Posts

Mifos Returns to OSCON

Here’s another blog post from our community development intern, Alex Moses, as we returned back to OSCON for the 7th time.  

Hello Everyone,

I’m back again with another post about another conference! Just two days after I returned home from LinuxFest Northwest, I was boarding a Boeing 737 destined for Austin, Texas. I was heading down to the Lone Star State for OSCON (Open Source Convention).

When I arrived in Austin, I was finally introduced to our President/CEO, Ed Cable. Ed and I ran a booth in the Expo Hall, which was located at the Austin Convention Center. Now I would say that OSCON is like LinuxFest Northwest but on a greater scale, but that wouldn’t do it justice. The Convention Center is enormous and there were times I feared getting lost!

Ed and I were joined at the booth by two great colleagues, Isaac Kamga and Nikhil Pawar. Isaac lives in Cameroon where he works for Sky.labase, one of our outstanding partner organizations. Nikhil is currently a student that has previously worked with Mifos during Google Summer of Code, and he is working with Apache Fineract this summer.

Read more

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.

————————————————————————————————————————

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

Two Interns Take LinuxFest NW 2016

Hello to the Mifos Community!

Recently, a few members from our Mifos management team went to LinuxFest NW to run a booth and spread our social message of financial inclusion. Led by our Director of Community Programs, Ed Cable, and our two Business Development Interns, Drew (myself) and Jacob, we were able to successfully spread our social message and broaden our Mifos Volunteer corps.

This year marks the third straight year that we have been to LinuxFest NW. Although it is a smaller conference, we are truly thankful for the many volunteers that take time out of their week to put on such a smooth, well run weekend. It is held at Bellingham Technical College, and is mainly run by the students and faculty at the school. While it is easy to overlook these selfless volunteers, we’d like to take a moment to thank them for their service. They are one of the main reasons we continue to come back every year.

Read more

Mifos Events Round-Up

This summer has been a busy one as Mifos team members have travelled around the country educating various sectors on the powerful opportunity to eliminate global poverty through open source technology solutions for financial inclusion. While the audiences have been diverse, ranging from open source developers to credit union executives to FinTech innovators, the message is the same: join our global collaborative community and help us in our mission to bring financial services to the 2 Billion Unbanked.

We wanted to take a quick look back at the conferences we’ve been at and a couple more we’ll be speaking at this upcoming month.

  • SOCAP 15 – San Francisco, CA (coming up!)
  • FinDEVr SF 2015 – San Francisco, CA (coming up!)
  • SpringOne2GX – Washington, DC
  • FinovateFall 2015 – NYC, NY
  • 2015 World Credit Union Conference – Denver, CO
  • OSCON 2015 – Portland, OR

Read more

2014-2015 Global Mifos Summit Recap

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

  • 2014-2015 Summit

  • 2013 Summit

  • 2012 Summit

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.

Wrap-Up

 

Read more

2014 Mifos Summit – Kampala, Uganda

We’re excited to be hosting our third annual summit and coming to Africa for the first time. Raj Jain and the team at Yako Microfinance will welcome us to Kampala, Uganda for our annual gathering to unite our community across the world who are using, supporting, and building the Mifos X platform to advance technology-enabled financial inclusion. Once again our summit will be four days long from October 14 to October 17.

Apart from the opportunity to network and connect with fellow community members, this year will have an even larger focus on hands-on training for partners and users, collaborative tech sessions for contributors, & educational sessions led by external experts from the fin-tech & financial inclusion sector.

As we look to stimulate and grow our East African community, one entire day of the summit will be focused on building awareness of Mifos X for the local East Africa region including an Expo Hall for our partners to showcase their solutions to local and regional financial institutions.

Read more

Mifos OSCON Recap

oscon2014_logoIt’s become an annual tradition for our Mifos team to gather in Portland for a week of reaching out to new contributors and immersing ourselves in the latest in open source technology and communities at OSCON. This year we had a busy week with the Community Leadership Summit, our quarterly Mifos Initiative board meeting, an exhibition booth in the non-profit pavilion and a speaking slot on the Business and Javascript tracks at OSCON.

Once again throughout the hallways and in our conference booth, our initiative was very well-received. In general, the sector is  familiar with microfinance and their curiosity is piqued when they discover our initiative, an open source platform for delivering financial services to the poor. This year I noted a larger presence of financial services people more heavily involved in open source, including regulators, payments providers, and those involved in alternative currencies like Bitcoin. We are interested in bringing to bear their skills in both open source technology and financial services.

Read more

2013 Mifos Summit Recap

Amid the hustle and bustle of the summit, we shared a couple of posts recapping the vigor and vitality of the opening days of the summit.  Now that we’ve all settled back into our day-to-day routines, we want to look back on the 2013 Summit, rekindle that energy, and map out what lies ahead for 2014.

IMG_2833First off, a tremendous thank you to Paul Maritz, the lead sponsor of the summit as well asGoogle’s Open Source Programs and the ThoughtWorks Social Impact Program who came on as silver-level sponsors. Their financial contributions made possible the scholarships to bring so many delegates to the summit and the selection of such a world-class city and venue in Jaipur. A huge thank you to Amit Jain, and all the staff of Digamber Finance for welcoming us to Jaipur as the local host guiding all the preparations and assistance during the summit that made it such a memorable event. Read more

Reflections on Day 2 of the Summit

One striking takeaway, I’ve seen at this year’s summit which shows the evolution of the project moving towards a true community is how hands-on and engrossed all audiences at the summit have been with the Mifos X product and platform itself.
Being together face to face has helped to heighten this participation even more. This all speaks to how valuable this gathering is and how important our local chapters will be for enabling this at a regional level on a more frequent basis. Training. Training. Training – we need to double down on it for users, Specialists, and Developers alike.
Summit Day 2 013

Read more