David Snow, wrote: << You will need to keep track of the capital accounts of each investor, keep track of the performance of each portfolio company, keep track
of your deal flow, and keep
track of your own firm's finances, personnel files and regulatory materials...>>
That's truly right. PE firms could start using Office suite, but, as their business grow, the risk is to lose the control.
Following another answer, from JP Ellis: <<Standard productivity tools like MS Office or a similar suite of e-mail, word processing, spreadsheet and presentation programs are a given. Depending on headcount and AUM, some firms may also have a CRM and/or reporting software which streamlines Investor Relations reporting. Many professionals are wary, however, of including too many "bells and whistles" on reporting software, as often a firm's portfolio companies will vary greatly in capital structure, line and sector of business, and complexity; forcing automation onto unique circumstances does not always work out as planned and may even create more work synthesizing and re-packaging or socializing to investment and deal teams. Accordingly, many firms may still prefer to process Investor Relations reporting materials by hand in MS Office or other similar application suites. Looking in-house, a firm may also consider some form of Human Resources or Learning / Development software, but this is non-essential and will vary greatly based on size and bias of the firm. Other essentials include a secure document viewer for Investor Relations and deal due diligence. Watchdox and Intralinks are quite commonly used. Other cloud-based computing and collaboration tools such as Box.Net can also be very helpful, again, depending on the size and inclination of the firm. As David mentions above, there are also speciality providers of software which admirably try to synthesize the entire value chain. There's a lot on offer and you should read up on it in industry publications. >>