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Nation’s Largest Outdoor Advertising Company Sees Good Signs For Improved Efficiency In ActiveBatch® Job Scheduler

Release date: 8/17/2010

Workload drops, productivity jumps for Lamar Advertising’s IT staff after it replaces homegrown scheduler with ActiveBatch; robust Jobs Library eliminates scripting

MORRISTOWN, NJ – (August 17th, 2010) –  Lamar Advertising is as much a part of America’s roadways as traffic lights and rest stops.  The 108-year-old company, based in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, operates over 150 subsidiary outdoor companies and 63 transit companies across the United States, Canada and Puerto Rico, covering a portfolio of advertising options that include billboards, interstate logo signs, bus shelters, benches and buses.

With the advent of digital billboards several years ago, Lamar Advertising’s outdoor collection has taken yet another turn.  Creative content for every digital board—over 1,000 nationwide, at last count—is furnished in real time from the company’s Network Operations Center (NOC).  A webcam on each board points back at the display, generating a live image that NOC technicians can use to verify insertion orders and to troubleshoot technical problems.

Between the constant image refreshes from the digital webcams and Lamar’s complement of accounting and operations functions, the demand for efficient computer processing is both difficult and mission-critical.  “For some time, the amount of labor required from our IT staff to schedule data processing was daunting,” said Jude Robert, MIS Operations Manager for Lamar.  “We had to write scripts that governed every business task from contract management to general ledger entries.  Our homegrown scheduler was simply costing too much to maintain—it consumed the time and abilities of one of our key IT programmers, which was having a real impact on our IT efficiency.”

Realizing that a homegrown scheduler was costly as well as time consuming, Robert began a search for a best-in-class commercial product.  “I found a white paper online that listed a dozen or so top job schedulers.  We visited the sites and did lots of demos.  Our final choice was ActiveBatch.”

ActiveBatch, from Advanced Systems Concepts,  is a cross-platform Workload Automation and Job Scheduling Software solution that is expert at all aspects of job scheduling, as well as the technologies that support a modern distributed job scheduling and Workload Automation system. 

ActiveBatch allows enterprises to centrally manage disparate jobs and workflows, including tasks involving the most common operating systems, enterprise business applications and even Web Services.  Using the product’s central dashboard, Integrated Jobs Library, event-based architecture and “production-ready” job steps, ActiveBatch also helps users optimize enterprise resources as well as efficiently expedite the IT workload automation process.

Robert was attracted not only by ActiveBatch’s robust jobs library, but also its technical support.  “It came down to two products—ActiveBatch and one other.  However, Advanced Systems Concepts’ support team was more responsive to our questions—and one of our top priorities was to get excellent support,” he noted.

Once the company installed ActiveBatch, it almost immediately began to realize the human resource benefits.  “Any time we can take an IT assignment out of the development area, that’s a plus,” Robert stated.  “By eliminating the need to write scripts for our scheduled tasks, we can focus our IT resources on our core outdoor advertising business.  We have more time for operations, which makes our IT organization a lot nimbler.”

The introduction of ActiveBatch has also provided new capabilities for the Lamar MIS team.  “Our homegrown solution had no inherent functionality like ActiveBatch does,” he states.  “Copying a file wasn’t part of the system, for example.  We had to implement even the simplest tasks in code.  We also were very limited in notifications.  Now we have easy options for email triggering, event-based scheduling, even .NET.”

With ActiveBatch in place, Lamar Advertising is able to use templated steps for virtually every scheduled job.  By no longer writing scripts, it can quickly and nimbly debug and maintain the existing workflows it created in-house, as well as create and implement new jobs. 

“ActiveBatch allows us to get a better handle on what we’re running nightly.  It also manages near-realtime tasks like our webcam updates, which are refreshed continually, 24 hours a day,” Robert said.  “Now everything is handled with one very flexible, centralized solution.”

About Advanced Systems Concepts, Inc.
Headquartered in Morristown, New Jersey, Advanced Systems Concepts, Inc. offers many software products and options for users of Windows, UNIX, Linux, HP OpenVMS and NSK systems as well as IBM z/OS, AIX, i5OS and SCO UNIX.  These products provide answers to software developers and system managers with improved system efficiency and utilization.  Advanced Systems Concepts today has over 200,000 licenses installed and a worldwide base of customers in 37 countries around the world.  Advanced Systems Concepts is a Microsoft Gold Certified Partner and a member of the Microsoft System Center Alliance.  It is also an SAP software solution partner, an Informatica Partner, an HP Business Partner, a Sun Catalyst member, an IBM Business Partner, a member of the VMware TAP program, Oracle Partner Network, an HP-UX Power Partner, and is certified Red Hat Ready.  For more information, see the company's website at http://www.advsyscon.com or call (800) 229-2724 or 1-973-539 2660.

Copyright © 2010 Advanced Systems Concepts, Inc.  ActiveBatch is a registered trademark of Advanced Systems Concepts, Inc.  Other company and/or product names are trademarks and/or registered trademarks of their respective firms.

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