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MyTutor gets £3m for online tutoring platform
26 Jun 2017
Capita agrees partnership proposal with Birmingham City Council
26 Jun 2017
Capita sells Asset Services business for £888m
26 Jun 2017
Weak passwords expose Parliament security vulnerabilities
26 Jun 2017
*NEW RESEARCH* FintechViews: Apple P2P – Crossing the Line
26 Jun 2017
Investors open their wallets for a spin on YoYo
26 Jun 2017
blur loses focus on cash
26 Jun 2017
Tenth Anniversaries
26 Jun 2017
*NEW RESEARCH* Rival cloud Codes of Conduct may muddy GDPR compliance waters
23 Jun 2017
DeepMind’s Streams clinical app extends to Taunton & Somerset
23 Jun 2017
Accenture hits 50% milestone in ‘The New’
23 Jun 2017
Oracle: what a difference a year makes in the cloud
23 Jun 2017
Birthday Honours - Part 3
22 Jun 2017
Northgate Public Services signs TfL deal
22 Jun 2017
The Queen's Speech 2017
22 Jun 2017
Soldo raises further $11m for ‘au pair debit card’
22 Jun 2017
Imagination puts itself up for sale
22 Jun 2017
Another layer of funding for TrueLayer as roll-out slips
22 Jun 2017
Travis Kalanick quits Uber
21 Jun 2017
Prince's Trust UK gets new CEO
21 Jun 2017
*NEW RESEARCH* Transforming Northgate Public Services
21 Jun 2017
Adobe: strengthening cloud business
21 Jun 2017
Liberata and Jadu form strategic partnership
21 Jun 2017
Capgemini analyst event day two - ‘traditional BPO is dead’
21 Jun 2017
RM secures a healthy Glow contract
21 Jun 2017
Digital updates in the palm of your hand: Download SAP Public Sector Run Live
21 Jun 2017
Dunmore consolidates Wipro Consulting
20 Jun 2017
Mavenlink: targeting the professional services lifecycle
20 Jun 2017
Surrey health and care devolution deal
20 Jun 2017
AimBrain raises £4m to verify identity
20 Jun 2017
Serco signs largest ever contract worth £1.5bn
20 Jun 2017
LBBs deliver a winning partnership at Lords
20 Jun 2017
Book your place for an Evening with TechMarketView
20 Jun 2017
Milk visualises £2m funding round
20 Jun 2017
Queen's Birthday Honours - Part 2
19 Jun 2017
*New Research* Cloud Services – The Road to PaaS in Financial Services
19 Jun 2017
Keytree reaches transformation milestone with Greggs
19 Jun 2017
Brexit survey - there's still time to take part
19 Jun 2017
Stockviews raises £500k to disrupt the sell-side
19 Jun 2017
Access enters Retail and Hospitality with Selima
19 Jun 2017
GDPR raises the stakes
19 Jun 2017
Selling Out vs Scaling Up – Wednesday 21st June 2017
19 Jun 2017
Touchstone touches LBB Concirrus with another £3m
19 Jun 2017
GCSE Computing has poor uptake
19 Jun 2017

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Monday 26 June 2017

MyTutor gets £3m for online tutoring platform

logo‘Distance learning’ (in effect, remote teaching) has been around for yonks, as have online marketplaces. Combine the two and you get MyTutor, the London-based ‘click a tutor’ startup. The tutors are ‘high achieving subject experts’ from leading UK universities, who charge from £18 per hour for their services, delivered online. Students get the chance to ‘try before you buy’ with a free 15-minute introductory session with the selected tutor.

Founded in 2013, MyTutor has raised £3m in a Series A funding round by Mobeus Equity Partners, with participation from angel investors including Clive Cowdery (Resolution Capital) and Thomas Hoegh (Arts Alliance). Then named MyTutorWeb, the startup raised £1m in angel funding back in October 2015.

It’s a little unclear how many tutors are registered on MyTutor; their website counts 2,103, but TechCrunch alludes to ‘over 3,500’. MyTutor’s USP is that that they personally interview (online) every tutor applying to register on the platform, but they don’t disclose details of the vetting process nor how they approach ongoing quality control. According to TechCrunch, MyTutor has a bootstrap model, paying tutors to hire and interview new tutors for the platform.

