A working definition of Government as a Platform
Reorganizing the work of government around a network of shared APIs and components, open-standards and canonical datasets, so that public servants, businesses and others can deliver radically better services to the public, more safely, efficiently and accountably.
The government as a platform stack
Public-facing services allow citizens or their representatives to achieve a desired outcome. With appropriate governance, services can be provided by any layer of government, and by commercial or third sector organizations.
Shared APIs expose the business logic of government – for example calculating a benefit payment or checking the status of an application. The APIs developed by the United States Department of Veterans Affairs provides a good example of this, as does Open311, which defines a standard API for civic issue tracking – things like broken streetlights or potholes – and is in use in many cities.
Shared components, such as those developed by the UK, US, India and Italy, solve common problems for the whole of government (and potentially beyond). For example: sending a text message, hosting a web application, taking a payment or signing a document.
Trust and identity
Trust and identity systems ensure that data is only accessed for appropriate purposes, and that use is understandable and trusted by citizens or their representatives.
Registers are canonical datasets that are used and trusted across government and beyond. They expose the data via APIs to agreed standards and have appropriate governance and ownership in place.