HelpSystems Gets Into JAMS for Scheduling
November 14, 2018 Alex Woodie
HelpSystems yesterday announced the acquisition of MVP Systems Software, the Connecticut-based developer of the JAMS workload management and scheduling software. While JAMS supported IBM i, HelpSystems will count on the product to deliver capabilities primarily in the open systems realm, with cloud possibilities looming in the future.
The acquisition came together as the result of mutual respect that HelpSystems and MVP Systems Software had for each other, says Kate Bolseth, general manager of cross platform products at HelpSystems.
“We’ve known each other for years in the workload automation space and I’d say that we’ve both been very impressed with one another,” Bolseth tells IT Jungle. “MVP is a very much a leader in cross-platform workload automation. They have been undergoing really nice growth. We looked at it collectively and said we feel like there are real good synergies between the two organizations, started talking, and had a real successful outcome.”
After beginning acquisition talks few months ago, they culminated on November 1 with a signed agreement. Terms of the deal were not disclosed, as is customary with transactions between private entities. MVP, which has about 50 employees, will continue to develop the JAMS software from its Unionville, Connecticut, office. (Nobody will move to HelpSystems’ headquarters near Minneapolis, Minnesota, which is a tough sell this time of year anyway.)
Scott McCausland, CEO of MVP, says the deal with HelpSystems will help grow the JAMS product and its brand. “They have the ability and the resources to put the fuel on our fire,” he says. “We have been aware of HelpSystems for a very long time, and it just seemed like a natural progression as we have grown.”
JAMS is a .NET product that runs on Windows and is used primarily used to manage jobs running on Windows servers. However, the software can also be used to control and coordinate jobs executing in the open systems realm, including Unix, Linux, and OpenVMS servers.
While JAMS isn’t as popular in IBM i circles as, say, Robot/SCHEDULE, MVP has supported the platform via an IBM i agent since 2009. It has attracted a handful of IBM i customers over the years, including at least one JD Edwards shop that relies on JAMS to manage work across various servers.
“It [the IBM i server] has been a piece of the puzzle,” McCausland says. “JAMS has traditionally been Windows-centric, but as we’ve grown, we’ve expanded across various platforms, various applications. But the great thing about HelpSystems is, when we have prospects that need that AS/400 expertise, we use to outsource that. Obviously now that requirement to outsource goes away since we have access to the leader in the System i space.”
JAMS has competed successfully in the cross-platform job scheduling space against much bigger competitors, including BMC Software and CA. MVP has migrated so many customers off of these systems to JAMS, McCausland says, that it’s developed tools to automate the process.
“We have a laundry list of clients who ran BMC and/or CA in the past and have converted to JAMS for technical and economical reasons,” he says. “We’ve done enough of these conversions where we have built automated tools where we can get conversions done in a very short timeframe.”
Both groups have plans to integrate the others’ products into their own offerings. McCausland has his eyes on GoAnywhere, the managed file transfer product that HelpSystems obtained with its acquisition of Linoma Software several years ago. “We have file transfer capabilities built into JAMS,” he says. “But I will be the first person to admit that what HelpSystems offers for their solution is where we want to head in terms of MFT support.”
HelpSystems, meanwhile, sees its 1,000 or so new JAMS customers being receptive to its robotic process automation (RPA) software, which is software that acts like little software robots that can be trained to execute basic tasks.
“One of the areas we had success in with workload automation solutions is interfacing with RPA and I feel like we have that same opportunity with the JAMS customer base,” Bolseth says. “We’ve seen a ton of interest in that in the last year and hope to see more going forward.
The last major release of JAMS brought a cloud-based offering, called JAMS as a Service, or JaaS. McCausland has high hopes for building that service out, particularly as cloud services become more popular among MVP customers.
“In terms of where we’re taking JAMS, I am probably one of the biggest proponents of offering both an on premise [offering], but also JAMS as a service,” he says. “I also recognize the resources required to offer a solution as a service, and HelpSystems definitely has the resources to get it done.”
In the meantime, HelpSystems also has its own cross-platform job scheduler, called Automate Scheduler (formerly Skybot), to fit into the mix. The company will be figuring out how all three products — JAMS, Automate Scheduler, and RobotSCHEDULE– fit into the mix over the next few months, Bolseth says.
Coming off the purchase of Midrange Performance Group in August, the deal for MVP is HelpSystems’ 21st acquisition, according to IT Jungle‘s count.