Gemalto’s revenue for 2014 totalled €2.5bn, an increase of 5% over the year with Profit from Operations up 10% to €383m.
For 2014, the business was roughly evenly balanced between the Mobile Software business and the Payment and Identity operation. Mobile-embedded software revenue was flat while Platform and Services business grew by 7%, down from the faster rate of 21% in 2013. The Payment and Identity business grew by 9% overall, with product sales up by 8% and platform and services sales up by 14%.
The acquisition of data protection provider SafeNet has now been completed, expanding the group’s business into enterprise identity and security and means that platform and services now contribute 30% of Gemalto’s revenues. In 2015 the group expects good growth as the use of EMV card technology expands in the US and China and as data security becomes a priority along with greater interest in connected devices (IoT).
As the breadth of services available through a smartphone, tablet or wearable device increases and touches more sectors and enterprises, so the demand for Gemalto’s capabilities grows. The greater diversity of the customer base should strengthen the appeal of Gemalto’s platform and services business and drive further economies for customers and margin for Gemalto.
Following the SafeNet deal, the company has upgraded its target for profit from operations in its development plan for 2014-2017 to €660m. A new objective had also been set, that Gemalto will drive faster (mid-20s%) growth from its platform and services business, now boosted by the SafeNet acquisition. Reaching these objectives will certainly represent a challenge in this very dynamic, increasingly competitive sector with rapid shifts in technology. Nevertheless Gemalto has the breadth of both technology and customer base to drive consistent progress towards them.
Posted by Peter Roe at '10:12'
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Chris Errington, CEO at Gresham Computing since 2010 and CFO for six years before that, is to step down in June to take a Non-Executive Director role. The CEO role will be filled by Ian Manocha, lately head of the high-growth business portfolio of SAS Institute Inc., the analytics company where he had also been head of the UK and Ireland operation.
Chris together with Ken Archer who moved to Chairman in 2010 and CTO Neil Vernon have made great strides in transforming the company’s prospects. Our HotViews comments since that time have been considerably more upbeat than some of our earlier pronouncements. One from early 2010 recalled Gresham’s massive losses in 2009 and quoted a comment from the 2000 Holway report calling for “a white knight to take [Gresham’s] long-suffering shareholders out of their misery".
Key to the recovery has been the launch and development of the CTC in-memory reconciliation engine which is now used in a multiplicity of use cases in banks, traders and other sectors and has enabled the international expansion of the sales effort into the US and AP. This process has not been without problems, however, as delays in signing contracts took the wind out of the company’s sails (and temporarily halved the share price!) in October 2014, see here. Nevertheless, the potential of the CTC product, coupled with tight control of the legacy business, has led to a quadrupling of the shares since 2010.
The new CEO will be expected to accelerate the growth of the CTC portfolio and to strengthen further the company’s position in the market for financial transaction control systems. He will have a good foundation on which to build with recent statements from the company showing more contract wins and a positive outlook.
Posted by Peter Roe at '10:02'
Privately-held UK primary care software provider TPP grew revenue by 17% in 2014 to £31m as demand for its SystmOne software grew, according to accounts filed recently with Companies House. But operating profits for the fiscal year, which ended last March, slipped to £7.1m from £8.4m in 2013 as the SME invested in the infrastructure required to serve its increasing workload and develop new market areas. Staff numbers increased by 15% in the period to 240 and total employment costs rose from £14.6m to £20.2m.
TPP benefited from the erstwhile National Programme for IT in the NHS (NPfIT), growing rapidly as its SystmOne software was adopted first by Accenture and then by CSC to be rolled out under the programme. Unlike some NPfIT suppliers, however, the SME has continued to grow in the wake of the Programme. Its software has proven popular with GPs and it’s been quick to spot opportunities in new markets, including community and mental health and the acute sector in the UK. In December, for example, TPP signed a contract with Royal National Orthopaedic Hospital NHS Trust to deploy the SystmOne e-prescribing and e-discharge modules.
TPP, which is officially known as The Phoenix Partnership, ranked 16th in TechMarketView’s UK Healthcare SITS rankings in 2014 (see the UK Healthcare SITS Supplier Landscape Report 2014-15 in you’re a PublicSectorViews subscriber). It would retain that spot, which was just behind Advanced Computer Software (ACS) last year, based on a turnover of £31m. However, if TPP continues to grow and win business in markets outside its core GP heartland as we expect, it could well climb further up the rankings next year.
Posted by Tola Sargeant at '09:49'
We have been keeping a watchful eye on Communisis as it moves closer into the business process services (BPS) space (see Communications-focused BPS: opportunities beyond document outsourcing). From its heritage as a print and document services provider Communisis aspires to be a leading ‘personalised customer communication services’ provider.
Its full year 2014 results show considerable progress on that path. It had a rapid uptick in revenue thanks to a spate of acquisitions in the digital and creative marketing areas. Headline revenue was up 27% to £343m and adjusted operating profit was up 21% to £16m – although the margin was down slightly to 4.7% vs. 4.9%. Excluding pass through revenue to third party suppliers, revenue was up 19.7% to £232.4m.
It is the higher margin creative/digital marketing services that are most of interest to us. This is also where Communisis has been making its investments, over £40m in a new ‘integrated digital agency’ called PSONA with its own offices in London’s West End, now employing 300 people. PSONA has been built up from five acquisitions during the year in areas like video production, web and mobile loyalty, design and marketing services.
We think it’s a smart move by Communisis to be building out this independent digital division. This is a hot space right now, and we think there are clear cross-sell opportunities with Communisis' traditional business too as more and more communication services move to digital channels.
Design is still a small part of the overall business (£26m in FY14), but it represents a 13% margin - so more than double the core business. Clearly this is where the future lies for Communisis. The challenge will be ensuring it retains focus on the core as the transition to digital communications takes place.
