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Amazon ploughs funds into UK offices and R&D staff
22 Oct 2018
GB Group drives ANZ expansion with Vix Verify buy
22 Oct 2018
Raise your company profile with our Sponsored Posts and drive lead generation
22 Oct 2018
Prince's Trust ICT Leaders' Forum and Dinner: Tickets available!
22 Oct 2018
10 DAYS LEFT for the chance to disrupt the Customer Management/Customer Experience Market
22 Oct 2018
IFS switching up cloud business
19 Oct 2018
Banking software behind Sopra Steria FY adjustment
19 Oct 2018
BGF transports £5m to Fleetondemand
19 Oct 2018
Uber drives and delivers – but can it also serve?
19 Oct 2018
Capita wins £5.7m contract to connect Essex NHS
19 Oct 2018
*NEW RESEARCH* UK SITS stocks out of favour in Q3
19 Oct 2018
AlbionVC Are Hiring!
19 Oct 2018
Purposeful Endava drives growth
18 Oct 2018
*UKHotViewsExtra* Hancock launches vision for healthcare technology
18 Oct 2018
Further cloud momentum at SAP during Q3
18 Oct 2018
Angels bless Shopblocks' journey to ecommerce heaven
18 Oct 2018
Cybereason digs into ARM chips for IoT defence
18 Oct 2018
SCISYS protects itself against Brexit
18 Oct 2018
New funding applied to Applied's 'diverse' hiring platform
18 Oct 2018
Arvato adds East West Railway to Swansea Shared Services
18 Oct 2018
Newly IPO’d Avast grows Q3 revenue 6% yoy
18 Oct 2018
Another gorilla in the midst for Fincham!
18 Oct 2018
Funding for Deep Technology – From Concept to Commercial Reality
18 Oct 2018
Mindtree pleases – though Europe surprises
17 Oct 2018
NIIT Tech declares 10% growth 'the new normal'
17 Oct 2018
IBM’s ‘flat’ third quarter
17 Oct 2018
Leidos retains Scottish Government contract
17 Oct 2018
Thread gets more stylish with new funding
17 Oct 2018
Softcat hits £1bn revenue milestone
17 Oct 2018
First Derivatives take “inside” track on analytics
17 Oct 2018
Capita extends German Telecoms contract
17 Oct 2018
Infosys continues as it means to finish
17 Oct 2018
Netflix gives welcome boost to tech stocks
17 Oct 2018
AlbionVC is hiring
17 Oct 2018
IMIMobile makes smart move with Apple Business Chat
16 Oct 2018
Not every company is a tech company
16 Oct 2018
Netcall seizes Low-code route to growth
16 Oct 2018
Endava gets strategic with Bain
16 Oct 2018
Dotdigital overcomes GDPR headwind
16 Oct 2018
Wipro targets UK skills development
16 Oct 2018
CoinShare raises a token €2m for loyalty scheme
16 Oct 2018
Paul Allen dies
16 Oct 2018
Legaletch Lexoo leaps up a funding level
16 Oct 2018
Musings on the Patisserie Valerie debacle
16 Oct 2018
Win innovation funding with the NTT DATA Open Innovation Contest 9.0
16 Oct 2018
Corero and Juniper strengthen ties with US$2m funding
15 Oct 2018
London AI Lab: first fruits from Atos/Google partnership
15 Oct 2018
Government launches digital economy competition investigation
15 Oct 2018
*NEW RESEARCH* End User Insights: Uncovering AI/Machine Learning Deployment Success Factors
15 Oct 2018
Redstor beefs up management to support expansion plans
15 Oct 2018
Dawn strengthens Garrison's security
15 Oct 2018
A unique TechMarketView subscription for individuals
15 Oct 2018
Top backer loans dosh to IDE for '365' MBO
15 Oct 2018
Quarterly Research Summary Q3 2018
15 Oct 2018

UKHotViews©

 

Monday 22 October 2018

Amazon ploughs funds into UK offices and R&D staff

amzonAmazon plans to move into Manchester’s Northern Quarter (Hanover Building) with a brand new corporate office in 2019.

The move will create at least 600 new jobs with roles focused on technology projects to enhance the company's products and services.

In addition, Amazon is looking to build out the number of R&D professionals in existing centres in Edinburgh and Cambridge. In Edinburgh, the focus is on new advertising technology and personalised shopping recommendations, and it is expected that 250 new roles will be created. In Cambridge, the R&D teams are working on Alexa, AWS, Prime Air (a future delivery system to deliver packages to customers within 30 minutes using drones), and core retail systems for improving the shopping experience. Amazon says 180 new roles will be added in Cambridge.

The investment is testament to the high quality of tech professionals based around the country - i.e. not just London. The UK will, however, need to be the recipient of substantial on-going technology investment from all types of businesses to create a workforce able to cultivate opportunities from a whole range of emerging technologies. 

Posted by Kate Hanaghan at '09:55'

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Monday 22 October 2018

GB Group drives ANZ expansion with Vix Verify buy

GB Group drives ANZ expansion with Vix Verify buyChester-headquartered identity data intelligence specialist GB Group (GBG) expanded its presence in Australia and New Zealand with the acquisition of Vix Verify Global (VVG).

The A$38m (£21m) cash deal adds scale to GBG’s existing operations in the two countries, alongside a blue-chip customer base that already uses VVG’s identity and locational intelligence solutions and additional staff expertise.

The purchase will add around A$22m (£12m) to GBG’s annual revenue, which in FY18 increased 37% yoy to £120m. The majority of that turnover (£78.5m) came from the UK, but with continued international expansion on the cards following the earlier acquisitions of IDScan and PCA Predict, it can only be a matter of time before the AIM-listed company’s overseas fraud detection, identity verification and location intelligence activity provide the mainstay of its turnover.

Posted by Martin Courtney at '09:03' - Tagged: acquisition   GBGroup   frauddetection   locationintelligence   identityverification   VixVerifyGlobal  

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Monday 22 October 2018

Raise your company profile with our Sponsored Posts and drive lead generation

Raise your company profile with our Sponsored Posts and drive lead generation

Posted by HotViews Editor at '08:00'

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Monday 22 October 2018

10 DAYS LEFT for the chance to disrupt the Customer Management/Customer Experience Market

TechMarketView and Capita Scaling Partner are working together again to find 'digital disruptors' looking to revolutionise the Customer Management/Customer Experience (CM/CX) market.

APPLY ON THIS WEBFORM BY FRIDAY 2 NOVEMBER

The story so far ...

TIPP logo

Earlier this year we launched the TechMarketView Early Stage Partner Programme in association with Capita Scaling Partner (Capita's innovation development unit). It was a phenomenal success – you can see the testimonial videos here.

We are now extending our search for innovative partners under our new programme brand, the TechMarketView Innovation Partner Programme.

We're running the next event in December and Capita Scaling Partner is once again offering an unrivalled opportunity for innovative UK tech companies to access lucrative client markets that would typically be out of their reach. This event has been designed to attract the most ambitious and forward-thinking companies looking at disrupting how companies interact with their customers.

The chance to sell to Capita's clients

Capita logo

Capita is the UK’s leading provider of outsourced customer management services including market leading contact centre, data, analytics and digital services. Capita has more than 100 million customer conversations every year across multiple different contact channels. We are giving UK tech innovators a chance to reach this incredibly broad and rich market.

If you are selected as a Capita Scaling Partner Digital Disruptor you will get:

  • Accelerated market access: Capita will work with you to win business in their clients;
  • Extensive business development support: Capita will help you develop and refine your product, finance and go-to-market strategies;
  • Unparalleled industry visibility: TechMarketView will trumpet your success in UKHotViews, arguably the most influential daily commentary on the UK tech scene and beyond.

Eligibility requirements

You should be the Founder or CEO/MD of a privately-held, UK tech company with an innovative digital technology proposition in Customer Management or Customer Experience

Your business should be focused on transforming the way companies interact with end customers. We are looking for companies with the potential of disrupting established ways of working and service delivery, who will help to deliver key customer contact outcomes, for example:

  • Increasing end customer satisfaction;
  • Helping to improve revenue generation, e.g. increasing the range of services customers buy, or improving sales conversion;
  • Running operations more efficiently.

You could be an early-stage company or you may have been in business for some years - it's innovation we're looking for. Your customer management/customer experience proposition must at a minimum be close to the MVP (minimum viable product) stage, successfully deployed to one or more clients, and you are now looking to distribute at scale.

How to apply

To be selected as a Capita Scaling Partner Digital Disruptor, you should apply in the first instance to attend an intensive 90-minute Pre-Qualification Session (PQS) with TechMarketView Research Directors and Capita Scaling Partner advisors. The PQS event will be held in London during the week of 3rd-7th December.

