5.5. Business building blocks

DSSC definition: A Data Space Business Building Block is a basic unit or component that can be implemented and combined with other building blocks to achieve the business functionality of a data space.

This section contains description of not only business buildings blocks prepared by DSSC but also additional ones needed for DS4Skills.

Data Product definition #

Description (as defined in the DSSC blueprint) There are 3 relevant types of products for the data space:

  • Data products: The providers of data products rely on the functional data space to deliver the data products to the users (other data space participants). These products can be:
    • Raw data.
    • Products and services built using the data.
    • Analysis or insights.
  • Products (and services) that are part of the data space infrastructure and, therefore, enable the data space to function.
  • Final products, such as business apps, that the data space participants may compile using one or more data products. The customers of the final products do not need to be participants of the data space.

DSSC building block name: “Data product definition”


Key Elements & Key Functions
  • Rapid and flexible creation of data products asits purpose is to support a wide range of use cases that leverage the same data and business/pricing models.
  • This building block has to enable extraction value from data, monetization of data assets, while simultaneously minimizing the costs associated with data space operations and reducing time-to-market for new offerings.

For instance, SkillsFast monitors data products across various use cases. They recognized that skills assessments, initially designed for real person data, could also be valuable for fictional data, aiding training companies in future planning. Consequently, SkillsFast initiated discussions with multiple data and service providers to enable this new use case.

Business model and Pricing model Framework #

Description The choice of business models is a crucial business element. Each data product and operational services within the data space, offers value but also incurs costs. This building block supports data space participants to define and select appropriate business and pricing models for their role in particular use case.

DSSC building block name: Business Models Framework

Key Elements & Key Functions With regards to business and pricing models, data spaces must provide:

  • Flexible business model and open to new suggestions, especially those emerging from data/service providers, as well as infrastructure stakeholders.
  • Predefined, commonly used business models readily available for all participants. This can expedite the onboarding process for new participants and empower data/service providers to make swift adjustments to their existing offerings or create new ones. This not only streamlines data space operations but also fosters potential for growth. There could be many models and one of functions of is to support also new models as requested by participants.
  • Visibility into the operating costs associated with their offerings and the value they can generate for all participants. This is where the data value chain tracker assumes a pivotal role, helping participants not only track the flow of money and value but also providing insights to determine the most suitable business and pricing models for their offerings.
  • Predefined, commonly used pricing models readily available for all participants. This will also facilitate accessibility and flexibility, while remaining open to new suggestions, particularly from data/service providers.

As an example, when SkillProfiX joined the use case, they opted for a monthly subscription model based on the availability (per employee) for their “skills assessment” service. This choice aligned well with their needs and was supported by the data space. In the event that they require a different business or pricing model that is not currently available, they will seek assistance from Fire-X and SkillsFast to facilitate its implementation.

Use Case Development #

Description Help and guidance in exploring, developing, and onboarding a new use case.

This building block is not mandatory however it can be advantageous for several reasons:

  • Human centricity and growth: in use case development emphasizes the importance of creating new use cases based on input from end users. This approach prioritizes the needs of end users while also aligning with the business case, ultimately fostering the growth of the data space.
  • Efficiency: Use case development accelerator provides templates, tools, and best practices that streamline the process of creating new use cases. This can significantly reduce the time and effort required to bring a use case from concept to implementation.
  • Helps ensure consistency in how use cases are developed and structured within data space.
  • By providing predefined frameworks and guidelines it can help mitigate risks associated with use case development.
  • Enables faster time-to-market for new offerings and data products.
  • Can help lower the cost of use case development by reusing proven methodologies and assets.

DSSC building block name: Use Case Development

Key Elements & Key Functions
  • Providing standard descriptions and templates for use cases.
  • Monitoring user searches and data product consumption is a crucial component of data space operational activities. This analysis of existing use case usage helps determine whether new use cases or data products should be developed. Furthermore, this information should be accessible to all data, service, and infrastructure providers, empowering them to make informed decisions about developing new services or products.
  • In addition, the data space should offer a list of use cases along with their coverage and usage across different data space use cases. This information serves as a valuable resource for participants, enabling them to identify suitable matches and foster collaboration more effectively.

DS4Skills strongly recommends the creation and utilization of this building ck, particularly because it identifies the needs of end users, and the functionality of the Data Value Chain Tracker supports the fair distribution of monetary benefits.

For instance, SkillsFast observed that training organizations frequently search for “planning trainings” as a service. SkillsFast recognized the potential to offer this as a new use case, which had been previously identified but remained unrealized due to resource limitations. This insight is aiding SkillsFast in the development of the use case.

