2019-10-24T04:52:00Z

What advice do you have for others considering OpCon?


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

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

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3333 Answers

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Real User

I would recommend OpCon to almost anyone. Look at it and learn it. Compare it to the competition. It's great for multiple institutions. They have everything you really want and would expect schedules to be able to do. You should have some type of logical background. If you're just a plain operator, you might have trouble trying to understand the concepts. You have to remember which institution you're working with when you start setting up jobs so they aren't operating on the wrong system. So, it's just understanding what you're doing. I would rate the solution as a 10 (out of 10). It works for us on a multi-solution data center. It gives you a lot more options and does a lot more things, as an in house system.

2020-02-19T08:48:00Z
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Top 5Real User

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.

2020-02-19T08:48:00Z
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Top 10Real User

It can get as complicated as we want to try to get it. We use it pretty extensively to run things on other machines and processes on other servers other than the IBM. So, we use the solution pretty well. It's fairly easy to use and straightforward. Our data processing times are dependent on the IBM running. We switched to IBM at the same time that we went to OpCon. OpCon is used fully on the IBM. We may increase usage in the future, as we always look for more automation opportunities as they come up. However, right now, it's just as we add new products or applications, then we'll add new schedules for those. I would give the solution a 10 (out of 10).

2020-01-27T06:39:00Z
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Top 5Real User

Take your time. Think about it. Once you start to create different concepts and learn them, come up with naming conventions, your own rules, and go by them. This way, everything is similar. It's easier for me to train my operators if it all looks the same. Ease of use depends on how you set it up. It is there, but it all depends on what you want to do with it and how much time you want to put into it. If you just want to move some files around and keep things looking the same, it is easy to use. But, if you want to do some tricky stuff, you have to put some time into it, making it look clean and understandable for you and everyone else. You also have to document a bit, but that is sort of case by case. I come up with rules, trends, conventions, prefixes, etc. that I'll find sometimes six months later. Then, I'm like, "Ah, I like this a lot better. I'm going to set this as my own standard going forward." I am evolving myself and constantly making it easier for me to use. The solution expands my creativity when looking at processes. I would rate the solution a nine (out of 10). It is in its own league. OpCon makes my job so much easier. SMA is a great company and partner.

2020-01-15T08:04:00Z
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Top 5Real User

We have some plans in the works as far as how we want to utilize this in the future. It really all boils down to just not having to do processes manually, instead making them automated. The only function we utilize it for in this case is to free up more manpower. I would recommend doing this solution. In the beginning, it appears to be daunting, but it makes a lot of sense once you started utilizing the tool. After training, I learned through a sort of trial by fire. However, it didn't take long to pick up. With the scripting portion, everything was simplistic to learn. If I was going to rate ease of use from one being the hardest to 10 being easiest, I would probably rate it a nine. There are tools like this out there. You don't realize what automation looks like prior to seeing it from the back-end. It's pretty cool. I often call it, "The middleman between two points," because it connects the bridge. I would rate the product overall as a 10 (out of 10). They are here to stay as a vendor.

2020-01-12T12:03:00Z
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Top 10Real User

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.

2020-01-12T07:22:00Z
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Top 10Real User

The biggest lesson I have learned from using OpCon is that we do a lot of things manually that we don't need to be doing manually. Also, as we're automating people's processes, we're able to analyze what they're doing and find a more efficient, better way to do things. My advice would be to learn about the command line. Also, start early on making a list of all of the things you want to automate and write out the steps for each process. That's been taking a lot of time: Trying to get people to explain the different steps they do and then trying to figure out the best way to set that up in OpCon. Starting on those things early will help speed up the implementation. There are about 10 people using OpCon's Enterprise Manager and the Self Service, in our company. There will be more. We're slowly expanding. Among the users are our systems analyst, our system administrator, and some of our accounting, operations, and compliance people use it. We also have a network specialist who uses it for file cleanup on different servers. We have three people involved in maintaining the solution and each has a role. Some of us create, some of us upgrade it, as needed, and some of us monitor it daily. We don't have our developers using it. They develop something and then we usually incorporate it for them. Our usage of OpCon is still pretty moderate. We have a lot of plans to increase it. It's just a matter of time. It touches all departments, but we want to utilize it more within each department. I would rate the solution an eight out of 10. It's pretty good but I don't think it's miraculous. It's definitely better than our old solution and I'm pretty happy with it.

