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Norwegian data economy: Collaboration needed now
Nicolay MoulinFeb 2, 2023 2:02:57 PM3 min read

Norwegian data economy: Collaboration needed now

Smart and efficient use of public data can lead to development of new services and contribute to value creation of several hundred billion NOK. Unfortunately, the Norwegian government and private businesses does not know how to leverage the potential.

Enormous amounts of information is created every day in public administration. There is broad political consensus that these data can and should be used for resarch, innovation and business development, but so far, only ten percent of all data produced is available for use. This, of course, is not enough.

According to The Hurdal platform, the public sector has to offer the necessary terms and conditions for data refinement in Norway, actively enabling value creation. Despite this clearly stated ambition and responsibility, insight from the Norwegian Digitalisation Agency shows that the progress is not satisfactory. Last year, the progress was actually negative.

This is a pity, since every day passing without a clearly stated plan for processing and use of puclic data, means we are missing out on considerable revenue, innovation and positive spillover effects from increased productivity.

In other words: We need a plan, and we need it fast!

Large gains

The consulting and analysis company Meon, estimated in 2019, that Norwegian data economics would contribute to a yearly value creation of 150 billion NOK in 2020 and represent 100 000 jobs. According to Menon, playing our cards right, these numbers can be doubled in 2030.

Data from the public sector is widely applicable. Some of the use cases are familiar, others will arise from future innovations. Fortunately, we already have some very good examples for inspiration:

Through sharing of seismics and production data, the data warehouse Diskos contributes to streamlining of the oil industry. Entur has in a very short time, become the most complete solution for travel information in Norway. Consent-based loan application (“Samtykkebasert lånesøknad”) has made it easier delivering and processing applications for loans.

Spir Groups’s Boligmappa is also creating value using public data. Boligmappa is a platform for homeowners, collecting data and documentation on all properties and homes in one place – connected to the land registry in Norway. The platform works as a digital service booklet for properties and homes, transferred to the new owner when the property is sold. The same way as when selling a car.

These services are different, but with the same starting point – smart use of public data. There is enormous potential. If we make sure public data is shared systematically, we create a stepping stone for innovation and business development.

A starting point for dialogue

Even though there is still a way to go, luckily change is on its way. Some days ago, the analysis company Agenda Kaupang on behalf of the Ministry of Local Government and Modernization published a study on dataeconomics in the public sector. The study gives an overview of challenges and possibilites when it comes to the public sector’s role as administrator and provider of data. The study will be used by a committee of law in the Ministry of Local Government and Modernization when formulating a holistic regulation for the reuse of public information.

The study is an important step in the right direction. Amongst other aspects, it suggests that the administration of public data can be handled in a public-private partnership. We believe that this model, where private businesses contributes to design and financing of smart solutions for future data sharing is a good one. Not least because sharing and valueadding data can be costly and time-consuming. Starting with the needs of private businesses, will make prioritization easier for the public sector.

This collaboratin will be an important arena facilitating a dialogue that is not good enough today. Agenda Kaupang found that private businesses and the public sector do not connmunicate effectively on possibilities in Norwegian data economics. A public-private partnership can improve this. We sincerely hope that Agenda Kaupang’s recommendations will be taken into account.

Utilizing the resources

Data is the new oil, it has been said. The truth is that data in the long run, will create more values than the petroleum industry. Data is made more valueable when used, and opposed to the oil, data will not be used up. In addition to creating a basis for new businesses, puclic data can also be used as decision making support related to business development, both in the public sector and for private businesses.

Norway simply can not afford not taking advantage of this opportunity. In this important area, public and private sector have to connect to develop valueable solutions, benefiting us all!

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Nicolay Moulin

CEO i Sikri Holding