Gain a competitive edge through optimized B2B file transfer

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1 Gain a competitive edge through optimized B2B file transfer Contents: 1 Centralized systems enable business success 2 Business benefits of strategic file transfer that you can experience for yourself 2 Growing your business partner network and your revenues 2 Enhancing existing services and adding new ones 2 Improving customer service and meeting SLAs 3 Ensuring security, proving compliance 3 Meet diverse business needs across the enterprise 4 Help your organization reap the benefits The secure movement of mission-critical data is vital to companies. But all too often, a lack of enforceable security puts this data at risk as it travels between organizations and their key business partners. Today, many companies still rely on free technology, such as FTP, to exchange important data with partners, suppliers and customers. Or they ve developed disparate systems as specific needs arose. The resulting infrastructures have left these companies with a lack of control over data and little flexibility to be able to meet changing business requirements. Marketplace leaders have taken a different approach. They view file transfer as a strategic initiative, one that allows them to expand and work with their network of trading partners, rapidly roll out differentiating, revenue-generating services and respond more easily to customer demands. In other words, their file transfer infrastructures enable them to work closely with key partners and customers in short, to collaborate. By helping ensure the protected and reliable exchange of important data and files, they can work with organizations outside their walls as members of the same team, all of whom are focused on developing new offerings, supporting revenue goals and planning for the future. Centralized systems enable business success What does it mean to take a strategic approach to file transfer management? It means aligning your file transfer systems with your business objectives, so that you re better able to drive growth. Suddenly, your file transfer infrastructure becomes a competitive differentiator. By using your file transfer system strategically, you can reduce the time it takes to bring on new customers and partners and accelerate revenue generation. Enable collaborative demand planning with suppliers to reduce inventory stock-outs or oversupply. Or increase customer service levels by offering and meeting unique service level agreements (SLAs) for different types of products. To take a more strategic approach, you need to regain control of your

2 vital business data. And the first step to doing this is to begin to consolidate your file transfer operations on a centralized platform that will allow you to manage your files from the moment they re transmitted until the moment they re received. But it s not enough to know what data is being transferred, or how and when. You also need to know who is accessing it and why. Ask yourself: What business processes require file transfer? Why is the data being moved? Where does your information need to be at any given time? Knowing the answers to these questions will allow you to design and implement a system that meets your needs and works with your existing infrastructure. One that lets you use your data and that of your partners, suppliers and customers to your best advantage. With the right system, you can streamline and automate data-dependent business processes, so that the right data reaches the right applications in the right format. Less time is spent manually uploading or transforming data, so that you can keep your vital IT resources focused on what s important your business objectives. Business benefits of strategic file transfer that you can experience for yourself By taking a strategic approach to business-to-business (B2B) file and data management, you can: More easily add new business partners Add new services or enhance existing ones Meet SLAs Help ensure the security and compliance of data moving across the network Growing your business partner network and your revenues To grow your business and offer new services, you need to connect with an ever-expanding network of partners and suppliers. You also need to make it easier for them to share data with you and vice versa. A centralized file transfer infrastructure can simplify the process, by providing a single gateway through which you can establish connections with any number of external parties. Business unit-level interfaces allow you to onboard your partners faster, by eliminating the need for programming or coding to set up those partners, while support for multiple protocols and encryption and security standards makes it easier for partners and suppliers to do business with you. And by centralizing your operations, you can provide your external partners with a single view into their accounts, eliminating the need for them to deal with multiple individuals and departments. Enhancing existing services and adding new ones Implementing new services or evolving existing services faster than your competition requires a solution that more easily adapts to new business process requirements, new technologies, new protocols and new standards. Accommodating different partners and customers with different capabilities, adapting to changes in file-tracking requirements and readily facilitating constantly emerging protocols and technologies can be a distinct competitive advantage for your company. Such flexibility requires a file transfer system with a dynamic and extensible architecture. A service-oriented architecture (SOA) is well suited to provide the necessary flexibility, because, by its nature, SOA enables the quick introduction of new services. With an SOA-based infrastructure, you can more easily integrate your existing systems with those of your partners and flexibly define, manage, monitor and change your business processes as needed. You also can roll out new services and modify existing ones without having to invest in expensive new systems or extensive programming time. Improving customer service and meeting SLAs One of the most important goals for any company operating in today s global economy, including yours, is to make it easier for your customers to do business with you. Having the capabilities that will allow companies to send data in the format that makes the most sense for them goes a long way toward achieving this goal. Or you can take customer service a step further, and make it easier for your customers to integrate your services with their processes and adjust the use of those services based on their needs. You can even offer self-service functionality that 2

