Business Integration

5 Major Risks of Operating with a Legacy IT Infrastructure

risk manMany companies run a mix of point solutions acquired on a piecemeal basis for EDI, B2B integration and file transfer. These applications are expensive and complex to manage and lack advanced capabilities such as visibility enabled by integration with enterprise applications. Other risks and downsides of running legacy B2B and file transfer solutions:

  1.  A lack of functionality and visibility in older infrastructure limits the organization’s ability to comply with governmental and/or industry mandates (for security, auditability and reporting, for example). In certain industries, such as health care, strict data privacy and confidentiality regulations are difficult to comply with, absent a modern platform. Other industries—high tech is one—have their own standards, such as RosettaNet. It can be prohibitively expensive to comply with these standards with an out-of-date infrastructure. Meanwhile, to meet regulatory mandates such as Dodd-Frank or Basel III, financial services companies need secure file transfer systems that provide the necessary functionality to be compliant. What’s more, the lack of functionality in older platforms limits the ability to support changing trading partner requirements. Often, the need to support a newer technology or protocol requires upgrading to a new platform.
  2. The costs and risks of supporting disparate systems and solutions are notorious. Companies that operate a mixture of products often have done point integration, leading to “spaghetti infrastructure”—a proliferation of manually connected systems and applications, understood by only a few people in the organization, aiming to handle  structured and unstructured data such as marketing materials, financial information and design documents. The cost of continuing to operate this way grows ever higher as the people who understand the connections retire or move on to other positions.
  3. Existing software faces end of life. Software vendors end their support of application and technology versions on a regular basis. Once these applications are retired, many vendors no longer offer support or version updates to meet B2B standards. They may require costly professional service engagements for any type of support, and even those may be curtailed.
  4. Companies that don’t reevaluate their IT roadmaps in light of technological developments and new hardware and software offerings at least every three to five years risk missing major opportunities to innovate and increase efficiencies.
  5. Redundant resources, rather than a staff trained on a single-platform solution, are required to operate multiple point solutions.

For more information, read CIO Magazine’s whitepaper “Reduce Enterprise Risk by Implementing One Platform for Secure and Efficient Data Transfer” and then visit our business integration resource center.

 

 

Top 10 Benefits of Using a Single Platform for Transactions of All Types

flying filesSignificant business benefits come with replacing outdated, disparate systems with a single platform that can handle all types of data transfer securely and reliably. First, the following benefits are associated with using a single platform for transferring both structured and unstructured data:

  1. Reduces risk, cuts operating costs, improves customer service, shortens time to market
  2. Speeds value to the business
  3. Streamlines, protects and accelerates supply chain processes and business operations
  4. Speeds up onboarding of trading partners—even those with limited technology or expertise
  5. Reduces the threat of data’s being misdirected, late, lost or stolen
  6. Ensures compliance with government, industry and customer privacy and security mandates

Then there are the benefits associated with increased visibility :

  1. “Single source of the truth.” It is difficult to get accurate answers and insights when data resides in multiple systems. Say, for example, a customer sends an inquiry about the status of an order that came in a few days ago. If the customer service agent has to go to multiple systems to piece together an answer, there are many opportunities for inaccuracy and inefficiency to creep in. Having a single platform means that employees need to check only one place to get an answer—increasing speed and accuracy, both of which boost customer satisfaction and confidence. Companies can also elect to give their customers and trading partners access to the same data their internal people use, an added bonus.
  2. Consistent capabilities, so employees won’t get stranded, unable to reach an answer because they are on the wrong system.
  3. Consolidated database for reporting and a single place for all the information on what happened with transactions, including file transfers and orders. As noted above, having answers reside in one place makes life easier for employees, customers and trading partners.
  4. Consistent interface within the application. When the vendor writes the application with full functionality from the ground up, having a consistent interface is a major benefit. Some vendors cobble together a solution from a variety of point applications, which adds to the training burden and often hampers usability.

For more information, read CIO Magazine’s whitepaper “Reduce Enterprise Risk by Implementing One Platform for Secure and Efficient Data Transfer” and then visit our business integration resource center

 

How File Transfer Solutions are Like a Car

speeding_carIn a way, finding the perfect file transfer solution is like finding the perfect car. Like a Lamborghini, some technology is just way out of your budget. Like a Hyundai, some solutions (like email, Dropbox and FTP) seem amazing because they’re super inexpensive.

Then there is the reliable BMW, that’s safe, intelligent and full of high-tech features. It shows what’s behind the car on a screen, tells you how to get places, lets you talk on speakerphone, warms your seat up and even recommends a new Chinese place for dinner.

The fact is, whether we’re talking about cars or file transfer solutions—choices you make today will have consequences tomorrow.

