Private equity groups are always looking for the sure thing – it’s part of their culture. It’s not surprising they’ve been so slow to embrace Digital Transformation, but money is usually pretty conservative. So here’s a wake-up call for anyone in private equity – you need to take Digital Transformation seriously and make it one of the tools of your trade.
Private equity has to create value in its acquisitions. That’s pretty obvious and we know the common strategies. In the past, a private equity firm would acquire a business with the intent of growing it and hopefully acquiring another, putting them together and building greater value for both companies. Part of that process would involve creating efficiencies within the new company through economies of scale and instituting better practices for sales, marketing, supply chain and operations.
That’s what Digital Transformation is all about – creating greater efficiencies and best practices – but for the digital age – not the steam age. Private equity has to realize scale is not the only efficiency – from customer management systems (CMS), to building out robust e-commerce engines, to exploding a brand, Digital Transformation can turn around an undervalued company and absolutely smash competition with just a bit of digital vision.
Digital Transformation affects all aspects of a company – and each aspect represents another potential growth point for private equity. Think about this: private equity firms always worry about losing key employees after an acquisition. A well executed Digital Transformation always includes a clear digital vision delivered to the company first – and always considers how to improve its employee’s work experience by utilizing every chance to supercharge internal processes and efficiencies. Think how that will affect morale during a take-over – and help improve ROI.
In fact, private equity firms would all be wise to initiate a Digital Transformation within their four walls. You can’t just pound your chest like a gorilla – you have to rip the antiquated doors off your own walls. Sure, hedge funds are computerized out the yin/yang but private equity firms struggle. In addition, how well do they manage their own digital presence and their public digital profile – their leadership casting? Are they active on the social media front? Are they providing opportunities for top talent to share their vision – and build their digital profile? Everyone in PE firms know a sharp suit is important for first impressions – so help your firm, and your people, look sharp on the web.
These are just a couple of examples of how Digital Transformation can affect both the efficiency and culture of a company – before it even addresses creating greater revenues and new markets. Every PE firm in the world should be making Digital Transformation part of their tool set before they are the ones that get out transformed!