What is our primary use case?
We are using it for automating our core processing system.
Probably 65 to 70 percent of our operations have been automated by OpCon.
It currently runs all of our primary operations throughout the day, as far as we schedule everything through it. Our plan is to continue to automate the remainder of our processes, which are not automated, so we can get as much automated as possible.
How has it helped my organization?
The solution has streamlined operations. A good example is our ACH processing. We used to have somebody come in early in the morning to do all of our ACH processing (our incoming items processing). They had to be here early and run all the jobs manually. They did all the processing by hand. Now, it runs automatically at three in the morning. When they come in, all the work's done. They come in later and don't have as much work. It's reduced our workload drastically.
The solution has freed up employees to do more meaningful work as a result of automation. They don't have to sit there and wait for files to download. They don't have to stare at the screen while a process is running. It all runs in the background, doing it for them. When it's ready and prompts them, they know that they're ready to go on with the next part of their job which requires them to do something. A lot of employees love OpCon because it was a very mundane, cumbersome task to sit there and download files, waiting while it was processing. It was not exactly fun and exciting.
It's not so much that we have freed up an employee or gotten rid of an employee. It's just that they have more time to take on more duties. We haven't really had to add employees.
What is most valuable?
The overall ability to automate all our processing is the most valuable feature so we don't have one scheduler doing this, while another scheduler is doing that, and somebody doing this manually. We are able to automate our processing completely.
For how long have I used the solution?
What do I think about the stability of the solution?
It's rock solid. We've never had any issues with it.
There are four of us who do the deployment and maintenance of the system, but that is not full-time. We work on all the systems.
We are planning on upgrading to version 19 in January.
What do I think about the scalability of the solution?
We've yet to exceed its scalability. OpCon would appear to be able to handle a lot more than what we're doing. We are continuously finding new ways to utilize it.
We have four people in the IT department who are the primary management users of OpCon. However, we also utilize the Self Service portion of it, and the majority of the organization has access to that. There are 20 to 25 users of the Self Service, which allows them to execute jobs without being in the scheduling software. It's actually a web based portal where they can go, and there is a button there they can press to execute whatever job they're trying to execute.
How are customer service and technical support?
We have had really good results from the technical support. Every time we needed anything, they have been right there. They usually have a really good answer or solution to the problem.
Which solution did I use previously and why did I switch?
We find it very simple and easy to use. We had a previous product that was a scheduler which was overly complex and extremely difficult to use. We're very pleased with this one.
When we changed our core systems, the new core system supported OpCon. It didn't support our older product. As part of our conversion, we changed over to the OpCon product. This was one of the better things that we did.
One of the things which has really helped us is the time it takes us to build jobs and automate things. For example, if we decide we are going to go out and do a new process tomorrow, our previous system would take a week to 10 days, then require assistance from a third-party support company to get it to work. With this solution, we can do it in a matter of minutes without additional support.
I am coming off of a system that was so cumbersome to use that we couldn't even get it to do basic things without having to involve support all the time. Whereas, we've had to involve support very little with OpCon.
OpCon overcomes limitations of our previous automation tool. Our previous tool didn't work well with anything other than the particular core system that we have. For example, it didn't work well with Microsoft Servers, moving files around, and doing things like file transfers. Whereas, this system does that very well.
How was the initial setup?
The initial setup was fairly complex, but we had great support from OpCon. They came onsite and helped us set everything up. From that aspect, it was very easy because we had them here helping us and working through all the issues. Once we went live with it, they were available again to help us make sure everything was working okay, and that moving forward, everything stayed working.
The deployment of OpCon took about three to four weeks. This deployment was tremendously faster than our previous automation tool, which took almost a year to get in place completely. Even then, we still struggled with issues (with our previous solution).
We did the deployment of the solution at the same time that we were setting up processes and automating it. We went live with OpCon about two months after we'd finished the implementation.
We were in the process of converting, not just our scheduler, but all of our core systems at the same time. So, we were doing everything at once. Our plan and schedule was to get it to work as fast as possible, then move onto the next thing that we had to get working.
What about the implementation team?
It was internal on our part, but staff from SMA came out to help us set it up. They were actually onsite. We sent a person back to their facility for training. Then, after that training was complete, they then came back and helped us complete the onsite part of the installation and configuration.
What was our ROI?
It has reduced our processing times.
What's my experience with pricing, setup cost, and licensing?
The total cost of ownership is about the same to our previous product. The costs are relatively similar.
The purchasing price was in the $30,000 or $40,000 range, but I don't remember how much of that was licensing or installation and how it was broken out.
Which other solutions did I evaluate?
We looked at a couple of different solutions. We looked at keeping the product that we had. We look at OpCon. We looked at another solution, but weren't impressed with it at all. It came down to OpCon or trying to figure out if we could interface our existing product with the current system that we had. We determined that wasn't going to be feasible, so we decided to change over to OpCon completely.
One of the problems that we ran into with our existing system, and why we were looking, was the overall technical support. It was very poor. It was a foreign product from Germany, and their technical support was not particularly strong.
What other advice do I have?
Make sure that it fits well with your environment. Understand that it's not simply a single product automation tool. It can automate everything.
We were not utilizing automation as fully as we could. Once we got on the OpCon product, it really made a huge difference in that.
Because there is always room for improvement, I would give it a nine (out of 10).
Which deployment model are you using for this solution?
Which version of this solution are you currently using?
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