Publication and discovery services #

Description This holds vital importance within the data space and data space use case. It serves as the primary tool for discovering various entities, including products, offerings, participants, infrastructure building blocks, data space use cases, and use cases. This building block facilitates discovery across the entire data space. It plays a pivotal role in connecting participants and fostering collaboration between them.

Main benefits of this building block include:

  • Accelerated growth: The building block expedites growth by connecting participants with relevant opportunities and potential collaborators.
  • Cost reduction: It encourages the reuse of existing services and data, lowering costs associated with developing new solutions from scratch.
  • Enhanced service quality: By facilitating collaborations and the exchange of complementary services and data, it contributes to the delivery of higher-quality services.

DSSC building block name: Publication and Discovery services

Key Elements & Key Functions
  • Participant-driven search: Each participant can initiate searches based on various criteria, tailoring the results to their specific needs.
  • Potential matches: The building block returns a set of potential matches based on the search criteria provided, helping participants identify suitable opportunities.
  • Collaboration request and templates: It enables participants to request collaboration and provides templates for collaboration agreements. These templates incorporate DS4Skills-specific governance and legal rules, streamlining the process of setting up collaborations while ensuring compliance with the relevant regulations and standards. For an instance, a SkillProfiX may utilize this building block to identify a new data provider NewJob from a different data space use case. Their data can next career move” service. This BB will help in setting up collaboration using predefined contract template.

Data value chain tracker #

Description This building block enables the tracking of contributors and their respective contributions within the data value chain, ensuring equitable compensation for all parties involved. In contrast to current closed digital platforms, users and organizations gain the ability to monitor and exert control over the use of their personal or business data by other entities after sharing it.

This transformative capability offers several advantages:

  • Lowering barriers: It reduces barriers for users and organizations when it comes to sharing sensitive data. This is possible because the data remains safeguarded by data space rules, consent mechanisms, and business contracts, instilling a sense of trust and security.
  • Innovative incentives: It has the potential to foster the creation of novel incentives and business models that encourage the responsible and profitable utilization of available data resources.

In essence, this building block empowers individuals and organizations, promoting transparency and trust while unlocking new opportunities in the data sharing data space use case.

This building block was also one of the requests.  [ WP3.1 ].

Key Elements & Key Functions
  • Data value flow requests: Each participant has the capability to request a comprehensive data value flow analysis for each specific use case.
  • Visibility for data providers: Data providers can access information that shows how and where their data is being utilized, subject to consent and signed contract/orders.
  • Visibility for data consumers: visibility that includes:
    • The source of the data they are utilizing, as per consent and signed contract/orders.
    • The precise cost associated with the data, including how this payment is distributed along the entire data value chain.
    • Money and value flow transparency: The system provides visibility into the money and value flow for each use case. This extends from the initial participant who pays for the data product through the entire chain of subsequent participants involved in the use case.

For example, let’s consider “YourTraining,” a company seeking to evaluate and reevaluate its business and pricing model. They employ the Data value chain tracker to gain a comprehensive understanding of data and financial flows. This information will guide them in making an informed decision regarding the most appropriate business and pricing model.

An illustrative example with fictional money chain (note: values in the example are for demonstration purposes only and are not representative of actual transactions) can be found Chapter 5.3.2.

Advertising #

Description Advertising in the data space is crucial for creating awareness, driving adoption, building trust, fostering collaboration, generating revenue, and promoting innovation. It plays a fundamental role in the success and sustainability of data-related endeavours.


  • Faster adoption: It promotes the adoption of data products by highlighting their availability and relevance to potential users.
  • Accelerated growth: it encourages data providers to introduce new products and services, fostering the growth of the data space
  • Effective matching: It helps participants discover data products that align with their needs and interests.
  • Revenue generation: Advertising can be a revenue source for data space operations.
Key Elements & Key Functions Every space should include an advertising module, enabling data and service providers to promote their offerings. Participants will see adds for additional existing or new data products they might be interested in. Participants can then discover additional data products, both existing and new, that align with their interests. This approach not only facilitates quicker adoption of data products but also accelerates overall data space growth. Effective advertising relies on the Publication and discovery building block, which lists all offerings in the catalogue, and is subject to governance rules dictating what can be promoted to participants and how.

Key elements:

  • Publication and discovery building block: This component serves as the foundation for advertising, listing all data products and services available within the data space. It ensures comprehensive coverage
  • Catalogue integration: Advertising is integrated into the data space’s catalogue, making it easy for participants to access information about data products.
  • Governance and rules: Clear rules and governance should be in place to determine what can be promoted within the data space and how advertising is conducted to maintain a high-quality and trustworthy environment.