PQS applications must be submitted on this webform by Friday 2nd November 2018. Applicants will be notified if their application has been successful by Friday 16th November. There is no charge to apply for or, if accepted, participate in a PQS.

You can find more information about the TechMarketView Innovation Partner Programme on the TechMarketView website and further information about Capita Scaling Partner on the Capita website. For further information please email tipp@techmarketview.com or call TechMarketView Managing Partner Anthony Miller on 020 3002 8463.

Posted by HotViews Editor at '07:00'

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Friday 19 October 2018

IFS switching up cloud business

logoWe often highlight the faster pace of growth of mid market software suppliers compared to larger vendors. While their size makes it easier to achieve high double digit growth, lower costs and typically more industry-specific solutions are significant factors. As it released details of Q3 performance, IFS proved the point again, with 37% yoy growth to SKr 1.3bn, a growth rate that very comfortably exceeded its own 12% year ago rate. It did benefit from the results of WorkWave, its largest acquisition however.

It has been a time of continuing change for the ERP software company with the appointment of Darren Roos (formerly SAP) as CEO earlier this year following the retirement of Alastair Sorbie who steered the company through major transition, and more freedom of movement resulting from investment by private equity firm EQT which enabled IFS to seek out larger acquisitions.

The company has also expanded its management team recently. Christian Pedersen (formerly chief product officer of SAP S/4HANA Cloud) has joined as chief product officer; Gabrielle Deeny (formerly ABB, where she was VP of alliances and channel sales) as global head of alliances and channels; and Sarah Nicastro (who joins from industry publication Field Technologies) as director of service business development and field service evangelist. The additions indicate IFS is stepping up a gear.

During Q3, new customers were a contributor to overall growth. Licence revenue expanded by 52% to SKr 268m but the most notable aspect was that 68% of licence revenue came from new customers. One other growth line that stood out was cloud and SaaS revenue which grew six-fold to SKr 136m (but is only c.10% of total revenue, a lower percentage compared to other software providers). IFS did start from a very low base of SKr 17m in the year ago quarter. The company has been slow to make the SaaS move - previously citing limited demand from customers – but it looks like that is changing and IFS will be grappling with the challenge and opportunities of the cloud shift.

Posted by Angela Eager at '11:55' - Tagged: results   saas   cloud   software  

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Friday 19 October 2018

Banking software behind Sopra Steria FY adjustment

logoAs we noted in Sopra Steria H118: UK strategic process, the overall company is on a journey aimed at making its business model more robust by 2020. Bumps on the road are inevitable and Q318 saw one of those bumps, causing Sopra Steria to adjust its FY18 earnings forecast.

The impact of two issues within the banking software business - an opportunity that didn’t materalise and ongoing delivery issues (that are being addressed) - means group level revenue growth expectations are being moderated. Organic growth is now being expected to be “at least 4.5%” rather than reaching the top end of the initial target range of 3%-5%. In Q3, growth is expected to be around 3.7%.

The fallout includes anticipated FY operating margin of around 7.5% (indicating an operating profit slightly higher than €300m) vs. market consensus of 8.5%. The operating margin for Sopra Banking Software is expected to be €42m below the previous forecast, on lower yoy revenue.  

This is a blow because strengthening its position in software - which includes making banking software a priority - to generate 20% of revenue is one of the areas of focus for 2018-2020, along with expanding the consulting business to reach 15% of revenue, strengthening the digital components of its offerings and accelerating the rollout of end to end solutions. As the emphasis within the banking market shifts from legacy to new technologies, institutions are investing so there is scope for Sopra Steria to push towards its target and just as one good quarter doesn’t make a trend, nor does one disappointing one. 

Posted by Angela Eager at '09:26' - Tagged: software   SI   ApplicationServices   banking  

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Friday 19 October 2018

BGF transports £5m to Fleetondemand

logoI'm trying to work out whether Saltaire-based 'mobility as a service' startup Fleetondemand is a 'real' technology business or just a very smart tech-enabled transportation marketplace. It's hard to tell just from reading the overly effusive marketing hype on its website (e.g. "Our approach is to collaborate with our clients to engage powerful mobility strategies and integrate robust processes in their business."), but I think it's the latter.

Fair enough, and Fleetondemand has just attracted a £5m investment from BGF in exchange for a minority stake.

Setting aside all the flummery, the business model seems different from 'transactional' transportation models such as Uber, being a B2B transportation aggregation platform. But I may be wrong as my eyes have already started to glaze over.

Strip away the hype – there may well be an interesting idea here.

Posted by Anthony Miller at '09:13' - 2 comments - Tagged: funding   startup  

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Friday 19 October 2018

Uber drives and delivers – but can it also serve?

picThe rumour that Uber is developing a short-term staffing platform (e.g see FT) makes interesting reading on several levels. The story goes that Uber is looking to supply temporary workers for short-term assignments such as waiters or security guards for events, under the brand Uber Works. The idea (very loosely speaking) is that Uber workers can drive people (or food) around during the day and then serve them (or it) at night. The FT (and other organs) were quick to point out that the 'news' comes ahead of Uber's expected IPO next year, inferring that this is aimed at puffing up the pricing (Ed: surely not!).

Whether or not 'gig economy' workers really are quite that 'flexible' is not really the point. Uber is clearly firing a shot over the bows of the recruitment industry with the implied threat of the same sort of disruption it has already wreaked on the taxi business. Of course, Uber is also trying to muscle in on the 'meals on wheels' industry, but this was already in a state of disruption from the likes of Just Eat and Deliveroo. Meanwhile the Amazon 'elephant' is looking for its share of the pie too.

Likewise, the recruitment industry was long ago disrupted by job boards and virtual agencies, and there are plenty that serve the temporary staffing market, both in general and also in specific industries. Where Uber might have the advantage is by providing a simple answer to the question 'who you gonna call?' when you need temporary staff.

The business model for recruitment agencies is different than that for transportation and logistics companies (which is what Uber, Lyft, et al and Just Eat, Deliveroo, et al really are), with things like timesheets needing to be completed in order to effect payment. Not an insurmountable problem – just different.

But with the additional financial fire power that a successful IPO could achieve, along with Uber's global brand recognition, you’d have to say that temp staff recruitment agencies ought to be looking over their shoulders.

(Image thanks to Garston Entertainment)

Posted by Anthony Miller at '08:42'

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Friday 19 October 2018

Capita wins £5.7m contract to connect Essex NHS

Capita wins £5.7m contract to connect Essex NHSCapita will provide wide area network (WAN) connectivity for 400 sites in Essex under the terms of a £5.7m, five-year connectivity deal as the NHS continues its migration to the Health and Social Care Network (HSCN).

The HSCN is proving a boon for connectivity suppliers (see Connectivity Providers primed for £500m of HSCN contracts), with BT Group, Redcentric and KCOM all winning similar deals in recent months as the legacy N3 network previously built and managed by BT alone is phased out.

Starting this Autumn, Capita's IT and Networks division will link hospitals, clinics and GP practices across the Essex Partnership University NHS Foundation Trust (EPUT), upgrading bandwidth and reducing running costs.

It is not clear if value-added services including Wi-Fi, secure remote access and IP voice fall under the terms of the contract though, or will demand additional fees if and when EPUT decides to implement them. Certainly the £5.7m figure looks low, especially when compared to the five-year, £80m contract for WAN, local area network (LAN) and Wi-Fi services across 1,000 sites awarded to Capita by Transport for London (TfL) late last year.

Nevertheless, it’s been a good couple of months for Capita – the company announced it had also won a £300m contract to deliver customer services for a German telco earlier this week, and was reappointed to run the Gas Safe register in September.

Posted by Martin Courtney at '08:36'

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Friday 19 October 2018

*NEW RESEARCH* UK SITS stocks out of favour in Q3

chartAfter showing some improvement in Q2, most of the UK tech indices we track fell back again in Q3. The FTSE SCS index, a proxy for UK listed software and IT services (SITS) companies was down 2.2% in Q3 resulting in a fall of 21.9% YTD. The quarterly fall was more than that of the broader FTSE 100 index which was down 1.7% in Q3 indicating a less positive sentiment towards UK SITS stocks.

Subscribers to the TechMarketView Foundation Service can see the detail and the numbers in our latest quarterly review, IndustryViews Quoted Sector Q3 2018.

Posted by HotViews Editor at '07:44'

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Thursday 18 October 2018

Purposeful Endava drives growth

LogoLondon-HQ’d “nearshore” IT services company Endava capped off an eventful FY 2018 with an impressive set of results. Revenue for the twelve months ended 30th June was up a hefty 36.5% yoy at constant currency to £217.6m and Q418 turnover surged by 44.2% over the same period in the prior year. Growth did, however, come at a cost with FY operating margin falling yoy from 14.7% to 11.7%.

