Industry Trends

Organizations are creating more content than ever before in their Supply Chain, presenting more opportunities for growth if they are able to obtain actionable insights and predict future outcomes from the data they process in near real-time. With increasing demands for efficiency in addition to an increasing influx of data, businesses are compelled to look at multi-cloud operating models with:

  • On-demand repeatable provisioning enabled by “Infrastructure as a Code” models
  • Establishing trust in a zero-trust environment enabled by low-trust, identity driven security models
  • Intent-based routing enabled by service & event meshes on demand
  • Containerized implementations enabled by cloud-native technologies managed by a single cross-plane to scale up and down across cloud providers.

More than 50% of world’s information still moves in the form of files and thus the need for a comprehensive Managed File Transfer (MFT) system is more important today than ever for organizations to embark on a modernization journey.

Business Objectives

With 150+ years of legacy in banking and financial services in the African market, one of our clients was looking ahead to create technology enablers that drive business growth and pave the path for new market opportunities.

One such initiative was to have an “always on, always secure” Managed File Transfer (MFT) services portfolio that is not just moving files, but is also capable of participating in complex workflows that orchestrate and automate several manual processes. A few of the aspects envisioned were:

  • Rule based workflow & communication framework allowing business users with low technical skills to manage complex business processes
  • Consistent user experience across portfolios
  • Unified on-boarding processes across protocols
  • Self-service file services capability for their Customers with features like:
      Portal to upload and download files
      Policy driven change password portal
  • Finding the needle in that billion document haystack enabled by an intuitive search
  • Drill down capability of messages found in search

Challenges our client was facing

Coming from a single protocol strategy, the bank was struggling to keep up with emerging protocols and their customer requirements. They decided to implement IBM Sterling File Gateway with Global Mailbox to implement an “Always On, Always Secure” Managed File Transfer (MFT) solution.

While the bank was able to support multiple protocols and provide a highly available solution to their customers with the help of Global Mailbox, the need to synchronize data across data centers and the overwhelming amount of moving parts such as SSP, SFG, LDAP, SEAS, Cassandra, MQ, etc made on-boarding extremely challenging. The manual on-boarding process involved more than two dozen steps to successfully on-board one customer in a GM environment. This process has the following limitations:

  • Manual
  • Time consuming
  • Error-prone:
      Typographical errors
      Missed steps
      Sync issues across data centers
  • Needs constant training of new employees over time
  • Inability to handle peak on-boarding requests efficiently


Agile Data’s flagship Agile Messaging Framework (AMF) enabled rapid on-boarding powered by IBM’s Supply Chain APIs. The key features include:

  • Rapid On-Boarding – AMF standardizes on- boarding processess with repeatable actions orchestrated by workflows.
  • Global Processing – AMF has a distributed processing workflow engine that allows customers to have a scalable processing capability across data centers.
  • Guaranteed Delivery – AMF decouples the delivery from processing and guarantees the delivery despite the target environment’s availability at the time of transfer.
  • End-to-End Traceablility – AMF’s Track-n-Trace is one place to get all statistics about the messages processed in the system including sessions initiated, files processed and events triggered across data centers and also provides real-time visibility in the Delivery Queue.

Outcomes & Capabilities

In AMF, File Services are broken into three major milestones:

  • Receive – Receive handles the incoming communications into the B2B platform through a variety of channels like SFTP, Connect:Direct, AS2, etc
  • Process – Process the landed files through a workflow engine and stage the outcomes to deliver to the destinations based on rules.
  • Deliver – Guaranteed delivery to internal or external systems based on rules.

Using a flexible and open framework, Agile Data addressed many of the challenges with Connect:Direct and Global Mailbox strategy, enabling the bank with the following outcomes:

  • Intuitive User Experience (UX) – Intuitive and consistent UX allowing operators and support personal with no Sterling knowledge to manage the entire Global Mailbox infrastructure.
  • Single pane of view – Ability to view all processing for all data centers in a single user interface and centralized track-n-trace facility. One can see all processing and outbound communications with granular details, including all sessions that initiated from the original message.
  • Unified on-boarding – Unified on-boarding process across protocols in an intuitive portal with consistent on-boarding capabilities for Traditional & Global Mailbox, including protocols like C:D, SFTP, MQ, UFA (Our offering for high speed processing).
  • Highly Available Service Mesh – Distributed and highly available service mesh enabling AMF to be always on. It allows for staged processing, even if any of the Sterling components are unavailable during on-boarding or processing.
  • Staged Event Model – Solution is enabled by a highly available staged event mesh giving you:
      The ability to hold the processing of messages in the delivery and workflow queues on demand and the ability to re-process workflow, or re-queue delivery of individual messages or batches.
      Auto-recovery from outbound delivery failures (in case target systems are down for maintenance or otherwise).
  • Universal File Agent (UFA) – Advanced store and forward “zero-config” agent based file transfer solution. It takes only a few minutes to setup an agent on the AMF portal, download and install it on the target machine, and one can start transferring any size files.