If your company is still using a traditional job scheduling tool like IBM’s Advanced Job Scheduler (AJS), you probably know the challenges that come with this tool. It’s no wonder that many banks and credit unions are accelerating their digital transformation efforts by switching instead to modern workload automation (WLA) tools. WLA platforms like OpCon enable full automation of loan processing, along with an unending list of other business functions across myriad platforms.
Upgrading to a third-party WLA will quickly start to save your bank both time and money, freeing up IT staff members for more valuable tasks. Although the native IBM i job scheduler provides basic processing needs, it cannot react to changing processing conditions without expensive custom programming and ongoing staff monitoring and manual intervention.
In contrast, third-party solutions such as OpCon empower the system to automatically respond to events happening at the current moment. Event-driven scheduling, workflow scheduling, and dependency scheduling are all built in.
AJS isn't as modern as it needs to be
First introduced decades ago, IBM's AJS is still simply an individual job scheduler, as opposed to a state-of-the-art, event-driven WLA system like OpCon. AJS is unable to create dependent job streams or workflows, where jobs are submitted based on what’s already happened in other job entries.
Unlike OpCon, AJS doesn't allow dependency processing based on jobs. Instead, for example, Job B can't start until Job A completes, Job C can't start until Job B finishes, and so forth. With IBM's old-fashioned job scheduling software, there's no easy way for operators to tell the system that it's okay to run Job C if Job A fails, but not to run Job B until Job A is done.
What’s more, on its own, AJS is incapable of performing multi-step scheduling, in which multiple program commands are executed efficiently in a single submitted job. What if your company wants to run two or more commands in sequence for a scheduled job? In that case, developers must first undergo the time-intensive chore of building CL programs containing multiple commands. Alternatively, multiple job entries must be submitted, with each entry processing one of the necessary steps, a single step at a time.
OpCon gives you a much better way
Today, there are much better and faster ways. OpCon offers a choice of three methods of initiating workflows: scheduled with expansive frequency controls, event-triggered with highly granular dependency options, and on-demand self-service workflows. The self-service workflows can be launched even by business managers and other non-IT employees, from a very simple and intuitive user interface (UI).
Auditing and performance reports can be rapidly produced, again without tying up programming resources. Every single change and job execution is tracked, a huge benefit to financial institutions (FIs) as well as to government agencies and other orgs that have strict reporting and data-retention requirements for regulatory compliance purposes.
Beyond all that, OpCon offers great scalability. In fact, without custom programming, IBM’s native job scheduler is only able to view and schedule jobs running on a single IBM i server. You can’t even use it to coordinate processing between dependent partitions like an order processing partition or a Web services partition.
OpCon works across all operating systems
Using OpCon instead, you can coordinate job scheduling not just across multiple I server partitions but across all other operating systems in the environment, too.
IBM’s i server does remain a very popular platform in banking. More than than 16,000 banks use this platform in their IT systems today, say IBM's own estimates. Financial institutions are attracted by the overall reliability, security, and availability of the platform, and continue to leverage their existing investments in the i Series.
But, of course, the i Series is hardly alone in the banking data center. For example, fully 71% of the Fortune 500 still depend on mainframes for running business operations, including 92 of the world's 100 largest banks, according to Tech Republic.
OpCon runs across not just i Series and mainframe systems but also z/OS, Windows, Unix, and Linux servers, too, in both on-premise and cloud environments.
Automate ERP and just about everything else, too
Your bank can use OpCon to automate not just loan processing but enterprise resource planning (ERP) and practically any other business process.
While it’s true that many ERP systems also contain their own job schedulers, these tend to carry the same disadvantages as IBM’s native scheduler and are generally even less sophisticated. Plus, the ERP job scheduling software manages ERP jobs only.
OpCon’s extensive library of pre-built connectors allows for advanced automation of ERP systems such as SAP, PeopleSoft, Oracle, Microsoft Dynamics, and Sage, plus SQL databases, third-party business intelligence (BI) systems, enterprise backup software, and more. Moreover, you can automate just about any enterprise application through either the command-line interface (CLI) or REST API.
At financial institutions of all sizes, employee productivity is always a top priority. Upgrading to a third-party WLA like OpCon is one of the surest routes you can take to saving both money and time.