Working closely with investment communities in both the US and Europe has given me some really interesting insights into the role intelligent automation (IA) – the adoption of multiple advanced technologies such as robotics and machine learning – can play in achieving best-in-class returns. 

I’ve also seen my fair share of firms suffering from inertia when it comes to technology investment, due to factors such as absence of stakeholder buy-in, digital anxiety among employees and absence of adequate technical expertise.  

Avoiding these pitfalls all starts with awareness – and there is plenty to take on board when it comes to intelligent automation in the private equity game. Here are five lessons garnered from the best of the best… 

  1. Start early. Get the jump on your competitors. Building a high-level intelligent automation strategy into investment cases pre-deal allows high-performing funds to both be more aggressive in offers and ‘risk assure’ returns to investment committees. Building intelligent automation into your ‘first 90 days’ playbook could prove to be a crucial move. Globally, the typical hold period is three to seven years, so pace really counts. Every fund and investment partner has their model playbook; taking the intelligent automation strategy developed pre-funding into action immediately post-funding generates momentum and maximum returns.
  2. Intelligent automation is about cost, quality and productivity Investment partners increasingly allocate funding for intelligent automation programmes pre-deal and will model in returns from these investments into financial models. In doing so they are refining their financial processes and improving their operational efficiencies.
  3. But intelligent automation is also about so much more than cost, quality and productivity – these benefits are table stakes.  Accelerating revenue acquisition and improving customer and employee experience through Intelligent Automation will likely have a far greater impact on returns than ‘just’ improving costs. IA can also support broader finance transformation goals, such as greater transparency into financial performance, reduction of error-prone manual processes and a central data repository to drive more effective decision-making.
  4. Don’t deprive yourself of golden IA insights. Intelligent automation enables improved forecasting and planning, more timely financial reporting, and new levels of visibility into the transactions taking place at each portfolio company. This is your chance to equip CFOs and performance management teams with insights that can fundamentally shape decisions at the fund management level.
  5. Your competitors aren’t waiting around Best-in-class investors are becoming expert in deploying intelligent automation in their portfolio companies, presenting a challenge to the industry at large. The burning question is this: why give the competitive advantage to others?  

Clearly there is no shortage of gains to be made from intelligent automation but the all-important addendum – or lesson number six – is that it does not guarantee success: deploying IA effectively requires you to build watertight business cases built on hard data. This is where Profit Finder comes in.  

Profit Finder uses empirical data, rather than the standard observations and assumptions, to forensically identify and quantify golden opportunities to cut costs and automate processes in your firm.  By creating data-driven business cases for intelligent automation, Profit Finder can take the guess work out of your pursuit for best-in-class returns. 

Find out more on about how Profit Finder can kickstart your intelligent automation journey by talking to us 

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