Most Helpful Review
We asked business professionals to review the solutions they use. Here are some excerpts of what they said:
We recently did a branch acquisition of another bank, though not a full bank. With that, we had to convert all of their ACH transactions. It was a very complicated product that we received from our core provider, Fiserv, for some translation programs. It was very cumbersome to run through the process, convert it out, get output files, etc. Without anyone touching it, I was able to automate the full process from pulling in the files from this other bank, converting everything needed, and posting it to our customer's account 24-hours throughout the day.
It makes everything simpler. Once OpCon is in, it just repeats itself day after day. We don't have to worry about whether a process will be missed. It will run every single time. We are not dropping jobs or missing stuff. When you have multiple institutions, it's very easy to miss jobs. You get on a roll, start doing things, and then forget somebody. With OpCon, everything is done.
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.
It allows us to organize everything into a process flow throughout the day for our different tasks that we have to run. So, it keeps everything organized. It is easy to monitor and adjust, if we need to.
It is so simplistic that it gives us peace of mind. Before, we had all these processes that were run manually, such as different file transfers and jobs running for our core at certain times. Now, all that stuff is done automatically.
We have found it scales very well. We run thousands of thousands of jobs every day, and sometimes thousands of jobs in a few hours.
We haven't freed up a full person's job using it, but there are a good handful of people for whom it has freed up about half of their time. And those employees love it. A lot of tasks are based on certain times, and they're no longer stuck doing those things at those times. We don't have to have anybody coming in early anymore. They can focus on the processing part of their jobs instead of the file moving and downloading.
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.
As far as centralization goes it's nice because we can see all these processes that are tied to this larger process. The commissions, FTP processing, the reporting, the file moves to the business users — all that is right there. It's very easy to read. It's easy to tie it together, visually, and see where each of these steps fits into the bigger picture.
The Jobs Library has been a tremendous asset. For the most, that's what we use. There are some outliers, but we pretty much integrate those Jobs Library steps throughout the process, whether it's REST calls, FTP processes, or file copies and moves... That has helped us to build end-to-end workflows.
We use the main job-scheduling feature. It's the only thing we use in the tool. That's the reason we are using the tool: to reduce costs by replacing manual tasks with automated tasks and to perform regular, repetitive tasks in a more reliable way.
What ActiveBatch allows you to do is develop a more efficient process. It gave me visibility into all my jobs so I could choose which jobs to run in parallel. This is much easier than when I have to try to do it through cron for Windows XP, where you really can't do things in parallel and know what is going on.
One of the valuable features is the ability to trigger workflows, one after another, based on success, without having to worry about overlapping workflows. The ability to integrate our BI, analytics, and our data quality jobs is also valuable
The nice thing about ActiveBatch is once we have created a specific job that can be easily be replicated to another job, then minimal changes will have to be made. This makes things nice. Reduction of coding is substantial in a lot of cases. The replication of one job to another is just doing a few minor tweaks and rolling it into production. This decreases our development costs substantially.
One of the most valuable features is the job templates. If we need to create an FTP job, we just drag over the FTP template and fill out the requirements using the variables that ActiveBatch uses. And that makes it reusable. We can create a job once but use it for many different clients.
The Automation API has opened up a world of possibilities for us, including the ability to create workflows on-demand using traditional DevOps tools.
I find it very helpful to be able to keep track of all our help desk tickets.
Most of our tasks also deal with databases, and Control-M's purpose-built module for the databases comes in very handy when handling database components.
BIM is a good tool to monitor SLAs, and being a financial organization, this is a very good feature for us.
The most valuable features are the managing of file transfers and the product keeping up with technology.
The monitoring tool is very good. It's very easy for expert and entry-level users to use on short notice.
It can do anything that I need. We do real-time jobs. We also do jobs that have to run at certain times. I have not been presented with a scheduling need that I was not able to do. It is very flexible and dynamic.
Monitoring is a valuable aspect of it. The monitoring tool is very good, and it is easy for expert and entry level users to use on a short notice.
