This piece was originally published in the August 2021 issue of Policy & Practice magazine.

Configurable platform solutions promise greater speed, tighter alignment between business and technology, continual access to updates, and the ability to be more flexible and agile in responding to challenges and opportunities.

But is a platform approach suitable for health and human services agencies?

During the COVID-19 pandemic, using platforms was the only way to respond appropriately. As the pandemic raged, there was no time to follow traditional approaches for selecting, building and deploying technology. Organizations had to roll out new solutions in record time, at incredible scale, and with life-and-death stakes.

Looking back, we can see that the pandemic served as a massive stress test for configurable platforms, and these solutions proved they can deliver. Now is the time to explore the power of platforms in solving other challenges—including the increasingly urgent need to migrate away from costly and limited legacy solutions.

Organizations had to roll out new solutions in record time, at incredible scale, and with life-and-death stakes. Platform solutions proved they could deliver.

Set the destination and sprint toward an MVP

Be clear about what you need to create. Then use a platform approach to quickly produce a minimally viable product.

Bring the right people to the table

With a platform approach, the pace is so rapid that there’s no “later stage” to get business or domain leaders involved. Engage them from the start.

Attend to training and change management

Educating, informing and engaging the user community remain critical. These activities need to occur quickly to prepare users for the new system.

Look ahead with an open mind

The pandemic helped prove that platform solutions can deliver. Be bold in considering how your organization can continue this momentum.

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We have been exploring the benefits of platforms for years; now we have experienced them firsthand. Let’s make this the beginning, not the end of the platform story for the public sector.

Slade Gauntt

Managing Director – Technology, Public Service, Child Support, North America


Kristin Thorn

Managing Director – Consulting, Public Sector Health Lead, North America

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