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The Art of War for FinTechs

Data Science and Technology

By Praveen S. Rawat  |  July 28, 2020

Pandemics, a shrinking economy, market volatility, high unemployment, and geopolitical economic rivalry have created an economic warzone. The stock markets and main street are more disjointed than ever. I work with Microsoft’s technology executive partners in crafting a FinTech strategy to win in this challenging new era. My strategy for success is simple and grounded in ancient principles. In this article, I will quote phrases from Sun Tzu’s The Art of War[1].

Cleverness has never been associated with long delays.

The time to act is now. I like to categorize strategic technology roles into CIO (internal systems) and CTO (product technology) personas. By now, the CIO knows the requirements of pandemic readiness. Technology needs to support remote work, business continuity, and enhanced video/audio collaboration.

So, what does a CTO need to do? A lot. Do your customer-facing products or services support remote workers? Can your software services run in a locked-down Windows Virtual Desktop or Citrix environment? Does your customer-facing software have audio, video, and chat capability? There's much more work to be done beyond giving your staff remote work laptops.

Opportunities multiply as they are seized.

Seize the opportunity to expand to new audiences. When most entrepreneurs think about expanding the audience, they usually think about consumer-centric use cases such as new mobile apps, Google ranking algorithms, and social media campaigns. Sure, these are important, but my 11-year-old nephew can do these. I am talking about reaching out to a new commercial audience by tapping into upcoming revenue channels powered by the cloud. Microsoft Office, Azure, Dynamics, and other cloud services add millions of users every month. Microsoft Teams is quickly becoming the collaboration hub for most Fortune 500 corporations. 

As financial services corporations move to the cloud, there is ever-increasing white space of industry solutions required in capital markets, banking, and insurance verticals. Some examples are loan processing automation, CRM automation solutions, wealth analytics, and market data solutions. As a FinTech, you can develop cloud-native solutions that are more economical, faster, and scalable than incumbent, legacy technologies. The commercial audience is moving to the cloud.

Those skilled in war subdue the enemy’s army without battle…they conquer by strategy.

A strategic technology partnership coupled with online commercial commerce is vital to a growth strategy. Consumer-centric e-commerce moved online many years ago, while commercial commerce lagged for good reasons. The trend is changing as more commercial commerce moves into online marketplaces. Microsoft’s partners can envision solutions and build together, deploy to Microsoft’s marketplaces, and even sell these solutions together. Partnering with a commercial technology giant like Microsoft allows you to launch commercial offers in the Azure Marketplace.


[1] Sun Tzu, The Art of War, trans. Roger T. Ames (New York: Ballantine Books, 1993), 336.

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Praveen S. Rawat

Partner Strategy Leader, Microsoft

Mr. Praveen S. Rawat leads FinTech strategy, capacity, and capability for strategic Microsoft partners in the U.S. In this role, he is the Virtual Partner CTO for essential FinTech partners and has the support of Cloud Solution Architecture teams in Azure, Dynamics, and Microsoft 365 technologies where he has received awards for driving significant revenue impact through partnerships and has represented Microsoft at industry events. Mr. Rawat earned a Master in Technology Management from Columbia University in New York City.