It's not something you can just quickly grab, try, run, and play with. You have to get the knowledge and train yourself. It was easy for me, but I also took the time to throw myself into it. There is a learning curve to a certain extent. You have to learn the rules.
There is room for improvement needed around setting up the calendars and frequencies. I would like more flexibility in what jobs run. Sometimes, with frequencies, I can't find what I want to without putting a little more labor into it.
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.
There is a learning curve. We had to go to class, learn, and take their training classes, then come back. We got assistance from OpCon as well to convert our processes on the Unisys machine over to the IBM. Now, when we add new products, it's pretty straightforward to write a new process and schedule it, then run it at a set time of day.
I would like more web-based training from SMA. That would be nice. Our primary OpCon representative is phenomenal, but we would like some training opportunities for learning on our own. When I started utilizing OpCon, the sheer breadth of it made for a very daunting task. I was almost fearful to start, not to mention fearful to go change things and possibly hinder a job.
The solution has quite a learning curve for beginners. It's challenging. I wouldn't rate it as super-easy to automate processes. It's medium-weight. I've used more complex software, but I've used simpler software.
I don't really think anything needs to be improved within the functionality. The only struggle I had, when I first started using it, is that it depends a lot on the command line and I didn't have that experience. So more built-in, basic commands or more education on commands would be good.
The initial setup was fairly complex.
One thing I've noticed is that navigation can be difficult unless you are familiar with the structure that we have in place. If someone else had to look at our ActiveBatch console and find a job, they might not know where to find it.
It could be easier to provide dashboards on how many jobs are running at the same time; more monitoring.
I can't get the cleaning up of logs to work consistently. Right now, we are not setup correctly, and maybe it is something that I have not effectively communicated to them.
The thing I've noticed the most is the Help function. It's very difficult, at times, to find examples of how to do something. The Help function will explain what the tool does, but we're not a Windows shop at the data warehouse. Our data warehouse jobs actually run on Linux servers. Finding things for Linux-based solutions is not as easy as it is for Windows-based solutions. I would like to see more examples, and more non-Windows examples as well, in the Help.
There is this back and forth, where ActiveBatch says, "Your Oracle people should be dealing with this," and Oracle people say, "No, we don't know anything about ActiveBatch." Then, it all falls back on me as to what happens. Nobody is taking responsibility. This is the biggest failing for ActiveBatch.
It does have a little bit of a learning curve because it is fairly complex. You have to learn how it does things. I don't know if it's any worse than any other tool would be, just because of the nature of what it does... the learning curve is the hardest part.
The next major release needs to focus on the lightweight web client.
There's a lot of room for improvement and I think it can be more user-friendly.
A developer sandbox could be very helpful to try out new features or experience them.
The Control-M API does not support SQL database-type jobs, where a job has been configured to use the SQL catalog to locate SSIS.
Their technicians should be more involved when we're applying new technology to Control-M, such as cloud. We're working with cloud right now, with AWS, and getting the attention of a technician, sometimes, can take some time. It would be nice if they had somebody assigned to it. Dedicated support.
I would like not to have to reach out to a third-party application company to do automated notifications. Right now, we still have people manually calling people and emailing people. There's a company called xMatters - and there are others - that has an API through Control-M that can automate any aspect of failure management. I'd like to see it build right into the product. I'd like to see a better notification product.
I'm not sure how the solution fits together with our business modernization initiatives, as there are things outside of my area, even though Control-M is the scheduling tool of the company. They may use other things, e.g., Big Data.
The reporting tool still needs a lot of improvement. It was supposed to get better with the upgrade, and it really didn't get better. It needs help, because it's such a useful thing to have. It needs to be more powerful and easier to use.
Pricing and Cost Advice
There are different add-ons, like the Self Service or Vision model. It all depends on what agents you have in your environment. We have a mainframe and Windows, and while I think SQL is free, SAP or anything beyond that has different connectors that might need a license.
