2020-03-29T08:26:00Z

What advice do you have for others considering ActiveBatch?


If you were talking to someone whose organization is considering ActiveBatch, what would you say?

How would you rate it and why? Any other tips or advice?

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66 Answers

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Top 5Real User

Jump in. That's what we did and we're seeing the results. I can't stress enough how much it's allowed us to move forward with this modernization project. Overall, it really has been seamless. There have been a lot of hours on my part, learning the system and researching different processes that I need to put in place for the cycles. But to anyone else, the end result probably appears seamless. It is a lot of work learning it, especially if you have no prior knowledge of enterprise job schedulers and that type of flow. But ActiveBatch provides a wealth of information; their Knowledge Base is tremendous. The support gets back to you pretty much immediately. It might take them a couple of days here and there while they're researching or working with their engineers to replicate a problem. And sign up for the training, for sure, as well as the additional training certification. In the year since I took the Boot Camp and worked my way through putting this in place to meet our immediate needs, when I revisited the Boot Camp, I found there was a ton of stuff that you forget that you can be using. In that initial Boot Camp, you're really not sure exactly what you're going to use it for. Once you start seeing ActiveBatch processes in your system and go through that training again, you realize, "Oh yeah, I can definitely see where I can tie this in," or "Yeah, we can definitely use that here or we could use this function in this way instead of that way." It will definitely help you become more efficient. It's easy to learn the basics. It's just a matter of knowing what you need to know, what you need to use it for. At that point the ball is in your court because, while it can definitely be challenging, at the same time it's very rewarding to see things fall into place the way you pictured them. It is a very powerful tool and we've only barely scratched the surface. Keep learning. I'm learning more and more processes within ActiveBatch every day. It's definitely an ongoing process. What I've learned from using ActiveBatch is that the sky's the limit. With all the additional, third-party licenses — Active Directory, System Manager — at this point it seems endless for us. I honestly don't know where we would be without it at this point. We just started testing SSIS packages, as we're trying to move those off of the SQL environment and into ActiveBatch, rather than setting up schedules within SQL. We started testing one, out-of-the-box, and we're ready to move that to production this week. There will be more after that. We aren't leveraging the cloud. We are trying to get into that area but, at the same time, we're focused on this part of our modernization project right now, getting off of the mainframe first and onto the distributed systems. Then we can take it another step. We don't have any of those additional licenses for integration with things like SharePoint, Informatica, or ServiceNow. Those options are definitely something my manager has his finger on. He knows those are available and he realizes ActiveBatch can definitely be leveraged to a greater extent. Our developers work outside of ActiveBatch. It's mostly me who puts together the ActiveBatch jobs. The developers are mainly mainframe developers who don't touch ActiveBatch, or they are application developers who tie everything together into this entire modernization effort. There are a ton of products tied into that effort, ActiveBatch being one. ActiveBatch "brings the others together," such as printing from a third-party vendo, our insurance suite for billing, claims, commissions, etc. A new underwriting tool will also be tied in eventually. So most of the developers are working on those other applications. Direct users of ActiveBatch boil down to me and a couple others who are familiar with Activebatch but who are not as familiar with it as I am. Currently, any issues with the batch processes are more the result of a learning curve for us. I would rate the solution at eight out of 10. I'm a stickler with ratings. Nine would be the highest I would ever give anything because nothing is perfect. Here, it comes down to the fact that the navigation can be clunky at times, but I think that's more on you to learn. One thing ActiveBatch could do is provide more examples of real-life business use and business case examples, that show how others have structured their systems. That would probably be a big help. They do tell you how to organize jobs within Plans and you can nest things that way, but more real-life examples would probably have helped me to see how other businesses are using it or how their folder or their object structures are set up. I love the product. It's exactly what we were looking for.

2020-04-02T07:00:00Z
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Top 5Real User

Start with a simple, small version and try some simple tasks to see how effective it is. Using ActiveBatch I have learned that the potential for reducing costs using an automation tool is huge, and that when the business becomes aware of it they really embrace the product.

2020-04-02T07:00:00Z
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Top 10Real User

The breakthrough for us was when we were able to take completely different software tools and integrate them into one long flow of data. We have our Informatica jobs which then trigger some PLC to SQL jobs in ActiveBatch, but they also trigger Alteryx jobs, which is its own software tool. It can integrate and execute iCEDQ, which is its own software, as well as Tableau. The ability to trigger those jobs from completely different software tools, in one flow, has saved us a lot of time and a lot of headaches. Don't be afraid to dig in and try things. I said one of the weaknesses is the Help, but the Help function has helped me figure a few things out. We have jobs that update the pager email to go from an offsite pager to an onsite pager and back again. So don't be afraid to take the time to try to figure something different out. There are some useful things in the Help. I'm the primary person using ActiveBatch in the warehouse. A month ago, we had a lot more people using it, but in the travel industry we've already had some severe layoffs. There were 10 people using ActiveBatch. They were all data analysts or data quality analysts, and I am the data warehouse developer. There were also business intelligence developers.

2020-03-31T06:37:00Z
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Top 5Real User

Right now, we only use the Informatica AI and Informatica PowerCenter. We are looking at a ServiceNow integration. Some of the other ones, like Azure, we don't need right now as we continue to grow it organically. It's more as teams migrate technologies. We want to have an opportunity to have a conversation with them, and say, "Hey, come in and do it this way." We are not using all the features yet. E.g. we don't use any load balancing variables. I would rate the solution as an eight to nine (out of 10).

2020-03-31T06:37:00Z
author avatar
Top 10Real User

Take the time to get a good feel for how it works. That's the biggest thing. Once you have that, start creating the jobs. I would expect that people will be very satisfied with how well it runs and the flexibility that the tool has. In terms of execution on hybrid machines or across on-prem and cloud systems, it's not applicable for us at this point. All our stuff is hosted. We're not doing anything in the cloud right now, although that may be something that's in our future. But right now, it's just used for servers that we have in our data center. We have a team of about six or seven people who use ActiveBatch at least a little bit. But only three of us are the "power users." ActiveBatch is designed to have different roles but all three of us do a little bit of all of them. So we haven't divided it out yet in terms of having an operations person or a design person. My role leans more toward designing jobs. The technician that found ActiveBatch, his role leans more towards the operation and administrative side of getting things installed and working on upgrading the application. The third guy does a little of both. We're pretty satisfied with everything. Their support is great. It does everything we need it to do. There isn't anything that we're having to find workarounds for.

2020-03-29T08:26:00Z
author avatar
Top 10Real User

It is a great product. I can't speak enough about it. We haven't found anything that we can't overcome in ActiveBatch. When they put this product out, they thought it out and put a lot of nice stuff into it. There are features we haven't touched yet, even though we have been on it for so many years. We have never really uncovered anything that's a problem. It is a well-thought-out product and one of the best that I've ever worked with. I would rate this product as a 10 out of 10. I really like this product. Think about what you want to automate, then put a process flow in place. For somebody who wants to start this, take one job and put a process flow in place, then develop it within the system. Once you get one product in place, it is pretty easy to replicate it. Initially, to get started on some of this, it can be a horrifying effort. It looks overwhelming, but once you get going on this stuff, get one job in place, and figure out what to do, then it's pretty easy to replicate across the board. All our back-end systems are Oracle driven from an integration standpoint. Oracle interfaces are very nice which helps us a lot because we can do a lot of coding and take care of a lot of the back-end Oracle stuff. However, we don't use external things, like Amazon, as that is against our security We just started looking at email triggers, but have not implemented any at this point.

2020-03-29T08:26:00Z
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