Previously, we wrote about some of the most important things to keep in mind during the initial phases of your fund management software implementation. As mentioned, the initial stage can be the most daunting and crucial step in ensuring that your implementation is successful and that you fully leverage your software. Already you should be able to see light at the end of the tunnel, but there’s some work to do before you reach it.
After the initial phase of implementation is what we might, for lack of a better term, simply refer to as the “middle phase.” 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 recommendations to keep in mind during this period:
Expand your software implementation gradually. Run a 5K before you attempt a marathon.
The middle phase is when you’ll want to start thinking about expanding the functionality of your system by adding things like more fields and modules. There are a number of additional modules within AIM that we often find clients capitalizing on at this point. Many of them are included in your license and just have to be turned on.
For instance, you may be tracking all of your deal or fund information in AIM and now you’d like to add metric tracking so you can note the performance of each of those deals or funds. Or, you may be tracking investor information in AIM might want to add the Investor Correspondence module at this point so you can start communicating more easily and seamlessly with investors from within AIM.
The right time to add functionality depends on how much tolerance your organization has for change. It’s 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 full marathon, you’re going to benefit from that extra experience and conditioning. Similarly, clients who try to implement too much functionality right out of the gate often end up doing everything marginally well and not quite as effectively as they might have if they had staggered the steps of their software implementation.
Access all the analytics and reports your software implementation has promised.
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 unused during much of your initial software implementation phase. That moment when you run a report that finally has significant data behind it and you find that a critical assumption you’ve been operating under is wrong is both shocking and a testament to the need for fund management software. It’s one of the main reasons software like AIM exists.
For example, if you’re tracking data on your incoming deals, you might finally see historical trends on where the most deals are coming from, where the most lucrative deals are coming from, and how long it’s taking for deals to move through their pipeline. If you’re evaluating specific types of funds, you might notice 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 get from this level of reporting are extremely valuable and can help GPs make better-informed, future-focused decisions. Many of the tools required to get to this level of reporting are included with AIM. Others are built into the Salesforce platform and 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 populating them, this stage is about compiling all that data to get reports and analytics. It’s decision support at a level of detail that you’ve never seen before.
Start to think about integrating third-party apps.
It’s also helpful in the middle phase to consider how third-party applications can help you manage your data more effectively and get more of competitive advantage out of it. There’s an app for virtually anything you want to do, of course, including:
- M&A data integration apps
- AI-driven data enhancing apps
- Market information apps
- Data cleansing apps
And this is just the short list. The time you invest in carefully assessing all your needs and the apps that can address them pays for itself in efficiency gains in no time.
Don’t Confuse the Software Implementation Middle Phase With Half Time
From the name, it would be easy to think of the software implementation middle phase as a period of relative downtime. On the contrary, it’s a time to carefully but actively seek ways to increase the value that your software delivers to users.