It’s completely natural for capital markets leaders and managers to have some worries about the way a new technology solution will impact individuals, teams, and internal processes post-implementation. That’s why some organizations try to “soften the blow” by only rolling out the technology to a smaller, controlled group of users (such as by industry specialization or geographic coverage) instead of broadly across the organization.
Private equity and investment banking leaders usually come to ponder a “phased” or “team-by-team” approach because they’ve never completed a sizable internal technology implementation before; because they want to identify and triage challenges with a smaller group of people rather than expose the masses to a potential issue; or because of other trepidations. But when it comes time to make a decision, the only question that members of the leadership team and the buying committee are really trying to answer is: how painful is this going to be?
In this article, we examine the three fundamental principles to consider when rolling out a new technology implementation. With hundreds of investors, advisors, and lenders faced with the need to make major internal technological shifts each day, these truths can help capital markets professionals decide what approach makes the most sense for their unique organization.
Principle #1: Don’t let what makes your firm unique slow you down
The capital markets are complex. That’s why Principle #1 emphasizes why any new internal technology implementations should be purpose-built to handle the complex relationships, responsibilities and structures of the industry. In other words, if you have the opportunity to configure your new technology to match the intricate inner-workings of your firm and the strategies you execute on, we recommend leaning into these intricacies rather than shying away from them.
In the state of modern dealmaking, new fundraising, advisory, investment, and other opportunities come from all angles, all the time. If your teams use disparate technology platforms, communication and visibility will decrease, and your firm will miss out on new deals and engagements. To curb this, best-in-class firms are building and designing their technology solutions to meet the needs of the entire firm, however complex or unique each group or individual may be.
A common best practice is to align the technology platform to the existing team orientation, whether that be by product/service offering, coverage designations, function, etc. More often than not, capital markets professionals wear many hats and have overlapping responsibilities, so it’s best to allow all of those instances to be illuminated by the technology. Doing so will drive better outcomes in deals and fundraising processes. It will promote a more interconnected workplace.
Principle #2: This is an investment… with a high return
Buying a new technology requires money… but implementing one requires time. That’s why Principle #2 of rolling out a new technology emphasizes the time your team will need to commit in order to make the solution valuable.
Going into the implementation and roll-out stages of a technology investment, it’s important that all teams discuss how much time and energy each person can expect to invest. If the purchase is viewed as “just a test,” or a “trial,” it won’t garner the support it needs to spur user adoption and meaningful organizational change. If some people or teams are left out of this mutually agreed upon commitment, or are only included on Phase 3, for example, they are more likely to be disengaged when it’s their turn to participate and feel as though the solution “wasn’t built for them.”
Just as investors would never buy a company, let it sit idle, and only “test” out new ways to generate revenue, investment banking and private equity firms should never buy new technologies without devoting meaningful resources and human capital to the implementation and roll-out. You simply cannot disconnect the financial investment from the investment of time from all parties, and if you do, you’re setting the technology up to fail or fall short of expectations.
Principle #3: You get what you give
Nobody wants to spend weeks (or even months) going through the sales, legal and compliance processes associated with buying a new internal technology solution just to have it fail or be poorly adopted. That’s why Principle #3 of rolling out a new technology emphasizes why buy-in across leadership teams, key stakeholders, and end users is critical to success.
Whether switching systems, or purchasing a technology platform for the first time, it’s extremely important that members of your team see that the technology is being purchased in response to the pain experienced by the firm day-to-day. In other words, teams should be well-oriented with the problems that the technology will address, and how solving those problems will make the firm more efficient and more successful.
It’s also important that the technology is described as vetted, secure, and impactful by key stakeholders such as Chief Information Officers, Chief Technology Officers, and other team members that have experience in rolling out new technologies firm-wide. Similarly, if Partners and Managing Directors position the technology as the new normal, it will be more quickly adopted. These types of endorsements will inevitably trickle down to the end users, and the end users will be better-positioned to succeed.
If the implementation of your CRM system feels overwhelming and complex, rest assured that following these three simple principles will get your team off to a great start.
And remember – you don’t have to go it alone. Over 600 firms have migrated to DealCloud’s platform because of the way it adapts to meet the complexities of modern deal making and of business development teams of all shapes and sizes. Our dedicated teams are available to provide guidance, and we’re proud to share our best practices and blueprints for making technology implementation faster and more meaningful.