Another company has joined the IR app brigade. Kingfisher, the FTSE 100-listed home improvement retailer, yesterday launched an app for the iPad featuring share price data, videos, news and a documents library.
The app was designed by Investis, the London-based provider of corporate websites and related online services. It is an updated version of Investis’ off-the-shelf app, which costs less than bespoke apps but offers reduced flexibility in terms of content.
The main new feature of the update is the ability to share content with social media sites at the click of a button. There have also been a couple of smaller tweaks, such as the option to display dual share price listings.
In June, Marks & Spencer became the first company to launch one of Investis’ off-the-shelf apps. Since then, the app has been downloaded by more than 1,200 subscribers. But the number of downloads should not be the main measure of success, says Al Loehnis, business development director at Investis.
‘Realistically, I don’t think you make the argument purely on the basis of the numbers of investors alone… most people are still accessing information more via websites than they are via iPads,’ he says.
Most IR departments focus on a small universe of investors and analysts, says Loehnis. If a small but growing number of them are using iPads, he argues, then an app can be a cheap way of optimising the delivery of content to this group.
Loehnis is also keen to talk up the internal benefits, stating that iPad apps offer a convenient way to transport and share information about the company among the IR team and with senior management. The uptake of iPads by boards shows the extent to which apps are becoming an important internal tool for companies, he notes.
IR practitioners using the iPad for work include Roddy Child-Villiers of Nestlé, where the whole IR team is kitted out with the Apple product, and the National Grid’s John Dawson, who is also chairman of the UK IR Society.
The bigger picture to bear in mind, says Loehnis, is that more and more information is being consumed on the move. He references a Morgan Stanley study that says the tipping point will come in early 2014, when mobile internet users will overtake desktop internet users (see chart below).
‘The switch from desk-based to mobile internet access is happening really quickly,’ he explains. ‘We’ve got some clients who are now well north of 10 per cent of access to their corporate websites coming from mobile devices.’
[Article by Tim Human, Inside Investor Relations]