Posted by John O'Brien at '09:41'
Quindell is now in midst of an attempted break-up after confirming its intent to dispose of its legal business to personal injury lawyers Slater & Gordon (see Quindell extends offer to Slater & Gordon),
It has now announced the sale of its minority investment in Nationwide Accident Repair Services (NARS) for c£7.1m, which it will put towards ‘general working capital’. Quindell is still making a loss on the disposal though, having bought the stake for the equivalent of £8.2m in September 2013. We said at the time, Quindell was moving ‘down the value chain’ buying into a low margin, declining repair business (see here). So the new management's rationale to exit makes sense.
Next up, Quindell is settling a dispute relating to shareholders in NavSeeker, a division of connected car platform player Himex, which was bought last Feburary (see here). Quindell is paying $1m in cash to the plaintiffs and buying out their stake in NavSeeker for c$1m.
It is also looking to ‘consolidate some of its property services interests in order to facilitate future options for disposal’, including the purchase of its remaining interest in BE Insulated and Carbon Reduction Company for £5.5m in new shares.
Whether this clean up operation has the desired effect on Quindell’s future prospects, remains to be seen.
Posted by John O'Brien at '09:11'
Me and the wife, we prefer to saunter around Ikea, the masters of furniture merchandising. But we’re masochistic like that. Others may prefer to browse the web for the ever increasing number of online furniture retailers all trying to hack away a slice of the action from the bricks-and-mortar players.
Such is the case for Worldstores, the Twickenham-headquartered online furniture retailer, which has secured £25m in a Series D funding round led by Goldman Sachs. Existing investors Balderton Capital, Advent Ventures and Serena Capital also participated. This round brings total investment so far to £46m.
Actually, Worldstores secured the funding towards the end of last year, about the time it completed the purchase of certain asserts from children’s products and nursery furniture retailer, Kiddicare.com. According to its latest filed accounts (to Jan ’14), Worldstores was running a net loss of £6.8m on turnover of just under £60m, with LBITDA at £4.3m. CEO and co-founder Joe Murray now claims the business has topped a £100m revenue run-rate .
But Worldstores is not by far the only game in town. Setting aside the websites of established furniture and department stores retailers such as John Lewis et al (Ikea’s ecommerce site is frankly rubbish), we also have internet-based players such as Furniture123, Swoon, and of course the Brent Hoberman-backed Made.com. And there are sure to be others.
Me and the wife, we prefer to sit on the sofas and lie on the beds before we buy them. Goldman et al are (literally) banking on the hope that many other punters don’t.
PS Hmmm – just checked out @WorldStoresUK Twitter feed. Lots of “Sorry to hear this …” tweets.
Posted by Anthony Miller at '08:21'
Applications for the next TechMarketView Little British Battler Day close TOMORROW.
The twelve successful applicants not only get exposure in UKHotViews, the ‘must read’ daily commentary on the UK software and IT services scene, but also invaluable feedback on their business plans from TechMarketView Research Directors, and advice on funding options from senior partners of MXC Capital, the tech focused, AIM quoted merchant bank that actively invests in and advises companies in the UK tech sector. And it’s all free!
Here’s what CEOs of previous Little British Battlers have said:
“Being an LBB applicant put us on the 'map' with several large firms who ordinarily would not have known about us. This has allowed us to form business partnerships that today are driving business for the company.”
“Obtaining the coveted LBB status has not only provided our company and our staff recognition for our hard work in reaching our financial goals… but has helped to promote our business to the extensive readership base of the TechMarketView.”
“"The ability to network with fellow LBBs and gain some genuine business advantage by working with them has been an unexpected benefit of our LBB success."
“Being part of the LBB programme stands out as one of the most positive experiences of our journey so far.”
“LBB participation for a small and focused company like ours has been really very positive. The profile this has offered is exceeded by access to areas of influence, critical to enabling us to engage in meaningful conversations with the customer communities we serve.”
The next TechMarketView Little British Battler Event will be held in London on Wednesday 22nd April 2015.
Candidate companies must be headquartered in the UK (i.e. not subsidiaries of foreign firms), privately held (though may have accepted external funding), with annual revenues under £20m. Companies must derive the substantial majority of their revenues from software, IT services or business process services.
We’re particularly looking for companies that play to our 2015 theme, “Joining the Dots”. In other words, your products and services help connect everything (or everybody!) to everything else – and make sense of the information flow that these connections enable. This is a broad brief which touches all on all aspects of the ‘digital transformation’ agenda. Your products and services should be differentiated and aim to disrupt the marketplace. You may not be fast-growing yet – but you want to get there.
To apply, just click here and fill in the registration form. By all means apply again if you were previously unsuccessful.
Should you have any questions, please email us at email@example.com.
Posted by HotViews Editor at '07:00'
With its major police contracts having only a couple years to run; the timing of the contract win at North Wales Police could not be better for CGI. The contract will run initially for five years and is valued at £17.8m. For CGI the contract provides an opportunity to showcase its expertise in delivering transformation to smaller police forces.
The contract stipulates the need to save £3.5m but more importantly CGI will take responsibility for helping the force leverage ‘technology assets and innovation to support transformation of operational activities’.
Our UK Public Sector SITS Market Trends & Forecasts outlined the move by police forces to purchase ‘capability’ rather than specific solutions. CGI will look to its services and systems integration expertise to design and operate the force’s infrastructure and deliver the transformation programme.
We’ve highlighted that police sector focused IP will be crucial for suppliers. CGI’s Cyber Security Team intends to support police officers and staff (by securing the ICT infrastructure estate, desktop and mobile environments, networks, business and technical applications) from its 5 star accredited service facilities.
TechMarketView subscribers will have often read/ heard that IT is now a Symphony, not a solo! Here CGI is charged with ensuring that North Wales Police benefit from a choice of industry innovators and we expect CGI to draw upon the expertise in its SME Accelerate programme. We also consider that SITS suppliers need police forces to be open to new approaches and ideas from reference customers overseas. For example CGI implemented Burgernet (a citizen engagement platform enabling interactions via social media, text) at the Netherlands national police force.
