We would like to know if an automation is running or stopped/hanging. We would prefer to get this information via some openspan events or logs. We dont want to use automation logs or have any dependency on the automation itself to monitor this.
You can have the automation write an entry in the System event log when it starts a process and when it completes. Use the EventViewer component to do so. You can then use the tools you are currently using to monitor the event logs.