Announcing the Vinolia I Release and 2012 Product Roadmap

We are pleased to announce the 2012 Product Roadmap including our next major upcoming release of Mifos, Vinolia I.  Vinolia is a member of Lumana Credit in Atorkor, Ghana. With access to credit and entrepreneurial training from their staff, she is increasing her income and improving the lives of her seven children.

Vinolia has been a fish monger her enter life and has been using her loan from Lumana to supplement her income and expand her business to selling spicy porridge.  Unfortunately Vinolia recently lost her entire house including her savings and loan passbook to a fire.  With up to date records in Mifos and utilizing the notes field in her client profile, Lumana was able to craft a flexible approach to disaster relief and repayment for Vinolia.  Lumana’s outreach is focused on rural women in Ghana – they are looking forward to continued enhancements on the way in Mifos improving ability to survey and capture information through mobile devices.

Vinolia I – When It’s Coming

Vinolia I is scheduled to ship on May 31, 2012. Development will continue to be led by SolDevelo whose main focus will be reviewing and shepherding in contributions from community members while developing a number of features independently. Once again this next release will be a major step forward for the community. Under the guidance of COSM, Specialists and volunteers worldwide are jointly collaborating to propel the functionality and accessibility of Mifos forward.

Chetan Bekkinkeri continues to lead product management conducting in-depth discovery with users and working closely with community developers to translate these needs into clear specifications.

Vinolia I – What’s Inside

This release aims to alleviate some of the deepest gaps in our system – ease of reporting and integration of financial accounting. We are continuing to smooth out core functionality and leverage Mifos APIs for better connections with mobile payment systems and helping data flow in and out of Mifos.

John Woodlock has been working on a lightweight implementation of Pentaho reporting. Ramesh from Conflux Technologies will be integrating John’s work into Mifos providing a consistent unified experience offering the full functionality of Pentaho reporting directly embedded in Mifos. SunGard will be helping to phase out the remaining standard BIRT reports and shipping a data extract report for integration with the HighMark credit bureau in India.

Vinolia I should contain the first installment of integrated financial accounting in Mifos – two of our Specialists,Hugo Technologies, and FinA have combined efforts with support from Conflux to lead the Mifos-ACC project, bringing in the ability to directly capture general ledger transactions and generate simple financial reports from within Mifos.  This will provide small MFIs sufficient functionality without the need to implement a third party accounting system.  For those larger MFIs seeking a more flexible integration with their accounting system, Krishnan is carrying on development of a more powerful bridge between the MIS and accounting.

Around core lending and savings functionality, we’re prioritizing work on a couple frequently requested features to allow transfers between loans and savings accounts and the ability to configure loan approval workflow and permissioning based on the value of the loan.  These features will complement additional improvements to GLIM, a new interest calculation developed by Keith Woodlock, and some enhancements to the collection sheet entry module by Hugo Technologies.

Last but not least,  Vinolia includes some major external modules.  Michael Vorburger is wrapping up a click-and-go Mifos installer package while Hugo Technologies is extending the Data Migration Toolkit to cover savings migration. We are also tying in with KopoKopo to enable more powerful real-time integration with mobile money platforms.

2012 Product Roadmap – A Living Document

Throughout the second half of 2o12, the community intends to ship two additional major releases on a quarterly basis.  SolDevelo will continue shipping regular milestone releases prior to each major release so you can help in testing functionality as its built. Based on the requests we’ve prioritized in the Community Feature Requests Dashboard, we’ve published an initial set of features we’re targeting for these two releases.

As more requests come in and more resources get pulled into the project, the timing and selection of new features will continue to shift.  Currently for reporting, volunteers like Kojo and Udai are targeting more advanced business analytics and integration with MIX and industry-reporting standards like XBRL. Smoother financial accounting integration as well as broader functionality through SolDevelo’s Android client and mobile interfaces is planned.  Work is also scheduled to extend the breadth of financial products supported by Mifos including term deposits, housing loans, and collaterized loans to name a few.

By the end of 2012, we hope to have filled the majority of the major functional gaps face by our users while laying the foundation for the next generation of Mifos and our platform for the future – we’ll be sharing more about these long-term development efforts later this week so stay tuned.

I’m wishing the best of luck to the community in hammering out the many features in this release and want all our users and community members to be active on the mailing lists. Loudly proclaim what you want to see in Mifos, test out the new features, and keep helping us improve our technology.

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