Digital supply chains: towards a framework for software distribution

Colm Ryan, Dublin Institute of Technology
Claudia-Maria Wagner, Dublin Institute of Technology
Edward Sweeney, Dublin Institute of Technology
Emilio Esposito, University of Naples
Pietro Evangelista

Published: in Proceedings of the 18th International Purchasing and Supply Education and Research Association Conference, Oestrich-Winkel, Germany, April 2009


This paper assesses the effect of non-physicality of a digital product - software - on SCM practice. A number of in-depth, one-on-one interviews were held in 8 software companies that predominantly supply to enterprise customers on a global scale. The aim was to explore distribution challenges within software supply chains and how companies are addressing these challenges. The research has identified three different classes of software distribution models: One, which tends to rely on traditional physical infrastructures and paradigms, and two others that better exploit the properties of the digital products.