SMA is big on free training. They do monthly training down at their headquarter office. As long as you own the product, the only thing you pay for is your employees' travel expenses. The training is free. They are willing to train people and give them the knowledge. That way, you are equipped to do what you need to do.
Cost depends on your environment. We are doing stuff now with failover and recovery, so we have boosted our costs.
Compared to AutoSys and ISE, OpCon was a lot cheaper to put in. AutoSys is hundreds of thousands of dollars to just install it because they don't have an interface into our system. You have to teach them what your system does.
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.
This solution is slightly more expensive than our previous solution. Right now, we are paying about $40,000 a year. However, we think it's well worth the cost to keep things automated, reducing our staff.
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.
The total cost of ownership is about the same to our previous product. The costs are relatively similar.
It allows for lower operational overhead.
I don't think we've ever had a problem with the pricing or licensing. Even the maintenance fees are very much in line. They are not excessive. I think for the support that you get, you get a good value for your money. It's the best value on the market.
The price was fairly in line with other automation tools. I don't think it's exorbitantly expensive, relatively speaking.
Pricing can be steep, but you get what you pay for.
Licensing costs are around $3000 a year.
It works on task-based licensing.
This product saves hours in a day based on my experience working here versus other companies with manually operations.
We have a five-year contract with task-based licensing.
As we increase the number of tasks or jobs on the system, there are concerns about cost.
We have account based licensing. There are two or three types of licensing. One of them is based on the number of jobs, so we a license close to 4,000 jobs per day. The cost is based on the different modules, which we buy from them. If we a buy a hardware module, which we are presently using and integrating, that is an additional cost, but I'm not sure of the amount. Each module comes with a different cost.
we are more looking for a better cost/license/performance model because BMC, while we could say it's the best, is also the most expensive. That is what we are probably most annoyed with. We are paying something like €1,000,000 over three years for having 4,000 jobs running. That's expensive.
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Also Known As
|ActiveBatch Workload Automation||Control-M|
|SMA Technologies||Advanced Systems Concepts||BMC|
Our founders met at NASA while they were solving some of the toughest IT issues in the world at that time. The work was challenging and required lots of repetitive tasks to maintain NASA’s mainframes and complex IT processes.
Believing that there had to be a better way, they formed SMA Technologies. Since that time, we have been working with the single purpose of unlocking our clients’ potential by streamlining their IT processes and helping employees be more productive by leveraging our automation platform, OpCon.
By freeing them from repetitive tasks, they can focus on doing the critical work that will help them drive the business. No matter the industry, from financial services to aerospace, we are there to help our customers use the power of automation to simplify complex IT issues, enabling them to solve their toughest business challenges.
ActiveBatch® by Advanced Systems Concepts is redefining the way organizations approach IT Automation with an architectural strategy that minimizes the complexity and expense of developing and maintaining custom scripts. Analyst research states that most organizations have 3-8 scheduling and automation tools in place. ActiveBatch breaks down these silos of automation by providing one single, coordinated solution with integrations for key applications, platforms, and technologies, as well as automation capabilities for business processes, IT processes, cloud, big data, and more.
Control‑M is a digital enterprise management solution that simplifies and automates diverse batch application workloads while reducing failure rates, improving SLAs, and accelerating application deployment.
Automate job scheduling and application deployment
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 more about ActiveBatch
Learn more about Control-M
|LOHR, Carnival Cruise Lines, Herbalife, Digital Federal Credit Union, Synergent, Frandsen Bank & Trust||Informatica, D&H, ACES, PrimeSource, Sub-Zero Group, SThree, Lamar Advertising, Subway, Xcel Energy, Ignite Technologies, Whataburger, Jyske Bank, Omaha Children's Hospital||CARFAX, ChipRewards, Sun Chemical, University of California, Unum|
Financial Services Firm79%
Consumer Goods Company3%
Software R&D Company43%
Comms Service Provider7%
Software R&D Company47%
Financial Services Firm5%
Financial Services Firm42%
Comms Service Provider6%
Software R&D Company48%
Comms Service Provider9%
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