What platform to create for the digital ecosystem: open or closed


Open platforms are growing faster, but are not suitable for all types of businesses. Closed ones provide quality and safety, but slow down growth and are not liked by regulators. We analyze what the best digital ecosystem platforms can be and what are the advantages and disadvantages of each.

Companies create ecosystems that combine partner and proprietary services. For the organizer of the ecosystem, cooperation provides growth and retention of customers, for partners – access to a new audience, for users — a seamless experience of using services.

The marketing digital ecosystem creates a single platform for partners or links several sites together.

What are ecosystem platforms?

  • Open — Third party developers can create and host digital products on the platform.
  • Closed — the platform presents products only from the organizing company and related companies.
  • Hybrid — third-party developers can create and host digital products on the platform, but in the directions that the ecosystem organizer determines.

Open Ecosystem Platforms

There are the following characteristics of open platforms:

  • Competing providers of goods and services have access to the platform.
  • Admission to the platform is based on publicly disclosed criteria.
  • Criteria are not formulated for the characteristics of specific suppliers.
  • The platform owner and its affiliates either do not act as providers on such platform or “play by the general rules”.


Marketplaces are open at the content level: the company creates a platform and attracts sellers who put their goods and services on a virtual showcase. Any seller who meets the criteria of the site can join the marketplace. Ecosystems, the core of which is the marketplace, create an infrastructure around it for sellers: they offer logistics, promotion services, and related services for buyers – finance, entertainment.


Services in the superapp are represented by lightweight mini-apps that already exist on the platform: they do not need to be downloaded, they do not take up additional space on the smartphone. They resemble native apps with a simplified interface and are limited to key features.

A company does not need a designer or a development team to create a mini-app — it can be created using ready-made templates and using the platform’s internal tools. This limits creativity and functionality, but allows third-party companies to quickly launch new products, and the organizer to grow the platform.

Closed Ecosystem Platforms

On a closed platform, the supplier of goods and services is either the company itself or its affiliates or partners.

In terms of format, platforms can be almost the same as those of open ecosystems: an application store, a superapp, a catalog of skills. Unless the number of offers in them will be lower, and the company does not make public the terms of placement.

Hybrid platforms

If we consider ecosystems as a whole, then the most popular of them work according to a hybrid model: individual directions, often payments or communication, are represented by the products of the organizing company, while lifestyle services are represented by several different players.

The choice of the degree of openness of the platform depends on the tasks of the ecosystem and the data stored on it:

  • Open platform — suitable for rapid growth;
  • Closed platform — suitable for a high degree of security and quality of services;
  • Hybrid platform — for the growth of individual areas, while the security and high quality of key services.

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