MEDA Spotlight: Robust Data
For over 60 years, Mennonite Economic Development Associates (MEDA) has created business solutions to poverty around the world. Rooted in faith values, they firmly believe that unleashing entrepreneurship is the best way to alleviate poverty. MEDA works with over 200 partners in almost 50 countries around the world.
MEDA utilized a variety of survey methods and collection tools including paper-based surveys and electronic XML-based form tools such as Open Data Kit and FormHub. They need information and data to rapidly test our assumptions of business models and the marketplace. Why do people behave as they do? What barriers exist in the marketplace? What incentives currently exist that drive business and investment decisions?
They use this market data to understand whether they are impacting behaviors and decisions in the marketplace. Based on the survey results, MEDA rapidly updates their assumptions and deploys new prototype interventions. Once they see the desired response, the market interventions can then be scaled.
MEDA projects are deployed in Ukraine, Tanzania, Ghana, and Sierra Leone; data is gathered in households, on farms, and within businesses. Data is then integrated into existing applications and other platforms including integration into a CRM system in Ukraine, providing market data to a client database in Tanzania, and integration into a market transaction system in Sierra Leone.
Some of MEDA's favorite features include:
- Ease of form creation (anyone can create surveys!)
- Disconnected functionality
- Flexibility of form responses(including validation and sub-forms)
- Multiple Data Feeds
- Web Services
In an internal MEDA case study comparing convenience and functionality factors across design, collection, and data upload features, survey users highly preferred the mobile forms.
Zerion has allowed them to:
- Reduce overall costs to obtain validated data from the field by 30%
- Integrate data into existing applications and tools
- Have better control over form design, creation, changes, and deployment
- Rapidly deploy forms into the field
- Easily analyze data in text form
- Easily train data collectors
- Rapidly test and update our business models and understanding of customer segments
- Increases the rate at which we can deploy prototypes and in response to market reaction
Zerion has reduced MEDA's overall costs associated with creating and capturing data and has reduced uncertainty, helping their teams identify what works at a faster, more accurate rate. They have found Zerion to be much more robust than other services and have generated more value. It has saved MEDA human and time costs with form design and development, has created an improved data feed to capture data and integrate it with other platforms, and has encouraged a full data-lifecycle approach. For MEDA, Zerion is an easy-to-use, data-sensitive tool to capture data in the field!