There is a considerable up-front investment in building an enterprise class managed file transfer solution. However, like most systems in IT, the long term operational costs tend to greatly exceed those initial one-time costs. Anything we can do up front to help lower operational costs tends to make the MFT solution easier to live with long term.
Operationally, the file transfer team is also being asked to do more with less. The do more is frequently linked with higher volumes and tighter SLA windows. Both usually map directly back to the business that is being supported by the file transfer process as increased revenue. Both are being asked of the team with flat or decreasing headcount to support file transfer operations.
Frequently organizations are bringing together disparate file transfer operations teams into centralized file transfer Centers of Excellence (CoE). In the CoE better tools and processes can be put into place because of the scale the CoE has versus the fragmented file transfer teams that precede the CoE.
One of the tools that CoEs look toward to help them achieve tighter SLAs while processing higher volumes is analytics. Analytics tools can be fed with the events of the file transfer to monitor transfers and learn what normal looks like. Volumes and throughput for a typical day of the week, day of the month or a day relative to a holiday can be learned. Volumes that differ from these historical norms can be flagged for review. This allows detection of problems earlier and provides the tools for achieving compliance with tighter SLA windows. Views of file activity with key partners can be monitored for both white glove treatment and additional emphasis on SLA compliance for those key partners.
Another activity that consumes a lot of operational bandwidth is answering the question “where’s my file?” This request comes from the business, application teams and from partners/customers. The same analytical tools that provide rolled up trends can provide a user-friendly way of searching for individual events. In case of a problem, admins can ask for a replay of a specific period and discover what, when and where the issue happened. These easy to use interfaces can be used to streamline operations answering file related questions or to extend self-service queries to business users, applications teams or even to the partners.