I truly hope that MyTutor has very strict controls on the tutor approval process because in truth this all sounds a bit loosey-goosey to me. It’s also not clear whether tutors require CRB (now Disclosure & Barring Service, DBS) clearance if coaching under-age students.

Anyway, the idea makes sense (there are similar startups in the US), but surely needs water-tight controls and governance.

Posted by Anthony Miller at '10:03' - Tagged: funding   startup   edtech  

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Monday 26 June 2017

Capita agrees partnership proposal with Birmingham City Council

Capita logoCapita has agreed a new partnership proposal with Birmingham City Council to support the local authority’s ICT & Digital (ICDT) Strategy 2016-2021. The plan, which is expected to deliver £43m of savings over its four-year period, is due to go before the council’s cabinet tomorrow.

The news follows last month's announcement that Birmingham City Council would dissolve its Service Birmingham joint venture with Capita. The arrangement, which commenced in 2006, covers ICT, including a variety of services to schools and Adult Education Centres, as well as running the council tax and business rates administration services.

The council’s ICDT Strategy 2016-2021 document details the lessons learnt from its joint venture and other similar deals. It states that future options for Service Birmingham should consider: contract flexibility, regular ‘value-for-money’ market-testing, better engagement with local suppliers, and maintaining internal expertise.

Birmingham City Council said that Capita recognised that greater flexibility was needed in the new deal. It will continue to support the ICDT Strategy 2016-2021, but the council will gradually take more control over the next four years. This renegotiation is expected to save Birmingham City Council £10m in 2017/18, and a total of £43m by 2020/21.

Whilst far from being ideal for Capita—the Service Birmingham contract has been a lucrative one—it could have been worse. It will still maintain a position at the heart of Birmingham City Council’s digital transformation agenda.  

Posted by Dale Peters at '09:50' - Tagged: contract   local   joint   venture  

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Monday 26 June 2017

Capita sells Asset Services business for £888m

lShares in Capita were boosted this morning after the announcement, late Friday, that it had agreed the sale of Capita Asset Services (CAS) for £888m in cash.

Capita is selling one of its ‘jewels in the crown’ to Australian share funds administrator Link Administration Holdings (Link Group), which will help it to reduce its debts. Retrospectively, the disposal would have reduced Capita’s pro forma net debt / EBITDA ratio to 1.8, at 31 December, 2016 vs. the 2.7 it actually delivered (see Investors rattled as Capita issues profit warning). That’s a much more reasonable level for the company as it restructures, streamlines and improves its balance sheet, to return to ‘profitable, sustainable growth’.

lLink Group is paying 1.9x CAS' third party 2016 revenues of £472.9m. CAS was one of the best performing divisions group-wide for Capita last year, with growth of 8% and an operating margin of over 20%. Capita as a group, saw its 2016 margin fall to 11% vs. 13.6%) (see here). So the conrtibution from this business will be sorely missed.

Link Group won’t be a name familiar to many in the UK SITS space. However it will now be a new competitor to the likes of Capita, Equiniti and Computershare in the share registrations space (see Computershare beats Capita for bad bank BPS).

HQ’d in Sydney, Link Group employs 4,300 people across 11 countries, and its clients include some of Australia's largest superannuation funds and global investment firms like JP Morgan. It has been building its capability through acquisition in recent years, mainly in APAC, and expanding into emerging opportunity areas like digital and data analytics too. CAS is Link's first big push into the UK, and a new competitor entering the UK BPS market.

Posted by John O'Brien at '09:37' - Tagged: acquisition   bps  

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Monday 26 June 2017

Weak passwords expose Parliament security vulnerabilities

Weak passwords expose parliament security vulnerabilitiesHuman error is a common source of data security breaches but poor user education is another. So it appears to be with the cyber attack directed at the House of Parliament email server last Friday which could have successfully compromised up to 90 accounts belonging to unidentified ministers, MPs, peers and their staff.

Parliament’s digital security team is working to establish if confidential data has been stolen, with state-sponsored hacking suspected. The finger is again pointed at Russia after its alleged interference with the US presidential election and previous attack on the German parliament in 2015.

