How To Migrate Data Into Fund Management Software

The term “big data” has been in use for well over a decade now. At Altvia, our first exposure to it may have been in 2009 when an investor we were working with explained their reasoning for investing in a company called TripIt.

His investment thesis was around what he referred to as “data exhaust”—massive data sets that were being generated (or could be generated) but were being stored in odd formats or were not being ingested at all, in many instances.

For TripIt, the exhaust came in the form of email confirmations from travel companies. It’s a familiar process:

  1. You book a flight and a hotel for your upcoming trip
  2. The airline and hotel each send you an email confirmation
  3. You review the information to confirm everything is correct
  4. You’re good to go

But think of all the valuable data that the process generates. And imagine all of the interesting things you could learn from it if you made it your practice to migrate data to the right systems!

Data Exhaust and Your Organization: Do You Migrate Data to Maintain Its Value?

The connection between the story above and you is that your organization certainly generates valuable data exhaust as well. Often, it’s found in Excel workbooks and other electronic formats. It may even be found in printed term sheets, financial statements, capital account statements, and partnership agreements.

But wherever it resides, there’s a good chance that the data isn’t telling you anything. That’s because you don’t migrate data to where it can be used effectively. It’s not organized in a way that makes it accessible and understandable, and consequently, you’re failing to capitalize on its value.

In today’s competitive business environment, ignoring an asset that can give you an advantage is a big mistake!

Successful Firms Migrate Data to Predict Patterns

The benefit of collecting and storing big data is that you can use it to piece together stories and predict patterns. And while the quantity of data your firm collects and generates may not rise to the level of “big data,” it still can tell important stories and point to crucial trends.

For example, what good is having all the liquidation preferences for each of the deals you’ve looked at over the last 15 years if you’re not using that information to guide your decision-making? The answer is that it’s not much good at all.

Those details could be helping to paint a clear picture for you, but instead, your vision remains blurry. And, again, not only does this hurt your performance, but if your competitors are migrating their data to the right systems and using it more effectively than you, they’re empowered to make better decisions faster.

Want to Differentiate? Migrate Your Data.

The flip side of the example above is one where you migrate data to an advanced, purpose-built solution that helps you organize and manage it efficiently and effectively. Imagine having your data stored in data sets that you could use to cross-reference deal terms with the valuations of each of those companies and then look only at Silicon Valley-based companies that were pre-revenue?

That’s making good use of valuable information. Not only would it impress your LPs when you share it with them, but the data set may also contain insightful identifiers of certain trends that could help you make better investment decisions.

And, of course, word gets around. Developing a reputation as a firm that knows how to squeeze every bit of value out of the data it gathers can set you apart from others and earn you access to more deals and more-profitable relationships.

Migrate Data to Altvia: It’s Easy

It’s no exaggeration to say that transforming your data exhaust into workable, structured data sets can transform your firm. Our clients will attest to that, as will several of our Altvia team members who can speak to that fact from past private equity experience.

And, don’t let the phrase “migrate data” intimidate you. The process isn’t as challenging or time-consuming as some people think. Getting data into our AIM private capital CRM solution is a straightforward and streamlined operation—and one where we can provide all the guidance you need. The key is to recognize that you’re wasting your data exhaust and that it’s time to migrate data to a system designed to maximize its value. Then, after you get a demo of our software, the path forward becomes very well-defined.

Data & Tech Guide

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 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 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 — 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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