Open source collaboration

How our Digital Marketplace is making a difference in the UK.

Photo of a koala reaching for a branch of gum leaves.
Caption: Want a branch? Tuck in mate – it’s all open source.

Our Digital Marketplace Beta was released 5 months ahead of schedule, because we were able to reuse open source code from the Digital Marketplace UK.

So it feels good to be able to give something back: the Digital Marketplace UK is now incorporating one of our new features — our digital work order — into their service.

From the UK Digital Marketplace blog:

Now this is where things start getting even more exciting; the DTA recently developed something that we’re very interested in, so we’ve used their code and quickly started prototyping.

This component will enable buyers to create online call-off contracts and statements of work (SOWs), using the Open Contracting Data Standard (OCDS), which can be easily published to Contracts Finder.

Making it open makes it better

Making source code open is part of the Digital Service Standard — our guidelines for building the Digital Marketplace. By sharing your source code it means everyone with a similar need can reuse it. There are lots good reasons to do this.

Open source helps:

  • reduce costs
  • stop duplication
  • increase transparency

Best of all, whenever anyone makes an improvement to the code, everyone can benefit.

Building partnerships

For us this is just the beginning.

Over the last 6 months we’ve been growing our relationship with the Digital Marketplace UK with short visits both ways, as well as fortnightly Google Hangouts — this is how they found out about our work order.

We’re now taking the next step to create a shared backlog. Our collective intent is to collaborate on features, technologies and procurement reform strategies. By sharing the load, both marketplaces will be able to move faster than either can alone.

With an eye on broadening the coalition, we’re also part of an OECD digital marketplace special interest group involving many different countries, giving us the potential to spread the load further and deliver even faster in future.

For now we’re happy to see some of our work being used by our friends in the United Kingdom. It’s good open source karma and proves we’re building a useful service.