Stewarding the Mifos Community Recognizing the Value of Community Throughout the evolution of the Mifos Initiative, our focus on the community has been limited. The community is a multipurpose asset that is performing far beyond what others realize. Despite minimal community-specific investment (1.5 resources) it has been a principal source of our major achievements to date. We have always been open source but being truly community-driven has not been a core part of our DNA. A deeper more community-driven focus could unlock greater scale for our initiative. With only minimal investment to shepherd this community & ecosystem, we’ve achieved measurable impact that can’t go without notice. The community has proven itself to be a highly successful asset that by its nature is to be self-sustaining and independent. The community has been one of the most successful parts of our initiative providing the primary source of sales leads for our commercial offerings, a high level of organic adoption fueling market traction, a consistent and proven source of innovation for our product in the form of volunteer and ecosystem contributions, and as a recruiting pipeline for our core engineering team.
3 Billion Maries If our vision is to create a world where 3 Billion Maries can create a better world for themselves through access to financial services - the community is how we get there. Only by empowering others can we go the last mile to serve the poorest - enabling independent users, equipping local Specialists, and giving volunteers an opportunity to contribute.
Community By the Numbers For 2010 Live Users Clients Reached Mifos Cloud Leads
Why the Community Matters
Market Traction: 18 community users serving 177,211 clients. Organic Adoption, Sales Leads, Market Buzz, Positive References
Volunteer Contribution: 2906 hours worth $187,565 Product Development, Translation, Infrastructure, Documentation.
18 177,211 3 21 8,870 5
Minimal Investment - Multiplier Effect The power of an open source community lies in the multiplier effect. We’ve built a technology platform. We’ve grown an ecosystem. We don’t have to do it on our own—the community if given the right tools, right culture, and appropriate environment can help us achieve our ultimate vision. The community is a highly efficient, lean model, that requires only several people. It requires a major shift in focus to empowering others to be successful. We have built great collective knowledge - now lets focus on sharing that with others.
Empowering Others Users: Hundreds of MFIs download our software each quarter. They want to use our technology. Make it easy to install our software. Make it easy to use. Listen to their feedback. Provide them self-support tools and hosting options. Connect them with local support. Give them an smooth user experience. Specialists: They have the business incentive to take Mifos - they know the market. They’re close to the user. They’re socially motivated, risk-seeking, and entrepreneurial. They have the business acumen, domain knowledge, project management, & technical skillset. Give them the recipe for success. Volunteers: Technology professionals want to give back. Give them ownership of the project, carve out roles to guide it. Give them well-defined projects to work on. Show who they’re helping. Communicate their value. Welcome each contributor. Create a strong culture. Give them a clear path to contribute.
A Proven Technology Solution for the Industry The community has been the driving force behind growth in Mifos market traction through both organic community adoption and leads for our direct sales. Currently there are 26 MFIs worldwide using Mifos to run their MFI; of these, 18 are community users. Of the other 8, three opportunities originated from the community including 2 direct conversions of community users to Cloud customers. These community users range in size from 20 clients to 100,000 clients; while most are small, their mission is strong and their focus is on the poorest. Our community is fulfilling our original vision of a low-cost industry-wide solution; through independent downloads and the services of local Specialists our technology is penetrating all corners of the globe. Our community user base is diverse, from urban institutions in Southeast Asia, to MFIs serving pockets of the extreme rural poverty throughout Africa. These community users have been the strongest advocates of our technology - the most vocal customer references and the most active voices building buzz domestically and abroad.
