The myriad ways in which data may be used

Global Publication February 2021

The value that can be gained from data by businesses will inevitably lead to an increase in the use of data to improve daily operations and to develop new products, services and processes.

There are many ways in which businesses might do this:

  • Increase in licensing-in of data: Including use of open data, or sharing of data.
  • Monetization of data: This may be in the form of bilateral negotiations between businesses or, for example, through specific data markets for sharing data relating to specific industry sectors.1
  • Increase in the use of available data: For example, the European Commission is driving efforts to make public sector information open, EU-wide, accessible and reusable in order to stimulate the region’s data and knowledge economy and to support SMEs. The European Commission is also focusing on dominant data platforms (so-called “digital gatekeepers”) from an antitrust perspective with a view to opening up their data as part of the EU’s proposed Digital Services Act (see Antitrust / Competition Law Data Issues).
  • Use of own business data: To improve product design and manufacturing, operational efficiencies, benchmarking, customer service, market reach and decision-making, in each case to drive innovation and to reduce the time to market. A business’s own data may also be used for the purposes of providing a better working environment for staff, such as equality and diversity, health and safety and training.
  • Sharing of data and insights with business partners: Such as manufacturers, suppliers, distributors, and customers in order to optimise procurement, supply chain efficiency, customer service, and to enhance product offerings.
  • Sharing of data with complementary businesses: In order to deliver new and innovative services and products.
  • Sharing of data with new forms of data businesses: Such as data aggregators, analytics companies and AI developers.


All these data-related activities will need to be carried out within a rapidly changing regulatory environment for data in many jurisdictions, particularly where such activities are cross-border in nature (see Regulatory Environment for Data).


1   See Commission Staff Working Document, Free Flow of Data and Emerging Issues of the European Data Economy, page 13, footnote 43.