The discovery phase of the next iteration of the cloud procurement platform has found that users struggle with ineffective searches, producing audit trails and difficulty comparing suppliers.
G-Cloud 9 discovery phase identifies confusion among users: Photo credit: Flickr, Dennis Hill
According to a blogpost on the Digital Marketplace blog, the discovery phase of G-Cloud 9 – which is now complete – found there were a number of areas that needed more work.
These included that searching the database is not intuitive, with the G-Cloud catalogue “frequently [returning] unexpected results”.
This makes it difficult for buyers to find a product or service that matches what they need, and leads to users having to make guesses in order to use the search function.
“There is no shared terminology for the way G-Cloud products and services are being described. Suppliers often describe the same types of services in a variety of ways,” the post said.
“This inconsistency in language makes it more difficult for buyers to find what they need. Suppliers told us that they resort to guesswork to find the keywords buyers are using when searching for services.”
Users also said that they found it hard to compare and evaluate suppliers’ service listings and are resorting to manual methods of comparison here, too.
In addition, the organisation of products and services doesn’t always match the way users think about those products and services.
The Digital Marketplace team said it planning to research changing the categories so they are more in line with the way users define services.
Further problems found during discovery include a lack of clear guidance for users and an inability to create an audit trail as part of the procurement process within G-Cloud.
The latter problem is again causing users to resort to a manual process of taking screenshots and creating spreadsheets, and the team plans to carry out research to understand what information is being captured to create audit trails.
G-Cloud is now moving into its alpha phase, which will look at ways of addressing these problems and continue user research, the post said.