The anatomy of digital trade infrastructures

Boriana Rukanova, S. Henningsson, H.Z. Henkriksen, Yao-hua Tan

Research output: Working paper/PreprintWorking paperScientific

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In global supply chains information about transactions resides in fragmented pockets within business and government systems. The lack of reliable, accurate and complete information makes it hard to detect risks (such as safety, security, compliance, commercial) and at the same time makes international trade inefficient. The introduction of digital infrastructures that transcend organizational and systems domains is driven by the prospect of reducing information fragmentation, thereby enabling improved security and efficiency in trade process. The potential of such digital trade infrastructures has been showcased in demonstrator settings, but in practice adoption and growth has been slow. In order to understand the problem at hand and build cumulative knowledge about its resolution, we need a way to conceptualize the different infrastructure initiatives. This paper therefore develops the Digital Trade Infrastructure Framework that aims to identify the structural components (anatomy) of the digital infrastructures in the trade area. The framework is developed through an empirically grounded analysis of four digital infrastructures in the trade domain within the conceptual lens of digital infrastructure. The framework can be used to position digital trade infrastructure initiatives to allow for cumulative knowledge building about its challenges as well as to articulate forward-looking agendas covering to development of instruments to oversee its resolution.
Original languageEnglish
Publication statusPublished - 2016


  • international trade
  • digital infrastructure
  • EU
  • Institutional innovation
  • eGovernment
  • governance


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