Choosing job scheduling software doesn’t have to be difficult. There’s no need for complicated spreadsheets. You need a simple process. Use this post as a guide to finding the right job scheduling software in less than a day.
1) Start With Why You Want Job Scheduling Software
Before you dive into technical details, take a moment to look at the big picture. Why are you looking at job scheduling software at all? If you are like most users, there are a few reasons why you might be seeking this software.
- You’re Drowning In Work. Many users come to VisualCron because they are overwhelmed with work. Using job scheduling software is a way to end the madness.
- Company Initiative To Boost Productivity. Whether it is your boss or somebody else in management, you might face a demand to boost productivity – deliver more without increasing resources. In that case, job or task scheduling software might be a good solution.
- Outside Scheduling Demands. Demands from other stakeholders are sometimes a factor. For example, you have a vendor that needs a particular file every day at 8 am. Manually fulfilling this requirement is time-consuming and you hate the pressure of delivering every day.
- You Love Automation Challenge. Some users love the challenge of pushing their skills to a new level. Manually running through the same mundane tasks every week is boring. On the other hand, using software to schedule that task is an interesting challenge.
Before going further, write out one to three reasons why you want job scheduling software. With that level of clarity, you will have a strategy in mind to make a better choice.
2) Which Jobs Do You Want To Schedule?
In the first step, you discovered the business reasons to select job scheduling software. Now, let’s drill down a level to your daily work responsibilities. Make a list of a few jobs that you and your colleagues need to get down each week.
For this step to work, keep the following criteria in mind. First, focus your attention on software tasks because that’s what job scheduling software is for. Second, make a list of high-value tasks. To find these tasks, ask yourself, “which jobs are critical for other people to get their work done?” For example, if customers need a weekly database update, then you have found a high-value task. Finally, make a list of routine tasks you do that involve a lot of rules and checklists. Those tasks are often a good fit for job scheduling.
3) What Applications Must Be Supported For Your Scheduled Jobs?
In this stage, you will define the technical details. Specifically, what software applications do you rely on to carry out your work? To illustrate your options, here are a few examples of specific applications that lend themselves to automation.
- Update A SQL Database. Databases quietly power the business world. Make a note of the SQL databases you use to get your work done.
- Extract data from PDF files. Handling data submitted through PDF files, especially from outside the company, is time-consuming.
- Transfer files on a schedule. Your third parties may require monthly file uploads to create invoices, account statements and other tasks. Make a list of files you need to upload.
- Perform A Task In A Web Browser. For example, you might have a weekly task to download data from Google Analytics or another platform so that your marketing staff can review the results. This is one of the tasks you can automate.
- Transfer files to Amazon EC2 and Microsoft Azure. Complete file transfer to popular cloud services on a set schedule or use triggers.
- Protect sensitive files with encryption. Transferring a customer list or financial data raises security concerns. That’s why you should choose job scheduling software that supports encryption and decryption.
- Automate Microsoft SharePoint tasks. Keeping SharePoint fully updated is a demanding task because there are so many layers to the system. If you rely on SharePoint as a company resource, choose a job scheduling software compatible with SharePoint.
Now we will move on to building a shortlist of job scheduling software.
4) Develop A Short List of Job Scheduling Software Options
Now that you know what you want to achieve, it is time to do some market research. Of course, we suggest that you include VisualCron as one of the options. For most organizations, building a list of 3-5 alternatives for job scheduling software is enough for your needs. Once you have the shortlist, put those options through their paces.
5) Use Free Trials To Evaluate The Software
Studying product features will only get you so far. At a certain point, you need to see how the product works. Ask the software provider if they provide a free trial and then start to use the software. During the trial, use the ideas you developed in steps 3 and 4 (e.g., SharePoint automation, file transfers, performing tasks in a web browser) to see how well the software performs. Based on these free trial tests, choose the software tool that suits your needs best.
Tip: If you are new to automation, scripts, and related technologies, expect a learning curve when you first use a job scheduling application. As you become more proficient with the software, you will be able to schedule and automate more tasks over time.
Why You Need To Try VisualCron Today
If you use Windows and Windows applications every day, VisualCron is one of the best options on the market. Not sure if it is right for you? You don’t need to take our word for it. You can use the product yourself for a few weeks. To download your free trial, click here. It is free to use for six weeks (i.e., 45 days) so you can go through more than a month of work.
Once you have your free trial, getting started may feel daunting because there are so many different tasks you can automate. To inspire you with ideas, check out our post: This Windows Task Scheduler Saves You An Hour A Day.