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AW
Unisys Infrastructure Support Specialist at a financial services firm with 10,001+ employees
Real User
The product is always available and easy to use

Pros and Cons

  • "It allows batch work to run as smoothly and efficiently as possible."
  • "The way to view a schedule is called perch view, and that's not always the greatest. It can be quite slow."

What is our primary use case?

We use OpCon for scheduling batch jobs on the Unisys mainframe. It controls all of the batch work. Therefore, if we want to rerun a job or add a new job in, It is used for controlling this Unisys batch work.

How has it helped my organization?

It allows batch work to run as smoothly and efficiently as possible.

If we are talking about a one-off job, it takes roughly five minutes to set that up, which is very quick.

Results are pretty much instantaneous. It depends what frequency you put on the job. It could be a job that will not run for another couple of hours. But, if you set up a job and want it to run straightaway, it will do it straightaway.

OpCon has streamlined operations. 

Going back 20 odd years ago, everything used to be controlled manually before. Now, it's just a flow of jobs. You kick one off, then there are just dependencies, one after the other. These jobs just follow those dependencies and do it all automatically, instead of somebody having to sit there and do it manually.

From when it was first deployed, the solution freed up around 100 or so employees to do more meaningful work as a result of the automation.

It reduced data processing times when it was first deployed. Back then, it probably saved a good six or seven hours on a daily basis. The amount time has shrunk since then, but that is not due to OpCon. It is more due to reduced processing times on the Unisys mainframe.

What is most valuable?

It is very simple and easy to use, but that might be because I've been using it for a long time.

The things that we use most often are:

  • NIST view
  • Job Master
  • The quick search option.

What needs improvement?

The way to view a schedule is called perch view, and that's not always the greatest. It can be quite slow.

Any issues we did have with earlier releases have since been addressed in later releases.

We are looking at something called Solution Manager which comes with it, because we don't use that currently. This shows more performance and is an easier way to access them. You can also set trends and do more analyzing.

For how long have I used the solution?

I have been using it for 12 to 13 years.

The company has probably had it for about 20 years.

What do I think about the stability of the solution?

The stability is very good. We don't ever seem to have any issues or major problems with OpCon. It's always been quite good.

We have currently been looking to upgrade to version 19. So, we are testing that.

What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

The scalability is quite good. The amount that we have on it doesn't ever cause any issues. I am not too sure how much more it could cope with, but I imagine it's a lot more.

We have approximately 50 scheduled jobs running various different processes. It varies between 20 and 100. Because it's a big organization, these automated process are not a massive part of the organization: Approximately 15 to 20 percent. I don't see this figure going up since a lot of stuff tends to be moving into cloud-based stuff.

Our use of OpCon needs improvement because I don't think we use it to its full capabilities.

There is a team of us who do the maintenance. There are mainly three people on the team with another hundred other people using it for view only purposes, such as viewing data results and what times certain jobs finish. They don't have access to make any amendments.

How are customer service and technical support?

The technical support is very good. I think we have a designated person who we contact if we ever have any sort of issues, etc. Their response time is fairly quick (within 24 hours).

How was the initial setup?

The initial setup is pretty straightforward. They give you some good user guides and information on how to do it.

If we are upgrading, it probably takes about two to three hours. We start the automation process within this two to three hour time slot. It is pretty quick.

When deploying a new version, we have to do a lot of testing. We have DR boxes which we do our testing on first. That's what we're currently doing it at the moment. Then, we have to run it through our change management to make sure all of the various other areas in the department are happy.

What about the implementation team?

SMA is pretty helpful, if we do ever have any questions. They are pretty quick to respond.

For upgrades, three or four are required. There are three of us on our side involved in upgrading it. Then, there is one person from SMA to help, if need be.

Which other solutions did I evaluate?

Compared to other solutions that we have in the organization, OpCon is a lot quicker to deploy. For example, Control-M takes almost double the time to deploy.

We use OpCon for Unisys and Control M for more server-based jobs.

What other advice do I have?

it's definitely an application worth considering and looking into. It is a pretty good tool. I don't really have too many issues with it.