Endava’s transition from a UK-centric operation to a multi-national services provider continues apace. The company’s North America business, buoyed by the purchase of Velocity Partners last January (see here), saw its top-line increase by 80% yoy and now accounts for over a fifth of worldwide revenue. European activities represented 34% of total turnover in FY18 with the UK share of global sales down to 45% from 64% just two years ago – albeit that revenue here grew by a very respectable 23% last FY.  From a sector perspective, over 80% of Endava’s sales came again from just two industry verticals; Payments and Financial Services (57%) and Telecommunications, Media & Technology (28%).

It has been a busy twelve months for Endava. As well as the aforementioned US acquisition, this last year has seen the company open of a new delivery unit in Romania and establish a strategic partnership with management consulting heavyweight Bain & Company (see here). Most significantly, the firm’s decision to IPO on the NYSE in July - and thereby becoming one of the few UK tech “unicorns” (in dollar terms) – clearly heralded Endava’s arrival on the global SITS stage.

No forward guidance for the current financial year was provided. Given both the company’s consistent track record of strong growth and the increasing business momentum with which Endava entered FY19, however, it would be reasonable to assume that its future continues to look bright.

Posted by Duncan Aitchison at '19:02' - Tagged: results   SI   digital  

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Thursday 18 October 2018

*UKHotViewsExtra* Hancock launches vision for healthcare technology

NHS logoThe Government has outlined what it believes is required to enable the health and care sector to make more effective use of technology. The Future of Healthcare: Our Vision for Digital, Data and Technology in Health and Care policy paper was launched at GOSH DRIVE (see GOSH launches new digital hub) by Secretary of State Matt Hancock yesterday, extending many of the messages he has been promoting since taking the role in July (see Hancock announces NHS technology priorities).

UKHVPremium logoThe policy paper says, “…the state of online services, basic IT and clinical tools in health and care is far behind where it needs to be”, that systems “don’t talk to each other, fail frequently and do not follow modern cyber security practices” and calls for improvements to the digital architecture of the health and care system.

The new vision is based on the adoption of open standards, interoperability and the need to take a more modular approach based on off-the-shelf technology and an assumption that all services should run on public cloud. More...

Subscribers to TechMarketView’s research services, and our UKHotViewsPremium service, can read further details here.

Posted by Dale Peters at '10:22' - Tagged: nhs   healthcare   policy  

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Thursday 18 October 2018

Further cloud momentum at SAP during Q3

logoSAP’s share price wavered this morning following the release of Q3 results that showed a 6% decline in operating profit to €1.24bn, alongside an 8% rise in total revenue to €6.02bn. However, the background to lower profitability was stronger than expected cloud momentum and indeed confident SAP raised FY18 guidance once again due to cloud and overall business momentum.

There’s no question that SAP’s cloud business is expanding. Revenue from cloud was up 39% in Q3 to €1.34bn. Although that is just c.22% of total revenue, it compares to 20% in Q2 and 16% in the year ago quarter. Meanwhile, as would be expected licence revenue fell 9% to €937m.

SAP reports on three segments. The largest and most significant is Applications, Technology and Services, home to S/4HANA, HCM (including SuccessFactors), Leonardo and the Digital Platform. At 5%, growth was solid taking the segment total to €5.05bn, of which €600m was cloud revenue (up 38%). This points to a hybrid customer strategy, something SAP briefly alluded to. There is scope for the cloud percentage to rise notably on the back of Leonardo and the Digital Platform. The S4/HANA customer count hit 9500 (up 37%). 50% of S4/HANA customers in the quarter were new to SAP which is promising but there are questions around the number of live customers; only Shell was highlighted as a customer going live on the cloud version.

The Customer Experience segment saw revenue grow 54% on the back of C/4HANA. With €232m revenue, this is still a surprisingly minor part of the overall SAP portfolio and revenue stream, even though it is a relatively new offering. However, what is promising is that of that €232m, cloud revenue represented €151m - 60%. As for the Business Network segment (Ariba, Concur, Fieldglass), revenue grew 22% to €675m, including cloud revenue up 24% to €563m.

With customers still puzzling over the business case for S/4HANA and C/4HANA migration, SAP is facing adoption headwinds; news of successful live implementations and benefits would help ease them. Nevertheless, overall cloud progress is promising and stands to benefit further from machine learning centric Leonardo, so some hard facts and use cases would be welcome.

Posted by Angela Eager at '09:57' - Tagged: results   cloud   software   digitaltransformation  

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Thursday 18 October 2018

Angels bless Shopblocks' journey to ecommerce heaven

logoGosh, it's a brave entrepreneur that launches yet another ecommerce platform into an already saturated market, especially one that doesn't use pre-designed templates.

But this is precisely what 15 year-old Kevin Jones (OK, I jest about his age, but check out his pic here!) has done with Shopblocks. Developed over five years as a spin-out from a digital marketing agency and finally launched in 2016, Shopblocks uses its proprietary Blocklabs tool for users to design and manage their online shop.

Based in Stockport, Shopblocks runs a freemium business model, with 'free' users paying only a 3.6% transaction fee for a shop with no more than 100 products (though you pay £5 p.m. if you don't sell anything). 'Pro' and 'Orbit' users pay £39 p.m. and £199 p.m. respectively for unlimited products and higher support levels. All Shopblocks' card processing is done through Stripe, which charges 1.4% + 20p on each European credit or debit card transaction. Shopblocks credits the merchant (less fees) 7 days after the sale.

Shopblocks (through its parent company Miribase Ltd) has raised £300k from Northern angel network Dow Schofield Watts Angels. Over 25 angels (number, not age!) were involved in the raise.

Jones says his mission is "to become the leading website platform in the UK in the next 12 months, and in that time we’ll be exploring how to roll out the platform on a global basis.” As technically gifted as he undoubtedly is, I'm afraid that sounds to me rather more like the dream of a 15 year-old!

Posted by Anthony Miller at '09:50' - Tagged: funding   ecommerce   startup  

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Thursday 18 October 2018

Cybereason digs into ARM chips for IoT defence

Cybereason digs into ARM chips for IoT defenceThe strategic partnership between cyber security analytics specialist Cybereason and CPU architecture designer ARM - intended to help businesses manage and secure Internet of Things (IoT) devices on a large scale – is the latest collaboration between suppliers trying to cement their place in complex, distributed IoT ecosystems and value chains.Cybereason digs into ARM chips for IoT defence

Cybereason’s threat detection technology will be embedded into ARM designed CPUs connected to its web-based Pelion IoT management hub. The plan is to provide visibility into any connected device running ARM’s MBED operating system to monitor data traffic patterns – a simple task, but one which tends to be slow and complicated in networks that support millions (or even billions) of them, which is where Cybereason’s AI-assisted analytics (or “hunting”) engine comes into play.

The deal is something of a coup for start-up Cybereason, but makes more sense when we consider that one of its biggest financial backers is ARM’s owner SoftBank after the Japanese technology giant acquired it for £24bn in 2016.

SoftBank also invested US$100m in Cybereason last year (bringing total funding to US$189m) and obviously sees synergy between the two companies just as industries like automotive, manufacturing, retail, transportation and logistics start to embed IoT connectivity into their factories, vehicles and supply chains on a large scale.

Posted by Martin Courtney at '09:26' - Tagged: partnership   iot   Cybereason   ARM   SoftBank  

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Thursday 18 October 2018

SCISYS protects itself against Brexit

SCISYS logoThere’s only five months to go until the now infamous 29th March 2019 deadline. And software, solutions & services provider, SCISYS, had already confirmed back in March this year (at the time of the full year results) that it would be putting contingency plans in place to “protect it from potential adverse consequences resulting from the UK’s expected withdrawal from the European Union”. It also stated that it would consider a restructuring of the Group such that it would be redomiciled in the EU.

Now, with so much still up in the air regarding the UK’s future relationship with the EU, the Group has decided to begin formal steps to implement a restructuring. The creation of NEW SCISYS (of which OLD SCISYS will be a wholly owned subsidiary) will be effective in November 2018.

When it comes to Brexit, SCISYS is a bit of a special case due to its activities in the Space sector (see SCISYS reassures on Brexit & space business). One of the key aims (alongside protecting shareholder value and retaining an AIM listing), is to mitigate the negative effects of Brexit on this Space business. It is expected that the proposals will “enable the Group to satisfy any applicable European Union residency requirements for EU-funded work without adversely affecting the Group’s ability to continue contributing to space programmes funded by the European Space Agency, the UK Space Agency and other commercial operators”. 

