Most Helpful Review
Find out what your peers are saying about ActiveBatch vs. Stonebranch Universal Automation Center and other solutions. Updated: July 2020.
430,988 professionals have used our research since 2012.
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 tasks are incredibly capable, and as long as you name them with a nice, uniform naming convention, they are very useful. You can create some interesting workflows through various machines, or you can just have it kick off single tasks. All in all, I really like the Universal Task. You can do some mutually exclusive stuff, such as an "A not B" kind of thing. It has a lot of capabilities behind the scenes.
The Universal Agent is the most valuable feature. Being agent-based and being able to go across multiple technology stacks, which is what our workflows do, Stonebranch gives us the ability to bridge those disparate technologies. It enables us to remove the dependency-gap with the agent so we know the status of the workflow at each step.
The most valuable feature is the reliability of the agents, because we need them accessible and we need to run stuff. The agent technology and compatibility are top-notch.
The ability to monitor tasks that are on the open-system side as well as our mainframe side gives us a one-window view of all our processes.
I love the Universal Controller. It's been great for us. We host it on-premise... It's High Availability, meaning there's failover from one server to the other if one goes down.
We lean a lot on the multi-tenancy that they offer within the product, the ability to get other people to self-manage their estate, versus having a central team do all the scheduling.
When it comes to agent technology and compatibility with other vendors, from a platform perspective it was the one vendor that fit all the platforms that we have, from your old platforms - mainframe, NSK, IBM i - to the new ones, going into cloud and container
I can name the aliases on the agent, so if we need a passive environment for an agent, that's one of the nice features. If our primary goes down, I can bring up the passive one and I don't have to change anything in the scheduling world. It will start running from that new server.
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.
There is room for improvement with its connectivity with the Microsoft SRS system. It is very weak. They keep telling us it works with it, and technically it does, but it does not provide a lot of visibility. We have lost a lot of visibility migrating to Stonebranch, compared with just running tasks on the SRS server. That's really about the only thing that is a sore point for us.
Occasionally, we have an agent that doesn't come back up after patching. That doesn't happen very often... It's really just a restart of the agent and it comes back up. But that might be one thing that could be improved.
The Universal Controller is decent for the money it costs... It needs some work to have full features, compared to other products that are out there, specifically IBM's Workload Scheduler.
I have a request regarding our agent on the mainframe. It may time out when communicating to the Universal Controller, when the mainframe is extremely busy. That can cause a task which is running at that time to not see the results of the job that ran on the mainframe. It happens sporadically during times of really busy CPU usage. We're expecting that enhancement from them in the fourth quarter.
There is a component called the OMS, which is the message broker. We rely on infrastructure, resiliency, and availability for that piece. If that could change to be highly available just as a software component, so that we don't have to provide the high-available storage, etc. for it, that would be a plus. It would just be cheaper to run.
One hiccup we've had is due to the fact that we have other internal scheduling tools. We're able to talk to them, but we have trouble with some of the networking between them, so we're still trying to work out the kinks there.
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.
We're transaction-based, as far as our licensing goes. We have 50,000 transactions a month and our licensing cost is $55,000 a year...
I don't have pricing information, but I do know it's cheaper than our old legacy system. Other than the standard licensing fees there are no additional costs.
Outside of licensing fees, there aren't any other costs.
When we reviewed this solution against other vendors, Stonebranch blew everybody out of the water in terms of cost.
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Also Known As
|ActiveBatch Workload Automation|
|SMA Technologies||Advanced Systems Concepts||Stonebranch|
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.
The Stonebranch Workload Automation solution, part of our Universal Automation Center platform, helps organizations automate, manage, and orchestrate their IT processes - across hybrid IT environments.
1. Workflow Orchestration and Automation: Holistically control scripts, jobs, tasks, and IT processes running across your on-prem, hybrid cloud, and/or multi-cloud environments.
2. Real-Time Automation: With our event-driven automation technology, it is now possible to achieve real-time automation across your entire hybrid IT environment.
3. Self-Service Automation: With a focus on ease-of-use, you can empower your workforce with self-service automation using member roles and permissions.
4. BI & Analytics: Centralize operational control and insight with proactive monitoring, reporting, and alerts
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 Stonebranch Universal Automation Center
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Financial Services Firm79%
Consumer Goods Company3%
Computer Software Company41%
Comms Service Provider6%
Computer Software Company49%
Financial Services Firm5%
Financial Services Firm53%
Computer Software Company35%
Financial Services Firm17%
Comms Service Provider6%
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