Skip to main content Skip to Footer


Government as a platform sounds great. But what does it look like in practice?

Bernard Le Masson Bernard Le Masson
Managing Director - Accenture Strategy, Public Service

Connect with Bernard Le Masson Profile on LinkedIn. This opens a new window.

Every day, governments face complex challenges—from driving mission effectiveness and delivering public services to addressing policy issues and spurring economic development. These are significant tasks in themselves. Yet demographic trends, digital technologies, citizen expectations and budget limitations complicate them further.

A new way of thinking—and working
Forward-thinking governments recognize that old ways of working often hold them back. Many are finding that they do not always have to go it alone in delivering public services. After all, digital technologies are powering a whole new era of collaboration and data sharing with platform-based business models at the heart of it all.

As agencies act with other public organizations—and with businesses, NGOs and even citizens themselves—to reinvent public service delivery, platforms are providing the technology backbone to institutionalize and enable new collaboration. This is the essence of government as a platform. Still in the early days, government as a platform is gaining momentum as four distinct models take shape.

Four government as a platform models

  1. Whole of government platform
    This platform is focused on the role of government as the centralized service provider. It is often enabled through a central point of access to cross-government information and services and provides personal login for citizens and companies. It has a clear and centralized governance structure.

    The whole of government platform is best suited for governments that have created a clear, centralized responsibility for digital and public services transformation at the national/state level. Examples include Government Digital Service in the United Kingdom and Digital Transformation Office in Australia. Norway is exploring ways of using the Altinn platform for increased collaboration with businesses and civil society, such as crowdsourcing activities.

  2. Peer platform
    This platform is a service-centric and vertically integrated platform established by two or more government entities for a specific public service, policy field or user group. The narrower focus of peer platform facilitates more extensive data sharing and bolder initiatives focused on a particular public service area. The governance structure enables decentralized collaboration among government entities.

    Peer platforms are a good fit for countries that lack a common platform for public digital services and are looking for improved delivery in narrower policy fields that involve several public agencies, often on both federal and state and local levels.

  3. Ecosystem platform
    This platform is an open and outcome-focused platform in which government collaborates or offers services jointly with non-governmental actors such as companies, education providers or NGOs. The government entity acts as the orchestrator or hub for ecosystem collaboration and the governance structure defines participant roles.

    Well suited to support such plans, the ecosystem platform is best for countries with complex public service ecosystems and stakeholders looking to address complicated policy issues that cannot be handled by a single service provider such as youth unemployment or training.

  4. Crowdsourcing platform
    This platform is a collaborative and innovation-focused approach where governments openly collaborate with citizens, companies, other government organizations or NGOs. Like the ecosystem platform, in the crowdsourcing platform, government is an orchestrator for ecosystem collaboration, but with largely undefined participant roles.

    This platform is suited for countries in which new policy issues demand innovative problem solving with civil society on complex and often global issues. One example is the United States Agency for International Development Grand Challenge for fighting the Ebola epidemic. Another is the United Nation’s High Commission for Refugees’ (UNHCR) open platform “UNHCR Ideas,” which invites ideas for improving the lives of refugees.

Explore the different curation roles that governments can play in a government as a platform environment

Stay In The Know

Receive e-mails from Accenture featuring new content that matches your interests.

Visit the subscription center to make your selections and subscribe to New from Accenture.