General automation


VisualCron is an automation, integration and task scheduling tool for Windows

Why automation is needed

The most common reason for automating tasks is to reduce manual work which both takes time and requires resources but also is very error prone. Manual errors costs a lot – both to handle and to fix. But the world has also changed in the last 20 years. Going from a 9-5 to around the clock business would not be possible without the help of computers But to be able to do that you need software that automatically handle your processes, around the clock, without your need for attention.

As it now requires 24 hours a day support, the downtime must be minimized. This means that you need to schedule maintenence activities. To make your service perform better you might need to automate maintenance during non peak hours – maintenance may not be run during business hours as it mostly slows down performance or aborts production.

Today, the customers expects zero or very little response delay. Loading or waiting time is not accepted. Realtime data is expected. In order to provide this you need an automation environment that reacts to changes and events right away and produces accurate results based on the events. You need an automation tool system, that is built on the same and ideas, and can handle and provide this for you.

Remote management

Remote management often comes up as a prequisite for an automation tool. There are a couple of reasons for this;

- Security – local access require RDP accounts which gives you access to the whole computer and other services. Also, opening up services like RDP increases risks for malicious attacks to these services. - Performance – a Server may be more or less busy and may not even have a UI (i.e. Core only installations). By installing the remote management tool you leverage the server CPU as all CPU and GPU calculations occur on your desktop.

Monitoring and Triggers

When talking about automation, the term monitoring often comes up. This can refer to manual monitoring, the ability to overview the current system status, or automated monitoring which could automatically react to changes in the system such as events. In VisualCron these are called Triggers which in turn are dividided into Time and Event Triggers. A Time Triggers monitors the time and starts a Job based on a single or reoccuring time. An Event Trigger could be a change in the local file system (computer) or a remote system. A common Event Trigger is the File Trigger which reacts to changes in the local system. It is also possible to monitor remote files through the Cloud Trigger and Remote File Trigger. Another very common Event Trigger is the Email Trigger which can react to incoming emails.

The available Triggers are listed in the Triggers page.

Automation in Windows

Some users have a clear view of what they need to implement. For example automate FTP transfers, copy some files, encrypt data or run batch files. But the common mistake is just to study the closest environment – the IT department. When looking at the whole company and condsidering employees in different apartments, it becomes evident that there are many manual processes take take much time and effort. Document handling, passing and managing data and printing reports are very common manual processes that can be automated.

When you have found and identified all included manual processes, you can plan the best way to automate these. VisualCron offers a range of Tasks to automate, in detail, various technologies and steps. You can even record mouse clicks and keyboard strokes in applications and in the web to simulate and automate online document handling and thus close the gap between a website and your servers – easily logon a web site, create a report, download it and process it with VisualCron through Web macro recorder Task. See a full list of Tasks here.

What can be automated?

Today, we do not just have one server, one application or one system. Often, our data center or equivalent consists of multiple solutions and operating systems. These could be ERP – Enterprise Resource Planning systems, web servers or applications. When considering a solution you need to evaulate and find a tool which supports cross platform execution and scheduling. A tool that works with commons standards and protocols. VisualCron can schedule Tasks that executes on Windows on Linux systems and return back result on that.

Realtime automation and analytics

If you take a look at a number of automation tools you will easily see differences in the way the information in presented to the user. It is not just about what is presented but there is also a clear difference when it is presented. Progress bars, status icons are just a few things that VisualCron uses to enhance the realtime experience.

Many descriptions on similar solutions

Automation tool, workflow automation, workload automation, business automation software, business process automation software and task scheduler are some of the common descriptions for software that provides automation for Windows.

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