Job Scheduling: Basic to Advanced (Webinar Recap)
The term “job scheduler” is used to refer to a wide range of software solutions. A job scheduler can be a tool like cron or Windows Task Scheduler that fulfills basic automation requirements such as scheduling a task to run at a certain time each day on a single server, or it can be a tool built into a business application to schedule that application’s tasks. You have probably used these types of simple job schedulers.
Job scheduling can also be managed by an enterprise-class solution with sophisticated workload automation or robotic process automation features. These enterprise job schedulers can manage advanced requirements like multi-step workflows with cross-platform dependencies or interaction with business applications on disparate systems.
Pat Cameron, Director of Automation at HelpSystems, recently hosted a webinar to introduce how HelpSystems products can help you meet your unique job scheduling requirements.
Do you feel like your job scheduling needs have gone from basic to advanced in recent years? According to Pat, you’re not alone—the complexity of IT environments is increasing every year, making robust automation solutions essential.
For one thing, companies are collecting data from a wider variety of sources. Your corporate data needs to be easy to manage and move between systems and applications. For example, your ERP system has to interface with your CRM platform in order to share your customer information, and both of them need to work with your ETL tool to get the data into your data warehouse. As new business software is implemented, integration becomes more difficult. Often each department will purchase the applications that help them meet their own requirements without considering whether those solutions can connect to the rest of the environment.
All the data and disparate systems make business processes more complex. A process involving multiple steps on multiple platforms using multiple sources of data may require the expertise of multiple employees. In the webinar, Pat mentions talking to customers whose processes have several manual steps—such as updating spreadsheets or logging into websites—in the middle of “automated” workflows.
Businesses often approach these complexities by writing custom scripts. Scripting can be a useful way to meet advanced requirements, but scaling or updating the scripts is time-consuming and requires expensive programmers. Eventually, you outgrow custom scripts as a primary automation solution.
The Value of Job Scheduling
Enterprises using basic automation tools or custom scripts end up with a lot of workarounds. For example, a process may have a file arrival as a prerequisite. If a company’s job scheduling software doesn’t have event-driven scheduling capabilities, the programmer can build a delay into the process to wait for the file. However, doing so wastes valuable time, and the job may still fail if the file arrives late.
The pace of business is faster than ever and modern enterprises face increasingly high expectations from customers. Enterprise-grade job schedulers allow for greater speed, agility, and accuracy of automated processes.
The right job scheduler ties all of your systems, processes, and applications together under a consolidated solution, executing the right tasks on the right systems at the right time.
Using Robotic Process Automation for Scheduling
Robotic process automation (RPA) is intelligent automation software that manipulates applications at the graphical interface level, just like a human does. That makes it easy to set up a robotic process automation solution to follow all the same steps in a process that a person would, even if the process includes interfacing with multiple applications in the same workflow. RPA software can even make decisions like a human operator as long as there are rules and conditions in place for the software to follow. RPA platforms are also generally intuitive and easy to use, even for non-technical employees.
Robotic process automation is a great way to meet scheduling requirements both basic and advanced. It streamlines complicated processes and decreases the time you spend dealing with downtime or job failures.
What Happens When Job Scheduling Meets RPA?
Combining robotic process automation’s code-free GUI manipulation capabilities with truly enterprise-class job scheduling gives you a single solution for all types of processing. This allows you to meet all of your internal and external SLAs and automate all of your tedious business processes, whether they are batch or interactive. It’s also a scalable solution with the potential to change and grow along with your environment.
Pat mentions that the first step to streamlining complex business processes is documenting them as they exist today. Often just through the documentation process you will discover steps that don’t need to be there. Once you automate, you’ll benefit from not having baked those inefficiencies into your automated workflows.
Automate’s intuitive drag-and-drop interface allows you to manage your job scheduling without writing a single line of code. You can integrate your IT job schedule with automated processes around your organization, like user provisioning, report generation, and data scraping—and monitor it all from a central location.
Skybot is a powerful, enterprise-class automation solution that lets you schedule processes across multiple platforms and applications. If you are dealing with complex dependencies, like a file arrival on one server needing to kick off a process on another, Skybot can handle your requirements through robust event-driven scheduling options. Skybot protects you against costly unplanned downtime with job monitors, notifications, and support for high availability.
While Skybot and Automate are powerful tools when used individually, they can also be implemented together to automate your entire enterprise from the servers in the datacenter down to the end user’s desktop. For example, you could use Skybot to schedule and integrate data from your big software like CRM, ETL, and ERP, while Automate takes that data, generates reports in a variety of formats, and distributes them to stakeholders.
Ready to get started job scheduling—or take your enterprise scheduling to the next level? See the Enterprise Process Automation Suite in action with a live demo.