Each type of data ecosystem player tends to exercise certain revenue models. But also, to apply corresponding pricing models. For this reason, we will explore the types of actors present in data ecosystems.

The typology of data ecosystem actors

Ecosystem actors can be categorized into 4 main categories:
● The contributors of raw or unprocessed data.
● The data processors
● The connectors/orchestrators.
● The service providers.
This categorization of actors can be paralleled with the stages in which an average company interacts with an ecosystem:
1/ The enterprise buys raw or unprocessed data. Then, it hires a data processor to transform its data into a more valuable resource.
2/ The company can then use a connector to be interconnected
3/ This interconnection allows it to provide or exchange additional data in an ecosystem
4/ And if necessary, it can finally hire a service provider. This action allows it to transform some of its information into actionable insights or other relevant services.

Contributors of raw or unprocessed data

Raw data can be defined as: “data that is collected from a source in its initial state. They have not yet been processed – or cleaned, organized, and presented visually” (Hiter, Shelby, 2021).
Thus, we can understand it as these actors in the data ecosystem providing raw or unprocessed data. These contributors can be public or private entities, depending on the form the ecosystem takes. Raw data contributors can provide personal or non-personal data. These actors can also be companies of all sizes that wish to contribute their data to the ecosystem. Whether by allowing the transfer of their data from their cloud or database (decentralized). Or by providing entire sets of raw data for other actors to query. It is also possible to access directly via a platform (centralized). Raw data sets are much less valuable than processed data sets, but they are often important for companies. Indeed, it allows them to develop new services and to get insights on consumer behavior. These contributors can be data providers. That is, they sell their own data, or data brokers, who sell other companies’ data. While the revenue models for this type of data provider are fairly straightforward. Contributors of unprocessed data can sometimes have difficulty pricing their data because it has not yet been cleaned or transformed.
Companies that purchase unprocessed data often need services that process the data in order to use it.

Data processors

Data processors are the actors that provide cleansing, transformation, aggregation, exploration and exploitation services. This data is used to increase its value. For example, we can cite companies like Palantir and Blackrock’s Aladdin service as data processors.
Note that data processing is an integral part of data ecosystems. Indeed, once a company has a large amount of processed data. It can then with the help of orchestrators/connectors, share and monetize it with other organizations.

Connectors/data orchestrators

Connectors have many names and many roles in data ecosystems. These actors either provide a place where data exchange can take place. But also, the technical infrastructure for other companies to do so. For example, the Harbr platform provides the infrastructure. This infrastructure allows companies to create their own centralized and privately orchestrated data exchanges. Other connectors provide APIs or common requirements for decentralized data exchanges. A subcategory of these players are enablers. They provide additional technologies and services that enable organizations to share or exchange information.
In an interview with Markus Spiekermann, he mentions that “the connector component can be seen as a gateway to every participant in the ecosystem, and what it does is it has APIs and interfaces to exchange data” (Spiekermann, M., 2021). The idea that connectors can open up entire ecosystems presents many opportunities and challenges when identifying specific business models.

In addition, revenue and pricing models for connectors can vary greatly depending on the type of ecosystem they are in. These can be ecosystem fee models or open source models. Connectors enable the formation of data ecosystems that can provide and share massive amounts of information. These massive amounts of information give rise to an entire sub-economy in data ecosystems, the service provider economy.

Data Service Providers

Many new types of services and sub-services are developing every day in data ecosystems. A single service provider may offer a wide variety of services that can be performed once data is processed and/or connected. Some service providers practice one or more different business models. These models depend on the services they offer and the products they generate from those services.
While there are many service providers, it is also important to understand how these ecosystems can be formed and how to define them.


Also to be discovered : New data sharing model: “data ecosystems”.

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