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Painting a vision for insight and analytics in due diligence technology

Axel Kirstetter, Vice President Product Marketing & Joy Montello, Director of Product Management and Data Analytics | September 19, 2018

When we launched Merrill DatasiteOne and established a new dimension for applications that address the due diligence phase in a transaction, we were stunned by the state of reporting and analytics amongst virtual data room providers. As a whole, we found that the M&A industry was underserved by analytic capabilities, especially in comparison to the rest of the SaaS industry. The market standard is tabular reports that, at best, have been converted into graphics. Little attention has been paid to shortening the time to a decision, making information visually dynamic, providing bespoke solutions with uniquely transparent and reliable measures, ensuring access to detailed data and enabling intelligent collation of data across multiple sources.

Through customer research, we uncovered these pain points and addressed them in four parallel efforts.

Dashboards

Aimed at current users of VDR reports, we have created a new tab called “Analytics”, that provides graphics with single-click exports, flexible filtering and the ability to drill into any part of a graphic to see the data it’s built around.

The current “Reports” tab will be ported over and answers will be provided in a useful and intuitive manner. Users will find overviews for:

  • Document activity to quickly understand information engagement and identify risks.
  • Role activity to rapidly gain insight on engagement by a potential buying group.
  • User activity to understand authority levels and time-based priorities.
  • Content history for insight into the stage and state of information.
  • Permission history for risk, user and document management.
  • Q&A to understand needed actions and engagement.

Merrill also offers customers bespoke solutions in which they can specify the metrics/dimensions and measures needed, plus specific colors (hex codes), approved for usage by their company. Merrill DatasiteOne creates these custom dashboards and ensures they are securely delivered to the analytics tab, inside the data room for the project and available for customer refresh 24/7. 

Multiple projects

Intended to provide operational insights for cross-project decisions, like staffing allocation, this capability – an industry first – is particularly exciting because it allows a user to stay within the VDR to gain quick insight across all the deals they are managing. The typical process of clicking in and out of projects to assess status, and then spending hours individually exporting each data set to format, consolidate and adjust graphs – in the name of information sharing and decision making – is a thing of the past.

Specifically, multi-project dashboards and visual analytics, allow filtering across multiple dimensions:

  • Projects
  • Time
  • User roles
  • Document folders

 

Early adopters estimate multi-project analysis frees up between 5% to 7% of their time for higher value tasks.

Consumption

We know there is life outside a due diligence application. Our desire is to make it as easy as possible for DatasiteOne users to complete work related to both their data room and non-data room tasks. To facilitate this, we have created several new functions:

  • Custom color specifications. Another industry first, we can create dashboards, charts and graphs to any color scale or color users that marketing departments specify. When this ability is combined with our secure intra-application delivery method, and extensive export capabilities, a user can save numerous working hours. Users no longer must spend time in Excel recreating charts and graphs to get visualizations into brand compliance.
  • Availability. Dashboards and visualizations are available on demand, 24/7. With the out of the box offerings and bespoke dashboards in the Merrill Analytics tab, secure and fresh data is always available.
  • Exporting options. You can send whole dashboards as complete PDFs or supporting data in Microsoft Excel-friendly or CSV files.
  • Email. Wake up to insights that direct you to the most valuable action you can take to start your day, or choose to send an insight directly to a partner or client from within the application.

Data mash-up

In another industry first, if you have questions that need to be answered from platforms, tools and files outside of the deal room, Merrill can visualize answers across all projects, including the non-Merrill products and files you use every day. Merrill can quickly and painlessly answer new and existing questions on every M&A deal.

Merrill is committed to defining a new path forward by leading with speed and innovation while equipping our users with the insights they need to do their jobs in the most effective way.

Superior decision-making ability, based on complex inputs visualized by Merrill’s analytics capabilities on DatasiteOne, provide real, simple value.

The availability of individual features will vary according to location, project type and access privileges and is slated to be available in DatasiteOne globally by Spring 2019.

About Axel Kirstetter

Axel Kirstetter is a marketing executive with Merrill Corporation, a provider of due diligence and M&A software, where he is responsible for go-to-market and packaging since 2016. A subscription economy expert, Axel previously worked amongst others at Software AG, IntraLinks and Microstrategy in various product marketing, management and strategy roles.


About Joy Montello

Joy Montello is Merrill Corporation’s director of product management and data analytics. Prior to joining Merrill, she worked at General Mills and Target. Joy is an accomplished, data-driven, international leader grounded in the principles of lean management, dev ops and agile development with quantifiable success in organizational transformation, change management, individual and team leadership, product design and product delivery.

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