North Wales Police should enable CGI to demonstrate its capabilities to the wider market and move up our supplier rankings.
If you’re not yet a PublicSectorViews subscriber, please contact Deb Seth (firstname.lastname@example.org) who will be happy to help.
Posted by Michael Larner at '10:07'
Software testing and quality management services provider SQS did not disappoint with its full year results, exhibiting positive movements across the board. We could say that the gross margin improvement could have been bigger given the progress in high value Managed Services, point to management changes, and that the company is only looking ahead with “cautious optimism” but these are quibbles.
Results were in line with its pre close update (SQS points to a positive year) with revenue up 19% to €268.5m (to December 31 2014) and PBT up 18% to €10.1m. While organic revenue growth was respectable at 7.4% to €242.5m, the value of the Thinksoft acquisition (now known as SQS India BFSI) continues to come through; it generated revenue of €26m over the 12 months. Given the level of change and spending within BFSI, SQS has further growth prospects.
Managed Services is core to the SQS growth strategy and the main growth engine, with revenue up 32% to €120.5m and now representing 45% of total revenue (vs. 41%), against a target of 50%. The gross margin moved from 34.2% to 36.8%. Quality matters and there is good revenue visibility and importantly average revenue per client increased by 34% due to the strategic focus on larger client engagements. It is mining its customer base which is always a sensible strategy but also bringing in new business.
Expansion of its US business is another strategic goal and the 105% increase in revenue earns another tick in the box although that only took the total to €12.3m, or 5% of total revenue (vs. 3%), so more work is needed.
Demand for standalone testing services, as opposed to testing bundled with development, seems to be on the rise due to the need for rapid execution and low cost, which should play to SQS’s strengths but that just makes us wonder why management is not more buoyed up about the future.
Posted by Angela Eager at '09:35'
Barclays Group returned profits up 12% to £5.5bn (on income down by 8% to £25.7bn). Along with other banks, the figures are confused and assailed by extraordinary costs and the impact of litigation and wrong-doing, but the UK banking business seems to be doing well. Profits in Personal and Corporate Banking were up 29% to £2.89bn on income up a tad to £8.83bn. The investment banking business is another matter, with a small profit and a very low return on equity. Further retrenchment measures in this business area are in train.
In the UK retail banking business, Barclays appears to be leading the bigger banks in improving technology around customer experience, with branch rationalisation going apace, 3.6m mobile banking customers (RBS has c.3m) and 2.2m customers of the Pingit payments service. They have set up an Innovation Lab and Accelerator to increase the rate of change and are transforming front-end branch systems to drive up the proportion of self-service, where the sector is aiming at a level of 80%, and where Barclays is focusing the “Digital Eagles” initiative.
All well and good, but good customer experience relies on the alignment of the multiplicity of channels with the delivery processes, most of which are run on stressed legacy systems. Here change is more pedestrian and uncertain (see our recent sector Market Trends and Forecasts report, here). Barclays, along with other banks, still diverts the majority of its spending into meeting additional regulatory requirements, meaning that its rate of core system change is still an issue. As with RBS, see here, the level and quality of disclosure about technology, the consequent operational risk and high spend need to change, emphasised recently as the issue of cyber-security becomes more visible – to shareholders as well as customers.
Posted by Peter Roe at '09:25'
After the sudden departure of their CEO, see here, the management team of eServGlobal is trying to focus on the underlying mobile financial services business with the announcement of progress in one of its core relationships, with the Zain Group. eServGlobal’s system is going live in three of Zain’s regional operations (Jordan, Kuwait and Saudi Arabia). Zain is a leading mobile and data services operator with a commercial footprint in 8 Middle Eastern and North African countries, with over 44 million active individual and business customers and where 90% of the population do not have a bank account.
eServGlobal’s platform enables eCommerce, bank account services and the ability to transfer money and pay bills. It should be an important component of the wider economic development of this region. However, it will take time for volumes and consequent revenues and margin to build up and the revenue from system deployment will be low margin.
As a result we would look to the management for additional signs of progress and for greater visibility about longer term development. More confidence about the management team and strategic direction would also come in handy for the shareholders who have seen the shares halve over the year.
Posted by Peter Roe at '09:22'
The UK software testing market is indeed replete with niche players and here’s one we hadn’t heard of before. Centre4 Testing, the Brighton-based firm cofounded by ex-Mission Testing CEO Tony Wells, and ex-Sales Manager, Ryan Hannigan, has received a £5.5m investment led by Livingbridge, alongside Invex Capital Partners.
AIM-listed Mission Testing was acquired by Capita back in 2002; a couple of years later, Wells and Hannigan left to form Centre4 Testing. The company now turns over some £16m and has 185 employees. Centre4 Testing also partners with one of our favourite UK testing software firms, TestPlant, and aspires to become ‘the UK’s leading specialist provider of software testing services’. Jolly good luck to them, I say, though I would hazard a guess that their real future will lie in the arms of a much larger player when Livingbridge eventually exits.
Posted by Anthony Miller at '09:06'
It’s rare nowadays for me to attend industry analyst events but I couldn’t resist the temptation of a chance to chat with top management from New Jersey-headquartered, India-centric top tier IT/BP services player, Cognizant in Berlin earlier this week.
And I was not disappointed. It was one of the best-organised events I have been to, with much insight gained from both company and marquee client speakers. Needless to say, the thrust was ‘all things digital’, and what I gleaned I think places Cognizant among the few who have really ‘got it’.
But it would be remiss of me if I didn’t point out some of the challenges ahead for Cognizant now that it has passed the $10bn revenue milestone (see Cognizant sets modest expectations for 2015). And I will, but you’ll have to be a subscriber to the TechMarketView Foundation Service to see my commentary which will be published in the next issue of OffshoreViews, out soon.
Posted by Anthony Miller at '08:19'
TestPlant, the specialist provider of the eggPlant software testing tools that automates the traditionally manual process of software testing and validation, is spreading it wings with the opening of an office in Berlin, Germany.
