In a traditional Managed File Transfer (MFT) opportunity, a question or use case will come up that requires a strong human element to the process flow. Conversely, when dealing with a collaboration use case that involves people, a question will present itself about an automated process flow. (For example, “Can I zip up the contents of the file?” “Can the file be automatically encrypted file?”)
At Axway, this situation has been of concern. The older feature of Ad-hoc was developed directly into the SecureTransfer code base to address the requirement. The basic need was addressed. And in an overly simplified description, it allowed a link to be sent through email rather than the file has to be sent. The important part about this is that it allowed a very non-technical person to get an email with a link to a file (rather than needing that person to know how to use an FTP oriented client to get the file).
To be sure, there were some other small aspects to the Ad-hoc capability, but it was a very limited tactical solution. Ad-hoc met the minimum requirements for this use case but in an extremely limited way.
Needs in Managed File Transfer: In the meantime…
As the industry grew and the use cases got more complex, it was quickly obvious that the Ad-hoc facility in SecureTransport was never going to be able to meet the ever-expanding requirements. As such, Axway went looking for a best of breed external solution that could help in this area.
To be clear, Syncplicity is still being promoted by Axway as a solution in and of itself for collaboration and file synchronization, but also the combination of SecureTransport and Syncplicity resolves the human and the system requirements of the Managed File Transfer.
Syncplicity pairs up well with SecureTransport in two very specific use cases:
- where there is a need for human file activity to be combined with system file processing.
- where it is desirable to have Syncplicity be the archiving component in a managed file transfer solution (SecureTransport)
This document will only cover the first scenario (reflected below).
Represented as a pictorial process.
Internally, the challenge for the Solution Architect is to be able to show the natural technical integration of the two components but for a business use case.
To that end, I have created a presentation and demo environment which I feel reflects the technical capabilities while using easy to understand “everyday” use cases. The goal is to have a technical framework that can be duplicated for different business scenarios.
The presentation positions the technology and introduces the demo. The current demos available are.
First: The need for medical lab technicians to transfer effortlessly files into several automated systems.
Second: The need for a person (using just the camera on an iPhone) to initiate a managed file transfer process that will incorporate both automated systems as well as other human participants.
Both scenarios introduce a concept that is very familiar to the business to business (B2B) world but is not thought about in human collaboration. This is the concept of non-repudiation. In both demo situations, the human that initiates the managed file transfer flow automatically receives a “receipt” file, proving that they did indeed send the file into the process. This guarantees that should, for any reason, the person needs to show proof that they submitted the file successfully, at the proper date and time, they can produce that proof.
First, Medical lab technicians (while very skilled at their occupations) are most likely not Managed file transfer experts. Their need to transfer easily the results of a medical test to back-end systems should be simple and not introduce the need for any additional training. The demo only requires the dropping of a “lab” file into a windows directory on the technician’s computer.
From that first action, many other activities happen automatically as reflected in the images above.
The result is this:
The external insurance company receives a secure (encrypted) copy of the lab results.
The hospital archival system receives a secure (encrypted) copy to keep, satisfying compliance regulations.
The billing department receives a secure (encrypted) copy to use for customer billing.
The second use case highlights several additional aspects to the human to system managed file transfer process. In this case, a collision appraiser can be in the field, and simply using the camera on his phone (with no knowledge or skill in managed file transfer procedures) can automatically fulfill the needs of five separate entities in the claims process.
Both products bring their own set of values and benefits individually. Each, of course, have competitors that are usually in the sales cycle. However, together they represent solutions unique in the marketplace and should be demonstrated as such.
Read about six benefits when adopting a digitalized MFT.