Business ecosystems associated to digital platforms

By definition, by bringing together actors from different sides, platforms are defined by their stakeholders. There are core stakeholders (target customers, core suppliers, value chain partners), but it should not be forgotten that there are also actors with an indirect or external interest in the activities in the platform (competitors, existing customers not addressed through the platform). A platform also defines the relationship with and the channels with the different user groups.

The business ecosystem within a digital platform have to attract, involve and interconnect value creators on both the supply and demand sides. The platform enables the interaction (value co-creation) between two main groups: demand side (target clients = value users) and supply side (value producers).

Network effects of platform has two dimensions: direct network effects explain how a platform attracts other value creators to participate whereas indirect network effects arise from attracting other platforms to contribute.

Interactions with other digital platforms indicate how developed solutions are interoperable with legacy systems or how future interaction with other solutions is anticipated.

Governance of interaction with other digital platforms is crucial especially for B2B platform operations.  Application programming interfaces (APIs) and other technical boundary resources enable interoperability and co-operative resources set the rules of participating and sharing within the platform.

In digital platforms the filtering is typically based on algorithms, i.e.  software-based tools enable the proper and relevant fit of the exchange between producers and users.

Other eco-system aspects can be:

  • What are the value chain implications?
  • Is the network open or closed? Is there an intention to expand?
  • Is it a vertical, sectorial platform or a cross-cutting, horizontal platform?
  • How are the relationships defined?