Open Standards Help Enable Innovation in Governments

Posted on April 19th, 2017

Image: Liu zishan

Governments are learning that open standards can make the cost of government’s digital services more sustainable by helping them to adapt to changing needs and technologies.

Take, for example, the UK. As this video from ukcloud shows, they’ve come a long way to creating more sustainable public sector digital services. Just a few years ago, the UK cloud market was dominated by only a handful of companies. Public sector IT solutions were built on proprietary platforms that locked customers in and stifled innovation and agility. It also left those customers responsible for increases in support and maintenance costs.

To combat this, the UK developed their “Digital by Default” strategy. This strategy was created to change the way the government worked with their suppliers, including:

  • The “Cloud First” policy: designed to consume technology as a service rather than buying inefficient and underutilized silos.
  • The “Digital Marketplace”: a virtual space that makes it quick and easy for the public sector to procure compliant cloud services from a wide range of vendors where the service portfolio is regularly refreshed.

The UK Government G-Cloud has created an open marketplace. G-Cloud is an initiative targeted at easing procurement by public-sector bodies of commodity information technology services that use cloud computing. Where once eight companies ruled cloud services, now there are 2,726 providers with 30,000 cloud based offerings.

G-Cloud has also helped rapidly revolutionize the way many public service sectors use cloud services. This digital evolution is seen as one of the best in world. It also gave rise to the Digital by Default Service Standard.

The Digital by Default Service Standard is a “set of criteria for digital teams building government services to meet. Meeting the standard will mean digital services are of a consistently high quality. This includes creating services that are easily improved, safe, secure and fulfill user needs.”

Open marketplace and open competition is the best way to keep from seeing, or returning to, the locked in, proprietary digital landscape of the past. The principles of open standards also work to prevent that from occurring. There is a way, as the UK has shown, for governments to be agile, cost effective, and setup for innovation.  

Interested in learning more about how governments can benefit from Open Standards or have something to contribute to the conversation? Let us know in the comments below!

 

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