A key challenge in IT is dealing with all the different ‘camps’ of different makes and types of technologies.
In Government this is particularly challenging right now, because simultaneously Government agencies are meant to embrace, adopt and master a variety of new technologies, including Web 2.0 social media, Cloud Computing, Open standards, Open software and Open Data.
That’s a handful for sure, however the opportunity is that the best way to address them is through a unified architecture approach, a single platform that blends them all together so that they are integrated and complimentary to one another, rather than adding yet another technology silo.
This is the core premise behind this initial concept we have for a technology solution, called the G-Cloud Open Data Platform, an idea we have co-developed wth Microsoft Canada. Read more in this outline briefing document.
Open Data apps in minutes
We’ve put this forward as the “Holy Grail of Open Data”, where Open Source, Open Data and the G-Cloud intersect, where we feel this combination is essential for success in each of the individual areas.
- Government Cloud platforms for efficiency, scale and flexibility of delivery
- OG2C (Open Government 2 Citizen) Open Data platform – An Open Data Platform for managing and publishing data assets into citizen-facing applications
- Open source software for reuse across multiple agencies
The resulting combination is a technology suite that can provision and manage web and mobile citizen apps powered by Open Data, addressing the primary challenge of this particular technology, the fact that it’s easily treated simply as a ‘data dumping’ exercise – A tick box is checked by publishing an Open Data set online, and that’s job done.
However the business value of Open Data has been called into question recently for exactly this reason – What value does it actually provide to the average citizen on the street who isn’t a hobbyist developer? What value is some online data that no one really uses, no matter how Open it is?
Furthermore building individual applications and integrating / migrating legacy apps in an isolated fashion without a common framework is ineffective. Governments are still left with a legacy estate that is unconnected to the modern citizen who needs to use it.
So through an approach that leverages the best of what the open source world has pioneered and combines it with the scale and practices of enterprise applications, a G-Cloud Open Data platform would enable a vibrant ecosystem of citizen-ready applications, achieved through providing a framework for both community & commercial developers and that uses “building blocks” projects specifically for “G-Cloud platform” in mind.
In short it would enable Open Data applications in minutes…