As we close out 2012 and bring in 2013, we are excited to roll out the final major release on top of the Mifos 2.x codebase. With its fourth major release, SolDevelo has wrapped up Esha K, our Mifos 2.6 release. The theme of Mifos 2.6 was to fill any major outstanding gaps and make Mifos 2.6 be the most polished and well-rounded application for group lending before we transition development to our lighter, more flexible, next-generation platform Mifos X. Major new functionalities include support for daily loans and savings accounts, the ability to upload and attach files to loans and clients, a user interface for modifying the chart of the accounts, a dashboard of key business metrics on the homepage, and enhancements to importing data in Mifos.
Apart from these many new features, more than 45 bugs were also fixed by the SolDevelo team. We will also soon be shipping as separate releases enhancements to accounting and reporting – Hugo Technologies has completed a range of enhancements to the Mifos-ACC accounting module and Conflux Technologies will be delivering a few additional standard reports to our Business Intelligence Suite. Please join us in thanking Lukasz C, Natalia, Kasia, Kamil, Wojciech, Pawel, Grzegorz, Marcin, Jakub P, Jakub W, Lukasz W and the rest of the SolDevelo team who led the development of these new features and helped to review incoming contributions.
Read on below for screenshots and an overview of each new feature. Download Mifos 2.6 or test it on our demo server and send us your feedback on the mailing lists. Please view the release notes for a list of all bugs resolved.
Daily Financial Products
At the center of inclusive financial products that better respond to client needs are flexible and frequent repayment and deposit schedules. More and more of our customers have been supporting daily products and have been requesting the need for daily loan repayments and saving deposits for the longest time. Mifos 2.6 finally fulfills those needs.
Underpinning all of these new features is the support for daily meetings – all of our loan and savings products can now be defined in days, weeks, and months – combined with our wide support of interest and amortization methodologies, MFIs have extensive flexibility in creating whatever product they need. What that translates to for loans is the ability to now create loans based on number of days – many of our customers offer loans with daily repayment terms and these are now supported in Mifos.
On the savings front, clients want the ability to frequently save small amounts so they can more readily accumulate assets. Driven directly by requirements from our Indian MFIs, Mifos now supports the daily collection of savings deposits as well as the daily posting of interest to these accounts.
The next two features demonstrate the power of a centralized web-based system and having one true definitive source of data for your entire portfolio of clients and financial services.
Many of our customers have staff that are distributed across different branches and offices – for them having one central place to find data on a client is critical. The most logical place would be the client record in Mifos – however, up until now you couldn’t attach any files or documents to this client records. With Mifos 2.6, you now have the ability to upload and attach a variety of different documents to both the client and loan account records.
The files are stored directly on your web server and only the path of the file is stored in the Mifos database – that way you can access these files from Mifos with no decrease in performance by bloating the database.
Supported file types include PDFs, .docs, .xls, and more. Max file size is currently 2MB. These can be attached during the client/account creation or view client/account workflows.
You can view a list of these attached files at the bottom of each record – during our user meetup – we got a great request from Amit to list them in the notes section are considering that enhancement.
Mifos contains an enormous amount of valuable data for both loan officers and management staff – we’ve often heard that sometimes this information is a bit buried in a number of reports. SolDevelo realized there was substantial unused space on the Mifos homepage and thought what better way to use this high-visibility space than to highlight the valuable data contained in reports. Now when each user logs into Mifos, they have ready access to a range of business metrics that are defined based on their data scope.
Limited to their data scope, they’ll only see metrics summarizing data from the branches they belong to.
For non-loan officers (branch managers, administrators, head office staff), their metrics display data from across the entire MFI. On our most recent user meetup, we heard the need to limit this data based on the data scope of that individual – we’ve logged that enhancement and it will be shipped in an upcoming point release.
Imagining you’re a branch manager, when you log in you immediately see a count of the items like loans waiting approval – you can click that link and get taken to a list of these loans that you can approve with just a few additional clicks.
Now without ever leaving the homepage, your staff can find the up-to-minute statistics on their portfolio that they need to know. These metrics include:
- Total borrowers | Total borrowing groups
- Active centers | Active groups | Active borrowers
- Loans waiting for approval
- Loans in bad standing
Chart of Accounts Interface
Over time, one of the most challenging parts of the implementation cycle for Mifos has been he manual editing of the chart of accounts. Mifos 2.6 lessens this challenge through a graphical user interface to create and modify your chart of accounts. You can display the full chart of accounts in a collapsible interface with the ability to edit each account name, GL code, and parent GL account. Accounts are grouped across four categories – Assets, Liabilities, Income, and Expenditures.
When editing each account, a list of categories is displayed so you know where to place the account in the hierarchy. Main categories (top-level accounts) still can’t be edited after run-time but new ones can be added.
In the past couple release cycles, we shipped some tools for importing bulk transactions. These now support the backdating of both the product creation date and customer activation date – making these important functionalities strong data migration tools.
2013 Product Roadmap on its Way
2013 will be the year of Mifos X – community-wide releases and active development will now be done on the new Mifos X platform. 2013 is shaping up to be a monumental year in product development – Mifos X will gradually be on par with Mifos 2.x and will quickly surpass it in functionality as our new platform propels the community. In the coming weeks, we will publish the 2013 product roadmap which has been driven by the community during the many requirements-gathering sessions at our 2012 Mifos Summit.