What is Batch Scheduling?
The idea of batch scheduling is almost as old as the computer itself. Back in the day, users would put programs into physical punch cards and then hand them to a system operator in batches. The operator would then feed these into a computer. This was done according to a schedule—such as every day at 4:45 pm or on the last day of the month, depending on the process programmed into the batches of cards.
Obviously, a lot has changed. But it’s not uncommon for many institutions and organizations to find themselves embroiled in batch processes that are as complex and time-consuming as gathering stacks of punch cards, sorting them, handing them to an operator, and making sure each one gets inserted properly.
However, with an automated batch scheduler, all of your batch job scheduling can be done for you—when and how you want it.
How Is Batch Scheduling Used?
With modern digitization, any job that has to be done on a regular basis can be automatically performed with batch scheduling tools. This includes everything from complex Kubernetes processes to simpler, yet crucial jobs like payroll processing.
In addition, a wide range of organizations can take advantage of batch scheduler tools. If you have repetitive digital processes, you can use batch scheduling software.
Example: Automated Batch Scheduling ACH Payment Processing
Automated Clearing House (ACH) payments fall under two basic categories: payments and debits. However, each of these involves several concurrent processes—all of which can be streamlined and automated with a batch job scheduler.
Take, for example, one of the simplest ACH payment processing tasks, making direct deposits into an employee's bank account. In this process, the following steps have to take place:
- The company’s bank has to receive an ACH transfer request entry from the company.
- The bank then debits the company’s account
- The bank proceeds to send the entry on to an ACH operator.
- The operator then sends the entry to the employee’s bank.
- The transaction gets settled by the Federal Reserve and the employee’s account gets credited the amount of the payment
Financial institutions serving companies can use an automatic batch scheduler to:
- Process incoming ACH batch files
- Verify that the company has the necessary funds to pay the requested amount
- Debit the company’s account
- Send the confirmation entry to the Fed
Further, the employee’s bank can use batch scheduling to:
- Receive the ACH entry from the company’s bank
- Interact with the Fed’s settlement system as the transaction is verified
- Apply the credit to the employee’s account
Of course, this is a simplified example, and a batch task scheduler can do far more. For instance, processes can be run that check for anomalous payments, perhaps those that are too frequent or too high. Further, you can automate how money is distributed into a customer’s account. For example, you could automatically notify the account owner of withdrawals and deposits for their checking account, and then use another automated workflow to move 20% of their deposit into their savings account.
With batch scheduling, you can decide exactly when each programmed process occurs, as well as make adjustments based on customer requests or changes in company policies or financial regulations.
How to Schedule a Batch Job for Communicating with Customers
With an automated batch scheduling system like OpCon, you can integrate processes from disparate systems, allowing them to work in unison. For example, if a financial institution has to communicate an issue regarding a payment to a business client, they could program batch processes to:
- Automate ACH payments as outlined above
- Automatically check for account balance issues, such as insufficient funds or when an insufficient fund situation may be imminent
- Automatically generate a letter using data fields produced by the account auditing process, informing the business client of the situation
Using Automated Batch Scheduling for End-of-Day and End-of-Month Processing
There are ways to use robotic systems to gather the data you need from different processes. However, even when separate systems are automated using robotic process automation (RPA), in many digital ecosystems, these have to be combined for a comprehensive, accurate end-of-day or end-of-month tabulation. This is where a workload automation (WLA) solution like OpCon
can make a considerable difference.
With OpCon, you can combine the computational outputs of several different RPA systems into a single pane of glass solution. In this way, your periodic tabulations can be both accurate and automatic.
With a WLA solution like OpCon, you can:
- Validate all deals, closings, and contractual agreements that have been finalized during the day or month
- Automatically update customer balances
- Calculate key levels, such as those pertaining to margin calls or overdraft dangers
- Bolster your security by examining accounts for suspicious activity and automatically issuing alerts and drafting reports
- Send emails to stakeholders regarding key activity over the time period
- Automatically calculate then communicate financial figures, such as investment returns, interest earned, and month-to-date and year-to-date profit figures
How to Schedule a Batch Class for Periodic Processing and Reporting
For some organizations, the number of accounts that have to be tabulated on a daily, monthly, or quarterly basis may be enormous, perhaps to the point of taxing servers. If this is the case, you can use a batch class scheduler. With batch class scheduling, you take what would be one large batch and divide it up into smaller pieces. You then automate the processing of each of those batches in sequence.
For example, if a financial institution has 15,000 customers, and they want to generate daily reports on all of them, they could do it in chunks, automating the whole process using batch job management. In this way, the process doesn’t overburden resources. Because the batch scheduling process is automated, you can choose to run it at a time where your computational resources are less likely to be used by other processes, such as between 2:00 a.m. and 4:00 a.m. You could also schedule different processing jobs according to regional time zones, such as one that works better for Japan, another that suits Europe, and yet another fit for the Americas.
You may be light-years beyond submitting batches of punch cards to an operator, but, like most organizations, your workload can be a little lighter with automated batch scheduling. Whether you’re a financial institution, medical facility, or any organization that needs to perform regular, repetitive processes, a solution like OpCon can help make your life easier. Reach out today to learn more.