Jemyma Randy-Cofie via web
On the 11th of June 2018, dloHaiti, Safe Water Network (SWN) and Jibu Co (Jibu) had a meeting to take stoke of activities that took place in past months surrounding the SEMA (System for Emerging Markets Analytics) IT Tool Development project, headed by Untapped/dloHaiti. At this meeting the SWN US team was represented by Kimberly Worsham, Monitoring and Evaluation Manager and the SWN India team was represented by Arvind Nagwani, IT Manager. The SWN Ghana office was represented by Charles Yeboah, Business Analytics and Optimization Manager and Elliot Abra, Monitoring and Evaluation Officer. We were also joined by Marc Malone, Head Engineer at Jibu Co, Rwanda office and Jim Chu, CEO of Untapped, Daniel Nolan, Co-Founder/Technical Manager Untapped and Jemyma Randy-Cofie, Program Manager Untapped.
The meeting commenced with a brief introduction from Jemyma highlighting the objective of the meeting, expected outcomes, and steps moving forward. We immediately jumped into business reviewing the project schedule currently hosted on the TeamGantt platform. After a quick walkthrough Jim addressed the need to push the start date for architecture documentation to be conducted by Ernst & Young (EY) to September 2018. With the numerous iterations the SEMA IT Tool will be going through before the end of the project, it is better to engage EY at a later date in the project timeframe to minimise the number of changes the architecture documentation may have to go through.
The main tasks highlighted for the month of June, according to the project plan, are as follows: - Finalize the list of sites for the pilot rollout of the SEMA IT Tool in August, 2018 - Continuation of development of Phase One (Dashboard creation)
Next on the agenda was selection of a workflow for collection of consumer data at SWN manual water standpipes. Currently, SWN only has access to a summary of sales transactions from each manual water standpipe (a.k.a Access Points). This information is collected at the end of the day on a daily basis and entered into a system managed by mWater, their IT partner in India. This information does not give SWN insight into customer behaviour, information that would allow for better analytics to help improve the organisation’s bottom line. To make this possible SWN will require collection of customer transactions at an individual level, in other words, not only get drilled down data showing each transaction (liters purchased, cost of litres purchased) but also who made that particular purchase (customer name, number of people in household, proximity to alternative safe/unsafe water source, etc).
A suggestion was made by Jemyma, Untapped Project Manager, in April 2018, to use handheld physical POS devices, similar to those used for credit card charging, in conjunction with Radio Frequency Identification (RFID) cards which would have customer details so each transaction would be recorded along with the customer’s details at the time of purchase. However, the cost of sales associated with this solution would far outweigh the cost of the transaction which can be as low as 10 pesewas (~2 US cents) disqualifying this as a viable option.
Jim Chu of Untapped suggested the use of automated water standpipes (a.k.a Automated Teller Machines - ATMs) as a solution. This would be done by registering all users of these ATMs with their profile details in a customer relationship management (CRM) system. As the ATMs store data on each transaction made but not detailed enough information of the customer, connecting data from a separate CRM system with each transaction would give the level and breadth of detail SWN needs.
ATMs are devices installed at manual water standpipes to regulate purchase of water. Customers are signed onto the service with a limited amount of customer identification information captured and are given an RFID (tag) to use for purchasing water. When a customer wants to make a purchase he/she must use a tag at the ATM by placing it on the interface to start the flow of water and removing it to stop flow. The ATM would then deduct the cost of water purchased from the customers prepaid amount on the tag.
Currently there are seventeen (17) ATMs located at SWN sites across Ghana. These ATMs were installed for a pilot phase to help SWN decide which of three device vendors to go with, Groundfos, eWater or Abhi. eWater was eventually selected and a grant recently awarded by Vitol will enable 75 more of these devices to be rolled out by the end of this year. A total of 945 manual water standpipes are scheduled to be fitted with ATMs by 2022 to provide 100% coverage.
By the end of the discussion, it was clear that SWN had a decision to make on workflow for collection of consumer data. The three options were as follows:
Jim Chu summarised the conversation as follows:
The main takeaways were the importance of concluding on a workflow to incorporate capture of consumer transactions as soon as possible, so deadlines would be met, and to select an option that would be cost effective. A decision was then made to setup a follow-up meeting once a decision was reached by SWN.
Next on the agenda was any other business where Kimberly of SWN brought up the recently introduced General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) compliance for SEMA. The requirements for GDPR compliance are, deletion of collected customer data in the event they want to shutdown their account and transparency on trackable data. Kimberly stated that this was a hot topic in the SWN New York office and needs to be a part of SEMAs architecture. She also stated that though this policy targets EU citizens and organisations that interact with EU citizens, VIA Water being a part of the EU means that the SEMA system must be GDPR compliant though it serves customers in Africa.
Jim Chu then emphasised that this is more of policy issue and that administrative processes would need to be put in place to ensure customer information could be completely deleted from the system’s database. Notifications would also be sent to customers on how their data would be used. Kimberly concluded by reiterated the need to ensure compliance with the open source database.
Marc Malone of Jibu requested clarification on the Scalability and sustainability/impact study scheduled for mid October. Jim Chu explained that the activity was about documentation of how SEMA would be maintained and expanded on after completion of the project. Some technical resources will need to be made available for maintaining/troubleshooting the system and identify requirements for future additions/features. This resource would need to have a technical background to give ongoing technical support to partners. He also stated that additional features, not improvement of existing features, would fall under different terms. Essentially the scalability and sustainability/impact study would state what partners will need to keep SEMA going.
At this point, Jemyma brought the meeting to a close and stated that she would send out an email to all attendees highlighting topics discussed in the meeting as well as action items. She also reminded the team to note their availability for future meetings already put on the calendar so meeting dates could be rescheduled, where needed, ahead of time.