• September 6, 2017

    Improving Program Performance: 5 Tips for Successful Surveys

    Effective data collection and analysis are vital to improving outcomes for nearly every aspect of business and civilian life. Program Performance Analytics (PPA) is a key component of optimizing government funding, development, and relief programs. While the concept of monitoring and evaluating success is simple, execution of PPA programs is complex. In this blog, we share 5 tips for successfully conducting PPA surveys.

    1. Determine What Data to Collect, and How

    In some cases, such as digitizing the processes of issuing liquor licenses, the data to be entered into systems is already known. Other projects require more initial consideration, such as WSI’s work with GATE. The U.S. Department of Labor, Employment and Training Administration (ETA) Growing America Through Entrepreneurship (GATE) project is an evaluation project designed to investigate the impacts of providing microenterprise start-up services to interested individuals. The GATE project assists people in creating and expanding small businesses.

    In GATE I and GATE II, WSI developed and maintained a participant tracking system as well as an automated system to synchronize the participant database between a public data collection site and internal databases. In GATE III, WSI developed a tracing system to trace the latest contact information of individuals.

    Web-based forms are the ideal method for capturing data, in most cases, so you’ll need a well-constructed, secure portal. Additionally, if your survey collection process will generate big data, be sure you’re able to build a reliable big data architecture.

    2. Start with Objectives, Not Tech

    Many vendors can build a web portal for your organization, and many can make it beautiful by using the latest technologies. But not every firm can understand your unique PPA objectives. You need to ensure that the technology chosen is that which best achieves your objectives, not merely whatever is “shiny” and appealing at the moment.

    3. Staff the Helpdesk

    Even the most perfectly designed systems will generate helpdesk calls. Be sure you support the success of your PPA initiative by having a helpdesk staffed with helpful, knowledgeable reps.

    4. Check the Regulations

    A variety of regulations govern the processes behind collecting and analyzing data, such as FISMA. Be sure to work with a partner who is familiar with these regulations and can guide the process to ensure compliance. You should feel comfortable relying on your service provider’s proficiency in regulations, so you don’t personally have to get fully up to speed on every last one.

    5. Put the Data to Use

    If a tree falls in the forest and nobody is there to hear it, does it make a sound? Of course it does. And if your surveys collect data and no one looks at it, does it bring value? Of course not.

    Your analytics should consist of a variety of tools, including performance measurement reports and customizable dashboards. Customizability empowers users to compare data in different ways, or view the subsections of data most relevant to their role. Placing these powers in the hands of your users will encourage them to examine the data, and leverage it in future decision-making.

    Are you embarking on a program rollout or improvement project? We’d appreciate the opportunity to speak with you and explore if WSI could provide you with reliable and innovative program performance and analytics software and services, as we have with many other clients.