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Enabling procurement data value chains for economic development, demand management, competitive markets and vendor intelligence

Periodic Reporting for period 2 - TheyBuyForYou (Enabling procurement data value chains for economic development, demand management, competitive markets and vendor intelligence)

Período documentado: 2019-07-01 hasta 2020-12-31

Procurement affects virtually every organisation. Public spending alone will soon exceed €2trn per annum in the EU. In times of slow economic recovery and enhanced transparency, there is a pressing need for better management of government finances. The interaction between governments and businesses is key to delivering reformed public services, but it cannot, in its present form, create growth with less investment. In addition, research has already shown that SMEs can compete effectively with their larger counterparts and deliver value for money, provided the right environment. Private sector buyers face similar challenges. They are expected to run efficient, accountable tendering procedures, whether the beneficiaries are company shareholders or taxpayers. This becomes increasingly difficult as the flow of goods, services, finances, and data reaches all-times highs. TheyBuyForYou will deliver the data value chains, enabling technologies, and innovation that are critically needed for this fundamental change to happen. The project will explore how procurement knowledge graphs, paired with data management, analytics and interaction design could be used to reform four key procurement areas: (i) economic development: facilitating better economic outcomes from public spending for SMEs; (ii) demand management: spotting trends in public spending to achieve long-term goals such as savings; (iii) competitive markets: promoting healthier competition and identifying collusions and other irregularities; and (iv) supplier intelligence: optimising supply chains. We will develop an integrated technology platform, with data, core services, open APIs and online tools, which will be validated in 3 business cases in public/corporate procurement in Slovenia, Spain and Italy. The expected impact is substantial, with €200m savings in EU public spending; 25% increase in the value unlocked by enhanced procurement management in the private sector; and 20% more SMEs bidding for contracts.
In the first 18 months of TheyBuyForYou, actions have been focusing on laying the project’s foundations in order to meet its objectives, comprising 1) assessing, gathering and curating the underlying data, as well as the establishment of the first version of the TBFY knowledge graph; 2) development of the initial platform architecture and release of platform tools, including the implementation of various APIs for accessing procurement data; 3) initial iterations of advanced analytics services such as anomaly detection and multilingual search in tender documents; 4) Development of concepts and a set of guidelines for visualisation of (and interaction with) procurement data. All of these elements have been developed in close cooperation with the project's business cases, according to their requirements. In order to demonstrate the impact of the developed technology components with regards to the main objective, business cases have been designed and their implementation has started. Engagement of external stakeholders has included both national authorities in Spain, Norway and he UK, as well as international entities (the EC Economics and Statistics Working Group, Open Contracting Partnership) as well as the consortium members' internal and external customers and end users.
We have developed an ontology network for representing and linking procurement and company data based on the well-known standards, ontologies, and vocabularies. This is a major step forward given the numerous initiatives and data formats available in the European ecosystem. In parallel, first, we have developed techniques for comparing analysing cross-lingual procurement data sets, allowing us to harvest data in its native language, which often provides more information.

Secondly, we prepared guidelines and best-practices for visualising and interacting with procurement data through a close collaboration with business partners ensuring relevance and impact.

Thirdly, we have matured several business cases, targeting major impact areas, in terms of their goals and requirements.

We are currently moving the knowledge graph and business cases together by expanding the knowledge graph with respect the requirements of business cases and implementing several online tools on top of the knowledge graph. The online tools will support exploitation and use of the knowledge graph and augment and maximise its business value, which will be demonstrated through business case portals. In the short term, with the current results of the project, our technical solution provides a mechanism for accessing and using procurement and company data in a unified manner allowing stakeholders to derive basic statistics and knowledge, otherwise unavailable, that could support businesses and variety of generic information needs.

The accomplishment of the full project scope, with such as advanced and cross-lingual analytics support, will catalyse the integration of sectoral data, facilitate development of new products and services, and increase competitiveness, revenue and intersectoral collaboration.
Developing procurement data value chains