Finding the Right GP-LP Portal: ShareSecure

Current technology demand in private equity: a secure GP-LP portal

Now more than ever, Private Equity firms are facing escalated rules and regulations when it comes to information and documentation. Transparency, compliance, and security are familiar concepts in the PE marketplace. But firms need to get ahead in order to satisfy their investors and partners. And, not only do firms need to surpass their competition, they need to find solutions that are scalable for growth and compliance. In the current market, technology offers the most viable and complete solution to these challenges. In order for firms to provide this type of documentation, they are looking to automate the process. The current technology firms are seeking out, is a GP-LP Portal. 

Reporting & compliance requirements are increasingly more tedious

As reporting requirements from institutional investors and regulators continue to develop, firms must adopt systems that make it easy and secure to post, share, and access information–including documents and other content–digitally. In addition, accessibility is a concern; there’s little point in investing time and resources in order to move data, information, and documents into a new system if your team and stakeholders then can’t find what they’re looking for. Firms and users need secure, fast, and simple access to files and documents.

The increasing importance of transparency & security

In addition to the upswing in reporting and compliance requirements, the demand for greater transparency and security is also increasing. While both have historically been key in the PE landscape, they’re becoming even more essential as firms turn to technology for scalable solutions.

As larger quantities of sensitive information and documentation are uploaded into digital systems and programs, the risk of that information leaking increases. To compensate for this risk, PE firms are developing higher security standards for their technologies. Implementing holistic systems that solve reporting, compliance, transparency, communication between stakeholders, and growing security concerns is essential for firms that plan to get ahead.

Solving the pain- solutions for private equity

ShareSecure Premium

There are safe, easy, and scalable ways for firms to help their investors cope with these expanding rules and regulations. In the current marketplace, there is a wide range of available products and solutions that specifically address each of these concerns.

As your firm searches for the best solution, it’s important to prioritize selection criteria. Are you more concerned about transparency, reporting and compliance, streamlined user experience, security, or a solution specifically designed for the Private Equity industry?

If your answer is “all of the above”, you might be looking for a secure LP portal. An LP portal offers a secure solution that increases transparency and tracks for compliance, improving the perceptions investors have of their GPs.

Our LP portal solution is ShareSecure. It is the only virtual data room and LP web portal built for PE that integrates with Salesforce.com. ShareSecure provides an integrated, secure, and easy-to-use portal for sharing documents with investors while maximizing engagement and interactivity, and supporting compliance.

ShareSecure is designed to be used as either a standalone solution or integrated as part of a full product suite integration system with our core product, AIM and investor communications tools, Altvia Correspond.

ShareSecure offers exclusive additional features including:

Document Signing: Sign documents without ever leaving the portal and send requests to investors
Video-Sharing: Share videos such as webinars, investor presentations, case studies, and more
Approval Verification: Review documents before final publishing to investors with document process approval verification

Using streamlined technology such as ShareSecure Premium helps save resources and optimize workflows. Access to a fully integrated LP portal that is purposely designed for ease of use, security, and convenience will help your PE firm stand out as industry leaders.

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.

investor experience