Operating Partners’ Forum: Leveraging AI for Data, Analytics

How are private equity firms and their portfolio companies leveraging data and analytics to transform their business landscape? What are the emerging trends in AI and machine learning? These were the central themes June 13 in the latest BluWave-hosted PE Operating Partners’ Forum.

Our esteemed panelists, Tye Howell of Blue Point Capital Partners, Gregory Kegeles of Newlight Partners and Mark Steenhoek of The Stephens Group, LLC., joined our own Rena Frackt Zimmerman for this insightful event.

Here’s are some of the key takeaways.

Summary Takeaways

  • View data as the new oil, demanding the investment of money, skills and experience to extract value
  • Foster a culture of data usage and analytical rigor in portfolio companies
  • Invest in data and analytics both internally and at portfolio companies
  • Be a catalyst for change and push companies toward a more data-driven approach
  • Identify and leverage the right people to lead the data and analytics transformation journey
  • Understand and stay ahead of emerging trends in AI and machine learning, such as generative AI and conversational analytics

This event was conducted with the Chatham House Rule in place.

Harnessing the Power of Data and Analytics

The panelists shared insights on how data and analytics are transforming the private equity landscape. They emphasized the importance of evolving toward a data-driven culture to drive tangible results. They said it’s essential to be rigorous and proactive about this during both due diligence and value creation phases.

Fostering a culture of data usage in portfolio companies was also underscored, with a focus on the push-and-pull dynamics of growth equity. Firms are often seen as catalysts for change, nudging portfolio companies toward sophisticated reporting and analytics.

The Impact of People and Learning Curve

People are critical to this transformation journey, according to the panelists, particularly in managing the pace of technological advancements. Developing an effective learning curve, choosing the right leaders and even outsourcing certain operations are critical factors in successful data and analytics implementation.

Emerging Trends in AI and Machine Learning

The discussion later veered toward the exciting prospects of AI and machine learning in the private equity space. Generative AI, with its potential applications in quality assurance, marketing and customer support, was discussed. The panelists also expressed interest in the advancements in conversational analytics and low-code, generative support technologies.

When you’re ready to harness the power of data and analytics like the top PE firms, contact BluWave to set up a scoping call with our research and operations team. Whether navigating the complex landscape of data and analytics, managing your workforce or any other business building services, we have an exact-fit solution for you on standby.

Event Recap: PEI Operating Partners Forum 2022

Last week, I had the pleasure of moderating  the “Unlocking the Transformative Due Diligence Imperative” panel at the PEI Operating Partners Forum in San Francisco. The panel included operating partner leaders Deborah Gallegos of Palladium Equity Partners, Drew Scielzo of ACON Investments, and Sheheryar Shah of ZT Corporate.

It was refreshing to be back in person with hundreds of PE ops partners to learn from their first-hand perspectives. Key takeaways included:

Executing value creation means that human capital remains a top priority for PE firms.

  • Ensuring the right management team and board leadership are in place allows for efficient execution against the value creation plan. Resource scarcity has had an immense impact on firms’ abilities to implement and execute plans. Industry leaders discussed tips for how PE firms can source and retain the right people at our recent human capital forum.

Leveraging technology to increase efficiencies is non-negotiable.

  • The aforementioned human capital challenges have tremendously accelerated digital transformation plans. PE firms are laser-focused on leveraging technology to increase efficiencies and reduce manual tasks to align with value creation plans. This allows portcos to reallocate resources to higher impact areas and rely on technology to solve for the monotonous, repeatable workflow.

Building trust with portcos’ management teams early on is essential.

  • Trusted partnerships between PE firms and their portfolio companies are vital to a successful investment. Building executive buy-in earlier on in the diligence process with a people-centric approach puts PE firms in a win-win situation. When the (right) management team has ownership in the decision-making process, this creates invaluable efficiencies between the PE firm and portco leadership teams.

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