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What Is A Monitoring & Evaluation System?
Find out if your business can use monitoring and evaluation (M&E) systems, and how M&E software might be able to help your company.
Like yin and yang, monitoring and evaluation go hand in hand. While monitoring—according to Merriam-Webster—is used to “warn and instruct,” evaluation is used “to judge the value or condition of something in a careful and thoughtful way.” So, you can see how such a system that focuses on a methodical, well-thought-out approach to management could be extremely helpful in the business realm.
But what is a monitoring and evaluation (M&E) system really, and who does it benefit the most? What about M&E software? Is that something your company can benefit from? Let’s take a look.
Monitoring & Evaluation Systems In A Nutshell
M&E systems help organizations assess and manage performances so the right improvements can be made. You can think of M&E as being fairly synonymous with performance management. While it can be used in any number of organizations, monitoring and evaluation systems are often used to assist international development.
M&E plays a major role in this international development by helping organizations—like nonprofits and NGOs—ensure that their programs are effective. It can be used to weigh donations and funding against various factors to assess their success, so funding can be adjusted as necessary and the strategies can be improved upon. The results of continuous monitoring and evaluation can help prove to donors and funders that their money is being used and allocated correctly.
What Is M&E Software?
Due to the nature of monitoring and evaluation, there is a great deal of data that must be involved. Therefore, storing your management data—and organizing it all—can be a major road block. But it doesn’t have to be. M&E software allows for monitoring and evaluation online, either through a desktop application or on the cloud. It can be used to:
- Track KPIs.
- Manage projects.
- Take control of reporting.
- Integrate data.
- Align programs to strategy.
- Create scorecards and dashboards.
Using M&E software helps your organization become more transparent, because the end product can help prove that donor money is, in fact, making a difference, and the internal controls in place are working as they were intended. Because most companies involved with international development have a great deal of programs in play at one time, software can help them grab all of their disparate information, store it in one place, and successfully track it.
Outcomes Of Successful M&E Software Implementation
There are a lot of benefits of implementing an M&E system, but there are three that stand out above the rest:
- Greater understanding of where the organization is and where it’s headed. In other words, you’ll have a clear picture of your goals and whether you’re meeting them or not when all of your data is in the same place.
- Assurance that dollars are being allocated correctly. Good M&E software will allow you to track your top key performance indicators, measures, objectives, etc., and ensure that they are in line with your strategy. If they are, you’ll know that you’re spending money in the right places. If they aren’t, that’s a problem.
- Enhanced accountability throughout the organization. When everything is out there and transparent, you’ll be able to have the open and frank conversations you’ll need to affect change. If everything isn’t all lined up, it’s going to be harder to do this.
The Final Takeaway
There are a lot of great M&E software companies out there that are specific to international development, but any company that specializes in performance management software is likely going to be able to mirror M&E functionality. (So make sure you do your due diligence before purchasing a solution!) No matter what solution you end up with, choosing a solid monitoring and evaluation system for your company will help you assess and correct your performances, and get on a more profitable path.