Email and FTP sound good because you’re already using them. And Web services sound pretty appealing the second you hear they’re free (or almost free).  But besides the fact they all fail to provide end-to-end tracking and visibility, many have an additional Achilles’ heel.

  • Email systems provide little reporting and administration features
  • FTP—even so-called “Secure FTP Servers” cannot ensure security
  • Web services (like Dropbox and YouSendIt) lack basic policy management capabilities

Email, FTP, Web services and Managed File Transfer (MFT) are all “file transfer solutions” in the same way sports cars, cheap cars and well-equipped sedans are all “cars.” Basic things can be very different. MFT offers security, automated reporting and administration, and policy management capabilities. Other solutions don’t.

mft chart

View our file transfer landscape comparison table for help finding a solution that meets your unique requirements for features, functionality and benefits.

 

 

Gartner Magic Quadrant examines application integration projects

icon-WP-gartner-magicquadrantOrganizations have often struggled with finding an effective way to unify and integrate disparate applications. Gartner’s 2012 Magic Quadrant for Application Infrastructure for Systematic Application Integration Projects report puts the spotlight on best practices on application integration, market trends and technological advancements.

The leading analyst firm’s researchers have spent plenty of time vetting application integration providers and their application technology portfolios. After evaluating how well 16 vendors and their products met a wide range of criteria—including completeness of vision and ability to execute—Gartner placed SEEBURGER in their “Visionaries” category. Businesses placed in the category demonstrate innovation from a product and technology innovation perspective. They have significant investments in integration technology, and their prospects for survival and growth depend on their ability to establish a strong presence in the market for application infrastructure for application integration. However, the products of some larger Visionaries have relatively small installed bases; in some cases, their production readiness is not fully proved via a spectrum of mission-critical deployments.)

Through diligent and focused execution, some Visionaries could become Leaders, but the likelihood is small. Limited sales, marketing, engineering and support resources create enormous obstacles for such ambitions. Many of these vendors are likely to merge or be acquired by larger companies, but some offer excellent and highly innovative products that outperform large vendors’ offerings.

Often, products from vendors in the Visionaries quadrant can be used with point products from other vendors to create a comprehensive middleware infrastructure that has all the features offered by the one-stop-shopping suites of larger vendors in the Leaders quadrant.

Finding a comprehensive application infrastructure solution that meets the need for B2B, A2A, data and cloud integration can be a mind bender with today’s overwhelmingly large number of choices. With the engineering and vision to back it up, SEEBURGER Business Integration Suite (BIS) is a complete consolidation solution that remains the platform of choice for thousands of global innovators.

To learn more about where the market is headed and the future of application integration technologies, read the complete Magic Quadrant report today.

1 Gartner, Inc. Research Methodologies

 

Trouble in Paradise for Risk Management and Banking

regulatory complianceWhoever passed around the memo about aligning IT with the business apparently forgot to give it to people who work at banks. A recent article from Forbes goes so far as to say many business leaders feel “disdain” towards their IT risk management staff, and that those same IT staffers are pretty frustrated with budgetary constraints and what they see as a lack of clear direction. Banks have to work pretty hard these days. With service demand growth gradually decreasing and regulations like Basel III increasing, banks have to make liquidity work harder—while implementing solutions just in time to avoid penalties. Part of the problem is that many banks and financial services companies continue to rely on legacy tools that are just not suited to address today’s needs. Promising technology solutions exists outside the traditional IT risk managementbox. An ideal solution incorporates dispersed data that is aggregated from a central in-memory database host. Unlike a single centralized in-memory database solution, this will best serve the needs of different banking units, while also preventing the massive build-up of pressure that would occur on a single system. Considering a major bank may spend half a billion dollars on regulatory compliance, it’s easy to see why fingers can start pointing when things don’t go according to plan. And while it clearly sucks to be “disdained,” the situation offers risk management staffers an amazing opportunity to turn it all around by presenting the case for new solutions that generate business value. Visit our Financial Services Solution Center to learn more.

By: Ian Goldsmith

Email and Data Security — Not a match made in heaven

E-mail concept on white background. Isolated 3D imageAlas, some things just aren’t meant to be—Ashton and Demi, Michael Bolton and long hair, dogs and cats, email and sensitive corporate information.

Yet most people today use email to send anything without even thinking about data security. The problem is that even though email seems way more advanced than licking a stamp and dropping an envelope in the outgoing mailbox—it actually shares some of the same problems.

What happens when the sensitive file or data you’re sending is misdirected, late or lost? Outlook won’t tell you that. Email systems were never designed to track down and protect your sensitive data. We’re not even getting into the file size limits that aggravate senders, recipients and mobile users.

