My fellow colleagues and community members have shared a number of posts about their personal experiences at our Global Summit in Sharjah, UAE but I’m certain you’ve been waiting for the official recap. It’s hard to believe that already a month has passed since the dust settled from our time together in the UAE. There have been so many opportunities to follow up on and so much forward progress being made with the initiative that I haven’t had the chance to do the formal recap till now.
Once again our gratitude goes out to Paul Maritz, the lead sponsor of the summit as well as our silver-level sponsors, Google Open Source Programs, the ThoughtWorks Social Impact Program, and Liberty Mutual whose financial sponsorships made it possible for a record number of delegates to attend the event. Education/travel stipends from GSOC also made it possible for four of last year’s GSOC graduates to attend. While we didn’t have a local host to guide the event like we had in the past, Amit Jain stepped up in immeasurable ways to help with on-the-ground coordination, supplies, and most importantly securing visas for our foreign delegates.
Global Mifos Summit – Growing & Evolving Community
The road leading up to this year’s summit threw a fair share of obstacles our way – after two venue and schedule changes detouring us from East Africa we finally were able to come together in a globally central location. While we weren’t able to incorporate a field visit into the summit, we were able to have the most diverse and geographically widespread participation of our all summits to date. Here are some statistics at a glance:
- 80 delegates from 22 countries including representation first-time attendees from the following countries: Ethiopia, Zimbabwe, Myanmar, Denmark, Burkina Faso, Germany, UAE, Nepal, Uruguay, and Belize.
- More than 70% were attending for the first time including:
- 22 first-time attendees from financial institutions,
- 12 rookie platform solution partners, in attendance
- 13 first-time delegates from deployment partners
- 5 new volunteers, and 4 first-time board and staff
This fresh crop of summit attendees is a testament to the continued growth and evolution of our community – while the core remains in place, we continue to reach new regions and new segments of the sector.
- Summit Agenda & List of Attendees
- Notes & Slides (please add your slides or your notes to the hackpad collection)
- Summit Evaluation Form
- Summit Photos – (please continue to add yours here)
Platform Launches us in New Directions
In 2012, we came together for the first time, awaiting the future, and what it had in store as we re-launched the community and collectively created a roadmap and vision for a bold new product and platform. In 2013 with Mifos X platform and community available, we came together for an invigorating summit and marched off into 2014 ready to take Mifos X to market and see how well our platform would perform as we entered new financial inclusion territory. As we came together in 2015, momentum is clearly building that’s taking our project in exciting new directions that we are only just starting to explore.
The platform is really taking off and the summit was a chance to bring together so many of the segments of the community taking it in new directions:
- Partners like:
- Musoni Services who are leading the charge around mobile financial services and mobile field operations as they bring best-practice financial inclusion across Sub-Saharan Africa.
- Conflux Technologies helping to integrate Mifos into the national payment gateways and readying Mifos X to support the new regulatory schemes shaping the Indian financial inclusion market
- Intrasoft Technologies instructing the community on the principles of Islamic Finance which will not only
- New Platform Innovators like:
- Coders Trust who are building a platform that will not only transform online student lending but mobilize an entire new segment of the labor market to become the next generation of coders through an innovative approach combining FinTech, EdTech, and WorkTech in one unified platform.
- $ERO who is leading the global trend towards digital financial services adoption by becoming Uruguay’s first licensed electronic money issuers, constructing an entire digital ecosystem using Mifos X for the back-end client, accounting, and transaction management.
- Ovamba Solutions building out an online P2P lending marketplace with Mifos X at its core to provide the diaspora with safe, viable investment opportunities with small and medium enterprise seeking affordable credit.
- Industry Influencers like:
- Gates Foundation who came to explore our community and how open technologies and communities can help to create a more efficient payments ecosystem.
- Ensibuuko who came to share their experiences providing agricultural financial services via the mobile phone.
- MicroInsurance Network who was exploring how to collaborate and form a MicroInsurance Open Source Initiative (MOSI)
- IBM showcasing the power of its Power Linux Stack and performance and scalability of Mifos X as a core banking system.
- Regional Networks like Grameen Jameel seeking a technology partner to help make its partners more efficient throughout their region.
Through our leading Partners like Musoni and Conflux, we must reinforce our Community Governance bodies like the Partner Council to ensure their collective wisdom and acute knowledge of the marketplace is shared into our Product Roadmap. As they forge new business models for supporting digital financial inclusion, these experiences and best practices must also be replicated across our other partners. Important lessons emerged at the summit around how important getting Mifos X audited and approved by a Central Bank – these and other learnings are the tidbits of wisdom we need to flow throughout the project.
Although our platform and our community is evolving to harness the immense growth potential of digital financial inclusion, the participation and activism of the nearly two dozen deployment partners in the room highlighted the overwhelming need to continue building the capacity of our partners and our platform to cost-effectively bring technology to the last mile service provider who are serving the poorest of the poor. The cloud will be the equalizer for them and in 2015, we’ll continue to dissect and refine our partner and deployment model and providing the training and tools to streamline it.
Platform & Ecosystem
The depth and volume of opportunities really demonstrates we’re taking the right approach – all the more we must invest in the platform, it’s modularity and enabling our ecosystem. Our 2015 roadmap is targeting the next degree of scalability and performance for these high-volume digital transactions, greater extensibility to seamlessly connect to the myriad channels, devices, and systems that are crucial to financial inclusion, and putting in place the tools, policies, and procedures to cultivate a rich ecosystem of third party contribution and integration.
As we move towards greater self-sustainability for the initiative and see the overwhelming level of interest in the Mifos X platform, we recognize that we must become more directly involved with some of these opportunities. By acting as a partner to our partners, providing architectural consulting, and offering value-added services through the platform we can augment the capabilities of our partners, accelerate the rollout of these new business models, and begin to generate value that flows back into the initiative.
Well-Rounded Core Team
We have a great deal of work in store but we have an awesome team in place who’s coming together to effectively support our community from all angles. Markus leading up the architecture with a forward-looking vision to help us crest the rising wave of fin-tech as the go-to platform and financial services engine for reaching the underbanked. Vishwas guiding the community with his rich functional knowledge and and adept ability to translate requirements into platform features. Binny and his close relationship with the customers, overseeing our roadmap and development to ensure it aligns with their priorities. Dayna with her deep operational experience, taking the helm as the voice of our customers and leading outreach into the sector and other strategic initiatives. Craig, with his foresight of running successful enterprise businesses, carving a path toward better sustainability as we capture more of the value flowing through our ecosystem.
This core team is putting in place the critical processes and tools for the community that will allow the platform to be a driver of growth – evolving our channels, developing new business models, entering new markets, leveraging the platform as national infrastructure, and being the foundation for enabling financial inclusion to connect seamlessly into the digital ecosystem.