Digital B2B platforms and data-driven business models are the engine of Europe’s growth, industrial transformation and job creation. They have grown dramatically over the past decade and are affecting every industry. By harnessing the intelligence of big data and digital platforms, European industries can enhance productivity and performance, increase profitability, strengthen their competitive advantage, reduce risk, and pave the way for innovation.
Traditional firms across many sectors are moving to establish their own B2B (business-to-business) platforms, as a means to innovate, experiment with new business models, and develop smart products and services. European industry has the opportunity and strength to lead in this area.
According to the report, ‘Big data and B2B digital platforms: The next frontier for Europe's industry and enterprises’ by the Strategic Policy Forum on Digital Entrepreneurship, industrial companies are expected to make 3.6% per year in cost reductions over the next 5 years by basing business decisions on big data analytics. Using big data to manage resources more efficiently could bring annual net savings of up to €600 billion for EU businesses. It is estimated that digital platforms will capture 30 –40% of the value created in industrial chains. They will be the engine of tomorrow’s growth, industrial transformation and job creation. However Europe needs to overcome a series of challenges to capture the full potential of big data and digital platforms. It is fundamental to review the complex regulatory environment to stimulate investments in key infrastructures and applications, to create a data-driven economy in Europe, and to ensure standards exist that allow IT systems to be interoperable.
The European Commission launched several initiatives as part of the Digital Single Market Strategy to tackle the main obstacles which hinder the exploitation of big data and digital platforms. In our Communication on Online Platforms we outlined the key issues which affect them and presented our position on the innovation opportunities and the regulatory challenges. We have proposed EU Data Protection Reform to make Europe fit for the digital age by eliminating the need to comply with different data protection laws, simplifying the regulatory environment and reducing the administrative burden for EU companies. We intend to build a Single Market for a trusted Internet of Things and to set up a European cloud initiative to strengthen Europe's position in data-driven innovation. We propose concrete measures to speed up the standard setting process by focusing on five priority areas (5G, cloud computing, Internet of Things, data technologies and cybersecurity). Finally, we will assess the different legal and technical obstacles related to the free flow of data and will then define measures to address them.