Job Scheduler Migration: JAMS at Maritz

The Company

Job Scheduler Migration at Maritz with JAMSMaritz is a sales and marketing services company that provides behavior-based solutions to more than half of all Fortune 100 organizations. Maritz employs over 4,250 globally, with $1.3 Billion in revenue. Maritz’s behavior-based solutions include employee recognition and reward programs, sales channel incentive programs, customer loyalty programs, trade show and event planning, and a customer experience technology platform.

Challenges

At Maritz, a corporate IT group provides technology services to various business units. Brian Pinkston, Infrastructure Analyst, is one of two employees responsible for most workload automation. “That generally means that we take care of all the file transfers as well as time-triggered batch scripts,” said Brian. “The biggest internal customer I have is Maritz CX – a research division. They have a lot of surveys that go in and out from their external clients like automobile manufacturers and banks. Our team runs the automation program.”

In 2012, Maritz bought a scheduling tool to automate batch scripts and transfers. “The vendor performed a lot of customizations for us,” Brian said. “While it made the system do what we needed to do, we found that as we were trying to keep pace with the version upgrades, our customizations were breaking. The vendor would be very quick to say, ‘Oh this is not an application issue, this is your problem. Figure it out’. Things started getting worse and worse.”

Maritz realized the vendor’s tool was not viable as a long-term solution. “We’re required to make sure that we have a robust system able to take care of the things that our internal customers were asking the application to do,” said Brian. “The nail in the coffin was the support. They were not helpful in fixing the problems that developed over the upgrades. Eventually, the integrity of the system being able to stay operational came into question. We needed to shop around for something new.”

The Solution

Maritz initially invited four companies to provide workload automation proposals and complete a proof of concept for job scheduling. JAMS immediately stood out for Brian. “You guys managed to set the bar a lot higher than everybody else, and showed a real professional manner on the return document for our questions.”

Brian appreciated that JAMS is built on .NET architecture. “I was very happy to see that your application does not in any way make use of Java. I spent quite a few years as a workstation and server admin. The amount of overhead, upkeep and maintenance required to keep Java applications working was really just a big headache. It’s not fun to work with Java.” The integrated PowerShell features in JAMS also caught Brian’s interest. “I saw that we would be able to make use of our local PowerShell abilities to make this application do all the things that we wanted it to.”

On-site JAMS training helped Maritz visualize smarter workload automation. “The engineer was able to show us just how easy everything can be,” said Brian. “We’ve been working in the other system for years, and of course we had so many ‘How do you do that in JAMS?’ questions. It was a rare thing that the engineer wasn’t able to say, ‘Oh you just do this.’ Generally, the ‘this’ was filling in a checkbox in the right place, or selecting the right feature from a drop-down. Your application presents all the options right up front, and you just have to choose what you want.”

The implementation and migration experience with JAMS was a stark contrast to Maritz’s former vendor. “When [the old tool] was being onboarded, their developers were on-site for a few months, but it was like pulling teeth to get them to let me speak to them,” said Brian. “Any time the [JAMS] team needed something from me or I needed something from them, I didn’t have to wait till the next day to get a reply or something taken care of. Everything was really flowing very easily and very quickly back and forth. I got the impression that the JAMS team was actually enjoying the migration.”

Maritz compared file transfers between JAMS and their old tool as part of internal demos for their business units. “Most people do not appreciate change, so they were a little hesitant about JAMS,” said Brian. “We highlighted the differences between transfer speed. I had the old tool doing a transfer that ends up taking about 45 seconds, that JAMS is able to do in one second. I used that to illustrate, ‘I can’t show you everything that JAMS does better than the old tool, all I can do is give you this sneak preview on the massive jump in speed and capability’. We’ve had extremely positive reactions. We’ve been able to give them things that they’ve been asking about for a long time now, without taking away anything that they want to hold onto.”

For Maritz, owning JAMS isn’t just about software, it’s also about the partner-like relationship with the JAMS team. “I’ve been extremely impressed since day one with the level of professionalism that everybody in the chain has showed us,” said Brian. “It’s really been a great treat. They’ve been making me smile for months now.”

Benefits

For Maritz, the talent behind JAMS ensured a successful migration. “I’ve never done this before,” said Brian. “I was really relying on the expertise of the migration team. I was showered with attention from the JAMS side. A developer was able to come back and say ‘Okay I can make this work in JAMS, I can make that work in JAMS, I can make this work for your migration.’ He surprised me quite a few times with what he was able to pull out of the old process and place into JAMS for the easiest migration that I was going to see. He was awesome; a delight to work with.”

Brian also credits JAMS support as a driving factor in Maritz’s success. “The JAMS support people are not afraid to mix it up with an inexperienced user. They were able to take 15 minutes to set me up with a job template that will shave off hours and possibly days of work on my side.” The speed and professionalism of JAMS support gives Maritz confidence for the future. “The turnaround between when I open a ticket and when I get that email back saying, ‘Hey, I think I’ve got something for you’ is the best I’ve ever seen. Internally, we have very high expectations on the level of service that we provide, and I would say that the JAMS support people give that same expectation. You really recognize JAMS support is special. The features got me hooked on the application, but it’s the support that is going to keep me happy for years to come.”

Brian hopes that his experience can help all organizations benefit from JAMS. “I’m happy to tell everybody that will listen just how good your company, the application, and the support you guys provide is. I’m just hoping that my happiness about it is a bit contagious.”