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Are You A Victim of a Legacy IT Automation System. 5 Areas to Review

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In 2011 technology companies valued at nearly $200 billion were merged or acquired, according to BusinessWeek magazine. That number was even larger in 2012. When an M&A occurs, chaos can sometimes follow.

In addition to the internal upheavals resulting from competing corporate missions, overlapping products, and disruptive integration problems comes the external impact as the merged company's customers are left to flail on the sideline asking, "What about us?"


The workload automation (WA) industry has seen its fair share of these scenarios, forcing customers to face some serious decisions with significant ramifications. Who am I going to call for support? Will you be able to complete a planned application or software upgrade with your current tool?  Where are the enhancements you have been waiting for? What are the future plans for your WA product? If you stay with the new merged company, will you be asked to move from the product you've been using to a different product? What is this going to cost you in time and money? How is this going to affect your IT operations, and consequently your business?

If you are an unfortunate M&A victim, here are five key things to consider about your new "forced marriage" vendor and its products.

Company Focus. Find out all you can about the acquiring company. Is it focused on your product? For example, when CA acquired Platinum, AutoSys became one of 70 product lines. Workload Automation accounts for only 6% of CA's overall activity.

In contrast, ORSYP is a Workload Automation specialist and Dollar Universe is our single offering in this space. Will CA be able to provide that kind of focus on AutoSys or will they be distracted by the other 94% of their non-WA business? ORSYP has been singularly focused on WA for nearly 30 years. It's our main and only focus.

Architecture. When you're faced with business-altering decisions as a result of an M&A, you should take the opportunity to review the WA product you're using. Start is with the application's architecture. Is the product built on a rigid, inflexible master-agent platform that limits scalability and suffers from performance drag? Or is it constructed with a fault-tolerant distributed application server model like Dollar Universe?

This architecture means Dollar Universe is built for high volume, flexibility, scalability, and resilience in heterogeneous and hybrid environments. It's cloud-ready and readily expandable. Make sure the WA product you are using or are being forced to adopt offers you the same flexibility.

Efficiency. If your legacy or newly mandated product uses centralized scheduling, then you'll have latency after every job execution. The master schedule is kept on the master eating up significant portions of your CPU time.

With Dollar Universe's distributed application server model, scheduling is event driven so CPU usage is less than 1%. In addition, latency is minimized ensuring the batch window is compressed asjobs run more efficiently. It automates the workload reducing the need for hardware and human resources. Finally with surge capacity, the system can easily scale up or down depending on demand.

Cost. The acquiring company may be expanding their business or cutting expenses as a result of their acquisition, but unfortunately you may be forced to take a financial hit.

Again, this might be a good time to assess what your current tools are actually costing you. With a master-agent platform, the average price per server is usually higher. There are the added costs of additional masters for development and test environments. As you increase the number of servers, you also increase the need for more masters so expanding the system becomes expensive.

With a vendor like ORSYP, there is 100% automation of many IT ops tasks, which lowers operating costs dramatically.  Also, there is no need for additional masters so you can expand the system economically. You pay as you grow and only for what you use.

Operations. With a master-agent product, not only are costs higher, but also your IT operations become significantly less efficient. Schedules have to be reloaded every day. Job flow design and maintenance is time consuming. Your IT staff must use multiple automation tools that consume resources. Your staff ends up managing hosts instead of monitoring performance. They have to log into separate systems to set up jobs and check reports. If operations needs to change one scheduling variable, the action will have to be performed on each one of the single jobs/job flows.

More importantly, with a master-agent platform, if you lose one instance, the whole system can go down. That can't happen in Dollar Universe because of the distributed scheduling capability. There is no single point of failure across the entire enterprise. An outage is contained  minimizing the impact on the production environment. Workload can continue to run locally and autonomously on each server and recovery is quick.

There are other advantages to Dollar Universe that you may not enjoy with your current or "new" product. With Dollar Universe schedules don't need to be refreshed daily. The intuitive user interface provides high-level views that drill down into the details to help zero in on problems so they can be resolved quickly. You get real time monitoring and advanced filters when you need to focus on target jobs. With one central point of control, you have enterprise wide visibility and greater alignment between the business and IT operations. You also get graphical forecasting and simulation capability to help your IT ops team anticipate and prevent problems before they occur. That all adds up to a more streamlined, efficient, and lower cost IT Operation.

Your first reaction to an M&A affecting your workflow automation solution may be panic. However, you would be wise to take a breath and turn this potential crisis into an opportunity to review your entire workforce automation strategy. You may find you can do better. In the end, instead of being victimized by an M&A, you may find out it was a blessing in disguise.

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I have over 20+ years in the IT operations field.  I like my sport and music, also read the odd book. When I get away I love to get near the sea (I grew up very close to the ocean). Currently celebrating the fact that my home town (Bournemouth) football team, called "The Cherries", has won promotion to the second tier in English soccer for only the second time in its 123 year history.
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