https://digitalmarketplace.blog.gov.uk/2014/10/21/digital-marketplace-content-its-all-change/

Digital Marketplace content: it’s all change

Excelsior

We want to make it easier for public sector organisations to find the information they need to buy the right services. That means we have to make some changes to the way suppliers’ services are presented on the Digital Marketplace.

The content challenge

After analysing a cross-section of services on the Digital Marketplace, we found that the current service descriptions vary in length, style and quality. User research also showed that keyword-spamming, confusing jargon and indirect language make it hard for buyers to understand what a service actually does.

A simple structure

We decided that the best way to improve the service descriptions was to give suppliers a clearer structure to work with. So now, instead of giving suppliers an open invitation to describe their services, we’re breaking down the content we expect suppliers to provide into fixed, manageable chunks.

When they apply to the G-Cloud 6 framework, suppliers will now have:

  • 50 words to introduce their service
  • 100 words to describe up to 10 service benefits (10 words per benefit)
  • 100 words to describe up to 10 service features (10 words per feature)

They’ll also have their own supplier page where they can provide:

  • 50 words to describe their organisation
  • 10 client names

Writing tips for suppliers

Carefully considered content can help a buyer understand and, ultimately, choose your service. Our top tips for writing a good service description include:

1. Keep it short and simple

The average sentence length in any document should be between 15 and 20 words. Keep sentences active, rather than passive. Try to stick to a subject-verb-object sentence structure.
Use: Fred joined the company today.
Don't use: The company was joined by Fred today.

2. Use plain English

Feel free to follow your own company style guide, but try to keep your language clear and concise. Any unnecessary content could get in the way of a buyer understanding your service.

3. Choose your key service features

You can list up to 10 service features as part of your service description. Some examples of possible features include:

  • remote access
  • real-time reporting
  • integrated social media

4. Choose your key service benefits

You can list up to 10 service benefits as part of your service description. Some examples of possible benefits include:

  • faster administration
  • low total cost of ownership
  • simplified system maintenance

For further guidance, please take a look at our prototype service description and supplier pages. These examples are based on a fictional company called Excelsior, which is describing a fictional content management system called Excelsior CMS.

12 comments

  1. David Dinsdale

    Super helpful to have this guidance in advance. Very much appreciated.

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  2. Chris farthing

    How does this translate for renewal of existing services under previous GC iterations? Will the SSP have to be resubmitted?

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    • Raphaelle Heaf

      Yes. Services will need to answer a new set of questions that we will be publishing shortly to help suppliers prepare.

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  3. Chris K

    Is there likely to be a similar approach to Pricing, ie: standard template?

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    • Raphaelle Heaf

      For G-Cloud 6 we will not have a template for the Pricing Document but this is something we are looking at for the future.

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  4. Richard Townley

    Current listings on DigitalMarketplace have an overview and other information such as Price on the main web page, and then links to associated documents, notably a Service Definition document. To be clear, do the above guidelines abolish this Service Definition document entirely?

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    • Raphaelle Heaf

      For G-Cloud 6, suppliers will still need to provide a service definition document. There will be guidance around what this should include. The information you provide via the SSP will help buyers to search and filter more easily, and as such find relevant services.

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  5. Lynn M

    Can I have clarification please that we will still be able to upload service descriptions, pricing documents and terms and conditions for each of our SAAS enteries?

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    • Raphaelle Heaf

      Yes. You will still upload these 3 documents but you also fill in the questions so that you service can be more easily found on these keywords. The questions have been shared so that suppliers can prepare.

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  6. Lee H

    Will the Features and Benefits sections be searchable from Digital Market Place or will only the Service Description be seached when organistions are looking for services?

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  7. Mike Borkett

    So when will the portal be opened up for suppliers to either edit and re-submit GCloudv onto the GCloudvi area. When I login there is nothing there

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    • Raphaelle Heaf

      G-Cloud 6 is now open and you are able to re submit your services to take advantage of the new data structure. You are now also able to edit your contact details directly from your dashboard.

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