In the late ’90s, two tech entrepreneurs founded Netflix after being inspired by the successful online model of Amazon.com. They initially sold DVD rentals to customers via an online catalogue – and as many of us well know – later disrupted the industry with its popular online streaming service. Millions have since then moved away from using physical DVD rentals after realizing the benefits of this cloud-based platform.
This same type of disruption can clearly be seen today within large organizations as IT leaders migrate systems to cloud platforms to improve business outcomes like operational efficiency, security, partner onboarding time, speed of product launches, cost effectiveness, speed of changes, etc.
Two of the technologies that are hindering companies from successfully meeting these business outcomes are legacy file transfer and integration systems.
Data Exchange and Integrations Are the DNA of Critical Business Processes
Enterprise data file transfer and API connected integration solutions are the DNA of today’s critical business processes. A few examples are purchase order fulfillment, logistics, product catalog updates and more. Every time companies send and receive files, make a payment or sync from a third party, it’s likely one of these technologies is orchestrating the flow of data files in the background.
This is why it’s so important that businesses have a rock solid file transfer and integration architecture in place that is agile, scalable and reliable. Companies cannot afford for these systems to fail as it may directly affect performance in critical areas like supply chain management that often include global trading partners.
Unfortunately, many companies are failing at digital transformation and continue using outdated systems and methods for file transfer and integration. Even mature organizations may have disparate file transfer systems and integration solutions set up decades ago with hard-coded integrations into numerous enterprise and partner systems.
The negative impact of these technologies may well result in poor business practices such as difficult partner onboarding, data file exchange failures, lack of central visibility into failures of integrated data file transfers, no tracking, poor security and more. Furthermore, as the number of systems and trading partners continually expand and change, it becomes increasingly difficult to maintain point-to-point integrations.
Platform as a Service Is the Answer to Data File Exchange and API-Led Integration
For companies looking to upgrade file transfer and integration services to a modern cloud alternative, Gartner has released a new report called Platform as a Service: Definition, Taxonomy and Vendor Landscape, 2019 that provides insights into “xPaaS” categories including both cloud managed file transfer services (mftPaaS) and enterprise integration (iPaaS).
For mftPaaS, Gartner states that the function of MFT is to “facilitate efficient management of bulk data transfer from a source to one or more target endpoints. The source and target endpoints can be in the same enterprise or external to the enterprise.” Some of the use cases for moving to an mftPaaS service are “B2B integration, email attachment offload, cloud integration, scheduled and unscheduled file transfer and file-sharing usage scenarios.”
Gartner defines iPaaS as “a cloud service that supports application, data, ecosystems (B2B) and process integration projects, and usually involves a combination of cloud services (that is, cloud-based applications or APIs), mobile and on-premises systems.” The report states that large organizations are flocking to iPaaS solutions in order to solve the complex integration issues. Consolidation into one platform, speed and agility are a few of the top benefits Gartner lists for why enterprises are making the move to iPaaS.
Thru: A Unified API-Led Approach to Managed File Transfer Integration
Thru’s MFT as a Service offering is currently the only cloud mftPaaS solution that provides a unified file exchange solution with out-of-the-box iPaaS integration. With connectors to leading iPaaS solutions and a self-service partner portal, organizations can greatly increase the speed of onboarding new partners, easily make changes to business processes and improve operational efficiency. Thru is unique in that it provides a reusable “API-led” approach to integrating with partner and enterprise systems rather than using outdated point-to-point connections.
Figure 1 – Purchase order business process example with API-led approach to MFT
As meeting desired business outcomes becomes a top priority for enterprises, the need to reevaluate and modernize file transfer and integration processes must be a top priority. IT leaders should consider re-architecting their current approach to file transfer and integration with an API-led approach that is based on using platform as a service solutions.
Download the Gartner report to get the latest insights into mftPaaS and iPaaS services.
Gartner, Platform as a Service: Definition, Taxonomy and Vendor Landscape, 2019, Yefim Natis, W. Roy Schulte, Donald Feinberg, Van Baker, Massimo Pezzini, Alfonso Velosa, Thomas Murphy, Eric Thoo, Anne Thomas, Nick Heudecker, Keith Guttridge, Adam Ronthal, Paul Vincent, Dennis Smith, Mark O’Neill, Paolo Malinverno, Mark Driver, Gyanee Dewnarain, Daniel O’Connell, Simon Walker, Bindi Bhullar, Michael Woodbridge, Jim Hare, Irina Guseva, Adrian Leow, Austin Kronz, Avivah Litan, Rajesh Kandaswamy, 28 January 2019