Email is overloaded, plain and simple. It was never intended for data protection or 100MB files. It just wasn’t. The good news is that Managed File Transfer (MFT) is a proven solution. MFT enables you to securely send, manage and track even the largest files in the office and on mobile devices.

So give your email a rest. Read more about why MFT is a clear alternative to email.

 

 

Now’s the time to secure your data, reputation and brand

file-transferThe most important asset your company has is information—often highly confidential or proprietary information about your customers, business partners, employees, intellectual property, and more. We’re talking about employee social security numbers, banking and accounting information, and proprietary product information.

Here’s the thing. Eighty percent of that information is kept in files, not the ERP systems companies invest millions of dollars in. The vast majority of highly confidential and proprietary information is often shared via old-school File Transfer Protocol (FTP) solutions, email programs like Outlook and Web file sharing services like Dropbox.

But you don’t allow external file sharing services, right? Well, you may not know who is using these free file sharing services at your company and what they’re sharing on them, according to an analyst at IDC. Employees turned off by old-school file sharing solutions sometimes turn to modern “user-friendly” solutions like Dropbox as a shortcut.

That’s why you need a file transfer solution that a) won’t turn your users off, b) ensures the security of your data and c) keeps a lid on the hidden costs that pop up with many file transfer solutions. SEEBURGER Managed File Transfer (SEE MFT) combines user-friendly interfaces with the highest levels of security on a platform that helps control costs.

Learn more by reading The TCO of FTP, Hidden Costs of “Free” File Sharing today. For more information about how MFT can help protect your organization, visit our Managed File Transfer resource center to learn more.

Industry leader consolidates and says “take this EDI spaghetti!”

One of the North America’s leading telecommunications companies had a problem. After corporate restructuring, it needed to tell a patchwork network of legacy EDI system to take a hike—but didn’t quite know how to do it. The company needed to consolidate onto an efficient, cost-effective EDI/B2B platform, which ultimately lead it to the SEEBURGER Business Integration Suite (SEE BIS).

The EDI problem

The company’s three fragmented, outdated EDI/B2B landscapes were initially merged using a wide range of disparate solutions. This overly diversified environment let to redundant processes, a more than ample chunk of overhead and a problem finding experienced personnel for each individual solution.

The EDI solution

The company was attracted by SEE BIS’ robust and cohesive feature set, including comprehensive global support, extensive functionality, multiple language support, pre-built components and more. SEE BIS’ unified integration with SAP also met the company’s need for seamless data exchange on the SAP platform.

The end result

The company found SEEBURGER modernization and consolidation to be of incredible value. In fact, it saved almost 50 percent of EDI costs upon consolidating the systems on SEE BIS. Besides better security that attracted partners and suppliers, and more internal transaction message control, the company:

  • Consolidated its EDI infrastructure into one data center
  • Achieved a 60 percent reduction in software licensing costs
  • Achieved a 30 percent reduction in VAN charges
  • Cut message tracking time from hours to five minutes

Something to consider

How does the idea of potentially cutting your EDI costs in half sound? Pretty nice, eh? Well then take the first step by visiting our modernization and consolidation solution center today to learn more.

Modernization and consolidation worth it for major financial services group

As Northern Europe’s largest financial services group, Nordea’s customers expect it to provide comprehensive, cost-efficient solutions. With set of disjointed, often duplicated file-based transaction solutions and a fragmented infrastructure, something had to give. Costs were too high.

After an extensive review of many solutions, Nordea opted to go with SEEBURGER’s Business Integration Server (BIS6). The company was drawn to SEEBURGER’s competence in modernization and consolidation projects, and the solution’s robust and unified global platform. Thus the business communication and infrastructure integration project began.

Upon completion of the modernization and consolidation project, Nordea was impressed not only by the solution, but also by SEEBURGER’s level of flexibility and commitment.

“We had full access to the SEEBURGER development team and they were really perceptive about our needs and also future requirements,” Claus Richter, head of Nordea global integration services said.

Learn more today by reading the full case study.

 

Calculate your real world FTP costs

For more than 40 years File Transfer Protocol (FTP) has been the mainstay of file transfer management solutions. If it was a married couple we’d be patting it on the back for hanging in there—but it’s not. It’s a 40-year-old file transfer solution that is probably costing a whole lot more than you think.

In fact, some estimates pinpoint the cost of operating 100 FTP servers at right around $1 million. When you consider the fact FTP is not secure and simply not equipped to handle large volumes of mission-critical file transfers, nothing adds up other than the cost of running it.

Use the chart below to estimate what FTP is really costing your business. Don’t forget to include indirect costs (personnel, tech support, etc.) in your final calculation. Then read the TCO of FTP: Hidden Costs of Free File Sharing white paper to learn more about the FTP problem and its solution.

ftp costs chart

For more information, visit our Managed File Transfer resource center: www.seeburgermft.com