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Buying is a team sport

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One of the main outcomes from the user research we have conducted to date has been that we have now identified some core behaviours of suppliers and buyers that are relevant to design thinking.

Personas and their behaviours

Those of you familiar with user-centred design will be familiar with the concept of personas. These are fictional characters based on research data and they are used as a design tool to help question design decisions. Our set of personas aren’t quite done yet but, in the meantime we have some interesting information to share.

Key user attributes

Up until recently, we have been thinking about suppliers in terms of whether they are or aren’t on a framework and whether or not they have been successful in making sales through the CloudStore. With buyers, we have been thinking broadly; have they bought through the CloudStore yet or not?

By doing research with a range of suppliers and buyers, it has become clear that there are three things that will affect the process of supplying to government and using the CloudStore itself:

  • Their existing experience of government (or lack thereof)
  • The level of sales and marketing skills within their organisation
  • The sales and marketing resource available to their organisation

  • For example, an SME that employs 13 people and is new to CloudStore might have no experience of government, have a good level of skills for marketing - especially non-traditional, digital marketing - and, have only one person who can occasionally dedicate a fraction of their time to business development and marketing activities. Such an SME may have to learn some government procurement terminology, and potentially familiarise themselves with some EU directives in order to be part of CloudStore.

    What about buyers?

    With buyers three very different things matter:

  • How technical they are;
  • How clearly they can describe the desired business outcome;
  • How experienced they are at procuring in government or the public sector.

  • For example, a highly technical person procuring infrastructure as a service (IAAS) will have no problems deciphering a highly technical product description but may lack the confidence to put a full procurement into action. In reality, no individual person will carry all responsibility, but large successful procurements will involve at least one person who represents each core area.

    As we conduct ongoing user research sessions we will continue to validate these early findings. My colleague Katie will be publishing the latest findings later this week and then next week Stuart will be writing about some of our ideas for new functionality.

    If you would like to be invited to participate in user research sessions please don’t forget to sign up here. And please feel free to share with anyone else you think should be included.

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