• Chelsea Wilkinson

Data is a risk to mitigate & opportunity to realise in all M&A


‘Data’ goes way beyond bits and bytes, a customer list, or production line feed. Data is an ecosystem of interdependent and interconnected activities. Which is why our data due diligence assesses a company’s maturity, capabilities, and capacities across four data dimensions – Strategy, Analytics & data, People, and Infrastructure – stress testing each to validate what exists today, and target what could be achieved tomorrow.


Since the start of 2022, we have conducted a data due diligence engagement approximately every two weeks, on both buy and sell side.


Below are some of the overarching risks and opportunities those engagements unearthed:


STRATEGY

  • Risk: most companies lack a formalised data strategy, meaning data outputs & outcomes are not tightly tied to the business strategy or KPIs.

  • Opportunity: significant potential exists for companies to balance defensive (compliance led) data approaches with offensive, proactive value-creating solutions to drive performance.


ANALYTICS & DATA

  • Risk: defensive data approaches have resulted in many companies having siloed data, typically being used for tactical, retrospective reporting.

  • Opportunity: all companies we assessed could democratise data (with fit-for-purpose security) enabling broader, more integrated problem solving & insight generation, ideally with a stronger focus on predication.


PEOPLE

  • Risk: many data initiatives are ‘pet projects’, where outputs (and synergies) are restricted to individuals and small teams, and lack a senior champion.

  • Opportunity: centralising data strategies and teams, with formal executive advocacy, typically results in wider data adoption, increased data literacy & enhanced R&D/solution innovation.


INFRASTRUCTURE

  • Risk: defensive data approaches have resulted in large data sets being stored in ‘security first’ data lakes, rather than modern infrastructures designed for appropriate analytical usability.

  • Opportunity: the introduction of data science platforms & ‘sandpits’ enables data scientists & engineers to develop, test & deploy solutions faster, and with greater efficiency.


Read more about data due diligence here.