- An incredible 97% of people said they would recommend our software to others.*
- People are using or testing FrontlineSMS in over 80 countries across the world. Most of those using or testing the software are working in Africa - 46% of respondents - but an increasing number – 29% are working in Asia, compared to 23% of users having impact in Asia shown in last year's survey.
- The top countries in which survey respondents are using and testing FrontlineSMS are, in order: Kenya, the Philippines, Malawi, India and Pakistan.
- This year 78% of respondents reported working for local, national or international NGOs, with the remainder being academics (22%), independent researchers and testers (8%), governments (8%) and for-profit organizations (17%).*
- 40% of respondents said they were using FrontlineSMS to communicate with project participants or beneficiaries; 39% with staff and volunteers; 30% with the general public; and 5% other organizations *
- 79% of users found FrontlineSMS easy or somewhat easy to set up, and only 1% found it difficult (around 20% of respondents did not answer this particular question).
More detailed analysis
Between this year and last year’s survey the types of organizations responding have remained predominantly non-profit actors – NGOs and INGOs – and the largest percentage of those using and testing the software are still working in Africa. However, there is a growth of our user base in Asia, which is exciting to see. Kenya remains the most common country where FrontlineSMS is being used and tested, with the Philippines close behind at second highest.
In this year’s results we can also see that our software continues to be used in a wide range of sectors, the most popular being education and healthcare. This mirrors last year’s results - but there is also increasing interest shown this year in using FrontlineSMS in emergency response and preparedness, activism and campaigning, mobile finance, and the media. We are particularly excited to see the growth in areas where we have sector-specific projects.
We asked people about how the software is helping them to communicate. We found that nearly half of users are using FrontlineSMS to connect with project participants and beneficiaries, which is perhaps to be expected. Interestingly, though, nearly as many users are using the software to engage with staff and volunteers. In many cases we have seen SMS used in the same way that you might use email – to organize programs, coordinate meetings and appointments, send out alerts, even to submit monitoring and evaluation reports. Its clear FrontlineSMS is now being used as a professional communications tool in many contexts.
We’re aware that there is still plenty of room for improvement. There were many suggestions for our software and user support in survey responses. Users suggested new features, such as integration with more internet SMS aggregators, easier importing of bulk contacts, and a more adaptable plug-in interface for faster, easier use of our software with other tools - happily this fits brilliantly with our upcoming release, FrontlineSMS Version 2 (watch this space for more news on this in coming weeks!). Respondents also proposed new ways for us to support users, including more help with devices and more user resources including case studies, practical guides on using the software, and guides on specific challenges (such as data integrity). These are all ideas we will build upon in our strategic planning moving forward.
Despite challenges and constructive criticism, an astounding 97% of people said they would recommend our software to others. One respondent said;
“in my experience the software is easy to use and has an active community who are passionate about the work they're doing and eager to help. And it's free”.
It’s great to get this kind of positive feedback from our users, so thank you to everyone who contributed to the survey! o/
As those who regularly read this blog will know, here at FrontlineSMS we’re always looking to increase understanding of our user community. Listening to the experiences of those using our software helps us to find out if we are effectively meeting their needs, and enables us to identify the most important improvements needed in our software and user support. Crucially, hearing from our users also helps us to measure the impact of our own work in terms of how our software is being used and the difference it is making in the real world. If you’d be interested in telling the FrontlineSMS team how you are using FrontlineSMS then please do feel free to contact us and connect with our team and other users on our community forum, too!
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Huge thanks to FrontlineSMS Hero Matthias Ambruster for his help in analysing our survey responses.
*All data is based on 129 survey responses. Not all questions in the survey were mandatory. Percentages at times total over 100% for questions where users could give more than one answer.