PURPOSE OF POSITION:
World Vision (“WV”) is a Christian relief, development, and advocacy organization dedicated to working with children, families and communities to overcome poverty and injustice. One important component of WV’s work is microfinance, providing financial services such as credit, savings and insurance to the poor, enabling them to earn increased income, build assets and provide financial security for their families. Numerous studies confirm the strong impact of microfinance on the well-being of children. Studies also show, however, that the integration of microfinance with other development activities can have an even greater impact when compared to either microfinance alone or development activities alone. WV’s microfinance operations are managed through VisionFund (“VF”) and its 6,000 staff.
VF manages a network of 28 Microfinance Institutions (“MFIs”) globally and has outstanding loans of approximately US$700 million to over 1.3 million clients and annual network revenues of over US$140 million. The MFIs were created to provide financial services in the areas where WV works. The VisionFund Strategy is to deliver 10x impact by reaching 10 times the number of children by Strengthening Operations, Broadening and Deepening Impact, and Investing for the Future.
Operationally, microfinance is similar to banking and requires a high level of automation and enhanced operational environments to manage and deliver the various products across the MFI organisation. Therefore, having the right technology platforms, processes and people to deliver these services is critical to achieving VF’s strategic goals. As a result of the highly specialised nature of the business, VF now has its own team of people who will be responsible for the efficient and effective use of technology and operational standards, enhancing these to drive impact towards VF’s 2030 strategy. This automated concept is focused on banking and accounting systems, and associated derivative peripherals, with People and Processes being equal legs in this three-pronged approach to pursuing change in VF. Regional IT Director (“RIT”) are therefore people with a strong understanding of the business model, its needs and solutions to be pursued to enhance the organisations maturity.
RITs will have management oversight of MFI functions with MFI IT Managers (“ITMs”) having a matrix reporting line to the RITs. A typical region will spend over $1m on Change programmes, have around 25-30 IT staff in total, and be spending about another $1m annually on major IT projects.
RITs will ensure MFIs are in alignment with VF global strategies, working closely with global center and MFI staff. RITs will champion regional needs and priorities in respect to global strategic approach and ensure implementation of such in the individual MFIs in their jurisdiction.
The role is to provide regional leadership across Technology and Operational environments, reducing Operational Cost Ratio (“OCR”) for the region, ensuring regional alignment with the global Technology and Operational Maturity Strategy, lead and manage regional operational change, and ensuring regional Operations and IT is fit-for-purpose to equip and enable the region to realise the VisionFund Strategy. The RIT must ensure digital solutions support regulatory requirements, operational process refinement that realises efficiency gains, reduce costs, and reduce risk of manual processes. They must ensure digital solutions support expected volume growth, expansion and reduction in geographic
reach, support scale of operational best practice and operational excellence, and yield quantifiable business benefits in the field for clients and MFIs – in line with the VisionFund Strategy. The RIT must ensure regional IT equips end-users with appropriate technology that enables them to deliver performance – both social impact and fiscal and considers the future role of technology in Microfinance.
In practice this means:
- Daily direct and matrix management of resources in the region, including ITMs and their teams.
- Ensuring that MFIs have the skills and competencies both within IT and business functions to use their technology to maximum effect, identifying deficiencies that need to be addressed, and support them in skills training and capacity building so that they become more capable in managing technology.
- Ensure that MFIs have and effectively enforce the required IT policies and procedures in place. Monitor and evaluate how IT policies and procedures are implemented. This includes but it is not limited to data security, backup, physical security, timely replacement of hardware, disaster recovery plans and any other policy in area of system administration.
- Ensure that appropriate approval levels, rights, authorities and controls are built in to any system platform application or any software in use to ensure there are no gaps in internal control and support regulatory, business governance, and the operating model RACI.
- Overseeing and support of MFIs in implementing significant IT projects, in particular system upgrades and implementations, to ensure that the various phases of the project are designed correctly and executed to plan.