Although the London HQ’d company already has offices in the UK, USA and Asia, this is its first physical presence in continental Europe. It is embedding itself within the heart of the German software development sector, where it believes its expertise in sectors such as automotive, banking and systems engineering will find favour in the large German market, and help it spread to Austria and Switzerland too. With Lufthansa and BMW as existing clients, it also has an in-country presence to build from.
TestPlant has been making strides over recent years with accolades ranging from the Queens Award for Enterprise to selection for the Deloitte Tech Fast 500 EMEA 2015. Management trumpets CAGR over the past five years of over 1000%. It was also one of five software and IT services companies among the 19 UK SME’s chosen to launch the London Stock Exchange Elite programme in 2014 (see UK SME’s kick off LSE Elite programme), which helps high growth private companies develop their businesses in readiness for investment. It’s always rewarding to see UK companies grow internationally as well as within their home market and there should be more to come because testing is a growth market given the need for rapid development and deployment across modern and legacy platforms and the rise of agile development, DevOps approaches.
Posted by Angela Eager at '18:23'
Following swiftly on from the announcement of Telecity’s merger with NYSE-listed Interxion (see Telecity and Interxion to merge), consolidation activity continues in the data centre services space.
This time it’s the announcement that Japanese telecoms giant, NTT, through its networking business NTT Communications, is acquiring a majority stake (86.7%) in German data centre provider E-shelter. The price tag is €742m, valuing E-Shelter at around five-times latest annual sales. E-Shelter is Germany’s biggest data centre operator, managing nearly 90K square metres of data centre space, across four German cities as well as Zurich and Vienna. NTT has over 130 datacentres globally, built up organically and via acquisition.
As our Infrastructure Services Director, Kate Hanaghan, put it so well at the time of the Telecity announcement, “The data centre services game is about scale and scope of product. In other words, customers want access to highly resilient data centres, with good geographical coverage for services that cover straight co-location through to complex and highly secure private clouds. Furthermore, demand for these services continues to rise as data and connectivity remain key to supporting enterprise growth strategies”. In the German market, there is also a strong imperative for data to be locally stored. This driver is only likely to become stronger as the European Union sets about unifying rules on data protection by 2016.
As a result this will not be the last announcement we see of this kind. Indeed, the FT speculates that Japanese Telecommunications provider KDDI, which owns global datacentre provider, Telehouse, is unlikely to sit back and watch while its rivals consolidate in its space.
Posted by Georgina O'Toole at '09:40'
Nice to see two of our TechMarketView community helping each other do well. Application development and management specialist Kainos has been named in the top performing set of companies in the Service Performance Insights’ 2015 Professional Service Maturity Benchmark, “significantly” outperforming the benchmark average. And the use of Kimble Applications’ professional services automation software has been a contributing factor. The two came together as supplier and customer back in 2012 (see Catching the TMV spark). Both have been thriving over the intervening years (see here for the Kainos journey, and here for Kimble’s progress).
Posted by Angela Eager at '09:32'
In its trading update to the end of January, Sanderson Group (the supplier of software solutions to multi-channel retail and manufacturing businesses) announced that improved optimism among customers regarding online sales channels had resulted in their sales order intake being ahead of last year and the order book higher than the £2.41 million at year end in September.
Investments in mobile development are paying off with Sanderson highlighting that One iota had already posted higher revenues than the full year prior to its acquisition in October 2013, (see here). In addition investments by customers in online, ecommerce and catalogue sales channels continue to drive growth in the multi-channel retail division. Proteus, provider of warehouse solutions, has made a steady start to life in the Group.
The upbeat news continues with the manufacturing division adding six new customers in the period. In comparison the division gained nine new customers during the whole of last year.
Today’s announcement backs up our view that Sanderson continues to look like a solid and steady SITS business. Sanderson plans to continue to invest in mobile solutions, operational management and boost order intake with investments sales and marketing. The Group operates a cash generative business model with over 50% of revenues being ‘recurring’ (pre-contracted for a minimum of a year ahead).
Posted by Michael Larner at '09:14'
HP has confirmed it will acquire wireless networking and mobile services provider Aruba Networks, paying $3bn ($2.7bn net of cash and debt) in a cash deal, in a bid to improve its wireless credentials and market position.
This is its largest acquisition since the 2011 $12bn Autonomy acquisition and for its money it is getting a company that posted revenue of $729m in FY14, and $213m in the latest period (Q2) which was an eye opening 21% increase, with net profit of $5.6m vs. a loss of $10.7m in the year ago quarter. Aruba’s revenue will not make a major impact on HP’s overall business but should make a difference to its networking revenue, which shrank 9% in Q1 (see HP Q1: Enterprise Services continues to shrink).
However, with Aruba’s focus on wireless and mobility, HP has the potential to add a high growth revenue stream to part of the business. With the company looking for areas of top line growth to go with its profitability improvements, Aruba is a useful addition to the portfolio. In fact it has some very attractive technology, including Wi-Fi triangulation which can be used to determine locations in indoor places that GPS signals can’t penetrate, and tools for developing location-aware mobile apps that play to broader mobile market demand for location and contextual capabilities. Aruba will also help HP close the gap with Cisco.
The decision to acquire on the ‘plumbing’ side of the mobility market, rather than application-side capability or other parts of the SMAC stack, is notable and allows HP to stay closer to its comfort zone while supporting enterprises looking for networks capable of delivering personalised, localised and contextual services. It has a long way to go before it can be considered a major contender in the segment so we would expect further acquisitions in this area, in both the infrastructure and application segments.
Posted by Angela Eager at '08:58'
Quartix Holdings, the vehicle telematics systems and services player, has released a healthy maiden set of results following its IPO on AIM in November (see here). But we see some risks and challenges ahead.
Revenues for the year ended 31 December, grew 16.3% to £15.3m, while operating profits rose 3.6% to £4.9m (margin of 32% vs. 36% last time). Margin was affected by significant investment in the US opening a small office for its fleet business in Chicago.
