It's a Wonderful Life - If You're an Investor

Consider that market leaders are often early adopters of technology that they can leverage to generate a competitive advantage.

29 December 2010

November closed with London’s first snow of the season and Intralinks’ inaugural Client Symposium for Alternative Investments. The former slowed people down while the latter accelerated ideas on increasing investor satisfaction and reinvestment.

Clients from the Nordic and Alpine countries of Sweden and Switzerland made the trek to London to join their peers at the Symposium. In fact, four of Europe’s six largest private equity firms participated in the event. Not to be outdone, Intralinks chief marketing officer Greg Kenepp and Intralinks senior vice president of product management Wade Callison crossed the Atlantic to join the discussion.

Greg kicked off the day explaining how the Intralinks management team and our private equity partners worked together to bring Intralinks public. Bringing a portfolio company public is the ultimate achievement for a private equity firm but, historically, this goal is reached only 9% of the time.

Wade led an insightful dialogue with our clients about their business challenges and the strategies they’ve adopted to keep their firms on top. The clear message is the investor is king and that these private equity firms are going to remain market leaders by making Client Service a competitive advantage. This includes answering questions from investors more quickly, increasing the type of information investors can access and expanding the channels that investors can utilize to access a fund’s information. They’re also expanding their global pursuit of LPs to find new investors outside of their traditional markets. To do this they are transforming their fundraising into a more integrated and measurable process.

As I listened to the conversation and recalled the meetings I’ve had with other clients this year it occurred to me that private equity firms — large and small — are evolving their view of reporting. Private equity firms initially turned to online reporting to save themselves time. Now they regard online reporting as part of their strategy to increase investor satisfaction while also making them more efficient.

Consider that market leaders are often early adopters of technology that they can leverage to generate a competitive advantage. Our clients at the symposium, many of whom began using Intralinks six years ago to make their reporting process more efficient, fit this profile. However, most funds — at the behest of their investors — are now closing that competitive gap by providing investors with online reporting.

Not surprisingly, the market leaders are one step ahead. They have evolved from automating tasks that make the fund more efficient to building an integrated platform that increases transparency, fits the way their investors work and supports a process oriented approach to interacting with investors. In other words, they’ve leveraged technology to make Client Service and investor satisfaction a competitive advantage.

The conversation with our clients dovetailed well with our demonstration of Intralinks’ advanced capabilities. Ciaran McCarthy and Mark Jackson showed the group how to use Intralinks to:

  • Implement controls that reduce risks which can damage a fund’s relationship with investors
  • Integrate investor information from the fund’s core systems with Intralinks
  • Automatically maintain consistent information between Intralinks and the fund’s CRM
  • Efficiently request, receive and retain information from investors
  • Transform key activities, such as fundraising, into an automated and measurable process
  • Analyze fundraising prospects by country, type and status

Clients also liked being able to give investors the option of accessing Intralinks and their reports on their iPad. As one client pointed out — investors are on the road a lot and the iPad is easier to travel with because it weighs a lot less than a laptop, and is more like simply carrying a book.

When it comes to choices the more the merrier, especially if you’re an investor.