Vendor behaviour responsible for Digital Marketplace search overhaul

Peter Groucutt welcomes changes to search functionality within the new Digital Marketplace, saying the previous system had been abused by suppliers.

The Cabinet Office’s decision to revamp the search functionality within the new Digital Marketplace will be widely welcomed by vendors.

In its previous form, the CloudStore, buyers were overburdened with search results for inappropriate services.

This was partly an issue with the search function, but often, it was actually the vendors who were to blame for how they had input their service descriptions.

G-Cloud 6 will see the government overhaul the way vendors input information about their offerings, providing buyers with a better understanding as to what services are being offered and how relevant they are to their specific requirements.

In the platform which Digital Marketplace is replacing – CloudStore -search functionality was widely criticised.

The new Digital Marketplace has sought to address this in time for G-Cloud 6 by overhauling the submission questions which help suppliers describe their products and services.

This means that the new search functionality will provide greater clarity and force suppliers to clean up their act when it comes to publicising their offerings.

Search functionality has always been one of the biggest bugbears in the CloudStore. 

The truth is, vendors offering services on the G-Cloud framework had little idea as to how their services would be displayed within the CloudStore.

The vendors wanted to make sure their services appeared for as many search results as possible for the buyers.  

As a result the simple option for vendors was to revisit old SEO tricks in a bid to boost their position.

You can see the different tactics some of the vendors have used, adding lots of versions of the same service with minor changes to the service title, or filling the service description boxes with keywords.

Vendors felt that the blame for this lay at the door of the Cabinet Office.

However, in truth, vendors themselves need to shoulder some of the blame for overpopulating the CloudStore with inappropriate descriptors in a bid to stay ahead of their competitors. 

By improving the way vendors input information about their offerings, it provides buyers with a more accurate understanding of the services available to them.

The improvements demonstrate that real thought is being put into the process – how the buyers buy, how the vendors will want to sell and ensuring those on the framework have access to the right services to suit their specific needs.

Peter Groucutt is managing director of supplier Databarracks

Colin Marrs

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