But this wasn’t a particularly sophisticated form of cyber attack. Brute force cracking is essentially a trial and error method used by an automated application to guess as many different password variants in as short a time as possible. As such we think it could have come from any source – cyber criminals looking to profit by blackmailing the victims or hacktivists causing disruption for whatever reason. In reality we will probably never know.

The incident was small scale compared to the WannaCry ransomware attack which caused widespread disruption to the NHS last month, but nevertheless embarrassing for a UK government which has repeatedly called for private industry to improve its cyber security defences.

Nor does it look down to any lack of investment in cyber security infrastructure. Systems and policies to prevent a successful data breach were in place, identified the attack was underway and quickly contained the problem. The issue was that guidance on creating a strong email password appears to have been ignored by a small section of the end user base (less than 1% of the 9,000 email accounts on the parliamentary network were compromised).

Keeping systems up to date is essential to effective cyber security defence, but keeping people up to date on their responsibilities and not just advising, but enforcing, a strong password policy is equally as important.

Posted by Martin Courtney at '09:19' - Tagged: public+sector   cybersecurity   IAM  

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Monday 26 June 2017

*NEW RESEARCH* FintechViews: Apple P2P – Crossing the Line

logoApple’s Worldwide Developers Conference (WWDC) earlier this month may have underwhelmed its fan-base who are always hoping for a shiny new toy, but there was an intriguing nugget in there for the payments industry.

Apple announced that the new iOS11 (later this year) will enable ApplePay users (albeit initially only in the US) to send money to friends and family through iMessage.

tmvNow it could be argued that this is just an attempt to drive up ApplePay penetration (which is poor in the US) especially amongst the key millennial segment, but the other aspect of the proposition is that when funds are sent the recipient receives the funds into an ‘Apple Cash’ account. This is an ewallet, a bit like a PayPal account. The Apple Cash balance can be used instantly for ApplePay transactions (paying in-store, online or for another P2P), or be transferred to a bank account.

For the first time, ApplePay is moving from being a digital version of a leather wallet, i.e. just a container for your various cards, to actually having its own store of value. And why is that significant? Well that’s how Alipay started, and they have built from that foundation to be the go-to place for a wide range of financial services; bill payments, savings, loans, investments, insurance….

So this announcement, tucked away as an iOS iMessage feature update, crosses an important line in establishing a key foundation for potentially a much wider play for Apple in financial services.

Subscribers can read more insight and analysis of this key development in our latest FintechViews report, Apple P2P – Crossing the Line.

Posted by Peter Roe at '09:15' - Tagged: financialservices   mobile   payments  

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Monday 26 June 2017

Investors open their wallets for a spin on YoYo

logoYoYo Wallet, the mobile wallet startup that got its first break in retail outlets at London’s Imperial College, has just undertaken its largest investment so far, raising £12m in a Series B round led by the digitalisation and start-up investment arm of the METRO GROUP, the German global diversified retail and wholesale cash-and-carry group.

Yoyo’s ‘alma mater’ Touchstone (nee Imperial) Innovations also added a further £4m in a round which was also supported by Woodford Investment Management. Touchstone has been a long-time investor in YoYo (see IVO goes yoyo over YoYo) and had built up a 51% stake in the startup (see IVO takes bigger stake in YoYo), though this has now been diluted to 44% with the current funding round. YoYo’s retailer network now extends to 1,700 outlets across Europe.

It’s good to see Touchstone is firmly keeping its eye on its worthy causes despite being embroiled in a ‘merger’ bid by rival IP Group (see Touchstone holding out against IP Group).

Posted by Anthony Miller at '09:01' - Tagged: funding   startup   FinTech  

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Monday 26 June 2017

blur loses focus on cash

logoIn July last year I asked the implicitly rhetorical question whether (then) pure-play services marketplace blur Group’s ‘pivot’ to a lower risk business model would be enough to get them back in focus before the cash ran out (see blur Group – the race is on).

Just a few months later, founding CEO Philip Letts took a gamble to expand the platform to include products as well as services, a move I did not believe would help steady the ship (see blur adds products to services). Indeed the company was in a parlous financial position (see blur focuses on cash burn as sales slide) though later news of a contract with potentially significant promise (see Will blur’s ‘engagement’ lead to financial bliss?) added a glimmer of hope to Letts’ infectious enthusiasm for the prospects of his business.

