Leading for Success: How to Differentiate in the Private Equity Crowd – Part II

Jill MonteraIn Part I of this series, we shared the initial steps Private Equity firms can take to differentiate themselves in the market. Now let’s take the next step on the “path to the top” and explore with Jill Montera, VP of Customer Success at Altvia, how to harness the power of your data.  

In order to harness the power of your data, data management comes into play, front and center. How is data management changing?

There’s been quite a transformation in how data management has evolved over the last 10 years. When people started to capture data, it was initially about just getting the data into the system. At the time, it was not clear how the data would be used but users trusted that it would be helpful to have all data stored in one system.

The latest phase in this evolution is about doing something with the data – looking at trends, running analytics, and making better decisions. Yet there are some issues that make this transformation challenging. Some of these issues include volume and complexity of the data. Our approach to help solve for these pain points and enable customers to better manage their data is a methodology involving:

  • Building systems and processes that engage
  • Streamlining workflows and enabling new ones
  • Consolidating, integrating and harnessing data

These are essential steps on the path to the top, which is achieving differentiation in order to better compete in a crowded market. Differentiation is highly dynamic – it not only involves the ability to discover new insights from your data and act faster, but also being perceived as a leader by your peers, investors, and competitors.

Before differentiation can be exercised, there are important considerations. Differentiation doesn’t just happen – there’s a discovery process:

  • What problems are we solving? What is our investment strategy?
  • What types of data are needed to solve these problems and deliver against this strategy?
  • Now that we’re capturing the data, what are we going to do with it?
  • Is the data complete and normalized to get accurate analyses?
  • Is the sample size large enough?

Now that you have your data consolidated and integrated into a central system, what are you going to do with it!?  

At a basic level of harnessing the data, you can start to better understand the performance of your funds in relation to market trends and establish benchmarks. Then, additional layers of data can be added for more in-depth analysis. For example, there’s greater competition for mid-market deals and we’re finding that many Private Equity firms are having to look at early-stage companies in order to capitalize on the next phase of their growth. With quality data, a firm can better understand and predict trends, which allows them to be more competitive with the mid-market deals.

This benchmarking is informed by a number of data sources – from fundraising and deal tracking to third party sources – and the key to make it really work, is bringing all these data points into a central system for proper warehousing. No need for the antiquated approach of piecemealing spreadsheets with meeting notes and deal tracking. Once consolidated and integrated, you can easily and quickly run reports and analytics to see where your deals are coming from and their associated quality. By integrating the deal flow data with your internal institutional knowledge in a central system, you can really start to leverage the power of your relationships.

What are some best practices for harnessing the power of data?

I’d suggest to really look at the problem that you’re trying to solve in order to avail which reports and analytics are needed. We take the time to really dig into the problem with our customers and map out what the customer seeks to accomplish. Through this exercise, we can then identify gaps that need to be addressed and advise on the best approach to achieve their desired outcomes. We enable our customers to get the analytics and insights they need directly from the system.

Another best practice we see is firms who combine their own data with market data in order to generate powerful data visualizations. These visualizations help to simplify the overwhelming quantity of data. The majority of us are visual learners, and with these data visualizations, new insights can be gleaned faster and shared among your team. As a result, cumbersome reporting can be transformed into more powerful analytics to accelerate workflows and enable better decision-making.

About Jill:

Jill Montera joined Altvia in 2008 with many years of experience working in higher education and in management consulting where she led large-scale technology implementations for Fortune 500 companies in the telecommunications and energy industries. At Altvia, Jill leads Customer Success, and loves working directly with clients to help them find long-term and ongoing value.

In her free time, Jill volunteers with various education non-profit organizations. She enjoys spending time in the Colorado outdoors with her husband and 2 sons hiking, skiing, running and watching soccer. Jill also loves travel and has visited 6 of the 7 continents.