When BOMA’s Village Mentors gathered in South Horr in July for a five-day training workshop, high on the agenda was the distribution of brand-new tablets. After extensive training, Mentors are now using the wireless devices to collect important data on BOMA businesses and savings groups in the field.
The tablets use TaroWorks, a suite of mobile technology tools that are integrated with our cloud-based, customized Salesforce.com database. It’s a big leap forward from the paper surveys we’ve been using since 2009!
The tablets will transform our ability to support our 28 full-time Mentors, businesses and savings groups in several key ways:
- When visiting each business and savings group, Mentors will gather data that will synch to our Salesforce database in real-time—daily for Mentors who live in areas with a strong Internet connection, and weekly for Mentors who live in more-remote villages.
- We’ll identify under-performing businesses and savings groups and send auto-generated SMS alerts to Mentors and Field Officers. They’ll respond with targeted field visits and training.
- With a built-in mapping tool, the tablets will also allow us to confirm that Mentors are visiting their assigned groups.
- We’ll also use this geo-spatial data to analyze the number of businesses in each village and their performance relative to nearby towns and markets, surrounding BOMA businesses and non-BOMA businesses. This will help us to understand the “saturation level” in each location, so we can decide whether to launch more business there.
Since 90 percent of the villages where we work lack electricity, the tablets will be powered by solar chargers. We’re grateful to Boeing International for the grant that allowed us to buy the tablets.