OpCon Room for Improvement
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.
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Director of Core Application Services at a financial services firm with 201-500 employees
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. We have since upgraded our license model with SMA which allows us to license a test server, which will give us better flexibility for separating prod from dev.
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.View full review »
Operations Analyst - Primary OpCon at a financial services firm with 10,001+ employees
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.View full review »
Data Center Manager at a insurance company with 1,001-5,000 employees
It's been a while since we've asked for tweaks. Because we're a little bit of a slower company, they have something out by the time we start checking into, "Hey, can you give us an idea on how this works?" or "This is how we want to use it."
An example is the API. Of course they have a RESTful API within OpCon, but they have that new web services agent that we installed because we have some SOAP APIs and we had to interact with SMA to get things running. Our developers did do some tweaks, but we have now been able to get some test jobs running, and understand how the workflow goes back and forth.
When they initially set up SQL agents, they helped us set up that too.View full review »
Enterprise Manager is a little clunky which I know they're addressing in the solution's manager.
It's annoying that our processes are listed alphabetically. It should be listed in dependency order or order of processing. That's one thing that drives me crazy. That's my biggest issue.View full review »
Upgrading to newer versions remains complex. I am not sure if this can be streamlined however, as when the enterprise needs to be updated, typically, all associated agents throughout the environment also need to be updated. Also, all agents, connectors, etc. all need to be on the same version for compatibility. Good documentation of your environment as it grows is very important.View full review »
Information Systems Architect at Cornerstone Bank
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.View full review »
AVP Operations at Dickinson Financial Corp.
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.View full review »
Systems Programmer at a insurance company with 1,001-5,000 employees
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.View full review »
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.View full review »
Sr. Systems Programmer at a financial services firm with 201-500 employees
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.View full review »
TitleApplication Specialist II at a financial services firm with 201-500 employees
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.View full review »
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.View full review »
AVP of IT at a financial services firm with 51-200 employees
The user-side web interface generally works but fails for more complicated tasks. Self-service buttons that are paid for to be created by OpCon support are not tested and left in a non-functional state. After four different SMA reps "fixed" it only to find when it was used that it still didn't work we simply gave up on some of the functionality.
Expect a lot of "the documentation says this will work" only to find it doesn't.
Failover is another feature that would be exceptionally useful if it worked. The database was corrupted and support has been unable to resolve it.
Licensing would be the first part I would overhaul. Each time a new licensing paradigm comes out, more features are removed and costs are added. They "add" features that are rarely used and increase charges for the number of jobs run. I'm sure someone in finance got a raise for their brilliance but the end-users won't thank them one bit. Expect price hikes and threats when you hold them to account at every opportunity.
Support could also use additional training. It is a bit of a crapshoot if support will be able to help or not. Seems they've been told to push their automation as a service which reduces the value of paying for support significantly.
We don't have a lot of asks, and the limitations are typically in deficiencies of the APIs or interfaces on other proprietary systems. OpCon would let us, but some vendors don't have that attitude.
A way to select multiple jobs in the UI for a quick change or to hold, release, et cetera, would be nice. For example, I was testing a process where after a job finished, a multi-instance job for splitting out 12 report runs. When I made my adjustment to re-run, I had to click on each job separately to restart. It was time-consuming.View full review »
TitleSystem Administrator at a financial services firm with 201-500 employees
The only downside to OpCon is that its features can be complicated and really must be taught. Most of our users don't have training beyond the free Basic Training that SMA provides, so for fresh eyes, it is kind of difficult to understand some of the language used.
Another thing that is difficult to understand is that not all failures explain why they are failing. Some give generic exit codes.
Otherwise, I have no complaints. Working with the MAS team has really simplified everything for us. They're easy to reach, knowledgeable, and quick.View full review »
Data Management Services at a financial services firm with 51-200 employees
We would like to keep a previous version of a job/schedule just like UC4 used to do.
We would like a display of the created date, created by, and last modified date, as well as modified by.View full review »
The logs are a little daunting to look at the first few times, however, as you begin to understand what you're looking at, it becomes easier.View full review »