For SCISYS, the stakes relating to Brexit are high; the management had to act to protect a large proportion of its business. For other companies, the likely Brexit impact might not be quite so obvious but, doubtless, the 29th March date will be stamped on the mind of many execs and will be creating lots of stress as businesses try to work out how to mitigate the risks.

Posted by Georgina O'Toole at '09:22' - Tagged: restructuring   space   brexit  

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Thursday 18 October 2018

New funding applied to Applied's 'diverse' hiring platform

logoIf it wasn't for the fact that its USP seems worthy, I would have said that the marketing gobbledegook surrounding 'diversity-sensitive' recruitment startup Applied is enough to make your eyes glaze over in despair.

Basically, Applied is a SaaS recruitment platform which claims to overcome a perceived innate bias towards hiring 'straight white men with beards' (and I apologise in advance for the slightly out of context quote from a TechCrunch interview with CEO Kate Glazebrook, but it illustrates the point).

Unusually, Applied eschews the AI fad, which Glazebrook believes only reinforces prior stereotypical hiring patterns. Instead they use "algorithms that reshape the information you see, not the prediction that you have to arrive at.” The corollary – and herein lies the inherent problem with the business model, I feel – is that Applied "must and does take over the entire recruitment process, including writing the job spec itself to remove things like gendered language which could introduce bias into the process".

I tell you this as Applied has recently raised £1.5m in a seed funding round led by Blackbird Ventures along with Skip Capital, Angel Academe, Giant Leap and Impact Generation Partners, and unnamed angels. Applied was originally backed by 'social purpose company', The Behavioural Insights Team, jointly owned by the UK government, 'innovation charity' Nesta, and its own employees, from which it was spun out. Applied launched its platform in 2016.

So far, Applied has placed some 2,000 candidates in jobs. Frankly, this is not going to sustain a recruitment business with a bespoke end-to-end service. Applied has honourable intentions – but I struggle to see how it will become a profitable venture.

Posted by Anthony Miller at '09:05' - Tagged: funding   startup   recruitment  

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Thursday 18 October 2018

Arvato adds East West Railway to Swansea Shared Services

ArvatoHaving said goodbye recently to some its Sefton contract (see here), Arvato will be pleased to have added a new client to its Swansea shared services centre.

Arvato will deliver back-office services for the East West Railway Company (EWRC), including HR, payroll, finance and procurement services until at least the end of the financial year.

The EWRC has been set up by the Department for Transport (DfT) as a non-departmental, arm’s length body to help deliver the multi-billion-pound East West Rail Project linking Oxford to Cambridge. 

Arvato employs more than 200 people at the Swansea centre, supporting over 22,000 users across DfT and a range of its agencies including the Maritime and Coastguard Agency (MCA), the Driving and Vehicle Licensing Agency (DVLA), the Vehicle Certification Agency (VCA) and the Driver and Vehicles Standards Agency (DVSA).

The Swansea shared services centre has taken time to settle down and was always an ambitious and complex project to deliver. Whilst the EWRC will be a welcome addition the real success story will be adding new clients outside the DfT family as and when the next push for shared services comes.

Posted by Marc Hardwick at '08:44' - Tagged: contract   sharedservices   arvato  

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Thursday 18 October 2018

Newly IPO’d Avast grows Q3 revenue 6% yoy

Newly IPO’d Avast grows Q3 revenue 6% yoyIn its second earnings release since its £2.4bn IPO back in May this year (see Avast targets US$4bn London IPO), cyber security supplier Avast posted a Q318 trading update that suggests adjusted revenue hit US$210m, up 7% yoy (6% in constant currency).

Headquartered in Prague, Avast has grown rapidly to employ over 1,700 people worldwide (many inherited from its US$1.3bn acquisition of AVG in 2016), with its top five markets being North America, France, Russia and Germany.

While the majority of its clients use its consumer PC and smartphone anti-malware products, the company also has a small pool of SMB customers (contributing around 8% of its total revenue) that subscribe to Avast's advanced endpoint protection and managed remote monitoring support services. However that SMB segment declined 6% yoy to US$32m in the H118 as Avast focussed on “pricing and efficiencies” to offset “volume softness”.

The problem for Avast is that competition amongst other specialist cyber security suppliers in that SMB/SME space is fierce: Symantec, Sophos, FireEye, McAfee, Palo Alto Networks and Fortinet to name but a few (subscribers can read our Cyber Security Supplier Ranking 2018 report here).

Most of those rivals have bigger reputations, larger customer bases and a more flexible mix of hardware, software and service delivery elements to suit the different needs of IT departments. We look forward to seeing whether Avast has the appetite and portfolio to transcend its consumer reputation and win more business in the enterprise market going forward.

Posted by Martin Courtney at '08:36' - Tagged: tradingupdate   Q3   cybersecurity   endpointprotection   Avast  

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Thursday 18 October 2018

Another gorilla in the midst for Fincham!

picMartin Fincham, the increasingly peripatetic ex-CEO of application tools player, Lansa, has found another gorilla in his midst! 

Fincham left Lansa and set up his own consultancy, calling it The Gorilla Factory, taking up non-exec board positions at TechMarketView Little British Battler, Wazoku, and, more recently, health and safety software firm SHE Software (see SHE Software in rude health with new chair). Fincham is also a member of TechMarketView Great British Scaleup programme Advisory Sponsor, ScaleUp Group.

logo

It has just been announced that Fincham has been appointed to the chair of Gorilla in the room (no relation, so to speak), the Brighton-based startup that develops VR/AR products for the market research industry, recently backed by Mercia Fund Managers (see Mercia feeds Gorilla in the room).

It's good to see seasoned entrepreneurs like Fincham lending their experience to help UK tech SMEs reach greater heights.

Posted by Anthony Miller at '07:48' - Tagged: startup   board  

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Wednesday 17 October 2018

Mindtree pleases – though Europe surprises

logoBangalore-based mid-tier Indian pure-play Mindtree broadly matched the good fortunes of Noida-based peer NIIT Technologies (see here) with formidable quarterly growth coupled with margin expansion.

Mindtree's headline revenues in Q2 (to 30th Sept.) grew by almost 32% yoy in Rupee terms to Rs17.55bn (+7.1% qoq) translating to almost 20% yoy growth in US dollar terms to $246m. Operating margins, at 13.1% (in our model), were 150 bps better than the prior quarter and an almost 5-point improvement yoy.

Most of Mindtree's revenue growth came from the US, which now represents almost three-quarters of the business. Unexpectedly (at least to me) Mindtree's European business went backwards and now stands at 18.7% of the total, the first time it has dipped below 20%. This may have been just a quarterly glitch and we will try to explore the reasons for this for the next edition of OffshoreViews.

Otherwise, a pleasing result.

Posted by Anthony Miller at '15:13' - Tagged: results   offshore  

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Wednesday 17 October 2018

NIIT Tech declares 10% growth 'the new normal'

logoIt was a 'brave and courageous' statement made by Sudhir Singh, CEO of Noida-based mid-tier India pure-play (IPP) NIIT Technolgies, declaring that their 10% sequential growth and 217 bps margin improvement last quarter "is a reflection of the new normal". But it would be a heck of a result if this sparkling performance really could be maintained.

NIIT Tech did indeed see Q2 headline revenues (to 30th Sept.) grow by 10% qoq in Rupee terms, reaching Rs9.07bn. This translated into 5.3% qoq growth in US dollar terms to just under £131m. Year-on-year growth was a hefty 23% in Rupees and a still impressive 14% in USD. Operating margins (in our model, which includes D&A) expanded from 12.1% in Q1 to 14.5%, and a goodly 3 points up yoy. NIIT Tech's European business is really storming along, growing by 16% qoq, and now represents 34% of total revenues, of which about 75% derives from the UK.

Singh has set the bar he must now keep jumping over. Let's hope his energy levels keep up!

Posted by Anthony Miller at '11:43' - Tagged: results   offshore  

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Wednesday 17 October 2018

IBM’s ‘flat’ third quarter

ibmIBM’s Q3 results overnight prompted some pressure on the share price, with revenue flat (constant currency) at $18.8bn. Sadly this does undo some of the progress delivered in Q2 (IBM scratches 7-year revenue itch).

Diving straight into the services businesses, however, market demand for consulting (digital transformation) and hybrid cloud have helped the GBS and GTS businesses respectively. (Not surprisingly, demand was also good for security and analytics/AI.) With growth of 7%, the GBS consulting business is following a good trajectory. Growth was driven by services relating to digital strategy, iX (IBM’s experience design and digital consultancy), and Cognitive Process Transformation. Overall GBS revenue grew 3%.

