Q&A Tool in a Virtual Data Room: The What, Why, and How

6 min

For what purpose do CEOs choose virtual data rooms? 

In simple terms, the software facilitates complex transactions and ensures a high level of data protection. These factors are valuable for directors since cyberattacks cause irreparable harm to organizations. 

However, another need for a smooth deal is to maintain communication between parties. That is where the Q&A data room module comes into play.

What is a Q&A module?

The Q&A section is a way to communicate in a virtual data room. It has numerous advantages over email or instant messengers. In terms of definition, Q&A is a space for asking, answering, and discussing questions about transactions. Notably, the tool provides efficient interaction through options for discussing data-related issues. 

Why is Q&A different from other business communication tools?

  • All virtual data room functions are under sophisticated security mechanisms protection. Therefore, the Q&A embedded in the software is also safe.
  • The Q&A module works alongside special due diligence features to make the procedure easier.
  • Q&A is the basis for detailed analytics and insights since there is a large amount of relevant information.

What is the value of Q&A for a data room user?

The main benefits of Q&A modules in data room software include:

  • Seamless interaction between business parties. Messaging experiences no hindrances or delays. Everyone involved receives instant notifications of new information. So, teams are always in touch and respond on time.
  • Richer transactional data. Discussing document issues  in person does not provide this advantage. Other communication tools, in turn, may make correspondence chaotic. Conversely, the VDR offers not only ordered files but all discussions on them as well. That is, with one click, the user can view all posts for a specific record.
  • More focus on potential buyers. Buyers interested in a deal take an active part in discussions trying to get information about an organization. Tracking their high activity on the platform, VDR admins know with whom to build communication for further cooperation.
  • Manageable Q&A in all aspects. As we know, all activities in virtual workspaces are subject to preconfigured settings. The same goes for Q&A. Admins determine what documents users can discuss, what questions to ask, and who has authorization. Finally, and most importantly, they decide who has access to the module content.
  • The adequate level of security. Email and other communication tools pose risks to internet users. Therefore, secure tools such as Q&A are the best choice since VDR providers are responsible for breaches.

How does the Q&A space work?

A Q&A service within the data room does not require much user effort. Yet, the following list of settings helps to understand the module specifics. It is important to note that the parameter names are standard but may differ depending on the selected virtual data room.

1. Prioritize urgency before submitting your question:

  • High
  • Average
  • Low

2. Mark the question with a status so as not to deviate from the following categorization and not cause confusion:

  • Questions and answers
  • Awaiting response
  • In progress
  • Processing by an expert
  • Already answered
  • The question is closed

3. Make use of Q&A attachments.

No worries here, participants can safely exchange confidential data directly on the platform without needing any other programs.

4. Enable the FAQ section to save time.

This feature provides answers to the most frequently asked questions.

How does Q&A benefit due diligence in a VDR?

Historical examples are the best lessons for generations to come. One of these experiences was HP’s acquisition of Autonomy in 2011. Long story short, this procedure culminated with years of litigation. HP claims that Autonomy conducted fraudulent transactions to raise the company’s value artificially before selling.

What could have prevented this incident? Data room software and due diligence Q&A could have maintained transactional transparency at all stages.

The Q&A technology helps thoroughly vet an organization from all angles and eliminate the risks associated with the most common errors, such as:

  • Outdated Q&A methods. Although they are traditional, they entail uncontrolled leakage of confidential information.
  • Wasting time. The smooth question and answer process is incompatible with heaps of tables, files, emails. There, due diligence participants look for the required data. As a result, the operation is slow.
  • Lack of secure reports and archives on Q&A content. It is one of the main reasons for the transaction failure, as the parties do not audit. So this translates into not only disputes, the use of unverified information but also leaks.

What does the built-in data room Q&A offer?

  • A clear understanding of actions or omissions in the Q&A process with the tracking function
  • Automatic generation of reports, eliminating the need for users to collect data from multiple resources
  • The Q&A datasheet containing all crucial details that a person might miss due to human factors
  • Completely adjustable Q&A, meeting any particular needs and preferences. This includes reviewing due diligence around the clock, sending questions to the appropriate experts, setting limits on specific questions, and much more.

Basic vs. advanced Q&A features in a VDR

Since modern virtual data rooms maximally satisfy business needs, Q&A is always a high-quality service. However, users conditionally divide modules into basic and advanced.

Basic Q&A functions

  • Automatic question routing. If the participant assigns questions to one specific person, then there is no need for an intermediary. Instead, an expert in the subject matter receives questions directly.
  • Bulk uploading. There is no need to authorize anyone to share answers. Alternatively, users download and send the data via email, and recipients, in turn, can send back the document in Excel format.
  • FAQ. This space contains the most pressing questions that participants often ask. The data room owner marks the questions to put in there, and the program automatically adds the information to the FAQ section.
  • File assignment. It is an additional resource for those working with the contents of the file. They can study all the related questions and answers.

Advanced Q&A functions

  • Easy-to-read reports. Detailed information is easy to understand as advanced providers offer visual analytics. They are the basis for analyzing the activity of bidders.
  • Setting limits. Administrators set restrictions on questions and persons who can ask them. Again, it is to avoid chaos and make the participants work consciously.
  • Search engine. By searching for keywords, it is possible to find specific questions or answers. Thus, there is no need to look through all the content. Moreover, filters are available by dates, persons, and status levels.
  • Follow-up discussions. If there is already an answer to the question, but bidders have additional messages, they can leave them in the same thread.
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