Applications are designed to help manage and monitor your programmes. Your community can have multiple applications, designed to cover the needs of different programmes in your organisation. While applications cover your programme indicators, they are focused at the operational or activity level of your programme. This means that they provide a tool to help both monitor (from the M&E perspective) and manage (from the programme perspective) the programme from start to finish. Taking this holistic approach integrates indicators and data quality directly into the day to day activities of the team implementing the programme. It also provides project management tools that are customised for the programme itself.
Typically an application will include:
- Project profiles that hold all information associated with a site, facility or project implemented by the programme
- Activities that are implemented over several stages
- Different data that must be collected at different stages of implementation
- Responsibilities that change as the activities proceed (for example one person is responsible for implementation on site A, but sometimes needs sign-off from another person)
- Managers need to easily track multiple programme projects and see at a glance where things are behind schedule
- Monitoring and Evaluation specialists need to collect data and review data quality at specific stages in the implementation
The home of each application is it's dashboard. This pages lived in your community, but shows the operational status of the activities your application is managing. For example:
- Which sites are you working on (or which projects are you managing)
- What stage of implementation have they reached
- Who is responsible for each one?
- Is it on schedule?
The dashboard provides managers with an operational overview of all sites. It can be configured to show projects that have reached a specific stage of implementation or ones which are behind schedule, according to agreed milestones.
Whenever you create a new version of your process a new profile is created. Each profile is the home for the site, project or other 'thing' that they application is managing. Profiles have multiple pages to organise all the information related to a project. For example:
Workflow is used to manage the sequence of activities. Workflow can be simply to track which stage of implementation you activity has reached. In this case people managing a project can advance the workflow to indicate which stage it has reached. This information is then visible on reports and dashboards
Workflow can also be used more strongly to help ensure that the programme activities follow good practice and that the data collected is of high quality. In these scenarios workflow can be configured to:
- Capture planning data (including deadlines for specific stages) at the start of a project
- Escalate to alert designated users if the project misses the deadlines for these milestones
- Provide detailed guidance to implementers as to the activities they should carry out at each stage
- Require that specific forms be completed at certain stages (for example a group registration form during a registration stage)
- Require that a minimum or maximum number of versions of a form be completed
- Require sign-off from managers at specific stages before the workflow can continue
The workflow can also integrate with other systems using a REST API. This is useful when you need to integrate BetterData with legacy systems, ensuring that data is syncronised at specific stages of each project in the programme.
Applications can use any component available on the platform. This makes it easy to enhance applications, adding custom components like:
- Library component - to organise and curate content
- Forum component - to host web and email based discussions
- Network component - to show a list of project profile members
If your organisation works with partners you may also wish to configure and then share a standardised application. This approach enables partners to manage their own BetterData communities, but still take part in a bigger programme which has it's own application. Data reported by partners in their community is then shared with you in your community.