My biggest lesson since using it has been to learn how to upgrade it. This is part of the process, as I've gone from the scheduling side of it, where no one else scheduled jobs to the next step of learning how to upgrade it.

I would rate it an eight (out of 10). The product is always available and easy to use. I like the overall general feel and view of it.

Which deployment model are you using for this solution?

On-premises
Disclosure: IT Central Station contacted the reviewer to collect the review and to validate authenticity. The reviewer was referred by the vendor, but the review is not subject to editing or approval by the vendor.
EW
Systems Programmer at a insurance company with 1,001-5,000 employees
Real User
Top 20
Great GUI, excellent technical support and very stable

Pros and Cons

  • "Thus far we have only had a few minor problems, all of which the vendor addressed quickly. We have not encountered any major problems. The product is very stable and reliable."
  • "We are still in the early stages of our implementation, so at this point, I cannot see any needed improvements or features."

What is our primary use case?

We run thousands of processes/jobs on z/OS (mainframe), Unix/Linux, and Windows. In many cases, these processes have cross-platform dependencies. 

We also have two separate OpCon databases - one for production and one for development. This is the usual case of implementing and testing new jobs/schedules in development prior to promoting them to production.

We literally run our business on OpCon and as such OpCon needs to be, and is a 24/7 enterprise scheduling system. It cannot be down. Thus far, we have found it to be very resilient.

How has it helped my organization?

It is still early in our OpCon implementation, however, thus far it has shown its value in ease of use - both in terms of maintaining and implementing jobs/tasks and through its use of a relational database, which gives us enormous power in reporting and updating information.

Change does not come easily to people. That said, due to OpCon being a modern, graphical system our schedulers and developers have enthusiastically embraced it and this has made the transition from our previous system much smoother than we had anticipated. 

What is most valuable?

The most valuable aspects of the solution for us are:

The GUI. Our previous scheduling software had a graphical user interface but this was nothing more than an add-on. It constantly had problems and eventually was abandoned due to its unreliability. Since migrating to OpCon we are now in a purely graphical environment. This provides more information in a smaller space and makes administration a point-and-click process.

The Database. OpCon uses an SQL Server as its data repository. This has given us substantially more capability for reporting and updates.

The deployment. OpCon has a deploy concept which is a methodology to implement change management to schedules.

What needs improvement?

We cutover to OpCon from a previous solution approximately six weeks ago so we are still in the early stages of our implementation. That said it is difficult to ascertain what improvements could be made at this early stage.

If I had to select something I'd say that the web based interface, Solution Manager, should have more functionality. Enterprise Manager, the desktop interface is extremely powerful but SMA's strategic direction is Solution Manager. We have found it difficult to have people rely solely on Solution Manager.

For how long have I used the solution?

We recently migrated to OpCon from another vendor's scheduling system and have now been running our shop's tasks for approximately six weeks. 

What do I think about the stability of the solution?

Thus far we have only had a few minor problems, all of which the vendor addressed quickly. We have not encountered any major problems. The product is very stable and reliable.

What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

Scalability is dependent on the underlying database. Given that OpCon uses SQL Server, we are very confident in its ability to scale.

How are customer service and technical support?

Thus far, we have only had a few minor issues but the vendor's responses were quick - as were their solutions. We have no complaints.

Which solution did I use previously and why did I switch?

We switched from a different vendor's scheduling system. We implemented a project that encompassed a requirements definition, a vendor questionnaire, demos, and finally a selection of a product.

We switched from our old scheduler for multiple reasons. First, the vendor was asking far too much money for an upgrade. Also, we found this vendor's support weak at best. Finally, we wanted something that presented a modern user interface, which the old system tried to implement but it was a poor attempt.

How was the initial setup?

We migrated from a mainframe-based solution using a proprietary database to a Windows-based solution using a SQL Server database. Given the enormity of this level of change, the transition and setup were remarkably smooth. I consider this to have been a straightforward setup.

What about the implementation team?

As part of our migration to OpCon we contracted SMA Technologies, the OpCon vendor, to perform the migration in concert with our scheduling team.

The SMA team was excellent. Their knowledge of SQL Server, z/OS and Windows was extraordinary. I cannot say enough good things about them.

