2019-10-24T04:52:00Z

What needs improvement with OpCon?


Please share with the community what you think needs improvement with OpCon.

What are its weaknesses? What would you like to see changed in a future version?

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3131 Answers

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Real User

There is room for improvement needed around setting up the calendars and frequencies. I would like more flexibility in what jobs run. Sometimes, with frequencies, I can't find what I want to without putting a little more labor into it.

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

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.

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

There is a learning curve. We had to go to class, learn, and take their training classes, then come back. We got assistance from OpCon as well to convert our processes on the Unisys machine over to the IBM. Now, when we add new products, it's pretty straightforward to write a new process and schedule it, then run it at a set time of day.

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

The solution is what you want out of it. It's not something you can just quickly grab, try, run, and play with. You have to get the knowledge and train yourself. It was easy for me, but I also took the time to throw myself into it. There is a learning curve to a certain extent. You have to learn the rules. There are so many different ways that you can do things in it. If you were to survey five of my peers and me, I'm sure we all work on it differently. There is no one outcome of it. This is not to say that you can't pick it up out-of-the-box, but the way SMA trains you is on their standards of using it. You have to know the concepts of it, the different terms, and how you apply things. If you are using Windows, patch scripts, or mainframe things, it's not always an apples to apples thing. There's a bit of different translation into the product. There is a current way to help hone in on detail that you are trying to visually show. For example, they have an add-in product (Vision) that we haven't purchased. The way the add-in product works is taking tagged data and categorizing it into a tiled report view. It's actually live and constantly updating. I like the visual / workflow side of OpCon, since I take the time to make it viewable from a visual standpoint. Right now, I have a hard time if I want to translate what I'm doing to show folks who aren't users an overview. While I know SMA has an option for this, it's just more data. How can I show everything without my CIO needing to login to OpCcon and having me showing him the flowchart? A different way to report visually for other people to see processes would be my only improvement. I would like to see more connectors to other various things. However, this has more to do with other vendors holding back with their applications. Custom Templates for common jobs. I do a lot of copying and pasting for jobs, that it would be easier if I could have my own templates. Also Custom Documentation, that could flood to multiple job types vs. similar documentation on the same job being typed up.

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

I would like more web-based training from SMA. That would be nice. Our primary OpCon representative is phenomenal, but we would like some training opportunities for learning on our own. When I started utilizing OpCon, the sheer breadth of it made for a very daunting task. I was almost fearful to start, not to mention fearful to go change things and possibly hinder a job.

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

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.

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

I don't really think anything needs to be improved within the functionality. The only struggle I had, when I first started using it, is that it depends a lot on the command line and I didn't have that experience. So more built-in, basic commands or more education on commands would be good.

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

At first, it's a little clunky, but once you learn it, it actually is very simple. You have to get over that initial learning hump. In addition, right now I've got two servers that are using 2008 and that's holding me up from getting to version 19.0 of OpCon. There are key products that I just can't ignore. I can't just upgrade. I wish SMA could go back a little bit further or give a little bit more support for older software, like 2008. I understand their point: The 2008 software is out of date, technically. But trying to get a vendor to update its application to work with something newer is out of our hands. I wish I didn't need to lock up my whole OpCon because of this process that probably does 600 jobs every two weeks. It's a big process that came in about three years ago and, when it came in, OpCon was key in getting it deployed into our bank. But the latest operating system it works with is 2008. I'm at the point now where I want OpCon 19.0, but I'm held to my current version because of that one application. It would be nice if they had a way that you could upgrade and still work with an older version a little bit longer.

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

If there is anything that needs improvement, it would be the file watcher. That could probably be simplified and easier to configure. To configure the file watcher you have to have a good understanding of OpCon. If they could improve the process of how it looks for a file, as well as the configuring, that would help. Some additional logging-information reporting would also help. They have all the information there but you still have to search around and look back. It's not right there for you, where you click and can get the reporting. You have to know the system and do some additional searches. So reporting is another area that they can build on by simplifying it. Another area for our improvement is the upgrade process. We continue to need to bring in SMA OpCon to perform upgrades. If they simplified that and give more direction to the clients for performing upgrades, that would be good. But other than that, we've been really happy with the product.

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

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

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

As you're doing a scheduler, oftentimes you end up doing some of the same things over and over again as you define jobs. There are generally some well-used use tools available that the system can interact with. My suggestion is try to find ways to have built-in interactions with those pieces of software. As an IT person, and I say this with caution because I know what it means to code something to a piece of software you have no control over, I would like to have an interface with PowerShell. PowerShell has a lot of functionality. We use it a lot because we're a Windows shop. Having a built-in tool or interface with PowerShell would go a long way. At the same time, it's not like I can't do it externally. This is probably more like a suggestion than it is a complaint.