2019-12-25T08:21:00Z
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Top 5Real User

Make sure that it fits well with your environment. Understand that it's not simply a single product automation tool. It can automate everything. We were not utilizing automation as fully as we could. Once we got on the OpCon product, it really made a huge difference in that. Because there is always room for improvement, I would give it a nine (out of 10).

2019-12-24T08:30:00Z
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Top 5Real User

If anybody were to ask me if they should buy this product, the number one thing I would ask them is, "Do you know operating systems? Do you know DOS?" If you know file structures, etc., this product will be easy. I started back with the old 8088 PCs. You had to do everything you could just to be able to use the computer. This is a great tool to use if you've got that knowledge. If you are bringing OpCon in, make sure you have somebody who can spend the time on it to get it implemented. Our company brought it in and said, "Here is a tool you can use." They didn't assign any one person to implement it. If that was my only job, I could stay very busy. Part of my problem getting it rolled out is that I'm an operations manager. I'm running a department that is 24/7 and, for the most part, projects that come into the bank are about 90 percent of what I get to do on OpCon. We still have a long way to go in terms of the number of processes to be automated. We have automated about 10 percent of our jobs, but we have some other factors that are holding us back at the moment. Our core software has just done a big upgrade, which is affecting the way that we use it. OpCon can work with it, but the screens have all changed. The security is being upgraded in our core product and there are going to be new menu options. This is Jack Henry's biggest security change in 20 years. It's called global security. It's supposed to be fully deployed by March of next year. We're still in the process of waiting for that before we can start building day-to-day processes into it, through our core application. We probably do between 170,000 and 200,000 jobs a year. Some of those jobs take two minutes and some of those jobs take eight hours. We haven't quite got all our time back yet, but we have been working on key applications, trying to free people up to do other things. Overall, I'd give OpCon 11 out of 10 if you'd let me.

2019-12-22T06:32:00Z
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Top 10Real User

What I have learned from using OpCon is that everything is possible within OpCon. Each time we have a new process, that's what we look at first. We try to build everything around the automation. You will definitely see the efficiency and improvement in your day-to-day operations by using OpCon. My advice would be, during the implementation, to try to build as many sample jobs as possible so that you can reuse them. OpCon is now managed by my computer operation team. Right now don't share it out to other users. We use it to automate our batch processing for over 40 credit unions that we support. When I say support, that means we do their core processing, their batch processing. In terms of deployment of upgrades and maintenance of the solution, it's normally just one or two of my team members, or myself, working with SMA's support. They come in and we work with them and we get the upgrade completed and then we go live.

2019-12-22T06:32:00Z
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Top 10Real User

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.

2019-12-19T06:32:00Z
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Top 5Real User

The cost is just shy of $20,000. That's for two licenses annually, production, and failover. Spend time flushing out the processes that you want. Add everything you possibly can so you don't have to do it. Look hard at the solution that you want. I highly suggest looking at OpCon. Frankly, that's all I ever tell people about when they talk about the scheduling. I ask if they're on OpCon and if they know about it. Overall, I don't really have any complaints. The system does exactly what I want it to do. In this current iteration. If it never changed, it still does what I need it to do, and it does it the way I want it to happen. I'm content with the way it operates. I would rate it a 10 (out of 10). It doesn't have to have another version increase. It doesn't have to add any change to complete what I need it to do right now. If it stayed exactly the same, I would still be happy.

2019-12-16T08:14:00Z
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Top 10Real User

It's definitely worth the cost. It will help with your time management. It helps take the human error out of some of the day-to-day or mundane things, such as processes that have to be done manually. It gives you peace of mind to know that something that you scheduled will run, and if for any reason it doesn't, you have the support to help get you back on track and troubleshoot any issues. There is not a whole lot that needs to be changed with the program. I think it's a fantastic program. I wish that we, as an organization, were utilizing it more to its full functionality. Otherwise, their functionality and processing are fantastic. Overall, it's a great product and doesn't need to change. The biggest lesson that I've learned from using it is to not underestimate it. They have recently changed their slogan to, "Yes, that's possible." That's one of the things that I've really learned and have accepted with this program. There have been multiple times where I was quite resistant to what it could do. It opened my eyes to how powerful it is and what it really can do. I would rate OpCon as a nine (out of 10). Nothing is perfect, but it's as close to it as you can get.

