Green Great Dragons Can’t exist — Even in Managed File Transfer!

by | Nov 7, 2022


In a wonderfully astute observation, author Mark Forsythe points this out an intrinsic order to adjective usage in the English language in his book “The Elements of Eloquence.” Forsythe explains that English speakers tend to follow the hierarchy rule (opinion-size-age-shape-colour-origin-material-purpose, then noun) without even knowing it. For example, it feels natural to mention a “huge, ancient, green, vengeful dragon” (size-age-color-purpose); but something doesn’t sound quite right if you attempt to discuss a “vengeful, great, green, huge, ancient dragon.” As the BBC succinctly points out, a green great dragon can’t exist!

In that regard, the English language has an implicit structure of adjectives that we all tend to use when formulating our sentences–even if we didn’t realize that the rule existed. As with language, order matters in managed file transfer (MFT) as well. Here’s what I mean.

Managed File Transfer Has a Hierarchy

Many MFT vendors are proud of their workflow automation mechanisms. They extol the virtues of their no-code approach to choosing activities and building out a file transfer workflow by clicking the pieces together to form a wonderful little picture of the workflow. Like Lincoln Logs, workflows are assembled from a barrel full of  building materials in different sizes and configurations, and the builder is responsible for finding the right pieces and putting them in the right order to get that cabin built.

And, as with adjective usage in the English language, there are unwritten rules for assembly and an intrinsic order to automated managed file transfers. These come in two categories: inbound and outbound.

  • INBOUND: Find matching source files from some system, download, PGP decrypt and verify signature if required, UNZIP if required, then move to the destination.
  • OUTBOUND:  Find matching source files from some system, download, ZIP if required, PGP encrypt and sign if required, then move to the destination.

For both categories, make sure that each step is audited, and any errors that occur along the way generate notifications (email, Teams, or Slack are the modern notification mechanisms of choice).  And that the overall results are notified to the business and/or IT personnel. But in most systems, you undergo rote and useless repetition to achieve these very standardized hierarchy of file transfer operations. I know techie types have a reputation for being dull and nerdy, but are we so devoid of entertainment in our lives that we regress to a Lincoln Logs  approach to solving business problems?

There is a Better Way

Think of batch automation of file transfers.  Companies are intelligent enough to know that it makes no sense to pay an employee to sit in a corner and manually transfer files each day, every day, using FileZilla or WinSCP.  But, apparently, not smart enough to stop paying teams of DevOps or IT personnel to roll their own solutions to automated file transfer problems, as if they are solving that challenge for the very first time in the world.  Even if they are using some kind of MFT or iPaaS workflow automation tool, they are just putting lipstick on the dragon. Those automated workflows always end up looking like the same tangle mess of blocks and lines, with each step along the way.

There’s a better way. Every step of the managed file transfer process is built into our no code Diplomat MFT managed file transfer automation platform. And just as English speakers intuitively get our adjectives in the right order, your staff can quickly and intuitively build the file transfer processes without worrying. No more trying to remember your command line options for GPG, or how to build a JSON payload for a Slack alert when a change on the recipient side results in a delivery failure. And with Diplomat MFT you get it all with the best customer support in the MFT industry, a whopping 94% satisfaction rating based on an independent review by SoftwareReviews. That’s a full 14 points higher than the industry’s average score.

Diplomat MFT is simple, secure, and we are recognized as the best value in the industry. Check out our pricing to see for yourself. Then contact Coviant Software for a no-obligation demonstration. We’ll be happy to slay your DIY dragon. Even if it’s wearing lipstick.


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