OpCon Valuable Features
Director of Core Application Services at a financial services firm with 201-500 employees
It's the entire automation landscape that OpCon provides which is valuable. The way it works with Corelation KeyStone is probably unmatched for that core system in the credit union industry. SMA has created four connectors that work with KeyStone in a way that allows us to automate basically every batch-processing or back-office task. That's the true value.
In addition to that, there's also a self-service solution manager, I believe it's called Solution Manager, that allows us to enable staff to run complex automation tasks by clicking a button and entering some information. They don't have to have access to the OpCon environment to kick off those kinds of events.
The whole product is valuable to us because of the integrations that it has with the MCP and the Windows environments. You have to have the agent on each one of them that you want to monitor. The integrations that we have created are along the lines of extracting files and sending them through SFTP to another vendor. Those are the things that were taking a lot of time away from my staff.
Also, being able to push files through in different ways to different vendors, including FTP, is helpful.
One of the other features that we have is a smart starter so that users can start their own jobs from a little GUI pad that we developed for them.
But really, the whole product is valuable. If it lost any of the functionality we're using it for, it would be sad. Everything is beneficial to us. Everything that we need is here. There's already functionality for the things that we've wanted to do.
System Analyst at a financial services firm with 51-200 employees
At its core, OpCon is a scheduler, but it can do so much more than that. The fact that it integrates with the core was the primary motivator in choosing this product. I was recruited for the position I'm at because of my experience with OpCon and my current company wanted to implement it.
Its flexibility would be the greatest benefit to it. You can really come up with some creative scheduling solutions. You're only limited by your imagination with some of the stuff. There are some limitations to it, of course, but I would say the biggest plus is the flexibility that it offers and its integration to the core.
We use the self-service feature. We use it in our IT department, our mortgage department uses it, and our accounting department uses it. We're slowly introducing the features to other areas. As more users see it, I'm hoping more users will embrace it so that we can expand it even further.
Our mortgage servicing users use it to run their daily processes. We have an integration with FICS, which is the product we use for our mortgage servicing. So they're able to utilize it to generate reports and do their daily postings.
Our accounting department uses it for ACH and even to set the prompts to close the general monthly general ledger. Our lending department also uses it for some of their jobs to process uploads that go to other vendors.
It's very helpful for reducing the complexity of the technical aspects of workload automation. It can be used as a simple checklist where you click the button. There are some things about it that might be improved upon as far as adding some features. That would be some nice things. SMA has always been very responsive to those types of input.
The self-service feature increases users' productivity because some of the tasks that they still have to do manually are automated, but those manual checks give them a place to stop the process rather than having to do each step along the way annually. They still have those manual interventions that they have to do, but the self-service button allows them to put that check-in there so that they can do what they need to do and then begin a certain process rather than having to do the whole thing.
It has also reduced calls to our IT department with the way we're using it. Previously a process might require the user to email IT staff to have us do the next step, to upload a file, something like that. Now we're removed from that situation and they just do it themselves.
The same goes for the closing of the general ledger. It used to require notifying IT and then we'd have to set the job accordingly. Now IT is taken out of the mix. So the end-user department has control over that process.
The automation of manual tasks has without a doubt reduced human error. Whenever you can automate something, as long as you have it set up correctly, to begin with, you totally reduce the chances of transposing a number or something like that.
At my previous employment, once we implemented OpCon we pretty much eliminated one FTE position. The person didn't lose their job, but he had other tasks that he took on. They reduced the amount of workload by one person. That was a much larger credit union.
If we had to do all of this manually, it would add up because we've added more tasks than what we originally had.
Data Center Manager at a insurance company with 1,001-5,000 employees
Now that we can get into the API and we're starting to learn that, it's really nice.
We're also starting to use its Self Service and Solution Manager. My team in the data center and some of the development team use the Self Service. Developers are using the Self Service for upon-request jobs for their testing. They used to have to go through us to schedule testing and now they can just go on and kick it off all they want. They have also really appreciated that they have access to view and/or submit jobs.
Working with the various APIs has actually allowed us to keep the scheduler, because there were those in our company who were thinking about looking for something else, given that they were considering it to only be a mainframe scheduler. As new options and agents and connectors have come along, that's opened their eyes a little bit more.View full review »
There are a lot of valuable features. The version that we're currently casting, Self Service, is going to be the most valuable to us. It is going to allow us to open up the doors, broaden our automation capability and help other business units to be able to automate a lot of the little things that they do from day to day. I'm really looking forward to being able to help other areas with their automation needs. Self Service is really key.
