Tradition vs. Technology in the IR World

Posted by on January 18th, 2013

Recently I went to my first investor conference to observe one of my clients’ presentations.  The investors were already seated as the CEO began his speech.  Then, at the last minute, a gray haired veteran investor strolled into the room, sat down next to me, pulled out a large notebook from a bag filled with what seemed to be several textbooks worth of paper, and began taking notes.  After a flawless presentation and Q&A session, the younger investors grabbed their laptops and tablets and left quickly, while the veteran shuffled his paperwork and slowly left the room.

This seems like a classic example of tradition vs. technology — nothing new there.  But what happened next drove home the superiority and importance of mobile technology in the investor community.  As my colleague and I chatted with the CEO outside the presentation room, the investors filed out, occasionally complementing the CEO on a job well done.  One investor stopped to ask a few more detailed questions, which went on for about 20 minutes.  As we observed the interaction, the investor asked about some financial numbers that the CEO was uncertain of and wanted to confirm.  At that moment it dawned on me that I had recently downloaded my client’s investor relations app to my Android, so I quickly queued up the information they were discussing.  This scenario epitomizes the usefulness of mobile technology and the ease of access it provides.

The norm has shifted from being able to store information quickly on a portable device, to being able to access web content quickly on a portable device.  The saying “there’s an app for that” continues to be relevant as developers convert more content into app form.  Companies of all sizes are realizing the demand for mobile apps is growing.  Graham Charlton of Econsultancy.com comments, “23% of firms are already creating mobile apps, with a further 47% planning to do so in the next 12 months.”  The market for investor relations apps is growing, and I believe it won’t be long until all companies have their financial information in app format.  My experience at the investor presentation already demonstrated the usefulness of such technology, and as an IR professional, I look forward to the expansion of the investor relations app market.