 percent.

How are customer service and technical support?

Technical support is awesome every time I call. Now, when I call I'm asking more, "Hey, can I do this?" and they'll say, "Yeah, try this or this." It's really simple and I hang up the phone and away I go. At first, I was on the phone with them for quite a bit, but now I might make a phone call once a month.

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

We used to use Robot, but that was strictly AS/400. It had a lot of limitations. OpCon is way easier to use than Robot was, and OpCon goes across multiple platforms, which makes it an even better solution.

How was the initial setup?

At the time, I was number two in terms of setting it up. My manager was the key person in rolling it out. I was working to keep the lights on and to keep the business going while he was learning about OpCon and doing the setup. He got let go and it became my responsibility.

My manager worked on it for about one-and-a-half years before he was let go, and at that time we probably had 1,000 jobs running, in total, every two weeks. And out of that, we really didn't have a high success rate. He didn't share some of the key utilities with us so that we could work on it. When he got let go we got the entire, "Here's the product. Do it." We were able to figure out the problems. He had set stuff up initially but he had more test stuff in there than he had production stuff. Once I figured out what he was doing, it didn't take me a week or 10 days to start making changes.

He didn't have it working perfectly, and it took me about two months to correct some of the issues that he had and actually make it worthwhile. Now, I've got myself and five others trained, and it's really doing a lot for us.

We're up around 94 or 95 percent success on jobs that run.

We've done a couple of upgrades, and their upgrades are getting simpler. The more stuff that comes out, the easier it does get.

Given that it's running, eventually I'll have to have one person for each shift just to monitor it. When we do deploy some of the new SLAs and some of the new features that are in 19.0, we will be able to even better manage it. Eventually, someday, we'll be a lights-out organization.

What about the implementation team?

We used OpCon consulting a little bit. We paid OpCon to come in to help us with our ACH. When you're moving millions of dollars, you want it to work right the first time. So we had someone come in from OpCon and he was with us for a week. We got ACH to process about 95 percent through it. We still have a little tweaking to do here and there, but it's doing files every day now.

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

We're licensed by the number of servers we have, and as long as we don't increase that, we just pay the maintenance on it. They've got a new pricing model out where you pay for the jobs. But looking at that, we'd pay a lot more than what we're paying today, so we'll just keep adding servers.

The TCO, compared to Robot, is a little bit more expensive, but it goes across many platforms, so we get more bang for our buck.

What other advice do I have?

If anybody were to ask me if they should buy this product, the number one thing I would ask them is, "Do you know operating systems? Do you know DOS?" If you know file structures, etc., this product will be easy. I started back with the old 8088 PCs. You had to do everything you could just to be able to use the computer. This is a great tool to use if you've got that knowledge.

If you are bringing OpCon in, make sure you have somebody who can spend the time on it to get it implemented. Our company brought it in and said, "Here is a tool you can use." They didn't assign any one person to implement it. If that was my only job, I could stay very busy. Part of my problem getting it rolled out is that I'm an operations manager. I'm running a department that is 24/7 and, for the most part, projects that come into the bank are about 90 percent of what I get to do on OpCon.

We still have a long way to go in terms of the number of processes to be automated. We have automated about 10 percent of our jobs, but we have some other factors that are holding us back at the moment. Our core software has just done a big upgrade, which is affecting the way that we use it. OpCon can work with it, but the screens have all changed. The security is being upgraded in our core product and there are going to be new menu options. This is Jack Henry's biggest security change in 20 years. It's called global security. It's supposed to be fully deployed by March of next year. We're still in the process of waiting for that before we can start building day-to-day processes into it, through our core application.

We probably do between 170,000 and 200,000 jobs a year. Some of those jobs take two minutes and some of those jobs take eight hours. We haven't quite got all our time back yet, but we have been working on key applications, trying to free people up to do other things.

Overall, I'd give OpCon 11 out of 10 if you'd let me.

Which deployment model are you using for this solution?

On-premises

Which version of this solution are you currently using?

17.01
**Disclosure: I am a real user, and this review is based on my own experience and opinions.
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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.

Learn what your peers think about OpCon. Get advice and tips from experienced pros sharing their opinions. Updated: September 2021.
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