Are you happy with your current M&A process workflows? Does your team have ways to easily communicate and delegate tasks? Do deals go from point A to point B smoothly? If you can answer no to any one of these questions, it's time to introduce project management to your M&A processes.
Project Management Cornerstones for an Effective M&A Process
Communication throughout the Deal's Lifecycle
Secure File and Document Sharing
Plan for Post-merger Integration with the Bigger Picture
Innovation in M&A
Analytics and Reporting
Software Integration Capabilities
If there ever was an industry that needed project management software, it would be M&A
Deals are infamously known for being time consuming, complicated, and extremely intricate, yet constantly happening. In 2017, there were over 50,000 transactions announced, with a value of more than $3.5 trillion.
2018 is on track to pass that number, boasting impressive numbers.
As of June, there were already over 33,000 deals announced, valued at over $2.5 trillion, hitting record levels for the first half of the year. All these transactions require thousands of individuals working together, and even more documents and files, to make the deals close.
How do they keep track of everything? And of each other?
Shockingly, up until recently, there was no “right way” to manage diligence. Team were forced to use programs, such as Excel, to manage the m&a process. They were relying on software that wasn’t designed for M&A, which consistently results in an inefficient process.
Don’t get me wrong, it got the deal done, and continues to get more deals done. But that doesn’t mean it’s the right way. Software, like DealRoom, takes crucial project management functionalities, but applies them specifically to M&A. Project management software truly is a game changer for M&A transactions.
Here are 8 project management fundamentals that can help ensure deal success
1. Communication Throughout the Deal's Lifecycle
One recurring issue that often occurs throughout a deal’s life cycle is the presence of work silos. Individuals are told to complete tasks or gather information, without knowing who is working on what. Work silos prevent collaboration, and often lead to duplicate work, lack of information, and a stalled process.
The communication that team members do have, often happens over phone calls, one-off emails, internal chats, etc. This results is one-off conversations happening over various outlets, where information can easily get lost or be forgotten.
With the right project management tool, all communication goes through one platform. This leaves a crystal clear path of what decisions have been made, what is coming down the pipeline, and an overall constant flow of communication.
2. Workflow Delegation
We’ve all heard it: “Oh, I thought (insert co-worker’s name) was doing it.”
This happens way too often in many work settings, not just M&A. It’s sometimes unclear what your individual responsibilities are, or vice versa, specifically what isn’t your responsibility, but that of another team member.
Project management allows for delegation. Team members (like Directors, Managing Directors, Vice Presidents, Associates, and Analysts) can assign tasks such as document transfers, file shares, etc. Everyone is aware of what is their responsibility, and what isn’t, and can make sure there are no gaps in the workflow.
3. Teamwork Accountability
When delegation is in check, accountability follows. If an individual is assigned a request or task, their other team members can see that in the deal management platform.
DealRoom for example has a filter feature that allows you to search requests by the assigned user. People are more likely to follow through with a task when it’s team knowledge that the responsibility belongs to them.
4. Secure File and Document Sharing
A top priority during diligence is security.
There are thousands of documents and files that need to be collected and stored. Project management software provides a way to share and transfer files and documents in a safe and secure way. All parties can know their information is kept confidential and that it is seen by the appropriate people.
5. Plan for Post-merger Integration with the Bigger Picture
M&A project management software helps teams see the bigger picture. One common concern during M&A is post-merger integration. It is often overlooked during diligence.
Project management software helps teams plan for post-merger integration alongside due diligence. Teams can carefully plan, focus on the deal’s strategic objectives, and identify synergies to maximize the deal’s success, including post-close. It also helps identify potential bottlenecks before they happen.
6. Innovation in M&A
Project management software thrives off of innovation.
It is constantly changing and using smart technology to become more efficient. DealRoom for example uses machine learning to eliminate duplicate requests. The system automatically pulls up previously related documents and responses to save users time. Smart search helps users quickly find information or documents by searching keywords or phrases. Drag-and-drop capabilities enable swift uploading and auto-indexing.
All these smart features help teams become more efficient and Agile.
7. Analytics and Reporting
Data is everything.
Using a software with detailed analytics is crucial to understanding how users are behaving. In M&A for example, sellers can get an idea of which buyers are more engaged, and what they are focusing their attention on. What’s even better, is when these analytics can be quickly spun into PDF or Excel reports, like with DealRoom.
8. Software Integration Capabilities
Lastly, project management software that integrates with other common software can help improve your m&a process even further. For example, many investment banks use SalesForce for their CRM.
DealRoom integrates with SalesForce, allowing teams to combine all the data they catch inside the room with potential new clients in the CRM. It also integrates with Slack, a quickly-growing communication tool.
Project management not only improves internal processes, but external ones as well. It helps your team work together more efficiently, and this in turn, enhances your clients' experience. With the right M&A project management tools, teams can work smarter and close deals faster. Project management tools provide clarity, accountability, communication, collaboration, and many other benefits to the deal process.
Diligence Management Software for M&A
M&A transactions are here to stay and the frequency is on the rise. Can your current software keep up?
A more organized, efficient, and innovative m&a process can give firms a competitive edge in M&A. And help them close deals faster.
How to Incorporate Project Management Fundamentals?
Always have clearly defined objectives and know exactly what findings you expect to see as the final work product.
Establish a team for the evaluation process containing skilled, experienced team members.
Establish the responsibilities, processes and timeline to ensure the project is performed efficiently and timely.
Involve management from both organizations as soon as possible, as each organization must get to know the other’s leadership team. This is an essential step, as managers’ knowing each other as soon as possible will help them to more efficiently deal with later issues that may arise.
Create a list of risks associated with each company or organization
Create a checklist of all itemized information requests for all information that you need to finalize the process.
Always sign a confidentiality agreement to protect sensitive data from anyone outside of the process. Then, agree on a secure method to store all sensitive information.
Ensure you provide a comprehensive report of your analysis of the management team, including all potential strengths, areas for improvement, and risks so that the decision makers will be fully informed before deciding whether an agreement is to take place.