Every year, dozens of Private Capital firms reach out to Holland Mountain to ask for help improving a business system. The business’s needs have typically moved on since the initial implementation, but the system hasn’t.  Gaps in functionality and data issues often erode trust in the system and, as a result, business users revert back to old, offline ways of working. Firms are spending huge amounts on technology, and these drops in system usage often leave them questioning whether they are seeing enough value. This is a common challenge, experienced across the Private Capital industry. However, with the right approach, system issues can be resolved, and the initial vision still achieved. Starting from scratch with a new system should always be a last resort.

Through a Holland Mountain system improvement project, we assess the current setup, looking for gaps in system configuration, reports, business processes and governance. We speak to business users to get direct feedback on what is and isn’t working for them. We benchmark the firm’s use of the system against best practice and produce an action plan to remediate and optimise the system, maximising its potential benefits.

In this article, we outline 4 common issues that we find and explain how we fix them.

Issue 1: Poor data quality

The most common system issue that we find is poor-quality data. When a system was implemented, the firm may have just done a ‘lift and shift’ of data from a previous system, with limited data cleansing or enrichment. Or, they may have started with high-quality data, but not had the data governance roles & processes in place to maintain it.

How we fix this:

    • We identify the data gaps or issues and produce a remediation plan, with data improvement workstreams ordered by business priority.

    • We complete as much of the data cleansing work as we can, whilst supporting the firm’s data owners where only they have the knowledge to fill the gaps.

    • In parallel, we put in place data governance roles & processes, supported by newly implemented data quality dashboards & reports, to ensure that data is well managed going forwards.


Issue 2: Lack of continuous improvement

Some firms take systems ‘out-of-the-box’, without tailoring them to fit the nuances of their organisation, to get up and running as quickly as possible. Others spend significant time tailoring systems to their needs during the implementation, but stop new configuration once it goes live. With business needs constantly evolving, a system that is not continuously improved will quickly become out of date.

The common result of both of these scenarios is that business users feel the system doesn’t work for them and they stop using it, reverting to their former ways of working.

How we fix this:

    • We meet with the business to understand their views on the system and discuss any configuration issues or aspects of their work that the system is not setup to manage.

    • We provide best practice guidance, using our experience with other firms, to discuss potential approaches and work together to agree the solution. Solutions include system changes, training, governance changes and improvements to wider business processes.

    • Once the changes are agreed and prioritised, we help super users implement them and roll them out to the business.  ​


Issue 3: Over-complicated configuration

Some firms try to do too much in phase 1, increasing the scope during the implementation, rather than first getting users comfortable running basic processes in the system. This is especially problematic if users are being asked to adopt new businesses processes alongside new technology.

Poor change control can also result in over-complication, with too many people inputting changes without consideration of best practice or downstream impacts. This quickly causes issues, making the system difficult to use and maintain.

How we fix this:

    • We work with users and senior sponsors, discussing aspects of the system that could be simplified and standardised without compromising business processes or required data output.

    • We implement the agreed changes in the system and processes and roll them out to the business.

    • In parallel, we put in place ongoing change governance so there is a mechanism in place to prevent the same issues happening again.


Issue 4: Lack of buy in from the business

The root cause of system issues is often a lack of business buy-in, causing reluctance to change ways of working to adopt the new system. This is typically the result of:

    • A lack of senior sponsorship of the system

    • A lack of change management during the implementation

    • The business not having felt consulted in the system selection process

    • The benefits and business case for the change never having been communicated.

For an implementation to be successful, it is vital to have senior business leaders regularly communicating the benefits of the system to their teams, explaining how the system fits in with the firm’s strategy, and championing its use from the top.

How we fix this:

    • Most importantly, we ensure that senior business leaders understand and back the benefits case, and are championing use of the system.

    • We identify where change management hasn’t been done, and introduce further responsibilities and communications required to make the system successful.

    • We ensure that reports & dashboards are setup optimally, so that the business gets highly valuable outputs from the system.

    • We encourage regular activities like team meetings to be driven by these live reports & dashboards, so that users have to enter their data.

    • Finally, we setup ongoing continuous improvements meetings, so we can respond quickly to user feedback and make sure that the system continues to evolve with the business.


Through Holland Mountain’s services, we have been able to successfully turn around dozens of under-performing operational systems, including CRM systems, portfolio monitoring systems, and fund accounting systems, amongst others. Our support has enabled digital teams to avoid costly projects to select and implement new systems, where, with our support, the technology in place can be perfectly capable of meeting the business needs.

If you have a system that is not adding enough value today, get in touch with our team to find out more.

Jeremy Hocter

Head of Consulting

Jeremy is a leading Private Capital process, technology and data expert, who has worked exclusively in the Private Capital industry for 18 years. He has advised many of the leading GPs and LPs across the US, the UK, Europe, the Middle East and Asia, including Bridgepoint, Pantheon, Permira and KKR.

As Holland Mountain’s Head of Consulting, Jeremy oversees all consulting projects and leads our team of specialist consultants. Jeremy also drives Holland Mountain’s COO/CTO Practice, supporting operational leaders to establish the people, processes, technology & data capabilities they need to achieve their strategic objectives. Jeremy and his team have delivered operational strategy work for over 40 of the leading Private Capital firms globally.