What if there is more than one Task set to execute at the same time?
TreasuryAgent can execute multiple Tasks concurrently.
Can TreasuryAgent use Windows Dialup Networking?
Integration with Windows dial up networking will be supported in a future release.
What about security measures like tokens, digital certificates?
TreasuryAgent has accommodated all the bank security measures we have been challenged by to date. TreasuryAgent supports encryption/decryption/signing using PGP. This means that a file being delivered by the client to the bank can be automatically encrypted before sending and a file retrieved by the client can be decrypted after receiving. Tokens or secure IDs are a time-sensitive piece of data that require human involvement at the time of processing. Almost all token vendors offer software and USB tokens as well as manual tokens. TreasuryAgent is designed to use USB tokens, software tokens and can even use manual tokens. With USB and software based tokens all processing is automatic.
What if my client has another bank relationship that also uses TreasuryAgent?
TreasuryAgent was designed as a multi bank system. One TreasuryAgent can run multiple banks or a client can run several different bank branded TreasuryAgent systems on a single machine. Each bank that licenses TreasuryAgent will have its own program executable (separate program version) and Template file, as well as several OEM features.
Will TreasuryAgent support other languages?
TreasuryAgent is configurable to support multiple languages.
Is TreasuryAgent screen scraping? I am skeptical about screen scraping.
BancBridge TreasuryAgent utilizes HTTP scripting technology which interfaces to the code behind websites, which offers something traditional screen scraping cannot: speed. A browser makes the cosmetic level of a web page visible to the user, but underneath the screen is a host of information visible only to computers. TreasuryAgent interfaces directly with the underlying data, querying the underlying HTML—that is why TreasuryAgent is able to jump to locations and secure information it needs far faster than a regular web page would even paint on a screen. Daily reports can be downloaded in as fast as 5 seconds, including logon, navigate and download data and logoff.
What happens to TreasuryAgent if the bank website changes?
How significantly does a website need to change before needing to update TreasuryAgent?
This question is similar to the previous one. Underlying each browser page are fields containing “field tags.” Even if a bank changes the cosmetic look of their website, they will usually stick with the same fields and tags because these represent the important underlying architecture of the system. Significant changes would involve changing the characteristics of these fields and names, which accompany changes in the underlying system. Statistically, in 100 bank Templates only two bank websites changed enough to require new Template updates. However, in both these cases, the banks left the original web site/pages available for ample time, allowing time to transition.
If the bank website does change enough that my Template stops working, how do I get it fixed?
TreasuryAgent has an auto-update feature just like Windows XP or popular virus protection software. TreasuryAgent can download modifications and apply them before a user even knows there was a problem. In an emergency, a bank Template can be updated and deployed to clients in minutes.
Do the vendors of our systems need to make changes so TreasuryAgent will work?
No. Everything TreasuryAgent requires on the bank side is already on the existing web pages.
How does BancBridge make TreasuryAgent work with our bank website?
The bank provides a test account from which we can capture data needed to generate what we call a Bank Template. This Template contains all the services offered on the bank website or those services which the bank wishes to offer unattended access to.
Is it easy for companies to dump their modems and move to TreasuryAgent?
In the process of using the modem (and typically some sort of software such as ProComm Plus) your clients set up processes for placing data in particular folders/directories for outbound transmission and receiving inbound data in designated folders. On the first use of TreasuryAgent, the Task Wizard will ask the client “where and when” for the in/outbound data/folders, allowing the client to leave their existing processes alone. It’s a fast, easy set-up that is done once and forgotten. Deploying a modem client of TreasuryAgent vs and FTP connection is 95% easier and 85% faster.
Are there complications on the user side that complicate the distribution of unattended Web transfer systems?
There are a number of complications that can make the distribution of unattended Web transfer systems troublesome. These problems arise from both bank and client-side initiatives including digital certificates, proxy servers, tokens, special sign-on procedures, password changes, single sign-on technology etc. These challenges typically originate from security and convenience measures and need to be confronted by any technology that intends to address automated Web interaction from the client side. TreasuryAgent was designed to address these problems automatically without any impact or need to modify systems at either the bank or client’s side. Please inquire about the specifics of how TreasuryAgent is able to bring convenience and transparency to its users.
