GDS Using Feedback To Improve Digital Marketplace

Jan 06, 2015

The Government Digital Service (GDS) has outlined the way in which it receives user feedback for the new Digital Marketplace and how it then uses this to make improvements.

The Marketplace is set to replace a number of public sector technology “storefronts” including the Cloudstore, the former home of the G-Cloud procurement framework.

In November last year, Cabinet Office Minister Francis Maude officially opened the new store, where all G-Cloud services must now be bought.

The Digital Services Framework, which can currently be found under the Digital Services Store, is expected to move to the Digital Marketplace early this year.

According to a blog post written by Lana Gibson, a member of the GDS team, a “measurement ecosystem” is being developed for the new location to buy public sector IT services.

“By collating meaningful data from user research, website analytics, on-site feedback, helpdesk data, cost data and social media metrics, we’re able to understand our user needs and develop our services and platform accordingly,” Gibson claimed.

“When iterations are implemented, we then review the data to check whether our design decisions are working, starting the whole cycle again,” she added.

The Four Stages Of The Feedback Loop And Its Challenges

According to Gibson, GDS works through four stages in order to make its “feedback loop” as comprehensive and useful as possible.

The four stages are consistent cross channel communication, monitoring user engagement, long-term monitoring and user insight driving service design and communication strategy.

“We will continue to monitor, measure and record this data to inform future improvements to the service,” claimed Gibson.

“Over time we will see significant trends emerging that we’ll continue to feedback to our development team. This continuous cycle ensures we always put user needs first,” she added.

GDS also acknowledges there are a number of barriers to tackle when it comes to using user feedback successfully.

Besides influences on service usage such as policy updates and seasonal demand, there is also data overload to contend with.

“There’s a lot of data available; hundreds of reports in Google Analytics alone. So little of that data actually gives us actionable insight into user behaviour,” claimed Gibson.

“A lot of time can be wasted paying attention to interesting data that won’t result in any improvement to the service,” she added.

SME Support

The managing director of cloud backup SME Databarracks Peter Groucutt believes there is still an “imbalance” to be addressed but progress is being made.

“By making the procurement process easier through the improved functionality of the Digital Marketplace, G-Cloud very much becomes a buyers’ market,” claimed Groucutt.

“Public sector firms searching for services will have more choice and more flexibility – something that the Cloudstore failed to provide.  

“G-Cloud 6 is a definite step in the right direction. The framework is a very different entity now to what it was when it was first launched.

“Its initial issues are well-documented but the hard work pumped into the scheme by suppliers and the GDS team has turned it around and the improvements we’re due to see with G-Cloud 6 are proof of that,” he added.


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