What was our ROI?

As of right now, the ROI is undetermined.

What's my experience with pricing, setup cost, and licensing?

Be sure to consider post-implementation costs. In our case, we contracted with the vendor for ongoing assistance given our lack of experience and manpower with a Windows-based solution.

Which other solutions did I evaluate?

We considered CA's Workload Automation but they would not return our calls. They had recently been acquired by another company so perhaps that had something to do with it.

We also considered Tidal Workload Automation but decided it was not a good fit for our environment.

We had previously attempted to migrate to IBM Workload Scheduler but could not make this work.

BMC's Control-M was given very serious consideration but we did not like the way BMC treated us. Control-M surely would have worked but the marketing team caused us concern.

What other advice do I have?

I highly recommend OpCon to any organization considering either a new implementation or a migration from a previous vendor's system. In our case we migrated from a previous system and SMA Technologies did what another vendor could not. It took six months and the cutover went remarkably smooth given the level of change.

Which deployment model are you using for this solution?

On-premises
Disclosure: I am a real user, and this review is based on my own experience and opinions.
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Nicolas VERNOUX
EMEA Datacenter & Network Operations Manager at a wholesaler/distributor with 1,001-5,000 employees
Real User
Top 20
Versatility enables us to schedule everything we want in many kinds of environments

Pros and Cons

  • "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."
  • "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."

What is our primary use case?

We use OpCon for scheduling production tasks in many kinds of environments. The main ones are located on i5 i-series, OS/400. But we also use it in our Windows environment and on SAP. It handles around 10,000 jobs a day for us.

A lot of the jobs that are now in OpCon were already automated, but they were on other platforms and systems. For example, the world production batch that is running on OS/400 was automated on OS/400, with OS/400 programs. We moved the automation of the system to OpCon. We improved some of the parts, but we kept the main core of the production plan.

How has it helped my organization?

Using OpCon has brought us better visibility into our world production tasks. This is the essential point in my opinion, because 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.

Many of the tasks of one of our ERP systems, the invoicing and so on, are managed by OpCon. All the BI jobs that run on a daily, weekly, or a monthly basis, launch from OpCon and it gives us the capability of doing very clear follow-up.

We are a small company so we don't think about it in terms of how much it has freed up employees. But it has helped us to share responsibilities with a third-party in charge of the 24/7 monitoring of our system. In that way it has saved time, at least for our infrastructure team.

In addition, because we can manage each type of trigger differently, that alone helps save time.

What is most valuable?

  • It's very scalable.
  • We have experienced very few lags or issues, so it's very stable. 
  • It's a very versatile product. You can schedule everything you want in many kinds of environments. We have never faced a limitation in this regard.
  • The support is very responsive as well. They have replied to all our questions on time.

What needs improvement?

The SQL part could be improved. 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. Maybe that could be improved.

For how long have I used the solution?

We have been using OpCon for about eight years.

How are customer service and technical support?

We have a very good relationship with them. We have known them now for a lot of years and they always reply to our problems and questions. They always have a solution, although we really haven't had a lot of problems with the product.

Which solution did I use previously and why did I switch?

Our system analysts requested it, so it was easy for us. They are happy now to have it available and to use it on a daily basis.

How was the initial setup?

We had the help of the Professional Services of SMA, but the setup was not difficult. The technical installation did not take more than one day.

Our strategy was to merge all activity, from everywhere in our environment, and to have everything running from the same place.

What was our ROI?

Our ROI is that it has saved about 10 percent of one FTE.

What's my experience with pricing, setup cost, and licensing?

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.

There are no additional costs.

Which other solutions did I evaluate?

There were only two solutions on the short-list. We did a lot of research on the internet about other companies, but a proof of concept was only done with Dollar Universe and OpCon. We choose OpCon because Dollar Universe had some issues regarding OS/400 at the time we tested it. That was close to 10 years ago, so maybe it's better now.

What other advice do I have?

In terms of the extent of use of OpCon, I could see us using it for other stuff, but for the moment it's complete, as far as our production plans go. We don't have new directions or a new environment planned. Maybe, if it is possible to schedule things in the cloud, for example, in the future, we would do so. I don't think it's possible now to schedule things in the cloud, like Office for 365.

