Network Service 2 supplier update
Our Sales Manager Terry brings you the latest supplier update on the upcoming Network Services 2 framework.
I attended yet another Network Service 2 (NS2 ) supplier update hosted by Mike Thomas of Innopsis. It was a very interesting, lively and interactive session with around 15-17 present and about the same number connected remotely. The remote users had ample input to the overall session which showed how well it was run.
Network Services 2 to be hosted on Digital Marketplace?
The most exciting news was that it looks like Network Services 2 will be hosted on the Digital Marketplace as the driver is to try and make the framework easier to use from both the buyer and supplier side.
The whole session was aimed around discussing and trying to decide on key attributes per product group (lot). In other words, the participants had the opportunity to discuss key words/headlines that could be used as search terms for a buyer on the Digital Marketplace. This will enable NS 2 buyers to drill down on a search – similar to what is currently found on G-Cloud. This whole exercise also needs to be done for ancillary and enablement services but most of the work will have been covered in the core service itself.
The whole driver is to create a detailed drop down menu for buyers instead of them maybe just typing in “broadband” and having loads of suppliers appear. The idea is to have a much tighter search criteria for buyers.
We broke into groups to discuss specific attributes that need to be included within the product groups, this was really interesting. For example, under connectivity we jotted down key attributes such as availability, management and performance metric.
We really tried to draw upon the experience of the room as to what do buyers ask for when looking to procure a service or conversely, what questions do you ask them when trying to sell them a service? What does public sector tend to buy based on the attributes or keywords as these might feed into the exam scenarios for the framework. We were trying to hammer out 80% of what search terms a buyer would use for each relevant product group (lot)!!
It was noted that CCS frameworks are obviously Lot driven and a suppliers services don’t always fit in neatly to one lot(s) so we tried to ensure that flexibility exists within each lot.
At the end of the session individuals stepped up to own a product group and finish off the attributes and also look at attributes for ancillary and enablement services but most will/should be covered by the core.
All of the work done on the day will be fed back by end of August and then sent out for feedback and comments. This will aid in developing a realistic scenario that a buyer would take when purchasing through the Network Services 2 framework.
Network Services 2 potential cap on suppliers
It still hasn’t been confirmed that Network Services 2 will be a limited supplier framework but we suspect this will be the case. The supplier update didn’t bring any new news on this front. But it was noted that, unsurprisingly, supplier feedback on the cap news has been negative.
Uncapped frameworks mean more suppliers and a level playing field to SME’s. Opening Network Services 2 would not only help SMEs win secure long-term work, it will provide the government with access to innovation, often at a lower cost.
Fingers crossed the supplier pressure yields results!
No new information was forthcoming regarding timelines or final lot structures but it was strongly intimated that they want the process completed this side of Christmas. Innopsis/CCS hope to host another meeting in September to discuss final timescales. The closing 15 minutes were spent discussing the new procurement regulations and it was noted that although the language is now easier, some terms are still onerous and this has been fed directly into CCS.
So in conclusion, it looks like NS2 will be on the Digital Marketplace, no update on specific timescales but looks like all on track to meet current timelines as we know them.
A very interesting and exciting session and it’s great as a supplier to be able to play a vital part in trying to make NS2 an easier framework for both buyers and suppliers!!