Inside GTS, the three segments don’t look to have set the world on fire with Infrastructure Services +1%, Technical Support Service down 3%, and Integration Software +1%. Overall GTS revenue was flat. Beneath the surface, however, IBM is benefitting from undoubted market demand for hybrid cloud solutions. Furthermore, operating efficiencies are enabling the company to increase gross margin.

IBM is benefiting from markets where demand is strong, but it must also consistently perform well in markets that are far more challenging in order to sustain the overall revenue growth line. (See Legacy vs. New: An alternative analysis of the SITS market for the digital era for more on the industry-wide challenge.)

IBM is maintaining full-year expectations for operating EPS and free cash flow.

Posted by Kate Hanaghan at '09:48' - Tagged: results   hybridcloud   digitalstrategy  

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Wednesday 17 October 2018

Leidos retains Scottish Government contract

leiLeidos has held on to a key client in Scotland with the signing of a £26.9m, five-year, contract  with the Scottish Government to support its national Purchase-to-Pay (P2P) Shared Service. Leidos will provide data hosting, integration, reporting and deployment services for the system. It will also undertake service desk and contract management activities with the public sector users. Leidos had held the contract since 2011 but the deal came up for retender earlier this year; the start date of the new contract is 5th November 2018. This is a system of scale; the P2P system connects public sector procurement teams from any Scottish public sector authority with suppliers through the whole procurement process. The system handles 230K orders per month, to a value of over £5b per year.

Leidos will have been able to draw on two elements of its experience to win this retender. Firstly, it has worked with numerous Scottish public sector clients either on digital transformation (Insolvency Service) or IT support (Scottish Government, Skills Development Scotland, National Records of Scotland). Secondly, it is able to transfer supplier relationship expertise gained via the company’s UK flagship deal with the Ministry of Defence on its Logistics Commodities & Services Transformation (LCST) programme.

It has only been two years since Leidos acquired Lockheed Martin’s Information Systems & Global Services (IS&GS) business (see Leidos: IS&GS integration success and work back). After a successful integration (Leidos shifts to growth), Leidos’ focus shifted to growth earlier this year. Maintaining existing client relationships will help maintain a solid foundation for that. The company will be looking to further draw on the experience it has gained within the MoD to continue broadening its footprint outside its traditional defence hunting ground. Other areas of focus include health, safety & security, transport, and other areas of civil government (see UK Public Sector Supplier Prospects 2018). SITS suppliers should expect to see the Leidos name popping up more frequently.

Posted by Georgina O'Toole at '09:48' - Tagged: localgovernment   contract   ITsupport  

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Wednesday 17 October 2018

Thread gets more stylish with new funding

logoI rather lost the will to live while trying out London-based ‘personal styling service’ Thread's website. It led me through lots of pictures of faceless young men striking various poses in different attire and asked me which style of clothing I like to wear. Unfortunately, there were no pictures of gentlemen of a certain (by which I mean pensionable) age with a penchant for 'interesting' shirts and ties, so I guess the service just isn't meant for me.

I tell you this because Thread has just raised a further £16.7m in a Series C funding round  backed by Balderton Capital, Beringea, Forward Partners, and Swedish women's fashion retailer H&M Group’s investment arm H&M CO:LAB. Founded in 2012, Threads had previously raised £4m in a Series B round in June 2016 (see Thread sews up more funding), with total funding to date now around $40m (or £40m depending which media release you care to read!). Thread is still a 'men only' affair – maybe males need more help to achieve sartorial splendour.

I am still curious about Thread's business model. Assuming it takes its skim from any sales made through its website, why wouldn't I let Thread do the 'heavy lifting' in terms of clothing selection and then see if I can get a better deal on the brands' own websites – or indeed buy something similar from Primark?

Posted by Anthony Miller at '09:40' - Tagged: funding   startup  

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Wednesday 17 October 2018

Softcat hits £1bn revenue milestone

softSoftcat’s FY18 results (twelve months to end of July) contain some very envious figures. The company grew the top line by almost 30% to breach the £1bn barrier (£1081m). The operating margin edged up from 6% to 6.3%.

Softcat has now delivered 52 consecutive quarters of year-on-year growth, and for FY18 said its successful execution
“of our simple strategy”, supported by “exceptionally good market conditions” helped drive growth.

In particular, Softcat’s broad portfolio (from workplace to data centre) is enabling it to capture a wide range of opportunities, but also provide an end-to-end service for customers. Investing in technology and services over the years has enabled it to get into this position. Furthermore, feedback from customers would suggest they very much like the way Softcat engages with them.

Softcat has a relatively young and vibrant staff culture, and its ability to train and motivate graduates and apprentices to ‘hunt’ new customers is noteworthy. The company claims to have added “hundreds of new customers” during the year, primarily thanks to these types of staff members. Indeed, CEO Graeme Watt told us that he feels the company still has a relatively low share of number of accounts available to it. In which case, there should be headroom for even more growth.

Services grew 16% and account for 14% of total revenue. However, as has been the longstanding strategy of the firm, Softcat will not be looking to intentionally grow this segment as a share of the overall top line. 

Posted by Kate Hanaghan at '09:30' - Tagged: results  

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Wednesday 17 October 2018

First Derivatives take “inside” track on analytics

logoNewry-based First Derivatives has taken an interesting approach in its strategy of addressing new vertical markets and promoting its technology as the go-to source of high-speed analytics technology.

We have all heard of “Intel inside” (and can probably whistle that annoying little tune) which reinforced brand credibility for the component manufacturer. First Derivatives looks to be taking a leaf out of Intel’s book and promoting its proprietary Kx sensor and database technology as a major enabling technology for larger solutions. The first company that will have “Kx Inside” is BISTel, a South Korean provider of smart manufacturing solutions. After concluding a material OEM deal with First Derivatives, BISTel report that their technology was “an order of magnitude” faster than competing solutions. Deliveries are expected to begin in the first half of next year.

Throughout many industrial and financial markets, the introduction of analytics is seen as opening up new opportunities to improve customer satisfaction, reduce costs and drive additional value. In many cases, the analytics will be hidden “under the bonnet” with little clue to the identity of the analytics supplier. First Derivatives look to be actively lifting the visibility of its technology as it builds in different data-intensive vertical markets, to monetise its sector-leading position and underpin its growth strategy.

premiumSubscribers to TechMarketView’s research streams and UKHotViews Premium can access our extensive commentaries on the rapid development of First Derivatives via our UKHotViews archive.

Posted by Peter Roe at '09:01' - Tagged: manufacturing   analytics   big+data  

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Wednesday 17 October 2018

Capita extends German Telecoms contract

capitaCapita has announced a £300m (€340m) four-year contract extension with an unnamed telecom’s provider to deliver its customer services in Germany to 2022. 

The client is described by Capita as “Europe’s largest integrated telecommunications provider” and has been a client since 2006 providing customer care, technical support and sales services to its business and personal customers.

As part of the renewed contract, Capita will expand the services, taking over the operation of three contact centres and 640 employees by the end of the month. In total Capita will now employ 1,800 employees working on this client from multiple sites.

Germany has to date been Capita’s main overseas foray since the acquisition of the Avocis business back in 2015. Whilst there have been a few notable wins it has proved a slow burn.

Capita’s German operation is principally an outsourced customer management business and whilst the ultimate ambition had always been to develop a broader BPS business there the German market has proved a ‘tough nut to crack’.

Posted by Marc Hardwick at '08:03' - Tagged: contract   telecoms   customermanagement  

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Wednesday 17 October 2018

Infosys continues as it means to finish

logoHalf-way through its financial year, Bangalore-based offshore services major Infosys looks pleasingly on track to make its FY revenue growth target of 6%-8% at constant currencies, with CEO Salil Parekh seeing no need to change guidance.

Indeed, while headline revenues grew by 7.1% yoy (3.2% qoq) to $2.92bn in Q2 (to 30th September), growth at constant currencies hit 8.1% yoy (4.2% qoq). Infosys also managed to hold its operating margin steady with Q1, at 23.7%, though this was 40bps light yoy.

Though these results lag those of Indian pure-play market leader TCS (see TCS sets the bar (again)) Parekh appears to have his hand firmly on the tiller keeping Infosys on a steady course. Furthermore, recent corporate activity – a JV with Singaporean Temasek, and the acquisition of Nordic Salesforce consultancy Fluido – make far more sense than his predecessor's love affair with software startups.

But the one area that Parekh needs to keep close control over is attrition, which at 22.2% is over twice the level of TCS and higher than most peers. However, both growth and margin levels indicate that this has not become a problem … yet.

