Indian corporate websites fail to compete

Oct 01, 2013
<p>BSE 100 online presence falls 20 percent behind global average across six categories</p>

The corporate websites maintained by India’s top 100 companies are significantly less fit for purpose than those of their global peers, a recent report by digital communications firm Investis finds.

The Investis IQ Ranking, which rates corporate websites in comparison to the benchmarking tool of the firm being rated, finds that the websites of companies on the Bombay Stock Exchange’s BSE 100 Index score more than 20 percent lower than the global average in media, corporate governance, corporate responsibility, careers, multimedia and content. Across all categories, BSE 100 companies fall at least 25 percent behind the global average.

The index’s overall score of 27 percent leaves it at the bottom of Investis’ global scores, 7 percent behind Russia’s RTS Index and with less than half the score of the rankings’ top performer, Germany’s DAX 30.

Tata Steel is the outstanding IR performer in the index with a score of 55 percent, with Hindustan Unilever and Infosys both following closely with 53 percent. Overall, however, BSE companies hit just 28 percent for their IR content – almost half the IR score for FTSE 100 websites.  

‘In the first instance, there is a lack of regulation regarding online corporate communications,’ says Marcus Fergusson, head of social media at Investis. ‘While there are IR societies for the respective stock exchanges that might advise on best practice, there is no overall co-ordination nationally and a lack of activity regionally.’

Fergusson draws attention to the fact that there has been ‘little investment in improving and maintaining the quality of corporate websites’ in the country, with some of them several years behind their global counterparts. Fundamentally, sites are updated in the interest of design rather than the needs of investors, analysts and stakeholders.

‘Ultimately, if India’s listed companies are to compete in the global market and attract global investment, they need to recognize that their corporate websites are their window to the world,’ Fergusson continues.

Indian firms are also lagging behind in their adoption of mobile technology and are currently 71 percent off the rest of the world, reports Investis. Ninety-two companies even record a score of zero for their mobile content.

This is worrying, notes Fergusson, when considering that India houses more than 67 mn smartphone users who, between them, access the internet more often than desktop users. Their numbers are growing quickly, too, with 841 percent more internet-enabled mobile devices recorded in the country within the last year. ‘The younger generation is keener on mobile than ever – so mobile can only become exponentially important over time,’ Fergusson adds.

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