We are making it clearer, simpler and faster for the whole of the public sector to buy digital products and services when it needs to. We are helping create a pool of quality suppliers of all sizes, who work in agile ways, to supply and work with government.
We are doing this by:
- Providing advice and support to teams across GDS and in other government departments to commission and procure what they need to deliver.
Supply market engagement
- Analysing what people buy, what they need to buy, and what we would like them to buy and making sure those products and services are represented in the stores.
- Making sure we have the right frameworks in place to enable procurement, and making sure we run the frameworks we have efficiently.
- The CloudStore
Digital Services Store
Service Submission Portal
and, a new Digital Marketplace
On 13 February, Tony Singleton wrote about how we are taking G-Cloud forward and how we are developing a Digital Marketplace built around user needs. This is an update:
We have conducted some initial user research which has encompassed the Digital Services Store and the CloudStore. Without a doubt there is a significant level of enthusiasm and dedication to helping the G-Cloud and Digital Services frameworks deliver on their potential. It is also clear that there is more work to be done to help the tools do more to meet user needs and capitalise on known and accepted patterns of behaviour in digital.
In order to deliver more fully on the potential we need to develop tools that will help the market itself to learn and grow. Our initial focus will be on the G-Cloud set of products and service but we are working towards creating a single store which includes both the digital services and G-Cloud frameworks, as well as any future digital frameworks.
We know that search is a problem within the current CloudStore but the problem goes deeper than a search engine. The issue is about finding things. Technology is only part of the answer. We need to look closely at how products and services have been described and categorised. In the interest of attracting business, suppliers have - quite naturally - included marketing information, tried to deliver keyword coverage, and employed a variety of similar tactics to attract buyers. Whilst understandable, this has made many descriptions and product titles confusing and difficult to clearly understand. In turn, it makes it more difficult for buyers to establish if their search results do indeed represent answers to their query. Simply put, if potential buyers can’t find services, and feel confident in them, they aren't able to buy them.
We are going to help suppliers learn and adapt to the marketplace as it evolves. By attracting a wider range of businesses of different sizes and experience of selling to government we have been successful in creating a broad ranging catalogue but our suppliers have no access to information which might help them understand how the market is working and what they might be able to do to improve their offerings.
As we are now conducting regular user research sessions we will start to publish much more detail but, for the purposes of this post I would just like to provide a flavour of some of what we have discovered.
Last week, we ran inception for the new Digital Marketplace and we will deliver an Alpha shortly after Easter. This Alpha has some specific objectives:
to prove the technology stack, including a new search experience
to test some supplier specific ideas around understanding your listing
to test some buyer specific ideas around researching and comparing products and services
to test how we are going to best describe products and services and to test our process for deciding what a good description looks like.
We’re building this for the benefit of the entire community; suppliers, buyers from all levels of government, and the wider public. So, we’re going to need your input into this process leading up to Alpha and beyond. If you haven’t already done so, please sign up here so that we can contact you to invite you to participate in research sessions. We will be using this blog to share findings and keep you up-to-date with progress and will do our best to establish a decent weekly rhythm so you have ample notice of ideas as they develop.
Ivanka Majic, Service Manager at Digital Commercial Services Programme