Digital Marketplace is a platform that helps the public sector get what it needs (technology or people) to build good services.
I joined Digital Marketplace in 2016 as as an Associate Product Manager focused on the supplier framework for Digital Outcomes and Specialists as well as the buying and selling Journey. This showcases one goal – showing the key outcomes, process and lessons learned.
Goal: Open up data about procurement via the Digital Marketplace.
On the Digital Marketplace, the public sector can put up requirements for an outcome or a specialist. Suppliers in a framework (pre-selected list) can then bid on those requirements with one supplier ultimately getting the contract. Unfortunately, for a long time, there was very limited data available to suppliers about the status of the procurement, who won the contract or the value of the contract. This made it hard for them to plan or trust that the system is open, fair and transparent.
Our user researcher and I talked to a range of suppliers and some buyers about their processes and created a journey map. We learnt that suppliers needed
- to understand their chance of winning work and the number of suppliers they are competing against.
- to know the status of their application or the opportunity so they can plan
- to know who wins the work so that they can feel confident that the process is fair, open and transparent.
- to have complete data to help make informed decisions – Who sells, Buyer trends, opportunities that did not get awarded, who buys, location where it is bought, contract information (value, duration) and size of supplier
Planning and Design
Based on the data needed, we identified which relevant data we already had and determined the best way to expose them. We then identified which data we did not have and built a prototype workflow to get the data.
We did not have data on the outcome of the opportunity – who the contract had been awarded to or if the opportunity was cancelled for some reason. We designed and tested the prototypes for collecting this data with buyers in labs and iterated it based on what we learnt. For example: not awarding a contract does not necessarily mean the opportunity was cancelled, it could also mean no suitable suppliers were found.
I prioritised which information was most important based on the value to the suppliers. For example : The specific stage of the evaluation process didn’t make much difference to suppliers.
It’s important to get value to user as quickly as possible. To do this, I ensured we broke down this work into smaller chunks.
- The yes journey: Getting data for opportunities where a contract has been awarded
- The no journey: Getting data for opportunities where a contract has been not been awarded
- Updating the supplier dashboard to show status of their application
- Sending emails to prompt buyers to tell us the outcome
- Providing complete data in a CSV so they can download and review.
Based on our goals, user needs and our hypothesis, I ran a session with the team to identify our measures of success and expected behaviour. This helped us identify benchmarks where needed and track progress.
- Talking to users early meant we were able to learn and iterate in a lean way
- Deciding what good looks like early meant we identified benchmarks to help measure success better
- Building in small chunks meant we delivered value to users quickly
- Buyers can now update details for their closed requirement from their account and suppliers can see who the contract was awarded to, the contract start date and the contract value on the public opportunity page.
- Buyers can now cancel a requirement or tell the supplier when no one was awarded.
- Suppliers can now see status of their application on their dashboard
- All users can now see how many people have applied to an opportunity.
Other Goals achieved
- Managed the Digital Outcomes and Specialists 2 framework application process. This work, delivered on time, resulted in suppliers growing by 60%, but with a 48% reduction in ‘clarification questions’
- Improved user support on Digital Marketplace by redefining the administrative roles and user experience, automating manual administrative tasks and helping users self service.
- Improved communications between Digital Marketplace, buyers and suppliers by identifying the gaps and working with the team to create interactions that improve communication like using an MVP approach to send new opportunity notifications
- Developed an account area for suppliers to manage their applications and services resulting in 95% reduction in queries about those issues
- Reduced the length of procurement by a week by collecting evidence for shortlisting during application