Feb 15, 2023 Written by goji
February 2023

As the M&A and PE landscape hurtles towards an increasingly digital future, navigating the complexities of target companies is more crucial than ever. Financial metrics alone no longer paint the whole picture. 

This is where Digital Due Diligence (DDD) and Product Audits step in, illuminating hidden depths and safeguarding investments in a world where bits and bytes hold as much value as balance sheets.


Defining the Pillars

Imagine peering beneath the surface of a target company, uncovering not just financial figures but the intricate workings of its online presence, user sentiment, technology infrastructure, data management, and cybersecurity posture. 

This is the power of Digital Due Diligence (DDD) and Digital Product Audits.

DDD transcends traditional due diligence, offering a holistic view of a company’s digital assets, liabilities, and potential risks. Think of it as an X-ray for the digital age, revealing the bones of a company’s technological foundation.

An extension of DDD is the Product Audit, which takes a deep dive into the heart of a specific digital product, examining its functionality, user experience (UX), technical architecture, market viability, and growth potential. It’s like dissecting a living organism, understanding its anatomy, identifying strengths and weaknesses, and ultimately predicting its future potential within a larger ecosystem.

  • Digital Due Diligence (DDD): A systematic assessment of a target company’s online presence, technology infrastructure, data management, and cybersecurity posture. It goes beyond financial metrics, offering a holistic view of the company’s digital assets, liabilities, and potential risks.
  • Product Audit: A deep dive into a specific digital product, evaluating its functionality, user experience (UX), technical architecture, market viability, and growth potential. It provides invaluable insights for optimizing existing products or assessing their strategic fit within a larger portfolio.

Playing a Pivotal Role in M&A and PE

DDD and Product Audits are no longer optional accessories; they’re becoming essential weapons in the M&A and PE arsenal. Here’s how they’re utilized:

In Pre-Acquisition: Imagine unearthing a hidden data analytics gem within a target company, boosting its valuation by 20%. Or, picture avoiding a cybersecurity nightmare lurking within the code, saving millions in post-acquisition remediation costs. This is the power of pre-acquisition DDD and Product Audits. They inform more thoughtful bidding strategies, uncover hidden value, and mitigate potential risks before ink hits paper.

In Post-Acquisition: Integrating a new acquisition can be a bumpy road. But imagine having a roadmap illuminated by DDD and Product Audits. They pinpoint technology challenges, guide seamless integration, and pave the way for optimizing product strategy for maximum value creation, turning post-acquisition turbulence into smooth sailing.

In Portfolio Management: With DDD and Product Audits as your binoculars, you can see the bigger picture across your entire portfolio. They help monitor the digital health of portfolio companies, identify potential synergies between companies based on their digital strengths, and ultimately guide M&A decisions with laser-sharp precision, ensuring your portfolio thrives in the digital age.

The Evidence:

  • 40% of M&A deals experience significant post-acquisition integration issues due to hidden IT problems, potentially costing millions. (Source: McKinsey & Company)
  • Companies with strong digital assets command 20-30% higher valuations during PE transactions. (Source: PwC)
  • PE firms that conduct thorough DDD see an average return on investment (ROI) of 2.2x on their DDD expenses. (Source: KPMG)

Industry Voices:

With Pitchbook projecting that the global DDD market is expected to reach $3.2 billion by 2025, other industry leaders also note how critical this process is. 

For instance, Senior Forbes Contributor Peter Cohan recently wrote: “DDD is no longer a luxury – it’s a vital necessity for any PE firm serious about making intelligent investments.” 

An article from the Harvard Business Review by Andrew Steine and James Steyer  echos this sentiment: “In today’s fast-paced, tech-driven world, understanding a company’s digital DNA is as crucial as its financial statements.” The message is loud and clear – ignoring DDD and Product Audits in today’s landscape is akin to flying blindfolded.


The Future of DDD

The rising prominence of DDD and Product Audits shows no signs of slowing down. For instance, experts predict mainstream adoption, with DDD and Product Audits, will become standard practice across the M&A and PE landscape, driven by increasing awareness of their value and growing digital complexity.

And, the surge in demand for experienced DDD and Product Audit professionals will lead to the development of specialized teams and dedicated service providers.

Lastly, continuous innovation will refine DDD and Product Audit methodologies, incorporating AI, machine learning, and advanced data analytics for even deeper insights.


In Summation

The 2023 landscape paints a clear picture: DDD and Product Audits are not just trends but transformative forces reshaping the M&A and PE landscape. 

Embracing these insights and integrating them into your investment strategy will empower you to:

  1. Navigate the Digital Frontier with Confidence: 
    Uncover hidden risks and opportunities, mitigate IT complexities, and optimize acquisitions for maximum value creation.
  2. Unlock Hidden Value: 
    Identify underutilized digital assets, leverage data insights, and refine product strategies to fuel future growth.
  3. Secure a Competitive Edge: 
    Stay ahead of the curve, make informed investment decisions, and build a digital-first portfolio poised for success in the years to come.

In our ever-digitizing world, embracing DDD and Product Audits is not just a strategic choice; it’s a necessity. The future belongs to those who can read the code behind the balance sheet. 

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Report compiled by Goji Labs, a premier Digital Product Strategy & Development agency. 

If you need help with your Product Audits, Digital Due Diligence, or Strategyreach out to us. We’d love to talk.