Most Helpful Review
We asked business professionals to review the solutions they use. Here are some excerpts of what they said:
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.
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 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.
It has streamlined operations, specifically with the timing of our processes. We don't have to worry about if things are going to run at a certain time. The automation allows us to say, "Okay, we want this to run at this time, and this to not run until that is done." So, it has really streamlined the accuracy and timeline of when jobs run throughout the day.
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.
The main purpose for this automation tool would be: deploying, controlling, ordering change for the system and IT Infrastructure.
Puppet Enterprise has reduced the time of production changes or environment changes.
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.
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.
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.
It does not have the ability to interact with third-parties via the web/Internet. We have certain processes where we have to interact with a third-party on a website, and unfortunately OpCon just cannot do that.
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.
At the beginning the initial setup was kind of complex.
Pricing and Cost Advice
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.
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.
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.
Annually, we pay $29,000. This is for a blanket policy that covers everything, like licensing and support.
If we choose to purchase consulting hours, that is an additional cost. However, we've been lucky enough that we've not used all of our allotted consulting hours. Therefore, that is not something that we have had to purchase a lot of. The last time that we purchased consulting hours was roughly two years ago. We purchased a block of 10 for $2,500. It was $250 per hour.
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
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.
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
Puppet Data Center Automation helps sysadmins automate configuration and management of machines and the software running on them. With our software, businesses can make rapid, repeatable changes and automatically enforce the consistency of systems and devices, across physical and virtual machines, on prem or in the cloud.
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.
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