Posted by Anthony Miller at '07:45' - Tagged: results   offshore  

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Wednesday 17 October 2018

Netflix gives welcome boost to tech stocks

NetflixOnly last Friday I was writing Ouch. That really hurts! as stock markets plunged - lead by tech and in particular the FAANGs. NASDAQ, at that point, had plunged by 9% since 1st Oct. Since then NASDAQ has recovered by 3.5% - 2.9% yesterday alone.

One suspects that NASDAQ will rise again today as Netflix was the first of the FAANGs to report Q3 results after the markets closed last night. Netflix ‘blew the market away’ and their shares rose by over 14% in after-hours trading. Netflix now has 137.1m clients - up 7m in Q3 and significantly ahead of the +5m the market had expected. Profits were up 210% yoy at $403m on revenues up from $3b to $4b. Outlook was also described as ‘bullish’ with 9.4m new subscribers anticipated in Q4.

Netflix isn’t really on our ‘watch list’. But what Netflix does affects sentiment towards the FAANGs which, in turn, affects sentiment towards the whole tech market. That may not appear to be very fair. But neither is life and that’s just the way it is!

Next week sees Q3 results from the rest of the FAANGs and many other leading tech stocks.

Posted by Richard Holway at '07:33'

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Tuesday 16 October 2018

IMIMobile makes smart move with Apple Business Chat

logoWhile TechMarketView has long been a critic of the Government’s initiative to roll out smart electricity meters, see Smart Meter Madness (10) and work back, it is good to see that suppliers are doing what they can to improve the customer experience for those who are looking to switch to a smart meter.

One of the largest energy providers in the UK, npower, has become IMIMobile’s first client on Apple Business Chat, a new service for consumers to connect directly with businesses using the Messages app on Apple devices. Customers will be able to access rich media messages informing them of the benefits of a smart meter and how to switch. npower will also be able to elicit feedback via surveys to improve its service to customers.

The addition of Apple Business Chat is another string to IMIMobile’s bow as it enables a wide range of utilities and financial services companies to transform customer journeys. It can also short-circuit the legacy and organisational problems of established companies as they move to deliver joined-up and end-to-end processes over multiple contact channels. IMIMobile has been making rapid progress, with strong results for the year to March, further acquisitions and consistent investment in its cloud software platform. The addition of Apple Business Chat should provide further momentum.

Posted by Peter Roe at '12:41' - Tagged: software   automation   CX  

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Tuesday 16 October 2018

Not every company is a tech company

picInteresting article in today's FT by Andrew Hill (see Not every company is a technology company) on a theme that we have been banging on about for yonks.

Hill's article begins "Rather than adopting the hackneyed advice to think outside the box, companies often take a different tack: they relabel the box", bemoaning how traditional products and services businesses are relabelling themselves as tech companies. The pic, from the FT, is captioned "Under Armour is a sportswear maker and retailer, not a technology company" (© Dreamstime).

Of course, pretty much every business nowadays is reliant to a greater or lesser extent on technology – and the bigger the business the more reliant they become.

Then along come the 'tech disruptors' (fintech, proptech, martech, legaltech, etc etc).

Some of these are 'true' tech companies – i.e. they provide technology platforms for other companies to run their businesses more efficiently and productively. Others are financial services, property services, marketing services, legal services etc businesses in their own right, competing against the traditional players but with their core 'proposition' delivered electronically.

What they are all looking for is a 'tech disruptor' valuation.

In truth it's a case of what comes around, goes around. We saw it first in the dot.com era, later with IoT (internet of things) and now with blockchain (I'm sure there are others). Just hang your hat on the latest and most fashionable hook and watch your valuation soar.

Alas, it would be naïve to think that it will ever be otherwise.

Posted by Anthony Miller at '09:56'

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Tuesday 16 October 2018

Netcall seizes Low-code route to growth

logoNetcall has reported on a transformational year (to June 2018). This was propelled by the August 2017 acquisition of Low-code software provider MatsSoft, opening up huge market opportunities as companies look to quickly embrace the benefits of digital. The first stages of the MatsSoft integration are now completed and the Netcall management team seems to have plotted the course of the larger group with considerable care. We can expect a flow of positive news.

Results for 2018 showed revenue up 32% to £21.9m, with MatsSoft contributing £5.2m (up 19% on a comparable basis). Recurring revenues comprise 71% of the total. EBITDA increased 21% to £5.4m. The new financial year has started well with Low-code driving new business, see here.

Netcall is looking to seize the Low-Code opportunity and at the same time to continue the growth of its Liberty Customer Engagement Platform. These will go hand-in-hand, with the Low-Code capability accelerating time-to-market for new applications and opening cross-sell opportunities into Netcall’s existing customer base of over 700 UK customers. A new sales team has been recruited to sell the MatsSoft capability into new customers, leveraging Netcall’s experience in account management to build share of wallet. Investment in a partner network is increasing access to domain expertise (e.g. in insurance and central government) as well as providing a channel into international sales. Netcall is also building a developer community to speed development and knowledge transfer around Low-code use cases.

Solid progress in the Liberty business should not only generate some growth in recurring revenue, but also fund the development of the Low-Code technology and the delivery capabilities required as the business grows. Analysts expect around 20% growth in the cloud-delivered, subscription-based Low-Code and Liberty platforms for 2019, with some acceleration anticipated in the following year.

Posted by Peter Roe at '09:48' - Tagged: software   insurance   low-code  

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Tuesday 16 October 2018

Endava gets strategic with Bain

Endava company logo

Bain and Company logo

London-HQ’d “nearshore” IT services company Endava is joining forces with Boston-based management consulting heavyweight Bain & Company to mount a combined attack the digital transformation market opportunity. The global strategic partnership aims to bring together the firms’ complementary strengths in business and technology strategy, product ideation, technology development and deployment and organisational change management.

On paper this appears to be a smart play for both companies. In our most recent Application Services Market Trends and Forecasts report we noted that consulting appears to be moving from a discrete capability to a much more integral component of all transformational propositions. Technology is playing an increasingly integral role in every aspect of business. Agile approaches and BusDevOps are on the rise. The scale of the business change management challenges associated with successful digital deployment is becoming better understood. These factors are driving demand for more multi-disciplinary powered solutions. A robust consulting capability is becoming a competitive necessity for all application services suppliers, just as a credible technology delivery capability is becoming a “must have” for business consultancies.

Bain is by no means the only management consultancy to establish partnerships within the SITS community. Last year McKinsey launched its global Digital Capability Centre initiative in concert with the likes of PTC, Intex and Ubimax. In 2016 The Boston Consulting Group set up its Innovation Center for Operations in Paris with the support of a wider ecosystem of technology partners. Sustained strategic relationships between such organisations and IT services firms are, however, unusual. The grey line between where the delivery ambitions of both parties begin and end can often create points of contention.

The Bain-Endava collaboration, however, does have some real substance. As an indication of commitment to the partnership, Bain has taken an ownership stake in Endava via its July 2018 IPO (see here). We will watch how this promising relationship progresses with great interest.

Posted by Duncan Aitchison at '09:31' - Tagged: partnerships   consulting   ApplicationServices   digital  

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Tuesday 16 October 2018

Dotdigital overcomes GDPR headwind

dotdigitalMarketing automation specialist dotdigital published a strong set of results for last year proving that it really had “dodged a bullet on GDPR”. 

AIM-listed dotdigital Group saw revenues grow 35% to £43.1m (2017: £32.0m) with adjusted EBITDA up 21% to £12.5m (2017: £10.3m).

The company has had a consistent strategy for a number of years focusing on three growth pillars - product development, geographic expansion and strategic partnerships.

Its integration of the Comapi acquisition, which has brought dotdigital into the omni-channel space, appears to be going well and trading in line with expectations and will have helped contribute to a strong final quarter. This has seen recurring revenues increase 41% on the back of enhanced product functionality, and momentum appears to have continued into the current year.

GDPR posed a real challenge in dotdigital’s core European markets, delaying decisions and creating uncertainty around compliance. The Company will be very pleased to have got someway passed this and grew double digit in the UK despite these headwinds. 

Geographically the company has also been dipping its toes in a number of new markets, particularly in Asia Pacific, where it is establishing a Singapore base. 

Strategic partnerships also remain a focus with relationships with ShopifyBigCommerce and Shopware all expanding ecommerce opportunities, the latter providing a springboard into the German market.

Posted by Marc Hardwick at '09:31' - Tagged: results   software   marketing  

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Tuesday 16 October 2018

Wipro targets UK skills development

LogoOffshore services major Wipro is strengthening its focus on developing STEM skills in the UK through the establishment of its new Innovation and Talent Hub in Reading. The multifunctional facility will be the centre of excellence for the company’s Ascent programme. Launched last year, the initiative trains UK-based computer science graduates and degree apprentices in digital technologies. These include cognitive computing, IoT, business intelligence and cyber security. To date, 135 individuals have completed the training and been placed in client projects at Wipro clients across the UK.

