Most Helpful Review
Allows us to streamline the workflow so that the machines aren't sitting idle, and production is much quicker
Find out what your peers are saying about Control-M vs. Stonebranch Universal Automation Center and other solutions. Updated: November 2020.
447,546 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:
"Auto-scheduling is the most valuable feature. We have the ability to schedule [batch jobs on our Unisys mainframes] seven days in advance, so we know exactly how we're running every night."
"The most valuable feature is the self-service because it has made it possible to provide simple and quick solutions in the handling of certain tasks."
"There's also a self-service solution manager... that allows us to enable staff to run complex automation tasks by clicking a button and entering some information. They don't have to have access to the OpCon environment to kick off those kinds of events."
"Previously, we would receive a file from a vendor, then we would have to go through and make changes to individual accounts in our core system. There are probably between 10 to 20 accounts any given week. It probably took around five minutes for it to run through the report and make all the changes, and that was if there was nothing complicated with all very straightforward changes. Now, that is done in 30 seconds."
"There are three features which are valuable: the automated calendar functions; the notification process for failed jobs or unscheduled events occurring, via email and text messaging; and the ability for the scheduling package to communicate across multiple platforms."
"It has also helped to streamline our operations. We contract out our collection department so they are no longer housed on our system. They're housed on another platform. OpCon is able to not only pull in our data, but it also, on a daily basis, updates that third-party."
"Manual processing has been automated 99 percent by OpCon. With new processes, we give it at least two weeks manual so we can write down the details of how to do the steps, then we automate it. Within a month, it has been automated, then it's no longer a manual process."
"One of the advantages of OpCon is the ability to use the API and web services. We couldn't do that with our previous solution. We have been able to change our procedure for ticketing. When a job is down, we can immediately create a ticket from OpCon in our ticketing solution, which is ServiceNow, using the web services."
"The feature we use most in Control-M is related to the file transfer module. It is quite advanced compared to the other tools like Automate, etc. The new version which has come of same MFT has a lot of advanced features which makes it very easy to work with. There is less need for written programs and more GUI-based stuff."
"We value Control-M mainly for the ability to control multiple nodes in a coordinated manner. Control-M has the ability to really coordinate across a lot of nodes."
"Control-M has improved application reliability and the SLAs in our company by quite a bit. You can see if problems are coming. If we have an SLA in a couple of hours, we know well before that couple hours if processing is behind, and it allows us to take some preventative action."
"It has absolutely saved us time. It has made us more efficient. As far as the processing between systems, we don't have as many people. They have been able to focus on other efforts, because we have been able to automate more stuff with Control-M."
"Because it's a tool which allows us to do scheduled work, it allows for notifications when jobs aren't running within that scheduled time frame. This improves the opportunity to meet SLAs."
"If a job fails, that development team is notified right away, which improves reliability. Previously, it was on the operators to notify the developers that their job failed, erred, or aborted. Now, it's all automated."
"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 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."
"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."
"I have found the agents to be so much simpler, when compared to ESP."
"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"
"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."
"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 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."
"Do your first install, your first upgrade, with SMA. It's simple, it's as per the manual, as per the training, but you need that little bit of confidence."
"The ability to retrieve information from logs in variables to display relevant information would be helpful."
"It would be great if you could create physically separate "clients," as I call them. I wish I could have a production client and a testing client and that they would be separate."
"What can get complicated is if you're doing anything more than just the built-in jobs. If you're using the more advanced features, troubleshooting becomes extremely complicated."
"The calendar interface and the frequency interface is a very powerful, yet complex, section of OpCon in which all our staff have made mistakes. They have implemented what they believed was logically correct and then afterward discovered that their logic was flawed because OpCon did it a different way. That part, which is incredibly useful, is also incredibly dangerous. The interface or the ability to directly do more functions within the frequency definitely has room for expansion. As good as it is, it can be a lot better."
"Usage is a little complex. It's not like you can bring somebody in and they can just use it. They have to be trained... As far as complexity goes, it's right up there."
"There is some difficulty with the ease of use when I don't have some of the templates that were already created. More templates would be great. Non-core featured templates are my biggest struggle."
"I would like to see them improve the Solution Manager for the web application. It's the future for us. Our customers need a lot of functionality, but there isn't that functionality within Solution Manager. So they have to develop and improve it."
"One feature I would like to include is in the middle of the monitoring domain. In the monitoring domain, if I have to update a number of jobs, the only way to do it is by manually clicking on each job. I would like a feature that allows me to do a mass update in the jobs, which I feel is still lacking."
"We would recommend modernizing the look and feel of Control-M. They also need to move towards more self-service and development in their environment. It's very antiquated."
"Sometimes, with technical support, they will take feedback, but you don't know where that feedback goes or if it proceeds along in the thought process."
"The company has been working with BMC on the MFT. There are still some things about MFT which don't work the way that we want with our needs. So, we would like to see that improved."
"The initial setup was complex, because I wasn't used to it."
"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."
"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."
"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."
"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."
"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."
"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."
"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."
"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."
"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."
Pricing and Cost Advice
"This solution is certainly not the cheapest, but we win in time."
"OpCon cost us $80,000 in 2017 money, and that included everything: support, installation, onsite assistance during the conversion, etc. It's been a worthwhile investment by far."
"Yearly, it's around $30,000."
"Our licensing is on a yearly basis."
"Our license is for 1000 jobs. Including support, the license and upgrades are 2000 euros a month."
"Yearly, we're paying about $62,000. OpCon has an all-inclusive feature and module license, but you pay per task."
"Our annual maintenance costs are $45,000. The initial cost is separate."
"On a yearly basis our cost is between $25,000 and $30,000."
"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."
"As we increase the number of tasks or jobs on the system, there are concerns about cost."
"We have a five-year contract with task-based licensing."
"This product saves hours in a day based on my experience working here versus other companies with manually operations."
"It works on task-based licensing."
"Licensing costs are around $3000 a year."
"Pricing can be steep, but you get what you pay for."
"When we reviewed this solution against other vendors, Stonebranch blew everybody out of the water in terms of cost."
"Outside of licensing fees, there aren't any other costs."
"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."
"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..."
Questions from the Community
Top Answer: It makes everything simpler. Once OpCon is in, it just repeats itself day after day. We don't have to worry about… more »
Top Answer: Cost depends on your environment. We are doing stuff now with failover and recovery, so we have boosted our costs… more »
Top Answer: Please look at Enterprise Management Associates webpage. They are doing kind of deep analysis and comparison of all… more »
Top Answer: The tasks are incredibly capable, and as long as you name them with a nice, uniform naming convention, they are very… more »
Top Answer: There is room for improvement with its connectivity with the Microsoft SRS system. It is very weak. They keep telling us… more »
Top Answer: The primary use case is that we are now at the point where we are creating workflows and it is allowing us to shorten… more »
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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
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 Control-M
Learn more about Stonebranch Universal Automation Center
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