https://digitalmarketplace.blog.gov.uk/2016/05/27/becoming-a-platform-our-progress-so-far/

Becoming a platform: our progress so far

Since first building a ‘service submission portal’ for G-Cloud 6, our aim has been to move the Digital Marketplace away from being a simple catalogue of services, to being a platform that can handle supplier applications and multiple frameworks.

We want the public sector to have a single place to go to find what it needs for its digital projects. We also want suppliers to have a single place to offer their digital services.

Faster for suppliers

In terms of the questions suppliers need to answer in their G-Cloud application, the process for the latest iteration, G-Cloud 8 (G8), isn’t very different from G-Cloud 6 (G6) and G-Cloud 7 (G7). However, behind the scenes there’s been a huge amount of technical change.

When suppliers applied to supply their services through G6, they had to use 2 separate systems to complete their application. They had to give information about their:

  • company, by making a ‘supplier declaration’ through an e-Sourcing tool operated by the Crown Commercial Service
  • services, through a Service Submission Portal (SSP)

We recognised that the user journey didn’t meet user needs. Our development team has rebuilt the Digital Marketplace so that since G7, suppliers have been able to complete their application to supply their services in one place.

Faster for us too

The changes we’ve made meant that opening G8 for applications was simpler and faster than it has been for any previous framework iteration. In fact, it took 2 developers less than 2 weeks to get G8 ready for suppliers to apply to supply their services. The relative ease of the preparation shows the progress we’ve made towards becoming a platform.

Making things scalable

Our intention was to build something that we could reuse: a foundation that would support all future frameworks on the Digital Marketplace. This is exactly what we did with the Digital Outcomes and Specialists framework - we made the application more general so that it could support something other than G-Cloud.

Our vision is similar to our colleagues’ at Government as a Platform (GaaP) who are dedicated to building something once and making it available to everyone in the form of reusable design patterns, shared code libraries and platforms. If we can get these things right, we’ll have more time to focus on delivering the bigger vision for the future of the Digital Marketplace.

You can read more technical details in my post Moving from portal towards a platform.