Spend More Time Creating Value and Less Time Gathering Portfolio Data

Let’s face it, managing data across departments in multiple Excel spreadsheets and PDFs can be time-intensive and time-consuming (not to mention outdated). At Altvia, we’re focused on providing our clients with flexible tools to help you manage your operational needs seamlessly across the firm, providing a cohesive view of investment portfolio data in one central system. 

The work required to accurately evaluate potential investment targets and unlock new sources of revenue to drive your firm’s growth can seem next to daunting, not to mention, as Don Stewart, CFO at Spire Capital puts it, “brutal.”

To create scalable revenue across a variety of industries within your portfolio, fund managers need a single, centralized solution to record financials, provide information for monthly financial reviews, and produce quarterly and annual reports, at minimum. 

Spend Less Time Gathering Information Through Automated Portfolio Data Collection 

Data from portfolio companies is often gathered through Excel and PDF reports, aggregated by an analyst, and eventually stored in a document storage program of choice. Many firms still maintain this outdated process. This “if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it” mentality, as Stewart puts it, is not only a lengthy process but also relies heavily on third parties and human resources.

However, as we stated in a previous article, private equity firms that fail to accurately project the potential margin improvement at target companies, even though they gather all the data they feel they need to make an informed decision, often miss key connections in the data. 

Through an automated data collection platform like Altvia, fund managers and institutional investors can leverage smart technology and AI to not only collect reliable data that displays the financial performance of companies, but also access insights to inform the drivers of the performance. 

With automated data collection, firms can easily aggregate information across their portfolios in a fraction of the time and can leverage the right analytics to unlock endless possibilities to find growth opportunities and new sources of value and revenue within current portfolio companies. 

Empower Your Firm with Insights and Tools that Maximize Value

Automated data empowers your firm to maximize portfolio performance through custom dashboards and actionable insights on portfolio health. With Altvia’s real-time reporting dashboards and powerful business intelligence and data visualization tools, firms can gain unparalleled insight into portfolio metrics and firmographics, visualize benchmarks and forecasting, and present overviews of your past performance and firm successes to highlight value-creation opportunities. 

This data also acts as a strategic tool to fuel your firm’s success, both internally and for current and potential investors. Internally, firms can quickly identify trends through visual reports, charts, and determine if investments are on or off track (and intervene accordingly). 

From an investor standpoint, access to customized dashboards with information on individual investments can help better tailor conversations, and close deals faster. 

Finally, with custom CRM integrations, firms can leverage data from objective feedback loops that expose trends and insight on the investments potential investors are most interested in. And, with Altvia’s ability to share documents and expose analytics and trends within your portfolio, you can arm investors with the analytics they need to make informed decisions. 

Prove Firm Differentiation at a Fund Level

Along with huge time savings, Altvia’s portfolio data dashboard provides firms with market-to-market valuations (cost, fair market value, etc.) at a fund-level for each portfolio company, empowering them with accurate information from their portfolio companies and the chance to bring storytelling to life through that data.  

Set your firm apart from the competition (while making your job easier!) by achieving great returns plus providing an excellent stakeholder experience through access to actionable data. 

Shift from Spreadsheets to Automated Portfolio Data

If you’re still stuck in spreadsheet-land, we have a way to help you out of it so you can keep up with the competition and begin to transform your portfolio data for growth-generating results. 

How, specifically, could your firm benefit? The best way to find out is to talk with us about how your firm operates today and the improvements you’d like to make.

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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.

private equity CRM