May Innovation Forum: The FAQs for digitising your data collection!

Are you planning to digitise your data collection method? Here is a list of questions you need to be ready for whether you are going to pitch it to your senior management, the frontline staff or your clients!

The list is a massive one and covers most of the questions we had today from our audience at the May Innovation Forum, Data Digitisation: What Value Can It Create for BRAC where we had excellent presentation from BRAC SDP, TUP Programme and Microfinance Programme on their journey so far with digitisation. The session was moderated by Asif Kashem from the Donor Liaison Office.

In case you have missed the forum and have more questions that our programmes can benefit from, please feel free to put them in the comment section. Let’s make it a go-to resource for your digitisation pilot.

Here are the FAQs:


Before Pilot


  • What is the process for data backup? Does it mean extra cost?
  • Does digitisation mean less error? What if I enter a wrong data digitally?
  • What are some new risks while going for digitisation?
  • What are the important social indicators to start with? How do I identify them?
  • What is the process to analyse requirements from the field(clients and staff) and the head office?
  • What changes does it imply for clients?
  • How can it ensure transparency?
  • Does it mean more ICT support on the field? Are we ready for that? Could it mean additional burden?
  • What about the infrastructure of the field? Is scale constrained due to internet/network coverage?
  • Do you have to change any existing operational process for digitisation?
  • Is it better to run the pilots within existing operational steps?
  • What is the process to keep data backup?
  • In case you are keeping both manual and automated collection, how do you compare if it is working?
  • While choosing pilots, what factors should be kept in mind?
  • Should we provide smart phones to POs? Or should they buy it? Or should we hire those who already have it?

About Adaptation


  • What are the benefits of data visualisation for PO/BM/DM?
  • How long does the process take? What are the common mistakes?
  • What is the field workers approach to this? Are they excited/scared?
  • Does HCD work?
  • What can be a good way to communicate the chane with the field staff?
  • How do you train your PO?
  • Who are your early adopters? How do you find them?
  • What works best to make the frontline staff excited about digitisation?
  • Does it signal their jobs are at risk?
  • Which data points are good to start with? How do we filter them? Is there a process?

Data for decision

  • Who has access to the data you collect?
  • How long does it need for the data to reach Head Office?
  • Who can edit? Can you check the edit history?
  • Can clients see their money has been sent? Is it important for them?
  • Are the data sufficient for analytics?
  • What benefit does it provide on Branch/District/Regional level for BRAC?
  • Does digitisation mean less field visits? Does that risk losing touch with clients?
  • Does digitisation mean the frontline staff oversee more clients?
  • How do you troubleshoot during adaptation? What are some best examples?

Learning and Iteration


  • Has anyone done it before? What were the results?
  • If not, how can we calculate the risks?
  • Who should ideally have the permission to edit data? How can we track history? Is it possible during pilots?
  • What are some softwares/tools to choose from?
  • What is the process for data validation?
  • What is the process to capture learning?
  • Ideally how often should you organise reflection sessions?


Bigger Picture


  • While choosing the data points should we think of donors or clients?
  • How can we integrate the data as an organisation?
  • How can we gurantee protection of the data we take?
  • How will the central monitoring team benefit from this model?


If you want to know the journey and what has worked so far for BRAC, email us at

You can also contact our speakers to know more about what has worked for their pilots.

Shofi Md Taneem, BRAC SDP
Farheen Khan, BRAC TUP Programme
Khaled Morshed, BRAC Microfinance Programme

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Masrura Oishi is an over-thinker and procaffeinator. In her free time, she pretends to be a philosopher and does some development work for BRAC Social Innovation Lab. She invests her insulin pumped energy into reading, writing, traveling and living!

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