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4 Business Benefits of Optimizing B2B File Transfer

By Lori Angalich | Mon, Nov 12, 2018

With the right file transfer capabilities and processes in place, you can simplify and enhance your interactions with customers, suppliers, and other trading partners—to the point where the business benefits help to accelerate you past your competition.

At a high level, speeding partner onboarding, reducing the time and effort involved in partner management, improving security and compliance, and enabling greater visibility—all can play a key role in driving increased revenue and customer satisfaction.

Let’s take a closer look at how this works.

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Cloud Spotlight: IBM MQ High Availability (HA) in AWS

By Connor Smith | Wed, Oct 31, 2018

With the rise of the cloud, in particular, AWS, how does ‘traditional’ IBM MQ High Availability (HA) compare against its AWS alternatives—and is there any point in using them in the cloud?

I'll explore this in topic this post.

 

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API Security: More Than Just a Throttling Policy

By John Hawkins | Fri, Oct 26, 2018

API Management promises a nirvana of exposing and securing data using well-known and simple techniques. Vendors focus on how easy it is to create the APIs and nearly always mention security as part of their API lifecycle story.  

Yet, we've all seen the headlines screaming the latest security breach. So, what does “Security” really mean when it comes to API Management? 

In this post I’ll try to differentiate the basic policies that all vendors discuss from the many other attack vectors that we need to be aware of. 

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3 Essential Managed File Transfer Capabilities for Driving Growth

By Lori Angalich | Thu, Oct 04, 2018

Business growth can be a double-edged sword. While increased revenues are never frowned upon, the downside manifests itself in the burgeoning data volumes that the organization must manage—particularly files that must be transferred between the organization, its customers, and its partners.

These challenges add reliability issues, compliance concerns, and security risks related to moving data, as well as challenges managing the volume and size of files moving through the systems.

As partner networks grow, companies find themselves managing multiple solutions for file transfer—and lack visibility from end to end. The typical enterprise supports three or more file transfer platforms—and as a result, have many disjointed file transfer processes and blind spots. This severely limits their ability to support the company’s growth initiatives effectively. 

However, enterprises that leverage a managed file transfer solution can gain critical capabilities for enabling—even driving growth. A centralized, enterprise-grade managed file transfer (MFT) platform allows for full visibility into file transfers and provides a better user experience for line of business users and partners alike. It also includes the security and audit trail capabilities necessary in today’s ever-changing alphabet soup of regulations, from PCI-DSS to Sarbanes-Oxley and beyond. Let’s explore this a bit.

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B2B Partner Onboarding: A Technical or Process Problem?

By John Hawkins | Wed, Sep 26, 2018

When I first joined Lightwell, I was struck by how everyone discusses "onboarding." What was this magical and mystical thing? Why was it discussed in such reverential tones? Having analyzed this further, I'm still a little mystified as to why the hush tones but I'll put a few words down here about what I consider onboarding to consist of and why it's as much a human process as a technical challenge.

It's clear that onboarding of partners is where much time is spent in a B2B system. That's why business people consider it a large factor in their projects. Not only that, but I've found that the more technical people discuss onboarding related to the technical aspect only. Whereas, in my opinion, a lot of the onboarding process is actually about human interaction.

In this post, I'll discuss what B2B trading partner onboarding is and then why I consider it to be as much a human process as a technical one.

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Why Successful Digital Transformation Requires Integration and APIs

By Lori Angalich | Wed, Sep 19, 2018

Digital Transformation Is a Must

Digital transformation is on the minds of many senior business executives. They realize that digital transformation can no longer be discussed in the abstract; it must be a part of their business strategies and goals.

According to research firm Gartner, most CEOs understand the importance of digital business, and half of those surveyed expect to see digital transformation in their industries. The rise of the Internet of Things (IoT), blockchain, and autonomous transportation all played a role in their responses.

