M-RCBG Associate Working Paper No. 175

Effective Implementation of Government Platforms: How architectural decisions, operational approaches, and government structures alter the economic benefits and costs of government platforms. 

Lauren Lombardo


Executive Summary

The private sector has successfully used platforms to capitalize on various economic properties. These properties include economies of scale, economies of scope, and network effects. Increasingly, governments are also using these platforms to improve service delivery while reducing financial and economic costs and increasing economic benefits.

However, the term “platform” is used to describe several different architectural designs and operational approaches. To understand how to properly leverage platforms and receive the many economic benefits platforms offer, governments must understand how a platform is built. Each platform ecosystem has nuanced architectural and operational specifications which alter economic impact.

Further, there are many government structures in place that can make platforms the wrong solution for some technical or operational problems. Even when a platform is the right solution, these government structures can prevent the total capitalization of benefits or, in some instances, create harm.

As a government increases its use of platforms, it must understand how they may be built, used, and operated within its organization. Only then can a government begin to quantify the true economic impact a platform will have.

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