Tips for Selecting a Monitoring and Evaluation Software
Here are six things to look for when selecting a M&E software.
1. Able to operate offline - Some software developers will claim that they can operate offline. However, the installation for the offline capacity can be hugely cumbersome and/or the updates for offline versions of the software are slow and sometimes non-existent.
2. User-friendly - Meaning that the software is easy to use with limited training for the administrator and can be configured without software developers
3. Reasonably costed in terms of training and continued support - Some software packages have really expensive training support and/or the training is limited (i.e. first month or two). This is totally impractical for ensuring understanding of the system.
4. Compatible and easy to integrate into existing systems for operations and administration (financial, HR, communications etc.).
5. Easily maintained within an organisation - If a software design is complex and requires external expertise and support to manage, not only it does this incur more costs to maintain, but it will also affect the M&E system. That is, more time may be spent to get the M&E system adequately functioning. A good M&E software design for an organisation should be flexible enough to allow changes or adjustments to be made to the type of information that is required from time to time.
6. Packed with cool and practical features – These include the ability to:
design customized reports and forms;
capture qualitative indicators;
adequately capture theories of change
enter and process data on a mobile device (smart phone);
Geospatial Mapping Tools;
aggregate on many variables (e.g. age group and gender);
ability to export in PDF or spreadsheet;
dynamic dashboard to get an overview of the data with ‘drag and drop’ feature;
enable users to make most changes (configurations) without a software developer's support and additional costs.;
Drag & Drop form builder;
employ security protocols when transferring data and when data is at rest;
ability to give notifications once reports have been approved;
run on popular web browsers on all major operating systems;
enter or download data even when internet connection is not available;
protect data and confidential information
link data on IATI registry
ability to collect data on mobile devices