Posted on September 23, 2014
In the next ten years, technology will transform virtually every industry in the world. There will be big winners and big losers. In order to stay competitive, middle market business owners must preempt these changes to their competitive positions and sustainability with smart timely action. Just look at the newspaper publishing industry to see how dramatic the impact can be.
Is the middle market M&A industry exempt from the winds of change? My partners would answer that this is a people business: nothing happens until someone makes a sale. That’s clearly right. Bringing the sale of entrepreneurial business to a successful close involves far more than numbers; human emotions often overrule financial logic. An understanding of psychology is as essential to the success of an intermediary as auctioneering and financial analysis.
The role of the deal professional will not disappear. Nevertheless, the way he or she applies professional skills to reach the ultimate goal of the transaction will be dramatically shaped by the technological revolution now underway in our industry. The successful investment banking firm of the next decade should have access to resources unimaginable to today’s practitioners. In addition to great people skills and financial knowledge, investment bankers will need to be adept at using numerous advanced technologies that will eliminate a great deal of drudgery and that will also accelerate the speed of transaction processes. In that hypercharged environment, the race may well go to the swiftest practitioners with access to the best of data and toolsets.
When I started my investment banking firm in 1985, the most advanced technology was my Compaq luggable (38 pound) computer and a magical program that enabled me to produce both written documents and spreadsheets from a single device. Over time we added desktop computers, a Microsoft network and access to quarterly CD-ROMs with data about … read the rest