IMBN recently conducted an interview with Prashant Mishra , founder of Audech (http://www.audech.com)- a microfinance software provider that provides free mis software for microfinance institutions.
India Microfinance Business News : Tell us something about your background. How did you enter this sector ?
Prashant Mishra : I am a software developer and I was fascinated to work with the rural sector of India, and see how we can use technology to help them. I liked Microfinance, and I was working with a startup in p2p lending and borrowing. After that i started making softwares for MFIs also.
IMBN : What are the services that Audech currently offers for MFI’s ?
PM : We offer a loan management software for a typical MFI. We have done lot of research on what can work in this sector. We are aware that most of the MFI have very less budget for spending on IT. But we come with a vision to actually help them. So we plan to offer our software free of cost.
IMBN : Which MFI’s are currently using your products ?
PM : We are working with Sarala in Howrah, and helping them in the implementation of our software. Apart from that we are also working with a startup MFI in Cameroon, Africa.
IMBN : Your product is based on MIFOS.What are the advantages of an open source system ?
PM : Well we do have a product which drew inspiration from Mifos. But it is very different from Mifos, it is on PHP language and it works offline and online. We are planning to add/remove more features as we learn more about this sector.
IMBN : The lack of support and customization is cited as a reason why users do not opt for open source systems.How do you plan to overcome this ?
PM : There is a difference between Free and Open Source. The software may be free but it can it still cannot be not open source. We have our software free but not open source. Becuase this helps us get feedback from the customers on the software and improve it. We will not make it open source unless we see a vibrant community which can keep it going. Till then we plan to make it only free.
IMBN : Is you product available on a cloud platform ?
PM : Yes we do have our software available on the cloud as well.
IMBN : You plan to release your product to MFI’s for free, then won’t your revenue flow dry up ?
PM : Yes, our vision is to learn about the sector first and gain an insight. We do commercial projects which help us in maintaining our revenues.
IMBN : What are the steps involved in migrating an MIS system ?
PM : We have taken care of data migration issue in our software by building a simple interface through which you can upload or download data. We see this as major challenge for many MFIs, hence we had to build this.
IMBN : Do you have any new products lined up ?
PM : We do not have any more products for MFIs, we want to focus only on one product here. But yes we have built few more products in other sectors also.
IMBN : Do you offer a free demo of your product ?
PM : Yes sure, please send me an email to firstname.lastname@example.org, and we will arrange a free demo for any one interested.