Altvia Private Equity Software vs. Hiring a Salesforce Consultant

You want more efficient firm operations and more effective stakeholder outreach, but what’s the best way for your firm to achieve a higher level of success? For most firms, it comes down to either purpose-built private equity software or bringing in a third party to craft a system from scratch. 

Should you implement a platform solution or hire a consultant? There are important differences to consider before you choose between using private equity software like Altvia or hiring a consultant to build a new system or customize an existing one for you.

Private Equity Software and Consulting Services: 4 Crucial Differentiators 

There’s certainly appeal to a proprietary system. But it’s really more important to focus on and assess the practical, real-world implications of your decision.

There are several differences between private equity software and going through the process of having a salesforce environment created for you. 

Four of the most significant differences are: 

  1. Cost. When you’re evaluating Altvia versus building your own Salesforce-based system, it’s important to understand the cost structure for the two options. Altvia uses economical Salesforce “platform” licenses. That type of license is more cost-effective and includes support and future product enhancements. In other words, you pay less without losing anything. A Salesforce consultant uses a more expensive “professional” or “enterprise” license on top of the fee you’ll pay the consultant to develop your system for you.
  2. Private Equity-specific database structure. Altvia was designed, built, and enhanced based on extensive industry experience. The design makes it easy and intuitive for firms to extract meaningful data from the system, analyze that data, and make well-informed business decisions. Rarely does a consultant understand both database structure and the alternative asset management space. That means they may not be able to provide you with the type of rich data you need. Plus, the system they design may not be flexible enough to evolve as the industry and/or your needs change.
  3. Reporting. In addition to standard Salesforce reports, Altvia includes industry-specific reports that have been developed based on best practices and feedback from the firms that use the system. Altvia also comes with functionality for producing print-ready reports. A consultant can construct reports based on your requirements, but it’s unlikely they’ll have the industry expertise to recommend attributes you may not have thought of. It’s also unlikely that they will be interested in enhancing the reports as needed over time.
  4. Implementation process. Proper implementation of private equity software is just as important as having the right features. Altvia’s implementation processes reflect best practices from working with hundreds of firms of all sizes, which means that a product launch takes place efficiently and achieves maximum user adoption quickly. While they might be technically proficient, consultants typically don’t understand the nuances of the alternative asset management space and the unique needs of users at private equity firms. They’re happy to do research to obtain a better understanding of the industry, but it will cost you.

 

Altvia: The Best of Both Worlds

Ultimately, Altvia’s private equity software gives you the best of both worlds: a powerful, feature-rich, solution that feels like it was created just for your firm, but one that’s cost-effective, continually enhanced and fully supported. 

Learn more about how Altvia can benefit your firm and why implementing software provides many advantages over hiring a Salesforce consultant.

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A traditional crm was built for general ‘customer’ scenarios

Software platforms have made the world a better place by making work a better place. Indeed the world is better off when people enjoy their jobs even marginally more, and workplace applications on big CRM platforms like Salesforce.com have done that and much more.

But the potential that platforms like these offer presents diminishing returns: once the platform provider has engineered too many industry specific components into its platform, its usefulness for other industries begins to be threatened, and with that so do the usefulness of the component tools built into the platform.

So it is with the CRM category that Salesforce.com has defined: it is generic enough to work for many industries, and yet still offers the potential for others to round off the edges and nail more vertically-oriented and extremely tailored software solutions.

Private capital markets are actually a great demonstration of this dynamic. Where generic CRM platforms simplify — appropriately so — to assume there’s a business, a customer, a sale, and service of that customer, there are a few industry-specific pieces that are missing.

Take for example, that investors become customers by investing through legal entities the GP raises. It’s a subtle but important nuance that just doesn’t make sense at a platform-as-a-service level (because it’s overly complicated for a simple one-time sale that many industries require), but which can easily be added without 10 years or software engineering. Once provided, the rest of the platform’s components become tremendously powerful again and you’re set to take over the world.

As a traditional CRM in our pillars methodology, these nuances must be present to properly account for investors in these legal entities, potential target companies and which are owned by these entities, the context of all interactions with these parties (as well as the appropriate overlap, ie co-investments), and how you’re arriving at finding these opportunities on both sides of the equation, such that you’re able to piece together what’s effective and what’s not. Not just because we say so, but because these are the very relationships and data that are key to the motivation behind a CRM in any industry.

It’s critical, too, that the valuable publicly-available information that helps to enrich CRM systems and save users painful steps of entering it themselves is fully-integrated at the platform level.

Again, look no further than the 3,000+ pre-built integrations that Salesforce.com — the creator of the CRM platform concept — has at a platform level to do so, and which only exists by way of holding just short of overly-specifying certain industry workflows that would present challenges to properly integrate.

Stakeholder reporting and communication (investor relations) draws on a range of datasets

The traditional “customer service” model of CRM systems once again makes overly-simplified assumptions about the customer relationship when applied to private capital markets.

In fifteen years I personally have yet to hear the terms “warranty” or “service call” in this market because it’s just not the same. But make no mistake, as uncomfortable as it may be to say aloud, customer service is more important now than ever and it’s constantly happening; the industry is, after all, considered to be a financial “service”.

As it turns out, that service is primarily information-based — it’s driven by data and takes the form of reports and analysis that drive decisions, and then end up again in investor-facing reports and analysis.

The foundational elements of a private capital markets CRM must be built such that they accommodate this data (like we discussed above), but so too that it can accommodate additional supporting data that investors (customers!) need in the context of service.

Oftentimes this supporting data — financial metrics and time-based values, for example — is believed not to meet the traditional definition of CRM and the natural thought is “well, better do this in Excel!”.

While I happen to believe Excel is still the greatest software application ever built, its introduction to this value chain we’ve discussed herein actually creates the problem many firms suffer from: key data needed to provide customer service (again: effectively the entirety of a firm’s reports and analysis) is now in disparate systems and detached.

Both of those dynamics are important and distinct: not only is this supplemental data disparate, but when brought together there is no logical association that can be made between the two data sets.

Allow me, then, to make the point very simply: not only can this financial and time-based value data (you may be thinking about is as “portfolio monitoring” or “accounting”) be a part of a CRM, it is arguably the most important part of a CRM because it’s at the core of what providing service to the customer entails — information that comes out of data!

Firms need a digital method to engage stakeholders (ie investor portals)

Investor portals are not new; in fact, for many of us — including myself — they conjure up horrifying nightmares in which we’re aimlessly guessing at folders to find the newest document we need.

So in lies the opportunity: not only have the portals we’ve come to hate not simplified the process of acquiring information, they’ve failed to create an entirely new experience that is “customer service” driven.

To be fair, this is not a B2C market where you’d be long out of business for not having focused on customer service and thus the customer’s technology-driven experience. But don’t expect to be around too much longer if you aren’t thinking about this shift.

Today’s institutional investors increasingly expect this same consumer-like experience, and a massive opportunity is being missed by not providing it. It’s not about providing them the experience they desire; it’s more about the ability to measure engagement that is had in return.

Put simply: what’s keeping the market from providing this experience is the availability of the information that’s required to create the service that provides the experience.

If you’ve hung in this long, you know that by focusing on your CRM, you have the data that’s required to manage the customer relationship and the technology-driven experience through which that information is shared to create a differentiated and opportunistic customer experience.

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