https://digitalmarketplace.blog.gov.uk/2015/03/26/buyer-and-supplier-insights/

Buyer and Supplier Insights

The Digital Marketplace team runs fortnightly user feedback sessions on the Digital Marketplace and the frameworks that sit within it. We also run parallel research projects to get a deeper understanding of our buyers’ and suppliers’ needs.

Last December, we completed a discovery project on the Digital Services managed service. The insights gained are currently feeding into the redesigned Digital Services project.

Over the last couple of months we’ve run another research piece which has looked at general experiences of buying and supplying, as well as the concept of dynamic purchasing, and what that would mean to our users. Dynamic Purchasing Systems traditionally allow suppliers who join to offer new services at any time. However, we kept the definition of dynamic purchasing open during this research so users were unrestricted in their thinking about what their real needs are in this area.

We wanted to share some of the key themes with you. As with the managed service discovery, these findings will feed directly into the redesigned Digital Services project.

Buyers and suppliers are getting used to the new way of buying

As the number of large-scale, full-service integration projects reduce, buyers are having to learn about the value of discovery, how to articulate their requirements and how to commission digital services to match their needs. This is an ongoing learning process that still needs support.

Buyers and suppliers need better education and engagement

We have positive feedback on our existing communications channels but there is room for improvement in educating buyers on a new way of working. Working more closely with public sector buyers forms a large  part of the recently published Digital Marketplace Strategy and we’re currently addressing this through a series of regional buyer events.

There was also a concern from suppliers around timescales and preparing their service information for submission.

Buyers need engagement with their community

Suppliers are doing a great job of helping to educate buyers, but we need to build a stronger government community that can share experience and best practice, within the context of fair and open buying.

Departments must maintain a view of their teams’ technology buying

We must remain aware, that while we encourage smaller-scale buying, departments still need to have an overview of all technology projects that are being delivered. This helps avoid integration issues, and enables government to buy more efficiently (using open standards and opening up code for reuse).

We need to enhance our measurement and reporting of buying

Open and transparent reporting necessary for us to understand how effective the Digital Marketplace is. For example, information on the latest government needs, who’s buying what, how much they’re spending and how successful those projects are. Opening up this data could help suppliers improve their services and offer better value to government.

We have good feedback on the concept of dynamic purchasing

Buyers and suppliers are most concerned with having an up-to-date catalogue, being able to add and remove services to keep them relevant.

Suppliers are keen to have more flexible options for subcontracting and for creating joint ventures. They feel this flexibility will allow them to better evolve their services and pricing, offering more choice and value to government.

These findings will all be expanded on as the Digital Marketplace evolves. We’ll keep you up to date as our understanding improves.