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Business to Business

Eline N. Lincklaen Arriens

Views, thoughts, and opinions expressed in the text belong solely to the author, and do not represent the views of the Support Centre for Data Sharing or the European Commission.

Business to business (B2B) data sharing refers to a sales interaction between one business with another. Often, B2B processes involve one company selling supplies or a good to another. For example, a wholesaler selling a product to a retailer, like a supermarket, who then sells this product at a slightly higher price to customers who visit their store. In addition to selling supplies, B2B also includes services, such as an attorney who takes cases for business clients or a consultant that helps companies with developing a business model.

But what does this mean for us interested in data sharing and why should we care what B2B is? In its essence, the B2B data sharing model is meant to support business in their operations and to grow, contrasting with business to consumer (B2C) and consumer to business (C2B) models where business directly sell to individual customers or where a user creates products or services for a business, respectively.1 With B2B, businesses specifically offer the raw materials, finished pieces, services, or consultations to another company with the intention for them both to continue operating, growing, and making a profit. 

There are numerous real-world B2B data sharing activities that are more visible than we would first think. An example mentioned in an earlier opinion piece (The Best of Intentions)2 is the infamous Nightingale project, a data sharing venture between Google and Ascension. The project follows a classic B2B data sharing model where Ascension shares their health care data to Google, giving them additional information to evaluate the current health care system and procedures, and find ways to improve it in a cost-effective and efficient manner. 

Another example is JoinData, a digital platform that facilitates secure data sharing along the value chain in the Netherlands and gives farmers greater control over their data.3 The initiative is a cooperative for the agriculture sector that includes companies, knowledge institutions, application developers, farmers, and agricultural entrepreneurs, and enables these parties to decide who gets access to their data. The aim of JoinData is to make data sharing in the agriculture sector in the Netherlands more efficient and transparent and to encourage innovations that can result in improved performance in terms of sustainability, profitability, and welfare.

As can be seen through these examples, there are several reasons why businesses should enter data sharing agreements and numerous benefits that come thereafter. Namely, through data sharing businesses can gain access to additional datasets that, in turn, can contribute to their research or initiatives. In addition, these data sources can enable them to gain new insights that have a direct and indirect impact on their business and on society as a whole, such as in the health care and agriculture sector.

For more examples of data sharing models, explore the SCDS’s website -