[Microfinance] – PC World Article
One example is the way that microfinance agencies build databases and other back-end systems to manage their work. Some microfinance institutions are running on manual systems or spreadsheets, said Peter Bladin, founding director of the Grameen Foundation’s technology center. “Given how transaction intensive this is, it’s amazing they don’t have more sophisticated technology,” he said.
Microfinance organizations sometimes try to buy a system that has been developed for a similar business but find it doesn’t quite fit. Or they may try employing software developed for banks but also find they don’t work quite right. Customization of such software is too expensive and unrealistic for most microfinance institutions, Bladin said.
So Grameen helped drive the effort to create Mifos, an open-source management information system designed for microfinance. “The beauty is anybody with technical skills can have access to the source code and enhance it,” he said. “We have people writing code around the world and feeding it back.”
NetHope is also developing programs to support members. For instance, it is setting up an IT help desk that Accenture is helping with that will offer 24-hour technical support to employees of member companies.