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Information Systems Architect at Cornerstone Bank
User
Great self-service with a useful script repository error handling
Pros and Cons
  • "The end code response allows us to evaluate how a process finished, set the termination/end code appropriately, and then trigger further processing based on how it ended."
  • "More functionality within self-service would be greatly appreciated."

What is our primary use case?

OpCon has primarily been used to automate our backend IBM and Windows processing. Largely, this involves file transfers, IBM i job submissions, Powershell scripts, and SQL queries. 

We use OpCon to build workflows of related processes to ensure that things are run in the correct sequence. Logic is in place to ensure errors are handled appropriately, and often automatically. OpCon's Solution Manager is also used to empower other users to initiate processes, where previously tech involvement was needed. 

OpCon is the glue that joins numerous processes and various systems into a single cohesive and centralized experience. 

How has it helped my organization?

In my department, OpCon has largely removed the human error from our nightly processing. Clicking or launching the wrong program is a thing of the past, now that OpCon has taken over the processing. When employee turnover occurs, items that have been handled by OpCon are no longer a concern, due to the fact that the process will continue to function as expected. 

Error handling and reporting have also been a great benefit. Often when things in our environment break, OpCon will generate a notification to us of the diagnosed problem. We also heavily use OpCon's IBM Message Management system to identify messages displayed on our i Series and respond appropriately. This ensures critical messages are seen as well as tracked when required. 

Self-service has also been a great benefit to us. We're able to build processes within OpCon and give the end-user the ability to initiate them with inputs. Where previously this couldn't be done due to the security concerns of giving the end user that capability, now we can grant a batch user used by OpCon those permissions. This enables us to keep tight control over permissions, but grant some extended functionality through Solution Manager. 

What is most valuable?

The self-service is great as it enables users to initiate processes within OpCon without giving them access to more functionality than required. It relieves stress off the technology department, as more users are able to facilitate their own processes without a call to tech.

IBM LSAM has a very robust set of tools to monitor and run the various processes on an IBM i mainframe. It has the functionality to mimic operator input and capture data off of the screen for evaluation. The two most heavily used features of the LSAM in our environment are the Message Management and Scan Spoolfile functions. These allow us to capture information from message logs as well as spool files and launch further processing through the LSAM or OpCon itself. 

The smart email allows us to retrieve emails from a specified account and triggers further processing. Again, it allows another avenue for external users to initiate processes without needing to contact us. 

The script repository enables us to hold "scripts" that can be run on various machines - Windows in our case. It supports versioning and documentation.

The end code response allows us to evaluate how a process finished, set the termination/end code appropriately, and then trigger further processing based on how it ended. 

What needs improvement?

It's a pricey product. The new license model gave us access to a lot of functionality that we're not likely to use any time soon. The cost of the product is now also determined by the number of jobs you run through the software. There are pros and cons to this method, but now I have to evaluate if a simple function is worth the cost to automate before doing so. 

More functionality within self-service would be greatly appreciated. We're needing to look at other solutions in conjunction with OpCon as the number of user inputs available within self-service doesn't always meet our needs. If self-service could be improved to pull information from OpCon to "pre-fill" inputs, that would also create a much more seamless and powerful experience. 

It would also be fantastic if we could create our own job subtypes. There are quite a few that come with the software, but being able to create your own would mean you could standardize how parameters are provided to executable programs/scripts. 

For how long have I used the solution?

I've used the solution for more than 4 years.

What do I think about the stability of the solution?

Very rarely do we experience anything that would make me question OpCon's stability. 

What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

It's very scalable, especially given the new license model which allows installation on "unlimited" Windows machines. However, detailed knowledge of the product may be required to make use of it properly. It takes time and experience to make great use of the software. 

How are customer service and technical support?

Usually, this is a positive experience, however, occasionally I feel like we're getting the run-around or being offered solutions that don't appear to be applicable to the issue. Very rarely is an issue not resolved within a week. 

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

We did not look at anything else of this caliber. We made heavy use of Windows Task Scheduler and the IBM Job Scheduler. The process worked, but everything was scattered and we really needed a centralized point of contact for all our automation.

How was the initial setup?

SMA was onsite to implement the software initially. Largely, this was straightforward and any bugs or issues that came up we were able to work through shortly after SMA left. 

