PE-firms’ tech adaptation is a positive move in the right direction

George Ralph, RFA

By George Ralph (pictured), Managing Director, RFA – Technology has moved so quickly over recent years. Once new technology has been implemented there is no way back, but this is a positive thing as businesses, including private equity firms, have benefited hugely from the collaboration tools available today.

Being able to communicate and share documents – which is the basic idea behind tools such as Teams and SharePoint – has really been a game changer for the private equity industry.

Following this, firms using app based cloud technology and a full Software-as-a-Service operating model have been able to operate with complete freedom regardless of the external environment, which in current times has proved invaluable. The practice of outsourcing for expertise, like a CTO for example, is much more widely accepted, both within private equity firms and by regulators.

The current climate has pushed company security perimeters further out, decentralising cyber security and calling for newer and more advanced endpoint security tools. There has been a rise in cyber-attacks and bad leavers which has increased demand for forensics and incident response needs in cyber security.

Collaboration will continue to be the main driver moving forward, in the sense that the next iteration of how to collaborate with both internal teams and external sources will continue to develop. This could happen via app based solutions, as well as firm specific strategies and resources. 

RFA has always been a strong supporter of the public cloud model and we are seeing that the development by providers continues to move at pace, be that Microsoft, AWS or Google. It follows that the better the developments in this area, the better for all of our clients. 

In some ways the pandemic has just driven tech forward within private equity firms at a faster rate than was planned or anticipated. This isn't a problem, it can be viewed as a positive move in the right direction.

One of my main drivers at RFA has always been customer service and providing excellent white glove support to our growing number of clients. We have been able to maintain this throughout 2020, even though our clients' locations have changed – in some cases quite dramatically.

RFA has grown through 2020 and we have on boarded a significant number of new clients, who we have been able to help and support in a way they haven't experienced before.

The team at RFA have a real focus on learning as new technology becomes available all the time. It is always a great feeling when we can implement new technology with a client that can help them improve the way they do business.

It is very difficult to give a view on where we go from here, as we are in an unprecedented situation globally. We are hearing encouraging news about medical advances that will start to build a picture of the trajectory as we move forward in 2021.

One thing is clear however – that 2021 will continue from 2020 in being focused on behavioural analysis within cyber security, collaboration and data centralisation.

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