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Roman and Gerald unpack how the right technology partner can transform the start-up ecosystem.

Women analyzing some data

Organizations that pay attention to community and social responsibility are far more likely to see growth, traction, and employee loyalty. In fact, according to the 2019 Aflac Corporate Social Responsibility Survey1, they’re also more likely to gain consumer loyalty—77 percent of consumers are motivated to purchase from companies that focus on social responsibility. This is supported by the Employee Perspectives on Responsible Leadership During Crisisthat found 95 percent of employees believe that business should benefit all stakeholders, from the employee through to the customer and the communities in which they operate. And these statistics point to one critical element—trust.

This is precisely what forms the foundation of any organization that operates within the financial space, particularly late-stage fintechs that are reshaping the world of finance and how consumers engage with it. However, establishing this trust is one of the primary challenges facing fintechs as they emerge into the market. The other is scale. They have to find smart solutions that ensure scalable modernization of core systems while minimizing risk and cost and retaining customer delight and employee engagement. This juggling act is complex but not impossible.

Scaling fintech through collaboration

It’s also a juggling act that has to be supported by the government and big businesses to ensure that the unbanked and the bank-averse have access to financial solutions that allow them to engage as richly with the world as those who use more traditional banking solutions. As Deloitte3 points out, it has become essential for big businesses to collaborate with fintechs to ensure that they are capable of scale, not just to avoid start-up stagnation but to ensure that both sides see the benefits. Customers want a one-stop-shop, but they also want access to a nimble fintech solution that’s faster, more inventive, and less admin intensive. If smaller businesses are granted access to the kind of technology and support that they need to truly scale their infrastructure and potential, then they can check the boxes of reach, cost efficiency, and customer delight.

This is where trust and social economy step back into play. It’s one thing to implement technology, another to enter an ecosystem that’s focused specifically on scaling the fintech and accelerating revenue through trusted partnerships. The latter is the space where the start-up can thrive. They can also experiment, explore, and discover new ways of doing business while remaining within tight risk parameters and governance mandates. Choosing the right technology partner has become as much a part of the start-up gauntlet as finding the right skillsets, investment, and markets.

Microsoft empowers financial technology

There are three giants that dominate the technology ecosystem market and Microsoft with its Azure Cloud platform and holistic service suite has been leading the way when it comes to stepping outside the enterprise mold. Microsoft was recently recognized for how it has consistently evolved its social and community outreach programs, listed as one of the top six4 most socially responsible companies in the world. As the New York Times5 pointed out in a recent article, the company’s long-standing success has allowed it to take the high road when it comes to ethical leadership in technology.

Microsoft continues to answer this question as it turns the technology that’s been used by large organizations into fintech start-ups with three people and a dream. Solutions that span everything from database management, enterprise resource planning (ERP), to office, and email are now more cost-effective than before and can as easily power the systems of the scalable start-up as the mega-enterprise that’s long since passed this milestone. With its major investments and acquisitions in the gaming industry, expansion into LinkedIn, and smart moves into search and advertising, Microsoft can help provide solutions and digital touchpoints that are fit for any organization’s purpose, regardless of size. And Microsoft’s culture remains firmly focused on social justice, diversity, and inclusion.

The PitchBook Emerging Tech Research on Fintech6, the quarterly snapshot of financial services has undergone a steady transformation towards digitization over the past 18 months and this has been immensely beneficial to the rapidly growing ecosystem of fintech startups. It also found that fintech’s have been focusing on leveraging automation, AI, and machine learning as disruptive advantages in a competitive market.

In the fintech arena, Microsoft is committed to collaborating with companies that are trying to help the underserved by helping them create systems that embed trust and allow for consistent and sustainable growth. Their support is behind boutique platforms that help automate digital banking, provide credit facilities, build loyalty programs, and transform global payment processes. Microsoft also pays close attention to the fintech that are focused on making a difference with their solutions—the ones that want to break boundaries that limit people and create opportunities in their stead.

To this end, Microsoft and Walmart have already partnered to create solutions that focus on the underserved, building an ecosystem of APIs that fintechs can leverage to offer last-mile value to their customers. In 2018, the company had 200 million monthly customers of which 20 million are cash-based and undocumented. This level of connection with customers that previously would be without fintech services underscored the value of digital and the potential that lies within using its potential to transform communities and lives.

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The future of business, be it big or small, lies in the hands of the entrepreneurs and leaders that recognize the value of people, and the importance of using technology to change the lives of every person on the planet.


12019 Aflac Corporate Social Responsibility Survey

2Employee Perspectives on Responsible Leadership During Crisis, Porter Novelli

3The FinTech Dilemma: When to scale up your business?, Deloitte

49 Socially Responsible Companies to Applaud, Classy Blog

5Microsoft Tries a New Role: Moral Leader, New York Times

6Emerging Tech Research on Fintech, Pitchbook