4 Ways to optimize your IR processes and build strategic value
7 March 2019
By Marla Hurov
The scope of the IRO role has been expanding for some time. With the rise of new technologies, along with a constantly changing regulatory landscape and a reduced sell-side, you’re expected to add increasing value in a greater myriad of functions.
To ensure you have time for those inevitable fire-drills that keep you so busy, completing your daily responsibilities efficiently and consistently is essential. From earnings to investor days, NDRs, and board meetings, it’s critical to align your tactical and strategic initiatives to achieve your objectives.
Here are a few essential approaches to improving the way you work and crushing your 2019 goals:
1. Streamline your workflow and think “LEAN”
There’s always an opportunity to streamline your earnings cycle. Bringing the right people into the process at the right time ensures that you’re using everyone’s time wisely, and that they’re adding value when and how they’re most needed. Taking this LEAN approach can reduce workloads and improve the end product.
LEAN is the application of techniques that remove waste (time, materials, money, people, etc). Toyota Motor pioneered these methods in the ‘50s, as the only consistently profitable volume car manufacturer of their time. By successfully applying “lean management” methods, you can effectively standardize and optimize your quarterly processes. Start with a value stream map, which allows you to visualize who, what, where, and when people and resources come into your process. This enables you to identify how to most effectively use your extended team and make the best use of everybody’s time.
2. Integrate best practices and embrace innovation
From your CRM, to shareholder intelligence and market insights, it’s essential to integrate best practices with the right technologies and tools. Don’t settle for the status quo. While historical experience is comforting when it comes to executing our roles, try to keep an eye on your peers who may have found a better way through trial and error. Leveraging innovative methods and new technologies can help reduce your workload, improve your impact, and elevate your program.
Never be too proud (or shy) to look to other IR professionals to come up with more effective methods, discover new tools, or keep a leg up on IR trends. Innovation is key to setting your brand apart and staying ahead of the game.
3. Automate tasks whenever possible
From board materials to executive summaries, and shareholder outreach, you leverage charts, tables, and a variety of other data, each and every quarter. Don’t start from scratch every time. Take control of your workflow and strategic planning, by automating manual tasks and reports.
Set-up an automated process for pulling data and constructing reports. “Standardizing” tactical work like this enables you to perfect the end product, and reduce the time you spend creating it. It can help change the way you work. Apart from the obvious benefits of making mundane tasks more efficient and minimizing human error, it also frees up your time to focus on driving strategic value and engaging with your investors and shareholders.
4. Leverage expert advice
The scope of the IR role has expanded. Not to mention that IROs come from a variety of communications and finance roles, often wearing several hats at the same time. But the reality is that we can’t all be experts in every enterprise function.
Enlisting the help of an “IR Partner” with deep and broad experience can help you fill in the gaps, from communications and financial expertise to headcount resources. Raise your game by leveraging seasoned advice to plan your investor days and NDRs, choose the best conferences to attend, target the right prospects etc. Best practice counselling can also dramatically improve your engagement and visibility. In today’s ever-complex landscape, a carefully chosen partner can be an extension of your team and support you in reaching your 2019 goals.
Here at Q4, we believe that by working with the right partner and arming yourself with the right technology, you can drive strategic value. Q4’s new IR Success Platform is designed to help IR teams, of all sizes and shapes, optimize processes and run impactful programs.