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Report of the Digital Government Review


Platforms: building from architecture to a common platform

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It is possible to go further than architecture. In recent years the language used for this area has been evolving. People tend to talk of ‘a platform’ or ‘a platform business’, Amazon, Google and Twitter are all platform businesses.

“They have developed a core technology infrastructure that others have then built upon, driving the success of the platform and meeting far more users’ needs than the original provider could have done on their own.” [147]

Such platforms provide standardisation, scalability and are driven by data. They operate openly. Exposing open data and APIs so that others can integrate and innovate around the platform.

Businesses like CityMapper or Zoopla are great examples of UK companies that have innovated around public and private sector platforms, open data and APIs If we build a more common platform this will enable more innovation to occur.

A smart platform will expose data to help people spot patterns of behavior and determine where things can be optimized. If we had a common platform for government this data would provide significant advantages.

It would enable local authorities to quickly spot improvements in behaviour in one authority so that they can repeat successful interventions in their own. It would allow the public sector to identify common needs that are being served in disparate, costly fashions and develop a common component to reduce costs. It would allow the public sector to group together to purchase true cloud services, ones that have a subscription model, and leverage the scale and the ability of open standards to reduce lock-in and reduce costs.

These advantages come from the scale, standards, openness and data that a platform can provide.

[147] https://www.gov.uk/service-manual/technology/government-as-a-platform.html

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