How digital diligence went mainstream

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In depth digital analytics was once the preserve of consumer marketing teams, but increasingly investors and management teams are turning to digital data to drive acquisitions, value creation strategies and digital transformation projects.

We look at why digital data has become such a widely used proxy, and how digital diligence is becoming a mandatory requirement to underpin decision-making.

Why Digital Data?

It’s easy to see why an e-commerce business or major consumer brand would care about digital data, but why should B2B businesses or those in niche sectors? Well, the truth these days is that every business is a digital business, no matter what sector or scale.

According to research Forrester, 68% of B2B customers prefer to research independently online before engaging directly with a potential purchaser and that figure is increasing year on year.

More than that, digital data can give you important insights into a specific company or sector, its headroom for market share gains with specific customer segments and territories, its reputation and competitive benchmarking.

From the outside in, digital assessments can tell you what a business’ growth strategy is, and, more importantly, what it should be.

Combine all this together (with the help of a data scientist or two) and you have some robust, actionable market intel to give you the edge on the competition.

In what situations do people commission digital due diligence?

It depends on the questions you want to answer and what you want to use the analysis for. onefourzero tends to work with people at four stages:

  1. Investment: From early stage market assessments before engaging with an asset, through to full commercial due diligence, we analyse outside-in and first party data (where available) to validate all aspects of a potential investment against relevant competitor sets and available sector headroom.

  2. Value creation: Consulting with investors and businesses, we provide detailed strategies, recommendations on skills and technology infrastructure, as well as appropriate KPIs to help brands achieve their digital potential.

  3. Digital transformation: Consulting at all levels of digital maturity, we can provide plans and pathways to full transformation from product and service re-alignment, through to full technological and organisational implementation.

  4. On-going Monitoring: From quarterly snapshots to live dashboards, we enable brands or investors to benchmark performance of both internal digital KPIs, as well as overall performance versus competitors, across a range of online metrics (traffic, sentiment, social media and modelled conversions / sales).

In each of these cases we triangulate global datasets, analysis from our team of expert consultants and our own proprietary tools to get to the heart of the questions our clients want to answer.

Where do you get the data for a digital due diligence project?

Everywhere and anywhere.

But grabbing loads of data is only the start, knowing how to analyse it and to draw out the commercial implications for the client is where the real value lies, and that still requires humans. In onefourzero’s case we use an expert team of data scientists, programmers and commercial analysts, supported by a network of sector and international consultants to add valuable local or industry insights.

And ensuring the data is as robust as possible is vital to avoid false positives. At onefourzero we do that through multi-source triangulation, combing and analysing as many sources as possible to provide the most reliable answers for our clients.

To give you a snapshot, our process combines:

  • Multi-source, triangulated data: We compile data from more than 17 different digital sources. After a process of cleaning, comparing, validating and triangulating, the data is transformed into the client’s preferred output, from reports to dashboards.
  • Proprietary tools: We develop our own code and tools to scrape, standardize and visualize data using AI, natural language processing and machine learning. This ensures efficiency and consistency, while enabling our people time to be spent adding human expertise and insight.
  • Digital and sector experts: Knowing what to do with the large volumes of digital data, and what the commercial implications are for clients is at the heart of our recruitment policy. We also leverage a network of sector and international consultants to add valuable local or industry insights.

Who is commissioning digital diligence?

 In short, everyone.

What started with savvy investors who spotted an opportunity to get a lead on the competition has now gone mainstream, we work with pharmaceutical companies, the NHS, trade associations and businesses of all shapes and sizes.

The M&A market is still a core part of our business as well, and with record levels of dry powder around being able to get real-world commercial insights on the viability of an investment before you have to even commit to bidding is attractive to private equity, venture capital and trade buyers alike.

The market is still relatively infant, onefourzero was one of the first on the scene and we’ve only been going for just over 4 years, but it’s growing at a lightning pace and we are working with clients all over the world.

The last 4 years have seen digital diligence move from a specialist sector to the mainstream, the next four will see it move from mainstream to mandatory.

And I, for one, can’t wait!

To find out more about digital diligence and how it can help you supercharge your growth, get in touch! Email me at

Fleur Hicks, MD
Fleur is the MD of onefourzero