Information systems for microfinancial services
There is a growing awareness of the significance of information to microfinance institutions. Poor information systems have an impact on every aspect of an institution's performance, from operational effectiveness to strategic management. A world-wide survey has been carried out of the information systems currently in use by microfinance institutions, with the aim of discovering whether there were packages available, not yet widely known in the market, which might offer solutions for other institutions. The results so far tend to confirm a number of weaknesses in the sector. Many institutions do not appear to have a strong understanding of information technology and have relatively poor information systems as a consequence. The market for products aimed specifically at microfinance is generally weak, contributing to the problem. No previously unknown packages have been identified at this stage, though a few products merit further investigation. It is suggested that stakeholders in the sector need to look at mechanisms for strengthening this market as a means of improving information systems in microfinance institutions.