1.6. Pilot phase

Before initiating the national system roll out a pilot phase is required, typically for all districts in a province/region. The objective is to field test and get feedback on the system from all stakeholders. Typically end users will provide feedback on the data entry experience, involving the data entry form designs, the usability of the data entry functionality, content of reports and other analysis tools, the feasibility of doing online data entry (modem and airtime accessibility) or offline data entry (reliability of local installation). Typically one will experience some resistance from end-users regarding the change from paper based to electronic systems paradigms, for instance related to the decoupling of data entry forms and data analysis tools. One gets to test the feasibility of the network connectivity and the national server configuration with regard to performance and up-time.

In the situation where one has a running legacy system it is vital to shut that system down in the pilot area. If the legacy system is still in production the primary focus of the end users will be on entering data in that system and the piloted system will get peripheral attention with suboptimal testing and learning as a result. If maintaining the legacy system is a priority then the data should be transferred by the technical team without burdening the end users.