The Background

Buying Solutions is an Executive Agency of the Office of Government Commerce (OGC) in the Treasury. They provide a professional procurement service to public sector organisations, helping them to deliver improved value for money in their commercial activities. It also offers professional support, advising on technical issues, energy saving and environmental improvements.

As a government agency tasked with acquiring and supplying goods and services to over 5,000 registered customers in the public sector their aim is to offer the very best value to tax payers, ensuring a balance in quality and cost.

The Challenge

Technophobia and Buying Solutions worked together from November 2003, until February 2010. During this successful seven year partnership, Buying Solutions asked us to create an “online procurement system” - a web-based, one stop shop for the government agency’s goods and services.

Buying Solution’s remit is broad. They procure and supply a huge range of items, from stationery to computers, travel services to consultancy. The finished system had to meet the needs of suppliers, buyers and the agency’s own administration staff.

The Response

With a complex set of needs to meet, we talked through Buying Solution’s requirements at length. The site itself would have to be simple to navigate and easily recognisable to users as an online procurement system. Administration staff would need a wide range of features, from catalogue management to blogging tools. One of the biggest challenges would be integration and support for existing systems used by Buying Solution’s 600 plus suppliers.

"They quickly got a good understanding of our organisation and built a website to totally fulfil our needs."

We were commissioned to create the system from start to finish. We completed the task with uncompromising attention to detail, providing a dynamic site built on custom code. Our involvement in the task was the very definition of “full service”, seeing the project through from consultancy to completion - providing bespoke software solutions, database design, user experience crafting, web hosting and technical support. 

As well as being easy to use for buyers, suppliers were able to set-up and administer their own product catalogues and take orders through the website.

Our development of the site continued after launch, in response to user feedback. The provision of an ‘Invitation to Quote’ system, personalisation tools, Google search integration and integration with other portal systems demonstrated our ongoing commitment to the project.

The Result

The completed system, delivered on time and on budget, gave Buying Solutions one of the largest business to business, electronic procurement systems in the UK. With over a million products and services in the online catalogue, it dealt with 500,000 online transactions every year. The client was suitably impressed with the result:

“We gave Technophobia a rather open specification, allowing them to use their expertise to put the website together,” said Sandra Wharton, Buying Solution’s e-Catalogues Manager, “They quickly got a good understanding of our organisation and built a website to totally fulfil our needs.”