From data room to DealTech: there’s a better way to do transactions

Stuart Clout, CEO and founder, thedocyard

In the world of mergers and acquisitions (M&A), author Maya Angelou might not be the first person who springs to mind. Except that there’s a saying of hers that rings true: “Do the best you can until you know better. Then when you know better, do better.”

Let’s take a look at the history of deal management to see how this might apply. Not so long ago, our data sharing and due diligence efforts would take place in a locked room, in a law firm, guarded 24/7.

The poor souls sent there to begin the due diligence process faced marathon read throughs amid a mountain of manila folders.

There was no digital record of anything that occurred – just a hope that those involved were acting as they were supposed to, and that files were looked after properly. People had to take turns to access files.

Deal making in these days was, let’s face it, even more laborious and risky than it is today.

But until there was an alternative, this was the only option. Dealmakers did what they had to do to get the job done. Then when they knew better, they did better.

A literal breath of fresh air

Fast forward to 2006, and the virtual data room was a breath of fresh air - quite literally - for those used to spending time in those locked rooms. Whether you were concerned about cost, efficiency, security, or all of the above (and we all were) – it was a huge step forward on all fronts. Nobody in their right mind today would be seen doing it the old way and expect to be taken seriously.

Yet that’s just what we’re doing when it comes to the process of actually executing the deal. Too many in the industry today remain still locked inside virtual data rooms despite the fact there is a better way.

Let’s be honest, document control outside of the data room can be a lottery. Most in the industry continue to manage thousands of documents, high task volumes and multiple stakeholders over email.

Let’s be honest, document control outside of the data room can be a lottery. Most in the industry continue to manage thousands of documents, high task volumes and multiple stakeholders over email.

Send your email to the wrong person and you might well be done, reputationally speaking. Meanwhile, if a client makes a request for a certain piece of information it can take an excessive amount of time to dig it out from under the daily deluge of incoming mail. When it comes to getting things done, it’s the equivalent of working with one hand tied behand your backs.

Go beyond the data room

The difference between this reality and the old days of data rooms is that now there is a better way. DealTech 2.0 takes deal management teams beyond the data room – it makes deals flow.

This next-gen approach is much more than a data room. It features highly-secure, end-to-end deal management solution that gives you more value, control and security than possible with a standalone VDR. This makes it easier to reduce your risks, manage tasks and get the deal done – impressing clients and generating positive buzz in the industry.

Now I know what you’re thinking – that’s what we use (insert generic project management tool here) for. But platforms like Trello are great for organising a wedding, they’re not designed by deal makers specifically to improve deal management workflows. And it certainly doesn’t do much to help you keep everything in one place.

Here’s some of the ways DealTech 2.0 is moving deal management forward, while protecting reputations and capital:

Control and visibility

• Move faster with digital deal workflow, collaboration tools and integrated project management. Tailor the platform to your team to get out of your inbox and into celebrating more wins.

• Track deal activity and create clear audit trails by moving communications out of insecure emails and onto a platform trusted by some of the world’s leading corporates, legal and advisory firms.

• Centralise all external and internal communications and create a single source of the truth.


• Collaborate on transactions while ensuring only the right people have access to confidential information, when they need it.

• Cement your status as a trusted advisor with granular control over data access, documentation and tools to reduce manual handling risk.

• Best-in-class virtual data room supports version control, watermarking, e-signatures and fine-grain permissions with no limits

Simple status checks and reports

• Check the status of a deal at a glance and make reporting to your client as easy as clicking a button. Clients can also do secure self-serve reporting.

Long overdue but now a pandemic priority

While the need to move beyond the VDR has long been obvious, you don’t need to be Nostradamus to see that the pandemic will only increase the need for tools that make secure, remote collaboration tools easier.

With some forecasting a surge in M&A opportunities, those who are able to move fast can win more. But you need the internal capability to get more done: end-to-end deal management technology can help power up small teams to get the deal across the line. But most importantly, get the deals done right.

Those in the know are already finding it easier - Grant Thornton, DLA Piper are just some of the companies who have made the shift.

Ready to go beyond the data room? Get in touch and we’ll help you stay on top of the deal, so you can cement your trusted relationships and win new business.