Paper

Field Staff Digitalization - A Decade of Key Lessons Learned in Microfinance

Sharing insights from the process of helping MFIs digitalize their field operations

In the last 20 years we saw an operational shift as most microfinance institutions (MFIs) transitioned from paper-based operations to digital data management by implementing management information systems (MIS) and core banking systems (CBS). The 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. While this "upgrade" has clear value for MFIs, 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.

This whitepaper draws from Software Group's ten-year-experience implementing and rolling out DFA solution in leading MFIs across the globe. It highlights the main business, technological and implementation challenges and the critical lessons learned in the process. Although a specific category of financial service providers was analyzed in this research, the lessons learned by MFIs can apply to other financial service provider, embarking on the journey of financial field service digitalization.