Whether your firm’s culture leans toward intelligence sharing or if most folks keep their information close to the chest, a centralized deal and relationship management platform can inherently change the transparency paradigm.
As firms adjust to the new normal, a single source of truth is no longer just a nice-to-have item, but a necessity. But how exactly do you create a culture of transparency, and how do you create a balance between complete openness and necessary confidentiality?
Andrew D’Epagnier, DealCloud’s Senior Director of Implementation Services, recently sat down with a group of investment leaders to discuss just these pressing issues.
“I have done over 900 implementations of DealCloud,” said D’Epagnier, “and questions on transparency have come up every single time.”
Christopher Conradi, Chief Digital Officer at FSN Capital Partners, said the challenges with transparency are two-fold. “There is the technical piece, where employees have to trust the data, but then there is the cultural piece where employees have to trust letting people into their “rough drafts,” said Conradi. “The cultural piece is tougher, but 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.”
Christina Iftimie, Vice President of Carlyle Real Assets Group, and the leader in the design and implementation of DealCloud at Carlyle, agreed. She noted that the end goal of transparency is to further collaboration, but it is a journey, and change management and cultural issues are constantly at play.
That said, sometimes there are unexpected silver linings in otherwise difficult circumstances. For Carlyle, it was the pandemic. Carlyle decided to implement DealCloud as an enterprise model just before lockdowns began to occur in March. With only one in-person team meeting, Carlyle did the the bulk of its implementation remotely.
“Working remotely brought it all to light…just how important it is,” Iftimie said. “We realized we can still work as a team even if we are distributed everywhere in the world. We could not have anticipated or replicated that kind of experience. While we had full executive buy-in already, what we ended up finding was that our deal teams got really eager and excited because they were working remotely, and they were ready to use it on Day 1.”
Grant Marcks, Principal and Head of Business Development for Atlantic Street Capital, a lower middle market equity investor, said a focus on “the art of the possible” behind the scenes, while in development, is the key to cultural change.
“I can show them that this is how effective firms grow and mature,” said Marcks.
As for balancing confidentiality with full transparency, Conradi said he thinks everything should be shared by default. And then a firm can actively go in and restrict sharing. He noted a firm simply needs to put the right user policies in place and have the right default/privacy measures in place.
“You need to move from one to many and look at the data together and bring opinions and smartness and knowledge and experience from the entire organization into the room,” said Conradi.