2019-12-15T05:59:00Z
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Top 10Real User

There's a lot to be said about using the embedded script systems and having good error handling. Hopefully, anybody who's doing development with scripts, writing code, is not a novice, because that part is really important. The biggest thing I've learned using OpCon is convention. With the last solution, it wasn't such a big deal because the UI design was very simple. With OpCon, it handles schedules and jobs differently, so convention is very important with this: Learning to stick to a standard. When it comes to end-users they are only using the Self Service option to click a button. Their roles vary within the different departments, but it's still the same thing. They log in and click a button. But when it comes to developers, there are only three of us, including me. For maintenance, there are three of us involved. Two of us are primarily developers and one is an operator who will monitor and report. OpCon is a good eight out of 10. There is room for improvement with every system, of course. As I mentioned, the SQL database is the weakest link. There are some changes that have happened since our initial version that may not have been the best. Those types of things are really hard to improve because it just has to happen. That's an evolution.

2019-12-12T07:48:00Z
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Top 10Real User

My advice is to set aside as many resources as you can — personnel and time — to make sure that your implementation goes smoothly. Involve everybody in your organization who might find a use for it. Also, have a good communication plan for when you implement it so that people know that things are changing and, if there are issues, who to contact. And make sure you have staff trained and ready to put out any fires. If you don't have the staff, then make sure to set aside budget items to have OpCon Professional Services ready to go, after the fact. The biggest lesson I have learned from using OpCon is what's possible. It's still a learning curve even after 10 years. You hear what people are doing, at conferences, and you didn't even think that that was something that could be done. Recently I heard about a situation where a credit union wanted to monitor social media. They had a use case where they could set up an Azure listener that would go out there and aggregate anytime somebody mentioned that credit union, and then it would pull in the comments. Then, it would build a report that would go off to the credit union's marketing department. That way it could escalate. If someone said something negative, they could respond quickly. Automation is a work-in-progress. There's always room to automate. You get a lot of people who are a little nervous when we approach their department and ask for automation ideas because they don't want to be automated out of a job. But every year we tackle new processes. There are some things that are still done on paper, here at the credit union, things that are hard to give up. OpCon has features that we haven't had time to even use, so I'd say we're happy with where they're at when it comes to the feature set. In IT, there are three programmers and I who use it at a high level. There are another 15 to 20 people who use it with the Self Service portal, where they can fire off a job manually that we set up. We have 350 employees and most of the stuff is behind the scenes for the departments. It's like the plumbing in the wall. They don't really see it, but they know they can turn the faucet on and get water. I would rate OpCon a 10 out of 10. I'm very pleased with the product.

2019-12-11T05:40:00Z
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Top 10Real User

The biggest lesson I have learned from using OpCon is that anything is possible. There is literally nothing that I have found yet that it can't do. I've called support and shared with them what I think is a crazy idea, and they'll say, "Oh no, we can do that." We talk about it and figure out a solution and go from there. When you first look at it and look at everything that has to be done, you need somebody who is going to be dedicated to the product. It looks like there is a lot to do, but the reward far outweighs what it looks like upfront. There are about 10 users of OpCon in our company. Half of them are in IT and the other half are in operations. In terms of our frontline retail staff, only one person there is using it. The rest are the operations area. They're the ones who kick off the processes through Solution Manager. In terms of maintenance of OpCon, there are three of us who work together exclusively on OpCon. I have to give it 10 out of 10. It's done great things for us and it continues to so every day.

2019-12-10T07:29:00Z
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Top 5Real User

Step back and look at your enterprise and purchase enough licensing to cover all of your servers. When we first went into the product, we only purchased the minimal, standard licensing. It was just the 10 licenses. Fewer than six months after the purchase of the product, we had already used up all the licensing that we had purchased. If we had really taken a look at our overall infrastructure and seen the number of servers that we had, and taken into account the utilization of this product — because it's so robust it can be used for many things — we could have made a better decision on the purchase and gotten an enterprise version of it instead of just the standard. I have about 15 users of the product. Three of them are operators, about five of them are in the development realm, and the rest are batch users who initiate schedules using the Self Service feature. For deployment and maintenance of OpCon we require two people. They do monthly security patching, which is normal maintenance, as well as yearly upgrades. The biggest lesson I've learned in using OpCon is that you get your money's worth. The robustness, scalability, and expandability of the product are things that every company should invest in. OpCon is a very good product.

