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Digital government, open architecture, and innovation: why public sector IT will never be the same again

Fishenden, Jerry and Thompson, Mark (2013) Digital government, open architecture, and innovation: why public sector IT will never be the same again. Journal of Public Administration Research and Theory, 23 (4). pp. 977-1004. ISSN 1053-1858

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Identification Number: 10.1093/jopart/mus022


This article argues that the future of public services will be shaped increasingly by the evolution of global, Internet-enabled, digital platforms, with two distinctive technical and commercial features. First, use of open standards and architectures that separate standard business logic from supporting applications will allow government to become technology- and vendor-agnostic, freeing it from its overdependence on proprietary systems and suppliers. Second, over time, open standards and increased market choice will drive both innovation and progressive convergence on cheaper, standard "utility" public services. These two features will combine to create a powerful dynamic situation, driving disintegration of traditional "black boxed" technologies and services, traditionally organized around "systems integrators" and departmental structures, and their reaggregation around the citizen in the form of services. Such reaggregation is allowing progressively sharp distinctions between niche/innovative and commodity/standard offerings, supplied by a plural, innovative, and more cost-effective marketplace, with unprecedented implications for the way in which the state buys and deploys technology. We draw on a range of data from across public and private sectors to illustrate our argument and identify some key policy and implementation recommendations.

Item Type: Article
Official URL:
Additional Information: © 2013 Oxford University Press
Divisions: Government
Subjects: J Political Science > JN Political institutions (Europe) > JN101 Great Britain
Date Deposited: 05 Nov 2013 17:21
Last Modified: 20 Oct 2021 02:05

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