API-led connectivity for digital governments supporting citizen journeys

September 17 2019

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In my previous blog posts, I outlined a number of concepts and challenges faced across governments building digital ecosystems. With those building blocks, how can we build a secure application network for governments to support the concept of citizen journeys?

Governments will always have agencies, departments, and clusters, which will always need autonomy to execute mandates while also serving the broader government purpose. It’s now normal for citizens to see a government as one — reasonably expecting a seamless citizen journey and not to have to deal with departments individually.

So we expect to tell government once or expect that one department knows of our social record from another, that government sees an individual’s various records as one. Agencies and departments must execute and deliver citizen services as best they can, with the resources available to them and with the skills and abilities they have. Leading to a new need to digitally transform government.  

To deliver this seamless citizen experience, government systems need to be integrated in a way that allows for a person’s records to be shared between all government systems. Regardless of the actual technology used, an API-led approach for government connectivity delivers this type of data synchronization. Here’s how: 

  • Fundamentally a number of enterprise systems will support the government agencies – be it ERP, financial, HR, asset management or digital services – a growing number of systems are required (on average a digital transaction traverses 35x systems or components).
  • Integrating across these systems should not be point-to-point but rather an API endpoint that exposes that orchestration for the purpose it was required initially and to be reused by others.
  • Lastly, we will always have need to expose a number of business processes to multiple channels: system-to-system integration, mobile applications, or third-party associates.

Of course, I have described the API-led approach across System, Process & Experience APIs. But to then share and expose one agencies Process API to other agencies, or create an Experience API to meet Privacy & Data requirements, means citizen journeys can then leverage multiple endpoints.

Through an API-led approach, departments and clusters across government can reuse the APIs of another department to access their system & process without having to build new integrations. This accelerates the delivery of projects working across government and the cost to first build, and secondly to maintain the API endpoint. As the API-led approach matures organizations begin to realize speed and savings.

Furthermore, the API-led approach is flexible such that existing users of an API can be revoked, or ownership of APIs transition as and when machinery of government (MoG) changes occur. MoG changes are then abstracted away and citizens continue to be serviced by a single government and realize their citizen journeys.

I believe this is truly exciting as it support agencies to meet their intra-agency commitments, enables inter-agency collaboration and integration, and end-to-end secure the network to meet the digital, cyber, and citizen commitments fundamental to trust.

In my next blog, we will dig into the fundamental principles of security & data pertinent to governments. For more information about API-led connectivity for government organizations, download our whitepaper. 



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