Throughout my life, I’ve always gotten really excited about
the latest and greatest technologies. I remember thinking floppy disks were
revolutionary. Now, neither my kids nor the junior analysts in my office even
know what a floppy disk is, never mind the value it provided at the time.
It’s no secret that technological advances have made a huge impact on the way we work. In fact, a recent study by The Association for Financial Markets in Europe (AFME) found that 90% of people agree that the key skills required by the workforce of the future will be increasingly relationship-based and technology-enabled.
For many private equity, investment banking, investor relations, and fundraising professionals that I speak to, the relationship aspect of their job is easy – and the technology-enabled aspect is the challenge. No matter how hard they try, there seems to always be a gap between their expectations for the technology solution and reality. From where I sit, that gap is caused as they try to force and stretch generic technologies to do things it simply wasn’t built to do.
In an industry as convoluted as private equity or investment banking, internal technology solutions need to be purpose-built and easily configured to meet the unique needs of your firm. Not having that flexibility can prove costly in terms of both time and resources.
In this article, we examine the four key benefits of leveraging purpose-built technology and why it’s important to seek out companies that have made it their mission to tackle your challenges.
Be more competitive
Given the increasingly crowded field of capital market participants, firms need to leverage technologies that help them track their unique KPIs and long-held relationships. Without a purpose-built technology to help you do that, firms are left guessing which initiatives helped them win deals and which wasted time and money.
Certain closely-held relationships cannot be disrupted, but given the vast pool of players in the market, purpose-built technologies are pivotal in ensuring that important contacts get the attention they need. Best-in-class firms also use these technology platforms to catalog historic data about portfolio companies and management teams and leverage predictive analytics to assemble call lists. The competitive advantage of these initiatives is undeniable. It simply provides more shots on goal, and leads to fewer failed deals.
Attract and retain talent
The future leadership of your firm are members of Generations Y and Z. They grew up in a connected, collaborative world, and expect to spend their days working with market-leading technologies that help them innovate and drive value.
It’s important that firm leadership invest in the technologies that were built with the day-to-day activities of all team members – from Analysts to Partners – in mind. Not doing so will leave employees unengaged, less invested in the long-term goals of the organization, and more likely to leave in search of a better, more tech-enabled environment.
Operate more efficiently
Purpose-built technology helps capital markets professionals make better use of their time through automation and configuration. Formalizing your investor relations practices? Let your technology tell you which LPs need attention. Just increased your headcount? Create a dashboard so that you can view the day-to-day activities of each of your team members. Want to spur new portfolio company growth? Allow the technology to alert you to new bolt-on opportunities or market movements by competitors.
With hundreds of business development activities occurring in a given month, even small and boutique firms need to move their data out of Excel spreadsheets and Outlook emails, and into a purpose-built technology platform. No matter the size of the team, the firm needs the ability to export complex reports with multiple data sets in order to share it with colleagues, portfolio companies, partners, investors, and others. Without this capability, the firm will spend exorbitant amounts of time searching through files and pouring information into custom, underdeveloped reports.
Given all of the technology solutions available in 2019, how can you rationalize the potential risks associated with storing all client interactions, client preferences, commitments, etc. in an Excel sheet or generic system? The obvious risks of data loss and manipulation is enough to keep most investors and bankers up at night, and the reputational risk is high, too.
If your firm is searching for technologies that will help your team stay competitive and compliant, then it needs to find one that can solve for both.
The financial services industry has come a long way since the days of the floppy disk. There are a great many technological advances to be admired in the past several decades, but purpose-built technologies are uniquely suited to provide capital markets professionals with the support they need. When leveraged properly, purpose-built technologies enable private equity, investment banking, investor relations, fundraising, and corporate development professionals to get the job done right.
It’s time for capital markets professionals to accept the complexities of the industry and choose to leverage only those technologies that are squarely focused on helping move the needle.