2019-12-09T10:59:00Z
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Top 5Real User

My advice would be to definitely involve the business units early in the process and get them all onboard, because you don't want to buy a tool that the business isn't ready for. They should be involved in process mapping. The biggest lesson I've learned from using OpCon is not really about the tool itself, but more from going through the process and mapping with other departments. There's a lot of room or potential for OpCon, because the users in your company are definitely doing more manual processing than you could ever imagine. It made us realize how much manual work we are doing. It put eyes on that. We became hyper-aware of everything going on and would say, "Oh yeah, let's put that and that in OpCon". That went on nonstop for two years. It's ongoing. We're still definitely growing the tool. There's always new stuff. Some teams were a little apprehensive at first and now they're more interested in it. When you talk about automation, it's always about someone's fear of being replaced by a machine. That wasn't the case with the core team for the critical pieces. All of those teams were willing to move their stuff because of availability and the criticality of what they were doing. They realized that automating it was a good move. In our company, OpCon is primarily run by the IT department. The only other team that interfaces with the tool is accounting, and they use the Self Service feature. We have 12 users using OpCon on a regular basis. There are two people in IT who maintain it.

2019-12-09T10:59:00Z
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Top 10Real User

The biggest lesson I've learned from using it is plan really well. Line up your resources and don't be afraid to do a big cut-over to it. It's a stable system. But definitely be cognizant of the fact that there are agents involved, and whenever you have agents involved you need to make sure that the agents continue to be stable. Consider how well you understand the processes that you're looking to automate. This is going to work the best if you have more traditional types of automations that you need to do, like batches. Make sure that you've already detailed what those processes do, because the more detail you have, the quicker you can actually get to automating the work. And make sure you have complete buy-in by everybody in the organization. When people are working with the SMA product teams it's really important for both sides to be really clear on what the testing scenarios are like. You need to make sure you're really good at writing your work orders in an accurate fashion and recognize that, as a credit union, or any sort of enterprise, you've got things that you need to do as well to make it work. Any time you deal with agents that are sitting on multiple systems it's going to be problematic because you're always going to have agents that fall apart or something happens to them. Keeping on top of that type of thing is important in order to be successful. It's not easy to do. I've never seen these types of things be easy. You need to put a lot of effort into it. It requires working a lot with the teams who have some of these processes, who need these types of files, to make sure that everything you automate works and that the output works for them. It definitely isn't simple to implement. In our organization, there are about 200 people who specifically work with these types of things. I would rate OpCon at seven out of 10. It's taken a little bit longer than we thought to get it done, but the team on their side has been great.

2019-12-09T10:59:00Z
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Top 10Real User

The biggest lesson I have learned from using OpCon is that you really need an individual like my systems administrator who understands how a program like this works. Creating these schedules and working with the language that's required to get things done is very specialized. You have to have someone like that. Could I do it? I could, but it would take me 10 times the amount of time that it takes Sean. You do need someone on staff who understands systems, system deployment, systems operations. That's how you're able to make the most of it. The programming side of it is very basic. It's not that complex. But you have to understand how to tell it what you want to do. Our primary user is our systems administrator; he programs everything in OpCon. I can access it when he goes on vacation and make sure that all of the jobs are working fine. At times there might be a job that failed. For example, a person is supposed to prepare a file from a third-party vendor but if they don't rename it appropriately, OpCon doesn't know what to do with it. Another example is that one of our third-party vendors will send us a file that is incorrectly prepared. OpCon won't process it. It will catch the problem and then we have to reach out to the vendor and ask for a new file. OpCon allows me to catch any mistakes that a human being makes. We have two people using OpCon. Sean programs it and has overall responsibility for it, including deployment and maintenance. I fill in when he's not here. Luckily there aren't too many issues. I'm going to get my third IT employee involved with it more next year, to do what I do. And 10 or 12 other employees each have access to their department's site in the Self Service program. So if they're responsible for looking at the bounced-check file or ACH exceptions or paper payroll that we receive from small companies, they can do their work and push their button and that allows OpCon to finish the job. We've been very happy with it. We're always looking for ways to use it more. We ask, "Could OpCon do that?" I am always careful about giving someone a 10, because there's always room for improvement. But I hate to give OpCon a nine. I give them a 10.

2019-12-09T10:59:00Z
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Top 20Real User

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.

2019-12-05T11:14:00Z
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Top 10Real User

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.

2019-12-05T06:53:00Z
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Top 10Real User

The biggest lesson I have learned from using OpCon is: Don't try to do things manually. It's a really good automation tool. Really, really good. Go for it. If your aim is to gain reliability and automation, and making sure that when you want things done they'll get done, then OpCon is a really good tool. One of the very good things about SMA as a company is that they actively seek input from us as customers. Where it makes sense, they take our suggestions and they develop them and they implement them. There are a couple of features in OpCon I'm aware of which have come from a number of customers here in New Zealand, including myself. They listen and they improve where it's appropriate. There's nothing significant in the product that needs improvement. It's a really good product. There are four of us who look after the production environment, and we have about 10 or 11 people who are using it in development work, running their processing. There are two of us who do maintenance of the solution. The only reason there are two of us is that people go on holiday. It really is easy to maintain.

