As mentioned at the recent autumn regional events, we have been developing the capability for Principal Contacts and other authorised users to amend and delete product supply contracts. This also includes the ability to change the supply method, i.e. to receive all orders as downloads as opposed to physical media, and to make it easier to order more data using an existing holding. This follows member feedback on the need to better manage their own accounts.
With thanks to those members who have helped, this development work is almost complete and, subject to first successfully completing a separate business system upgrade and then also successfully completing internal user acceptance testing of the new functionality over the next few weeks, we are planning to implement the changes in the early part of the new year. More information and guidance will be available then.
In the meantime, we have been looking at all the existing product supply contracts and found two ways where we could offer help to members before the functionality becomes available.
Product holdings being supplied
We currently have nearly 1,500 members ordering data through the service and between them we are fulfilling nearly 14,500 product holdings (or contracts). Our review found that, instead of ordering more data under an existing holding, a number of members have been creating new holdings.
We have already supported a number of customers that represent 17% of the holdings and have offered to make any cancellations or amendments to the supply format and or supply medium on their behalf. If there is a requirement to do so, we may run a similar exercise in the new year.
Removal of CD as a supply medium
In addition, we have received feedback from members about inconsistency of our data supply and our use of DVD / CD, especially where members are ordering the same data via both the PSMA online service and the OS OpenData portal. There are also a number of holdings for supplies on CD that have been carried over from agreements that existed prior to the PSMA. It should be noted that for the last two years, supplies of all new orders placed for supply on disc have been on DVD.
We are now planning to withdraw all the remaining options to receive data on a CD and, rather than waiting until the service upgrade is launched, we will shortly be contacting these members directly and making a similar offer as above. This will give these members an opportunity to review some of their product holdings as it may be that either they may no longer need them (so we will cancel those contracts) or we will change the supply medium.
We know that about 75% of new orders are now supplied via download, but we understand that not every member can use that. So, if DVD is the preferred medium, the benefits that members will see are, not only consistency in the way that we deliver data and a reduction in the number of media supplied, but also easier loading of the data for you. It should be noted that, with DVD supply, there is no difference to the file structure or naming conventions.