3 provides customers with access to actionable information about their file transfers. By doing so, you ll increase customer satisfaction rates and reduce the cost and time associated with providing direct support for those customers. At the same time, in order to keep customers satisfied, you need to make sure that you re meeting your SLAs. With a centralized file transfer system, you gain the end-to-end visibility into data movement you need to proactively manage file transfers to meet SLAs. You can resolve issues before they become problems, and help ensure that your customers benefit by receiving the quality of service they expect. Ensuring security, proving compliance As news of high-profile security breaches continues to mount, it has become imperative to help ensure the security of your data to meet industry and government mandates as well as customer and partner expectations. Providing security-rich and reliable data exchange with other companies helps assure them that their business processes are not at risk, which increases their confidence in your company and increases the likelihood of doing future business together. Comprehensive visibility into data movement is vital to helping to ensure security and proving compliance with new and evolving regulations. Visibility allows you to respond to potential problems and provides you with audit trails for the files you transmit and receive, better enabling you to prove data-handling compliance. In addition to providing visibility into data movement, a centralized file transfer solution can help you enforce corporate security policies consistently to protect critical data and help ensure compliance with datahandling regulations. And since it provides just fewer access points through the firewall, rather than the hundreds of points necessary for one-to-one connections, a centralized system can help you protect your network. Meet diverse business needs across the enterprise Besides supporting your overall business objectives, a strategic approach to file and data management also can help you meet the very real and diverse business needs that can arise throughout your organization. Lines of business Meet top- and bottom-line financial objectives by providing service differentiation Increase customer satisfaction Add partners and rapidly deploy new products or services IT operations Improve operational efficiency Simplify management Optimize resource utilization Ease maintenance and change management Reduce the need to manually support the network Enable rapid deployment of new capabilities and introduce cost efficiencies Enterprise architects Integrate the file transfer infrastructure with existing and planned IT architecture Accommodate new technologies as they emerge Enable interoperability between applications and business units Align IT with the company s business requirements Risk management and auditing Comply with regulatory mandates Gain end-to-end visibility into key data and have an auditable path of transferred files Minimize financial risk Ease audit and data analyses Security Protect organizational assets Comply with security and privacy regulations Provide consistent security policy enforcement Establish effective trust management in complex, multienterprise transactions Meet important encryption and decryption standards 3

4 Help your organization reap the benefits The strategic role of your company s file transfer infrastructure will only continue to grow. As the file-exchange point for your B2B gateway, your file transfer system must provide your company with the flexibility it needs to grow. With centralized systems such as the IBM Connectivity and Integration portfolio, your business gains the flexibility to onboard new partners faster and implement new services or improve existing ones quickly. So the business generates revenue sooner. You provide the confidence that files are transferred in a secured manner, and your data handling processes will support efforts to comply with government regulations. So datadependent, business-critical processes are protected. If you haven t already, investigate how deploying a collaborative, centralized file transfer solution that integrates with your current systems and infrastructure can help you reap the benefits of taking a strategic approach to file and data management. Your business also increases customer satisfaction rates, because it s easier to do business with, and the solution enables you to meet current and future SLAs. So the business drives revenues longer. 4

5 Copyright IBM Corporation 2011 IBM Corporation Software Group Route 100 Somers, NY USA Produced in the United States of America October 2011 All Rights Reserved IBM, the IBM logo, ibm.com and Sterling Commerce are trademarks or registered trademarks of International Business Machines Corporation in the United States, other countries, or both. If these and other IBM trademarked terms are marked on their first occurrence in this information with a trademark symbol ( or ), these symbols indicate U.S. registered or common law trademarks owned by IBM at the time this information was published. Such trademarks may also be registered or common law trademarks in other countries. A current list of IBM trademarks is available on the web at Copyright and trademark information at legal/copytrade.shtml. The information contained in this publication is provided for informational purposes only. While efforts were made to verify the completeness and accuracy of the information contained in this publication, it is provided AS IS without warranty of any kind, express or implied. In addition, this information is based on IBM s current product plans and strategy, which are subject to change by IBM without notice. IBM shall not be responsible for any damages arising out of the use of, or otherwise related to, this publication or any other materials. Nothing contained in this publication is intended to, nor shall have the effect of, creating any warranties or representations from IBM or its suppliers or licensors, or altering the terms and conditions of the applicable license agreement governing the use of IBM software. References in this publication to IBM products, programs, or services do not imply that they will be available in all countries in which IBM operates. Product release dates and/or capabilities referenced in this presentation may change at any time at IBM s sole discretion based on market opportunities or other factors, and are not intended to be a commitment to future product or feature availability in any way. Nothing contained in these materials is intended to, nor shall have the effect of, stating or implying that any activities undertaken by you will result in any specific sales, revenue growth, savings or other results. Please Recycle ZZW03074-USEN-00

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