We’ve been working to improve how we price Akvo FLOW moving forward. It’s the first time we’ve made price adjustments since Akvo assumed responsibility for FLOW from Water For People three years ago. This isn’t about how to charge more – it’s about how to make it easy to understand how we charge, and adjusting how FLOW is priced to reflect how it’s being adopted and what the costs of supporting that adoption tend to be.

As the use of FLOW scales up around the world, it’s really important that everyone at Akvo is also very clear about how to explain our pricing to partners. If we don’t understand it ourselves, our partners won’t either.

Pricing is a bit of an art and a bit of a science. You want to ensure the product is adopted by as many partners as possible, but it needs to pay its way. Or at least that’s the approach we take at Akvo – not for profit, not for loss.

Akvo FLOW Rates 2015

The cost of FLOW involves two factors – the product (including technical support), and the provision of Akvo people to give training and programme advice to those who are adopting it on the ground. First, here’s the new pricing chart for the product itself, covering the software and direct technical support.


FLOW_pricing_19-03-2015_850wide

We focused on a couple of key things:

  • Everyone who uses FLOW, at whatever price scale, gets the fully featured product. We didn’t want to disable some aspects if you pay less.
  • The key differential relates to the number of mobile devices running FLOW.
  • At each of these levels – let’s just call them FLOW rates – this includes a (generous) initial number of survey forms that can be submitted and uploaded to a dashboard. More can easily be added as needed.
  • We have focused on annual pricing.
  • Lowest tier prices don’t offer chat and telephone technical support from Akvo staff. It’s email only.
  • Partners can move between one FLOW rate and another, and there are ways to bolt on extra surveys or devices at each rate.

We’ve named the FLOW rates X20 to X1000. Prices for FLOWX20, FLOWX50 and FLOWX100 are listed on the website. For FLOWX250, X500 and X1000 we’re not quoting prices on the web. That’s because we need to talk it through with the partner, to get a balance between the number of devices, and the amount of training and programme support to put in place. Having a team of 1000 people suddenly doing mobile surveys around a country, or around the world, without any coordination of training or survey design will cause quite a headache. We can advise on the right balance between device rollout and training.

The second factor – Training and programme support

In an ideal world, adopting FLOW would be a bit like downloading the Instagram app. Wahay! Look at me! But introducing FLOW usually involves putting smartphones into the hands of people for the first time, who work in some of the poorest and most challenging parts of the world. This means there’s quite a learning curve. Most people do get the hang of an Android phone quickly, but a powerful survey tool like FLOW brings to the fore the need to improve skills around survey design, interview methods, analysis and more. In the end we’re helping people gather better data, to drive better decisions. Most of our partners are organisations running development cooperation programmes, and they adopt FLOW to replace paper-based surveys which are both costly and cumbersome.

If you’ve been in contact with the Akvo team about FLOW over the past month or so, you will have been quoted these prices. As contracts come up for renewal we will gradually be moving to the new pricing model with each partner. I’m happy to explain any aspect of this to people, so feel free to drop me a line, or talk to one of the team.

Thomas Bjelkeman-Pettersson is co-founder and director of Akvo. You can follow him on Twitter @bjelkeman.