The Government Digital Service (GDS) is beginning to explore potential new features and functionality for its new Digital Marketplace.
Early last month, GDS announced it would be rebranding the G-Cloud framework in order to clear up any confusion about what the service actually is.
A blog post has now revealed the new procurement network is taking shape in a development process that is both “agile” and “user-centred.”
In the blog post, Stuart Reeve, product manager for the Digital Marketplace, introduced a number of new features that will be available on the new marketplace, including a new search engine called Elasticsearch.
Reeve claims this has already been used widely across GOV.UK and initial tests have shown it to be much faster than the current search solution.
He also says the ability to have more complex searches where buyers can search by exact words and phrases, while excluding specific terms is being worked on.
Another new feature that has been revealed is a question and answer system. Reeve says this is to cover questions potential buyers have that aren’t covered in the product description.
“Currently, getting an answer means contacting a supplier individually by phone or email, which means the same kinds of questions are being asked repeatedly. To save everyone a lot of time, we’re looking at building in the ability for buyers to ask questions about a service, which the supplier can then answer directly,” he claimed.
Reeves also noted that users will be able to vote up the most useful Q&As, which he claims will help supplier better understand the real needs of buyers.
Finally, the product manager announced the “complicated process” of buying would be tackled. Because several different people and processes are part of purchasing, the new Digital Marketplace will allow users to create projects, save searches and add results to specific procurements.
Besides this, keyword and search criteria can be saved, along with the reasons for deciding on a final service. All of this will be available to share with team members, making it “clearer, simpler and faster for everyone.”