Managed File Transfer (MFT) Cloud Adoption

What’s the best long-term strategy for MFT cloud migration?

What’s the best long-term strategy for MFT cloud migration?

What’s the first thing that comes to mind when you think of digital transformation?

Chances are it’s not managed file transfer, but there’s a good reason why it should be close to the top of your list. Like a plumbing system operating behind the walls of a home, MFT can be considered the lifeblood of a business.

You may not notice the transfer of invoices, contracts, reports, and other business documents daily — unless there is an issue with sharing the files — but these interactions are vital to helping enterprises communicate efficiently and collaborate.

While there is innate value in moving MFT to the cloud, it’s beneficial to take a step back and critically analyze where there are opportunities to change course and put an end to current challenges.

The race to the cloud: balancing speed with due diligence

Enterprises often feel pressure to move to the cloud fast, and while that offers opportunities to experience benefits more quickly, it can sometimes come at a cost. In a survey of 350 IT leaders, 72% of companies that moved applications to the cloud reported having to move at least one app back on-premise. In the haste of trying to accelerate their migration, it’s common for enterprises to encounter pitfalls — a theme that carries through to MFT.

One phrase you’ll often hear in cloud migration conversations is this idea of ‘lift and shift’. As the name implies, it’s an approach where applications, workloads, and data are copied exactly to the cloud with very little or no modifications made.

On paper, lift and shift can seem like a quick win that avoids time, effort, and costs, but it’s often not optimal to take this approach when moving files to the cloud. As McKinsey estimates, lift and shift wastes about two-thirds of the potential of cloud transition. By 2030, they estimate this will add up to around $740 billion of a $1.2 trillion prize — and that’s just for Fortune 500 companies.

Where the lift & shift approach falls short in cloud MFT

A lift and shift approach will get files transferred to the cloud, but issues can arise when they get there.

Consider this statistic: 80% of organizations that performed a lift and shift migration of internal applications from their data center to the public cloud fail to achieve meaningful cost savings. Businesses need to clearly understand what the applications and workloads in their infrastructure are and what their purpose is to see these results.

The lack of visibility tied to a lift and shift migration also glosses over the complete IT environment. Without background knowledge of the applications and workloads that will be migrated, businesses carry current challenges with them to the cloud and fail to get more value from their cloud initiatives.

Think about the sources and destinations of files you’re planning to move to the cloud. Chances are some of these sources and destinations are already SaaS-based or in the cloud. Knowing this saves you the time and cost of migrating the files to the cloud while allowing you to optimize your business processes with tightly coupled integrations.

Moving away from lift and shift to a transformative assessment

Manohar — the head of S/4HANA Cloud Value Advisory, EMEA North at SAP — said it well in a CIO Dive article:

“Rather than lift and shift, enterprises must lift, transform, and shift. In other words, the move to the cloud should involve a reassessment of not only the IT operating model, but also the business operating model.”

I feel much the same, and I elaborated on why ‘lift and shift’ is such a bad idea in a recent vlog focused on the reasoning for and best practices around MFT cloud migration.



MFT cloud migration is more than moving assets from A to B. It’s a chance to turn challenges into opportunities and make your business more agile, competitive, and profitable in the long run.

You see this reflected for example in French public investment bank Bpifrance’s strategic move to adopt agile enterprise practices and a cloud-first philosophy, shifting to Axway Managed Cloud Services for MFT. They gained flexibility, scalability, reliability and a shorter time-to-market, while all technical administration is handled by expert Axway staff.

The Axway solution provides APIs that Bpifrance’s developers use to set up new file transfers, meaning that the organization can set up new connections in a matter of weeks versus months previously.

“The ability for agile teams to set up and manage their own flows is a real game-changer,” says Bruno Chevalier, Enterprise Architect, Bpifrance. “Teams no longer need to make a request and wait for an IT person to work on it. And they can also now monitor and manage the ongoing service themselves, eliminating the need for an intermediary to flag up issues.”

Download the full Bpifrance case study.

Aerospace and defense company Textron gained similar value by embracing managed services in the cloud to support more than six million transactions a year. The organization ensures compliance with stringent information security requirements, while benefitting from 24/7 tracking for every file transfer, with automated alerts for delivery failures and responsive technical support available around the clock.

Read the Textron case study here.

While revisiting your business processes and optimizing them for the future, it’s worth pausing and asking yourself these questions:

  • Are you using old, antiquated integration methods?
  • Are you using automated processes whenever possible to accelerate efforts?
  • Is your security up-to-date and ready for the cloud, offering the granularity you need?

Considering the variables that go into a successful MFT cloud migration, many companies have turned to a fully managed vendor solution for support.

Businesses are working with fewer resources, and experienced talent is hard to find, so partnering with a vendor to guide you through the MFT migration process is an optimal route.

Download this checklist for 5 reasons not to lift-and-shift — and what to do instead.