GaaP – Platform for Transformational Digital Government – Government Innovation Platform

Diego Lapiduz epitomized the headline message about GaaP being an enabler of innovation, showcasing his work at the 2015 Cloud Foundry summit.

He comes from the IT tech innovation sector and wanted to make a difference by applying these types of skills to public sector needs, one of the first results being the launch of, described as “the Government Innovation Platform”.

This is an implementation of Cloud Foundry, intended to provide one immediate building block for this GaaP vision, as it is literally that, a PaaS – Platform as a Service for government agencies, quickly bearing fruit such as enabling more than 300 new developer apps. In the UK there is a specific G-Cloud category for PaaS.

The UK was especially lucky in having ministerial level understanding, vision and support for the concept, meaning it was accurately targeted at key goals, most notably a modular, reuse-centric approach that would yield faster delivery of digital services and large-scale cost reductions.

As Francis Maude, Minister for the Cabinet Office, describes in this article one of the biggest cost driving challenges government faces is this duplication across departments, such as the MOJ writing off a £56m project when it discovered the same system was already being developed by the same supplier with the Cabinet Office.

GaaP expands this principle to all of government IT, where new systems will be built upon a similar layer of building block components, rather than being reinvented from scratch each time.

Transformational Digital Government

All government agencies want to better adopt digital services and power dynamic new service models for citizens, but the reality is that these are significant technology challenges which many lack the in-house skills for.

GaaP standardizes repeatable ‘recipes’ for common scenarios, making them immediately deployable via Cloud computing services, with the most critical feature of the design being a modular ‘lego brick’ approach to assembling applications, rather than writing all the software yourself.

For example the ‘Notify‘ service is part of a growing portfolio of Identity building blocks, so that citizens don’t have to remember a different username and password for every government app they need to use, they instead can log in once, and have this reused across them all.

Vastly reduced public sector IT costs

This last point about common service reuse is not just better in terms of technology efficiency, but can be the lynchpin to realizing £ hundreds of millions in public sector savings overall.

In short the primary cause of bloated government spending comes from the ‘traditional’ approach to procurement – The ‘funeral march’ RFP (Request for Proposal) process that can see agencies spend 18 months in writing these documents alone, before years of follow on IT implementation contracts which suffer from very high failure rates and poorly managed cost controls.

GaaP tackles these issues by codifying the principles of ‘don’t reinvent the wheel’ directly into the software models themselves, so that these expensive duplications aren’t needed later down the line.

The UK G-Cloud Digital Marketplace is mainly still just a “yellow pages” of Cloud suppliers, and so we can see that any one of these other trends might compliment and extend it further to add more powerful capabilities and boost uptake even more, and the successful formula for doing so an ideal recipe for all other governments to follow for the same reasons.

As the name suggests a GaaP strategy would literally furnish Scotland with a platform for new growth in such away it greatly contributes to defining a highly lucrative Independence scenario.

A key example of this platform enabling effect can be seen through the role it can play in helping achieve multiple other goals. For example a platform would facilitate better SME markets and also Personalized Data Services.

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