Government’s Analysis, Assessment and Research Activities
Report: Data utilisation boosts innovation and growth

Government Communications Department
16.3.2017 10.25 | Published in English on 16.3.2017 at 10.48
Press release 113/2017

“Revenue of companies utilising data in their innovation activities grew in the information and communications sector,” says a report on the effectiveness of open data, published on 16 March. The usability of open data could be improved by standardising public sector information management practices.

The report reviews the openness of base registers and examines the availability of indicators necessary for assessing the economic effectiveness of open data, and the possibility of collecting systematically the data needed for assessing effectiveness. In addition, the report sheds light on the link between the use of open data and companies’ innovations and financial success. The report also makes concrete proposals aimed at increasing the effectiveness of base data resources.

Utilising open data is rewarding

The largest user group of the main public sector information resources are companies. The report shows that companies utilising open data in their innovation activities make new goods and service innovations in the market relatively more often than other companies.

The use of open data is strongly associated with use of big data, i.e. large data sets or very large information resources. Moreover, a link is also found between use of big data and the probability of producing innovations. The revenue of information and communications sector companies utilising data in the development of new services and/or products grew in 2012–2014 on average by over 17% more than the revenue of companies in the same sector that did not utilise data in their innovations. Utilising different types of transport data in innovation activity is clearly associated with an increase in revenue.

Openness of data is not sufficient – information management tools are needed

Opening of data is fairly far advanced in organisations that administer the main data registers. Budget constraints are to an increasing extent an obstacle to the opening of data. Openness of public data is an essential, but not a sufficient, condition for their extensive utilisation. The information management practices of different agencies and administrative branches are not uniform. In addition, there is scope for development in information management and control. 

Good tools, such as the annual data statement, have been developed for information management, but they have not been widely adopted. Finding open data is challenging due to fragmented distribution. Greater dialogue between providers and users is required, as are cross-administrative best practices to create standardised models for the management and provision of open data. 

More extensive research on data economy mechanisms required

The greatest challenge in studying the economic effectiveness of open data is currently a lack of systematic data collection about the utilisation of open data. It should be noted, however, that open data represents only a small part of the various user groups’ utilisation of data.

Research knowledge on companies’ use of data and the economic effects would be required to gain a wider understanding of data economy mechanisms. Collection of statistics on the use of data should be developed to facilitate research based on data analysis in this subject area.

The project, led by the Research Institute of the Finnish Economy ETLA, was a collaborative effort of ETLA and Open Knowledge Finland. The project was part of the implementation of the Government’s 2016 plan for analysis, assessment and research. Representatives of the following ministries participated in the project steering group: Ministry of Transport and Communications, Ministry of Education and Culture, Ministry of Economic Affairs and Employment, Ministry of Defence, Ministry for Foreign Affairs, Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry, Ministry of Finance and Ministry of the Environment.

Report (in Finnish)

Further information on the Government’s Analysis, Assessment and Research Activities is available on the website


Heli Koski, Head of Unit, ETLA, tel. +358 50 466 3214, heli.koski(at)