How we helped GovFlex users learn about their probability of winning federal opportunities
GovFlex is a marketplace that connects service providers or freelance consultants with government contractors and agencies. It is the “Upwork/Fiverr” for the Government sector. Service providers and freelancers use GovFlex to find, manage, and pursue government grants and RFPs. GovFlex engaged with Begin to develop an analytics and suggestion tool for service providers and freelancers to gain insight on their probability of winning a given federal opportunity. GovFlex calls this tool “Opportunity Analytics.”
DJango, Vue.js, AWS
Fully functional MVP
Produced in under 40 days
Taking objective data and running it through a brand’s subjective analysis, rating, or “score” is a common, powerful, and scalable way to quickly add value to users in any data-driven product. Netflix uses the same concept to suggest you’re a 97% match to watch Better Call Saul. They take your viewing behavior and history (objective data) and run that through their suggestion algorithm (subjective analysis) to help you select what to watch tonight.
The GovFlex team wanted to apply the same concept to their users. They identified seven government-managed grant and RFP data sources (the objective data) and also provided a scoring algorithm (subjective analysis) in a Google Sheet. Our goal was to 1) source and consume the objective data, 2) translate the scoring algorithm into code 3) automate the entire process from start to finish and 4) display the results in a clean and elegant way.
"Some of the underlying data we use comes from systems we don’t control. They deserve credit for looking into calculations that weren’t working properly and writing specialized code that will alert us if these external systems suddenly stop working. Their code is protecting us from the repercussions of that."
To start, we researched each data source and determined if we would be able to integrate with their API (and the quality of the API) or if we would have to download the data files and create our own API. We ran into multiple challenges where the government data files would be in their own, non-standard data format, they didn’t adhere strictly to update times, or reporting was inconsistent. To adjust for this, we had to write multiple fallbacks for missing data, and fail-overs for the algorithm so it could perform as accurately as possible with less information. We worked back and forth with their team refining the scoring algorithm until it returned consistent valuable results and insights.
Technical Implementation for Devs
The GovFlex product and platform are being maintained by a 3rd party. The scope of our engagement was augmenting that team to design and develop the Opportunity Analytics feature. We worked closely with them to create a seamless integration of the Opportunity Analytics feature into the existing website and user’s workflow. Data flowed bidirectionally into the existing platform, allowing us to create a “mini-platform” from scratch using Vue.js and Django on AWS. The tool pulls from a multitude of various government APIs and custom integrations across various agencies, creating a large custom database that GovFlex owns.
Where is the Project Now?
GovFlex is currently one of the federally suggested platforms for Government Agencies and freelancers to intersect. Please check them out at govflexapp.com In order to “touch & feel” our portion of the project you will need to sign up and create a profile as a freelancer.