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Commercial Trust Architecture (CTA) – Technology

Updated: Nov 19

Some of the most widely used innovations today started with a robust architecture or layering of elements that scale. Did you make a phone call today, participate in a video conference or shop online -- all of them run on a robust architecture. When the desired outcome is Commercial Trust, it is no different. A Commercial Trust Architecture (CTA) has five layers and first (or foundational) is technology. No business process or outcome conversation can take place without a foundation based on the technology(ies) which enable the process or support the outcome. While no senior business or information leader is looking to create new data, they do look for ways to use existing data and existing systems to their fullest.


The Commercial Trust Architecture (CTA) helps define a plan by which information can be collected, organized, and shared with appropriate, permissioned people who benefit from the knowledge the data imparts. This sharing across company boundaries enhances the flow of commerce. Since so much of the information being shared is proprietary and confidential, security is paramount.


Most businesses today possess a pretty robust technology “stack” whether they think so or not. And when one starts to think about this CTA, while not an exhaustive list, certain technology elements emerge that are absolutely crucial when thinking about commercial trust:

Identity Management – this is the most foundational element of the CTA; one needs to know:

  1. who/what is contributing data,

  2. who/what is accessing data,

  3. what is data associated with,

  4. who/what is data being shared with

Existing Identity management schemas (such as bar codes, QR codes, etc.) and solutions (such as Active Directory, Okta) can be used as the baseline for managing identities throughout the trust continuum.

Mobile and IoT Devices – smartphones, tablets, PCs, and IoT sensors are all excellent data entry and retrieval devices that most companies and people use on a daily basis and can serve as the primary user experience devices. With advances in coverage and broader-scale deployment of higher bandwidth transmission (5G), the world is moving from an “occasionally connected” to an “occasionally disconnected” environment making the use of mobile and IoT much more reliable in data capture and retrieval.

Systems of Record – many, if not most, businesses operate using some system(s) of record; these include:

  • enterprise resource planning,

  • product lifecycle management,

  • manufacturing production management,

  • warehouse management systems,

  • transportation management systems,

  • customer relationship management,

  • customer data management, etc.

These systems contain a plethora of information, the value of which increases the more it is used and shared appropriately.

Content Repositories – all businesses use content repositories as part of their enterprise operations, cloud environment, or - in some cases - individual storage devices. This content will include both structured (databases, indexed files, spreadsheets, documents, etc.) and unstructured (images, videos, voice files, etc.) data that has intrinsic and evidentiary value that can be leveraged.


Once a business has made the decision to “build trust through commercial transparency” and a clear definition of what that means for them has been decided, the best starting point is to develop a technology assessment that asks the questions: “What technology(ies) can we leverage? What gaps exist?”


So today’s overarching question is: “How do we go about identifying the data we need to share with our commercial partners and customers to establish trust and complete transactions?”

Get in touch with us; we’d be happy to help you begin your trust & transparency journey.