New case study on impact of Digital Field Applications

The use of Digital Field Applications (DFAs) – empowering field staff with digital tools via tablets and smart phones – within the microfinance sector is still at a relatively nascent stage. The slow adoption of DFAs has in part been attributed to the lack of understanding of the impact DFAs have on the business models of Microfinance Banks (MFBs), as well as how their use affects client and staff experience in the field. Accion’s Digital Solutions team has completed an 8-month case study which aims to provide some clarity on the impact of DFA use by examining the business case, implementation process and effects at three MFBs around the world. This study presents a consolidated review of the findings from the three MFBs, with an accompanying Excel-based business case toolkit, available for MFBs to examine the potential impact a DFA might have on their business. Additionally, individual cases presenting the findings for MusoniOBS, and Ujjivan are also available. This report is also available in spanish and french.

Key results:

  • Average loan officer case load increased by 134 percent at Ujjivan.
  • Loan turnaround time (TAT) decreased from 72 to 6 hours at Musoni.
  • A new digital credit scorecard accessible to loan officers via the DFA, delivering a credit-decision in the field for 80 percent of targeted loans at OBS.
  • Client benefits included increased convenience and reduced costs due to a faster loan application process with fewer KYC documents required.

Lessons Learned:

  • A clear understanding of requirements coupled with strategic business process reengineering ensured the solution was designed optimally to meet the organization’s needs.
  • Close cooperation between MFB staff and the solution provider during planning and piloting also proved critical for take up, as testing with end-users revealed pain points that could be redesigned to enhance usability. Furthermore, this collaborative approach helped cultivate project champions among internal staff, an important part of organizational change management.

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