What about the implementation team?

We had an internal team that worked with our implementation team from SMA to set up the product. SMA was incredibly knowledgeable of the OpCon ins and outs. Particularly the IBM contact with SMA was extremely impressive in their ability to provide robust solutions and bug fixes to problems in a very quick manner (often within a few hours of reporting the issue). 

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

In our environment, OpCon is much more expensive than it used to be a year ago. Licensing changes no longer allow us to automate to our heart's content in our "small" environment. Now, the cost to automate needs to be evaluated as new items are put into the software because it's likely you will be charged for them. 

Getting a good handle as to what SMA charges can also be helpful so that new processes can be created in a way that incurs a smaller expense. As an example, using a single script to accomplish what multiple jobs could do otherwise. 

Which other solutions did I evaluate?

Yes. We looked at Help Systems Robot.

What other advice do I have?

Overall, OpCon has been an amazing addition to our automation toolbelt. While current prices sting a little, given past pricing, it has been well worth the cost and peace of mind. 

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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AVP Operations at Dickinson Financial Corp.
Real User
Top 20
Our daily processes are running smoothly, so we have more time to devote to other tasks
Pros and Cons
  • "It allows us to organize everything into a process flow throughout the day for our different tasks that we have to run. So, it keeps everything organized. It is easy to monitor and adjust, if we need to."
  • "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."

What is our primary use case?

We manage all the tasks run on the IBM.

How has it helped my organization?

We have automated 95 percent of our processes since deploying this solution. 

We use it to process our entire nightly update when we are running our updates for our DDA savings, CDs, and loans. It runs everything in order. We set up dependencies, where one job can't start before another. So, it's good for making sure that things stay in a good order and run the way that they should run.

The solution has freed up at least one employee to do more meaningful work as a result of the automation. We only have five FTEs in our group.

We can view what is going on with the system. We have better control of when things are run and how they are running their statuses. It just gives us a complete overview.

What is most valuable?

It allows us to organize everything into a process flow throughout the day for our different tasks that we have to run. So, it keeps everything organized. It is easy to monitor and adjust, if we need to.

Automating tasks is pretty easy for the most part, though you can get more complicated. For most of our tasks, it's relatively simple.

What needs improvement?

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.

For how long have I used the solution?

I have been using this solution since December 2016.

What do I think about the stability of the solution?

The stability is really good. It stays up. It is functional 99.9 percent of the time. Usually if there is an issue, it's on the server back-end or the SQL database.

OpCon requires three people for deployment and maintenance.

What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

We run with a very slim staff for our group. We only have one employee, at most times, who monitors and oversees things.

Its scalability is pretty good. We are a lot smaller shop than a lot of OpCon clients, but we don't have any problems adding additional jobs. It doesn't seem to slow anything down.

There are two or three main users who write processes or jobs. I manage the computer operations and my assistant manager will write some schedules. We have another IT person whose function is to try and make automation processes better throughout the company, and he uses OpCon. It also has a Self Service feature where you can push out particular jobs to users throughout the company. E.g., if they want to start a job, they can do it on their own without contacting the IT department. So, it's a web GUI front-end. They have a button if they want to create a certain report, then they can at their workstation.

How are customer service and technical support?

The technical support is good. They will work with us and get issues resolved pretty quickly.

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

We were on a Unisys machine and used their workflow language to write automated jobs. But, it's sort of apples and oranges comparing the solutions, as they are pretty different.

We had a process in place before we switched to the IBM and were on Unisys, when we used to be on a different tool. It wasn't as consistent and would get things out of order, not running properly. Switching to OpCon, employees have found other things to fix their time on.

It is a lot easier to schedule things with OpCon than with our previous solution. We have jobs which run every 15 or 30 minutes, and it's easy to schedule those. You can use it to check and make sure other things are not running at the same time. 

How was the initial setup?

OpCon was much easier and quicker to set up than our previous solution because we could set up schedules and copy them over, using them for other functions easily. Overall, it was 50 percent easier.

We were still running things on the Unisys system on a daily basis. So, we would copy our files over to the OpCon system, then run them through a simulated update just like we had on Unisys and compare the results.

What about the implementation team?

We did use some of the OpCon consultants for the deployment. The main consultant who helped us was George Loose.