An example: Matilda is using SkillProfiX, a skills assessment tool to define her skills profile. Advertising building block by SkillsFast shows Matilda in adds section also 2 service offerings: 1) “relevant training recommendations” by SDAI and 2) “skills assessment tool “by SkillProfiX for a next career move.

Contract/Order  #

Description Its primary feature revolves around the comprehensive inclusion of all contractual details. This ensures that, on one hand, the end user receives the data product they require, and on the other hand, it legally binds all data/service providers to deliver the specified data products and receive compensation for their offerings.

There are several associated with this approach:

  • Cost reduction: Flexibility in changing contracts and the automation of contracting and billing processes lead to cost savings for all participants involved.
  • Efficiency and trust: Alignment with the data space and data space use case governance and legal requirements streamlines the process of preparing contracts and orders for each participant. This efficiency not only saves time but also enhances trust within the data space use case.

DSSC building block name: Marketplace & Usage Accounting

Key Elements & Key Functions Flexibility is a crucial of this building block, as it enables various business models and pricing structures to be accommodated. Moreover, it ensures that all data/service providers align with the data space and data space use case governance framework and meet the necessary legal requirements. To achieve this, the data space needs to offer contract/order templates that outline the minimum requirements.

As an example, SDAI articulated the requirement for a novel contract catering to very important customers with improved terms and conditions. Thanks to its adaptability, SkillsFast swiftly generated a new template to meet this need.

Billing #

Description This building block serves the purpose of ensuring that invoices for data products are provided to end users and to ensure that data/service providers, including infrastructure and governance, receive their rightful compensation.

DSSC building block name: Marketplace & Usage Accounting

Key Elements & Key Functions
  • The main function is generating invoices to data space participants receiving data or services.
  • The utmost importance lies in the accuracy, transparency, and precision of consumption calculations based on the contract/order and actual usage. Users should be able to clearly understand how their usage is being billed and what they are being charged for. If the billing process within the data space use case falters in this regard, it can lead to a breakdown of trust, potentially causing lasting damage to the entire data space use case and the data space itself.
  • This building block needs to assure participants that the billing system will function seamlessly for all use cases and predefined business and pricing models. This centralized approach reduces costs compared to each participant managing their own billing system.
  • Additionally, certain functionalities of this building block may also be applied in the data value chain tracker, further enhancing its utility and efficiency within the data space.

For instance, Matilda received an invoice for a training session form IntelliAITraining that didn’t align with any of the training sessions she had attended in terms of content or timing. Although she eventually resolved the issue, her trust in the entire Fire-X data space was compromised, leading her to abstain from using any services for a

Aftersales #

Description Aftersales is a collection of activities and supportive functions aimed at assisting participants in resolving issues and obtaining information regarding transactions and invoices. The Aftersales building block is pivotal in ensuring that participants have a positive experience within the data space, fostering transparency and trust among participants by providing them with the necessary tools and information, and facilitating the ongoing success and growth of the data space and its use cases.

DSSC building block name: Marketplace & Usage Accounting

Key Elements & Key Functions Aftersales is composed of distinct modules, all of which are essential for maintaining fully satisfied participants:

  • Account info: Participants can access and manage their accounts and profiles, including reviewing an audit log that provides insights into who accessed their data, when, and for what purpose.
  • Transaction/Consumption Log
  • Case management serves as a platform for addressing questions and complaints, crucial for maintaining end-user satisfaction and trust.
  • Surveys are employed for diverse business needs, ranging from gauging participant satisfaction to gathering feedback on what participants may feel is missing. Surveys can also be used for voting on open questions.
  • Role-based reporting: Each role within the data space has access to specific reporting functionalities.

For instance, Matilda received an invoice for a skills assessment meant for her company, DigiFutuX. She disputed it, and IntelliAITraining corrected the mistake. Matilda was then asked to complete a satisfaction survey when the issue was resolved.

Marketplace #

Description A marketplace serves as a central hub that empowers participants to explore a wide array of offerings, including data products, infrastructure, potential collaborators, and various data space use cases.

It plays a pivotal role in facilitating collaboration while also fostering trust by providing information on how data value is tracked throughout the entire value chain. The primary objective of this building block is to enable participants to fully utilize and engage with the data space and data space use cases, thereby ensuring their sustainability and continued growth.

DSSC building block name: Marketplace & Usage Accounting

Key Elements & Key Functions The marketplace serves as a connective element, integrating various building blocks such as:

  • advertising,
  • offerings,
  • publication and discovery.

The data space defines the overarching building blocks, while each individual data space use case decides which specific building blocks are necessary and will be implemented.

As an example, Fire-X recognized the necessity of evolving into a comprehensive marketplace to support the growth of the data space. Consequently, they enlisted InfraTrust to provide marketplace services.

Table 8: Description of business building blocks

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