More immediately, mobile and omnichannel are necessary capabilities for moving ahead of the competition. Businesses are under an increasing demand to delight consumers with unique experiences, as well as providing employees and partners with immediate access to useful data. That can’t be done without integrating new systems and touchpoints with legacy systems and data stores.  We'll explore the importance of integration and APIs in this post. 

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3 Ways to Reduce Omnichannel Order Fulfillment Costs

By Lori Angalich | Wed, Sep 05, 2018

Omnichannel order fulfillment is a double-edged sword. On one hand, you have multiple methods for fulfilling customer orders, and customers can choose whether they want orders shipped to them or picked up in store. This flexibility helps to make customers happy.

On the other hand, retailers have seen upwards of a 300 percent increase in what it costs to serve omnichannel customers. 

According to the Retail Industry Leader Association’s annual survey, as reported in Supply Chain Quarterly, executives identified controlling supply chain costs as a top priority, with order fulfillment and omnichannel costs being a part of the reason.

The good news is that tools exist to help reduce omnichannel order fulfillment costs and complexity. These tools leverage advanced capabilities like artificial intelligence, cognitive computing, and predictive analytics to optimize order fulfillment processes.

The transparency provided by these tools can help companies drastically reduce the cost to serve their omnichannel customers while still meeting consumer expectations of speedy delivery.

While there is no magic bullet to cost reduction, let’s take a look at three ways companies can use these advanced capabilities to improve the way they fulfill orders.

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Top 5 Pillars of Highly-Effective Managed File Transfer Strategies

By Lori Angalich | Fri, Aug 31, 2018

Managed file transfer solutions are gaining traction, particularly in financial services, telecommunications, and healthcare organizations. According to Research and Markets, the global managed file transfer (MFT) market is expected to grow at a CAGR of over 6 percent from 2017 to 2025 as more companies adopt these solutions.

However, adopting MFT technology isn’t enough; organizations need to make sure they back up the technology with a strategy that aligns with the organization’s goals, compliance needs, and end users.

The organizations that are most successful with MFT include five key pillars in their strategy. These underpin the technology with user adoption and confidence, allowing MFT to become as much a part of the organization as sending email—but more secure, and with better results. From introducing standardization in the technology itself to making sure end users know the how and why of MFT, highly effective MFT strategies include the following:

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Simplifying Container Management with Kubernetes: Exploring IBM and MuleSoft Solutions

By John Hawkins | Tue, Aug 14, 2018

Parallel problems

Although the offerings I'm about to discuss are different, they're interesting enough to explore more closely. Both IBM and MuleSoft are claiming that the reason for implementing their solutions is because they perceive a lack of skills in containers and Kubernetes.

This tallies with what I see in the world I work in too. It's one thing to say that you can run a few containers in the wild, but it's quite another to run them as a true cloud environment with hundreds— potentially thousandsof them.

Alongside this, containers are making some architectures change. High Availability (HA) solutions that once looked fine in the VM world now begin to look clunky and new ways of doing HA are springing up. Monitoring now becomes a headache if your failing system was brought down automatically and had been recreated before you even knew you had a problem. Never mind things like license management, where most vendors are struggling to cope with a more flexible model that true cloud requires.

I'll discuss here the two different offerings, and we can see how they are very differentbut trying to solve the same skills issue.

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How API-Led Connectivity Addresses Digital Transformation Challenges

By Lori Angalich | Wed, Jul 25, 2018

In the early stages of a digital transformation initiative, there are many decisions to make, including which new technologies to implement, what applications should be moved to the cloud, and what processes should be redesigned.

However, many organizations find that the further they go in their transformation planning process, the more they realize they need to connect.

Everything as a Service (XaaS), the Internet of Things (IoT), and mobile require effective integration for you to get the most out of your investments in your current systems and any new technologies you acquire. Also, achieving your business objectives often depends on connectivity and real-time communication between systems that previously existed in silos.

However, the traditional ways of integration won’t work for the rapidly-increasing number of endpoints and the constantly changing IT landscape. Adopting API-led connectivity and application networks helps organizations meet these challenges head-on, providing a critical enabler to digital transformation.  

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