Survey: the state of development of data ecosystems and networks

We conducted a survey to find out how Finnish data-sharing networks, or ecosystems, are performing. The results of the survey gives an overview of the state of development of data ecosystems, their challenges and strengths, and the benefits of data sharing.

What is it about?

Data sharing between organisations boosts innovation and the creation of new services. Ecosystem-based business models create value for the whole network – customers, service providers and data sources. The ability to share data fairly, with common rules of the game, is a competitive advantage, but data sharing requires trust and expertise.

Finnish organisations have huge potential to create new business, better public services and improve people’s well-being by moving from value chains to genuine value networks and open data-sharing ecosystems. In these, value is shared more evenly between different actors.

In spring 2023, Sitra launched a study to map the development status and needs of Finnish data ecosystems and networks. A data ecosystem or network is a network of several partners, involving at least three organisations with a common goal and sharing data.

The survey sought answers to questions such as:

Until now, there has been relatively little research on data-sharing networks and ecosystems in Finland. There was no comprehensive overview of existing ecosystems and networks where data sharing is part of the activities of the participating organisations. In Finland, research has mainly focused on the use of data by companies and organisations, the related business activities, their digitalisation development and the use of technologies. Hardly any surveys of data-using networks and ecosystems have been carried out.

In order to provide information on the functioning and state of development of data ecosystems and networks and to enable data-sharing ecosystem actors to develop their own activities based on data, a survey was needed to assess the state of development of these ecosystems. The new information gained from the survey can help ecosystems to improve their capacity to operate, develop their business and share lessons with those who are lagging behind in ecosystem development or are not yet active in data-sharing ecosystems.

What did we do?

The aims of the survey were to find out how data ecosystems and networks work, their level of development and their needs. The survey also sought to give an overall picture of the development of data networks and ecosystems in Finland.

The development of ecosystems and networks was considered in a broad sense and was not intended to be limited to their ability to compete in the market. The development of ecosystems can mean their ability to innovate, business growth, increased skills, increased awareness of the potential of data sharing, changes in organisational attitudes and higher levels of commitment to the ecosystem.

The survey consisted of seven sections:

The results of the survey and raw data without any information about individual respondents information were published on Sitra’s website in September 2023.

Who took part?

The questionnaire was open for responses from 5 May to 16 June 2023.

The survey was open to all companies, organisations and stakeholders operating in a data-sharing network or ecosystem. This could include companies seeking new business opportunities by sharing data with their partners, or developers of public services using data sharing in their development work. Organisations that develop their activities by sharing data with other actors were also invited to participate in the survey. Responses were sought from different sectors, from all over Finland and from private, public and third-sector actors.

Activity analysis

Participants received an analysis of the results, the state of their ecosystem and useful information to support its further development. The analysis provided information on the state of the respondent’s own ecosystem compared to the overall results of the survey concerning other data-sharing ecosystem actors.

The analysis looked at the developmental stages of each respondent’s own ecosystem, mirroring them in three areas:

In addition, respondents were provided with a benchmark that compared the success of their own ecosystem with the overall results of the survey. Respondents can use the results, for example to assess the development of their own activities and to relate them to other actors and general developments in ecosystem and network activity.

Survey implementation

Sitra carried out the survey in cooperation with the research company Innolink. 

Sitra’s Fair Data Economy projects: Healthdata 2030, Roadmap for a Fair Data Economy, Competitiveness through Data and Gaia-X Finland.

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Saara Malkamäki
Specialist, Well-being solutions
Marja Illi
Senior Lead, Fair data economy
Katri Korhonen
Specialist, Competitiveness through data
Pinja Heimala
Specialist, Competitiveness through data
Taru Rastas
Senior Lead, Competitiveness through data
Reijo Aarnio
Senior Advisor, Fair data economy

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