Tussell Analytics

The challenge

The authoritative data source on UK public sector contracts

Tussell is the authoritative data source of insight into UK public sector procurement. The company was founded in 2015 to fill a market gap by providing valuable and reliable information on government contracts and spending. Its market intelligence platform enables companies to do more business with the government and for contracting authorities to get better value from their procurement. Tussell’s mission is to enable better delivery of public services through increased transparency, competition, and accountability in government contracting.

Their platform does this by aggregating and analysing open government procurement data from many different sources and turning it into smart data insights with a focus on providing the best quality data. It helps provide clarity and context to the previously opaque government procurement market worth over £200 Billion.

Bringing clarity and context to a previously opaque market

Public procurement represents roughly 10% of the national GDP; this equates to over £200 billion annually. While public procurement data is publicly available, it is often housed in silos and not easily aggregated or analysed. This creates problems for suppliers, the government and financial firms who need to easily access and view this data to identify opportunities and grow within the public sector. Furthermore, public procurement data is usually disaggregated, unformatted and organised. This makes it difficult to get useful insights from the data without hours of analysis.

In 2016, Tussell approached Pixie Labs to help them build a data analytics platform to help companies win more government business and government departments get more value from their suppliers.The team at Tussell already understood the problems and frustrations experienced by organisations doing business in the public sector and had validated a market need. They had a proof-of-concept product that let them produce reports and analytics for a growing list of clients. However, it involved many inefficient and time-consuming manual processes, which made scaling their operations challenging.

They needed a self-service customer platform that integrated with their existing backend to automate customer report requests so they could serve more customers quickly and reliably. The scope for the early customer platform included:

    • Integrating with and enhancing Tussell's existing data infrastructure.
    • Data enhancing workflows for Tussell's team.  
    • Self-service customer accounts.
    • Report and data range selection.
    • Interactive data views.
    • Customisable downloads.
    • Report notification via email.

The solution

Working closely with Tussell’s leadership, product and customer teams, we created a self-service platform that let customers view and download Tussell’s enhanced public procurement data filtered by date range using a simple-to-use interface.

As Tussell's technology partner, we helped them make the best strategic technology decisions to support their goals of accelerating growth and providing the highest quality data.

Discovery and Product Design

We worked with Tussell to understand their business objectives, identify the most valuable opportunities and document existing pain points for their business and customers. With this understanding, we defined the platform requirements and validated any technical or usability assumptions.

Working with their product and customer success teams, we validated which approach would provide the most value for their customers and business. This involved a deep dive into the questions their customers needed to answer, the reports already produced, and the process for generating the reports to ensure the new customer portal created the maximum value for the different user groups.

Next, we architected the solution and created a prioritised backlog of features and a detailed delivery roadmap with defined milestones to ensure we could track progress at every stage.

Build and Launch

We started by changing Tussell’s existing data infrastructure to improve the reliability and quality of the data. Next, we built the new customer-facing platform from the ground up and integrated it with this improved data infrastructure. We tested the platform’s data quality, performance and usability throughout the build process and made improvements based on early feedback.

The result was a simple but robust customer portal with an intuitive interface that lets customers quickly find and download the most relevant data. Enabling customers to answer questions themselves without manual intervention from Tussell meant that the organisation could scale its operations and focus its resources on other growth areas.

The early customer platform, though simple, was a huge success and provided a solid foundation from which the business could evolve and grow. Over our 7-year relationship with Tussell, we have worked with them to discover, validate and build solutions addressing a long list of customer pain points and business opportunities.

More recently

The current customer platform has evolved far beyond this early version through both incremental and transformative improvements. Below are some of the most significant changes and improvements:

• New data sources - Since launching the first version of the customer platform, 1000+ new data types have been added.

• Data management - We added Clickhouse, a high-performance, column-oriented database management system (DBMS) designed to process queries on large datasets.

• Advanced filters - Customers can search by and combine a multitude of filters, helping them to segment their market and find relevant   data quickly and easily.

• Interactive data displays and dashboards - Customers can view data in different formats, making it easier to understand trends and   highlights.

• Saved searches & notifications - Customers can save their complex searches and are notified when new results are available via a daily   digest email.

• Buyer and supplier profiles - These profiles connect Tussell’s different data sets in a single view, connecting the dots for users.

• Customers can view data-rich profiles of specific buyers and suppliers and understand what their target audience and competitors are   doing.

• Opportunity analyser - Customers have access to advanced bid/no-bid intelligence at a glance. This feature helps users by serving   answers to complex questions, such as the award criteria, similar opportunities and upcoming opportunities, using their own data. This   allows businesses to make fast, informed decisions on whether to tender for a particular contract.

• Key Decision Makers - This feature integrated 80,000 contacts across all of the buyers in Tussell’s database. Using this feature,   customers can easily find out how to reach the key decision-makers at the companies they are interested in.

The outcome and results

Tussell is the authoritative data source on UK public sector contracts. It is trusted by the private sector and the government alike to provide them with the highest quality data and insights into UK public sector procurement.

Tussell has the most comprehensive and high-quality data on the market. By mapping, enhancing and aggregating large volumes of raw, fragmented and uncategorised data from over 1000 sources, Tussell empowers users to build data-led strategies through actionable insights.

The platform analyses the journey of UK public sector procurement from pre-market engagement through to £5trn worth of invoices and the restarting of the purchasing cycle with contract renewals. The data connects the dots between over 800k tenders, frameworks and awarded contracts, mapping the intersection of government and the private sector in the delivery of public services.

Tussell is going from strength to strength, and the platform is seeing some impressively strong growth KPIs:
• 50% growth in users year-on-year.
• 95%+ year-on-year user retention rate.

With more than 1,000 press citations since 2018, Tussell has also become the media’s trusted source of insight on public contracts. Publications, including the Economist, the Financial Times and the Guardian, come to Tussell for government procurement and spending insights. These insights have proved critical for accurate reporting on topics like Carillion contracts, the cost of Brexit consulting, and upgrades to fire safety post-Grenfell. It was Tussell that alerted the press to the Seaborne Freight contract, and the insight from Tussell’s COVID-19 contracts tracker has been used extensively by the press to scrutinise the government's response to the pandemic.

"If you want to work with somebody who will be invested in the success of your product and ask questions about why you want to build a certain feature and what problems you are trying to solve, then Pixie Labs is the right technology partner for you" - Joe Creedon, Head of Product @ Tussell.

Pixie Labs is a leading London-based digital product studio with deep software development expertise in Ruby on Rails, React and React Native. We design and build high-impact apps, platforms and digital tools. Let us help you make your digital product a success.

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