What is our primary use case?
We use OpCon for scheduling production tasks in many kinds of environments. The main ones are located on i5 i-series, OS/400. But we also use it in our Windows environment and on SAP. It handles around 10,000 jobs a day for us.
A lot of the jobs that are now in OpCon were already automated, but they were on other platforms and systems. For example, the world production batch that is running on OS/400 was automated on OS/400, with OS/400 programs. We moved the automation of the system to OpCon. We improved some of the parts, but we kept the main core of the production plan.
How has it helped my organization?
Using OpCon has brought us better visibility into our world production tasks. This is the essential point in my opinion, because when a lot of jobs are scheduled on different platforms, without any interaction possible between them, it's very difficult to manage things. With OpCon we avoid this difficulty. It's very visual.
Many of the tasks of one of our ERP systems, the invoicing and so on, are managed by OpCon. All the BI jobs that run on a daily, weekly, or a monthly basis, launch from OpCon and it gives us the capability of doing very clear follow-up.
We are a small company so we don't think about it in terms of how much it has freed up employees. But it has helped us to share responsibilities with a third-party in charge of the 24/7 monitoring of our system. In that way it has saved time, at least for our infrastructure team.
In addition, because we can manage each type of trigger differently, that alone helps save time.
What is most valuable?
- It's very scalable.
- We have experienced very few lags or issues, so it's very stable.
- It's a very versatile product. You can schedule everything you want in many kinds of environments. We have never faced a limitation in this regard.
- The support is very responsive as well. They have replied to all our questions on time.
What needs improvement?
The SQL part could be improved. We sometimes have a large number of jobs on the SQL Server and we can experience a very light lag in job starts. The lag can be a few seconds. It's never more than one minute, but sometimes we can experience some lags. Maybe that could be improved.
For how long have I used the solution?
We have been using OpCon for about eight years.
How are customer service and technical support?
We have a very good relationship with them. We have known them now for a lot of years and they always reply to our problems and questions. They always have a solution, although we really haven't had a lot of problems with the product.
Which solution did I use previously and why did I switch?
Our system analysts requested it, so it was easy for us. They are happy now to have it available and to use it on a daily basis.
How was the initial setup?
We had the help of the Professional Services of SMA, but the setup was not difficult. The technical installation did not take more than one day.
Our strategy was to merge all activity, from everywhere in our environment, and to have everything running from the same place.
What was our ROI?
Our ROI is that it has saved about 10 percent of one FTE.
What's my experience with pricing, setup cost, and licensing?
The cost is based on the number of jobs. You pay for what you use. For us, the support cost is between €20,000 and €30,000 per year. It's too expensive.
There are no additional costs.
Which other solutions did I evaluate?
There were only two solutions on the short-list. We did a lot of research on the internet about other companies, but a proof of concept was only done with Dollar Universe and OpCon. We choose OpCon because Dollar Universe had some issues regarding OS/400 at the time we tested it. That was close to 10 years ago, so maybe it's better now.
What other advice do I have?
In terms of the extent of use of OpCon, I could see us using it for other stuff, but for the moment it's complete, as far as our production plans go. We don't have new directions or a new environment planned. Maybe, if it is possible to schedule things in the cloud, for example, in the future, we would do so. I don't think it's possible now to schedule things in the cloud, like Office for 365.
The ease of use depends on the person who is using it. For me, I learned it very fast. I found the product very user-friendly because it has the ability to add jobs for OS/400, and not all products have that kind of functionality. And that's true for SAP, for example. It's relatively simple to use if you have time to manage it on a daily basis. If not, it's very difficult to understand how it works.
Although it is possible with the product, at this time we haven't given access to the solution to all our people, those who are on the functional teams. For now, it's restricted to the technical team only. There are 10 or 12 people using it out of 2,200 employees. The majority of the users are system administrators.
Which deployment model are you using for this solution?
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