How it’s Done: Organic adoption with no marketing. Independent Implementation No direct support from GFUSA online support through mailing lists
Independently thru own IT staff Assistance of external volunteer Paid contract thru local support
What if? Create a volunteer corps of Mifos Fellows to guide implementations Mifos stand-alone installer Strongly pushed PPI adoption Provide volunteer developers to assist MFIS
Nuru - Kuria, Kenya Specialist: Mashariki/Conflux 1,500 clients
Community By the Numbers ∗ ∗ ∗ ∗ ∗ ∗ ∗ ∗ ∗ ∗ ∗ ∗ ∗
Total Live Users | Live Community Users Total Clients Served | Community Clients Served Total Mifos Sales Number of Mifos Leads Dollar Value of ROI contribution. Total Number of Downloads Countries downloaded Languages translated Mifos by volunteers New Innovations/Features built. X Number of Active Specialists Number of Total Investment Overall Total Investment Mifos Community
Innovative NGO focused on combating poverty from five dimensions. Implemented Mifos in Cloud environment with local Mifos Specialist, Mashariki. Now hosted in Amazon EC2 through Conflux. Migrated data manually through data entry parties. Will soon be rolling out M-PESA/Mifos mobile money integration. Actively promotes Mifos thru video and blog.
Lumana - Akortor, Ghana Independent, 300 clients Staff (mainly UW students) implemented Mifos and also collected PPI surveys via Smartphone through Open Data Kit. Looking to implement offline module and conduct data visualizations with centralized data collected from Mifos Business Intelligence Suite. Eager about jointly promoting Mifos usage through local Seattle community.
Fantsuam Foundation - Kafanchan, Nigeria The potential in information systems is not just in organizing and finding that data. The power lies in what Independent, 2,500 clients Independent deployment led by IT team and a VSO volunteer from UK, Gayl Kennedy. the information tells us about what we’re trying to do. Vivian Lu, Nuru CED Program Manager Provided high-quality feedback on product and logged numerous feature requests through ugh active participation on users list and JIRA.
Organic Growth: A Little Nurturing Goes a Long Way Community adoption is happening organically with little direct support from Grameen Foundation beyond stewardship by our community manager. Adoption is occurring in two ways. MFIs are downloading the product, installing it on their own with the support of their IT team or external volunteers. Specialists are embracing Mifos, having identified the MFI market need for technology, they’re taking this open source software solution bundling it with additional services and aggressively selling it across their region. As our product has evolved substantially to meet the needs of more MFIs globally, so has the capability of our community support ecosystem. While skills and IT capacity still need to grow, our mailing lists, collaboration tools, and online documentation provide the means for the community to get our support and support themselves. Demand is strong MFIs want our software - they need IT capacity or local support.
Directly Benefiting GF • Leads for GF products/services • Shows human side of technology. • Positive customer references • Integration with mobile strategy
User Stats 177, 211 Total Clients reached 100,000 8,851 26 6.25 mo.
Largest User Average User Smallest User Time to Deploy (avg)
Digamber Finance - Jaipur, India Independent/Mifos Cloud 2,500 clients Emerging process-driven MFI in Jaipur, India. Mifos independently implemented by Executive Director, Amit Jain, an active & vocal product advocate on mailing lists. Recently migrated to Mifos Cloud services.
Adhikar - Orissa, India Specialist: Independent/SunGard, 100,000 clients Adhikar, a leader in financial inclusion in underserved regions of India, deployed Mifos independently with support of SunGard for data migration & reporting Looking to integrate with handhelds and use offline module for branches with low connectivity.
Nirantara - Bangalore, India Specialist: Conflux Technologies, 10,000 clients Fast-growing NBFC in Bangalore, India deployed in Amazon EC2 and migrated data and 31 custom reports over from FIMO with Conflux Technologies. Currently rolling out PPI through their organization.