The hub will also run work experience programmes for school leavers, internship programmes for university students and training programmes for employees. In addition, the facility will provide a collaborative space for co-innovation with clients.

Given the greater need for colocation of client and supplier resources on digital projects, it is not surprising that Wipro is seeking to beef up its onshore digital skills presence. With such capabilities in both short supply and high demand, it has become a competitive necessity for SITS suppliers to deploy inventive strategies to attract, develop and retain the requisite volumes of digital talent upon which their continued growth and prosperity is dependent. Wipro’s Innovation and Talent Hub launch, together with the company’s recently announced partnership with King’s College London to develop the first MA in STEM Education in the UK, are cases in point.

These types of UK entry level skills focused initiatives are not unusual within western-headquartered SITS suppliers. Capgemini, for example, launched the first degree apprentice programme with Aston University over three and a half years ago (see here). Just yesterday, PwC welcomed 111 technology and data science students into its new Level 6 Degree Apprenticeship scheme. Such programmes have until now been much rarer within the India pure-play community. It is unlikely, however, that Wipro will be the last offshore major to step up its efforts in the battle for young domestic digital talent.

Posted by Duncan Aitchison at '09:24' - Tagged: skills   recruitment   digital  

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Tuesday 16 October 2018

CoinShare raises a token €2m for loyalty scheme

logoI'm certainly a cynic. And maybe I'm a Luddite too, especially when it comes to blockchain. Two possible reasons why my hackles rose when I read the main splash on the website of London-based blockchain loyalty scheme CoinShare – "Social commerce in blockchain. Create your community and earn more than you spend."

The 'free money' (my words) comes from cashbacks (well, 'cryptocoinbacks', actually) when you purchase goods from vendors within the CoinShare community. What's more, sellers also accumulate and earn from purchases made by their customers in the stores of the circuit.

Earn as you buy; earn as you sell; everyone's a winner.

Estbalished in 2015, CoinShare (not to be confused – I hope – with US-based cryptocurrency investment group, Coinshares, two of whose funds were recently suspended by the SEC) has recently raised more than €2m in an ICO (Initial Coin Offering) in a private sale to local and international investors.

CoinShare's website exhorts you to action: "Now is the time! Don't miss your chance".

I may pass.

Posted by Anthony Miller at '09:13' - Tagged: funding   startup   blockchain  

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Tuesday 16 October 2018

Paul Allen dies

PAVery sad to learn of the death of Paul Allen - co-founder of Microsoft. Paul was only 65. I always find it disturbing when people younger than me die. But I guess I better get more and more used to it as the years pass.

Everyone associates Bill Gates as the founder of Microsoft in 1974. After dropping out of university Allen went to work as programmer for Honeywell in Boston and got to know Gates who was at Harvard. He persuaded Gates to drop out too and they formed ‘Micro-Soft’ - the name that Allen came up with for their venture. They first worked on a BASIC interpreter. But the real break came in 1980 when IBM needed an OS for their forthcoming PC. Gates & Allen bought QDOS (Quick and Dirty Operating System) for a song and turned it into DOS. The rest, as they say, is history,

Allen left Microsoft in 1983 but refused to sell his shares to Gates at $5 each. That decision turned Allen into a billionaire after Microsoft went public.

Allen went on to use his fortune to make a huge range of investments in the tech sector, real estate and buying sports teams. He was also a major philanthropist.

Co-founders rarely get the recognition they deserve. Eg Steve Wozniak at Apple. Also great companies are often built from building on other people’s initial ideas.  Eg all the things, like the mouse, GUI, laser printers, Steve Jobs saw at Xerox Park on his visit in 1979.

That Allen and Gates recognised what they (and IBM) could do with QDOS and ran with it, created the foundation of the PC industry which still affects all of our lives today.

Posted by Richard Holway at '08:52'

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Tuesday 16 October 2018

Legaletch Lexoo leaps up a funding level

logoThe legal profession is long overdue for technology disruption and we're now seeing a slew of 'legaltech' startups take a tilt at different aspects of this market. At its most basic level is the law firm marketplace, which is where London-based Lexoo plays.

Founded in 2014, Lexoo kicked off its funding endeavours in January 2015 (see Legal-eagle portal Lexoo lands £260k funding) and since went on to raise a further £1.3m in two subsequent rounds (Source: CrunchBase). Lexoo has now jumped up a level with a $4.4m Series A funding round led by Earlybird, with participation from Forward Partners and Ned Staple, General Counsel at Zoopla Property Group, among others.

Lexoo uses a combination of a search engine and an in-house legal team to match client briefs with law firms bidding for work. Clients pay nothing for the search and Lexoo takes its skim from the law firm winning the bid. This was 10% of the fee when I wrote about them back in 2015, but I can't find anything further on this.

This worries me a bit. Actually, it worries me a lot.

I hope Lexoo won't fall into the same trap as infamous services marketplace Blur Group (now called Maistro – start with Maistro – new brand, old problem, work back, and weep). Blur got into deep doo-doo because it charged an unfeasibly low commission (in their case, 20%) for a hybrid tech/manual search process with payment contingent on client project milestones being achieved (which, of course, often weren't) and lost shedloads of dosh in the process.

Caveat Lexoo!

Posted by Anthony Miller at '08:26' - Tagged: funding   startup   legaltech  

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Tuesday 16 October 2018

Musings on the Patisserie Valerie debacle

LJOn the surface, any comment on the problems at a High Street ‘Coffee and Cake’ chain like Patisserie Valerie seems out of place in HotViews which is dedicated to the tech sector and Software and IT Services in particular.

But many readers sit on the boards of companies and must be as shocked as I am that any board could be unaware of two company bank accounts with massive overdrafts. We all know how difficult it is to open any business account in the first place - let alone then run up c£10m overdrafts. How could HSBC and Barclays have allowed this to happen without ensuring they had board approval? Then there is the role of the auditors - Grant Thornton. How could any audit have missed all the signs that such accounts existed? How could it have missed that fact the large payments to creditors like HMRC had not been made?

The episode reminded me of the issues surrounding Autonomy and HP. How did the auditors of this FTSE100 company miss the accounting issues that lead to Autonomy’s CFO Sushovan Hussain being found guilty of fraud in a US court earlier this year? It also begs the question whether the rest of the board knew as well. But that will be tested in the UK courts next year.

I have sat on 20 different boards over the last 30+ years and have never encountered such issues. Sure, we had incidences of attempted petty fraud. But the procedures we had in place exposed them before they became anything major. Mind you I have tended to limit my number of board seats to no more than 4 at a time. Being a company director is very time-consuming. It is not just the regular board meetings - but more particularly all the work between like board recruitment, M&A, fund raising etc. Even Luke Johnson now admits he was spread too widely and has resigned from a string of boards and other activities since the Patisserie Valerie debacle hit last week.

Finally, I admit to being an avid reader of Luke Johnson’s books and columns. Although I disagree with him over BREXIT, his many other business homilies, like backing management teams, strike home. One of his columns last year pointed out the importance of having a good and trusted FD. Another drew up a checklist for spotting fraud in a company. True but somewhat ironic now.

Luke Johnson is giving up writing his column in the Sunday Times.

Posted by Richard Holway at '07:41'

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Monday 15 October 2018

Corero and Juniper strengthen ties with US$2m funding

Corero and Juniper cement ties with US$2m fundingCorero’s US$2m of equity investment from commercial partner Juniper Networks leads us to speculate just how much closer the relationship between the two companies might become.

Juniper and Corero began a multi-year global partnership in 2017, with Juniper reselling and supporting Corero’s flagship SmartWall distributed denial of service (DDoS) platform alongside Juniper's MX Series routers.

Juniper has its own DDoS technology embedded into its Junos router and switch operating system. But Corero delivers its protection from a dedicated appliance and managed service combination, offering greater scalability for larger enterprises and service providers (incidentally Juniper’s core customer base) dealing with higher volume attacks. March this year saw one DDoS attack peak at 1.35Tbit/s as hackers tried to bring the GitHub website down by flooding it with spurious web traffic.Juniper invests US$2m in DDoS partner Corero

Corero outlined plans to raise US$9.8m to fund SmartWall product development and marketing back in April and its financial health looks much better after declining revenue from discontinued products bottomed out this year. A trading update suggests FY18 saw revenue grow 4% yoy to US$5m with EBITDA losses halving to US$1.4m.

Juniper is sufficiently confident to invest US$2m in Corero’s future and the two firms' portfolios are very much complementary. In an investment market where small cyber security companies are sometimes saddled with high valuations and Corero seemingly on the cusp of rapid growth, we wonder if an acquisition is on the cards before the purchase price gets inflated.

