• Corporate Development
  • Intapp DealCloud

How corporate development leaders are digitizing the internal approval process

Corporate development deal teams are struggling to manage their pipelines, especially as the volume and complexity of deals increases. In fact, Accenture’s 2021 Digitizing M&A report reveals that 85% of strategic acquiring executives aren’t confident in their current operating model’s ability to meet their ever-evolving priorities. Corporate development teams can no longer rely on traditional processes to meet the growing demands of the industry. They need technology that digitizes and automates their processes so they can move deals through the pipeline more efficiently. 


Centralizing and democratizing shared knowledge

Some corporate development leaders spend exorbitant amounts of time gathering data from disparate sources on their teams’ various bids. They then hold board meetings to discuss and vote on whether to approve or reject those bids.  Often, however, both the bids and the data are out of date by the time the board meetings occur. Additionally, without the proper management technology in place, firms risk losing or recording inaccurate information about the meetings themselves. For example, the summary report of the meeting might not include the reason for voting against a deal.  Some firms have tried to improve the approval process by using spreadsheets, PDFs, and email instead of in-person meetings. These tools have their own data management problems as they require more time and effort to create, maintain, and secure. To improve efficiency, corporate development teams should digitize their approval process and use technologies that automatically collect data from their activities. By doing so, the team will increase firmwide transparency and make better-informed decisions.  Today, successful corporate development teams use Intapp DealCloud to manage information and reduce manual data input. You can eliminate the daily administrative chore of tracking relationship and deal-data with DealCloud’s automated activity capture feature. 

DealCloud streamlines the internal approval process and provides corporate development deal teams with numerous benefits:

  • Faster, easier, and more productive research Be prepared for your next board meeting by making sure you have critical information at your fingertips. You can use DealCloud to find similar deals based on size, growth stage, industry, or management. It can also show how a board member voted on a deal, why they voted that way, and the target’s response. 
  • Up-to-date data — DealCloud populates your reports with real-time data, so you can be confident that you’re showing the latest figures. 
  • Smarter, easier data capture — As dealmakers weigh in with approvals, contingencies, or rejections, DealCloud collects and organizes it all for future recall. 
  • A single, centralized system — Your entire firm can use DealCloud, removing the need to toggle between disparate systems to track down information. Better collaboration during board meetings — Instead of sharing data during meetings, you can use the time for brainstorming, problem-solving, and making leadership decisions. 
  • Automating workflowsEfficient corporate development teams use purpose-built technology to help them keep track of where deals stand and who needs to do what. By removing the burden of manually securing internal approvals, DealCloud can help accelerate your corporate development team’s deal velocity during an M&A transaction. 
Automate the work of vetting and acquisition opportunities

Even with a strong, clear investment thesis and strategy, you still need to get internal approval from initiative sponsors. Being on the same page prior to discussing a deal can help your team save critical time. DealCloud makes it easy for corporate development teams to collect and organize information that everyone can easily consume. For example, you might need to solicit the following answers from members of your deal team: 

  • Which business unit (if any) do you see this acquisition benefiting? 
  • Which platform head do you feel is best qualified to sponsor this deal? 
  • Should we advance? 
  • What potential integration challenges do you foresee? 
  • What deals have you worked on that resemble this one, and in which ways are they similar or different? 
  • What would we do with the new asset(s)? 
  • What alternatives to acquiring do you recommend (if any)? 
  • Should we build or invest rather than acquire? 
  • Which of your network contacts may serve this transaction best, and why? 

Deal teams without DealCloud often vet new deals by reviewing and deliberating such questions during lengthy meetings. Each question can take minutes to hours to discuss, depending on the deal, team, and acquiring corporation’s strategy. DealCloud lets team members create and send forms to deal sponsors, then automatically collects their answers in real time on the deal page. All members with access can check the deal page at any time to review inputs other users have provided. This automation allows deal teams to work separately and use their time more effectively during meetings. They no longer need to spend time collecting and reviewing information in lengthy meetings. 

Automate deal diligence and documentation

DealCloud also simplifies the later phases of a successful M&A deal: relationship-leveraging and the technical acquisition stages. DealCloud’s event-triggered notifications alert dealmakers when they need to review or complete a task. One M&A manager created an alert that notifies his counsel to start legal due diligence the moment financial due diligence is completed.  Users can set time-based notifications, as well. One M&A manager built a notification to ensure his team stays on top of time sensitive matters. The notification reminds his team to follow-up with target heads 4 days after mailing the initial approach letters. With DealCloud’s notification system, teams no longer forget important to-dos or let deals slide through the cracks. DealCloud users can also automate due diligence and documentation via custom dashboard creation. You can configure the platform to reveal various data sets and how they relate at any given time. This highlights all the important details you need to speed up internal approvals. 
One corporate development deal team in Texas worked with DealCloud to create a real-time dashboard that includes: 

  • An overview of all initiatives sorted by business unit and strategy — The team uses a chart to show deals by business unit on one axis, and acquisition strategy on the other.  
  • An overview of strategic initiatives — The team utilizes a second clickable chart that shows deals by type on one axis, and strategy on the other. 
  • A list view of sortable, detailed initiatives and their respective specifics The team uses a table to view different aspects of a deal, such as stage, status, target geography, business unit, potential value, vendors, and contacts.
  • Creating a full and fast pipeline

    On top of a full pipeline, you also need a strong internal approval process to move your deals through the pipeline quickly and smoothly. Our research shows that successful corporate development teams combine effective sourcing with fast deal execution.
    Ready to explore how Intapp DealCloud can improve your internal approval process? Schedule a demo today.