Proud to be a customer of your esteemed organization. This association has been made due to the community’s efforts and direction. I love to say, “Small word Mifos covers Worldwide” Amit Jain, Digamber Executive Director
The Implementer Community: Vibrant Support Ecosystem Specialists: We’ve always believed the need for local support was paramount. We’ve confirmed that with many MFIs in need. Specialists are taking that opportunity. Despite many barriers to adoption, local IT firms are taking the risk and investing in a Mifos business in a serious manner. Not only passionate about the mission, they’re invested in it for business reasons. Doing it the right way—strong project management, experts in the business domain, plus strong technical capacity. They’re not waiting for us to build a business model—they’re creatively building their own—trial instances of Mifos, unique hosting subscriptions, rebranding the platform, bundling different products and services, offering financial and business consulting. They’re aggressive — going to market with pipelines of 20+ MFIs, embarking on country-wide roadshows, and expanding to take on customers in other countries. They know the product well - fixing bugs, building new features, building new reports, creating data migration tools. They’re sharing too - helping other users out, building new features, contributing documentation, translating our software. This is only the beginning. Our ecosystem has great potential, and not just Mifos—we’re fostering grassroots innovation with local talent. We’re building a channel of service providers to the poor—PPI, mobile innovation, financial services. These Specialists are close to the user, know the market, and are the key to taking Mifos to the far-reaching corners where needed most but commercial providers won’t go. This channel can grow and it must because local support is the major pain point for MFIs. We have nearly 20 active Specialists and many more wanting to take on the opportunity; on average, 1 – 2 email inquiries per week. It’s not been our priority to answer - what if we did?
What they’re Doing Diversified Business Models: Service-based subscription tiers; Bundling Mifos with technology services, business consulting, assistance with getting funding. Regional and Global Expansion: Conflux Technologies taking on customers in Africa, IMM signing on customer in Namibia, expanding to Southern Africa Aggressive Sales Approach: Microbiz One offering 90-day trial demos of Mifos, IMM and partnership model, targeting large govt/sector-wide opportunities. Cloud-Based Services: Specialists in Africa and India went live with their own Amazon EC2 cloud services before GFUSA. Conflux independently and IAS thru partnering with global cloud service provider, Model Metrics. IMM providing virtualized instance of Mifos with HelpDesk support for monthly fee. Re-branding Mifos Solution: 3 firms have taken Mifos and re-branded: INS - Paradigm (Nigeria) | Anduril - SAM (India) | Audech - MAS (India)
Active Mifos Specialists Rwanda Africa Kenya • X-Emplar Technologies • Mashariki Solutions • Software Group • Shujaa Solutions
Uganda - Vastech Tanzania - Wits Solutions • GoIT Solutions Southern Sudan - IAS • MVP Mozambique • Iniciativa Mifos Mocambique • Papaformigas
India Asia • Conflux Technologies Philippines - Microbiz One • Anduril Technologies Nepal - Magnus Consulting Sri Lanka - IDEAs • SunGard Cambodia - AnAkut Consulting • Thoughtworks • Audech Solutions
Latin America Colombia - Mann India
What if? Focus energy on building more formal local support network.
Create better training materials. Better directory to connect MFIs with local Specialists
Respond to demand from 3rd parties to provide support
Provide insight on business models
Iniciativa Mifos Mocambique (IMM)
Coalition of 3 consulting firms, SBS focusing on project management for the financial sector, ICC on business consulting for microfinance, and Afrisis on Java technology development.
Company of young Indian technocrats with a strong belief in open source Aggressively going across India targeting Tier 4 MFIs for their hosted Amazon EC2 service.
Dedicated to the market, IMM pipelined 20+ incountry organizations for hosting, support and implementation of Mifos in virtualized instance for monthly fee. Now looking to expand to all of Southern Africa.
Deployed Mifos at 3 MFIs in India, built custom features, and developed an offline module they’ve shared with the community. Now hosting Nuru in Nairobi, Kenya and partnering to provide hosting for a potential opportunity in Southern Sudan
Technology company incubated under Amity Innovation Incubator. Built original Eko branchless banking platform on Mifos codebase. Now distributing Mifos as semi-multitenant hosted service called SAM.
Customers: Associacao Progresso, Associacao de Romao, Kongalend Financial Services (Namibia)
For Mifos Cloud users, they built custom reports and data migration tools
Contributions: Portuguese translation , GLIM bug fixes, integration with ATMs (in progress).
Customers: Nirantara, United Microcredi, Shakti Foundation, SEED Federation, RiSE, Nuru
Have customized Mifos extensively & integrated with a number of handheld devices. Customers: Eko, Amity Humanity Foundation Contributions: Excel transaction data upload, support for individual meeting requirements, Pre-EMI loans, Back-dated payments before last payment date, integration with VisionTek handhelds, file attachment module for Mifos.
