Which is it: stupid questions or stupid people? You’ve heard it argued from both ends, and most of the time the answer lies in context. When I hear people say things that raise eyebrows, my first inclination is to assume that someone is ‘misinformed’ or ‘confused’ rather than stupid. This is also my response when I hear people talking about file transfer solutions. There are a few questions I have heard, though, that expose misguided ways of thinking that I think are important enough to clarify. Here are three of them:
The immediate and obvious answer is yes, you can — especially as an individual. By definition, you can use File Sync & Share (FSS) platforms such as Dropbox or Box to transfer files, and you can even automate file transfers based on specified folder activity as a trigger. The real question, though, is not a matter of whether you can do this. The question, from the perspective of corporate IT, is whether you should.
For serious business scenarios, you should think twice. For example, you would never want to insert Dropbox into a repeatable B2B data exchange process for a host of reasons, the most crucial being that it doesn’t provide centralized management capabilities for monitoring, reporting, governance, or exception-handling situations. If file transfers are a serious part of your operation, FSS platforms just aren’t going to provide the kind of mission-critical capabilities you are going to need.
Everyone assumes these days that file transfer solutions are indiscriminate to file type, and (more and more) file size, but the nugget of thought behind this question is whether or not there are file transfer solutions which actually understand and parse the content of the files being transferred.
The answer to the question is, essentially, no. File transfer solutions don’t understand the content of the files they’re transferring. They typically can only make very basic routing decisions based on agreed-upon file naming conventions between sender and recipient. They are very limited in this way. You can transfer any file type using any file transfer solution, but you can't expect the solution to understand the contents of the files or take action on it.
Any respectable file transfer solution has the capability to trigger file transfers with specified files from specified folder locations, but real automation is more than simply transferring a file from point A to point B. The real question is whether or not file transfer solutions can orchestrate step by step processes that involve front-to-back data integration.
The answer to this question is, essentially, no. Technically, you could set up multiple scripts and triggers based on arbitrary file naming conventions, but the end result would be clunky and practically useless. File transfer solutions typically do not provide human workflow and flexible process orchestration because that would require that the solution understands the content of the files and has Business Process Management (BPM) capability. Allowing humans to interact with file transfer processes based on specific file content would provide exponential flexibility and value for a file transfer solution, but that’s what BPM and integration solutions are for.
For further reading about automating your B2B integration processes, check out:
How To Convert XML to CSV In Under 10 Minutes
4 Unexpected Reasons Why Successful Companies Are Choosing Adeptia Over The Competiton
You Want A Real Mission Impossible? Try B2B Application Integration