From October 27 to 29, Intapp hosted Connect20. For the DealCloud Connect track, we assembled leaders from the capital markets and investment banking industries to talk about the accelerated technological transformation we’re witnessing as a result of the global pandemic, and to offer thoughts on the future. Here are a few highlights of what we learned during the three-day event.
Predicting the Future to Create It
To kick off the day, John Hall, Intapp Chief Executive Officer and Thad Jampol, Intapp Co-founder and Chief Product Officer spoke about how technology forms the centerpiece of “the Era of Intelligence,” and how data fuels that intelligence. “This is unlike any other time,” said Jampol, “We’ve entered into an age where we need data and AI insights to be competitive.”
Hall and Jampol both spoke about the need for firms to develop a connected firm strategy, one that connects people, processes, and data in order to achieve maximum agility. “The single greatest obstacle to becoming a connected firm is siloing,” said Jampol. “The first step to converting your data into knowledge is to bring it together.” Jampol spoke about how Intapp DealCloud products allow you to build an incredible repository of data in one place, enhanced with third-party data and AI-driven insights.
Doing Things We Never Thought We Could
Stephanie Mehta, Editor-in Chief of Fast Company presented the Day One keynote. “We are seeing that companies can do extraordinary things,” she said. Mehta noted that a recent Twilio Survey of 2,500 global leaders concluded that the COVID-19 pandemic has accelerated the pace of technological transformation by 6 years. The question she posed to the audience: “How do you make this exceptional behavior become the new normal?” Mehta also discussed generational shifts in the market, and how the desire for transparency in all things — including pay and management decisions — would only increase. “Rather than feel defensive, make a virtue of this,” she said. “Technology creates the transparency.”
Offering Investors Access to the New Digital Economy
Ben Harrison, President, Financial Services and Founder of DealCloud welcomed Lauren Dillard, EVP and Head of Global Information Services at Nasdaq, for a virtual fireside chat entitled “The Era of the Connected Firm.” Dillard said investors are not backing off the bull market; they will continue to make commitments.
“What’s driving that commitment?” asked Harrison. Dillard said investors want access to the new digital economy. “Before the COVID-19 pandemic, you looked at the companies that accessed the capital markets; it was really just healthcare and biotech at the time,” said Dillard. “And then 2 years of digitalization happened in the first two months of [the pandemic].” She said the digital roadmap within technology was definitely accelerated. As a result, tech companies are accessing the capital markets, and investors are interested in providing capital to those companies. “The Nasdaq 100 represents the modern industrial way we all live,” said Dillard.
Providing Competitive Advantage through Innovation
DealCloud General Manager Lokesh Seth offered a view into the ways DealCloud is further modernizing its application ecosystem, revamping user interfaces to speed up the time to results, and decreasing the amount of time users spend on administrative tasks.
“We’re excited to announce a brand-new version of our mobile app that makes it easier to access DealCloud on the go,” said Seth, “ We want to ensure that deal warriors can keep moving your deals along no matter what.” Seth pointed out that the new Deal Cloud mobile app provides a more intuitive navigation experience, access to reports and dashboards, and integration with work calendars, to give dealmakers a great deal of flexibility along with the ability to be instantly responsive.
“Because many DealCloud users are also heavy users of Microsoft Outlook, we created a web add-in so that all information is in one place,” said Seth “Dealmakers can tap into the power of DealCloud while they use Microsoft Outlook on the desktop, on the web, or on their phone.”
Meeting an Accelerated Need for Transparency
DealCloud Senior Director of Implementation Services Andrew D’Epagnier hosted a panel discussion on “Creating a Culture of Transparency.”
One of his guests, Christina Iftimie, Vice President of Carlyle Real Assets Group, shared her thoughts: “Increased transparency is the way to investigate data together, to bring opinions and intelligence and knowledge of an entire organization into the same room.” Another panelist — Christopher Conradi, Chief Digital Officer at FSN Capital Partners — agreed: “As soon as you start opening up and kind of tearing down the silos … you start to operate as one entity and one kind of organism. So that’s where we’re moving.” The panelists acknowledged that the COVID-19 pandemic and its economic impacts had accelerated their firms’ efforts toward transparency. “Remote working really brought it to light in a way we could not have anticipated,” said Iftimie, “We realized we can continue to have collaboration and that ability to work as a team, even if we’re all distributed everywhere in the world.”
Grant Marcks, Principal and Head of Business Development for Atlantic Street Capital, noted that sharing and connecting had become recognized as “the art of the possible” since the start of the pandemic.
Putting a New Focus on Client Conversations
Amit Lalwani, DealCloud Vice President of Global Business Development hosted a panel discussion, “Awareness is the New Currency,” to address how firms can stand out in the crowded capital markets. During a time when firms can no longer meet face to face, Ben Marzouk, Managing Director of Monroe Capital, said the COVID-19 pandemic has given his firm the opportunity to speak to clients on a weekly basis. “We talk about existing problems, but also talk about opportunities, presently and down the road,” he said. “This has given us a stronger foothold in those relationships.”
Frank Verbeek, Managing Partner at Drake Star Partners agreed. and said he makes similar calls. “Each week you have a list of 40 calls you would like to do, and you find out if there is something we can assist in,” he said. Both Verbeek and Marzouk agreed that their clients wanted their advice and also their industry knowledge. “People are more willing to talk to you during this time,” said Verbeek.
Showing the Power of Data to Gain Broad Adoption
In a panel discussion entitled “Context is Everything,” Kathy Million, Director of Enterprise Account Management at DealCloud, spoke about how a firm’s proprietary data can offer a 360-degree view of deal and investment data. She also recognized the cultural and behavioral change needed to gain widescale adoption.
Virginia Kocher, Chief of Staff of AllianceBernstein Credit, said she really focused on the front end and getting all the data into one place, first and foremost. “By being able to structure the data correctly and have the team view it live really helped with adoption,” said Kocher. Paul Stocker, Chief Technology Officer of Providence Equity, said he constantly elicited feedback on how his team wanted to work and what they wanted to be able to do. He drove adoption by asking his team for wish lists of what they wanted, then worked to fulfill their needs.
“You have to show how the information can be beneficial, and show how it drives efficiencies,” said Isaiah Knouff, Managing Director of Cannacord Genuity. He added that you can’t make the change too quickly, or your adoption rate will suffer.
Understanding that Connectivity is the Name of the Game
“Getting systems connected empowers deal strategy. You have to have systems speak to each other,” said Stephanie Fels, DealCloud Senior Director of Account Management, in her panel discussion “Best Practices for Next-Gen Capital Mark Firms.”
Greg Stewart, Vice President of Great Hill Partners, agreed: “The core theme here is digital transformation. APIs give institutional investors the ability to identify and evaluate businesses. It allows time to be spent where it should be spent.”
“It allows us to get back to our core competencies,” added Jensen Bryant, Senior Associate at TVC Capital. “How do you create great data stewardship?” Fels asked the panelists. “It’s about how you structure the system,” said Bryant. “You need practices and institutional buy-in,” said Max Evans, Head of Data Strategy at IT|Venture, “The way to prove the value of the system is to have people look at what comes out of the system.”
We hope you enjoyed your time at Intapp Connect20, and found great value in the insights offered by our roster of speakers and guests. Be sure to watch the on-demand videos of the DealCloud Connect track to learn more. Be sure to contact us to learn more about how DealCloud can help you harness the power of the connected firm.