Secure File Sharing at the Local Government Strategy Forum

Heythrop Park, April 12th – 13th This month I attended my second Local Government Strategy Forum, at the beautiful Heythrop Park Resort in Oxfordshire. Invited by our partner Maytech, I was the ‘independent industry expert’ and had the pleasure of spending two days in this lovely environment, talking with senior management and C-suite executives from councils all around the UK. Before attending these events I had, what I believe to be a commonly held opinion, that council workers were underworked and overpaid. I’d read all the stories in the local press about the six-figure salaries and the cancellation of services to ensure their lavish lifestyle. However I’d never stopped to think what they actually did. Listening intently at these events has given me a small insight into the workings of councils, and whilst I’m sure there is still more efficiencies to be realised, I couldn’t have more admiration for the wide range of services they provide and the challenges they have prioritising them to balance the books. The financial challenges being faced by councils has lead to them adopting a more business-like approach. They are looking at every aspect of their business to drive out wastage and streamline operations, and that’s where my expertise came in. Over the duration of two days I spoke with in excess of 50 delegates about their data sharing, collaboration, secure file transfer and business process automation challenges. Our experience in this area, working with council’s such as Cambridgeshire County Council, North East Lincolnshire Council and most recently Mid-Sussex Council, ensured we already had a view on some of the challenges being faced for data...

Our USA trip to visit file transfer vendors: Cleo & Ipswitch

An insight into more than just product roadmaps Last week was my first trip to the USA, which is all the more surprising as almost all of our suppliers are based there.  The weather reports leading up to the trip had forecast a snow storm making its way up the East Coast, dumping three foot of snow on New York and closing down the city.  Fortunately, we flew into Chicago around the storm. It was still bitterly cold though; it didn’t get much above freezing whilst we were there and don’t get me started on the windchill factor!! I was joined by my colleague Mark Allen, one of our senior technical consultants, as we visited two of our strategic vendors. Thankfully, Mark provided the technical insight and expertise leaving me to cover the subjects I’m more comfortable with; industry knowledge and business functions. We met quite a lot of people in our week long trip. Literally everyone I spoke to was happy to take the time to talk to you, was interested and engaging. The customer service I experienced was outstanding, everywhere.  One hotel worker even gave us a lift to a local steakhouse; not the ‘hotel recommended’ option but a little joint down the road. Needless to say the ribeye was excellent. I think the UK could learn a thing or two here, and it’s certainly made me think differently about our own services. The week started at Cleo.  We’ve only been working with them for a year or two, but what a company. Their Cleo Integration Suite, provides companies with a common platform for all of their data...

A Fantastic Year & A Mystery Christmas Hamper

This year has been one of significant change at Pro2col, I’m glad to say all for the better. We’ve added three people to the team this year; two senior technical consultants, Mark Allen and Richard Auger, both of whom have considerable experience with managed file transfer (MFT) expertise. Mark joined us having spent time working with Ipswitch and spent the last 18 months consulting on MFT systems and Richard came all the way from Australia to join us having spent the last 12 years managing MFT systems for Philip Morris! Chantelle joined us to become our Office Manager and bring greater efficiency to the team.   After six long years in an office that wasn’t big enough we moved into a brand new, purpose built unit, two doors away in December. The team couldn’t be happier and it now means we’ve got room to accommodate customers and suppliers for meetings. Although it’s quite likely we’ll still head to the Captain’s Club overlooking the River Stour at Christchurch on a nice day. It’s been a great year for business too. By adding to the team we’ve increased our capabilities exponentially, which has enabled us to work on some extremely interesting opportunities with some fantastic companies. All in all, as the owner of the company I couldn’t have asked for much more (except a Lotto win perhaps). I’d like to put on record my thanks to my exceptional team who’ve helped to make this year such a special one in the evolution of the business. In addition I’d like to thank our suppliers who’ve helped us to drive significant growth this year. However, I have a...

Managed File Transfer in Action – Scenario #1

Automatically Download Files Via SFTP, Delete & Notify The cost to the business of not having data where you need it, when you need it, can be very significant. Downstream processes, whether automated or manual, that rely on data that isn’t available can’t run. At best it creates a bottleneck or in extreme scenarios processes stop completely, unable to proceed without the next set of instructions. In a simple scenario this could amount to a day of orders not processed or jobs not being allocated to drivers. The cost could run into the tens of thousands of pounds or more. Real Life Use Case – Utilities Company We have countless customers that use the automated collection of data feature of managed file transfer (MFT), but one springs to mind with an interesting use case. We implemented a MFT solution at a Utilities company to automatically pick files up from a council. The files were wayleaves, which provided confirmation whether they had been granted permission to access certain locations to repair water leaks. The process they had in place initially was manual and not always completed daily, resulting in site visits to repair leaks being delayed. How Can Managed File Transfer Help? Addressing this issue was a relatively easy process and can be achieved in the better MFT solutions available. In this instance we scheduled the automatic collection or download of the required files from the council servers via SFTP. The process would have looked something like this: Log on to SFTP* server Navigate to the correct folder defined by the path provided Download only the files needed to a...

Five Managed File Transfer Experts Give Their Top File Transfer Automation Tips

In our last blog post, we revealed the major driver behind businesses implementing Managed File Transfer (MFT) was ‘improving productivity’. Following on from this insight, we wanted to delve a little deeper into improved productivity, through file transfer automation. Rather than giving our opinion we thought you’d like to read the views of five industry leading, MFT vendors. We asked five experts from JSCAPE, Coviant Software, Cleo, Globalscape and Ipswitch for their ‘Top three file transfer automation tips’. Unsurprisingly our experts had diverse views on what they believed to be important about file transfer automation, but we didn’t expect quite the variety of answers we received.   Van Glass, CEO, JSCAPE Simplify: Many legacy file transfer implementations are home grown solutions that have evolved into an ever growing number of disparate and undocumented scripts and processes. These scripts are often written in arcane programming languages and are difficult to maintain. This can be particularly troublesome in cases when the original authors leave the organization and this knowledge is lost. When automating file transfers it is important to try and centralize all file transfers under a single application that has a holistic view of all file transfer processes and does not require specialized programming knowledge. Failures: It’s inevitable that some automated file transfers are going to fail. This can happen for a variety of reasons including invalid credentials, network connectivity issues or hardware failures. Regardless of the reason, it’s important that you be able to automatically respond to these failures in the most efficient way possible. Network connectivity issues are common but often short-lived, so rather than give up immediately, it is...