The Fleet business saw a 23.2% increase in its subscription base (revenues up 20% to £11m) mostly from the UK. Installations in the Insurance business meanwhile grew 12.8%, however revenue growth was quite a bit lower at 7.5% as there was pricing pressure from 'potential new entrants'.
Insurance, although secondary to its Fleet business, is an important element for Quartix's future growth and an opportunity to move up the value chain. But it’s here that Quartix faces more and more competition, including from larger players like Quindell. There is also the added risk that 100% of Quartix’s £4.3m insurance revenue comes from just one insurance customer. To mitigate some of these threats, Quartix will need to expand and diversify its customer base during 2015.
The UK still presents plenty of growth opportunity. Nonetheless, Quartix is doing the right thing expanding its fleet business into new markets like France and the US to broaden its reach. Doing so will come at a price. 2015 is going to require more investments, in systems, processes and performance measures and in sales and marketing resource. It’s likely that margins will come under pressure to meet this scaling demand.
Posted by John O'Brien at '08:30'
Yesterday saw the release of the 2014 Greening Government: ICT annual report on whether government departments are on track to achieve their targets for improving the sustainability of government technology. By the end of this year, public sector organisations have to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 25%.
New government strategies in terms of technology use and ways of working offer many opportunities to improve or ‘green’ government ICT. The use of cloud services for hosting is increasingly leading to the use of shared services that are consolidated and energy efficient. Digitising citizen services using new technology such as cloud computing can help reduce paper and overall carbon requirements compared to more traditional delivery models.
How and why can cloud computing solutions help green ICT? A new whitepaper from Skyscape Cloud Services explains why cloud computing is a credible green technology and discusses how it can help your organisation meet the aims of a multitude of government initiatives, including the Greening Government: ICT Strategy, the Government Digital Strategy and the Digital by Default Service Standard.
The whitepaper also showcases some of the brilliant results already being achieved within the public sector around carbon reductions, cost savings and green IT maturity. It also provides a guide for public sector buyers on key environmental considerations when selecting a cloud service provider. Click here to download.
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Posted by SkyScape Cloud at '00:00'
Figures from Strategy Analytics to coincide with the start of Mobile World Conference in Barcelona really did make me ‘sit up and take note’. Apple has ‘just’ 15% of the smartphone market v 81% for Android (Microsoft and Blackberry are amongst the ‘also rans’). BUT Apple made a quite staggering 89% of smartphone profits in Q4 2014. At $21b, up 30% yoy. It is also estimated that some 2.5b smartphones will be in use in 2015. That’s equal to about a third of the world's population.
I’ve always admired companies which make profits and cash. I’ve always preferred to be in the high profit end of any business rather than compete at the volume end. In the SITS world, many admire Accenture for its ability to stick to the high end without getting drawn into the lower margin/volume end.
How sustainable is such a policy? Well, Apple has managed to sustain that high margin position for 10+ years now and Accenture has been there ever since its rebirth from Andersen Consulting. Indeed sticking to the high ground seems to be a much more sustainable policy than going for volume. The list of volume seekers who fail is almost too long to list.
Posted by Richard Holway at '15:17'
I made an error in my Share Indices for Feb 15 post. I stated that Tom Black had left Digital Barriers. Of course, what I meant to say was that he was no longer CEO and is now Non exec Chairman. Zak Doffman, the recently-appointed CEO, was a co-founder of Digital Barriers with Black; Colin Evans is COO and another co-founder and Sharon Cooper, the CFO, joined last March.
Posted by Richard Holway at '11:24'
The latest acquisition by Anite is small in financial terms but more significant on a strategic level because it takes the wireless testing and measurement specialist further into the application testing market, and faster than if it developed the assets itself.
Anite plans to acquire the trade and assets of wireless device application test solutions provider Setcom Wireless Products GmbH and its Malta-based sister company Setcom Wireless Products Ltd. It will pay an initial €2.6m in cash, with a further consideration of up to €0.7m based on first year revenues. It is close to cost price given Setcom’s revenues of €2.8m in the year to December 31 2014 and a nice addition to Anite’s portfolio. The transaction is expected to complete by April 1 2015 and be earnings enhancing in the 2015/6 financial year.
Anite’s Propsim network testing and network data analytics Xceed acquisitions were north of €30m so Setcom is small beer by comparison, therefore integrating and extracting value should not be a problem. Setcom’s S-CORE product will complement Anite’s conformance and interoperability test solutions enabling Anite to extend it device application testing portfolio into Wi-Fi offload, IP Multimedia Subsystem based services (e.g. VoLTE) and Rich Communications Services (the platform that enables the delivery of communication experiences beyond voice and SMS, providing consumers for example with instant messaging, live video and file sharing – across devices, on any network). As LTE continues it measured adoption path, operators need to test new application using the faster LTE speeds, marking application testing as an expanding market, and this acquisition accelerates Anite’s progress.
Posted by Angela Eager at '09:23'
It’s been a busy time for the MXC team. On 23rd Feb 15 we reported on their acquisition of Calyx Managed Services from Better Capital for an enterprise value of £9m.
Today, Castleton, where MXC has a 23.4% stake, has:-
Castleton now focuses on software and managed services to the public and NfP sectors. They bought Montal in June 14 for £3.8m and Documotive, both in the social housing sectors, last Oct for £5.5m. So today’s acquisitions fit well.
Also today, 365 Agile, where MXC has a 25% stake, has bought South View Solutions (SVS) for £1m. SVS provides mobile working and SI solutions. Combined businesses now on a £2m run rate.
The two are connected in that Castleton provides the sales channel to 365 Agile in the social housing sector.
The MXC team has an enviable track record. Just look what they did at turning a ‘bust’ Redstone into Redcentric now on the stock market with a value of £220m. MCX themselves IPOed in July 14 and its share price has tripled since. Up another 5% this morning on today's news. MXC are the sponsors of TechMarketView’s Little British Battlers programme.