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

I don't think there's a change that needs to be made other than little minor bug fixes here and there. There are limitations to this product and certain things that it just can't do. It does not have the ability to interact with third-parties via the web/Internet. We have certain processes where we have to interact with a third-party on a website, and unfortunately OpCon just cannot do that.

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

The system needs better communication, better advanced warning, and better stability with SQL database systems. The latter is the only Achilles heel to the software. The SQL database connections are the only time that we've had issues with reliability and stability of the software.

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

I know they're getting ready to remove the thick client. It would be nice to go to a fully thin client. Also, it takes something of a learning curve to learn the interface. Some of it isn't quite as intuitive as it should be. They definitely have roadmap items that they're working on to improve that.

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

I think that they're working on this, but I wish that there was a more centralized area to be able to see what other people are doing and use the OpCon community, per se. I went to their annual conference and I gained a lot of contacts from that. I keep in touch with them and we talk, but it'd be nice to have more of that be more readily available. They have a community platform for OpCon users, but I want to see more of where somebody is doing this process in that way. They have a great community platform right now, but I feel that it could be developed.

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

We have not explored the possibility, but one of the areas for improvement would be more integration into Active Directory, to where it could do the creation of user accounts and the additional work to integrate third-party systems into payroll systems.

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

The biggest area where there is room for improvement would be integration with their code. They've got a function for embedded scripts and it would be nice if that worked with a code or versioning management system, like GitLab. Overall, we haven't run into too many roadblocks where we tried doing something and we couldn't do it.

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

The process of getting automations done and the process of testing them is a little complicated. Anything with daily processing and nightly processing, which is something that's very critical for our organization, is always going to be tough. The testing of it can be really difficult. The navigation could use some work to be able to get to the flow charts. Coming from the high level, all I want to see are the flow charts and where we are at with the workflow. Whenever I go in there, I have to remember how to do it again. It's not intuitive, at least for me. Also, we could not use the FTP agent it has. Their protocol and that piece has been difficult to work with. It has definitely been a little bit weird. They did figure out a way to get to ServiceNow, but having some plug-and-play integrations to different ticketing systems would be good. They've been responsive. They did put together that ServiceNow integration, but they had to build it.

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

It is a complex product to use. Programming the schedules is complex. It does require training from OpCon. As an example, I went away for a week of training. The week after I came back from that, OpCon was onsite to set up our initial schedules. At that point, my systems administrator really took over. I should have sent him to the class, but it was good for me to learn the basics. A year later, my SA ended up going to an advanced class. I haven't been on their website in a while, but I would like to see some online training, some videos. When I bring in a new employee — as an example, my helpdesk person is going to be moving into some network tasks, and she'll be working within OpCon down the road — it would be nice if there was some basic information for her to look at to understand this program. Even for my systems administrator, it would be helpful if there were tips and tricks available. We're always looking for more learning and more education on how we make the most out of this product. Whether it's online videos or periodic webinars that are accessible online at a later time if necessary, that would be great. The only thing that OpCon cannot do is the following. OpCon runs a batch job on our core system that creates a file. That file needs to go to a third-party vendor. The only way to get it to that vendor is through their website which has a secure login. OpCon cannot log into a website. It only uses secure FTP. So every Wednesday morning, one of my employees has to take that file and manually log in to the website and upload it. We're waiting for that third-party company to come up with an SFTP solution. Once they do that, then things will be completely automated. I don't know how complex it would be for OpCon to log into a website, but pretty much everyone uses SFTP for file transfers these days.

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

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.

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

I might like to see a little bit more of a seamless user interface. That would be good. They're moving towards a browser-type interface, rather than the Java application that we currently use. Also, a little bit more built-in self-service would be good, rather than a standalone product.

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

I wouldn't call it the easiest to automate. It has to be learned, training is required, then you get better at it over time. There are right ways and wrong ways to go about it (think standards, best practices, conventions). It isn't realistic to think that OpCon is very easy and you can just start clicking around to do complex things. It's flexibility and rich feature set also make it challenging at first. There is one thing I wish OpCon could do. I'm not sure if it should be expected to, but we have tried to get it to where it could start a process on an external database. I'm sure SMA would say that in some cases it can, but we have a specific application where it can't. Therefore, if there were some tools which allowed us to interact with this external database automatically, that would be helpful.

