Digital platforms: A new stage in the national economy’s transformation

The development of the digital economy is one of the key trends that are transforming the traditional brick-and-mortar economic activities in Russia today. Market participants are increasingly interacting with digital processes and digital platforms that are emerging in various areas of business, forming entire industry ecosystems. Although there is no single definition of the digital economy or its building blocks – digital platforms – we can discuss their technological and economic components, as well as the functional levels of the digital economy.

The digital economy can be viewed as a three-level structure. The top level encompasses economic sectors and markets, where suppliers and consumers of goods and services interact; the middle level accommodates platforms and technologies, which generate competencies for the development of markets and industries (spheres of activity); the third level constitutes an environment that creates conditions for developing platforms and technologies of effective cooperation between market entities and industries, and encompasses legal regulation, information infrastructure, workforce and information security.

According to the Strategy for the Development of the Information Society in the Russian Federation for 2017–2030, approved by the Presidential Executive Order No. 203 of May 9, 2017, a national program was developed, titled Digital Economy of the Russian Federation.

This national program focuses on creating a digital economy ecosystem for Russia across all areas of socioeconomic activity, and on increasing the competitiveness on the global market for specific sectors of the Russian economy and the national economy in general.

In conjunction with its implementation objectives, the program outlines the primary cross-cutting digital technologies pivotal for advancing digital business models and receiving optimal benefits from cross-functional and inter-organizational interactions within platforms and networks. These encompass big data, neurotechnology, artificial intelligence, wireless communication technologies, industrial internet, distributed ledger systems, novel production technologies, robotics, sensors, as well as virtual and augmented reality technologies.

The objectives of the Digital Economy of the Russian Federation national program include establishing a fresh regulatory framework for interactions between citizens, businesses, and the state stemming from digital economy advancement. This includes crafting modern, high-speed infrastructure for data storage, processing, and transmission, guaranteeing the stability and security of its operations, implementing a personnel training system for the digital economy, fostering the growth of pivotal cross-cutting digital technologies and their implementation projects, and enhancing the effectiveness of public administration and service delivery through digital technology adoption and platform solutions.

Let’s delve deeper into digital platforms. Building industry ecosystems within the national economy is a complex, time-consuming process that demands substantial preparatory groundwork to establish and cultivate essential infrastructure. A digital platform serves as a technological hub that connects producers and consumers of goods and services. Through digital innovations and unique technologies, the platform facilitates direct interaction among diverse user groups, catering to their needs. This sets it apart from traditional intermediaries, where there is no direct engagement between stakeholders.

Digital platforms closely collaborate with traditional organizational structures; this allows for building new operational business models, increasing process and operation efficiency manifold through greater communication, and reducing transaction costs, payment transaction risks, and others.

Digital platforms have been used by certain marketplaces to launch their business models. Those include Wildberries, Ozon and Yandex.Market retail marketplaces, CIAN, Iz Ruk v Ruki (From Hand to Hand) and World of Apartments real estate services, Yandex.Taxi, Aviasales and Profi.Ru services for customers and providers, and educational platforms such as Skillbox, GetCourse and

The vast diversity and distribution of such services has led to the difficulty in their classification.

A basic approach to classification of digital platforms involves determining their functional level:

  1. Micro-level: digital platforms that are used within an individual company (internal platforms such as ERP, WMS, TMS, CRM, SCM, and others).
  2. Meso-level: digital platforms used at the regional level (external platforms that operate within the territorial entity). Those can be grouped by a sector or functional principle, such as the service aggregator for Moscow-based taxi drivers and companies, or the Supplier Portal unified procurement platform operating in Moscow.
  3. Macro level: nationwide digital platforms that unite participants within the national economy. Those enter external markets to become part of global systems, such as the Digital Platform of the Russian Transport Complex, SberLogistics, Ozon, and others.
  4. Global level: digital platforms that are launched within the national system and/or by representatives of various countries. Those unite participants across the globe, such as LOGINK, a Chinese logistics platform that integrates platforms in China, Japan and South Korea, and NEAL-NET, a logistics platform created at the trilateral China-Japan-S. Korea Ministerial Conference on Transport and Logistics, as well as others.

Another approach to platforms classification involves participant composition and the business-to-consumer interaction model (B2C), business-to-business interaction (B2B), consumer-to-consumer direct interaction model (C2C), as well as interactions and transactions that occur between businesses and government entities (B2G).

By Irina Sharova, Associate Professor of the Department of Entrepreneurship and Logistics of Plekhanov Russian Economic University

Previous ArticleNext Article