The short answer to the question now seems to be ‘no’. Letts has advised that cash is down to under $2m and they are burning almost $1m a quarter. He is struggling to finance the business and warned that otherwise the AIM-listed company could soon be worth little or nothing.

It’s too soon to write the obituary – but maybe not by much. If that time comes, there would be many lessons to be learned but few reasons to gloat.

Posted by Anthony Miller at '08:16' - Tagged: warning  

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Monday 26 June 2017

Tenth Anniversaries

If you are on Facebook - which, according to the statistics, most of you are either as active posters or lurkers - then you will have seen the regular features of what you were doing ‘x years ago today’. Today - 26th June 2007 -  I was told, was my 10th anniversary of joining FaceBook.

Today the media is currently also full of articles on the 10th anniversary of the availability of the iPhone.

HVsBut June 2007 also saw the launch of HotViews. Richard Holway Ltd had launched HotNews in 1988. In 2000 Richard Holway Ltd was acquired by Ovum and I had joined their board and the HotNews service continued as part of Ovum Holway. The Ovum AIM IPO in 2006 was followed by a sale to Datamonitor which closed early 2007 when I too left. Writing a commentary on the tech sector was in my blood and so I launched HotViews as my escape vehicle. Of course, this was incorporated into TechMarketView when it launched in 2008

All paying TechMarketView clients can access the HotViews archive for June 2007 where you can read of Richard Granger leaving the controversial NHS IT project, Microgen’s battle to acquire Trace , the launch by Ashley Highfield of the BBC iPlayer and Groupe Bull buying GFI. As well as articles on Facebook and the social networking phenomenon (makes interesting reading in retrospect as I think most readers thought I was mad for my enthusiasm!) and the iPhone - where the main criticism was the lack of a decent mobile network to connect it to. See iPhone in search of a decent network

DTWithout a ‘proper job’, I’d launched into my plural career in 2007 taking on several advisory and NED roles including my directorship at Allianz Technology Trust that I still hold. I also took on the  Chair at the Prince’s Trust Technology Leadership Group which I had helped to found in 2002 with my now mates James Bennet and John O’Connell. See The forgotten youngsters of Britain. All this was covered in a half page Daily Telegraph profile on  28th June 2007.

Oh and there was one other piece of significant news. My friend, and subsequently business partner at TechMarketView LLP, Anthony Miller getting married on 23rd June 2007.  We celebrated his 10th Wedding Anniversary yesterday, Congratulations!

So, all-in-all, June 2007 was a pretty significant month!

Posted by Richard Holway at '08:15'

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Friday 23 June 2017

*NEW RESEARCH* Rival cloud Codes of Conduct may muddy GDPR compliance waters

*NEW RESEARCH* Rival cloud Codes of Conduct may muddy GDPR compliance watersThe European Union’s General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) will bring significant changes to existing data protection laws in May next year.

Yet we get the distinct impression that end user organisations and cloud service providers alike are still struggling to understand its requirements and their respective responsibilities when it comes to safeguarding the information pertaining to EU citizens and customers.

The EU and cloud service providers are keen to minimise any confusion and deliver clear guidance on how to comply. But TechMarketView can’t help but think that the rival Codes of Conduct (CoCs) now emerging may end up just muddying the waters further rather than delivering the certainty and transparency required. More…

Posted by Martin Courtney at '10:00' - Tagged: cloud   regulation   EU   GDPR  

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Friday 23 June 2017

DeepMind’s Streams clinical app extends to Taunton & Somerset

DeepMind logoDeepMind, part of Alphabet Inc, has signed a five-year deal to implement and develop its Streams clinical app at Musgrove Park Hospital, run by Taunton and Somerset NHS Foundation Trust. This will be its first use in the UK outside of London, where it is currently used by Imperial College Healthcare NHS Trust and the Royal Free NHS Foundation Trust.

Currently, Streams is primarily used to help identify and treat acute kidney disease. It can be used to review test results and alert doctors and nurses via a mobile app when a patient needs assessment, but does not currently involve any machine-learning or artificial intelligence.

