In a country such as India, organisations whose operations revolve around semi-urban and rural areas have to face a huge challenge in terms of connectivity. A technical solution that augurs well with the existing infrastructure is the need of the hour. Technology is one of the strategic tools that enhances efficiency, increase outreach and bring in transparency. Therefore, it is imperative that organisations seeking to move ahead harness the technology. In order to overcome the challenge and bring in more efficiency into the operations, SKS Microfinance has decided to digitise the field operations.
As a part of automation and digitisation process, SKS Microfinance has empowered field officers with tabs that work exclusively offline. SKS smart application deployed on the tab is customised, secure and encrypted with international standards. A field officer just needs to sync the tab with the desktop to get his mundane tasks done in seconds.
Connectivity is a big challenge in villages. As the microfinance business is focused on villages the company faced enormous challenge. The old process was time consuming and resulted in higher administrative costs.
Given that all the field officers have to go to the field along with Cash Disbursement Sheets (CDS) at the same time, they need to either come early to the branch or take the prints day before. This was demotivating, as they had to spend extra hours in the branch. Upon returning to the branch, field officers had to enter all the details noted on CDS. In the old system field officers were required to spend an average three hours in the branch daily without any productivity. As the valuable time is consumed in entering data, waiting to get hold of the system and take prints of relevant information/report, they were not in a position to go deep into the interiors, meet underprivileged and assist them in uplifting their livelihoods.
Besides empowering field officers digitally with custom-built applications that are essential to perform field tasks, SKS Microfinance has disabled SIM connectivity depriving tabs of net connectivity. The Mobile Device Management (MDM) solution works offline and all the policies enforcement, application installation/uninstallation/updates are shared via gateway machine. The server contacts the gateway for the distribution of applications and updates. Gateway applies those updates to the devices whenever they are connected through USB.
The enterprise mobility tablet is designed to be secure using cutting-edge MDM software and utilities. All the applications deployed on the tab are secure and encrypted with international standards and for both applications and MDM software, which run on the tabs, the login credentials are designed to be single sign-on to avoid multiple usernames/password. SKS’ Single Sign-On (SSO) process allows user to enter one name and password in order to access multiple applications. It protects against unauthorised access to the applications. Moreover, SKS’ SSO operates at branch level in an offline mode compared to traditional online process.
The customised tab, which works offline, has streamlined the business process relieving field officers from the cumbersome mundane activities. The time taken to enter loan details has decreased drastically. Field officers are now able to spend more time in the villages.
With tab replacing papers and being able to transfer data within seconds, even 15 minutes UPS backup is enough for field officer to transfer the data. Considering the prevailing power issues, this benefits the organisation. Besides, the organisation is able to save administrative costs significantly. Employee morale has increased tremendously as they are able to get their routine work done swiftly and reach out to more households and help the society in eradicating poverty.
(Comments are welcome at firstname.lastname@example.org)
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