OSCON

OSCON and the Growing Influence of Open Source Technology

Hello Mifos Community!

I’m back again with another post about yet another conference.

Over this past weekend, I was blessed with the ability to go to OSCON, an Open Source conference centered on the power that open source technology can have over a variety of industries, countries, and methodologies. From healthcare reform to open source cloud computing, this conference had an amazing variety of industries that were positively impacted by open source technology. To give you a glimpse of our weekend, I would like to both highlight a few of my favorite moments and give some insight into how the Mifos Initiative has both been a beneficiary and contributor to the open source movement.

OSCON general

Unlike most years, this year OSCON was held at the Austin Convention Center in Austin, Texas. Personally, I thought it was very powerful holding the conference in Austin, (a vastly different city than its predecessor Portland) as it shows how open source is now truly a national movement and is being embraced across the country, even in areas that are historically more resistant to change. With the new venue came a host of new organizations and new speakers, all with new views and stories on how open source has helped advance their respective fields in one way or another. Below are a few of our favorites:

Performance Case Study: Capital One’s quick shift from closed source to open source

This session was especially intriguing to me, as a large bank (Capital One) is finally starting to embrace the open source movement that we at the Mifos Initiative have been a part of since 2006. After the first few minutes of the session, it was easy to see the commonalities between the big banks and our open source initiative. One common thread was the idea that banks must be a technology company first. In other words, in order to be a successful organization, the bank had to produce a banking platform that was easily scalable, user-friendly, and customizable to suit client needs. Sound familiar? All of these features are what we at the Mifos Initiative hang our hat on and are what makes the open source movement so powerful. In our age of agility, scalability, and customization, big banks are beginning to realize the power that the smaller open source initiatives, like the Mifos Initiative, are starting to have on a global scale.

Modern JavaScript Architectures: Clients, microservices, and containers

This session was more technical than the other sessions I went to but nevertheless fit very well with the third generation of our Mifos platform. For those of you that don’t know, the third generation of our platform encompasses taking our current MifosX platform and converting it to a series of microservices that we will containerize and navigate using a variety of cloud-based apps. So, as you can already tell, this talk directly correlated to the work we are doing in the conversion from our current Mifos X platform to the third generation of our open source platform. While I am currently on the business side of the Mifos Initiative, this talk helped me visualize how our platform will be set up at the developmental level. It was a great way to learn more about the inner workings of our platform and see how and why we are following the popular trend towards microservices and cloud-based apps.

Want students who are ready to contribute? Here’s what they should know.

As a student at the University of Washington, this session also struck very close to home for me. I’m lucky to have gotten the opportunity to intern for a great organization that works in the open source community, but not everyone is as fortunate as I am. For those that do not get exposed to the power of open source technology, how do we, as teachers and industry professionals help mold the future developers of the world? As a Google Summer of Code mentoring organization, the Mifos Initiative deals with this issue quite often. While we hope to get interns that are well equipped to take on any project we give them, we realize that not everyone is set up for success coming out of college. In order to maximize the production of these interns, we realize that we have to utilize the techniques given in the session to make sure all our students are ready to contribute right away so our projects will get done faster and more developers will be getting necessary experience to help them start their open source development careers.

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OSCON booth

In addition to the new speakers and exhibitor crowd, we were happy to see that a few members from our Mifos community made the trek from Cameroon to learn more about our organization and our industry. Among them was Nyah Check, a good friend of Ayuk the head of Skylabase Solutions, our partner organization in Cameroon working on creating a customized Mobile Wallet/Mobile Money application integration with Mifos. Nyahis currently in the States trying to learn as much as he can about open source technology from the various conferences he’s attended. He hopes to bring this knowledge back to Cameroon so he can build on top of the Mifos banking platform to give needed support to his community back home. He is truly an inspiration to everyone at Mifos and is living proof of just one of the millions of people that we have reached through our open source banking platform.

To wrap up, I would just like to say a quick thank you to our very own director Director of Community Programs, Ed Cable. It was a pleasure running the booth with you and I had a great OSCON experience. I look forward to many more exciting adventures with the Mifos Initiaitive over the summer!

Signing off,

Drew Fass

4th Generation Mifos Intern

Accion Assesses Musoni App

Powered by Mifos, Musoni Receives High Praise

Musoni Systems worked closely with Accion’s Channels and Technology group on a comprehensive impact assessment of the Musoni App.  The app is designed to improve loan officer efficiency by digitalising the client registration, group registration and loan application processes. The app works in online and offline mode, and can also be used to view reports or to carry out PPI surveys. So far the app has been used to register over 40,000 clients and a similar number of loans.

