Stuck in the Middle: Your Fund Management Software is Implemented. Now What?
By Jill Montera
A few weeks ago on this blog, I talked about some of the most important things to keep in mind during the initial phases of your fund management software implementation. As I mentioned, the initial stage can be the most daunting and crucial step in making your software successful, but there is light at the end of the tunnel. Unfortunately its a long tunnel.
After the initial phase of an implementation is what I call simply the middle phase (and now you know why I’m in project management rather than marketing). During the middle phase, your team will likely expand its use of the system and you’ll finally start to see some of the fruits of your diligent data entry labor. A few thoughts to keep in mind during those awkward “middle phase” years:
Maybe run a 5k before you run a marathon
The middle phase is when you’ll want to start thinking about expanding the functionality of your system by adding things like additional fields and modules. There are a number of additional modules within AIM that we often find clients adding at this point, many of which are included in your license and just have to be turned on.
For instance, some clients may be tracking all of their deal or fund information in AIM and now they’d like to add metric tracking so they can track the performance of each of those deals or funds. Other clients who are tracking investor information in AIM might add the Investor Correspondence module at this point so they can start communicating more easily and seamlessly from within AIM for all of their investors.
The timing for adding extra functionality I think depends on how much tolerance your organization has for change. Its similar to training for a big race. If you start with a 5k and then build up to a 10k or a half marathon before the big marathon, you’re going to benefit from that extra experience and conditioning. Similarly, clients who try to implement too much functionality out of the gates can be successful but they often end up doing everything marginally well and not quite as well as they might have if they had staggered the steps of their implementation.
More analytics and reports
Perhaps the most exciting part of the middle phase is that you can finally start getting valuable data out of the reports and dashboards that might have sat blank during much of your implementation phase. That moment when you run a report that finally has significant data behind it and find that a critical assumption you’ve been operating under is wrong I think is a testament to the need for fund management software and one of the big reasons why software like AIM exists.
So a client who is tracking data on their incoming deals might finally see historical trends on where the most deals are coming from, where the most lucrative deals are coming from, and how long its taking for deals to move through their pipeline. If you’re evaluating specific types of funds, you might see how the average fund size in that sector changed over the last three years. You also might see what your return on investment capital looks like year over year and by sector to get a better sense of performance and trends over time.
The added insights you can get from this level of reporting is extremely valuable and it’s something that we’ve seen can help GPs make future-based decisions. A lot of the tools required to get to this level of reporting are included with AIM and some are built into the Salesforce platform so they simply require a bit of configuring. In addition, there are a number of third-party reporting tools like CongaMerge and Tableau that can provide even deeper, more specific reporting functionality.
So if the initial stage is all about choosing the right fields and getting the data populated in those fields, this stage is all about amassing all that data to get reports and analytics that give you meaningful information quickly and at a level of detail that you’ve never seen before.
This post is another installment in our series on best practices during the various stages of your software life cycle. Read the first post on What to Focus on During your Fund Management Software Implementation here.
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