An economy based on data is the next, fourth stage of development of digitization (after the development of ICT infrastructure, its networking and application use by enterprises and consumers). It is based on generated huge volumes of data, which are currently in a small part structured and used. The world does not yet know how to use them fully, but the race, at the rate of the future shape of a data-driven economy, is gaining momentum and involving both large technology companies, international organizations, economic blocs and individual states. Poland also takes up this challenge by actively monitoring new phenomena in digitization, the international environment, as well as researching its own potential.
According to an analysis aiming to characterize data-driven economy in Poland and point out development opportunities in that regard ordered by Polish Ministry of Digital Affairs, the scale of use of data flows could be determined and referred to other factors, phenomena, and processes which also correlate highly with the economy’s quality and efficiency. The model’s estimation was made with sectoral data concerning the economy of Poland and 20 other European economies. It was also possible to determine the importance of data for each of analyzed sectors. The model’s specification was based on standard hypotheses used in the context of the economic growth empirical theory.
Lack of data use. A hypothetical situation in which data use and data transfer intensity in an average European economy falls to near zero level makes the GDP of that economy decrease by around 46%. In the case of Poland, it would mean a regress to the level of GDP per capita in 1999, almost 20 years ago. A 1% increase in the data use and data transfer intensity in an average European economy results in a mean 0.21% increase of the added value. This coefficient is known as production’s flexibility in relation to data intensity.
Consequences of lack of data use. If that principle is extrapolated on the future, it means that delaying or abandoning measures aiming at the development of socio-economic conditions favourable to the development of highly data-driven economy will already in the medium term result in a decrease of the possible rate of economic growth.
Abovementioned analysis has shown, too, that data and related information and communication technologies enable the implementation of specific types of business models (both of a production and service nature), or they support them in an indirect way, increasing the efficiency of operational processes underlying the activities of enterprises implementing them. .
The results of the study have served Ministry of Digital Affaires as launching point towards the concept of building a data-driven economy in Poland. Industry + as a way of using the opportunities offered by digitalisation. This concept presents the assumptions of the model, whose implementation will allow Poland to find new sources of economic growth and take a favorable place among European and world economies.
Technology is a strong reason for the immediate removal of barriers to data flows within the European Union, thus ensuring the efficient operation of data storage and processing, which is the cornerstone of any data economy. and will improve Europe's global competitiveness. In addition, market maturity and interventions vary from one issue to another. As for barriers to data flow, the cause is relatively simple - they come from forced storage or processing of certain types of data in electronic format within a geographic area or IT environment. Other data related issues are emerging from the new business models that have emerged from the digital transformation of the industry, technological advances and the fast-growing data market, and their implications need further assessment. Despite the economic benefits of free flow of data, many countries have introduced restrictions that are called geoblocking. Between 2008 and 2016 the number of such barriers has increased more than doubled.
Poland insisted to take steps that would ensure that non-personal data could be conveyed without undue obstacles to EU Member States, as expressed in the 14 Member States of December 2, 2016 "Free Flow of Data Initiative" joint letter to President Donald Tusk, 17 Member States of 20 June 2017, and the position expressed by the Prime Minister of the Republic of Poland in the Tallinn European Council of 29 September 2017, quoting the renewed Rome Declaration of 25 March 2017 , in which all Member States stressed the need to build a single and undivided EU market..
In order to ensure free flow of data, it is necessary to clarify at EU level as well as other international organizations the anticipated actions for self-regulation of codes of conduct. Self-regulatory guidelines should include, on the one hand, open standards for interoperability and on the other - hand mutual recognition of cloud services certification. Identification of guidelines will improve competitiveness in the EU internal market, including improving cross-border mobility of non-personal data, without creating undue burden on service providers or distorting the market.
According to polish concept, legal barriers to cross-border data flows should be abolished (over 70% of businesses treat them as a serious blockade of innovation).
 Intensywność wykorzystania danych w gospodarce, a jej rozwój. Analiza diagnostyczna [Data use intensity in an economy vs. its development. Diagnostic analysis], op. cit..