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Significant Clients - Bank of America

OVERVIEW OF SIGNIFICANT MISSI CLIENTS

Bank Of America Merchant Services, Inc.


© Bank of America Merchant Services.

     
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Client Background:

Bank of America Merchant Services (BAMS) is one of the country's largest, and perhaps also one of the fastest growing, Merchant Services companies. BAMS provides the means for business to accept any of the major Credit, Debit, and Smart Cards that are now commonly in use world-wide for completing purchase transactions of literally any kind.

In essence, what BAMS does is enable the automatic exchange of the "funds" between a buyer's credit/debit accounts and a seller's business accounts through the electronically based processing of the related transaction details as exchanged between buyers and sellers by the action of using a "card" to pay for goods or services. This enables buyers to present their particular choice of card (Visa, MasterCard, Amex, etc..) to the merchant in order to make payment. The action of "swiping" a card in a card-reader, or of entering the card information into a card-reader terminal, results ultimately in the money of the transaction showing up as a charge on the buyer's card statement and as a deposit into the merchants bank account with all parts of the transaction having been handled through electronically driven data exchange starting from data gathered by the card-reader.

As you can imagine therefore, this MISSI client handles a massive volume of complex financial transactions every day of the year which translates into a very large volume of very sensitive data to be resolved, analyzed, saved and exchanged in the course of doing and building their business. Go Back

Projects Overview:

We completed several complex data-application projects for this client and we provided both development and production solutions of a very diverse nature over the course of 22 months. These projects broke out under the following primary headings:

    1. Development of a browser-based application to enable the GAO (Government Accounting Office) to monitor and manage fund-exchange activity between the various government departments and the myriad, nationwide, federal entities.
    2. Creation of an application to enable automated transactional data exchange between local LAN based data entry systems and remote mainframe data processing systems using OLE technology.
    3. Development and launch of a company wide development and production systems Change Control Management system and methodology.
    4. Development of an automated data analysis application software package as a tool to enable management to audit the data content of the GAO project database.

Projects Details:

1) Development of a web (browser) based, secure, internet application to provide complex, hierarchically-structured, financial performance and transaction results reporting tool to support overall management of (GAO) government fund accounting to, and between, multiple, inter-related and nation-wide distributed government departments and public services interfaces. Go Back

In this particular case, the bank arranged to electronically support the accounts payable/accounts receivable funding interchange processes that occur moment-by-moment between the government accounting office and the many federally managed entities such as the Army, Navy, Justice Department, National Parks, etc.. Whenever Congress approves funding for any entity, a budget is created and the money is transferred to the entity. The entity then does business which involves expenditure for costs and expenses incurred and income from sales and services rendered and thus money flows, and is tracked, in both directions in the normal course of business. The bank enabled the government entities to conduct these transactions using the same fundamental processes as are common to conventional credit and debit card transactions. This project was focused upon the development of a browser based reporting system overlaid on top of the underlying monetary exchange system that enabled the various entities to manage their own funding activities discretely apart from any other entity while allowing a hierarchical roll-up view of transaction data to be relationally available for each different management level while maintaining security in such a manner as to prohibit unauthorized lower level sector staff from seeing the data at higher level sectors even within the same federal agency.

This application was developed around using Oracle 8E on HP Unix servers for the RDBMS system plus IBM WebSphere and Compaq Windows NT servers for the web server system together with a substantial core of custom developed applets/servlets/modules in C++, Java and VFP, and all installed within a physical and virtual environment hardened against both cyber-hacking and physical intruder attack.

2) A 'Proof-Of-Concept' development project to produce a data application tool (using Visual FoxPro [VFP] for its superior data-handling performance, inherent OLE functionality and RAD capability) for automating data exchange between local, multiple data entry workstation, LAN based primary database system and secondary, remote, mainframe based data processing service. Go Back

Conceived the solution and designed and built the application to automatically handle the exchange of information between a Windows NT Client, Novell LAN based network, "New-Accounts" Setup work-group and a remote, mainframe based, Account Processing service thereby eliminating redundant data entry processes, greatly improving reliability and freeing up resources for use in other profit centers.

The underlying process relied upon developing an application - using Visual FoxPro - using, and combining, Microsoft's ODBC and OLE technology together with "screen-scraping" techniques applied to a 'virtual terminal' interface to the mainframe system to link the data collected into a locally installed primary data based application directly to the data in the remote mainframe system in real-time thereby enabling data manipulation of the mainframe database content based upon data relationships found in the LAN based database content.

3) Developed and implemented a complete "Change Management and Control" system including tools to track issues and manage the business systems and related software applications development processes. Go Back

Managed and controlled all IT Systems "Change" for this business division of the bank by integrating an Oracle based, client/server "Task Management" application with, and developed and published, a formal "Change Control" process and methodology to handle the complete ECR / ECO system update process; the Product Improvement management process and to also track Help Desk Issues, Operations Issues and all Technical Support functions.

This included identifying functional process and system requirements; reviewing options and methods adopted by other companies to achieve the ultimate goal of "managing systems change and product development" in order to ensure the highest level of system stability and reliability as well as also preventing the possibility of the introduction of any rogue software that could facilitate fraud or in any way compromise the integrity of the transactional data processes; and ultimately in presenting the findings for management and audit approval and adoption. This stage was followed by evaluating candidate software packages versus designing and developing an internal solution, and in subsequently acquiring the appropriate server hardware and software; installing and setting up the complete system and in training the users and management.

4) Created a set of QA tools (using VFP) to enable verification of data load and content of critical financial source data in a database supporting a major web site providing secure data reporting services to federal government entities. Go Back

This VFP application was designed, using ODBC & SQL., as an "Automated Audit and Data Integrity" tool to be used daily to automatically scan and compare the results of very large-volume (gigabytes), original data transfer processes in various file formats, with the equivalent record's actual final data content in the respective Oracle data table in a multi-gigabyte, complex database to verify/audit that the data-transfer processes functioned correctly and that the integrity of the database content was constantly maintained.

 


     
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