INVESTOR relations departments are hardly renowned for being leaders in using new technology, but it seems you can make an exception when it comes to iPad apps designed to deliver IR information on Apple’s popular tablet.
Things really heated up this week when two companies launched new IR apps that best anything we have seen so far. Several investor relations departments have also created iPad versions of their annual reports, with more expected to come in the next few weeks.
Driving factors behind the iPad trend include its obvious coolness factor, strong support from senior executives who have taken a shine to the nifty device, and the simple fact that any meetings companies have with the sell- and buy-sides today invariably includes at least one iPad-clutching analyst.
Jury still out
Without getting into a serious debate about it, it’s worth noting that the jury is still out on whether investor relations iPad apps are a waste of money or destined to become a must-have for every company. For an excellent and detailed exploration of the issues, see Keynote’s article The Mobile Dilemma. (Let’s just say my money’s on the web.)
Nonetheless, investor relations departments embracing new technology is something we at IR Web Report want to celebrate. So we’ve compiled this list of 7 IR specific iPad apps for you to try. If your company is considering creating an app of its own, they’ll surely provide some ideas. Let us know what you think.
1. Cemex: CX Investor
Mexico-based cement maker Cemex has a long history of being at the front of the pack when it comes to investor relations. They are a much-cited case study in how foreign companies can overcome obstacles in the US markets. Technology has been a feature of their IR program for a long time, and they were early adopters of social media.
Their new iPad app, which was added to the App Store just this week, is a full-featured investor relations app with stock information, news updates, company webcasts and presentations, and reports in PDF. There’s also integration with the company’s social media channels. Developed by Neoris, an IT subsidiary of Cemex, this is the first IR iPad app that begins to explore the potential of the medium.
2. Zurich Financial Services: Zurich InfoShelf
Not as full-featured as Cemex, the Zurich InfoShelf app is also new to the App Store this week. It offers instant access to Zurich Financial Services’ corporate publications, including annual reports, letters to shareholders, investor presentations and the company’s Insights magazine. Current information is pushed to the app, including the latest company news releases and an event calendar.
3. Nestlé: Nestlé for iPad
Also not as full-featured as the Cemex app, Nestlé was early on the iPad and so got a lot of traction. The app includes news and feature articles, press releases, weekly share buy-back updates, and PDFs of reports, presentations and transcripts. The company reports the app has been downloaded 12,000 times since October 2010. This week, Nestlé also launched an app for the Android operating system, which has been installed less than 500 times.
4. Wärtsilä Corporation: Wärtsilä iPublication
The Wärtsilä iPublication brings together a wide range of information about the Finland-based engineering company using the utility of the iPad format. Here you can find financial publications, magazines and other company updates. It also has Facebook and Twitter connectivity and implements push notifications. The company has been aggressively promoting the application on its Facebook page, and running competitions where the prizes are iPads.
5. AkzoNobel: AkzoNobel Report 2010
This is a full annual report optimized for the iPad rather than just providing a PDF or a summary as other apps do. It is designed to be easier to navigate on the iPad and also can be used offline, even if you have no WiFi or 3G access. It was developed by online report specialists Nexxar and is their first iPad app. While other online annual report apps have more engaging content, this report delivers serious information for a serious investor audience.
6. Pernod Ricard: Annual Report
This is annual report-only app from the French drinks company is beautifully designed and easy to navigate. It features bright and creative images by the contemporary Argentinian photographer Marcos Lopez, and a bit of video, too. However, only a summary of the report is available for the iPad proper. For the full report you have to use the provided PDF version. It was one of the first iPad annual reports, so it will be good to see what they do with their next report.
7. Siemens: Siemens Annual Report 2010
The Siemens Annual Report 2010 is actually three reports: the company report, the financial report and “Siemens at a glance.” If not for the videos, it would feel a lot like a book, or three of them.
There are several other investor relations or annual report apps available, but for the most part they offer nothing more than you will find on this list. This is still an emerging area and we’ll keep you informed as things progress.