Although electronic data exchange streamlined back offices long ago, it eventually created inefficiencies and risks for Kansas City, Mo.-based UMB Financial Corp. "By mid-2003 we were using a patchwork of homegrown, point-specific or one-off mechanisms for moving data and converting it to appropriate Windows, Unix and mainframe formats," explains Bud Towns, the bank's assistant VP and manager of applications systems. "In addition to manual and technical inefficiencies, the types of data transfer protocols we could offer were restricted, and the governance of data movement was limited."
After consulting partners and industry resources, including Gartner's Magic Quadrant, UMB ($8.8 billion in total assets) narrowed the field of managed file transfer solutions providers to four, ultimately selecting Proginet's (Garden City, N.Y.) CyberFusion Integration Suite in mid-2004. "Proginet's Web-enabled, enterprisewide solution supported multiple file transfer protocols," Towns relates. The product's key differentiating features were the ability to securely establish Internet connections with customers and partners while enabling customer-specific data transfers, robust governance options, detailed auditing functions, and automated initiation of post-transmission processing, he says. "Proginet offered the most features for the cost," Towns contends.
UMB first used CyberFusion Integration Suite to launch a new health savings account (HSA) product in December 2004. "The HSA served as a proof of concept," notes Towns. "For the Internet-facing component, we purchased and installed two [Redmond, Wash.-based Microsoft] Windows-enabled servers. For internal processes, [CFI] was installed on existing application servers."
Enterprisewide implementation began in mid-2005. "We rolled out CyberFusion [Integration Suite] by process, such as ACH transmissions," Towns relates. "As we proceeded, it became clear that our existing processes were more intertwined than we anticipated, ... and our soft target for completion shifted to late 2009."
Another challenge has been the relatively modest pace of customer adoption. "We continually discover additional legacy transfer protocols that our customers use," says Towns. "It requires coordination among our business and IT units, as well as with similar groups within our customers' organizations."
Still, it was worth the effort. "Data security is significantly increased because we're able to use secure protocols, such as SFTP [Secure File Transfer Protocol]," Towns says. "We're more competitive because we now offer a wide range of protocols, and we can meet customer needs with a few mouse clicks, rather than in the weeks it required previously."
Additionally, the solution has enabled more automation of internal processing, freeing IT from babysitting file transfers. "For example, post-transfer processing chores were time specific," explains Towns. "If processing was set to start at 3 a.m. and the data file hadn't arrived yet, the job would fail. Now post-processing is kicked off by CyberFusion [Integration Suite] only after a file has arrived. Eliminating job failure investigation alone saves us half a [full-time equivalent] every week."
CFI also has cut risk while easing compliance. The solution "creates an intuitive and complete audit trail, regardless of transmission type, hardware systems or software applications," Towns says. "By providing report and audit access rights to business unit managers, we've reduced risk because information gathering is fast, self-service and decentralized. Consequently, IT time spent researching and generating reports is down from six hours per week to one."
Case Study SnapshotInstitution
UMB Financial Corp. (Kansas City, Mo.)
Streamline and govern data transfers
Proginet's (Garden City, N.Y.) CyberFusion Integration Suite managed file transfer solution
Anne Rawland Gabriel is a technology writer and marketing communications consultant based in the Minneapolis/St. Paul metro area. Among other projects, she's a regular contributor to UBM Tech's Bank Systems & Technology, Insurance & Technology and Wall Street & Technology ... View Full Bio