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PHOENIX – With a little tweaking, Arizona Federal Credit Union has taken a sophisticated job-scheduling application and customized it to allow its IT staff to begin to monitor and control the complex goings-on within the CU’s burgeoning IT infrastructure in ways never before possible. The $1.2 billion CU has just deployed ActiveBatch, an enterprise-automation and management solution from Advanced Systems Concepts. Inc. (ASCI) of Parsippany, N.J. Tom Brown, senior IT operations consultant at AFCU (www.azfcu.org), says the software has deep capabilities that will take time to fully exploit, but that the benefits already are being felt. “We feel our strongest benefit at this point is to be able to easily execute `trigger’ jobs for our nightly processing to free up our operation staff to perform other duties,” he says. Long term, he adds, “As we continue to grow in size – adding members, branches and online services – we want to ensure that we benefit from our hardware investments by getting the longest life cycle from them. “ActiveBatch will help by streamlining our processing and allowing us to monitor more systems more easily and spend less time doing so.” Jim Manias, vice president of sales and marketing at ASCI (www.advsyscon.com), says about 1,100 organizations are using ActiveBatch, including about 150 financial services clients worldwide. “ActiveBatch provides the glue to organize and synchronize” job flows and other activities across disparate servers and applications “without around-the-clock staffing,” he says. “For example, it provides automation for organizations like AFCU to ensure that its applications properly process deposits successfully before withdrawals each day without manual intervention, and allows for systems people and other users to get alerts of various kinds . e-mail, page, Blackberry . should an error occur during processing,” the ASCI executive says. Brown, meanwhile, says the decision to go with ActiveBatch came after extensive research aimed at replacing the job scheduler on AFCU’s core processing system with one that would work throughout its IT infrastructure. He says he couldn’t find one that would work on both a Windows server and AFCU’s host system. “A lot of companies claimed they could schedule jobs on our host system, but it was very limited and far from anything that could accomplish what we were looking for,” he says. ActiveBatch also did not exactly fit the bill, Brown says, but Manias convinced him it could be customized to perform a key date calculation that needed to be incorporated. “If this could not be performed, we would manually be replacing dates every day,” Brown says. “At first I was skeptical, but after working with Ben Rosenberg, ASCI’s technical analyst, this skepticism was overcome. Within two weeks, we had a product that was able to provide our parameters with the correct dates for `hands-free’ processing on our host system.” Brown says the big CU also expects to continue to find new ways to make its investment in ActiveBatch pay off. He says he already has written scripts that allow deep-down monitoring of crucial database systems and processes. “We are still at the tip of the iceberg and familiarizing ourselves with this new application. Sometimes we have to tell ourselves to slow down . you can just see the wheels turning in the minds of our IT staff,” he says. -

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