User research to improve the experience of NZ Government procurement services
MBIE GETS User Research - 2019
The Government Electronic Tenders Service (GETS) provides a platform for New Zealand government agencies and suppliers of products and services to advertise and bid for procurement opportunities. This service is a core part of government procurement, but not the only platform or system used for procurement. The effectiveness of the overall procurement process depends on its smooth running, and a high quality user experience. The client, Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment (MBIE), recognised that experiences of GETS were not always positive, and were also unclear on what other platforms or tools were being used alongside it to manage procurement processes.
MBIE engaged ThinkPlace to explore and develop a better understanding of the experience of procurement, and specifically of those using GETS, with a view to improving the procurement processes in New Zealand government.
We knew that to understand how GETS could be useful and function as part of the wider procurement process, we’d have to be creative with how we explored the topic with participants. Our multi-faceted approach included mapping the procurement process with government agencies of various sizes and capabilities; mapping the procurement process from the supplier side; conducting interviews with suppliers on their opportunity-sourcing habits; and conducting user testing with suppliers to explore how easily they were able to find and apply for opportunities.
This approach enabled us to ‘zoom in’, exploring individual experiences and platform usability issues, and ‘zoom out’, understanding how GETS fit into people’s wider procurement journeys. We spoke to agencies with varying capabilities and resource so we could understand how the experiences changes laterally.
This work has continued to deliver value to the client. Shortly after our report was delivered, we were invited to a procurement steering group, where usability changes to the GETS platform made as a result of our work were showcased. We were able to see how our work had helped shaped a platform used by thousands across government. A larger overhaul of the GETS interface is upcoming, with our insights driving the plans.