CGAP IT Innovation Series: Personal Digital Assistants (PDA)
This note studies the case of using Personal Digital Assistants (PDAs) in MFIs to manage the MFI and client data and perform financial calculations.
The note informs that:
- PDAs help MFIs to:
- Standardize their credit methodology and operating policies;
- Improve loan officer efficiency;
- Increase data accuracy and access in the field.
- PDAs supplement the management information system (MIS);
- Requirements for PDAs include:
- A stable, well-functioning MIS;
- High-speed access to MIS data from branch offices;
- Strong support from top management for implementation;
- Capable MIS technical support to adapt the MIS to support PDAs.
Further, the paper informs about:
- The benefits and costs of PDAs,
- The use of PDAs for microfinance operations in:
- ADOPEM - Dominican Republic;
- Compartamos - Mexico;
- SKS Microfinance - India;
- BanGente - Venezuela;
- Banco Solidario - Ecuador;
- FinComun - Mexico.
Finally, the author opines that despite its potential to increase efficiency, PDAs are not a solution for fundamental operational problems, nor are they a substitute for staff training. The following are the points that MFIs should consider before adopting PDAs:
- Leverage the use of PDAs as much as possible;
- Establish a well-functioning MIS for effective results from PDAs;
- Have stable, proven loan products to reduce modifications to the PDA software;
- Ensure strong support from top management;
- Carefully think through the complications arising during the development and implementation process;
- Set quantifiable cost-benefit estimates.