SKS Microfinance Launches Technology Intitiative to Accelarate Financial Inclusion
Feb '2008

  • First end-to-end IT solution for the MFI industry
  • Ties up with Compulink, HCL , Microsoft, Tulip IT and Wipro Infotech to strengthen IT backbone
  • New IT solution to be deployed in six months
  • Initiative will strengthen security, enable real-time data analysis, and accelerate scaling

Mumbai, Feb 5, 2008:  SKS Microfinance, one of the world's leading microfinance companies has launched a unique initiative to create an IT infrastructure that will accelerate its goal of financial inclusion. The initiative involves IT majors Compulink, HCL, IPROMicrosoft, Tulip IT and Wipro InfoTech who will each play a role in creating a connected network of 1500 urban and rural microfinance branches throughout the country that will deploy best-in-class software applications to enhance the speed of data,  strengthen security, enable real-time data analysis, and accelerate scaling.

The new IT infrastructure is aimed at helping SKS achieve its ambitious goal of expanding outreach from its current base of 650 branches serving 17 lakh poor households to 1500 branches serving 40 lakh poor households by March 2009. Announcing the strategic partnerships, Dr. Vikram Akula, Founder & CEO of SKS Microfinance said, "Technology has the power to enable us to reduce costs, maintain information integrity and provide more convenient services to our poor and low-income clients. We have had success in using technology at SKS and now our clients will benefit from the state-of-the-art technologies developed by some of the best IT companies in the world."

SKS currently operates in 15 states and has disbursed more than Rs. 1,200 crore in credit as well as life and health insurance products to poor households in nearly 20,000 villages and slums. It plans to disburse an additional Rs 5,200 crore to clients in nearly 40,000 villages and slums in FY 2008-09. SKS also plans to add new financial services, ranging from other micro-insurance products to remittances. It is currently adding 50 new branches and 1.5 lakh new clients per month.

Prashant Gupta, Vice President for IT at SKS Microfinance commented, "We have partnered with five IT majors, each of whom has a unique domain expertise.  The IT solution we are putting in place not just for the MFI sector but the IT sector as well. The proprietary solution will be rolled out enterprise-wide in six months."

SKS is partnering with Compulink to develop a three tier web application to develop highly-scalable software applications for internal systems and to complement web hosting services. The new system will support not just SKS's core banking solution but also provide the advantage of minimal IT infrastructure, rapid deployment, quicker scalability and upgrades.

The tie up with Tulip IT is to support connectivity across all 650 existing and future SKS offices using a hybrid solution with a mix of MPLS, RF and VSAT solutions. The partnership endeavors to provide efficient WAN infrastructure while providing complete end-to-end communication services with security. The partnership will result in an integrated communication network to enhance profitability and productivity. The partnership will help in resource consolidation and form a centralized information system so that financial data can be retrieved in real-time from any of the offices, including those in remote rural towns.

To support mission critical systems and protect them from virus threats and attacks, SKS Microfinance has partnered with Wipro Infotech to host its data center in Bangalore. The partnership will help SKS Microfinance enhance performance, protect applications running on different operating environments, reduce management costs and risks through greater automation of administrative tasks, and minimize the cost to train and retain highly skilled technical staff. Wipro Infotech is acting as a single point of contact for SKS for designing the overall topology for our systems, procuring servers for hosting the applications, and managing the entire system over time.
In order to standardize quality and address compatibility issues across offices a central procurement system has been implemented. IT Assets include categories such as PC's, servers, peripherals, telecom/networking, software and other technology services. The centralized procurement model will result in annual improvements in price, quality, and service. For the centralized procurement model, SKS Microfinance has partnered with HCL for Desktops, Printers, Multi-Function Devices and UPS, and with Wipro Infotech for Laptops to manage supply and post sale service across all SKS offices.
SKS also strictly follows an anti-piracy policy in its software use and complies with all licensing norms. A new model in software licensing has been adopted to take care of the organization's software needs and is aimed at maximizing licensing flexibility and choice as SKS meets its business requirements for the next three years. SKS's software is designed on the Microsoft architecture, thereby a licensing partnership has been signed with Microsoft. The partnership will help SKS in easier license management, increased value on software with ability to calculate accurate return on investment, predicting planning, and improve budgeting.
The new IT backbone is expected to be in place by July, 2008.  The deployment and testing phase will be through by May 2008.

About Compulink Systems Limited

Compulink Systems Ltd (BSE:532688, NSE:COMSYS), is software product organization and is the pioneer in Strategy, Initiative and Execution Management space with its Whizible suite of products.. Powered by its Whiz framework, Compulink's Services Division develops innovative products for itself, its ISV customers and custom solutions for customers globally. PELCON, Compulink's training and consulting division, empowers organizations and individuals with the necessary skills to execute successful projects. Compulink has been chosen as one of the 100 Innovators by NASSCOM as part of their IT Innovation in India quest and by Microsoft as a Partner of the Year Finalist.

About HCL Infosystems

HCL Infosystems Ltd, with revenue (LTM) of US $ 3.1 billion (Rs. 12,500 Crores) is India's premier information enabling and ICT System Integration company offering a wide spectrum of ICT products that includes Computing, Storage, Networking, Security, Telecom, Imaging and Retail. HCL is a one-stop-shop for all the ICT requirements of an organization.

India's leading System Integration and Infrastructure Management Services Organization, HCL has specialized expertise across verticals including Telecom, BFSI, E-Governance & Power.

HCL has India's largest distribution and retail network, taking to market a range of Digital Lifestyle products in partnership with leading global ICT brands, including Nokia, Apple, Casio, Kodak, Toshiba, Bull, Ericsson, Cisco, Microsoft, Konica Minolta and many more.

HCL today has India's largest vertically integrated computer manufacturing facility with over three decades of electronic manufacturing experience HCL desktops is the largest selling brand into the enterprise space.

With India's largest ICT services network that reaches to every corner of India, HCL's award winning Support Services makes it the preferred choice of enterprise and consumers alike. For more information please visit us at

 About Microsoft India

Founded in 1975, Microsoft (NASDAQ "MSFT") is the worldwide leader in software for personal and business computing. The company offers a wide range of products and services designed to empower people through great software - any time, any place and on any device. Microsoft Corporation India Private Ltd is a subsidiary of Microsoft Corporation USA. It has had a presence in India since 1990 and currently has offices in twelve cities - Bangalore, Chennai, Hyderabad, Kolkata, Mumbai, New Delhi, Pune, Nagpur, Ahmedabad, Indore, Chandigarh and Kochi.

About Tulip IT

Tulip IT Services Ltd (BSE: 532691/NSE: TULIP) the leading Rs 840 Crores (USD 210 Million) data telecommunication services and IT solutions provider offers innovative IP based solutions to its customers. The company has the largest data connectivity network, which spans over 1000 locations in India. The company has a national presence with over 1700 employees across India. The company has also been recognized for its innovative approach and was one of the six companies short-listed by Wall Street Journal for the Asia Innovation Award at GES, for the innovative use of wireless for last mile connectivity.

Tulip provides network integration (NI), corporate data connectivity (MPLS VPNs and Internet) within and outside India, infrastructure management services and IT consulting services to enterprises. Being the largest MPLS VPN Connectivity player, Tulip has innovatively deployed a countrywide network using wireless and fibre on the last mile and is working towards bridging the gap between telecom infrastructure and the connectivity requirements of developing countries.