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Published June 10, 2019

Finnish companies are the most pessimistic about the data economy

According to a data economy business survey Sitra conducted in four European countries, Finnish companies do not see the same opportunities as their European counterparts. Finland is ranked last when it comes to making use of data sharing and to recognising data exchange as a future competitive advantage.

Preliminary results of the study were presented at Sitra’s New Data Economy Rainmakers event on 6 June. The complete results will be published in late September.

The business survey assessed companies’ attitudes and preparedness to engage in a human-driven data economy and was conducted in France, Germany and the Netherlands, in addition to Finland. Over 400 people from each country responded.

Company attitudes and commitment to data sharing – Finland most sceptical

Respondents from all four countries consider the idea of data sharing positive. The French were the most positive (3.50 on a scale of 1-5 where 1 = strongly disagree and 5 = strongly agree), followed by Finns (3.49) and the Dutch (3.49), with German respondents bringing up the rear (3.29). Nevertheless, commitment to data sharing in company activities is not quite as strong and Finns clearly demonstrate the lowest commitment (3.08).

Asking the respondents to evaluate data exchange as a competitive advantage reveals glaring differences between the countries. As many as 39 per cent of German companies already reap the benefits of data exchange compared with only 23 per cent of Finnish respondents saying they do. By this measure of the data economy, Finland is clearly in last place.

Things look even more grim when examining data exchange as a competitive advantage in the future. In Finnish businesses, only 19 per cent of decision-makers are convinced that data exchange will be a competitive advantage in the future, compared with one third of French companies. The percentage of doubters was clearly the highest for Finland (58%) with 18 per cent of the respondents not considering data exchange as any kind of a competitive advantage in the future.

Sitra will continue to work towards a fair data economy with its partners in the IHAN project. In addition to analysing the results of the survey, a joint study on data economy revenue models and potential by Aalto University and the Research Institute of the Finnish Economy (Etla) is in the works. A fair data economy rulebook is also being prepared, which will be aimed at companies who pursue a competitive advantage through data exchange and see working in ecosystems as an opportunity for creating new business.

“Companies from all sectors are welcome to participate in building the ecosystem and the rules for a fair data economy. Several practical pilots have already started in the IHAN project, with many Finnish organisations looking for new growth through new services,” says Jaana Sinipuro, Sitra’s Project Director for the IHAN project.

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