How we Help the Community Currently only minimal time is invested in stewarding the community - approximately 75% of a community managerâ€™s time, 50% of a engineer and 10% of a PM. Despite this limited stewardship, the community is beginning to flourish. To date, documentation and tools that have been created for our commercial customers gets passed down to the implementer community. These are made publically available through community-maintained web infrastructure on mifos.org and MifosForge. Along with documentation submitted by volunteers this serves as the foundation of online tools and documentation to enable self-support. These include a product user manual, users mailing list, functional specifications, a deployment toolkit, user-submitted deployment case studies, as well as limited documentation.. For our contributors, we provide a technical mailing list, git sourcecode repository, documented data models, and a public issue tracker, agile project management tool, and wiki with technical documentation on MifosForge. The community manager attempts to maintain close contact with key implementers and contributors by connecting them with these resources, passing on leads, identifying local support, escalating issues facing their deployment, and recognizing volunteers as Star Contributors. The broader team actively responds to questions on the mailing lists, mentors volunteers, and shares documentation from product development and implementation for commercial customers.
Community web portal downloads, roadmap, documentation, case studies, functional specs, user profiles, community directory.
Developer Forge - Issue Tracker for bugs and feature requests, agile project management, wiki for technical documentation.
How the Community Helps Each Other
User Meeting Recap
The community has begun to grow into a resourceful group, eager to collaborate and support one another. Our mailing lists provide a common communications platform for individuals around the world of all technical skillsets, geographic location, and cultural background to assist each other in the common language that is Mifos.
Held first online user meeting in January - a major success with 44 participants from 12 countries including current users, prospects, Specialists, and volunteer contributors.
Fixing bugs: This support goes both ways. The community fixes bugs for users & review incoming bug fixes to ensure they go back into the product.
Jitegemea and Missions of Hope in Kenya faced a critical bug blocking collection sheet entry; Jakub from Poland fixed the bug and helped them install the resolution.
Filling Local Support Gap: Beyond Specialists independently seeking new Mifos users, theyâ€™re stepping in to provide much needed support. Peer Support on Mailing Lists: Countless examples abound of users helping each other on our mailing lists. From Africa to India to MENA & beyond, implementers promptly respond to help requests.
Nuru in Kenya was in need of Amazon Cloud hosting and Conflux Technologies of India signed on to help.
What if? Kongalend in Namibia needed local support; Iniciativa Mifos Mocambique, their nearest African neighbor, flew in to assist.
Documentation/Training Materials: Users actively share training presentations, lessons learned from Fantsuam Foundation in Nigeria had issues their deployments, and best practices on how to configuring their Chart of Accounts, Neil from use Mifos. MicrobizOne in Philippines provided a thorough resolution via the mailing lists.
How the Community Helps Us Identifying & Fixing Bugs: Community improves quality of software through users finding and reporting bugs and contributors fixing them. Product Discovery: Through features requests and direct feedback, the community provides user requirements, improvements and domain knowledge to strengthen product. Local Support for our Customers: Ecosystem has provided on-the-ground Mifos Cloud support in East Africa - X-Emplar as local support Software Group for implementations. Services for our Customers: Ecosystem has built data migration tools & custom reports. Beachhead into new markets: Ecosystem has led the way into new markets, documenting requirements, localizing product, building user base and positive user references.
Hold more user meetings. Stimulate regional collaboration Create a more participatory culture Build better collaborative tools
Community Interaction 272 144 572 440
Dev Mailing List Posts User Mailing List Posts Dev Mailing List Subscribers User Mailing List Subscribers
Contributors: Fueling our Product & Community Our vision is 3 Billion Maries. The Mifos open source project is the opportunity for countless volunteers around the globe to work towards that vision. Our community has brought together more than 50 volunteers who’ve given thousands of hours of their time to strengthen our initiative in different ways. Volunteers worldwide of all different professional backgrounds have made contributions large and small. From building a new feature to translating our product to maintaining our website, these volunteers move us one step closer to creating more opportunities for the poor. Each contribution provides not only meaningful impact but measurable value for our initiative. Only by empowering these volunteers, can our initiative scale wide enough to meet the need across the sector.