It took three to four months to get everything fully converted over. That is partially on the people who were in charge of doing the switch over. They were also in charge of running the daily operations on the Unisys machine and their time was not fully vested in the switch over.

In reference to the deployment being loaded, I wrote a process the week after I came back from the class. It didn't take too long.

What was our ROI?

  1. We are running with less full-time employees. 
  2. The daily processes are running smoothly. We don't find a lot of issues, so we have more time to devote to other tasks other than just keeping the system going.

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

This solution is slightly more expensive than our previous solution. Right now, we are paying about $40,000 a year. However, we think it's well worth the cost to keep things automated, reducing our staff.

Which other solutions did I evaluate?

The decision was made before I moved into this department.

What other advice do I have?

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).

Which deployment model are you using for this solution?

On-premises
Disclosure: PeerSpot 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.
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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: PeerSpot 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.
Krystle Brown
Director of IT at Navigator Credit Union
Real User
Top 20
We don't have to rely on somebody to manually do the same process over and over again, risking human error
Pros and Cons
  • "The most valuable feature is the automation in general."
  • "The FICS integration is a little bit clunky. We've had some tickets with their support team, and sometimes they couldn't figure it out, but that probably has more to do with FICS than with OpCon."

What is our primary use case?

We automate everything we can with our core banking software, including daily and nightly processing and any other recurring IT jobs that can be automated. A lot of our employees access OpCon via its self-service feature. We're a financial institution, so various business units use it, including some people in our mortgage or insurance department. It's mostly used to start processes or run reports on demand and that sort of thing. It's a set-it-and-forget-it solution. 

How has it helped my organization?

The most significant benefit is time savings, which translates into money savings. It's hard to quantify how much time we've saved. When we first installed it, we could maybe calculate that, but at this point, we rely on it so much that I have no idea how many person-hours it would take somebody to do these tasks anymore. 

With the processing time freed up, we could focus more on the other business units to implement what they need and work on other special projects. In general, it made us more productive while reducing calls to our IT help desk. The users can do what they need to do without opening a ticket with our IT department or waiting on IT resources to be available. They know they will use the same criteria, so there will be consistency in what they do.

What is most valuable?

The most valuable feature is the automation in general. We don't have to rely on somebody to manually do the same process over and over again, risking human error. We like the consistency. It's the same way every time. Moreover, it integrates well with our core software.

What needs improvement?

I'm sure there's plenty that could be improved, but some of the biggest pain points aren't necessarily a fault of OpCon itself. For example, the FICS integration is a little bit clunky. We've had some tickets with their support team, and sometimes they couldn't figure it out, but that probably has more to do with FICS than with OpCon. If there were room for improvement on the SMA side, it would probably be cross-training. They have a person, maybe two, who deals with FICS. Nobody else knows it.

For how long have I used the solution?

I've been using OpCon for probably four or five years.

What do I think about the stability of the solution?

OpCon is stable. We've only had issues with problems we probably should've known how to prevent, so the solution itself is stable.

What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

OpCon is highly scalable. We don't necessarily have a need to scale it beyond what we have now, but it's easy to see it scaling up. However, we don't have any plans to scale up significantly. We'll scale but not a massive amount.

How are customer service and support?

I'd rate SMA support an eight out of 10. We haven't had to contact them much aside from FICS integration and support. If it's a simple issue, they can knock it out without any problem. However, when we've called with more complex problems, we haven't gotten those fully resolved. 

How would you rate customer service and support?

Positive

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

I think our previous solution was called AutoMate. It wasn't nearly as robust as this, and it relied on on-screen scrapes, etc. It was pretty dissimilar to this, and we retired it as soon as we had this in place. 

How was the initial setup?

The setup was relatively straightforward, but we had someone from SMA on-site, so they walked us through it and showed us how to automate some of our more complex processes. I think the whole setup took two weeks. 

For maintenance, it only takes two or three people in IT. Everybody else has access to it, but we have a core group that maintains it, and then there are around half a dozen to a dozen self-service business users. But from a day-to-day perspective, it's low maintenance. If you're not changing anything, you don't have to do anything. If you're setting up new processes, that takes a little work, but you don't have to babysit the solution.

What was our ROI?