2019-12-04T05:40:00Z
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Top 10Real User

Technically, almost anything can be automated. However, there is almost an equal amount of work that has to be done to have the people part accept and trust it. My advice to overcome the people factor would be to adopt a fairly formal project management approach and bring those people in as stakeholders. Listen to what they want, then try to ask questions for the rest, as there are things that they just won't tell you. Get as much possible information from them so they understand that you want to help them and are not trying to take their job away. That is the big thing: people shouldn't feel like their job is threatened at all. Work through a project management process showing them how progress is being made, what the results are, and help them to start trusting the solution along the way before it goes live. The big key is communication and information gathering. The solution is very good. It's robust and scales. OpCon comes with good tech support. There is always room for a product to grow or be a little easier to use or maintain. I would give it a nine (out of 10) overall.

2019-12-03T10:44:00Z
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Top 10Real User

If you are looking into implementing OpCon, go for it. Scheduling is a proper job. You have to learn a lot. I would rate OpCon as a nine (out of 10).

2019-12-03T10:44:00Z
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Top 5LeaderboardReal User

Start with a lot of training and develop a good familiarity with the functionality of the product. Do that before starting development on OpCon. Normalize the codification of the schedule of the jobs. Write that clearly and define the rules to develop the objects before starting with OpCon. That is very important because if you start to develop immediately in the product, without doing that phase of analysis and normalization of the codes, you will have difficulties. We have a team of about 10 people whose job it is to create the scheduling programs. And we have another five external people to reinforce that team. For everyday exportation of the project and all our schedules, we have about 16 people. They schedule jobs and analyze issues or responses from our clients for building jobs.

2019-12-03T10:44:00Z
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Top 10Real User

Have a list of items that they would like to have automated. That way they can sit there, and say, "Yes, I did accomplish what I wanted with the system." Then, what do I want to expand on afterwards? The work upfront is great. In the long run, it makes your life a lot easier. You will have to do some work upfront, which is knowing your manual processes, remembering them, and knowing what they are step-by-step. Once this is mapped out, it makes it easier to implement OpCon. You also have a template that tells you where you might have missed a step if something fails within OpCon. It has made my life very easy. In a way to me, it is an AI. Though, we still have to tell it what to do, it is one step closer. OpCon is probably about a nine (out of 10). There is always room to grow.

2019-12-02T09:27:00Z
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Top 5Real User

Do your homework. Definitely look at other vendors and consider your staff size. In our case, because we have a small staff, we don't have a lot of programmers. We don't have the luxury of having 10 programmers who can write their own batch scripts. If you're a small shop like us, really do your homework on it because, in the end, if you rely on somebody writing batch scripts to do things and they ultimately leave, you own that. You really need to make sure about your road-mapping. Are your employees going to stay at the credit union? If they are, that that makes a big difference. What happened to us was that we lost two valuable OpCon employees within a span of two months who knew how to solve OpCon problems. The third person, who was average but knew it, went down with an ankle injury for a month-and-a-half. We had nobody who knew OpCon for almost two months. The only thing that saved us was that the process was so automated that we didn't have a problem, thank goodness. Everything just ran and we never had an issue. You have to know your staff; you have to know whether they're content. Are they going to be staying? If you know they're going to leave, you better plan ahead. You don't want to get caught like we did. But our situation tells you how well OpCon is programmed. The biggest lesson I have learned from using OpCon is that we have to stay on top of the releases. Every year there are software releases that you have to get done. They are key. But there are also updates, SLAs that come out. We definitely try to keep on top of that because our batch automation is a critical platform. So it's critical that we make sure that everything is up to date. The SQL portion of that is also important. We also use third-party FTP software and that is another thing that we've got to make sure is up to date. It's a definitely a solution with moving parts.

