Automate Schedule is a powerful enterprise job scheduling solution that integrates workflows across Windows, UNIX, Linux, and IBM i systems from a central console. For the release of Version 4, Ryan O’Rourke and Pat Cameron hosted a webinar to introduce the latest updates to Automate Schedule, including the new Universal Connector.
Why Automate Schedule?
In this release, our cross-platform enterprise job scheduler Skybot Scheduler has been rebranded as Automate Schedule. Skybot’s Automate integration was released almost two years ago and has always been popular. The combination of business process automation and job scheduling is a priority for many organizations, so we thought it was important to tighten the existing integration. For that reason, we’ve pulled Skybot into the Automate product line along with Automate and Automate Plus. Together the products form a comprehensive enterprise automation suite called Automate Complete.
Smart Automation for Any Need
Business automation can be divided into three categories. The first is automation for increasing the productivity of individuals and teams. This kind of automation involves using robotic process automation to streamline a lot of the repetitive tasks that stand in the way of efficiency and are prone to human error, like generating reports, transferring files, or scraping data from the web, and it frees up your knowledge workers to do more strategic work.
The second pillar of enterprise automation involves maximizing the value of business applications. Your business probably runs on a variety of applications, with every department choosing their own best-of-breed solution regardless of platform or integration capabilities. It’s essential for efficiency and productivity that your workflows can run across all systems and applications. This kind of cross-platform scheduling is what Automate Schedule really specializes in. Automate Schedule takes those applications—which may already have basic, built-in scheduling capabilities—and maximizes their power with features like event-driven workflows, cross-platform dependencies, notifications, SLA monitoring, and role-based security, allowing you to streamline operations by integrating all your business processes into a centralized enterprise schedule.
The third category of automation is systems and infrastructure automation, which you can use to support your DevOps culture and reduce the full-time employee burden. Systems and infrastructure automation improves business performance through capabilities that include automating your workflow testing and monitoring applications or infrastructure.
Automate Your World
All of these processes and varieties of automation are tied together. In the webinar, Ryan cited a Gartner study that found most organizations are using a minimum of four tools for automation, a strategy that is messy and inefficient compared to comprehensive, centralized automation. The Automate Complete suite of products handles the entire spectrum of automation in a single package.
The Universal Connector
Automate Schedule already offered popular interfaces with common business applications such as Informatica and SAP. Unfortunately, it’s impossible for any automation software vendor to individually develop application integrations for every ERP, CRM, or BI solution on the market—plus, paying for all those connections would get expensive for a business. We had received requests to create connections for over 50 applications, including smaller niche applications, and we wanted to be able to offer Automate Schedule’s benefits for all of them while also controlling the cost. That’s how we came up with the Universal Connector.
The Universal Connector uses a web service to connect to your third-party applications. It’s a highly scalable solution designed to meet your current requirements as well as your future needs. If you were to move to a new ERP system or BI tool, you can leverage your existing investment with HelpSystems and apply the powerful job scheduling capabilities of Automate Schedule to your new software, whether it’s on premise or in the cloud.
Initially, HelpSystems will provide the interfaces and templates to build those connections with the Universal Connector, but eventually you’ll be able to build your own interfaces as needed. Creating additional interfaces with the Universal Connector is designed to be intuitive and quick. The Universal Connector is a truly application-agnostic extension of our workload scheduler with all the benefits, including cross-platform dependencies, event-driven scheduling, and reporting and auditing—all available in one solution.
Better Enterprise Application Integration
Why is the Universal Connector important? Tying a few business applications together used to be a nice-to-have feature, but in today’s complex enterprises, application-agnostic tools are often a key part of IT strategy. They allow businesses to keep up with technology innovation—your automation solution won’t become obsolete when you decide to upgrade your CRM.
Another key benefit is the ability to standardize job scheduling across your enterprise. Often a business will have an adequate automation tool, but through new acquisitions or the addition of new departments or offices, they will end up with pieces of software that can’t talk to each other or be automated by the same job scheduler. Automate Schedule and the Universal Connector allow you to standardize your automation strategy and leverage your existing investment across all your data centers and all your offices.
A key focus of our initial interfaces for the Universal Connector is DevOps. Many Automate Schedule users are moving to a DevOps culture and replacing manual, siloed, processes with automated workflows that promote collaboration between development and operations teams. Having comprehensive automation is essential for making DevOps work successfully. The Universal Connector currently has an interface for Amazon Web Services (AWS), and we’re looking at interfaces with other DevOps tools like Puppet, Chef, Jenkins and more.
To see a demonstration of using the Universal Connector with AWS, jump to 16:05 in the video.