Information systems for microfinancial services
Small Enterprise Development
The greatest danger perhaps lies with the software. Major shifts in the relative signi cance of hardware and software costs have occurred. Machines with very high processing capacity are now readily available and within the cost reach of many MFIs. Finding the software required to produce a working information system, however, remains rather more dif cult. The supply of ready-made packages appropriate for MFIs appears limited whilst the costs (and risks) of attempting in-house development can
... e development can be very high. There have been two pieces of work recently which have made a signi cant contribution to this whole area. Charles Water eld reviewed 16 of the leading loan-tracking packages for Women's World Banking (1996). Water eld and Ramsing (1998) have also written an MIS handbook (for CGAP) which provides a comprehensive and very useful practical guide for MFIs working on information systems. This report is the rst stage of a study commissioned by the UK Department for International Development (DFID). The study aims to look at the actual experiences of micro nance institutions with various approaches to solving information problems. Findings from the preliminary survey of MFIs are presented here. At this stage of the study the primary aim was information collection: to discover which packages are actually in use by MFIs and whether there is good software available which is not yet widely known in the market.