As we have seen the ‘Buy and Build’ model can be hugely successful if focused and executed well. Just look at Vin Murria V1.0 at CSG and Vin Murria V2.0 at ACS. The MXC team are ‘Ace Executors’ too.
Footnote – Richard Holway is a shareholder in MXC.
Posted by Richard Holway at '08:43'
We have highlighted Digital Customer Experience (DCX) as one of our key Predictions for the business process services (BPS) market in 2015 (see BPS Predictions 2015). This is a theme which cuts right across our research into digital transformation and our over-arching message for the year about ‘Joining the Dots’ across the UK SITS market (see TMV Research Agenda 2015).
DCX is a new and yet complex emerging area that it is full of opportunity for IT and BPS providers as customers attempt to gain the biggest service impact from their investments in digital technologies like social media, mobile, analytics and cloud (SMAC).
BPS is key to DCX because it’s all about transforming and re-engineering the underlying processes and service models to enable a step-change in customer experience across digital channels. BPS providers are able to look at the opportunity end-to-end with outcome-based delivery models that are core to unlocking new business value and growth for the enterprise.
Subscribers to TechMarketView’s BusinessProcessViews research stream can read the analysis into BPS provider opportunities here in Why is Digital Customer Experience key to future BPS delivery?
If you’re not yet a subscriber, please contact Deb Seth (email@example.com) who will be happy to help.
Posted by John O'Brien at '08:26'
A lot has been happening in the global payments business and at eServGlobal, the provider of mobile money services for emerging markets, over the past year. As a consequence, today’s sudden departure of Paolo Montessori, the CEO since 2013, is probably the last thing the company needed. The December announcement accompanying the full year results painted a more confident picture of the company’s plans to invest in mobile money services and develop its platform business, see here, but this move could dent the optimism of employees, customers and shareholders.
Duncan Lewis, appointed as Chairman in June 2014, is obviously making his presence felt, having re-shuffled the management deck in early December, see here, pushing the CFO, Stephen Blundell forward to serve as COO and take more control of operations and enabling Montessori to devote more time to developing the Group’s long term strategy. Whether that role was not to Mr. Montessori’s liking or whether there was another reason behind this precipitative move may be revealed in due time.
Nevertheless, the management of eServGlobal needs to show that there is value in the business beyond the now minority owned HomeSend venture. It also needs to act swiftly to fill its senior ranks as the sector is moving quickly and further loss of momentum could be very serious.
Posted by Peter Roe at '08:16'
We’ve received many applications from really exciting companies hoping to join us on our next Little British Battler Day. But it’s not too late for your company to be among them.
Over the past couple of years, 60 ‘small but perfectly formed’ (or getting there!) companies have joined the ranks of the TechMarketView Little British Battler brigade. Here’s what the CEOs of just some of them have said about the programme:
“Being an LBB applicant put us on the 'map' with several large firms who ordinarily would not have known about us. This has allowed us to form business partnerships that today are driving business for the company.”
The next TechMarketView Little British Battler Event will be held in London on Wednesday 22nd April 2015. You will have the opportunity to share their aspirations and challenges, and get valuable opinion and advice on their business plans, in confidential sessions with TechMarketView research directors and senior partners of MXC Capital, the tech focused, AIM quoted merchant bank that actively invests in and advises companies in the UK tech sector.
The deadline for registrations is Friday 6th March. We aim to notify successful applicants by the end of March.
Posted by HotViews Editor at '06:00'
From silicon roundabout start-ups and Shoreditch design houses to global banks and insurance companies, the UK’s boom in IT talent and job creation is a London success story.
However, this is by no means the whole story.
We are introducing the Tech Cities Job Watch, our quarterly survey of hiring demand and salaries, as a means of tracking the evolving IT opportunities within these cities, and to identify changing trends across five key technology disciplines.
Highlights from this report include:
Prominence of roles in Mobile and Web Development as businesses now consider this a vital part of their sales and operational offering
Recent realisation of the value of harnessing Big Data has resulted in fewer roles advertised, but this scarcity has resulted in the highest average salaries
demand for Big Data, IT Security and Web Development skills in Glasgow leading to a candidate shortage, driving up rates and salaries
Manchester tops the non-London cities for IT contractor rates but falls down the rankings for perm salaries
Cambridge is the second highest paying city for perm roles, but the second lowest of the Tech Cities for contractor day rates
High average IT salaries in Bristol and Birmingham due to recruitment drives from consultancies looking to build specialist technology practices
Download your copy of the report here.
Experis is the largest IT recruitment specialist in Europe and has been at the forefront of the search for the best in IT talent for over 25 years.
Words, pictures and links are written and supplied by Experis. If you would like to place a sponsored post in UKHotViews please contact Helen McTeer here.
Posted by Experis at '00:00'
Almost exactly a year ago I wrote about the opening of London-HQ’d, 'nearshore' IT services firm, Endava’s first office in Macedonia (see Endava’s endeavours extend to Macedonia) – or at least the signing of the papers for such. Well, the office is now well and truly open in the grandest style and you can see it YouTube. I wouldn’t normally have brought this to your attention but the facility (opened by the Macedonian Prime Minster) would do more than justice for a top-tier global SI, let alone a £65m p.a. revenue niche IT services player. Congratulations again to CEO John Cotterell and his team for truly punching above their weight!
Posted by Anthony Miller at '13:19'
In the month when the FTSE100 hit record levels – surpassing the last record set on the last day of 1999 – it was an even more agreeable month in tech. The FTSE100 might have risen 2.9% (5.8%) YTD, but NASDAQ was up 6.7% and the TechMark100 up 5.4%.
FTSE Telcom Index was up 1% masking a 3.8% decline in the Mobile side (as Vodafone fell 4.3% on broker reports of a possible costly acquisition of Liberty Global and costs of bidding for extra spectrum in India) and a 9.1% rise in Fixed (as BT rose 9%). BT’s acquisition of EE was agreed, the associated placing was well received and they seemed to get the better of Sky in the football bidding contest.