While the app has always received positive feedback from end users, this was the first rigorous study into the impact the app has had on loan officer performance, branch cost savings and improved client experiences. We’re pleased to say that on all three of these, the app has proved itself an unqualified success.

Key findings of the case study were:

  1. Business Case: Digitalising operations resulted in the MFI realising an increase in income of $86,620 in the first year. As a result of this, launching the Musoni App resulted in a postive ROI in under 12 months
  2. Improved efficiency: Using the Musoni App increased the case load per loan officer by 68% while simultaneously reducing turnaround time (TAT) from 72 hours to 6 hours
  3. Cost Savings: The MFI realised cost savings of $27,246 in the first year of launching the app, achieved by promoting data entry staff into other roles and reduced stationary/printing costs
  4. Improved client experiences: Faster loan disbursements, no need to provide photos or ID photocopies and reduced potential for fraud all resulted in overwhelmingly positive feedback from clients
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Musoni Field Officer Registers Client

The Musoni App is provided as standard to any MFI licensing the Musoni System, alongside the mobile money integration, SMS module and system itself, providing a one-stop shop to any MFI looking to benefit from the latest technology.

On average, the five main branches recorded a 68 percent increase in loan officer caseload from January 2013 (pre-DFA) to December 2014 (one year after full rollout).”

Please click on this link, or the button below if you’d like to download the full Accion Case Study into the Musoni App. You can also learn more on the Accion CFI blog where they explain some of the benefits they’ve seen in other MFIs using tablets in the field.

To learn more about Musoni – visit their website.  See the impact these innovating people are making with their app built on top of the Mifos X platform.  As of this writing, Musoni serves more than 150,000 clients in 38 Financial Institutions in 9 Countries.  This count grows every day.  Impactful.

Congratulations on a job well done.

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Star Contributor of the Month – Ishan Khanna

 

Meet Our Star Contributor for March 2015 – Ishan Khanna

Ishan entered The Mifos Community as a Google Summer of Code 2014 participant where he grabbed hold of Android Client and built out the native Android field operations app for Mifos X users. Over the course of last summer, Ishan took the community from no mobile app to full functionality. His work can be seen in the Mifos Android Client User Guide.

IK SummitIshan didn’t stop there. He has been active in the Community ever since – even though he has a full-time job with SeekSherpa. He has contributed major bug fixes and engaged others in the community. During the 2015 Summit, he made contributions to several partners including FINA in Georgia to help get their remote app to full functionality. Tengiz Merabishvili from FINA says, “Ishan helped us a bunch, he is a great developer. He is very energetic and knowledgeable. He is a hard worker and once he sets his mind to do something, he always gets it done. I enjoyed our brief time working together, and learned a lot.”

In Ishan’s own words, “I am an insatiable geek, striving for perfection in software.  I love giving Tech Talks and motivating people about FOSS Development.” He has two and one-half years Android Platform experience. He has a gained good grip on Java, Android SDK, Git, Gradle and other related technologies in this period.

Q.  On what projects are you currently working?

A.  I’m working on an app that will allow travellers to connect with locals and change the way travellers see a city these days. TL;DR – Disrupting the Conventional Travel Experience.

 Q.   What is most rewarding about working with the Mifos Community?

A.  The opportunity to meet, work with and learn from people in Global Mifos Summit, having experience in the industry more than my total living age. And to represent Mifos Initiative at Google Summer of Code Reunion in San Jose, California in October, 2014.

 Q.  How do you play when you aren’t working?

India Love in DubaiA.  When I am not working I am usually digging into new frameworks, languages and tech blogs. Find food across the world through YouTube. Or watching “The Big Bang Theory”.

Perhaps painting his face in support of India while in Dubai slipped his mind. . .

Thanks Ishan for your contributions and your joyful spirit!

Dayna Harp Joins The Mifos Initiative

I am honored and excited to join the Mifos team as the Director of Strategic Initiatives. The primary charge of this position is to assist the Mifos Community to deliver on its mission to speed the elimination of poverty by coordinating a global community that uses Mifos X to deliver responsible financial services to the world’s 2.5 billion poor and unbanked. To help achieve this mission, I will reach out to the global financial co-operatives for support, will coordinate the efforts of end user documentation and will coordinate the volunteer efforts of non-technical volunteers.

Read more

The Team -- TW Pune office

ThoughtWorks HSP team gives Mifos X community a solid footing to grow from

I’d like to give a big thank you to the ThoughtWorks HSP team. Their team has only been a part of our community a few weeks but it seems like they’ve been with us for years. They’ve helped us at a critical time in the launch of Mifos X to our developer community. They’re putting the infrastructure in place to guide a smooth transition to our community-driven development model on top of the Mifos X platform.  

