Drupal Gov Days: Government By the Platform, For the Platform, and As the Platform

You hear a lot about platforms and how companies like Apple, Facebook, Google, and Amazon harnessed the power of the platform to become amazingly successful companies. O’Reilly, the tech publisher and visionary, argues that government should be a platform. So, what exactly is a platform?

I think the best definition comes from Phil Simon’s The Age of the Platform:

An extremely valuable and powerful ecosystem that quickly and easily scales, morphs, and incorporates new features, users, customers, vendors, and partners. Today, the most powerful platforms are rooted in equally powerful technologies – and their intelligent usage. . .

[T]he most vibrant platforms embrace third-party collaboration. The companies behind these platforms seek to foster symbiotic and mutually beneficial relationships with users, customers, partners, vendors, developers, and the community at large. . .

At their core, platforms today are primarily about consumer utility and communications. Finally, because consumers’ tastes change much faster than businesses’ tastes, platforms today must adapt quickly – or face obsolesce.

On May 18th, the Drupal4Gov group will hold a one-day conference to talk about using Drupal as the basis for a flexible, secure, scalable, and innovative platform for government. There will be sessions for beginners and experts along with a special “Security Room” with talks by three leading Drupal security experts. Register at drupalgovdays.org. If you have your own Drupal story to tell, submit a session. But hurry; session submissions end this Friday.

Next week, we will highlight the Drupal success stories of several Federal agencies.

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Chris Cairns

That’s a great definition. Thanks for that.

I’m not so sure Apple, Facebook, Google and Amazon really fit that platform definition, however. When private companies talk about being a platform, they are really talking about being the dominant technology (we’re talking like 90% user adoption) within a particular category. Drupal definitely fits that platform definition.

Phil Simon

Hi Chris

To me, Amazon, Apple, Facebook, and Google are the very definition of platform companies. You’re right, though: there’s a difference between building a (private) platform and embracing the platform as a business model. In a nutshell, that’s what The Age of the Platform is about.