by Lauren Dever
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Why Choosing the Right VDR is Critical for Deal Success
Security, collaboration, efficiency, and real-time visibility are non-negotiables when crafting an effective M&A process. Whether you’re managing a divestment, due diligence processes, or collaborating with external advisors, you need to know everyone has access to the right information at the right time. Luckily, advancements in M&A technology, namely, the rise of the VDR, have made collaboration and transparency throughout the deal lifecycle much easier.
A virtual data room (VDR), sometimes referred to as a virtual dealroom, gives everyone involved in the M&A pipeline a secure way to share information, collaborate, and easily communicate. However, not every VDR is built the same way or offers the same features.
It’s critical you choose a VDR that meets your needs and also has the capability to grow with you as your priorities and focus changes. Many teams benefit from looking beyond a simple VDR and using a complete software platform that centralizes all work, creating one source of truth.
In this blog, we explain how and why to use a VDR in M&A. We also highlight the key VDR features you need to support efficient and streamlined M&A deals and process management.
What is a Virtual Data Room (VDR)?
A virtual data room (VDR) is a secure online storage space that allows companies to track, manage, and share documents. Companies across a broad spectrum of industries use VDRs to securely share documents with clients, third-parties, investors, and internal teams.
Within M&A, a VDR is typically used to ensure a streamlined communication and review process for all information across the buy and sell sides. During due diligence, for example, all teams work within the VDR space to share, review, and track every detail of the diligence process.
While VDRs are traditionally sold as standalone products, more and more companies are realizing the value of having their VDR integrated into a complete M&A software solution. This makes it easier for teams to track progress, share documents, and manage their work.
How a VDR Fits Into Your M&A Process
A VDR gives you and your team a safe, secure, accessible, and modern way to communicate, collaborate, and stay aligned with corporate goals.
More specifically, VDRs provide the following benefits:
- Secure document storage
- Remote collaboration
- Visibility into all deal stages
- Elimination of duplication of work
- Easy file organization and analysis
- Clear insight into the M&A process
- Customized permissions to manage access
- Reduction of time lost searching for documents
- Version control
Ultimately, a VDR gives all teams (buyer and seller) what they need to make informed strategic decisions.
Top 8 VDR Features Every M&A Team Needs
While every M&A deal is different, there are universal M&A VDR features essential to team, deal, and pipeline management success.
When reviewing your VDR options, look for these 8 key features:
Look for a modern and intuitive user-interface that can be used across PC, tablet, and smartphone devices. It’s essential the VDR gives people the flexibility and ease-of-use they have with other tools and solutions.
Moreover, make sure the VDR has familiar functionality, including drag and drop to quickly import and share documents, a wide range of file format support, easy data room set up, and simple document uploading.
Security must be at the forefront of every VDR purchase as you want to ensure secure file sharing, which ultimately protects your deal and reputation. With so many VDRs cluttering the market, an easy way to eliminate some from your browsing list is to ensure all VDRs you consider are ISO 27001 certified.
Additional security features such as customized permission control, two-step authentication to prevent password theft, audit logs, secure browser connections (https://), 24/7 monitoring, and clear visibility into all VDR activity gives you confidence and peace-of-mind your M&A resources are secure and protected.
Rather than closing out your VDR after due diligence and having to learn different tools, you want to find a VDR that provides a true end-to-end solution for the entire deal process; this will save both time and money. Moreover, this often leads to a smoother integration thanks to the seamless flow and sharing of critical information. The following features deliver a complete end-to-end solution:
- Automated notifications – view information and comments in real-time
- Run and manage multiple data rooms
- Customizable data room configurations
- Easy visibility into all project activity – sign-ins, document views, and downloads
- Post-deal archiving - supports lookbacks and provides an audit trail
Leveraging a VDR with end-to-end functionality supports your process from the target review stage to closing the deal and integration. This functionality is not seen in many VDRs and can help you continue to narrow down your list of potential vendors.
You must be in control of document visibility, access, and permissions. Look for a VDR that allows you to define permissions at the document, folder, group, and user levels to manage access controls, sharing, printing, and downloading.
With this deep level of permission control, you know the right people are using the right documents at the right time. Make sure your VDR solution allows you to configure notifications, alerts, and audit trails to track project activity.
Q&A gives you an easy way to find answers to your questions. With built-in Q&A functionality, you can quickly search documents, saving you time and putting an end to confusion over document versions and history.
Integrated Document Management
Make sure you choose a VDR that allows you to work with your documents in any way needed. This includes editing, commenting, adding notes, setting custom permissions, and linking to project due dates and pipelines.
To be effective, your VDR must be available and accessible wherever and whenever your teams need it. A mobile-friendly VDR means you can access it on your terms and at your convenience. Ensure the VDR delivers cross-platform functionality with automatic syncing between laptops, desktops, and mobile devices.
You need to know that if something goes wrong, customer support is available when and how you need it. Talk to your VDR solutions provider about its customer support terms and ensure you have 24/7 customer support access. Also, consider reading actual reviews of users’ experiences with the customer support team.
Ultimately, most VDRs will improve workflow and communication, but to truly revolutionize your M&A practice and maximize deal success, you want a secure VDR with end-to-end functionality built specifically with M&A in mind. This realization will narrow down your prospective VDRs and save you time, money, and frustration as you navigate the often complex and chaotic waters of M&A.
The easier it is to support open communication, easy collaboration, and information sharing, the easier it is to manage your M&A pipeline process.