Software Group – Whitepaper: Field Staff Digitalization – A Decade of Key Lessons Learned in Microfinance

Digital transformation is high on Microfinance Institutions’ agenda, but the path to its successful implementation may hold different strategic directions.

Software Group’s new whitepaper lays out our business, technological and implementation lessons learned while helping MFIs digitalize their field operations.

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In the last 20 years we saw an operational shift as most MFIs transitioned from paper-based operations to digital data management by implementing management information systems (MIS) and core banking systems (CBS). This stage of development was crucial, however the benefits are mostly in the back office, account management, reporting, etc.

A next logical step in an MFI’s digital journey is the digitalization of field service and complementary back office operations through digital field applications (DFAs) to facilitate onboarding, loan applications, account opening and transactions in the field.
whitepaper field service digitalization

An MFI’s field staff is imperative for the success of their distribution strategy. Digitalization of field-based operations can be more challenging than expected, as it often requires business process reengineering, change management, workforce upskilling and uptake, and complex technical integrations with existing systems.

While this “upgrade” has clear value for the MFI, the benefits it will have on field staff productivity and the improvement in the end customers’ experience need to be clearly communicated and embraced to achieve the required adoption by field staff.

The whitepaper draws from Software Group’s ten-year-experience implementing and rolling out our digital field application (DFA) solution in leading MFIs across the globe. It highlights the main business, technological and implementation challenges we have observed and the critical lessons we have learned in the process together with our customers.

Although we are analyzing a specific category of financial service providers, the lessons learned by MFIs can apply to other financial service provider, embarking on the journey of financial field service digitalization.