Technology has had a deep-seated impact on the way private equity investment operates. But as macro tech forces move at pace, PE firms should approach business technology in a holistic manner and focus on solutions related to cloud, risk and digital experience.
The main areas PE firms should, at least, be aware of are digital experience, cloud, risk, business technology, core modernisation, digital reality, cognitive and blockchain. And although momentum is building in each of these, George Ralph, Global Managing Director and CRO of, RFA believes some are worthy of greater attention as PE firms start to enhance their digital offering.
“We provide business IT solutions to work with clients to advance their overall business technology offering. I would suggest the key focus here should be on cloud, risk and digital experience. All are interlinked and if approached as a whole, can enhance security, efficiency, reporting, decision making and client experience,” he outlines, “The important thing is to understand and set up the right framework. This helps simplify the choices a firm needs to make but also decide whether to outsource your business IT or not. It would also assist managers in understanding what their macro tech looks like, which is vital when dealing with the regulator.”
Driving business growth
PE firms are having to wrestle with a number of different pressures and Ralph notes that astute managers recognise the interoperability between macro technologies: “Properly framed, the infrastructure question we should all be asking is about how we can drive business growth and create long term scalable solutions. The results are enterprise success, greater efficiency and productivity, reduced cost, and better risk mitigation.”
He once again emphasises the importance of a holistic approach: “If cloud, risk and modernisation are seen as an organic whole rather than as separate challenges, a firm is able to build or invest in a more scalable and flexible business IT solution. This improvement is vital as investors and regulators demand more immediate action from companies to address various issues that require additional data strategy and reporting like environmental, social and governance issues.”
Ultimately, firms will need to be prepared to take action and evidence they are taking to make changes, so they are able to support investor and due diligence requirements and keep pace with their competition.
The speed of change in the technology space can be considered one of the most significant challenges PE managers face in trying to harness the full benefits it has to offer. This is why, Ralph stresses the importance of having a business IT partner: “Managers need to remain focused on their own business growth, not the infrastructure behind it. The upheaval of our working practices over the last couple of years has really helped with advancing technology ideas to the PE market at a faster pace than we would have seen had we remained in a traditional working model.
“We aren’t there yet, but macro tech includes digital reality and cognitive activity; this kind of experience could completely change the way managers interact with investors. We aren’t in the metaverse yet, but I am a firm believer that the way managers and investors do business will change in the medium term. This will of course happen in every part of our life, not just transactional business.”
George Ralph, Global Managing Director & CRO
As Global Managing Director of RFA, George is a technology and business leader with a proven track record of strategic alignment, process improvement and guidance. Having been both a COO and a CTO of his own technology firms over a nineteen-year period, he looks to provide transparent guidance to every business he serves and the people he leads. George has extensive delivery and technical experience in network and server architecture, large-scale migrations utilising leading technology brands, and IaaS offerings.