Most Helpful Review
Consolidates our administration and reporting feeding it straight into ServiceNow, though I would like more reporting...
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.
It has been super stable. There are no complaints on stability. We would not be using it if Tidal wasn't stable.
We use the solution for cross-platform and cross-application workloads. That's one of the core reasons we chose it. It's one of a few things in the industry that can be used for cross-platform integration.
The solution also enables admins and users to see the information relevant to them. They're able to actually run jobs that they weren't necessarily able to run before. They can see the output and they can be notified when there are issues and resolve those issues before they cause more issues.
The feature that I find to be valuable, as I'm working with other folks, is the ability to cross-schedule across platforms, and the flexibility that comes with that.
From a management standpoint, when using the solution for cross-platform, cross-application workloads, I've never had a problem with the application. It's very interactive, especially with the different security levels that they offer.
Thinking of all the people involved in checking jobs on a daily basis, manually running jobs or auditing them through standalone tools, and trying to connect them. We have saved hundreds of hours weekly, which is substantial.
We had a number of different schedulers in this organization and we've been porting everything that was running out of these other, unrelated schedulers into this scheduler. That has afforded us the ability to set up direct dependencies between processes that couldn't talk to one another before. Over the 15 years, we've definitely gained a lot from that. What had been manual controls have become automated controls...
One of the most useful features is being able to set up a schedule and create dependencies. The calendar can kick off processes at certain times, based on dependencies that you specify, like time, or whether another process has finished. Dependencies are the most useful thing.
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 biggest improvement they need to work on is doing better QA checks before they release new patches and service packs. We do find that you can't trust getting the new product right away, as they have to get some bug fixes out. They do tend to have some bugs in the first iteration.
One thing I would like to see is better training on both how to set up and support the product as well as on how to make use of the product, especially regarding the scripting that is available.
For the most part, the drill-down and the logging are really good. But if we take an Informatica job, for example: We have the ability, and the operators have the ability, to actually drill down and see, at a session level, where the failure is. There is, unfortunately, no way to extract that into an actual output email or failure email. It's not that that information is not available, but extracting it into an email would be a nice-to-have.
I'm still hoping with Explorer to be able to see end-to-end job streams. That's not really something that's easy to see today in the web client. However, I haven't worked with Explorer yet. One of the things that we have found frustrating is not being able to see an end-to-end job stream across multiple applications within Tidal. We use jobs for that right now, but I have high hopes that we'll be able to see that in Explorer.
From an administrative point of view, I wouldn't give really high marks to the solution. I actually entertained getting the JAWS application at one point. One of the shortcomings with the scheduler is the reporting capabilities. At least at the time, JAWS was the best that they had for a third-party integration. I think they've got things in the pipeline to help alleviate that gap.
We've had some quirky stuff happen on an occasional basis where a job does not take off. For example, a job we expected to be finished by 3:00 a.m. is sitting there and not executing when we come in in the morning. We have to go all the way back to the dependencies and then we can see that one of the dependencies has become unscheduled, for some reason. No changes were made to the schedule but this prerequisite job has, all of a sudden, become unscheduled. I have brought this up with Tidal's support but they have never had an answer for it.
It takes a lot of time to learn the product. I have admins and developers who are working on the products for the last three to four years and still don't know all the functionalities. Tidal has really great things about it, but people are focused on their day-to-day job and the solution is not intuitive.
One area for improvement is the command-line interface and the API to bulk-load jobs. It's a little bit kludgy, but we still manage without it. They're working on it and it's getting better all the time. In addition, the documentation for their API for creating jobs needs to be updated. It's a bit of a learning curve.
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.
I have had no issues with the licensing.
The solution enables admins and users to see the information relevant to them, but this is bundled as an add-on that we would have to pay for.
The licensing model is very flexible and very transparent... It's flexible for budgeting. I know what I need and I have licenses to cover those needs. If a project comes along that needs a new type of license or an added license, that would just be added to the project.
Our yearly licensing costs are between $10,000 to $20,000. They have always been reasonable with us. I like that non-production licensing is about half the cost of production licensing. Licensing is by adapter typically. We have had scenarios where we have had to take an adapter from one environment to another, and they've allowed us to do that. They have made it a very reasonable process. There's definitely a feeling that they will work with you.
BMC is really expensive. The other solutions are about the same price. I think Tidal is even cheaper than the others, such as CA, Stonebranch, and JAMS.
Our licensing model for Tidal is on an annual basis. It is very good and works well for us. Tidal's licensing is very transparent and simple. It lets you know, for the amount you use, that's the price that you pay. So, we buy X number of licenses, and we know that this is where we are. I'm very happy with that. I saw the licensing modules on other platforms, and I didn't like them. Other companies and solutions would calculate the connections, adapters, and instances. I think that's the reason that BMC was pretty expensive: They just didn't understand what our needs are.
The solution has no hidden costs. It helps me to plan forward into the future. I know that I can add another 100 or a thousand jobs, and that's how much it will cost me today.
The licensing model's flexibility is awesome. The way it's licensed for us is that it's licensed per master and then per agent. We have an enterprise agreement, so we have unlimited agents, and we have it on 500 devices.
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Also Known As
|Tidal Workload Automation, Cisco Workload Automation, Tidal Enterprise Scheduler|
|SMA Technologies||Advanced Systems Concepts||Tidal Software|
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.
Tidal is the world’s leading workload automation platform for hybrid, multi-cloud environments. It’s an enterprise-class single pane-of-glass product to help manage, automate, and orchestrate business processes, applications, data, middleware, and infrastructure across the enterprise. With more than 35 years of experience helping world-class companies optimize business value from their IT, Tidal has unparalleled subject matter expertise in digital automation. We invite you to see for yourself.
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 Tidal Automation
|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|
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Financial Services Firm79%
Consumer Goods Company3%
Software R&D Company41%
Comms Service Provider7%
Software R&D Company40%
Financial Services Firm6%
Real Estate/Law Firm5%
Financial Services Firm21%
Software R&D Company39%
Comms Service Provider13%
Financial Services Firm7%