Here’s a guest post from Gurpreet on what’s been keeping them busy so far.

Recently, folks from ThoughtWorks started contributing to Mifos X as part of their Humanitarian Software Program (HSP). HSP is a ThoughtWorks initiative to help Humanitarian Open Source projects by channelizing beach and volunteer time of ThoughtWorkers. Gurpreet & Deepali from the HSP team at ThoughtWorks work full-time in connecting ThoughtWorkers to Open Source projects adopted under the HSP Program.

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The Team -- TW Pune office

ThoughtWorks HSP team gives Mifos X community a solid footing to grow from

I’d like to give a big thank you to the ThoughtWorks HSP team. Their team has only been a part of our community a few weeks but it seems like they’ve been with us for years. They’ve helped us at a critical time in the launch of Mifos X to our developer community. They’re putting the infrastructure in place to guide a smooth transition to our community-driven development model on top of the Mifos X platform.  

Here’s a guest post from Gurpreet on what’s been keeping them busy so far.

Recently, folks from ThoughtWorks started contributing to Mifos X as part of their Humanitarian Software Program (HSP). HSP is a ThoughtWorks initiative to help Humanitarian Open Source projects by channelizing beach and volunteer time of ThoughtWorkers. Gurpreet & Deepali from the HSP team at ThoughtWorks work full-time in connecting ThoughtWorkers to Open Source projects adopted under the HSP Program.

Read more

First Mifos X Customers Going Live! – Taking Elevate Africa to New Heights

2013 will be the year we transition the community over to the new Mifos X platform. We chose to start simple with individual lending support as the scope of our first application built top of the platform. Already this individual lending app is being used by several MFIs in production. Over the coming weeks we’re going to highlight some of our first beta-testers who have been using Mifos X. In this post, we’ll take a look at Elevate Africa, led by Henrik Esbensen – empowering entrepreneurs of West Africa through an in-depth individual lending model. Henrik ran into some challenges in using the current versions of Mifos so he was eager to be a pilot Mifos X user to take advantage of the flexibility it would enable.

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Our Development Philosophy

John and Keith Woodlock have followed a requirements-driven development philosophy as they’ve built out the core for Mifos X. They along with several Specialists in the community including Conflux Technologies, Hugo Technologies, and SolDevelo have been working closely with select MFIs to build out applications that will support the various methodologies of bringing financial services to the poor. All development has been based directly on user requirements that we have been rapidly testing and iterating on with these pilot users. We are now rolling out functionalities to fully support group lending methodologies with a target of having Mifos X reach feature parity with Mifos 2.6 by mid-2013.

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Specialist Spotlight – SolDevelo

We like to focus in on our Specialists every once a while, recognizing their contributions and providing a more personal glimpse into their organization and team. This time around we’re taking a closer look at SolDevelo. SolDevelo has been playing a crucial role as the technical stewards of the Mifos 2.0 codebase. Head over to the COSM blog to read about each member of the team and what their plans are for Mifos in 2013 including continued expansion of their hosted service, MifCloud.

Specialist Spotlight – Sol Develo

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This regular blog series will shine the light on some of our top Specialists. Not only do we want to recognize them for their accomplishments, we want others to learn from the approach they’ve taken to promote and implement Mifos.

Mifos Specialists are one of the most crucial links in our community – they are the driving force that is promoting and supporting Mifos worldwide.  Aside from championing our product and bringing the Mifos technology to new markets, they act as the fundamental bridge feeding in MFI requirements to be developed by the community. Specialists don’t stop there as many are also developing and localizing the product to fit their local market.  For all these reasons, COSM is focusing it energy on making these Specialists successful – they are the primary channel to market, the eyes and ears on the ground, and the entrepreneurial force that will help us sustainably scale.

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Announcing the Esha K Release

Development is underway on the final major functional release on the Mifos 2.0 codebase. Since this will be the last feature development before before we transition development over to Mifos X, we wanted this to be a big release that closes many existing gaps. This is definitely the case as we’re tackling a number of areas across the product.

Esha – Our Inspirational Marie

This last major release is code-named Esha K in recognition of Esha Omar Athman, a borrower  at Fursa Leo in Mombasa, Kenya.  Esha has been a client at Fursa Leo since July 26, 2011.  In that time, she has taken out 3 business loans and has significantly expanded her business enabling her to uplift the living standards of her family through a new home, better meal, and sending her son to school.

Esha came to Fursa Leo, eight months pregnant seeking start-up capital for her failing ice cube business while her husband struggled to help them pay their bill and provide for their family.  Through Fursa Leo’s mandatory financial literacy program and graduation through three larger loan cycles, Esha has brought her humble ice cube business from failure to prosperity.

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