Government as a Platform readiness in Australia

How can government pivot to platform-centric operating models? Accenture Research identified four readiness pillars for implementing Government as a Platform and examined ten governments around the world to better understand where they are in their journeys.

The findings indicate that Australia has a medium level of readiness, ranking fourth out of 10 countries overall.

Among Australian public service leaders surveyed, 63 per cent believe that their industry is experiencing ecosystem disruption, yet only 30 per cent are aggressively taking steps to participate in digital ecosystems. Most (97 per cent) agree that applications are shifting from being “built” to being “orchestrated.2

Australia has taken decisive steps toward Government as a Platform in recent years. Australia founded the Digital Transformation Office (DTO) and defined the Government Digital Transformation Roadmap. The government also announced it will develop a national digital economy strategy in 2018, focusing on collaboration between the government, private sector and civil society.

Readiness Index results showed:

  • Australia has a strong foundation for Government as a Platform, with a highly skilled, entrepreneurial-minded workforce and advanced digital infrastructure.
  • Citizens have high expectations for a positive user experience with government. Leading agencies are answering the call for action.
  • Focusing on transparency, participation and digital services in recent years, the public sector at scale in Australia still needs to take full advantage of platform-based business and operating models, as well as of innovative technology solutions.

Improving across pillars. To shape a next generation of public services, agencies in Australia should promote innovative GovTech solutions for government, shift from service provider to ecosystem moderator for public service delivery and scale examples of successful transformation of public service organisation on the local/regional level.

Accenture’s Government as a Platform Readiness Index revealed strengths along with opportunities for improvement across key pillars:

Build the foundation. A strong Government as a Platform foundation relies on workforce skills, information and communication technology infrastructure and regulation, digital savvy and trust in society. Australia benefits from a skilled and creative workforce, with comparably high secondary and tertiary education enrolment levels. The country’s strengths also include advanced ICT infrastructure and regulation and digital usage, especially in mobility.

Australian government agencies can continue to build the foundation by:

  • Emphasising practical guidance on cybersecurity and data privacy in the current public-private Partnerships for Digital Skills to increase digital trust
  • Focusing on equipping the future workforce with the skills needed for the fourth industrial revolution by reskilling vulnerable groups in the workforce, using digital to learn digital and fostering a mindset of “learning as a way of life”

Foster a mindset of change and innovation. Government as a Platform requires an entrepreneurial, innovation-oriented culture that displays a capacity for change. Australia ranks second in our sample for entrepreneurial activity and a high perception of start-ups/entrepreneurs in society. And 41 per cent of surveyed public service leaders in Australia report an agile workforce organisation supporting innovation. 3

To continue to foster an innovation mindset, Australia can:

  • Further educate society, particularly youth, about the opportunities and risks of entrepreneurship
  • Scale emerging technology and creative working methods among public service organisations across government levels

Enable economic growth. Government as a Platform plays a key role in enabling businesses to seize the opportunities of the rising platform economy. Australia has a very supportive business environment and ranks third after the UK and France when it comes to availability and perceptions around open government data. Most (90 per cent) public service leaders in Australia recognise the importance of a platform-based business model for their organisation.4

Australian agencies can continue to stimulate economic growth when they:

  • Reach beyond the “usual suspects” toward the startup and digital community
  • Evolve beyond regulator and adopt the role of “trusted broker” that ensures fairness and openness of economic platforms
  • Clearly communicate benefits of public-private cooperation to citizens

Innovate for public service delivery. It is critical to innovate and improve public service delivery through ecosystem collaboration with citizens, NGOs and businesses. Citizens in Australia expect it. Many (80 per cent) expect to receive the same or higher digital service quality from government as from the private sector. They (82 per cent) are also open to government agencies tackling complex social issues by collaborating with ecosystem partners.5

Agencies in Australia can increase innovation when they:

  • Scale “lighthouse examples” of successful transformation of public service organisations on the local/regional level
  • Design open digital platforms for public services, enabling public and private organisations to target citizens with their services and jointly strive for more innovative solutions to policy issues

How Australia measures up

Where does Australia stand in its readiness for Government as a Platform? Singapore is the most Government as a Platform-ready country, with Australia ranking fourth. Countries that scored high showed strong attention and prioritisation of the characteristics within each of the four pillars. See the full rankings in the graphic below.

Graph of GaaP readiness by country.

Source: Accenture Government as a Platform Research 2018

1 Accenture Technology Vision 2017, public services data

2 Accenture Technology Vision 2018, public services data

3 Accenture Technology Vision 2017, public services data

4 Accenture Technology Vision 2017, public services data

5 Accenture Citizen Pulse Surveys, 2016 & 2017

Louise May

Managing Director – Health and Public Service, Australia Accenture


Brian Lee-Archer

Managing Director – Health and Public Service, Australia Accenture

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