As a part of a cloud-based system, the eMIS apps send data immediately to the server database after any transaction, if the Internet is available or later when the device is connected to the Internet. As a matter of practice, the users are trained to sync data during their work and on each occasion, after data entry in any module. It is known that the quality of Internet connections vary across the country and rural areas are underserved, meaning it could be absent or very poor at times. This complicates the work of field level workers. Especially some activities require near real-time data synchronization. The generation and submission of monthly reports happen around the 1st few days of each month. At the end of month, the field level workers prepare advance workplan, which must reach in time to their supervisors as they would send it back to the community workers with feedback or approval. And one complain the users always make is the unviability of Internet.
Time required to sync data
It could be important to know; how much time is required to sync data. We analyzed data from a four upazilas of Tangail over a period of six months. It was revealed that more than fifty percent data are getting uploaded to the central server within 3 days as can be seen from the table below:
There could be reasons for delay in synchronization. For example, if a worker is on leave or collect data immediately before a weekly or other holidays, synchronization could be delayed. There could be other behavioral reasons as well. Some worker may prefer to upload at their preferred time or not instantly. In other words, while some issues could be technical, some could be behavioral.
Lessons for the implementers
The analysis provides some clue as how to improve the operation of apps. One of which is to run a process for getting the data ready for quick upload and secondly, enforce synchronization by use of a scheduler running in the background at a fixed time of the day. This would be beneficial for managing the Internet issues as well because resources required for querying and uploading data simultaneously during runtime could be reduced.
The eMIS users now comprise of about 10,000 users. Accordingly, the number of daily transactions has become huge. For eMIS, it remains a continuous journey in the quest of making the digital workflow of community level workers easy and smooth. The insights from eMIS data would lead to some actions for improving the way work is performed and the database is managed.