The impact of intuitively smart apps on investor relations
According to Q4’s VP of Technology, Alex Corotchi and Q4 Desktop Product Owners Scott Brownhill and Mario Bozzo, the future of IR will be powered by automated personalization. The fact is that IROs are looking for products that are increasingly more sophisticated at making their lives easier and faster. They want to find the data they need, with fewer clicks and steps. This means that products need to become more “intelligent” at providing solutions: by understanding, anticipating, and adapting to the user’s unique needs. More than ever before, it’s no longer about users learning products, but rather about products learning users. Which is why at the heart (or rather brain) of Q4’s Desktop is Ai technology, an engine called iris that’s driven by artificial intelligence. I recently caught up with Alex, Scott and Mario to discuss this emerging development in tech and how it will impact the IR space.
IR products that serve-up personalized experiences
In recent years, user expectations have matured. More and more, consumers are looking for both automated and highly personalized experiences. Products now need to understand the context of a user. Scott describes it as “a shift in mentality” with the end goal of satisfying the user on a whole new level. Up until (almost exactly) five years ago, products were never customized to users. He likens it to the evolution of how we watch movies at home. Consumers were content to rent fr om Blockbuster, “wading up and down aisles and reading the back of VHS/DVD covers.” And then, Netflix came along and disrupted everything, by creating a personalized experience for the movie watcher. “Now, all you have to do is open the app, and Netflix tells you what’s worth your while. Netflix has become more than just a platform for finding movies; it’s become a tastemaker.”
Netflix’s dashboard and new release emails are all tailored to you, based on your watching history. Applied to IR, the premise is the same. Not every IR team experiences identical pain points. Each has different needs and requirements. Like Netflix, IR products need to learn and evolve with the needs and preferences of multiple types of users. According to Mario, “our goal at Q4 is to build digital solutions that provide a much richer experience, through content that’s curated.”
Consumers are becoming increasingly accustomed to having information handed to them, based on their preferences. This trend is not unique to one industry or business. According to Scott, “new products will have to be ready to serve. The first time you log in, the app should know who you are, your market cap, peers, preferences, and the data you’re interested in.” Today’s trends indicate that all IR products (like in other sectors), will also need to be more intelligent and intuitive about the context of a user’s behavioural history and pattern of interactions. They should know where you are in your work cycle and prompt you accordingly. Scott sees IR products as one day (soon) being able to remind you to log interactions with a potential investor; prompt you to log notes if you just met with someone, or suggest potential investors to meet if you’re in a new city.
Artificial intelligence is the brain behind smart apps
According to Alex, it’s always been important for products to be easy to learn and onboard. But over the last few years, this has progressed to the next level. “Clients don’t want to learn the product. They want the product to learn them.” For him, the difference between a good and a greatproduct is the ability for an application to become increasingly smarter about personalization.
Alex explains that it’s “through the advances of Ai, that we’re developing products that are more closely personalized than ever before to who and wh ere you are, and how you use them.” Adding that Ai is largely new and unique to the IR market, he continues, “our Ai driven engine, iris, has become the brain of our products. It has the ability to learn about the client and the client’s context. When you log in, it can give you answers before you ask the questions, by building on your profile and patterns.” Moreover, “Ai learns from experience and gets progressively better over time.” This means that “the more clients use our products, the more iris learns and teaches itself about your data and workflow.”
In fact, Q4’s surveillance analysts have already been using Ai to develop real-time reports for clients. Alex notes that “we’ve been testing and perfecting our Ai development internally, before sharing it with the public.” Scott interjects, “before we hand over the keys, we have to take a manual drive ourselves.”
What technological advances are coming next for IR?
Starting this Spring through until the end of 2018, Q4 will be releasing features that will set new ground for a personalized IR platform driven by Ai. This will include the launch of a next level dashboard, as well as highly compelling advances in targeting potential.
Essentially, Ai will become the new standard for “smart” apps to adapt to the paths of our users. Alex believes that every Q4 product will become increasingly personalized for our clients. Scott summarizes, “Over time, iris will develop a better understanding of the user’s patterns, and will empower Q4’s products with the ability to suggest actions or tasks based on the user’s context of time, place, and market behaviour.”