Empowering Microfinance Processes through Hybrid Cloud Based Services

Empowering Microfinance Processes through Hybrid Cloud Based Services

Tagelsir Mohamed Gasmelseid (College of Computer Sciences and IT, King Faisal University, Al Ahsaa, Saudi Arabia)
DOI: 10.4018/IJSSOE.2015070101
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Abstract

Microfinance plays an important role in the improvement of the livelihood of people especially in developing countries. The provision of microfinance services (such as micro loans, insurance, savings and technical assistance, among others) are considered as good measures for the reduction of poverty and levels of unemployment. The expansion of microfinance services has been accompanied with unprecedented technological developments that significantly affected the operational efficiency of microfinance institutions and dictated new axioms for information sharing. This paper is concerned with the use of hybrid cloud information infrastructures to facilitate engagement with stakeholders and improve the ability of MFIs to realize their business and social goals. The proposed infrastructure adopts a holistic approach that goes beyond viewing cloud services as being limited to the use of software-as-a-service (SaaS). In addition to describing the entire hybrid cloud environment, this paper reflects on the collective use of its “private” and “public” cloud components.
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1. Introduction

There has been a growing emphasis on using microfinance as a tool for enhancing financial inclusion, reducing poverty and maintaining sustainable development of societies. The basic assumption is that microfinance has the potential to enhance production in different sectors such as education, environment, healthcare, agriculture and small-scale revenue generating activities. Many members of the society lack access to funds due to high transaction and monitoring costs, lengthy documentation, high defaults, collateralised lending and leakage of subsidised resources. As a result, different types of microfinance institutions (MFIs) (such as non-profit organizations, peer-to-peer lending markets, commercial banks and community banks) are becoming highly engaged in the provision of microfinance services. Despite the variety of the microfinance services provided by each institution, the list of the most widely cited services includes saving services, micro-credit, micro- insurance, money transfers and small loans and technical assistance. The basic aim behind the provision of such services is toassist financially-excluded, economically-active and capable members of the society to improve their financial outcomes (e.g., savings and the accumulation of assets such as furniture or a sewing machine) and non-financial ones (e.g., health, food-security, nutrition, education, women’s empowerment, housing, job creation, and social cohesion) (Eduardo, Birochi & Pozzebon, 2012; Robert & Riggins, 2012; CGAP, 2003, Robinson, 2001; Yunus, 1999; Afrane, 2002; Beck, Demirguc-Kunt, & Levine, 2004; Hietalahti & Linden, 2006; Hossain & Knight, 2008; Khandker, 2001; Odell, 2010; Wright, 2000). The main stakeholders of microfinance are clients, donors, intermediaries, insurance agencies and regulatory agencies, among others. Decision making in microfinance tend to be complicated due to the existence of multiple layers of decisions and processes, diversity of stakeholders and their concerns, difficulty of balancing dual objectives, limited adaptation capacities, and lack of reliable management information.

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