Mobile technology adoption and application in the MFI sector in Kenya
Micro Finance Institutions (MFI) are key pillars in the global effort to extend economic inclusion to the poor. To achieve their mandate Micro Finance institutions use an operating model that requires wide outreach, frequent transactions and customer doorstep operations. This operating model presents unique problems key among them high human capital requirements and increased transaction cost. The research looks at how micro finance institutions can take advantage of the current developments in mobile technology to address the twin issues of increased transaction cost and offsite operations while offering a better quality of service to their customers. The study uses the Fit Viability Model (FVM) to map the MFIs tasks to the mobile telecommunications sector ability to avail processing power at the field, develops a reference application to address the challenges encountered in the outreach and collection processes in an MFI and finally uses the Technology Acceptance Model to determine the possible adoption of the reference implementation. Mobile technologies can provide the tools to implement the necessary process transformation required and desired by MFI in a bid to place both the mfi business and their clients and a competitive position. The study established that the adoption of technology in the outreach and collection processes in an MFI are low despite the fact that field officers posses the required academic capacity and have phones capable of running mobile applications. Field officers were enthusiastic about the reference application developed by the researcher and were of the view that it would dramatically increase their productivity and make them more effective in carrying out their day-to-day tasks.