How they Help The Mifos contributor community isn’t just about code - it adds value everywhere from product to infrastructure to documentation and beyond. Volunteers are helping to strengthen the core platform, build new features, identify and fix bugs, localize our software for new regions, and build and maintain our collaborative infrastructure to increase overall productivity and effectiveness.
Contributing to the Core Despite the complexity of our domain and the niche focus Mifos, our volunteers aren’t just fixing bugs and contributing on the fringe. They have become a critical part of our team, contributing core velocity points by building out the platform, leading our refactoring efforts, and building entirely brand new functionality. Back-end Refactoring and APIs - John and Keith Woodlock, senior Java developers, contributed 6+ man-months of time implementing core scalability enhancements, building our Collection Sheet API and spearheading the movement of Mifos to modular platform with defined APIs. Front-end Refactoring and New Features - Jakub Slawinski fixed 50 bugs, built a brand new feature and brought on a team of volunteers from SolDevelo to carry out front-end refactoring through migration of the UI to FTL. Stanley Kwok guiding internationalization of new UI.
Extending the Product
Issue Tracker Migration: Our team was hindered by Java.net infrastructure Michael Vorburger did automated migration of our entire issue tracker
Volunteers and Specialists are filling product and market gaps for regions we’re not yet reaching - making the product usable and relevant for these markets.
Wiki Conversion - Michael contributed 80+ hours migrating our entire Plonebased wiki to Confluence, a standards-compliant, enterprise-level wiki with friendly user interface, search capabilities.
Workspace 2.0 - Michael recently spent 100+ hours building a new Eclipse development environment giving our team & community 10x improvement on coding by allowing viewing of real-time code changes without rebuilding. Mifos.org Launch & Maintenance - Jim Stamper contributed 75+ hours of web development to build out the new Mifos.org community portal. Keith
Custom Collection Sheet - Nepal New Interest Rate Methodology - Nepal Data Migration Tools and Scripts | India & Mozambique Embedded Dashboards - India Custom Reports - Various Countries Offline Module | India and Africa ODK integration (Surveys) - Ghana Handheld Integration - India | Colombia | Kenya
Pierce has created a robust development and security workflow for our sites, and building features & fixing bugs to evolve our website going forward.
Translation of the Product
Volunteers help make our product usable by maintaining our user Translations are maintained & managed by an online community of manual, documenting new features and functional specifications and volunteers at Translatewiki.net. They provide a large base of guides on business intelligence, network security & more. translators and tool for our community to submit translations. User Manual: Migrated to FLOSS Manuals during volunteer-led sprint. Currently updated by volunteers for new functionality from our past three releases. Technical Documentation: Contributors and ecosystem have written up guides on system administration, security, and more.
Localizations: Entire Spanish, Portuguese and Hungarian translations were contributed by volunteers and Specialists. New languages: Translatewiki.net community is helping to translate Mifos into Bengali, Tagalog, Arabic, & other languages. Internationalization: Volunteers are ensuring a translatable product during the conversion of the user interface. Documentation: Volunteers are translating our user manual into French and Chinese to make our product accessible to more.
Our Star Contributors John Woodlock - Australia (November 2009) John, an expert Java developer who discovered Mifos at JavaOne, contributed more than 2 man-months of time starting out with minor Firefox fixes and moving on building out the collection sheet API and key core refactoring and performance enhancements.
Jim Stamper - Seattle (July 2010) Jim Stamper, a local Seattle-based Drupal developer played a crucial role in the relaunch of Mifos.org, helping to project manage our web vendor as well as building new custom features and fixing bugs for the new web portal.
Michael Vorburger - Switzerland (December 2009) Michael has boosted community productivity through several major improvements to our collaborative infrastructure. He has volunteered 200+ hours, converting & migrating our entire issue tracker & wiki to more robust tools, and building a new developer workspace, allowing for viewing of real-time code changes.