The ease of use depends on the person who is using it. For me, I learned it very fast. I found the product very user-friendly because it has the ability to add jobs for OS/400, and not all products have that kind of functionality. And that's true for SAP, for example. It's relatively simple to use if you have time to manage it on a daily basis. If not, it's very difficult to understand how it works.

Although it is possible with the product, at this time we haven't given access to the solution to all our people, those who are on the functional teams. For now, it's restricted to the technical team only. There are 10 or 12 people using it out of 2,200 employees. The majority of the users are system administrators.

Which deployment model are you using for this solution?

On-premises
Disclosure: IT Central Station contacted the reviewer to collect the review and to validate authenticity. The reviewer was referred by the vendor, but the review is not subject to editing or approval by the vendor.
MB
Senior System Automation Analyst at a financial services firm with 501-1,000 employees
Real User
Automation eliminates operator error and gives us greater consistency

Pros and Cons

  • "The automation part of OpCon is the most valuable for us, with all the core processing. It's really mostly hands-off unless we have failures. In our old days, we'd spend a good part of the day doing processing via manual tasks. We don't have to do any of that any longer."
  • "I have noticed lately that [tech support's] first answers tend to be, "Let's upgrade it to the latest and greatest first," without looking into anything. The last couple of times I've logged a ticket that's been the response, which is a little frustrating. We're not big on just upgrading on a whim. We do full testing."

What is our primary use case?

We use it for pretty much everything. We purchased it when we converted to Symitar and that was the primary reason for using it. But we use it for all different vendors, downloading files, and running Oracle queries and VB scripts, etc.

How has it helped my organization?

When we converted to Symitar in 2013, by getting OpCon we eliminated two of our operator positions because we automated everything with it. We repurposed both positions and assigned them more meaningful tasks to do. 

We've automated several hundred processes and no longer have any manual processing. OpCon eliminates operator error by having it all automated. It gives us consistency.

What is most valuable?

The automation part of OpCon is the most valuable for us, with all the core processing. It's really mostly hands-off unless we have failures. In our old days, we'd spend a good part of the day doing processing via manual tasks. We don't have to do any of that any longer.

What needs improvement?



For how long have I used the solution?

We've been using OpCon for about six-and-a-half years.

What do I think about the stability of the solution?

It's definitely been pretty stable for us. We run things 24 hours a day, so sometimes we run into issues related to putting server patches on it. We have to find a time to stop everything to load Windows patches and the like.

What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

The scalability seems fine.

We always increase usage. We're always having new processes and adding new servers for different things. We definitely have plans for increasing usage, almost daily.

How are customer service and technical support?

We don't need to use technical support very often, but to begin with, it was really good.

I have noticed lately that their first answers tend to be, "Let's upgrade it to the latest and greatest first," without looking into anything. The last couple of times I've logged a ticket that's been the response, which is a little frustrating. We're not big on just upgrading on a whim. We do full testing.

Which solution did I use previously and why did I switch?

We had a tool before OpCon, but it's been so many years that I can't remember the name of it. It was not nearly as robust as OpCon is. Implementing things is a lot easier with OpCon. Most things don't generally take that long to implement. The way you can calculate different dates, and all the different types of contingencies make OpCon a lot more flexible.

Also, OpCon was the preferred partner of Jack Henry, which we were converting to. That was our primary reason.

Another reason was that OpCon enables us to do all these other external processes, outside of the core, with other vendors, like downloading bond files. We did not have any of that before.

How was the initial setup?

The initial setup seemed fairly straightforward to begin with, but we didn't get into a lot of the more complicated features. We've grown into those features over the years. It was just set up to do the basic processing in the beginning.

Jack Henry, the vendor of Symitar, came onsite when we converted and they were here for a week. At that point we had all of our main, "good night" tasks and the like in OpCon. Gradually, over time, we've added everything else, such as our mortgage processing, which is outside of Jack Henry software. We purchased an API and we were able to automate all of that processing with OpCon also.

The SMA techs were really good to work with. They're very responsive. We didn't have any complaints about them.

After OpCon was deployed we automated our first processes right away.

