What to look for when investing in Community Engagement Software
Community engagement software offers a range of options for businesses and government agencies. From engagement platforms to full featured stakeholder data management systems, here are the top things to look for when investing in community engagement software.
An easy to use and accessible system
Useability is the key to successful implementation and use of a stakeholder management system. Having an easy, safe and accessible system encourages your team to use the system and collaborate proactively. Ensure the software is easy to use for your team. This includes access to good training and help resources, as well as a system that is well supported by it’s developers. A look at the software interface itself should give you a good idea of how simple the system will be to use. How quickly can you get set up? How often is the software updated? An infrequent update cycle is often a sign of a system that is not keeping up to date with user feedback or latest developments in technology.
Quality of analysis and reports
Capturing reports and feedback for your community engagement program is an essential component, so make sure the software has the capacity to organise real time integrated reporting. Dashboards should give you important information at your fingertips. And meaningful reports that you can act on.
Good quality stakeholder data analysis includes:
- Immediacy – is the data always up-to-date and easily accessible
- Granularity – can you drill down or cross-tab to get additional information? Go beyond the ‘tick the box’ approach to analysis
- Relevance – are the reports giving you meaningful information that is actionable and informs your decisions or just a basic list of stakeholders and interactions like any spreadsheet can?
- Consistency – has the data been consistently and accurately analysed? One of the challenges is to minimize subjectivity in how data is treated. (Read more about how Simply Stakeholders uses Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning to improve consistency and efficiency of data analysis)
Track a range of consultation processes
The range of consultation processes you can track and record is also an important consideration when it comes to finding the right community engagement software. These days one method of engagement or consultation is no longer adequate – you need to be able to offer a variety of engagement opportunities in order to satisfy community and stakeholders needs and preferences for how they engage with you. Sending out information, workshops or town hall style meetings, deliberative processes, online engagement, map based engagement, social media engagement…these are all components that make up a holistic community engagement program, but each on its own does not make up an adequate engagement process.
The ability to incorporate feedback and data from multiple engagement tools used in your project ensures your community remains engaged and allows you to understand every stage of your consultation. Create the one source of truth where you can view the engagement across all the different channels in the one place, and include that data in the one consolidated report.
The number of software and other tools we use in our work lives seems to grow year on year. With this proliferation of engagement tools and data, it’s more important than ever before to have a stakeholder engagement system that integrates with other systems, easily. Simply Stakeholders is pioneering new levels of integration in the stakeholder management software field with a super easy way to integrate with lots of other software. Real time integrated reporting within the software allows you to capture all the activity in one place, so you can be productive like never before.