Government as a Platform – an assessment framework

I’m pleased that my paper with Alan Brown, Jerry Fishenden and Mark Thompson has been published in Government Information Quarterly today! The paper draws together our collective work on platforms and government IT to develop an assessment framework for GaaP (Government as a platform). We then evaluate recent UK government’s digital projects using the framework.

Cover image Government Information Quarterly

“Appraising the impact and role of platform models and Government as a Platform (GaaP) in UK Government public service reform: Towards a Platform Assessment Framework (PAF)”

Alan Brown, Jerry Fishenden, Mark Thompson, Will Venters

https://doi.org/10.1016/j.giq.2017.03.003

Abstract

The concept of “Government as a Platform” (GaaP) (O’Reilly, 2009) is coined frequently, but interpreted inconsistently: views of GaaP as being solely about technology and the building of technical components ignore GaaP’s radical and disruptive embrace of a new economic and organisational model with the potential to improve the way Government operates – helping resolve the binary political debate about centralised versus localised models of public service delivery. We offer a structured approach to the application of the platforms that underpin GaaP, encompassing not only their technical architecture, but also the other essential aspects of market dynamics and organisational form. Based on a review of information systems platforms literature, we develop a Platform Appraisal Framework (PAF) incorporating the various dimensions that characterise business models based on digital platforms. We propose this PAF as a general contribution to the strategy and audit of platform initiatives and more specifically as an assessment framework to provide consistency of thinking in GaaP initiatives. We demonstrate the utility of our PAF by applying it to UK Government platform initiatives over two distinct periods, 1999–2010 and 2010 to the present day, drawing practical conclusions concerning implementation of platforms within the unique and complex environment of the public sector.

Keywords

  • Platform;
  • Ecosystem;
  • Government as a Platform;
  • GaaP;
  • Digital Government

Image: Maurice via Flickr (CC BY) with thanks!

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