Now that we’ve come to the end of the blog series, the final question for you is How do I get the necessary tool?
Basically, there are three scenarios:
1: Use available software
There are many M&E software tools available and many providers offer free trial versions. Sometimes the complete software is even free. Check if the software fits your requirements and check if the provider is willing to do adjustments for you. Some only sell their software out of the box (love it or leave it) some (like us) are M&E experts as well and can customize the tool (like WebMo) so that it fits 100% to your needs. Check also costs: do you have to pay for each individual user, is it only a one-time installation fee, monthly or annual payments or are even license costs due? What is your organization able and willing to spend?
2: Develop tool yourself
Typically you start to develop an Excel tool or if you have proper IT skills you might want to develop your own software. But please consider that there is already a lot of software available. For the sake of time and money, we would recommend to first check the existing solutions before developing your own software. Consider: It’s not only the initial software development. You also need afterwards support, maintenance and further development.
3: Get a tailor-made tool
A third option would be to hire IT experts to develop an individual tool for your organization. In some circumstances this might be an appealing approach. However, for this to become a success, a good concept and clear requirements are key. For IT guys there is no “maybe” and no “sometimes this should happen when an indicator has a certain value and sometimes this should happen. But I cannot explain it as we always decide differently”. IT guys think in terms of “if then else” and need a 100% logical structure. This is why IT projects sometimes fail. Different languages used in the IT and the development sector can easily lead to miscommunication. Usually an IT-guy will not understand the term “results based monitoring” and he/she may have never heard of a Logframe (read also this blog “8 tips to talk to IT guys”). So be aware that developing software from scratch needs time, money, and some translation between the two sectors. We would thus always recommend using the existing software providers and request adjustments.
The image below shows you the related advantages and disadvantages of each scenario and some points for consideration.
In this context WebMo would be scenario 1 and 3. Based on our standard WebMo which you can buy with a click of a button (scenario 1) and we can customize it according to your needs (scenario 3).
Did this blog post help you decide which scenario on how to get the right software for your monitoring needs is the right one for you? We hope so!
This blog is part 4 of our blog series “IT for M&E – four questions you should consider to get the right tool”. Check also part 1, 2 and 3 to learn more about the different aspects you should consider before deciding what kind of software support or which tool you need for your M&E system.
If you have read all related blog posts, you should know now for which M&E process your organization needs a solution, you have thought about software approaches, privacy issues and organizational culture. Also, the available budget range is clear to you. This altogether might influence your choice of one of the scenarios. Based on your preferences, requirements, constraints, and the three scenarios, we hope you can now make an informed decision about what kind of IT tools you want to use in your M&E system, and how you can get them!
Did this blog series help you decide what kind of software support / which tool you need for your M&E system? Did we miss something relevant? Let us know your thoughts!