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Story of an evening talking about People, Technology and Time

 24 September 2018

Story of an evening talking about People, Technology and Time

How can an evening chat between two dear friends become a way to unusually talk about... Virtual Data Rooms (!)

I was chatting with Paolo the other day, a journalist friend of mine who I hadn’t seen for a long time. He writes about economics and finance and recently moved back to Rome. We caught up on our professional and personal lives, trying to understand from each other's stories what kind of people we had become in the meantime. He asked me updates on my job and I told him of my work as corporate communication manager at Multipartner, an all-Italian innovative company that develops tailor-made Virtual Data Rooms (VDR) and promotes them all over the world.

He looked at me in silence. Then he asked: "Sorry Sabrina, but who needs all these Virtual Data Rooms? Aren’t they only used for M& A and Due Diligence transactions?”On one hand, his question discouraged me (how many potential clients does Multipartner lose every day because they literally don’t know all the uses of a VDR?), but on the other, it motivated me (how many new clients could Multipartner win every day?). I looked up at the sky, thinking about how much it floored me that VDRs are still seen by many as a single-use and monolithic technological tool. "No Paolo, they aren’t", I replied. And I began talking to him about the versatility of the VDR that, for several years now, has been surprisingly used in a multitude of working contexts. "No, wait, let me write a few things down while you talk." He pulled out his smartphone and started typing on it, and with his head down, emphasized: "This way, if I decide to write a piece on Virtual Data Rooms I’ll have everything already here, and it'll be faster." I opened my eyes wide and burst out laughing without further commenting on his technological evolution. Extraordinary I should say, for someone who has always declared himself as an irreparably “analog” person. In the end, with life forcing us to always cut out shreds of time to do anything, comfort and convenience triumph even over the prejudices and habits of the most conservative people. Had Paolo finally overcome what Martin Seligman describes as that "Learned Powerlessness" that imprisoned him for years in the false belief of not being able to become “digital”? The founder of the Positive Psychology saved us by explaining how individual evolution and learning are to find in facing what we think we don’t know how to do, becoming aware that we are much more creative, reactive and dynamic than we think we are.

NOT ONLY M&A (but also Virtual Data Room for Public Administrations, Board of Directros and R&D)

Paolo was right to associate the VDRs mainly to M&A and due diligence because this is where their providers originally planned to promote them. However, over time, there has been an intelligent expansion in the use of VDR, as the digital tool could adapt and well support a much larger range of solutions than those. "It is requested by law firms, consultancy firms, advisors, banks, companies from every sector, private equity funds, real estate companies, young entrepreneurs who use the platform to attract investors for their innovative ideas, and in any other situation where you need to deal with a huge amount of confidential data." I was speaking clearly and at full speed, but seeing that he was following me, I kept on talking. "They are used by Public administrations, hotel chains, shops, general affairs and corporate secretariats, boards of directors, R&D divisions, intellectual property managers or for public and private crowdfunding and fundraising projects." "I got it now, but I had no idea of these multiple uses. So, they can be used for long-lasting business operations or short-term ones... and you can do everything online. " "Yes, it is a highly secure web-based digital platform, used for every kind of exchange, transaction, sharing, consultation, search and management of confidential information and/or confidential data."multipartner-virtual-data-room-love-security


I received a call from my daughter Arianna. She reminded me that I had to help her with her online English test due the following morning. I had completely forgotten! I took the phone to go on the school’s website and, with her credentials, checked the test she had left in the drafts. “Not a very safe procedure” I thought with the typical professional bias of those who work in a company where control and protection of data are key. In ten minutes, everything was done, English test checked and uploaded to the final version. Arianna was fine. I love digital tools when they work properly! They can relieve you from tasks that would take several days. "But how do you use it practically, what do you have to do?" Paolo asked me. In the meantime, he was browsing Multipartner’s website, its VDR’s features page in particular. "It's easy, you can use it too!!!" I answered. He gave me one of his worst looks. "You just need an internet connection and a pc, tablet or smartphone like yours, and the App. To put it very simply, it’s like a website with numerous actions that everyone who is authorized to enter the "virtual room " can perform on documents uploaded within the platform. " "And what about the costs? I understand that we are talking about a huge time saver. If I think about how long I had to wait to get some information a few years ago about M&A deals! Endless due diligence with papers to look for in the folders of data rooms, the physical ones I mean…" "Yes, you definitely cut time, not to mention dedicated human resources. By using the VDR, you do everything with your computer, when you want and where you want, 24/7/365, and costs saving goes hand in hand. Less costs, more security, more convenience and flexibility in working hours. These are the main advantages of using a virtual data room." Moreover, going back to time. It’s a luxury item, priceless. The busier we are, the more we value it. Saving even just a little more time allows us to reclaim our private and social life, and put together the pieces of our “individual mosaic”. In addition, for those who associate more time with greater willingness to follow many businesses at the same time, more time = more money. Whatever the perspective, it is still a victory. "Sabrina…but how much does it cost to use it ... you're being evasive."


