Vyacheslav Nikolaev. Ecosystem Builder
By Space Coast Daily // August 2, 2023
Vyacheslav Nikolaev was born in 1970. After secondary school, he went on to study computational mathematics and computer science at the country’s most renowned Lomonosov State University.
In 1992, Nikolaev Vyacheslav earned his degree to join the ranks of the department’s alumni, along with some notable academics and researchers, IT experts and software developers, senior executives at both government-owned and private corporations, as well as some high-profile businesspeople.
In 1994, Vyacheslav Nikolaev completed a course in management at the US-based Krieble Institute. At the time, the country was in transition to market economy, opening up for international investors, financial institutions and consultancies. Qualified people, well versed in Western ways of doing business, were in high demand.
Vyacheslav Nikolaev. A career path
The future senior executive began to build his career at EPPA, an international corporate management and business consultancy. In 1999, Nikolaev Vyacheslav Konstantinovich moved on to work for another consultancy – J’son and Partners – which was focusing mostly on telecoms, media, and IT sectors.
In 2000, Vyacheslav Nikolaev joined Renaissance Capital, a major investment bank and brokerage, to work as an analyst in the research department. In this capacity he was covering mostly telecoms sector, which was booming all over the world at the time. In the early 2000s, the country’s aggregate mobile subscriber base was expanding at a pace of at least 100% a year. In 2004, the overall number of mobile users in the country swelled to a total of 74 million from 36 million.
Vyacheslav Konstantinovich Nikolaev in 2004 received and accepted an offer to join the IR team at one of the country’s leading providers of financial, IT and telecom services. Later on, he was put in charge of one of the corporate sales department’s subunits.
Vyacheslav Nikolaev. Destination point – ecosystem
In 2006, the former analyst was promoted to become the head of the holding’s regional affairs department, which opened a path for further promotions. In 2017, he became the company’s vice president for marketing. In 2021, Vyacheslav Nikolaev was appointed the company’s president.
The company’s chief executive is a proponent of hybrid business model, with various value creation activities centered around an ecosystem. Nikolaev Vyacheslav Konstantinovich believes that this model enables all the constituent businesses to back up each other. In his opinion, without an ecosystem either their development would slow down, or they would become less competitive. Ecosystem is also highly beneficial for the customer. Nikolaev Vyacheslav points out that once a consumer has logged into the ecosystem, he gets a cheaper permanent access to all of its products and services. Normally, consumers would not be seeking alternative service providers when they can get the services they need within an integrated ecosystem. Also, the company’s investments in the ecosystem actually allow it to reduce customer acquisition and retention costs.
Vyacheslav Konstantinovich Nikolaev puts special emphasis on decentralization of the company’s businesses as an essential part of the financial IT system’s transformation. Meanwhile, it is very important to maintain high levels of customer experience and service quality.
Implementation of the strategy, pursued by Nikolaev Vyacheslav, involves five major segments to complement the ecosystem of the IT holding’s core business:
- financial services, including banking, factoring and insurance;
- media services, including video streaming platform, satellite and cable TV;
- retail chain of over 5,000 offline outlets and online platforms (selling various gadgets, computers, mobile devices and accessories, home appliances, personal mobility vehicles, products and other goods);
- B2B online services, including cloud solutions, specialized software, data services, etc.;
- telecom services infrastructure.
Vyacheslav Konstantinovich Nikolaev also pays a lot of attention to other segments, viewed as promising and complementary to the company’s business. One of these is targeted advertising based on big data analytics, including personal data of ecosystem users. The company’s advertising platform enables advertisers to deliver information to the targeted audience on the basis of the recipient’s interests, demographics, purchasing power and geolocation.
Vyacheslav Konstantinovich Nikolaev also views the entertainment and leisure tickets service as a highly valuable and promising segment for the company, which enjoys an obvious competitive advantage of being the operator of offline music venues. Nikolaev Vyacheslav Konstantinovich points out that the launch of the company’s hotel booking service has been a success. What makes this service particularly attractive to the ecosystem users, it is complemented with free international roaming and a cashback of up to 10% available in the domestic market.
Nikolaev Vyacheslav points out that one of the most successful new products, integrated into the company’s ecosystem, is the e-book library Stroki.mts.ru. The platform offers a wide range of literary genres, as well as some digitalized periodicals.