The FTSE SCS Index, which most closely follows the UK SITS companies we follow, was up a more modest 3.4% (5.9% YTD)
Monitise was the best performer – up 67%. But possibly for all the wrong reasons as investors bet on a premium if the current strategic review results in them being bought. See Monitise Progress. MXC (the sponsors of our Little British Battlers programme) put on another 47.5% as they announced their acquisition of Calyx. MXC shares have doubled this YTD and tripled since their IPO in July 14. Amazing! Also good to see Serco up 44% (38% YTD). Although that’s only a partial recovery on the losses made in 2014. Outsourcery also gained 29% (6% YTD) as they signed their first G-Cloud contract with Berkshire Healthcare Trust. .
At the other end of the scale, Triad lost 32% (35%) YTD. Digital Barriers was down another 20% (30% YTD). See Digital Barriers warns for full year. Must admit I’ve lost complete confidence in them. I had such high hopes when Tom Black set them up. My old boss, Sir John Hoskyns, oft said “If you can’t forecast your business, you won’t have a business’. Constant mis-forecasting is just not acceptable. Mind you that other company set-up by a pillar of the industry – Parity/Philip Swinstead – fell another 11% (29% YTD) Mr Miller has been warning about their business model for yonks. See Parity on track maybe. Or maybe not. We should have taken more notice.
On the global stage, SalesForce.com rose 23% (17% YTD) as it predicted a ‘more profitable year’. We’d just be pleased to see them not making a loss! CSC was up 17% (12% YTD). We don’t normally cover ‘rumours’ in HotViews. But we can explain that this share price rise was due to what appeared to be well sourced predictions that CSC is considering bidders for both is US federal business (to Private Equity) and its private sector/international business (to a global SITS player). Reuters reported that the firms interested in buying CSC were Carlyle and CapGemini. These rumours have been around for a long time but seem to have moved into a new phase recently.
At the other end of the global scale, there were no major fallers. The worst fall was HP -down 3.6% but 13.2% YTD - as its Q1 performance disappointed. They blamed the strong dollar. But I can't remember any US firm ever explaining that enhanced performance was due to the dollar weakness!
Posted by Richard Holway at '16:18'
Reseller and infrastructure services firm, SCC, has signed a new two-year deal with the Department for Work and Pensions to help deliver the Universal Credit welfare benefit.
DWP is an existing SCC customer but the hosting services are a new win for the company. DWP will retain the development and operational support of the application and operating system suite, while SCC’s role will be to provide and support the infrastructure upon which these sit.
Over the longer-term, SCC will integrate the Universal Credit service over the Public Services Network (PSN) with other core DWP applications. The service is being delivered from SCC’s Sentinel cloud platform, which was the first Pan-Government Accredited platform of its kind. Other public sector organisations using Sentinel include the Civil Aviation Authority, HM Passport Office, The Highways Agency, North Yorkshire and Humber CSU and Mersey Care NHS Trust.
This is a good win for SCC, which appears to be on something of a roll right now. Its H1 services performance looked good with 11% growth, partly thanks to the investments it has made over the years in data centre services such as Sentinel.
Posted by Kate Hanaghan at '10:14'
Yesterday, Royal Bank of Scotland (RBS) reported full year results for 2014, showing progress in its transformation, with a smaller business (in income terms by 6% to £18.2bn) and lower costs (by 11% to £12.4bn).
But there is still a lot to do, and the fundamental improvements required, to customer experience, reliability and efficiency, can only be achieved through the effective use of technology.
RBS are targeting a single digital platform for customers by the end of 2016. They also promise a “simplified IT infrastructure with fewer applications” by end 2018. Laudable goals, but it is necessary to ask if the planned changes are big enough and soon enough!
But answering these questions is difficult. Although IT is central to any bank, the subject barely gets a mention in RBS’s 250-page Annual Report. They trumpet the success of their mobile app, branch WiFi and Paym’s launch, but the key question of core system renewal is relegated to a bland comment in the Risk Factors section. Even a £250m software write-off only gets a passing mention. To maintain market position and share of transactions, the incumbent banks need to become more agile and easier to deal with. Here RBS has made some progress, but long term success will require core system renewal and bold moves. We have seen Deutsche Bank future-proof its IT infrastructure and applications strategy and this shows that even the biggest banks can change tack.
Obviously RBS has lots of other things to report, such as structural change (and 17 pages of litigations), but could surely be more open about its crucially important IT plans (and where total spending is both enormous and undisclosed). Shareholders (in the case of RBS that’s us) deserve better disclosure in this vital area.
Posted by Peter Roe at '09:55'
Looks like the profile of Apple’s Sir Jonathan Ive in The New Yorker has caused quite a stir. If you have time to read the 16,500 article Click here. Or you could read the various summaries. Or maybe the rather thought provoking critique by Sathan Sanghera in The Times today. Click here. Or, as Sanghera does, reduce it to one line as follows. “Sir Jonathan’s “manner suggests the burden of being fully appreciated” — an apt description not only of the man, but of Apple too”. Sanghera observes “For if there is any company anywhere that has ever been more “fully appreciated”, I cannot think of it.”
This struck a chord with me as some suggest I am too much of an Apple groupie. Certainly there are many who think that ‘Apple can do no wrong’. Even I cringe when I see journalists rising to stand to applaud and ‘whoop whoop’ at every Apple product announcement ‘show’.
Problem is that those that have called Apple’s peak at numerous times in the last 10 years have all (so far) been proved wrong. Apple Mac is ‘a niche product’. iPod ‘one hit wonder’. iPhone ‘will get slaughtered by cheaper versions’. ‘Who needs a ‘tablet?’. They say that now about the Apple Watch. This, and Apple’s incredible valuation and share price performance, has engendered a ‘walk on water’ adoration.
But Apple has many shortcomings. They cock up like others. Remember Apple Maps? iPhone battery life is still appalling. They have been rightly criticised for the conditions for their workers in some of their suppliers.