Our strategy was to make sure we had no manual processes by the end. And going forward, we wouldn't take on processes unless we were able to automate them with OpCon.

What was our ROI?

We have definitely seen a return on our investment by going with OpCon. With all of the automated processes, we eliminated two positions. We also have an initiative where we're going into other departments in the credit union and finding processes that they're doing manually which we're able to automate. Using OpCon helps reduce the time our staff works on manual processes and, instead, they can spend time working on things that directly affect our members.

What other advice do I have?

It's kind of hard, in the beginning, to picture it all until you start using it.

We don't roll it out to the whole company. It's centralized just within our IT department. We have three users who actually use it and manage the processes. Two of them are more primary, me and one other person, and the third person is a backup. We also have the ability to put an icon on a person's desktop and let them click the icon, and that will actually run a process in OpCon behind the scenes for them. We have about 10 of those.

I would rate it a nine out of 10. It's not a 10 because of some of the support responses recently.

Which deployment model are you using for this solution?

On-premises
Disclosure: IT Central Station contacted the reviewer to collect the review and to validate authenticity. The reviewer was referred by the vendor, but the review is not subject to editing or approval by the vendor.
BH
Sr. Systems Programmer at a financial services firm with 201-500 employees
Real User
Top 20
Automation reduces human error and the human resources needed to resolve those errors

Pros and Cons

  • "For us, the most valuable feature of the solution is the file transfer piece and being able to automate the moving of files around between our various vendors. It reduces the time involved versus somebody having to individually move the files around."
  • "There are some limitations in the actual jobs that are created and how you're able to rename files. Suppose you're bringing in, say, 10, 15, or 20 reports from a core system, and you're using an "asterisk character" to identify files. For example, if you're grabbing files that start with this, end with this, but the characters in between could be different, it has to retain that same name in the destination. It won't allow you to rename them with a date stamp or the like."

What is our primary use case?

We use it a lot for file transfers from SFTP sites down to our network folders, and we also use it for other kicking off processes in our core platforms. We also run some PowerShell scripting through it. It does quite a bit.

We're looking at eventually using it for some Active Directory pieces, but we haven't gotten there yet. 

How has it helped my organization?

The automation of processes has taken tasks that would have been done manually by somebody and moved them to a platform without us having to think about them. The time savings in not having to manually do those types of processes on a daily basis means we're much more productive and able to provide front-end staff with better solutions than we were able to before.

It has also reduced human error, and that helps save time for our IT team because there is less time spent having to figure out what somebody might have potentially done wrong. It saves us about a full-time employee's worth of time per week.

And with IT time freed up, our company has been able to move forward with other business needs. It used to mainly be a programmer who was in charge of figuring out the human errors. Having reduced the time needed for that, we've been able to move a full-time programmer into just doing programming, and that has been helpful.

What is most valuable?

For us, the most valuable feature of the solution is the file transfer piece and being able to automate the moving of files around between our various vendors. It reduces the time involved versus somebody having to individually move the files around. It has reduced what we would have done manually at one point by 98 percent. 

What needs improvement?

There are some limitations in the actual jobs that are created and how you're able to rename files. Suppose you're bringing in, say, 10, 15, or 20 reports from a core system, and you're using an "asterisk character" to identify files. For example, if you're grabbing files that start with this, end with this, but the characters in between could be different, it has to retain that same name in the destination. It won't allow you to rename them with a date stamp or the like.

We've gotten around that by writing PowerShell scripts that run after the files have been transferred, but it would be very nice if it had just the raw, built-in ability to rename multiple files with a date stamp added to them.

I've been pretty much been able to accomplish everything else with what it provides out-of-the-box.

For how long have I used the solution?

I've been using OpCon for about two years.

What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

It's very scalable. What we use it for, overall, is probably significantly smaller than some other larger corporate clients do. But in terms of the cost and what we get out of it and the knowledge that if we ever do need to increase the number of jobs that can be run, there is a wide range in what it can handle.

There is definitely room to grow. We currently have about 400 jobs that run per day. When we get closer to month's end, it probably jumps up closer to 600 or 650 jobs that run in a day.

How are customer service and technical support?

