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Jelmer Griepink
Fintech Consultant
Jelmer Griepink
Fintech Consultant

Hard work pays off: 10 weeks in 1 post

by | Apr 16, 2018 | Blog |

How to use technology to serve clients better? How to leverage financial technology for rural clients of a microfinance institution in southern Peru? The objective of project Arequipa was to answer this question. The project is finished. What did we learn? What are the outcomes? This post will answer those questions.

Field investigation: Getting out there

The first 5 weeks of the project were dedicated to analysis and investigation. We conducted interviews with clients, field officers and managers. What do clients want from their financial service provider? What improvements are they proposing? All the ideas brought forward in the interviews were collected. They served as inspiration for identifying relevant solutions with maximum impact for those most concerned: The clients. I was surprised by the tons of ideas that clients and analysts themselves already provided in the interviews. They had a clear idea about what would work, and what would not. It made my work easier. I learned a lot about the daily work of analysts, and the problems they had to deal with. The interviews and field trips served as the basis for a thorough analysis of the context in which Fondesurco is operating.

A digital Strategy

Based on the analysis we designed a digital strategy to maximize value for the client, based on 4 strategic objectives: Collect and process all data digitally, standardize data sources, automatize what can be automatized and make sure the client is in control. These objectives help to make optimal use of the data collected and reduce what we call ‘tiempo perdido’ or lost time: Time that the analyst is not actively creating value for the client.

We did an impact analysis of several technical solutions such as digital payments and developing a ‘mobile office’ for analysts allowing them to collect and process digital data directly in the field. Impact was measured in efficiency (how many hours of ‘tiempo perdida’ are saved?) financial impact (since transaction costs are also bourn by the clients, we take these into account as well), social and environmental impact. Also, we researched the creation of data connections with public registers to perform automated checks of public available data, and the possibility to develop a client portal, which gives the client control over his account.

From strategy to implementation

We defined our objectives, the next step was to identify the best way to implement technology in the organisation. It turned out Fondesurco had a lot of projects going on, but lacked a standard way of working when it came to innovation. Therefore, it was hard to measure and compare the success of a project. Moreover, the opportunity to learn from finished projects, successful or not, was forgone. So, we created a methodology, designed to meet the reality Fondesurco is operating in. It is based on the premise that everyone is a potential innovator, that every experience contains a lesson and that customers are the best teachers.

Now, Fondesurco has a standardized way of working for innovation projects. It enables decision making on which opportunities to pursue through an impact analysis. This analysis considers financial, social and environmental impact. Also, it includes a format for innovation projects, including SMART KPIs and a project team that works with an adapted SCRUM methodology. Finally, it includes an evaluation phase to learn from the experience and decide whether to pursue the innovation or not. The methodology, named Fondesurge, enables rapid innovation and continuous learning.

We presented a demo of the methodology. Based on the presentation, Fondesurco decided to implement the new way of working for upcoming innovation projects. A mentor is appointed who will support project teams in working with the new method.

Bringing the methodology to life

In the coming months, Fondesurco will create and pilot a mobile app for analysts to collect and process data digitally. Furthermore, the IT team will connect public registers to the internal system, implement business rules for an automated pre-evaluation and run a pilot for electronic payments. Other innovations such as a client portal and an E-commerce platform for artisanal clients are in the pipeline.

The collaboration with Fondesurco went very well. It is great to see how everybody working in the cooperative, whether it is in one of the agencies or at the main office, is dedicated to the goal of making an impact for their clients. It was inspiring to see people, 6 days a week, sometimes as early as 4.00AM working to make the life of their clients better. My hope is that the innovations introduced will enable them to help ever more people in the future.

Want to know more about this project? Or interested in working together? Let me know! Send an e-mail to

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