Virtual data rooms are the best place to store information online in a safe location. They not only speed up the due diligence process, but also help teams stay organized while sharing data and files.
While many different industries use virtual data rooms, investment banking is possibly the leading reason behind virtual data rooms' success and growing market.
Companies use VDRs to manage M&A transactions, share data with clients and third parties, and store files. The data rooms help to provide value to not just the investment bank, but the buyers and sellers.
In the past, before VDRs, M&A deals would take significantly longer to close. This is due to the fact that due diligence was completed using hard copies of information. Teams would have to travel to on site locations, dig through filing cabinets to find the right information, and scan documents individually. When VDRs were invested, the changed the entire process. Now, there are many different VDR providers for investment banks to choose from.
Things to look for in a high quality VDR for investment banking:
With investment banking, you're going to be using the Virtual Data Room for a large number of tasks. These can include:
You're going to need a VDR that can handle all of these tasks and more. Being able to find a good VDR that allows you to stay organized and on-track from for the entire deal lifecycle is critical.
The more smart features included in a VDR, the less physical efforts you need to put into it. This increases the speed in which you close a transaction, as well as making your document records more accurate.
For example, some VDRs come with a non-duplication feature that alerts you and helps to keep the same documents from being uploaded multiple times.
Another feature is smart text. This is helpful for when you're looking for a specific document and can't recall what it's called or where it is. Simply type in some key text and the software will help to find the document you are looking for.
Investment banking involves high stakes. There is secure paperwork and other documents that you don't want everyone to have access to.
Having the ability to pick and choose who can view or download specific documents is vital. It helps to make sure that files and documents are only being seen by those who need to see it, and it helps to prevent data breaches.
Virtual data rooms can come equipped with specific features tailored for remote access and control. Teams need to be able to access the data room from anywhere and from multiple devices.
Due to the nature of investment banking and the need to keep confidential information safe, security should be the top factor when looking for a VDR.
Sharing information is the main point of managing any transactions from within a VDR. A quality VDR will have the latest and greatest in encryption technology to help keep your information safe.
Most quality VDR programs will include features such as screen only viewing. This is when the documents are set to be viewed only, and no one is allowed to download, print, or edit it.
Other features that you should look for are unique watermarks and an electronic leash. These make it so that if a document is printed, the user's name is on it, so you always know who downloaded the file. An electronic leash is great for pulling a document back after someone's VDR access is revoked or expired.
Also, look for specific data center certifications such as SOC 1/SSAE 16/ISAE 3402, SOC 2 Type II, FISMA, DIACAP, and FedRAMP, and ISO 9001 / ISO 27001.
Traditional data rooms charge per page, which can result in extremely high invoices. They also charge per users, period length, and come with overage charges and extra fees. More modern, and investment banking friendly, data rooms have switched to flat rate pricing options that usually include unlimited data, users, and overage charge protection. Teams no longer have to worry about counting pages, and can offer their clients fair pricing.
And be wary of free data room and file sharing services, such as Dropbox and Google Docs, which can be a viable virtual data room option for startups. They do offer free file sharing, however, they usually lack key security features and data room functionalities which prevents them from being an appropriate fit for investment bankers.
Due to the complex nature of investment banking, teams often choose to use data rooms that incorporate project, pipeline, and integration management. These types of data rooms are equipped to manage deals for their entire lifecycle, instead of just parts of them, such as due diligence. This helps streamline workflows, increase collaboration, and improve internal and external processes.
Teams need a virtual data room that is easy to set up and with a reasonable learning curve. Everyone's ability to learn a new software is different, and the less time internally spent training clients and teams to use a VDR, the more time you can spend on the transactions. Be sure to check out a data rooms's customer service options. Some offer 24/7 customer service via chat, email, and call. Others offer additional training videos and resources on their website.
Just like with any tool, you can buy all the fancy features, descriptions or names. But if you don't use them all, or use them correctly, you're not taking advantage of the true value of the platform. So, be sure to take the time to learn whichever platform your company chooses.
At the end of the day, companies should store their data in a platform that is convenient, secure, affordable, and efficient.