The Road Ahead: Vision for Managed File Transfer Industry

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Earlier this week we published new survey findings around IT frustrations with manual file transfer, with the vast majority of respondents equating the process with sitting in traffic. TechRadar Pro reporter Juan Martinez wrote a story about the findings, and I had the chance to catch up with him via email on a few questions he had.

Relatively new to the managed file transfer (MFT) space, Juan wanted to understand why file transfer can be so challenging for today’s organizations, and where the technology is headed. These are two great questions and are behind what’s driving file transfer today, and I thought the content of our email exchange would be interesting to anyone curious about the future of MFT.

So why is file transfer a challenge? For a lot of reasons – but mainly because it’s becoming increasingly complex, with end-user adoption of EFSS (enterprise-grade file sync & share) solutions that not only create data security issues, but also result in additional systems for IT to manage and support. And at the high-end, MFT can get absorbed into major IT undertakings that require an immense investment and consultative implementation— rather than an out of the box solution.

The challenge in getting managed file technology right is balancing the needs of collaborative file sharing vs. integrated file-based system to system integration. End users demand simple file sharing solutions that are quick to get started while IT demands compliance to corporate and regulatory security standards. It is easy to focus on one end of this while ignoring the other. Ipswitch understands that there are multiple scenarios of file transfer and that organizations today are looking to centralize and consolidate their file transfer systems into one, secure, ready to use solution. One major area to look into is complete visibility and control into file transfer processes— this is becoming increasingly important as compliance mandates proliferate and become more encompassing.

And so in our view MFT is clearly evolving, with the market is moving toward secure, manageable, and scalable systems at the core. But MFT is more than just file transfer. Ipswitch sees the need for tightly integrated transfer automation around the system core that allows IT to manage the exchange of any volume of transfers, while efficiently processing files to prepare them for the next step in a business process.

We understand that transfers happen in the context of B2B relationships, and we envision a system that wraps every exchange in metadata about the partners and workflows servers by exchange events. We imagine a system in which a broad range of end-user and system-to-system workflows can be accommodated, with clients’ tools that synchronize across partners, empower mobile workers, automate local and remote transfer processes, and intelligently control the flow of content between partners.

As I noted to Juan, Ipswitch has work going on today in all of these areas, and our customers should expect great things in the years to come.

To read Juan’s story, click here: IT Professionals are dissatisfied with file transfer processes, concerned about security

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3 Comments

  1. John Portis
    Posted April 22, 2014 at 3:53 pm | Permalink

    Thanks Ken, this article is informative and gets me thinking. It appears you are trying to carve out just what MFT can provide to the business “We understand that transfers happen in the context of B2B relationships, and we envision a system that wraps every exchange in metadata about the partners and workflows servers by exchange events. We imagine a system in which a broad range of end-user and system-to-system workflows can be accommodated, with clients’ tools that synchronize across partners, empower mobile workers, automate local and remote transfer processes, and intelligently control the flow of content between partners.” You also prescribe a focus that helps MFT provide the solution well, ” balancing the needs of collaborative file sharing vs. integrated file-based system to system integration”.
    It is good to read something that defines the target even while keeping a broad vision.

    • Posted April 22, 2014 at 4:15 pm | Permalink

      Thanks, John. Always great to get feedback on our blog posts. Managed File Transfer (MFT) is often misunderstood given all the dynamics that have been happening with EFSS vendors and enterprise application vendors, so it’s important to be clear on our vision and how our customers see the value of MFT to their organizations.

  2. L Frank Kenney
    Posted May 19, 2014 at 12:58 pm | Permalink

    Good article! My take on all of this that as with any industry, requirements, methodologies and technologies mature. In 2003 when I defined the market and related taxonomies, functions such as translation and transformations were a useful addon, now in most cases it’s a requirement. These days collaborative options, forced usage (to guarantee users are using it) integration with social networks, process management tools and business analytics are a must. That’s where the frustration is. Properly setting expectations cleans this up nicely BUT it’s always the case of more, more, more.

    -lfk

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