I'm certain we've seen an ROI. I haven't run the numbers myself, but I'm sure it's probably reduced the number of full-time employees we need by at least one person.

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

The licensing and pricing model changed this last year, so we're getting used to that. I think it's ultimately going to end up being more expensive. It depends on the scale of the business. It used to be per machine, so we had X number of devices licensed. Now it's not. If we had a lot of machines, the new license might have decreased the cost. Unfortunately, we didn't see the same gains. There wasn't any consolidation of licensing with the shift.

What other advice do I have?

I rate OpCon eight out 10. If you're considering it, I don't think you'll regret it.

Disclosure: PeerSpot 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.
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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: PeerSpot 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.
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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reviewer1657857
IT Manager at Pioneer Federal Credit Union
Real User
Top 5
A powerful product that helps reduce human error with great technical support available
Pros and Cons
  • "Often times there are criteria that cannot be determined by the system, which allows a human to make the determination and use the Self-Service Solution Manager to trigger a job."
  • "The products are extremely powerful and capable. Anytime you have such capability, the programming/configuration that goes into making it work can be complicated."

What is our primary use case?

The primary use case for us is automation. This platform has the ability to automate tasks between different operating systems (AIX, Linux, Windows, Apple). We use the products to automate tasks that interact with the Federal Reserve Bank, downloading files to be processed into our core banking solution, which is in an AIX-based environment. 

The system will also move human-readable report files to a Windows-based server, for reporting and historical-based purposes. The Self-Service Solution Manager allows users to initiate a task after other criteria are met even when that criteria cannot be determined by the automation system. 

How has it helped my organization?

Creating automation enables users to put their time and effort into areas more important than mundane tasks. In addition, automation reduces errors, by removing human mistakes. Automation tasks can be scheduled around the clock, so tasks can be set to run in the middle of the night (when system resources are more available or will less likely cause an impact to users). 

Errors can be reported in a variety of ways. We can set errors to be reported via text message (SMS) if the error is critically urgent or via email for errors less critical and time-sensitive. 

What is most valuable?

Self-Service Solution Manager enables automation to be triggered by a human, but still provides the benefits of reducing the workload of the user, and reducing the possibility of human error. 

Often times there are criteria that cannot be determined by the system, which allows a human to make the determination and use the Self-Service Solution Manager to trigger a job. 

This also helps restrict the permissions of the users that have Self-Service Solution Manager access to only areas or systems that they need. 

What needs improvement?

The products are extremely powerful and capable. Anytime you have such capability, the programming/configuration that goes into making it work can be complicated. 

Fortunately, the professionals at SMA Technologies are always willing to help. The technicians at SMA Technologies are available via telephone call or email for issues. Their response time is always in line with the critical nature of the issue. If I have a big project that needs dedicated support, I can request one of their consultants to provide assistance. 

For how long have I used the solution?

I've been with my company since September 2015 and have been using the OpCon automation solution that whole time. 

What do I think about the stability of the solution?

We've never had an issue with the stability of the platform. For example the platform/server itself has never been the point of failure. The only issues we've experienced is when the in-house human created configurations were done with errors. Even when errors are identified, the system produces an error output that helps determine the point of failure, so it can be resolved. 

What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

The server is based on a SQL database, so it has tremendous capabilities and the system can be scaled up by adding additional resources to the single server, or by setting up multiple servers to operate in unison. 

How are customer service and technical support?

Technical support is the best! They always prioritize the urgency of our issue, with the impact it has to our production environment. Their top priority is not allow our production environment be be offline. 

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

When I came to the company, they were already using OpCon. I had used this solution in a previous job, so I was thrilled to see it being used. In my opinion, there's nothing better. 

How was the initial setup?

The initial setup was complex, however, the SMA Technologies consultants are there the whole time, guiding the process, and making sure you'll have success. 

What about the implementation team?

We worked directly with SMA Technologies. 

What was our ROI?

We've saved thousands of man-hours with automation and reduced errors significantly. It's been money well spent.

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

This tool, like any other quality product, fits the idea of "You get what you pay for." The SMA Technologies consultants will help you get your money's worth of the products. 

Which other solutions did I evaluate?

We did not evaluate other options.

What other advice do I have?

SMA Technologies provides great products with extraordinarily great service. 

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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