Half of the Finnish firms share data – despite the risks, there are clear benefits for companies

An estimated 49 % of the Finnish firms already share data with others. Data as a resource and data sharing enable companies to have competitive supply chains and business models for digital platforms. A recent study by Etla shows that companies’ competitive supply chains today depend on companies enabling data to be shared with third parties in multi-directional marketplaces.

Finnish firms have been actively sharing data for nearly 40 years now and this has enabled them to keep their business competitive. For companies, the internal benefits of data sharing are gained by streamlining and optimizing operations. This means, that business costs can be reduced and revenues grown by being able to predict customers’ needs and behaviors.

– However, in order to gain external benefits, companies need to be prepared to share data about customers and markets much more widely and openly than today, says  Timo Seppälä, researcher at Etla.

However, there is a risk with wider sharing of data. The benefits can be often unpredictable, and the wider dissemination of data also requires enough understanding regarding platforms and its operation models. In order to achieve external benefits, companies’ products and services should be modular, i.e. they are assembled from different components. It would also be profitable to deploy border resources such as Application Programming Interfaces (APIs), which allow data to be transferred from one operator to another.

– Previously data sharing was basically limited to specific audience, but in today’s digital platform economy, anyone can have access to customer and market data. At the same time, the risk of creating supply to meet potential demand has been transferred to the third parties. These third parties are also more platform dependant, says Seppälä

Data sharing plays a key role in today’s digital platform economy. Although Finnish companies have been sharing data for a long time, they have not gained a competitive advantage over their competitors. This is partly because companies have not developed technologies, but only applied them. Currently there are only estimates of the financial benefits of sharing data to companies. Etla will be releasing its own estimate later this year.

– Sharing data is however worthwhile because it provides companies both operational and strategic efficiency gains, Seppälä recalls.


This report has been drafted as a part of the Industry and Data research project by the Finnish Innovation Fund Sitra and by Digital Disruption of the Industry (DDI) research projects funded by Academy of Finland.


More information:

Timo Seppälä, ETLA, Researcher, +358 46 851 0500, timo.seppala@etla.fi

Jyrki Suokas, Sitra, Senior Lead, +358 (294) 618 497, jyrki.suokas@sitra.fi