- Champion the “Change” elements of any given project / programme, working with global SME’s (the Strategy Impact & Services team and others), to review, document and implement changes necessary to drive operational maturity, policy / control alignment and efficient / effective operational environments (seeking cost savings / enhanced service capabilities).
- Tracking what is happening in MFIs in the region on a regular basis. In practice this means ‘meeting’ at least monthly with the local IT teams and being given monthly reports to regional team on their activities and issues, and then helping solve issues if escalated (see next point).
- Working with WV’s specialist technical support to support MFIs when there are systems issues, bringing in vendor support as required.
- Identifying opportunities to improve regional efficiencies and performance through ideas like regional processing centers virtually or remotely.
- Reviewing annual plans and budgets and ensuring that adequate provision is being made so that the MFI is on a path to sustainability in its use of technology.
- Support for Regional Head (“RH”) in global strategy development for delivering business and impact goals through the use of technology platforms, people and processes.
- Ensuring IT projects adhere to global policy and procedures, and designing policy and procedures where any are lacking.
- Support RHs in reviewing annual plans and budgets and ensuring that adequate provision is being made so that the MFI is on a path to sustainability in its use of technology.
- Work together with local and global management to ensure an effective regional IT strategy is in place that supports the global DOC strategy and realization of the VisionFund Strategy, focusing on the digital and operational maturity of business processes and impact on people.
- Develop and maintain a core set of functional requirements building on the ‘standardisation’ work, and lessons learned from MFIs around the globe.
KNOWLEDGE, SKILLS & ABILITIES:
- Individual with strong leadership capabilities and hands-on experience in managing and successfully implementing systems in banks and or microfinance institutions around the world. The person is required to have a solid problem-solving and technical skills as well as a ’can do’ attitude towards work and challenges. In addition, the following specific knowledge, skills and abilities are required, and may have been acquired through a combination of formal schooling, self education, prior experience or on the job training.
- 5+ years of MicroFinance experience, ideally in an operational / business management role (understanding the needs and opportunity of process and IT solutions).
- Educated to degree level, ideally in a science or technology related discipline.
- Experience of leading a number of successful microfinance/banking systems implementations, in Asia.
- 5+ years of project management experience working to recognized PM methodologies. Qualification in a recognized PM discipline preferred.
- Understanding of microfinance/retail banking operations, from a credit, financial, risk or systems perspective.
- Project management and office tools experience (e.g. Microsoft Project, Office tools).
- Service orientation with ability to lead teams, organize, prioritize, and delegate tasks while transferring knowledge and expertise.
- Ability to work under pressure and on multiple tasks and projects concurrently.
- Strong analytical and problem-solving skills and be able to work effectively with and manage a diverse and geographically remote team of IT professionals.
- Good organizational skills to be able to analyze, judge risk, recommend solutions.
- Cross-culturally sensitive and be able to work with staff from across the world and in a virtual environment.
- Proficiency (both speaking and writing) in English is a must.
- Demonstrated ability to write reports (e.g. business cases, risk management plans, project close out reports, etc.).
- Requires flexibility on working hours to contact people within wide time-zone differences.
- Must be able to travel internationally (minimum 50% of time).
- Ability to balance Christian values with commercial practices.
- Extensive project experience within a Financial Services context, including elements of people, processes and platforms.
- Extensive Digital Finance / Innovation experience including one of: credit, savings, data, accounting etc.
- Mobile Money / Technology experience, working with a project that has developed / implemented mobile money and automated financial service solutions..
- Project Management certification including one of AGILE, PRINCE 2, LEAN / SIX SIGMA, PMI etc.
- Effective in written and verbal communication in English.
Preferred Skills, Knowledge and Experience:
- Operational experience in MicroFinance.
- Degree level accreditation in technology / finance or related field.
- Experience of implementing Digital solution environments, including Mobile Money and Digital Field Applications.
- Experience in Data management and reporting.
- Info Security management and procedural escalation.