Even if you are an Apple fan like me, I commend you to read the articles. Steve Jobs was a hero until I read many books on him which basically portrayed him as a bully with a massively flawed personality. Sir Jonathan Ive doesn’t come over that much better. A man clearly carrying that ‘burden of being fully appreciated’.
Posted by Richard Holway at '09:36'
Workday’s share price plummeted by around 7% before hauling back in, in the wake of its Q4 and full year results. Despite achieving market revenue expectations there were concerns that it had not make enough progress on managing losses, and the Q4 growth comparative hurt because the year ago quarter was particularly strong.
This is the second quarter in a row that the market has reacted negatively (see here). As we said at the time, leading SaaS providers like Workday and Salesforce.com (who reported yesterday – see here) have to outperform at a stellar level to continue to impress the financial markets. Workday’s 59% revenue increase to $226m in Q4, and 68% rise for the year (to January 31 2015) taking revenue to $787m, were not enough to impress across the board. It does expect to break the $1bn revenue point in the current fiscal year, which will be a milestone.
It is still in growth and expansion mode – expanding in Europe/Germany and Japan in particular – so costs were up and losses deepened again. In Q4 operating losses rose from $48m to $50m, while for the year they shifted from $153m to $215m and no reversal is in sight.
I think Workday was hurt by a lack of colour around the results, with very little discussion about adoption of its financials offering for example which should be a growth area, despite lengthy sales cycles. At the end of the last quarter the company said it had 50 live Financials customers, but there was no update on the numbers nor were there insights into metrics such as average contract sizes or the pipeline for the overall business. On the positive side, Workday Insight applications from the Identified acquisition will start to roll out in the current year.
Posted by Angela Eager at '09:23'
Peoplevox, the oddly-named Watford-based warehouse management SaaS startup, has raised $6m in a Series A funding round led by Index Ventures. Peoplevox is also backed by ‘angels’ Ben White (of Notion Capital fame) and ex-ASOS exec Jon Kamaluddin.
Peoplevox founder Jonathan Bellwood told an encouraging story to the Financial Times some five years ago (see Mind the (funding) gap) about how he got a £150k facility from NatWest Bank after being inspired by seeing then prime minister Gordon Brown on television insisting that the UK’s high street banks must lend more. Timing is everything! Since then Peoplevox says it has signed up some 100 retailers including Barbour, Mothercare and Surfdome. Good luck to them!
Posted by Anthony Miller at '09:17'
Regular readers will know that I see Brazil as a hotbed for tech innovation, though not much of it escapes overseas. Well, it’s not just happening in Brazil. Jampp, the Buenos Aires and London-based mobile app marketing startup, has raised $7m in a Series A funding round led by existing investors, Highland Capital Partners Europe. Other investors included Endeavor Catalyst, Innova and NXTP Labs. Jampp recently opened offices in the US and in Brazil. Anyone for a tango or samba?
Posted by Anthony Miller at '08:52'
We won’t see the full story until the end of April, but UK-headquartered, international recruitment, outsourcing and offshoring firm, Harvey Nash, has signalled that FY results (to 31st Jan. ’15) will be in line with the revised numbers issued in last November's trading statement (see Harvey Nash profit growth hits the buffers). Headline gross profits rose by less than 1% (5% constant currency), way below that of compatriots Robert Walters and Hays, strongly suggesting yet a further squeeze on margins. But what management does really well is look after the cash, which is expected to show a £2m increase.
Posted by Anthony Miller at '08:24'
The landmark £500m+/10 year joint venture announced at the end of 2013 between the UK Home Office and Paris-based Steria, known as Shared Services Connected Limited (SSCL), was the major driver behind growth at Sopra Steria, the company created mid-2014 by the acquisition of Steria by much smaller compatriot, Sopra. Pro forma 2014 preliminary results show Steria’s growth at 6.0% vs 4.7% for Sopra (constant scope and currency), bringing headline revenues for the combined company to €3.37bn.
The lion’s share of Sopra Steria’s UK operations come from the Steria bit, where revenues grew by 24% headline (18% organic) to €860m. This far outstripped UK revenue growth at larger Paris-based peers Atos (+6%) and Capgemini (4%).
We await Sopra Steria’s ‘full monty’ results – including profitability – due in mid-March.
Posted by Anthony Miller at '07:58'
Here’s a great ‘Good News’ story to end the week. Kainos, perhaps one of my favourite companies, has announced that it is to create 403 new jobs in Belfast and Londonderry in Northern Ireland.
Peter Robinson, NI First Minister said the new jobs had “an average salary in excess of £30,000 here in Northern Ireland. This expansion will drive sales and increase annual revenue by 25 per cent year-on-year, to £94m, over the next three years. This growth will be substantially achieved through increased export sales.”
Kainos was formed c30 years ago out of Queen’s University as a JV with ICL (Fujitsu) and ACT. It now employs over 700 in NI, UK and Poland. And it is really motoring as we said last year in Kainos impresses when it reported another impressive set of results with revenues up by 46% in FY 2013-14 (£43m) and record pre-tax profits of £8m, up from £3.5m. We’ve also been impressed by Kainos and Apprenticeships. If Kainos can do it, then nobody has an excuse. And, to be blunt, we rather like its CEO Brendan Mooney who has the mix of commercialism and social respect that we so admire. Very much in line with our maxim ‘Doing Good is Good for Business”. We’ve long tried to encourage Brendan to think about an IPO but he seems steadfastly against such a move. Maybe he thinks you can’t have those kind of attitudes in the glare of a public market. If true, that would be a real shame. But I, for one, would love to own shares in Kainos.
Creating an international systems company out of Belfast with this kind of job creation in an area of the UK with the highest unemployment really is to be applauded.
Footnote - Photo shows First Minister, Peter Robinson, Kainos CEO Brendan Mooney and Dep First Minister Martin McGuinness. That’s certainly a first for HotViews! What a difference 10 years makes…
Posted by Richard Holway at '07:55'
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