Technology helps dealmakers face a new normal for vacation season: WFB (work from beach)

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This article was originally published by the Charlotte Business Journal. To read the original, click here.

 

The global pandemic has taken its toll on professionals across industries, forcing a new normal in almost every facet of life. Unfortunately, a new normal also appears to be taking shape in how we vacation. Aside from social distancing, travel angst and the closure of many attractions, those who work in the capital markets, asset management, and banking industries face another challenge — an increasingly competitive dealmaking environment that makes “turning off” harder than ever.

 

To be sure, the pandemic has slowed dealmaking and slashed valuations. Yet record levels of dry powder (capital committed to a fund) and the desire to remain opportunistic have forced deal teams to work as hard as ever to build pipelines and conduct due diligence so that they are well positioned to act quickly once markets stabilize and financing becomes more available.

 

A recent DealCloud Dealmaker Pulse survey found a majority of investors are primarily focused on acquiring new companies or finding add-on/bolt-on opportunities over the next six months. The survey also found 65% of deal teams reported the largest challenge over the next six months will be a lack of attractive business to buy.

 

As the pressure to put dry powder to work builds and the dealmaking landscape becomes an increasingly competitive, dealmakers are going to have to work smarter if they hope to find relaxation during the summer months.

 

As we’ve already witnessed with the global pandemic, working smarter requires more than just the ability to work remotely. In fact, when it became necessary to transition to work from home, the best prepared capital market firms made the shift seamlessly because they had already spent time and effort building the technological backbone necessary to support remote operations. Those who did not were able to make the transition to work from home ultimately fell further behind industry leaders due to an overreliance on email and cumbersome spreadsheets to manage workflow.

 

I anticipate a similar bifurcation will take place as dealmakers attempt to work from the beach this summer. Anyone can stick a tablet in their beach bag. But the firms with sophisticated deal and relationship management technology in place will be able to automate processes, monitor productivity and share knowledge easily from a beach chair; while those relying on email and spreadsheets will find the screen glare from the summer sun to be the least of their frustrations.

 

Take automation for example – while sometimes dismissed as more of a buzzword than a reality, the truth is that leading capital market firms have already mastered workflow automation through specialized technology platforms, like DealCloud, that trigger event-based sub-actions. For instance, with an automated workflow, once the deal team has finished the due diligence process, the deal status is automatically updated triggering an investment committee decision.

 

That status update automatically notifies all members of the investment committee and generates customizable reports for them to review. Once the investment committee reviews the deal, the automated system triggers a vote and reports the outcome and any feedback to the deal team before sending notifications on next steps.

 

These automated workflows allow all participants to check a single dashboard and know exactly where a deal stands at any point in time. If further action is required, all the relevant information is at their fingertips – no need to search email for the latest version, ask for status updates or connect to the server to dig up a document.

 

For dealmakers, that means less repetitive tasks, and no need for status updates, extraneous emails, superfluous Zoom meetings, or tedious data entry. Ultimately the result is increased accountability and productivity. In sum, automated workflows make it easy to spend the afternoon at the beach without worrying about missing an important email, searching for a file or having to check in with other members of the team.

 

In the post-crisis landscape, capital market firms’ ability to leverage technology to produce data-driven insights, automate processes and improve productivity will often be the difference between winning and losing out in this highly competitive environment. With time management at a premium these days, that is especially true for dealmakers hoping to find some time to relax at the beach this summer.

 

If you would like to learn more about how DealCloud can help your firm better automate workflows and improve productivity, contact us.

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Author:

Ben Harrison

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