Bank Finds Scheduling Salvation in the Robot
March 18, 2014 Alex Woodie
As a Jack Henry & Associates‘ customer, Alpine Bank deferred on many items to the provider of its core banking system. But when it came time to eliminate slack from the schedule, Alpine Bank brought in the Robot/SCHEDULE product from HelpSystems.
iSeries administrator Susan DeRocher is one of three staffers at Alpine Bank, a 39-year-old financial institution based in western Colorado. DeRocher and company oversee SilverLake, the popular IBM i-based core processing system from Jack Henry that is used by many midsized banks and credit unions across the nation.
But in many instances, SilverLake was calling the shots. “We have a maintenance contract with Jack Henry,” DeRocher says in a case study. “So, any type of upgrade that happens with IBM i goes through them. They have to okay everything.”
The setup was beginning to cause problems with Alpine’s scheduling, and forced the IT staffers to manually change processing dates in response to Jack Henry’s needs. The company would even sometimes reserve IBM i processing resources to run a SilverLake job even if that job no longer existed. Something clearly needed to be done about it.
DeRocher, who was brought on in July 2012, looked around and saw that Alpine was already running several HelpSystems products, including Robot/CONSOLE and Robot/ALERT. Why not use Robot/SCHEDULE too? It was worth a shot.
Since replacing the IBM job scheduler with Robot/SCHEDULER, the company has seen benefits in several areas, including more dynamic scheduling. Empty SilverLake jobs no longer suck up valuable IBM i resources thanks to Robot/SCHEDULE. The job scheduler will even make sure that the correct subsystems are brought up and down in response to reporting jobs. And instead of having an operator monitoring the systems overnight, the company now only needs somebody on call.
“It has taken away the stress of trying to remember certain things,” DeRocher says, “the override code, for example. If you don’t need a job to run tomorrow, you can just put an omit on it and you don’t have to remember to take off the hold. With Robot/SCHEDULE, you can set it up to just run and it will take care of things automatically.”
The HelpSystems products have provided Alpine Bank with the assurances it needs to help grow its business. “When I started 25 years ago as a night processor in IT, we had seven banks and it was a full-time job monitoring and correcting errors during night processing,” says Rose Fraser, Alpine Bank’s vice president for IT. “We are now one bank with 38 branch locations and that whole process is pretty much automated. We rely heavily on Robot for our automation needs.”