"No, I'm not evasive. Prices vary even if the products look very similar. It is not wrong to say that the cost to configure a VDR depends on the space you need -that is, how many documents and data you wish to upload- and the duration -that is, how long you need to use the virtual data room-" However, these parameters are dated and reductive nowadays, otherwise, it would be impossible to choose between all the competitors on the track. You should consider the security and control guaranteed on the uploaded confidential data, the certifications of the company providing the service, by who and where the platform is developed, the support offered to the client and many more variables. Above all, you should have the ability to read between the lines what is the real distinguishing mark of each competitor, if you find it. "Look, I'll show you and then you can make one of yours quick comparative analysis." I opened my tablet and googled VDR providers, just to show him the arena in which we are moving. The list that came out was huge. Paolo started clicking on the first sites, opening 10 windows at the same time. I left him to his research to see what the results would be. As he was surfing between Italian, American and Spanish websites, Paolo turned to me with a lost look on his face: "They all look the same! If you change the logo and the colors of the company, it could be the same site with the same information! Numbers, icons, counters ... but who are they, who is behind these companies? How do you choose if you do not understand what are the distinguishing features of each VDR company?"I knew you wouldn’t have disappointed me: that’s the only question I was expecting from you." Business, people and technology. It is a strategic and delicate triangulation. Paolo's question at this point, was, indeed, pertinent. It is in this triangle that the answer lies. In the mare magnum of websites that all proposed themselves as leaders in security and features, showing off testimonials of the most prestigious clients, promoting all the best solutions, offering real-time chats to provide multilingual demos as quickly as possible (without even knowing who is on the other side), Paolo was completely lost. about-virtual-data-room-multipartner


As a hound, he was trying to find clues for differences between competitors. However, just like screams, whistles and excessive stresses disorient the dog when hunting, all that information and infographics had bewildered him. "Maybe it’s me because I'm inexperienced, but how can you write an article in this confusion? I can imagine the difficulty for those who need to find a VDR provider quickly, for a Due Diligence or a board to be set up in 24 hours. And how does Multipartner stand out of the heap? " he ironically asked. I knew very well what to answer only because I had spent months studying to figure out the identifying elements of the company and how to communicate them to the outside world. He also knew well that I could never embark on a communication job for something I do not believe in. To create a successful business, a cutting-edge technology which is already self-disruptive is not enough. Without someone who interprets and embraces this technology incorporating it in everyday life, you do not get enthusiastic about it. And if you’re not passionate about it, you will hardly be able to explain and promote it. Once again, people make the difference. As my CEO says, "What matters is not so much the idea, but the certainty of being able to achieve it". To have this certainty there is daily teamwork to be carried out to discuss, confront and face challenges. "Paolo, Multipartner has been a pioneer of VDRs and knows this tool from the beginning. It has gained its space and reputation on an international level without a planned marketing and communication strategy until three years ago, with only clients to witness VDR’s reliability through word of mouth." "And you, how do you spread Multipartner around then?"

VDR? A "Momo" to the CONQUEST of TIME

"What I really want to communicate is that in this hotbed of ideas, you can follow the path of the complex creative idea that, passing from the hands of our software engineers, systems engineers and security experts, becomes a secure and simple personalized digital advanced service. You see the VDRs become the safe and versatile tools that they are: this process that I witness daily under my eyes, teaches me how to work seriously." The challenge is to develop exclusive VDRs as equally incomparable as are the operations that each client decides to entrust to our platform, in a relationship of mutual trust consolidated over time. "The trust placed by our clients is rewarded with the type of service we offer, and I can argue how and why" I answered, risking to seem more of a sales manager rather than a communication officer. “With an extremely secure and tailored service, and an experience of vertical custom care. From protection and control guaranteed on every data in the platform to the advice on the best configuration to give to each VDR, to the assistance offered, and always keeping in mind the uniqueness of the client. Taking care, in the same way, of his inexperience as well as his meticulousness." "You distinguish yourself by dedicating time to what you do. You invest in time." Paolo replied. I looked at him satisfied. He had hit the target. This reminds me of "Momo ", the wonderful Italian movie by D'Alò based on Michael Ende’s novel. The Grey Men try to steal hours and time from human beings in order to be able to survive. Soon, the inhabitants become indifferent, insensitive, with no more time for anything but work. There is no more time for family, for a chat with friends, for a laugh, for one’s partner or for playing with one’s own children. That movie put me for the first time in front of the importance of time as a precious treasure to defend and use: time not to be stolen, time not to be wasted. "From here. I would start writing my piece from here" Paolo resumed. "Precisely from the time you dedicate to what you do and to the time that clients who choose you can save for themselves. This is a significant distinctive feature for me. " Multipartner Virtual Data Room: Cut your Working Time, Make more Time for Yourself. I like it. I think I will choose it as a pay-off.

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