"Transparency is not just a buzzword; it may be a necessity for business survival in the 21st century." - Glassdoor

Successful execution is what matters most, even if the model has been around for decades. Airbnb wasn’t the first clearinghouse for C2C home rentals, but its execution was unprecedented.  Excite, Yahoo, and Ask Jeeves came first, but none delivered as successfully as Google.

Any established PE firm will attest that good, solid business ideas are common, but good, solid execution is rare. 

And more than any other tactic, good execution comes down to keeping score.

Aligning a company's deal team, board, and executive team around value-creation priorities is a staple of business intelligence at private equity firms. It can be achieved in short order by centering on a few key performance indicators.  And you already have the raw material for the job - your data. 

Shared Visibility-1

Ironically, most companies treat their data like background noise. In fact, most business data (more than 90%) is left unused.  Why the waste?  Because organizing data to send the right signals to the right people in a timely manner requires a heavy lift (month after month) from an executive-level thinker.  As a result, the job of report production remains forever orphaned, foisted upon whichever analyst or IT resource has excess capacity. 

The consequence is that private equity deal teams, boards, and executives remain desperately devoid of true data intelligence.

And countless spreadsheets (no matter how much conditional formatting) only add to the ever-expanding static leaders must rationalize in order to gain clarity and control. In that sea of static, strategic execution gives way to reactive management, and the resulting maelstrom makes coordination between leadership teams difficult.

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Fortunately, the cycle can be broken in a matter of weeks.  Private equity data intelligence technologies are evolving at a blistering pace, led by Microsoft's Azure and Power BI.  These tools are built-for-purpose to automate the process of synthesizing data static into the few clear signals leadership teams need to focus and align their efforts.

Gartner Magic Quadrant 2023

In fact, a company (or a country, for that matter), can synthesize its performance down to a single signal.  And why not?  The higher your vantage point, the greater your visibility.  By contrast, spending your time in the weeds pouring through line-level data will never produce your highest and best use.  Take a look at the following company scorecard:

It starts with a single KPI (red, green, or yellow - upper right-hand corner).  One vivid signal that delivers instant, shared visibility into the health of the organization.  The rest of the scorecard shows the high-level status of the most critical performance areas.  From there, a single click reveals the underlying details for each card.

This simple tool enables any company to utterly transform itself by empowering leaders to coach from the same playbook, day in and day out.  We've seen it over and over.  A good scorecard does more to sustain focus on the highest value-creation activities throughout a company than any other single tactic.  

If you’d like to see an example of fund-level analytics at work, check out our Private Equity HQ dashboards or view a demo. We’d love to learn more about you and point you in the right direction to put your data to work.   

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Jon Thompson

Written by Jon Thompson

Jon Thompson is co-founder and Chief Strategy Officer at Blue Margin Inc. An author and speaker, Jon sheds light on how businesses can take advantage of a revolution in business intelligence to become data-driven and accelerate their success.