I have used SMA's technical support on occasion, both for issues that have arisen and for general support to help to finish off the creation of complex jobs with their Professional Services team. I've never had an issue with getting a hold of somebody or getting any issues resolved in a very timely manner.

What was our ROI?

We have definitely seen return on our investment in time and efficiency and freeing up staff to provide better support to our employees and the membership that we serve.

What's my experience with pricing, setup cost, and licensing?

The pricing is very reasonable.

What other advice do I have?

The biggest lesson I have learned from using OpCon is just the sheer flexibility that these types of systems make possible. They've built a system that gives you a lot of capabilities out-of-the-box, but that also gives you some of those extra pieces where you can bring in outside tools to make it even better.

It provides a lot of power. Even though there is that limitation I mentioned in terms of being able to rename files on multiple downloads at the same time, there is the built-in ability to run scripting as well, whether they are Visual Basic, PowerShell, or Python scripts. It gives you a lot of tools. You can have it do an initial process and then launch one of those scripts to do something that is not inherently built-in.

There are about six of us who utilize it on a daily basis. Most are programmers, but we also have a couple of our service desk guys who work in it too.

Which deployment model are you using for this solution?

On-premises
Disclosure: IT Central Station contacted the reviewer to collect the review and to validate authenticity. The reviewer was referred by the vendor, but the review is not subject to editing or approval by the vendor.
JP
AVP IT Operations at a financial services firm with 501-1,000 employees
Real User
Top 20
Metrics on how long automations take enable us to rearrange them rapidly to get them completed faster

Pros and Cons

  • "The ability to chain jobs together allows us to create complex interdependencies between our jobs, and the integration into our core system is important because it allows us, through an automated system, to do a huge number of things that used to be done manually."
  • "I'd like to see the product include a view where you can see everything about a specific job on a single screen."

What is our primary use case?

We use OpCon as our central scheduling system. It runs a bunch of automations for our core system as well as for any automated system that needs to be scheduled.

How has it helped my organization?

OpCon has eliminated man-hours spent doing repetitive things, and it's also made our execution much more reliable. To do what we are doing currently, it would take at least four or five people, full-time. Clearly, we've cut a bunch of FTEs out of the equation, so that has been a big deal. They have been reassigned to other things. Everybody loves it because they're able to now work on higher-value things.

It also allows us to see metrics of how long our automations take, and control or manage to that to those durations, so we're able to reorganize and rearrange things at a rapid pace to get them completed faster.

We have automated thousands of processes using OpCon. I believe we've automated 100 percent of our processing. I can't think of anything we're doing manually.

In addition, OpCon has reduced our data processing times by, as an estimate, 25 to 30 percent.

What is most valuable?

The most valuable features are 

  • the ability to chain jobs together 
  • the integration into Symitar. At the end of the day, that's what makes the big deal for us.

The ability to chain jobs together allows us to create complex interdependencies between our jobs, and the integration into our core system is important because it allows us, through an automated system, to do a huge number of things that used to be done manually.

It is as easy to use as it should be. There is a learning curve, but that's because it's a powerful system.

What needs improvement?

I'd like to see the product include a view where you can see everything about a specific job on a single screen.

For how long have I used the solution?

We've been using OpCon for more than 10 years.

What do I think about the stability of the solution?

The stability of OpCon as a solution is excellent. We never have any issues with its stability.

What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

We have had no issues with scalability. 

We have plans to increase our usage of it. It's primarily used in IT and programming, but it is automating jobs that are requested by, and the results are used by, everyone else in the company. We have automated processes for the lending department as well as branching, account services; everyone.

We have five to seven people who use it on a daily basis. They are either OpCon developers or programmers who are testing new deployments. We need less than one person for OpCon system administration.

How are customer service and technical support?

SMA's technical support for this solution is excellent. They are responsive, they are knowledgeable, and they've always been able to address our questions, which is impressive.

Which solution did I use previously and why did I switch?

We did not have a previous solution. Our company went with OpCon because it has a very tight integration to our core system.

How was the initial setup?

I was not around for the setup and it's been so long since it was done that I don't think our experience would be indicative for anybody else.