Can TreasuryAgent make it easier to transition clients when we purchase another bank?
Yes. TreasuryAgent does offer some options. First, if the acquired clients use treasury technology such as reconciliation systems, treasury workstations, ACH initiation, cash forecasting or positive pay issue systems, TreasuryAgent can be configured to work with the acquired bank’s website. This achieves three goals: immediate branding for the new bank, eliminating TTY yet leaving newly acquired clients on acquired bank website where all their accounts and services are configured as they like. When your bank is ready, TreasuryAgent can cut the clients over to the new system. Clients will not even be aware that one day TreasuryAgent was connecting with the old bank website, then the next day to the new bank website. Second, the acquired bank may have distributed fat client software that clients refuse to get rid of on short notice. The fat client software can have the TreasuryAgent DLL or Command-Line version attached to it and facilitate the cutover to your banks website.
I am concerned about the “breakability” of the service, especially if we were to allow our clients to use your product for downloading / uploading into another bank’s website.
BancBridge has had Templates for a number of bank web sites in production for 2 years or more now and to date there has not been a single Template change required (though we have made Template changes to roll out new features/services)! Many web sites undergo frequent changes, but those changes are to the cosmetic layer of webpages. The underlying HTTP tag and important lines of code generally stay the same. As a result Templates are not affected by most look and feel changes, banners, graphics, etc. By carefully designing the Templates, only major web site changes (change of Internet domain name/url or changing the underlying system altogether) will require changes. By having working relationships with several banks we get “heads up” warning of changes to their web site so we can be proactive in making adjustments to our Templates (Templates are the web site configuration files). Using the update feature, the TreasuryAgent clients will automatically download changed Templates much in the same way virus scanning software automatically downloads new virus definition files every day. That said, most changes to a web site will not affect our product. In the rare case where we don't have a working relationship with the bank, we can monitor for changes and make them as soon as they occur.
Can your product communicate broadcast messages which the bank may publish via the website which the average web user is expected to read? For example, “Website will be unavailable for Friday night to Sunday night” or “Files will be late today. Please check back in 20 minutes…”.
Yes. A Task can check for broadcast messages on a periodic basis and then download them and send an internal email alert to client. Since the message is downloaded by TreasuryAgent using HTTPS and email routed within client office behind their secure firewall, the message never breaches security.
I am concerned about supporting “Fat Client” software. We just finished getting out of that business.
This concern is a valid one, though today there are a number of reasons why the bank needs to do it anyway. TreasuryAgent will eliminate the pain of previous experiences, making “fat client” software easy to distribute and maintain. Software is downloaded, and wizards take the client through a simple and fast set up process. Any new updates are distributed automatically, just like updates to Windows XP or library updates for virus protection software. Large clients have always needed unattended up/download. If the bank doesn’t offer it, clients will try to do something themselves, Hearkening back to the days of ProComm and CrossTalk, where the bank ended up supporting the software anyway and never making money or having control to change the product. With the TreasuryAgent, the bank has a product designed to work specifically for cash management and to work with their website. Modifications can be done at any time to make life easier for the bank.
Our bank website ages passwords every XX days. Won’t that break Tasks set to run after the day the password age is exceeded?
TreasuryAgent can submit new passwords to the bank website automatically. Once the website acknowledges that the password update was successful, then TreasuryAgent updates all the Tasks that used the same ID/password.
FTP-Like Solutions Discussion
Banks understand the ground rules of the hunt for a solution to the modem/TTY problem.
- Eliminate expenses, poor security and support associated with modem/TTY.
- Attain unattended ability to exchange treasury information with business clients.
- Achieve high data transfer speed.
- Use ubiquitous and faster Internet communications.
- “Push” urgent bank data to clients.
- Have a secure environment.