2019-12-02T09:27:00Z
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Top 10Real User

I would highly recommend an onsite evaluation of OpCon that has already been deployed and seeing it fully in action, so that you could be better prepared to ask the right questions prior to getting it. All we saw was a remote demo and that, to me, was a big mistake on my people's part and probably SMA's part. We never got to see it in action so we didn't know all the right questions to ask. My biggest lesson in using OpCon is that I wish I'd been more involved at the beginning of the project, when they were estimating the need for support. We should have budgeted for a different type of support during the early days. The second big mistake was that there is a latest and greatest version of OpCon, which I believe is called OpCon Deploy, and we didn't budget for it or know of its existence until after we were doing our deployment. That would have made such a huge difference, because everything that we were doing in our deployment was manual: We had to extract the information from our scheduling package provide it to SMA support. They would manipulate the data, put it into our test system, and then, to roll it across from our test system to our live system, they would have to export the database or export the schedules and import them into production OpCon. Whereas Deploy is fully automated. That would have made a huge difference. We didn't pay for it because we weren't told about it and as a consequence, this is what we got. We still wish we could get it but now we can't get it because we have to wait for the budget people to approve it. And to get the budget people to approve it, we have to give them the same explanations as when we were going from our old scheduling package to the new scheduling package and they're not buying it. They're saying, "No, no, you already used that as a reason for us spending a half a million dollars. You can't use it again." Right now, I'm going to rate it as an eight out of 10, but I believe it's going to be a 10 for us.

2019-12-02T09:27:00Z
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Top 10Real User

OpCon is easy to access, very easy to use, very complete, and always active.

2019-11-28T13:26:00Z
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Top 10Real User

Pick the right team and send them to training. So, pick people who are going to invest in and use the system on a daily basis. They should also be curious and creative. Then, send all of them to training, both the free and advanced training. They also offer a certification now, which is also extremely useful. I would rate the solution as a 10 out of 10.

2019-11-28T06:07:00Z
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Top 10Real User

The biggest lesson I have learned from using OpCon is that it is perfectly suited to Corelation KeyStone. There isn't a better automation tool available right now, because SMA has four proprietary connectors and I don't think anyone else does. On my team, we have seven people and all seven are at least familiar with logging in and observing production with OpCon. Three of them are tasked with implementing new solutions into OpCon and supporting configuration and troubleshooting of existing solutions. We've also got seven departments using it through Self Service, with multiple people in each department using OpCon. One department has almost everyone in there. That's a lot. SMA has a real vision and they support it. They've got the development team and the support team behind it. I give it a nine out of 10. That one issue about a blurry line between production and development and test is the one thing that might slow us down a little bit when we are testing. We have to be very careful. Otherwise, the product itself is rock-solid. It's got everything in there that you need. Their support is excellent. Their development is aggressive. There's really nothing more that you could want from this vendor. It really is one of the best out there that I've seen in my career. It's perfectly suited for KeyStone. Now, if I looked at Automic for DNA, I might have a different opinion, but those are completely different systems.

2019-11-28T06:07:00Z
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Top 20Real User

My advice would be to work with SMA. Don't try and do it yourself. Work with SMA until you're comfortable; until you've got the training and the expertise. Work with them until you're comfortable taking it on without one of them there. 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. That's what we've found. We've got that confidence now, and we don't rely on SMA at all to come in to help us. The biggest lesson I've learned by using the product is trust it. Trust what SMA says. Believe what they say, because what they say is right. The migration is easy and they can do most migrations. Their training is fantastic, their support people are fantastic, and the support is out of this world. We're UK-based, so we have a UK team that looks after us in our daylight hours, and then we have a US-based team, and then we have an on-call US-based team as well, if we have problems. But we've never had to call them out. We've dealt with them, we've had our little questions and niggles, but they've answered everything, every time. The product is always improving. The new release 19 has a load of new features for us. I've not really looked at it yet, but I think it's become faster, more slick, and a bit more user-friendly. They've taken on a lot of what customers have been saying about it. They've made some behind-the-scenes changes, but they've also made some enhancements to the way information is presented. My system, the Unisys, is quite old, so there's probably not a lot to change in that arena. It's probably more on the Windows and Unix side, which we don't use currently. We don't really have users as such, because it's a batch scheduling tool. We have about 30 users who have access to it, but only for support purposes. We've got a team called Schedule and Batch which looks after things and check it. My team has access to it, but we very rarely use it and we're not limited on the number of users. The scheduling team is responsible for making sure all the batch work that is scheduled finishes correctly. We also have an ECC team, whose members are like operators. They look after the machines that run all the batches overnight. And then my team is a support team. We support the ECC in scheduling batch, if they have any problems with the product or with any of the batch jobs overnight. For updates and maintenance of the solution we need just one person, me. My job is platform manager, but I'm also the OpCon subject matter expert as well. On a scale of one to ten, this product is a 12. But I'll accept making it a ten.

2019-10-24T04:52:00Z
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