For the most part, upgrades are pretty straightforward. And they've been pretty solid too. We generally do them with the help of SMA consultants.

What was our ROI?

We have absolutely seen return on investment with OpCon. We've eliminated the FTEs. We have increased the speed at which our automations run, so we're in nightly processing for a shorter period of time. We've been able to run more fraud tests and to run control reports on the nightly run than we would be able to run manually, so that we can identify problem areas or fraud and address them immediately. We use it for all sorts of things.

What's my experience with pricing, setup cost, and licensing?

I believe our cost is about $150,000 annually.

There are add-ons you can buy, which have an additional cost, including products and Professional Services.

Which other solutions did I evaluate?

We really have not evaluated other options. It is the state of the art for our core system, and we have been happy with it.

What other advice do I have?

The biggest lesson I have learned is that using an automation system like OpCon forces us to really understand the business object of a goal we are trying to accomplish and to be able to articulate it clearly and precisely.

Automating your operational tasks the way that OpCon does is absolutely a better way to do it than any manual system that you may have in place.

Which deployment model are you using for this solution?

On-premises
Disclosure: IT Central Station contacted the reviewer to collect the review and to validate authenticity. The reviewer was referred by the vendor, but the review is not subject to editing or approval by the vendor.
PN
TitleApplication Specialist II at a financial services firm with 201-500 employees
Real User
Reasonably priced with helpful technical support and great self-service features

Pros and Cons

  • "With a simple click of a button in self-service, the department or the user can complete his/her job."
  • "I would like to see OpCon being accessible using a mobile app."

What is our primary use case?

Job automation is the primary use of this solution. Processing reports, running batch jobs, processing ACH, and all other daily operations are things we have automated using OpCon

Without this automation, I am not sure how possible it would be for the company to finish the nightly processing by doing it manually. Working 8 hours a day is not enough for us to complete our daily process. 

In addition, we are using OpCon for testing our Dev and QA environment.                                            

How has it helped my organization?

OpCon is automating everything for us. I cannot imagine working without OpCon to process our daily operations. 

With OpCon, we can still do other operational tasks, troubleshooting, projects, research, etc. Without OpCon, we will be up and working until the wee hours of the morning. We are only checking our OpCon if there is a failure. Without a failure notification, we are confident that OpCon is doing its job for the company in order to process our day-to-day operations.

What is most valuable?

Self-service is one of the features I like the most. The self-service feature allows us to give control to the users to execute the job we have set up for them. This eliminated the requests, either through a ticketing system or email, to run a specific schedule for the department. 

With a simple click of a button in self-service, the department or the user can complete his/her job. Users are loving this feature, too. They are liking the option that they have control over their process.        

What needs improvement?

I would like to see OpCon being accessible using a mobile app. This will increase the convenience for the administrator. Imagine it is a weekend and you are on call. A failure email was received. You will then need to grab your laptop, connect to VPN, and access the application to find out what is going on. If you are somewhere else, you will need to bring your laptop with you all the time. If the job can be fixed with few clicks, a mobile app will help the administrators to fix the job right away even if you do not have your laptop with you. 

For how long have I used the solution?

I have been using OpCon Enterprise Manager since I joined the IT team last 2012. Even before I joined the team, the company was using OpCon Enterprise Manager.

What do I think about the stability of the solution?

If you set your schedule right, you do not have to think about it until a failure occurs. The stability is good. The failure occurs mostly because the file that is being expected is not yet ready from the Core side or from the vendor side. 

The stability of OpCon is 100% stable.

What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

Any organization size can be managed by OpCon. Whether you have one product, one staging area, and one QA or multiple staging and multiple QAs, you can easily connect them and push anything into production with few simple clicks. 

How are customer service and technical support?

I do not have anything negative to say about their customer service or technical support. So far, all of them are so helpful. They will even send a follow-up email before closing the ticket. 

Which solution did I use previously and why did I switch?

This is my first job scheduler/job automation application.

How was the initial setup?

When I started here, the OpCon was in production already. I am not sure about the complexity of the setup.

What about the implementation team?

When I started here, the OpCon was in production already. I am not sure how the application got installed. 

What was our ROI?

