OnQ Blog

Getting it right: A best practice approach to implementing M&E tech

Mar 9, 2015

Qualcomm products mentioned within this post are offered by Qualcomm Technologies, Inc. and/or its subsidiaries.

To date, Qualcomm® Wireless Reach™ has benefitted more than 6.5 million people globally by providing improved access to advanced wireless technologies. This is one of the incredible insights we gained after implementing cloud-based, customer relationship management (CRM) software for our Wireless Reach monitoring and evaluation (M&E) program.

Having led the team that successfully managed the change—and hearing from our project managers about how the resulting efficiency gains enable them to spend more time focusing on their programs and deepening ties between Qualcomm and our collaborators—I was excited to present our experience as a case study in best practices for change management during the NetHope M&E and Tech Working Group’s meeting in Washington, D.C., on February 24th. I presented alongside Dave Sessions, vice president of Technology Practice from Vital Wave, a firm that delivers large-scale digital solutions in emerging markets.

With more than 80 attendees from the M&E Tech and Information and Communication Technologies for Development (ICT4D) communities, there were representatives from the U.S. Department of Education, USAID, American Red Cross, Inter-American Development Bank and other influential development agencies.

Currently, the Wireless Reach portfolio includes more than 100 projects in various stages of development in 40 countries. M&E has always been a component of our project management philosophy.

In 2012, we saw an opportunity to amplify our M&E efforts and better understand the depth of our impact by enhancing our methodologies and upgrading to the latest technologies that mapped to our needs. We knew that doing so would allow us to better utilize M&E insights for improved decision-making, better communicate our messages of social and business benefit to internal and external audiences, and better demonstrate the tangible benefits of all Wireless Reach-funded projects.

Change management is often overlooked or underestimated when implementing M&E technology. For us, it was the key to encouraging full adoption and sustainability. My presentation provided best practices and tools based on our experience to help practitioners manage their change process, from vetting technology implementation plans with key stakeholders to providing training and ongoing support for end users adopting the new M&E technologies.

I also shared my personal best practice in change management for M&E technology, which is to understand the technology capabilities and the end user needs as deeply as possible. That way you have a holistic perspective of the downstream impacts of every decision so you are able to shepherd the implementation process through to successful completion and sustainability.

Our new CRM solution is integral to our M&E strategy for Wireless Reach projects. It helped us take our portfolio to the next level and has proved its worth many times over.

By sharing our experience, I was able to give others a peek under the hood of the technology and processes that enable Wireless Reach to continually deliver meaningful impact. And, I was able to contribute our story to the growing dialogue on M&E in the ICT4D space.

Lauren Reed

Staff Analyst, Government Affairs

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