Supply Chain

Digital Business is Accelerating and Changing the Business Environment: Managed File Transfer (MFT) Must Evolve to Meet the Challenge

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This is the third post in our Managed File Transfer blog series. Read the second post “7 ways IBM is leading the Security Push in Managed File Transfer” here.

Digital business is changing customer expectations – and business models. It is changing how businesses communicate, transact and interact with customers – as well as with other business such as partners and suppliers. It is accelerating the pace of business. And it is changing industries and the competitive landscape.

“Digital business is … blurring the digital and physical worlds. It promises to [continue to] usher in an unprecedented convergence of people, business and things that disrupts existing business models – even those born of the Internet and e-business eras,” according to Jorge Lopez, a ‘distinguished analyst’ with Gartner.[1]

Digital business is shaping the future – and businesses must evolve their business ecosystems and technology to remain competitive.

“If digital disruption can be viewed as a wave sweeping over industries, most are in the crest of that wave or soon will be,” according to research from Harvard Business Review. An overwhelming majority (80 percent) of executives in a Harvard Business Review study think “their industry will be disrupted” by global digital business trends.[2]

“Just which businesses will be the winners and losers in this digital economy is still being determined. Companies that form their strategies, shift resources to new digital initiatives … will have a distinct advantage. Digital transformation is real and widespread,” said the Harvard Business Review study, Competing in 2020: Winners and Losers in the Digital Economy. [3]

“Digital technology platforms are the building blocks for a digital business …. Every organization [must] have some mix of digital technology platforms: Information systems, customer experience, analytics and intelligence, the Internet of Things and business ecosystems,” said the HBR study authors.[4]

One critical point in keeping pace with the evolving digital environment is ensuring the evolution of the management and transfer of business-critical data. In the digital era, constantly evolving forms of digital data must be synchronized and shared – and done so quickly, efficiently and securely – with consumers, partners and other businesses.

Businesses are increasingly deploying Managed File Transfer (MFT) technology for critical business ecosystem data exchange. MFT is evolving beyond its traditional role of enabling bulk transaction file exchange. IDC notes that “Managed File Transfer software continues to be in demand because enterprises have more and more data in motion. Cloud, IoT, and distributed computing are all driving the need for moving workloads efficiently and securely… Enterprises want to have better control and more insight into file transfer, and MFT tools give them that auditability“.[5]

Regardless if you’re in retail and e-commerce, banking or financial services or manufacturing, MFT systems are critical IT infrastructure and must ensure no ‘down time’ is experienced by external business partners and customers. At a minimum, MFT systems must be ‘always on’ to accept incoming files from external partners and customers at any time.

MFT plays a key role of ensuring frictionless commerce: if a key service enabled by MFT infrastructure is unavailable when needed, it can have a cascading effect with external partners or customers, as well as internal business units. Therefore, it is critical that MFT infrastructure be established in a redundant, distributed manner sufficient to ensure continuous availability. It also must ensure rapid response to avoid or mitigate a disruption or outage if an unexpected event impacts the hardware servicing MFT workloads in a data center.

IBM Managed File Transfer (MFT) enables enterprises to increase the security, reliability and governance of critical file transfers. IBM MFT’s secure file transfer simplifies synchronizing systems, business communities and sharing data between people to speed the structured and unstructured processes that run their business.

IBM MFT continues to innovate to meet the demands of digital business and the ‘always-on’ nature of business. Recent enhancements and innovations in IBM MFT include:

  • Advanced Communications: Introduction of IBM B2B Advanced Communications, a new high-availability communications subsystem for IBM B2B Integrator and IBM File Gateway deployments.
  • Advanced Clustering Support: Enhanced clustering support across the IBM MFT portfolio.
  • High-Availability Architecture: New distributed high-availability architecture for IBM Control Center.
  • Increased Configurations: Option to configure multiple IBM Secure Proxy engines per adapter, for IBM B2B Integrator or IBM File Gateway.
  • New Global, High-Availability Mailbox: New global distributed high-availability mailbox for IBM B2B Integrator and IBM File Gateway. Active-active WAN-separated redundant mailboxes for physical data center disaster recovery.

Read the next post in the series on the importance of visibility and governance in Managed File Transfer.


[1] Source: Forbes, Digital Business is Everyone’s Business

[2] Source: Harvard Business Review (HBR), Competing in 2020: Winners and Losers in the Digital Economy, April 2017

[3] Source: Harvard Business Review (HBR), Competing in 2020: Winners and Losers in the Digital Economy, April 2017

[4] Source: Gartner, Gartner’s Top 10 Strategic Technology Trends for 2017, January 2017

[5] IDC: “Worldwide Managed File Transfer Software Forecast”, 2016–2020, September 2016

Senior Product Management, Watson Supply Chain

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