Connecting Amp Impact & DHIS2

Automating high-level reporting & systems integration frees up time to listen.

I’m excited about Amp Impact. In short, it’s Vera Solutions’ impact measurement and portfolio management tool for nonprofits, grant-makers, and impact investors—built on Salesforce. It’s already being used in more than 25 countries, including by the Aga Khan Foundation to monitor 450+ programs across 19 countries and 7 thematic areas and Shell Foundation to manage social and environmental reporting for 50+ companies, but I’m fired up about the future of Amp for two big reasons.

First, I’ve been working closely with the team behind it for 9 years now (Zak, Karti, and I founded Vera back in 2010, I left to focus on data integration in 2014) and they’re brilliant. The Amp offering includes a rigorous, hands-on consulting engagement to tailor the application to each organization’s needs. They’ve created the right balance of efficiency and customization in an effort to make adoption as smooth as possible. I don’t like “one-size-fits-all” solutions, but developing custom software is rarely the answer. The key is configuration. They know that and have built an incredibly flexible system, easily allowing users to manage, calculate and aggregate indicators, monitor budgets versus expenditure, and measure program results against targets set.

Second, Amp sits on top of Salesforce and harnesses the robust Salesforce APIs. That means that without any further configuration, indicator and results data can be seamlessly integrated from any other system on the web via OpenFn.

Side-bar: if you’re not yet familiar with OpenFn, check out some of our case studies. We’re a data integration platform which can be configured to automate all of the routine data processing tasks in an organization. Everything from syncing data between systems or preparing reports, to sending money, SMS messages, or medical records to beneficiaries, staff, or stakeholders can be done via algorithm, in real time, with OpenFn.

This is big. Large iNGOs may be operating dozens of country programs. Each may be using different results tracking software, selected by those country teams for their unique requirements. When the “HQ” implements Amp, we can use OpenFn to automatically harvest, prepare, and load analytics data from DHIS2, reports from CommCare, or even individual participant or survey data from Open Data Kit, Medic Mobile, SurveyCTO, etc.

In essence, Amp lets you compare and synthesize program data from all of these different sources, right in Salesforce. Whether it’s in aggregate, or actually captured at the individual level, the data can flow into Amp to help you get a fuller picture of how the organizations and programs you support are performing.

Think about the implications of the DHIS2 connection for a moment. DHIS2 is the leading public health management information system in Africa and Asia. It’s being used at “national scale” by 63 different countries, and at “pilot” scale in another 28. (https://www.dhis2.org/inaction) So many major development funders (UN organizations, iNGOs, philanthropies) are using Salesforce—and, increasingly, Amp—to monitor the impact of their various grants and programs. In the past, a national-level PMTCT funding program might require monthly reporting based on the number of clinical visits, services administered, etc. With OpenFn, that data can automatically be harvested from DHIS2, coerced into the exact format required for that funder’s Amp implementation, and loaded into Amp monthly. (Or every ten seconds, for that matter!)

A quick note: Aggregate data are necessary, but certainly not sufficient to understand the impact of public health programs. At OpenFn, our goal is to automate all of this routine, data administration and reporting work so that real human beings in these organizations can spend their time asking and answering questions that arise from those data. For staff, less time spent exporting, uploading, reconciling data systems = more time asking questions, listening to beneficiaries, and thinking critically about the human impacts of their work.

I’ve always been inclined to think that the role of data in “development” should be first and foremost to help generate questions. Answers should also be informed by the data, but they’re always a bit more complex and often involve variables that resist quantification.

You can learn more about Amp Impact here: https://www.verasolutions.org/ampimpact

And about DHIS2 here: https://www.dhis2.org/