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

The web version has room for improvement. I am still waiting for full web administration in OpCon. While the web part is not the tool that I use every day. My colleagues use the web version, which is great because it is much easier to give them access to OpCon. They can check their jobs way more easily. Overall, the administration of the website could be better, but for everyday life, it's great. It was hard to automate in the beginning because there were a lot of concepts. I had to learn a lot of things, as I never used such a software before.I learned a lot of the concepts and ideas behind it in the beginning. Now, I find it much easier to create jobs and schedules. I can manage it. I helped other people internally to get access to OpCon after five years of not really having problems with the tool.

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

I would like to see them improve the Solution Manager for the web application. It's the future for us. Our customers need a lot of functionality, but there isn't that functionality within Solution Manager. So they have to develop and improve it. The visualization module needs to be more open for parameters, such as the color of the job status information. For example, when a job is canceled, the color on the visualization module appears as orange and we can't change that color with a parameter. We can't decide, for example, to display the jobs that were canceled in green. I'm expecting from SMA that they will create parameters and give us the opportunity to choose the colors we want for job statuses.

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

There is some difficulty with the ease of use when I don't have some of the templates that were already created. I know they have to make general templates across the board for everyone to use with different types of systems, but it is good to have the templates done. Then, the solution becomes very easy to figure out, and I know that I will always use OpCon in this way or in this different scenario, as it will work for me with these usages. More templates would be great. Non-core featured templates are my biggest struggle. For example, the PowerShell functionality is really cool, so I dove into that a bit where I wrote scripts using PowerShell for our Active Directory.

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

Usage is a little complex. It's not like you can bring somebody in and they can just use it. They have to be trained. Our main OpCon person left and it's a lot harder for a lot of people. Once you have somebody leave, the next person has to step up and it is a little difficult. As far as complexity goes, it's right up there. Once you get to know the platform, you do know how to troubleshoot. But there's just so much to learn. If you are properly trained, it is fairly easy to figure out problems and troubleshoot. SMA does offer certification and they also offer consulting hours, which we are using right now. There is always a percentage of jobs where the batch automation doesn't work or something critical happens within the OpCon server that causes something to stall, and we have to troubleshoot. Another area for improvement is within the notification and alerts. I'd like to see it get smarter with script-writing within OpCon to make it do more. There is some room for improvement there and that's why we got the consulting hours.

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

There's a large learning curve which, for some of our less technical staff, has been an issue. It's still new to us. Every week we're finding new ways of doing things with the product. What we miss the most is having an in-house expert whom we can call upon every single day. Literally, every single day, I or my staff have to go to the documentation and work out how a certain function works or why it reacted in a certain way. And that can take a lot of time and effort. But what has been beneficial is having SMA's 800 number which we call if we can't work it out ourselves. But many times we try to work it out ourselves rather than calling them up five to ten times a day. We're converting 200 jobs at a time or 500 jobs at a time. We'll find out, once they're in place: "Oh, wow. There's a better way that we could have done that." And then we have to go back a little bit and figure out if we should have done it this way or scheduled it that way. It's a very powerful tool and we're not always choosing the right choice the first time through, when scheduling our work. That's why we miss having somebody onsite to say: "No, you really shouldn't have done it this way." We're actually finding out sometimes the hard way. The calendar interface and the frequency interface is a very powerful, yet complex, section of OpCon in which all our staff have made mistakes. They have implemented what they believed was logically correct and then afterward discovered that their logic was flawed because OpCon did it a different way. That part, which is incredibly useful, is also incredibly dangerous. The interface or the ability to directly do more functions within the frequency definitely has room for expansion. As good as it is, it can be a lot better.

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

I would like to see improvements with the graphical display during the execution of jobs with complex sequences, step-by-step, in self-service. A much finer level of authorization for users, with a more direct job return, would be an improvement. The ability to retrieve information from logs in variables to display relevant information would be helpful.

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

After attending the pretraining as well as the advanced training that they offer, I would say that the product is very easy to use. What can get complicated is if you're doing anything more than just the built-in jobs. If you're using the more advanced features, troubleshooting becomes extremely complicated.

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

It would be great if you could create physically separate "clients," as I call them. I wish I could have a production client and a testing client and that they would be separate. I know that SMA is making a push to move everything into Solution Manager, a web-based interface with OpCon. Frankly, I will be sad to see the Enterprise Manager go away. Enterprise Manager is difficult to learn at first, but once you learn it, it's very powerful and very quick to get solutions in place, to troubleshoot, and to observe your production. I really like it.

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

Believe it or not, there is nothing that we require. Everything we want is there. Everything we need, we get. The support we get, and the management support we get from SMA — we have a monthly review meeting with them — are fantastic.

2019-10-24T04:52:00Z
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