Our engineers discuss automation needs on a daily basis. They perform process evaluations, hold remote training sessions, speak about job scheduling at industry events, and host automation webinars. They know there’s nothing quite as good as being in the same room – when your users and our engineers can share a cup of coffee, communication flows more easily, and transitions run more smoothly.
In a given year, our engineers will spend over 150 days onsite with customers. Most of the time, customers are moving from a scheduler that they’ve had in place for several years. For some, the move is financial; others transition due to the state of their software. In all cases, there are some very simple steps that ensure a smoother job scheduling transition.
1. Become Familiar with the New Scheduler
Companies frame conversions around the limitations of their current tool if they don’t understand the features provided by other software. Once your users are familiar with the new job scheduler, you can make better decisions about the current schedule and how to improve it.
2. Get to know your Current Schedule
Each scheduler has different features, functions, and naming conventions. It always pays to review the current schedule, and how well those jobs and processes are documented. If documentation is lacking, find the person that knows about the processes and start picking their brain. Companies generally have one person that has been working with the schedule for years and has all the “tribal knowledge” that isn’t documented. Get it written down so you can incorporate it into the new scheduler!
3. Compare the Scheduling Capabilities
Our customers usually have many jobs and dependencies already set up for their environment, from file watches and command jobs to scripts and backups intended to handle various aspects of the overall schedule.
When we review and update current processes, we can generally eliminate a good portion of the jobs currently running, and fix existing “workarounds” with native enterprise job scheduling features. One of the most common fixes is to replace pillow-based scheduling with sequences and dependencies. We also find many organizations send notifications on every job completion to make up for an unreliable scheduling solution. When a notification inbox has that much traffic, it’s harder for operators to focus on the exceptions that matter.
4. Export Production Jobs from Your Current Scheduler
Almost every scheduling tool has an export function that allows users to create an export file of the current jobs and schedule. When converting to JAMS, users can leverage native Cron, SQL Agent, and Task Scheduler conversion utilities to streamline the import and testing process.
All schedulers have different features (calendaring, architecture, exceptions) that should be carefully evaluated before engaging in a conversion. Some things don’t convert well, or shouldn’t be converted at all. There’s a reason you decided to move from one scheduler to another. This move to improved automation is an opportunity to streamline the schedule.
5. Stage the Implementation
Start with the easy jobs. Take daily reports, file transfers, and anything that runs on a daily or weekly schedule with no dependencies, and get them running in your new scheduler.
Then move to the jobs with dependencies and again, start with the easy ones. Maybe some of the complexity can be eliminated, such as pillow scheduling or notifications on success. Include this streamlining time in your project plan and it will pay off in the future.
The last piece is those complex, intensive workflows. If you need assistance converting those complex flows, lean on your vendor. They should have years of experience working with hundreds (or thousands) of customers and have worked through many of the same scenarios that you’re trying to automate. Use them!
Have an enterprise scheduling expert speak with you about your scheduling needs. You’ll be amazed at what they can pick up from a short conversation, and the advice they can offer. It’s good to have a new set of eyes look at your schedule, especially eyes that have done it many, many times.