“Government as a Platform” (GaaP) is a concept that envisions the government’s role as a facilitator of services and data for its citizens and businesses. Instead of solely providing public services directly, GaaP involves creating a digital infrastructure and open platforms that enable both government agencies and external entities to develop and deliver services, applications, and solutions.
At the Smart Gov Summit, experts discussed how governments can leverage open APIs and collaborative innovation to facilitate GaaP. The panel discussion was moderated by Martin Mirero, VP of Operations & Business Development Brij, and featured prominent figures in the private sector, including George Njuguna, IT Director at Safaricom, Ben Roberts, Group CTO at Liquid Intelligent Technologies, and Timothy Munyao, Senior Solutions Architect at Eleven Degrees Consulting.
The experts advocated for open data, urging governments to release data and information to the public. This would allow citizens, businesses, and developers to use the data to create new services, analyze trends, and drive innovation.
George Njuguna, CIO at Safaricom, called for the creation of platforms that are simple and efficient to better serve citizens. He suggested that governments should adopt solutions that are already working in the private sector and repurpose them for service delivery, citing the example of the Hustler Fund.
“You need to think of it as a model where other people can create products and services from it. Put the customer at the centre, prioritize simplicity, and then focus on growth,” said Njuguna.
Julius Orayo suggested that having access to government databases would enable the private sector to offer better services to customers.
Ben Roberts advised governments to use open-source GaaP platforms to roll out services to citizens. He highlighted that some governments are making their projects open source, providing opportunities for other countries to implement similar projects. He also called for the establishment of laws to enable small companies to innovate and take advantage of GaaP.
The experts also emphasized the need for the right infrastructure, such as cloud platforms, to facilitate GaaP. Timothy Munyao stated, “The platform has to operate on an infrastructure, and the cloud plays a significant role. The cloud should be scalable and allow for plugins.”
The SmartGov Summit provided the stage for experts drawn from diverse backgrounds to discuss the latest trends, technologies, and practices in the use of technology in government.