Finland must take lead in European level industrial data sharing actions

We are living in the new data economy, which means the companies need to engage in data sharing to derive useful insights and improve their decision-making. No matter the size, the industry or the technical competencies, data is a critical business tool for every organization.

The new data economy radically changes the networks of industrial companies. Different actors need to dare and be capable to share their data to keep up with the development and create new kind of business. It is generated by combining, filtering and processing various data sets between different operators. This is done at different stages of the value and production chains and between different machines in a single factory.

We need to foster the culture of data sharing and for this reason our Intelligent Industry ecosystem defines in its recent Industrial data economy for Finland position paper, what is required for Finnish industrial companies to take advantage of new business opportunities brought by the data economy. The goal of Intelligent Industry is that Finland is at the forefront of taking the lead in the European data economy.

Why do companies not take advantage of their data?

Data can be used to speed up production and improve quality and anticipate the operation of both machines and customers. Yet, as many as 98% of industrial data worldwide is left untapped.

Technical conditions for data sharing are in place, but issues relating to data management, sharing, exploitation, trust, responsibility and legislation remain to be partly resolved.

The EU data strategy was published at the beginning of 2020 and many European countries have launched national Industry 4.0 data initiatives. European models for industrial data sharing are currently being created, and Finland must also be actively involved in this work.

The needs of European industry, for example from the perspectives of regulation and standardisation, financing and infrastructure, would be pursued, for example through the EU’s industrial strategy.

We are already doing a great deal of right and advanced things, but Finland must also ensure its visibility in EU-level initiatives such as GAIA-X, the European Commission’s initiative on industrial data platforms and IDSA standardisation. We can be frontrunners again in Europe, but we need to join our forces to drive these initiatives.

How to successfully implement industrial data economy in Finland?

The Intelligent Industry ecosystem operated by DIMECC and its partner companies are driving the digital transformation of Finnish industrial companies.

In order to successfully implement the industrial data economy in Finland, we have come up with the following recommendations for the industry, regulators and funding bodies:

Intelligent Industry recommendations:

  1. Lower the barrier for entry -ensure that industry-driven data exchange companies can and will be established to Finland, e.g. by using public innovation funding and/or PPP models. National level funding commitment needs to be in place and consolidation of existing actors in Finland for the common goal. This helps to maintain control, ensure national security of supply, and keep the earnings in Finland. A key challenge currently is: How to get companies work together on a scale for a common goal. If we want to keep Finland as front runner in data sharing, time to act is now.
  2. Follow the data sovereignty principle, meaning that the data owner has control of usage of its data in a de-centralised platform set-up.
  3. Once the data exchange company has been set up, ensure subsidies or other type of financial support especially for SME companies to get onboard. SME companies might face technical and/or economical challenges to create interoperability with their own resources.
  4. Finland should take an active role in EU level initiatives such as the GAIA-X, EC ́s manufacturing data spaces initiative, IDSA standardisation etc. and make sure our voice is heard. This means however, that a national data exchange company needs to be in place first.
  5. Continue to raise awareness, educate and commit manufacturing companies to understand the importance of data economy. Communications of identified actual real-life use-cases in data sharing raises industries general awareness about data sharing topic and via awareness new use-cases will be identified.6.Foster collaboration and co-innovation, the data exchange should have built-in links to strong RD&I networks and business ecosystems in order to develop new business capabilities for the future.

The importance of data sharing is evident – please let’s get started!

Link to Industrial data economy for Finland position paper






Kari Muranen

Senior Ecosystem Lead


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