You may have heard the buzz words “Cloud Computing” recently and while it may seem like “new” technology, it is really only the latest jargon for anything that involves delivering hosted services over the internet.
The term was inspired by the cloud symbol that is often used to represent the Internet in flow charts and diagrams and basically refers to three service categories: Infrastructure-as-a-Service (IaaS), Platform-as-a-Service (PaaS) and Software-as-a-Service (SaaS).
– Infrastructure-as-a-Service provides virtual server resources with unique IP addresses and blocks of storage on demand. (Think Amazon).
– Platform-as-a-service is a set of software and product development tools hosted on the provider’s infrastructure. These website portals or gateway software is installed on an individual computer.
– In the software-as-a-service platform, a vendor supplies the hardware infrastructure, and provides the software distribution model in which applications are hosted by the vendor or service provider and made available to customers over a network, typically the Internet. The product then interacts with the user through a front-end portal.
Virtual Data Rooms
A VDR is an online document repository and is the electronic equivalent of a physical data room, sitting within the SaaS model. Documents are easily uploaded into a secure, centralised online datasite, where invited parties log-in to conduct due diligence in accordance with the permission levels established by the administrator.
VDRs facilitate the secure exchange of sensitive information between buyers and sellers during a broad range of financial transactions. By significantly reducing deal time and providing both buyers and sellers with better document management tools, a VDR allows M&A professionals to review relevant data and facilitate transactions around the clock, globally.
Greater control and flexibility over the organisation and presentation of data is a key benefit of a VDR. Sellers can easily cast a wider net to engage qualified bidders around the world, keeping multiple parties interested and in turn levering the inherent competitiveness of the bidders. Administrators have the capability to limit access to certain information that is not relevant to particular viewers or completely deny access to certain documents altogether.
By streamlining the workflow and increasing transaction speed, a VDR offers benefits to both parties. Buyers desiring to quickly determine a potential target’s value enjoy the flexibility and convenience of working from the comfort of their offices or from any web-enabled portal without having to arrange for travel or dealing with schedule restrictions caused by competing buyers.
For corporate managers selling their assets, VDR’s provide real-time tracking information that empowers sellers to closely assess the quality and value of invited guests. A VDR can monitor the viewing, downloading and printing activities to help sellers understand the interest and thoroughness of review. If the reports show that “C-level,” and not junior level managers are reviewing the documents, the opportunity may be judged as more realistic. Real time tracking is an invaluable intelligence tool to identify the most interested and best potential buyers.
A market leader
Regardless of the complexity of a given transaction, a smooth due diligence process that reduces transaction time is a critical element to deal making. Top VDRs employ rigorous security protocols and give site administrators highly specific, individualized control that allows them to grant or limit document actions such as viewing, printing, downloading, cutting and pasting content and access to original source files.
Through the deployment of a cutting-edge technology, multi-lingual customer service and constant development, Merrill DataSite has emerged as a leading provider of VDR technology, offering advanced features and making all documents viewable in a common format that is 100 percent text searchable in any romance language.
With requirements particular to European markets, it can often be difficult to move information from one country to another. A VDR transcends physical boundaries by capturing, indexing, presenting documents and making them accessible from any internet browser. Equally important, Merrill DataSite includes translation features for both machine and certified renderings, providing viewers with more flexibility and speed. Merrill DataSite enables smarter, faster and better deal-making.
Richard A Martin Jr is a Senior Director at Merrill DataSite. For more information www.datasite.com; +44 (0) 207 422 6100