There are few alternatives for meeting the list of requirements. Invariably FTP (File Transfer Protocol) like services, such as Tumbleweed, BTrade or various flavors of standard FTP come up as the default alternative available in the market today. Yet these solutions too require compromises and present problems.
File Transfer System Pros:
- Uses existing Internet communication lines.
- Supports unattended operation.
File Transfer System Cons:
- Requires the creation of a new commercial banking system and the entire infrastructure that goes along with it.
- Ongoing maintenance of dual systems (web & file transfer), including user provisioning and support of multiple back end interfaces.
- No universally accepted security layer.
- Problems operating within corporate firewalls.
- Requires installing and configuring software at client and at the bank.
New Technology Silo
The great downside to implementing an FTP-like system is that the bank will have to create a new technology silo. Technology, including software and hardware will have to be designed and/or purchased. The new technology will need yet another data base, interfaces, management, security, support, processes and the like. The new system will require complex synchronization between other systems performing cash management functions, such as the Web banking system, audio response unit (ARU) and customer service system (CRM).
The Internet browser has a universally accepted implementation of 128 bit encryption security layer, referred to as HTTPS. Whenever you make a purchase or perform some other secure function on your browser, you will see in the URL; “https//….” HTTPS was architected by Netscape, made open and accepted worldwide. HTTPS is now used by all browsers and has no real contenders.
Need Programming Assistance
FTP cannot be used to “Push” data unless the client installs an FTP server. Requiring the bank client to perform any installation of software, especially server software is always an invasive request.
Though FTP is in many ways not unlike modem/TTY technology, it will require that clients learn to make FTP scripts to up/download data. It is always a challenge to educate or require clients to enlist the help of their technology personnel.
A Short History of the Modem/TTY Problem
In the course of managing their money, businesses exchange a great deal of information with their banks. Over time, businesses have developed various types of software to help them manage their money, from basic accounting products to extremely complex treasury workstations, reconciliation engines, cash forecasting systems, portfolio analysis, risk analysis, trading and other such technology. These systems need to exchange data with banks.
|“The foremost requirement of big clients is unattended exchange of data with the bank, and the browser took this ability away.”
In the early 1980s, all commercial cash management clients performed “online banking” via dial-up phone lines, modems and prompt-response dialogue or TTY. In the late 1980s and 1990s, technology progressed into the DOS and Windows world, though the underlying technology still consisted of modem and TTY or prompt/response dialogue. During this time software products like ProComm Plus and Crosstalk became popular to create scripts that would dial-up a computer, submit ID/password, then up/download transactions. Additionally, many businesses built ProComm Plus and Crosstalk-like dial-up scripting functions right into their financial systems.
From about 1998 to 2002, virtually every bank built a Web-based portal for delivering traditional cash management services. A business user could, by using Netscape Navigator or Microsoft Internet Explorer, perform all banking functions faster, more securely, less expensively and in a feature rich environment.
Banks liked the move to the Internet because they could:
- Offer new services that required larger data files.
- Reduce communications lines and modem costs.
- Discontinue management of “fat client” software
- Greater security via universally accepted 128 bit encryption.
However, moving to the Internet & browsers created new problems for business clients:
- Unattended functions were impossible.
- No ability to interface financial systems to bank systems.
- Greater operator involvement and resultant errors.
- Departure from time-tested processes.
- No Straight-through Processing (STP).
Businesses began moving to new Internet cash management systems, yet there always remained a group of business clients that consistently and fanatically demanded the ability to automatically connect their financial applications to the bank. These clients were stuck with dial-up lines and self-running “fat client” software such as bank-distributed Windows/DOS systems, ProComm Plus or technology built into the businesses’ financial systems.
Large clients’ foremost requirement is unattended exchange of data with the bank, and the browser took this ability away. This resulted in banks maintaining old dial-up cash management systems at great cost. Many of these modem/TTY systems run on very expensive non-stop hardware, rarefied operating systems and 20+ year-old software systems.
Banks are looking in every direction for a way to eliminate old modem/TTY technology while not alienating their most important business clients. BancBridge TreasuryAgent provides the solution.