GoVets as a Market Research Tool to Put VETS First
A Flexible Content Management Platform Designed with the Government in Mind
As a flexible content management platform, GoVets offers capability designed to enhance Government users’ ability to conduct market research. With some additional emphasis in key areas GoVets could, in the very near future, become the singular best-in-class tool for Market Research. That additional emphasis would require definition and configuration only and no new technology. The key emphasis areas are linkage to the commercial market, alignment to market researcher’s needs, awareness of the platform in the Government, availability of the platform for research, and representation of SDVOSBs on the platform.
Accurately represent sellers, availability, and pricing based on market fluctuations.
Key Question: How does the ordering platform respond to changes in the market?
Short Answer: The platform IS the market, an ecosystem that fosters competition.
Background: One of the deficiencies GSA has identified with GSA Advantage that also applies to other internal Government programs is the slow linkage between the government systems and changes in the commercial market. Because of the processes required to update government systems they are often slow in reflecting the “ground truth” in the commercial market. If prices drop the market pressure will change the prices and create correct linkage in a low-friction environment like GoVets. If prices drop the it takes more market pressure and additional time to overcome the friction in a government ordering platform like GSA Advantage.
To Do: N/A. GoVets currently provides a low-friction link to the commercial market.
Ensure the platform provides the meta-data supporting Government buyers’ search needs.
Key Question: How does the ordering platform adapt to allow Government buyers’ to search based on their Market Research criteria?
Short Answer: Collaborating with Government and tracking actions to closure on a configurable content management system.
Background: Government buyers may need to approach market research from different perspectives depending on the circumstances. For example, the buyer may require certain socio-economic categories, product categories, or vendor locations.
To Do: Create a steering committee with VA representation to ensure the configurable GoVets Market Research platform aligns with the Market Research query parameters and workflow required by the VA. Track actions to closure.
Ensure users know how to get to the platform and know how to use it.
Key Question: How do buyers know about the ordering platform?
Short Answer: Good executive sponsorship and hard work conducting training and outreach.
Background: It is essential to ensure that procurement professionals in the VA can navigate the platform and find the information they need when they need it without delay or interruption.
To Do: Provide regular training to ensure that VA procurement professionals understand how to best use the platform for Market Research. Include 24/7/365 helpdesk support to ensure that any questions or issues that arise will be addressed with minimum interruption.
A platform is only as useful as it is available.
Key Question: How is a high-availability platform achieved?
Short Answer: Use the provided system architecture to add resources that enable scale.
Background: Availability is usually expressed as a percentage of uptime in a given year. To ensure the GoVets platform is available in support of a very high volume of users conducting Market Research, the platform needs to be available at the following thresholds: 20,000 named users that have accounts in the system, 2000 Active users that are logged in and can demand system resources, and 200 Concurrent users that are simultaneously demanding system resources. GoVets is architected to scale. We just need to apply resources. Requires no new technology.
To Do: Apply appropriate resources to scale GoVets horizontally (more nodes) and vertically (bigger/faster machines) to ensure availability. Measure.
A market research platform needs to accurately represent the population.
Key Question: How does the market research platform include all SDVOSBs?
Short Answer: Load all SDVOSBs into the system and perform outreach.
Background: As of March 2019, there are 10560 SDVOSBs that can be loaded into the market research platform. The SDVOSBs can then claim their accounts, update their information, and add products and services. The market research platform, on a regular interval, can activate any SDVOSBs and disable any that are not found in the VetBiz database. All information is publicly available and no proprietary information is at risk. All of this requires no new technology.
To Do: Load all CVE-Verified SDVOSBs into GoVets, conduct outreach, and establish a process to regularly validate the SDVOSB list against the VetBiz database.
In Summary: GoVets offers a high-performing platform that accurately represents the SDVOSB population and is aligned to the Government buyer's needs. GoVets can be extended to be a premiere market research platform for the VA in a very short timeframe without doing any custom software development.