The Many-Headed Beast of Managed File Transfer

By Bill Reeves, Sr. Director, Product & Solution Marketing (MFT), Axway

MFT alternatives can cover a wide range of needs within your company. But like the hydra slain by Hercules, MFT solutions often generate new challenges on the way to solving existing ones.

These challenges include:

  • • Identifying the type of platform the MFT solution should run on
  • • Determining where the applications will reside
  • • Deciding on whether to go with a typical software implementation
  • • Considering the benefits of a managed service (where a vendor like Axway can assist you)
  • • Considering the benefits of a SaaS model (where you can outsource the platform and use some flavor of the cloud)

Weighing these challenges means answering four distinct questions that will give you a clear picture of exactly where your MFT solution needs to take you:

  •  What kind of data are you exchanging? Files, orders, payments, invoices, financial data, proprietary data? What information needs to move through your system?
  •  What are you connecting? Not just point-to-point, but any and all connections that encompass your overall process – be they internal applications, automated systems, external gateways, human-to-human interactions, and more. 
  •  Where is your data going? Is it just travelling internally, or is it being transmitted to vendors, suppliers and customers? Knowing the scope of your communications and the degree of control you have and/or need over endpoints is critical.
  •  How do you need to manage all of this data movement? For instance, what are the top issues prompting you to reconsider your current file-transfer system in the first place? Reliability? Visibility? Security? All three? Do you currently lack the ability to provide appropriate governance and/or guarantee integrity to your systems?

In short, you have to think holistically – instead of focusing on solving individual file-transfer problems in your organization, think of your entire system. And that’s no small task. For many organizations, the best strategy may be to find an experienced MFT vendor – like Axway – that can bring a storehouse of expertise to bear on scoping and solving your enterprise MFT challenges.