I do not have the numbers, but definitely, our ROI for having OpCon is high. To give an example, we are only two personnel on a team. We can manage the daily operations, attend to any system issues, do projects, and manage the core system ourselves.

What's my experience with pricing, setup cost, and licensing?

Their setup cost, pricing, and licensing are fair. SMA Technologies will not charge you too much. I have the experience that SMA tailored the licensing for us according to our average yearly usage. 

What other advice do I have?

If you want to increase your daily efficiencies, consider OpCon. Give them a try and you will notice the difference from Day 1. Ther support is outstanding. You can call them 24/7/365. They value their SLAs. SMA staff are very friendly. 

Which deployment model are you using for this solution?

On-premises
Disclosure: I am a real user, and this review is based on my own experience and opinions.
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MN
National Monitoring, Capacity and Availability at a government with 10,001+ employees
Real User
Job dependencies, auditing, and notifications are the key features for us

Pros and Cons

  • "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."
  • "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."

What is our primary use case?

We use it for batch processing and online processing.

I work for a government department which represents 43 sub-departments, so our department literally has thousands of systems. We have about 25,000 automated jobs set up in OpCon, but I don't know what percentage that would represent, overall, of the jobs in the 43 departments.

How has it helped my organization?

I can't really provide many metrics showing the way OpCon has improved our organization functions because we have been using the product since 1997. So any metrics we would have had before we started using the product would be relatively useless because of how much we've increased our production loads since 1997.

The solution has definitely streamlined our operations and makes onboarding of new applications very easy. And OpCon has most certainly freed up some 50 to 75 employees to do more meaningful work as a result of automation.

What is most valuable?

The most valuable features for us are

  • job dependencies
  • auditing
  • notification
  • robustness. 

Those are things we rely on all the time.

What needs improvement?

I find 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.

For how long have I used the solution?

I was involved in supporting the solution for about 14 years. When I stopped supporting it, we were on version 16. Our organization still uses it and we're into version 18, in production, now. I installed and fixed any issues with OpCon and was a liaison between the vendor and the users.

What do I think about the stability of the solution?

It's extremely stable.

What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

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 do use it extensively, and we use it for mission-critical processes.

How are customer service and technical support?

The tech support has been excellent. They're the best that I've dealt with in 25 years of supporting software.

We've had a close relationship with SMA, the vendor, and they've been very attentive. We have made requests in the past for added features, and they've been very responsive and put them in.

Which solution did I use previously and why did I switch?

We didn't have a previous automation tool at an enterprise level.

How was the initial setup?

Back then, the setup was complex because of the number of processes that we initially automated. Our initial deployment took about five months. The installation of the software took a day, and then we spent several months creating our automation, within the tool.

What about the implementation team?

We had the help of SMA and used our internal resources.

What was our ROI?

We have seen a return on investment from OpCon.

Which other solutions did I evaluate?

We did an RFC and had vendors bid, but I was not part of that process.

What other advice do I have?

My advice would be to invest in education on use of the product and I would recommend planning the deployment, and administrating users and roles, carefully and thoughtfully. A careful implementation of roles and responsibilities for the users of OpCon will save you some issues in the future. 

We don't have a high number of users of the product, although we have a high number of processes that are defined within it. Our actual user base is closer to 50 specialists. 

In terms of deployment and maintenance, we have about two-and-a-half employees involved. Their roles would include upgrading the software and installing the agent software throughout the organization. They are also responsible for identifying any software bugs, memory leaks, or issues within the software itself. And because they know the product so well, they're often called on to troubleshoot automation logic.

The biggest lesson I've learned using OpCon is that you can automate more than you think you can.

Overall, I would rate the solution a nine out of 10. If somehow they could improve the user interface to be somewhat more intuitive, that would help. Our users find it overwhelming and it has quite a fairly steep learning curve to begin automating jobs. It's like sitting in the cockpit of an airplane: You're doing something complicated.

But I love the product and I love the company.

Which deployment model are you using for this solution?

On-premises
Disclosure: IT Central Station contacted the reviewer to collect the review and to validate authenticity. The reviewer was referred by the vendor, but the review is not subject to editing or approval by the vendor.