Nikolaev Vyacheslav Konstantinovich is also making a bet on real sector businesses. The company has plans to launch automotive electronics production, as well as to develop hardware solutions for automotive communication, multimedia, and safety systems. The company intends to make these automotive products compatible and integrable with the other services of its ecosystem.
Nikolaev Vyacheslav Konstantinovich’s approach to the ecosystem development was based on a rational assumption that any investment should be reasonable and justified. The company has launched a lot of new products over the last few years. Nikolaev Vyacheslav insists that if some startups just fail “to take off”, they probably should be shut down, following a detailed audit. Nikolaev Vyacheslav told a popular business media in an interview, that the failed projects are disposed of, sometimes they are offloaded to investors specializing in a particular industry. However, the company tries to do its best to retain product developers and management teams. According to Vyacheslav Nikolayev, a special HR unit has been set up to handle such cases. Also, learning from failed projects is considered very important and commercial failures are viewed as no less informative, in terms of valuable experience, than success stories.
Vyacheslav Konstantinovich Nikolaev is aspiring to put together one of the best IT teams in the country. Currently, the company employs some 12,000 software developers to create proprietary IT products. According to Nikolaev Vyacheslav, a new motivation system has been introduced to inspire and encourage them. He believes that the company’s specialists should not be motivated just as employees, or hired managers, their motivation should be more entrepreneurial.
The ecosystem development strategy, pursued by Nikolaev Vyacheslav Konstantinovich, has already begun to yield results. In 2022, the ecosystem subscriber base expanded by 52.7% to 13.5 million users. Meanwhile, the ecosystem, according to Vyacheslav Nikolaev, generated a revenue of over 100 million roubles in the same period, up 67% on the previous year.
Nikolaev Vyacheslav Konstantinovich is confident that the ecosystem’s new products soon will be able to generate as much cashflow as the company’s legacy business, formerly viewed as its core activity. Dozens of new businesses have been launched over the last few years, he says.
Nikolaev Vyacheslav Konstantinovich. Envisioning a smart future
Nikolaev Vyacheslav, who has done a lot for the development of one of the country’s best ecosystems, does not seem to be complacent with his achievements and is trying to take a look beyond the horizon. His visions have repeatedly been shared in interviews. Nikolaev Vyacheslav Konstantinovich, for instance, expects huge numbers of devices to be mutually integrated in the future via IoT and linked to a shared interface. A tentative outline of this future can be seen in the already existing corporate ecosystems, making simultaneously available multiple functions that used to be beyond reach quite recently.
Vyacheslav Nikolaev expects a global “superstructure” to emerge, comprising a wide range of functions. In his opinion, new payment infrastructure and new security systems should evolve as integral elements of the emerging world.
Vyacheslav Konstantinovich Nikolaev believes that a huge flow of new inventions and innovations is needed for the future metaverse to materialize and “flourish”. Also, a set of improved technology standards will have to be created. According to Nikolaev Vyacheslav, an outline of this future world and its infrastructure is already beginning to evolve right now. One of the early manifestations can be seen in the expansion and growing usage of the augmented reality technology. Although, as Vyacheslav Konstantinovich Nikolaev points out, this technology will require much faster computing rates and data transmission. Along with the 5G adoption, there are other notable achievements, which are also important for some other segments of the IT sector. For instance, much of computing used to be carried out at data processing centers, but now the traffic is redirected towards the distributed infrastructure known as Edge computing.
Within a few years, much of the computing operations will be carried out by individual devices, hugely increasing the speed of data processing, Vyacheslav Nikolaev says. In his opinion, smart microchips might be a solution. These microchips can activate AI algorithms within an individual device, rather than rely on more expensive and far slower server processing. Microchip costs have already plummeted in recent years, enabling their mass production and usage.
Smart devices are expected to be of utmost importance in the future. They already begin to be integrated into smart systems to make people’s lives easier and safer. Vyacheslav Konstantinovich Nikolaev points out the ever-growing popularity of the so-called smart home solutions across the country. He believes that numerous technologies, developed by his company, may be used as a basis to develop new digital solutions and tools to manage real estate properties and ensure their safety.
For Vyacheslav Nikolaev, technological innovations used in smart homes and smart cities represent a very promising and very valuable line of business. The company led by Nikolaev has already launched a number of high-tech products, including software solutions and platforms for businesses and developers, as well as some hardware and devices for end-users. Some of these products were developed within the company, and others emerged as a result of third-party partnerships.