OpCon is pretty easy to use. I'm not a programmer, I had no formal training. They offer some basic training courses. They also have a lot of documentation online and their support staff is super helpful. So it's pretty easy as long as you can take the time to familiarize yourself. It's a pretty easy application.
For the Enterprise Manager, the UI is okay. It puts your processing in alphabetical order instead of the actual processing order, but they are building a new UI. They really are on track to make it even more user-friendly. It's like they're listening to some of the common complaints from their customers, or they started to build out what we need or what we are looking for.
We are setting up the Self Service feature right now. That's going to be our biggest list in our organization. We just installed it and went through our training a few weeks ago. My team is building Self Service buttons in our testing environment right now.View full review »
Last year, we added a second environment and the OpCon Deploy product. This has allowed us to build a testing environment. This has been a great addition for us as we can work through our workflows without disrupting our production environment.
Our users use the self-service features. We have a number of them set up and their self-services are actually called Solution Manager. My accounting group uses it and my payments group probably uses it the heaviest. A lot of times we use it for daily postings, either GL postings or we have various different payroll postings that the payments group has to process based on some accounting groups that we work with and things like that, that have to be done a little bit separately than the regular payroll postings that we do. That's just the tip of the iceberg, I do have it set up for a few other groups just to do things like upload or actually transfer files via FTP to other vendors. It's a one-step process where they've created a file and that file needs to be consumed in some way, either via our host system or sent out to a vendor.
The self-service feature reduces the complexity of the technical aspects of workload automation. We've been using OpCon since 2012. Being able to give somebody a self-service button that they can press to consume a file to run a process within our host system was a huge advantage. Before, somebody had to go into the host system, run a particular batch job, manually type some things in that could also then be typed in incorrectly and create problems. It's taken a lot of steps away from what used to be a very manual process. People in other departments are not always technically minded like we are in IT, it helps them to focus on what their job is as opposed to having to do their job and then understand how to run this whole major IT process.
The self-service feature definitely increased our user's productivity. I can remember when we had an eight-page checklist that we had to go down each item and run each of these, "Step one, do this. Step two, do that." And when we brought OpCon and that clearly reduced all of that daily having to go through a checklist. We actually had one person in IT, and their job for the day was to run the checklist. Once we went to OpCon automation, whether self-service or just fully automating some things, it reduced that checklist to basically nothing at this point.View full review »
Information Systems Architect at Cornerstone Bank
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.View full review »
Systems Programmer at a insurance company with 1,001-5,000 employees
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.View full review »
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.View full review »
Sr. Systems Programmer at a financial services firm with 201-500 employees
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.View full review »
TitleApplication Specialist II at a financial services firm with 201-500 employees
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.View full review »
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.View full review »
AVP of IT at a financial services firm with 51-200 employees
It schedules tasks.
Reliability is always important, and the reliability of the system is outstanding. The ability to link processes, have dependencies, and monitor things like file arrival has let us automate some fairly complex processes that previously involved a lot of user time.
Being able to do this, and present it to staff as a self-service button that takes one click to submit was a big win. We have a large number of files, from multiple vendors, that must be accessed through FTP, and being able to get these files, unencrypted, and process for reporting or ETL processes overnight has streamlined our mornings and lets us deliver reports much earlier than we would otherwise.View full review »
TitleSystem Administrator at a financial services firm with 201-500 employees
MAS is by far the best feature, although not a feature of the software specifically. MAS has more knowledge than our employees, so we have been able to develop schedules that are far beyond our own skillset.
They have also helped with maintenance so we can be assured if something goes wrong, MAS is there to fix it. Our on-call schedules are easier and we get full nights of sleep. Our team morale has greatly increased since we began working with MAS. Another great feature is the exit codes which help us understand why things are failing so the jobs are easier to fix.View full review »
Data Management Services at a financial services firm with 51-200 employees
On-Demand access allows the front office to run jobs on their own, making it unnecessary to contact IT when they need on-demand reports run.
We get email notifications for failed jobs, jobs completed, schedules past run time, etc.
File Watcher can run jobs when files are made available in a folder.View full review »
The workflow designer is a wonderful feature to show to users. It seems so simple - and yet there's a lot going on which can be easily explained. Having the jobs laid out while attaching dependencies is a nice addition to the program.
The service that they offer is amazing. Ryan Compton has helped me more times than I can count. He does a great job of explaining things and it has gone a long way.View full review »