Creating Data Ecosystems

Data Ecosystems – using data as a balancing and growth factor for the economy.

Water, light, flora, and fauna: The interplay of all these factors in natural ecosystems is an excellent model for highly modern value chains in the economy. Just like nature needs to find a balance between the interests of all participants in an ecosystem, the interests of all data providers and data users have to be harmonized for the best possible results in the digitized economy.

This applies in particular to data-intensive fields such as AI solutions. With its architecture of the ”International Data Space”(IDS), Fraunhofer ISST along with its research partners is creating a framework for the controlled sharing and competent handling of data. Therefore, the International Data Space can be considered a blueprint for successful Data Ecosystems. This cover story describes what such business ecosystems may look like in the four focus sectors of Fraunhofer ISST – Automotive, Healthcare, Logistics, and Data Economy.

The spread of digital technologies and artificial intelligence has been growing steadily for years, and is necessitating an overhaul of conventional business models. Here, data play a central role. While traditional business models are based on tangible assets, data as a raw material are not only valuable because they contain information and knowledge, but also because they can be used to influence and shape innovative services and customer experiences.
Thus, it is not only important to enable a shift from tangible, material products to “intelligent” products, or to link control of the physical value chain to the orchestration of the data value chain. Rather, data also have to be managed in the company as an important resource – according to the familiar parameters of time, costs, and quality.

Since innovations are increasingly being realized in economic ecosystems, in which various members such as companies, research organizations, intermediaries (such as electronic marketplaces), government agencies, customers, and competitors band together to jointly attain innovative value propositions, this transformation also has to take place at the data level: The ecosystem as a complex, interactive system encompassing various organisms and their organic environment is transferred to the business world and characterized by the need of the ecosystem to operate as a whole, with no member being able to produce innovations on its own. Each member has to make a contribution in order for all to benefit. Ecosystems can only function and persist when a state of equilibrium is achieved for all members.
We, at Fraunhofer ISST, help our customers and partners establish functioning and long-lived Data Ecosystems and integrate them into existing processes, among other things by establishing generally accepted rules and architectures that maintain balance in the Data Ecosystem. The fundamental modes of action are the same in all business units.


Data Ecosystems in Healthcare:
Data as a valuable resource in the treatment process


Data Ecosystems in the data Economy:
Data marketplaces connect participants via digital platforms


Data Ecosystems in the Logistics:
Digital real-time presentation as a competitive advantage in distributed production processes