Posted by Martin Courtney at '09:29' - Tagged: funding   cybersecurity   Corero   DDoS   JuniperNetworks  

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Monday 15 October 2018

London AI Lab: first fruits from Atos/Google partnership

logologoEarlier this year Atos and Google entered into a major partnership to deliver enterprise level hybrid cloud, machine learning and digital workplace solutions (see here). The agreement was both wide and deep and included Atos committing to open three R&D and Innovation Labs in the UK, France and North America, centred on machine learning and artificial intelligence (it has also made Google its preferred public cloud partner). The first Lab as a result of the partnership opened today, marking Atos’ first dedicated AI Lab.

The London-based AI Lab was launched by Minister for Digital and the Creative Industries, Rt Hon Margot James MP. It aims to bring public and private sector together to collaborate and explore cross enterprise opportunities – that particular aspect is music to TechMarketView’s ears because cross industry learning has the potential to uncover so much value.

Initiatives like these need to be productive for suppliers and end user organisations. In terms of practical differences Atos will be able to expand its data analytics suite Codex Industry Solutions, adding Google AI and data technologies, with the aim of providing industry-specific solutions. It is also hoping the Lab will “build an ecosystem of highly-skilled AI workers in London and across Europe”. Indeed, part of the value proposition of the AI and the many broader based digital innovation labs crated by suppliers, is to attract (and retain) scarce talent. For Google, the development of the partnership - with a brand such as Atos -  adds to the enterprise credentials it is cultivating. The proof point for both suppliers will be when customers come through the doors.

Posted by Angela Eager at '09:26' - Tagged: cloud   machinelearning   digitaltransformation   machineintelligence   Labs  

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Monday 15 October 2018

Government launches digital economy competition investigation

The Chancellor of the Exchequer Philip Hammond has launched an independent review of the state of competition in the digital economy to consider what the opportunities and challenges are for policy in the UK. The study is being led by former US president Barack Obama’s chief economic advisor, Jason Furman. The final report will be published in early 2019.

The move comes amid growing concerns that competition in the UK digital market is being stifled by powerful tech giants. The announcement of the review coincided with the publication of a government paper on the potential for data to drive economic value. This document highlighted the worry that the dominance of a few, key digital companies places significant restrictions on access to data, with potential adverse effects on competition across a wide range of industry sectors. In parallel, the chief executive of the Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) - the UK’s competition regulator - said last week that it is actively considering launching an investigation into the digital advertising market.

An expert panel, which began work last month, will look at the pros and cons of the current market set-up. It will assess how the government can strengthen regulation to both boost competition and enhance innovation, and thereby give consumers more choice and quality in services they access online. The review will also consider the impact of competition policy on the UK’s growth, productivity, wages and labour markets within the context of the digital economy.

The launch of the study is not surprising given ongoing governmental concerns regarding many aspects of the behaviours and practices of the FAANG companies (Facebook, Apple, Amazon, Netflix, Google). Nor is it unwelcome. The risks associated with market concentration in the digital arena and their potential implications are important areas for investigation. Whether these often globally rooted challenges can ever be tackled meaningfully from a solely national level is, however, another matter.

Posted by Duncan Aitchison at '09:00' - Tagged: government   digital  

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Monday 15 October 2018

*NEW RESEARCH* End User Insights: Uncovering AI/Machine Learning Deployment Success Factors

imageBefuddlement is restricting adoption of AI/machine learning. CIOs sense the value but struggle with the detail of identifying use cases, deployment unknowns and determining value. The technical nature of many AI/machine learning discussions does not help the cause either so it was refreshing to talk to Kevin Sweeney, group IT director at Irish recruitment firm Cpl. He went straight to the heart of the matter: “the business is not demanding AI but it is demanding results”.

Dublin based Cpl is Ireland’s largest recruitment agency and a global provider of staffing, recruitment, training and outsourcing services. The latest research from the ESASViews research stream follows Cpls’ AI/machine learning road trip, providing insight into how the company is using the technology for practical outcomes, from productivity improvements and reputation enhancement.  

With its emphasis on practicalities and success factors, this report is valuable reading for enterprise and suppliers. Subscribers can click to download ‘End User Insights: Uncovering AI/Machine Learning Deployment Success Factors’.

For TechMarketView subscription enquiries please contact Deborah Seth

Posted by Angela Eager at '08:53' - Tagged: saas   software   machinelearning   digitaltransformation   machineintelligence   EndUserInsights  

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Monday 15 October 2018

Redstor beefs up management to support expansion plans

redTechmarketview Great British Scale Up and Little British Battler, Redstor, has appointed Gareth Case to the role of Chief Marketing Officer.

Case has spent time at technology brands including DXC, CSC and NIIT, and his appointment completes the operational board at Redstor. Last month Redstor also appointed Mark Howling as Chairman. Howling has spent many years in the industry and was most recently CEO at Pulsant. He’s now Non-executive director there and Chairman at TIG (see TIG takes aim at ambitious profit target).

Redstor has built a cloud-based data management platform, designed to help organisations take control of their sprawling data stores and extract more value from data. Almost exactly a year ago, the company secured additional investment from Beech Tree Private Equity. And now, with the team complete, it will be driving forward its ambitious plan to treble the business by 2020. We wish it well!

Posted by Kate Hanaghan at '08:33' - Tagged: cloud   appointment   data   datamanagement   CMO  

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Monday 15 October 2018

Dawn strengthens Garrison's security

logoThis is the news that London-based early-stage VC Dawn Capital has just led a £22.9m/$30m funding round in London-headquartered cybersecurity software developer Garrison Technology, along with existing investors IP Group, BGF and NM Capital. IP Group originally invested in Garrison back in 2015 through Touchstone (the erstwhile Imperial Innovations, see Touchstone touching more IT) which it acquired this time last year (see IPO vs IVO – Game, Set and Match).

This brings total funding raised by Garrison to more than $50m. Garrison was founded in 2014 David Garfield and Henry Harrison, who previously worked together at national-security specialist Detica and subsequently established the Cyber Security business unit at BAE Systems. IP Group now holds just over 23% of Garrison's equity valued at nearly £29m, which pitches Garrison's valuation at some £123m. Dawn is a pretty shrewd judge of character having previously backed UK-born, Nasdaq-listed email security firm Mimecast, which is now valued at some $2bn.

Garrison specialises in secure web access software that removes malware before it reaches the endpoint during browsing sessions. That is a much needed component in both enterprise and consumer cyber defences as long as people continue to click on dubious links and urls (which they do).

All in all the funding is excellent news for a UK startup with great prospects.

Posted by Anthony Miller at '08:24' - Tagged: funding   startup   cybersecurity  

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Monday 15 October 2018

A unique TechMarketView subscription for individuals

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Posted by HotViews Editor at '08:00'

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Monday 15 October 2018

Top backer loans dosh to IDE for '365' MBO

logoAfter declaring "the worst set of results I have ever had to provide commentary for" a couple of weeks ago at AIM-listed network, cloud and IT managed services provider IDE Group (see IDE Group CEO cheery on half-time results (NOT!)), erstwhile Group CEO Ian Smith is trying to fix the problem by selling off one of its constituent parts to management.

The part in question is managed services firm 365 ITMS which IDE (then known as Coretx) acquired in April 2017 in a £5.4m cash and share deal. The MBO team are paying £3m cash to IDE, financed by a 3-year loan from its major (as in 43%) investor, MXC Capital (CEO Ian Smith) for a £75k arrangement fee and 12% p.a. coupon.

As part of the transaction, Smith is handing over the reins at IDE to Andy Parker (ex-CEO of Capita) who joined IDE as non-exec director in August this year and now becomes its executive chairman pro tem. Smith remains an executive director.

This leaves IDE with two remaining parts: IDE Group Manage, which provides outsourced IT services, including 1st, 2nd and 3rd line IT support and network-based solutions, and IDE Group Connect, which provides network services and data centre hosting services. There are no plans to dispose of these bits … yet.

I just can't wait for the next exciting instalment.

Posted by Anthony Miller at '07:48' - Tagged: disposal   management   boardchanges  

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Monday 15 October 2018

Quarterly Research Summary Q3 2018

Quarterly Research Summary Q3 2018Our latest edition of the Quarterly Research Summary Q3 2018 is now available for download. Make sure you’ve not missed anything in the last quarter by reading through our handy quarterly summary. We’ve published rather a lot, from Funding Trends and Patterns in AI/Machine Learning to our preliminary review of the Government’s Digital Marketplace sales figures.

Posted by HotViews Editor at '00:00'

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