What is most valuable?
- The visual interface of the scripting
- The fact that you don't need to be an actual developer to be able to use the product
- Logging, automation, and scheduling, as well as the capability to script via COM objects to create front end web applications with UMRA back-end
How has it helped my organization?
Before using UMRA, the creation of users at a School District with 34,000 students used to take approximately three to four weeks to implement using LDIF imports via batch files. Then, after implementing UMRA, all user creations got automated, with direct ties back into the student information system.
The system in place has gone from being a 100% hands on, to about 95% hands off, and is now almost a fully automated process.
What needs improvement?
The UMRA Forms of the product is fantastic, especially for those who do not have the expertise to create the web front ends using COM automation.
The problem is that the company may be concentrating on creating something other than the Forms builder on the long term, leaving the UMRA forms a bit lacking in features, and ability to customize the UI. Nonetheless, it is still a great interface to use to create all sorts of applications to place in users' hands.
For how long have I used the solution?
What was my experience with deployment of the solution?
Deployment of UMRA is extremely easy, and almost can't fail. There are very few components for it, but it can be extended with PowerShell actions if desired.
What do I think about the stability of the solution?
UMRA has been in production for seven years, and I can confidently say that I have never had a single issue with stability, even through upgrades. It is truly a rock solid product.
Like any product, sometimes minor bugs creep up that require some workarounds, but:
- Tools4ever is quite quick to come up with a patched build
- It's never been a bug that's crippling to the functionality of the product as a whole.
What do I think about the scalability of the solution?
UMRA can manage quite a few tasks at the same time. Also, because of its ease of deployment, multiple instances can be used, either to scale, or for testing environments.
Scalability, however, can only happen vertically on any particular instance, as opposed to horizontally.
How are customer service and technical support?
Customer service from Tools4ever has always been great. They don't necessarily have a "Customer Service" Department, but their staff are always friendly, and happy to help. Technical Support
As mentioned above, the lack of a "Customer Service" department, per se, may be a negative, but what is positive, is that every time I call, I get a support engineer who is directly involved in the development of UMRA projects all day every day. I have rarely, if ever, called in with a question, without getting an answer on first contact.
Which solution did I use previously and why did I switch?
Mostly scripting with Kixtart, and PowerShell. I had also looked at ManageEngine, although I never really used it extensively to be able to give a solid opinion.
How was the initial setup?
The initial setup is extremely straight forward. Most users usually opt for professional services from Tools4Ever to create their projects for them, but in my experience, if the end user has any sort of basic programming skills, they can easily take on UMRA, and develop their own projects.
What about the implementation team?
I have implemented UMRA in-house, although, if I'm not mistaken, most professional services regarding building UMRA projects is done by Tools4Ever themselves. They are pros, and create great products. Though, I would recommend that the end user not be afraid of the console, and build projects themselves. They would soon realize that UMRA can be used for so much more than Active Directory, or user management.
What was our ROI?
The UMRA tool has paid itself off in about five months. The amount of time saved on creating accounts, and the countless number of applications created for administrative purposes, as well as for teachers as a self service tools, has saved on hundreds of hours of help desk calls, and time spend processing rudimentary batch files.
It has become so effective that the users no longer know how to manage their day without their respective UMRA applications.
What's my experience with pricing, setup cost, and licensing?
The setup cost was $0 as I had implemented it myself. It took a few months to build the whole application, so, these are all soft costs that can be taken into consideration. That said, the solution I built is quite complex, and includes a database that I built, as well as connectivity to the SIS, Active Directory, and tight integration with user login scripts.
Which other solutions did I evaluate?
I had taken a quick look at ManageEngine, but decided to use UMRA for no particular reason, as I believe they are both good products.
What other advice do I have?
Don't get overwhelmed with the product, and give an honest effort in trying to implement it yourself. You will find that you have opened an enormous door for yourself to get anything done.
Since I started using UMRA, any request that comes through my desk is almost immediately possible because I know what UMRA can do. Also, creating the projects yourself, will save you time and money in the future when updates are needed to existing projects. Tools4Ever technical support is always available to answer questions if you get stuck.
That said, UMRA is primarily a user management tool for your users, in whatever directory you happen to be using; So my statement above will only apply if you are also quite well versed with the workings of said directory.