Gayl Kennedy - Ireland/Nigeria (August 2010) Gayl Kennedy, a VSO volunteer leading implementation of Mifos at Fantsuam Foundation in Nigeria, became an integral part of user community giving detailed product feedback finding bugs and logging feature requests.
Jakub Slawinski - Poland (January 2010) Jakub, who also found Mifos at JavaOne, fixed more than 50 bugs for our customers Al Majmoua and enda in additional to building the brand new feature shipped in Mifos 1.5, a user interfacing for managing the effective shutdown of Mifos.
Stanley Kwok - Canada (September 2010) Stanley emerged as Internationalization (i18n)Champion, fixing several UI and browser bags affecting displays of languages and led i18n for Mifos as we transitioned the entire UI to a new back-end framework.
SunGard Technology Services - India (February 2010) SunGard contributed to Mifos through both development and professional services including performance testing and scalability enhancements, new features to support microinsurance, and data migration and report building services for community users.
Beria Lima (Translatewiki) - Portugal (Oct/Nov 2010) Beria is part of the Translatewiki.net community, an online tool and community that is guiding translation of Mifos. Beria helped to finish up the remaining Portuguese messages so it could be shipped with Mifos 2.0.
Graeme Ruthven - New Zealand (March 2010) Graeme has been an active community member for a number of years lending his systems administration and operations expertise including documentation on how set up a VPN network along with best practices on security, and Linux systems administration.
Keith Pierce - Minnesota (December 2010) Keith has been a part of Mifos in numerous roles from engineer to contractor and now volunteer. Keith is keeping our web presence strong, building a robust hosted Drupal environment and fixing bugs and adding new features.
Sam Birney - California/Lebanon (May 2010) Sam, former Mifos Engineering Manager, came back as a volunteer after deploying Mifos at Al Majmoua in Lebanon. He’s helped to represent Mifos in the Bay Area and identified and fixed numerous bugs around concurrent users and localization.
Bharathi Ram - India (January/February 2011) Bharathi, a Bankers without Borders volunteer is writing documentation to keeping our user manual up to date with all the new functionality recently shipped including M-PESA integration and variable installment loans.
Keith Woodlock - Ireland (June 2010) Keith, along with his brother, John, provided senior-level coding to help with refactoring and scalability enhancements in addition to moving Mifos to a Spring-based application with a defined set of APIs, starting out with the Collection Sheet API.
Donnie Tucker - Virginia (January/February 2011) Donnie, along with Bharathi, helped to form a strong documentation team to help end users understand our product contributing 40+ hours documenting our brand new features including Question Groups and PPI support.
Google Summer of Code
Have modular plug-in architecture & better APIs Give more ownership to our volunteers Pivot in the way we focused on volunteers.
2010 dollar value
2009 dollar value
The past two years we’ve participated in Google Summer of Code. This program has been a major success in terms of not only code contributions made during the summer (12 man months of development) but more so the in-country developer talent it has allowed us to reach. In 2009, from our class of 2 interns we brought on Udai Gupta, based in Bangalore, India. He became a core part of our team, forming a close bond with our customers and strategic partners in the field. Likewise, in 2010 from our class of 5 interns, we were able to bring onto our QA team, Kojo Gambrah, based in Ghana. Kojo was the only GSOC graduate from all of Africa in 2010.
Total Hours Volunteered in 2010.
Pipeline for New Hires
2906 149 25 9
Core Velocity Points Active Volunteers in 2010 Volunteers to Paid Contractors
Volunteer contributors have served as a key pipeline for paid contractors we’ve brought on to the team. In the past 15 months, we’ve brought on 9 former volunteers as paid contractors. This lowers our recruiting costs and eliminates idle ramp-up time - they already know the product, team, tools, and culture for how we collaborate.
Published on Aug 2, 2011
Published on Aug 2, 2011
Highlighting the value the Mifos community has provided under the stewardship of Grameen Foundation. A vision for the untapped power of our...