Scaling the Pyramid of IT Adoption

Microfinance Leadership Summit 2009

Back in December we announced our joint collaboration with Microsoft to launch a series of new innovative educational forums to help microfinance leadership expand their capacity to invest in and manage technology. We wanted to take the chance to recap our first leadership summit, Fueling Growth: Strategic Technology for Microfinance, which took place in Manila, Philippines on Dec 2 and 3.

The summit was a resounding success that for the first time brought together more than hundred executive directors and IT Management from NGOs, Cooperatives, and Rural Banks along with IT service providers and stakeholders to create a deeper dialogue regarding the strategic impact of technology within the microfinance sector. New frameworks, illustrative case studies, and hands-on approaches to IT adoption were presented to expose the sector to the resources, experience and insight of technology-enabled microfinance.

For summit attendees and the entire industry alike, the journey of IT adoption is only just beginning as we launched our Microfinance Technology Resource Center to provide the entire industry practical guides and resources to effectively adopt technology across their organization.


Attendees of Microfinance Leadership Summit were impressed with the professionalism of the event and delighted that stakeholders across the entire industry and within their own organization were united in a common technology discussion for the first time.  “Justifying IT investment is the right discussion. I’m glad to see us come together to address impact of technology,” remarked General Hotchkiss of Cantilan Bank.  The summit not only educated executive management about the value of technology and investment required to reap its benefits but more importantly offered a more effective way for executive management and IT management to work together to realize this investment.

Notable highlights throughout the two days included Microsoft’s pledge to donate more than $1 million USD in software to microfinance NGOs throughout the Philippines as well as the unveiling of the Pyramid of IT Adoption and Grameen Technology Center’s guide to scaling this pyramid.

Summit Day 1

The focus of the first day was to provide leadership the vision of technology adoption and the impact it enables.  Microsoft’s opening plenary sessionpresented the Pyramid of IT Adoption and helped identify where each MFI stood in its own technology lifecycle.  Grameen Foundation’s follow-on plenary illustrated real-life success stories of technology investment and presented MFIs with an Executive Guide, the 7 Ways to Strategic IT Investments to scale this pyramid.  With this vision in place, several breakout sessions then further brought this pyramid to life – from measuring ROIto truly understand the value and impact of technology, to leveraging your information system to go beyond mere efficiency to strategic insight, as well as utilizing front-end technologies to reach closer to the end client.  By the end of Day 1, attendees had a clear technology vision, learning to approach technology from all directions, including both people and processes, to demand that technology has a proven value, and to design new innovation with the end client in mind.

Pyramid of IT Adoption



Summit Day 2:

Day 2 shifted its focus to more hands-on interactive sessions, introducing technology solutions as well as the tactical strategies and approaches to effectively adopt them.  Kicking off with a look into tips and tricks for effective project management and an introduction to the local resources available to help use technology, we closed the second half of the day with our lively and exciting SpeedGeeking Sessions.  Each participant got to attend a 20 minute session to get “up close and personal” with solutions ranging from new Microsoft software like Windows 7 and Microsoft Office 2010to Grameen Foundation offerings like Mifos and a software tool to track the Grameen Foundation's Progress out of Poverty Index (PPI™) to front-end devices like the EnCash ATMs. Some of the most popular SpeedGeeeking sessions were the glimpse into the new software tool to track and measure social performance through the PPI along with a brief but in-depth crash course on Business Process Mapping and Reengineering.

Participants like Me-An Ignacio, Executive Director of Kasagana Ka, who remarked “the list of 7 ways to Strategic IT investment will be the topic at my next management meeting” left the conference invigorated with a renewed focus on investing in technology.  Putting this focus to work we’ve launched our Microfinance Technology Resource Center to provide the entire industry a growing collection of guides, templates, and links to strategically invest in technology.

Microfinance Technology Resource Center

Please use the resources, browse the links, and let us know how we can improve as this is only the initial version of this resource center and is part of our overall commitment to open knowledge transfer across the sector.