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How to Minimize Sprawl During M&A (Case Study)

Case Study – Global Technology Firm

The Challenge

As this multinational technology firm began exploring new avenues for growth, particularly within North America and Asia, mergers and acquisitions became a significant aspect of their go-forward strategy. Accustomed to using SharePoint for prior high-level projects, the executive team quickly recognized the need to explore solutions that were more tailored toward sharing highly sensitive information with internal business leaders as well as third parties.

“As we talked through what an M&A project might look like…there could be executives from both companies, plus teams of lawyers, bankers, consultants, auditors, regulators…the list goes on and on,” says the organization’s IT Director. “It would be quite risky to expose our Azure AD by inviting each of those individuals to a SharePoint site.”

Additionally, the Company tapped a veteran within their organization to serve as M&A Lead going forward, and wanted her to have a direct hand in administering the project, rather than working through a SharePoint admin.

“Having direct admin access was really important to me,” said the M&A Lead. “Previously I’d had to work through our SharePoint admin to add users or update permissions for a project, which was not only tedious but also added another link to our circle of trust.”

M&A frustration

The AvePoint Solution

As her organization was already using several AvePoint SaaS solutions, the M&A Lead became aware that AvePoint would soon be introducing a virtual data room solution, Confide, to the market. With an eye toward minimizing vendor and application sprawl, the Company quickly moved Confide to the top of their list for secure M&A project management.

Confide is a modern, intelligent VDR, designed to control collaboration on highly sensitive projects. Hosted within the customer’s own Microsoft 365 tenant and backed by AvePoint’s powerful security and governance framework, Confide’s simple, powerful controls allow business leaders to manage project-specific sharing with precision.

“One of the reasons we historically used SharePoint is that we felt more comfortable keeping our data in-house. When our Security team found out that Confide would store the data in our own tenant, rather than hosting it themselves, it made the conversation easier. We hadn’t seen that with any other VDR solutions we looked at,” said the M&A Lead.

Purpose-built for sensitive projects and transactions, including M&A, legal, and compliance, Confide features granular permissions, watermarking, and audit trails—all designed to give project managers peace of mind.

“Before Confide, I always worried that one of us was going to accidentally share something we shouldn’t or add “Mary Jane” to the project instead of “Mary Sue,” she added. “It would have been an unintended mistake, of course, but the damage would be done and it could be catastrophic.”

avepoint confide

Setting up Confide was simple. The project manager was able to quickly spin up a workspace for internal users—mostly senior executives—to collaborate on potential M&A targets. Next, she set up a separate workspace for each target that the organization was actively engaged in due diligence with. After minimal instruction, guest users from the target company were able to easily share financial data, customer lists, personnel information, and more.

Confide’s centralized dashboard lets users view multiple projects at one time. Administrators can drill down into individual projects to monitor user activity, project engagement, and more. Plus, users can assign tasks to one another directly in Confide with in-line messaging.

“One unexpected benefit of Confide is that I’ve been able to get a sense of how much the other party is engaging—or NOT engaging—with the project. It’s not foolproof, of course, but when our team sees that a target is logging in every day, actively adding files and responding to tasks, we take it as a good indicator that they’re quite interested in the process.”

The Bottom Line

As the organization continues to explore growth opportunities through mergers and acquisitions, the team knows that it’s not enough to be “pretty sure” that a project’s documents are locked down—they need to be 100% confident. The Company hasn’t yet rolled out Confide beyond the M&A team, but is actively exploring use cases for the Security, Compliance, and Legal departments.

M&A legal and security

For now, the Company has a strong foundation with which to collaborate internally and externally on their M&A pipeline. Better yet, they’ve gained more control, better productivity, and peace of mind.

“Only now that we’ve transitioned over to Confide do I realize how much time I was really spending managing projects in SharePoint,” she said. “If I had to guess, I’d say that the simpler permissioning and communication flows are saving me 10-15 hours a week—not to mention a lot of stress.”

Read the full case study here.


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