In 2015, Musgrove Park Hospital started working with IMS MAXIMS to introduce its open source electronic patient record system, a first step in a programme to become ‘paper-lite’ by 2018. Last year, it was named as a Global Digital Exemplar for the NHS (see Public Sector Opportunities Bulletin - February 2017), picking up £10m to help it accelerate its digital ambitions.

DeepMind will work alongside the Trust and IMS MAXIMS to roll out Streams. This will include a series of workshops and open events to explain how the system works and reduce concerns about how patient data will be used.

DeepMind will be well aware of how important it is to address these concerns before it starts processing data. Earlier this year, a letter from the head of the National Data Guardian to the medical director of the Royal Free NHS Foundation Trust said patients should have been informed about the partnership and data sharing arrangement between the Trust and DeepMind. An investigation by the Information Commissioner's Office into the use of Streams in London is ongoing.

As we have discussed previously (see Public Sector digital services: building citizen trust), a lack of transparency and communication are two of the biggest issues in building citizen trust in the public sector.  

Posted by Dale Peters at '09:53' - Tagged: health   healthcare   digital   google   clinical   app  

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Friday 23 June 2017

Accenture hits 50% milestone in ‘The New’

lThis quarter (Q317) marked a very important milestone for Accenture in its strategic ‘rotation to the new’ - it now generates 50% of global revenues here, in digital, cloud and security related services (see Accenture rotating to the new).

This means ‘the new’ equates to c$4.5bn in revenues in Q3, and $18bn on an annualised basis. It’s also growing ‘well above 30%’ according to CFO David Rowland. This time last year, ‘the new’ counted for 40% of revenues. There’s no doubt Accenture is making an impressive and rapid transition.

It’s really important for Accenture to grow at this rate in the new, to not only remain ahead of the pack, but also counteract the squeeze in the traditional business.

Overall, net revenues in the quarter were up 7% in local currency (lcy) to $8.9bn, and new bookings were up 8% lcy to $9.8bn. That’s still impressive growth, and enabling Accenture to continue growing its market share.

However, as Accenture gives more visibility on the new, it also allows us to see what’s happening to the ‘traditional’ or ‘old world’ business. Our estimates put this at a decline of c12% in the quarter. That’s not to take away from what Accenture is achieving in its transition though. 

Acquisitions in the new continue to help drive the transition, and are expected to count for 20-30% of the topline growth in FY17. In the quarter, Accenture acquired US agile development player SolutionsIQ, and one of our LBBs, UK intelligent automation pure play Genfour (see here). This helped the UK to yet another double-digit growth performance in the quarter – far ahead of the wider UK market. 

Posted by John O'Brien at '09:41' - Tagged: results   bps  

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Friday 23 June 2017

Oracle: what a difference a year makes in the cloud

LogoWe had our doubts about Oracle being at the ‘end of the cloud beginning’ when it reported last June, but twelve months on and its cloud development has been good, the driver behind a set of results that sent the share price spiraling upwards.

In Q4 (to May 31 2017) overall cloud revenue hit $1.4bn, 13% of total revenue, with 58% yoy growth. At $964m, up 67%, SaaS was responsible for the lions share and at 9% of total revenue came tantalizingly close to the double digit milestone. IaaS and PaaS combined was just $397m (4% of total revenue) but grew 40% yoy.

Oracle is showing accelerating cloud growth on a broad portfolio and appears to have plenty more headroom given its heavy investments in Gen 2 IaaS over the past couple of years, as well as its SaaS and PaaS offerings. It says PaaS and IaaS will go into hyper growth over the coming year . There are a couple of  indicators to support the growth story: customers buying into SaaS are also buying to PaaS; AT&T is moving its large database estate to Oracle cloud. If the migration goes well, this will be a real coup for Oracle and potentially a catalyst for more major migrations.

Across the traditional part of the business, licence revenue was down 2%. This was not as steep as expected – database sales helped, as did ERP sales – but there was no specific theme. Support and maintenance was up 2%, indicating customers are continuing to buy into on-premise products.

The overall result was that total revenue was up 2% to $10.9bn in Q4, with net income up 15% to $3.2bn, and Oracle is starting to see SaaS margins rise.

For the full year revenue was up 2% to $37.7bn with net income up 5% to $9.3bn. SaaS was up 61%, IaaS/PaaS up 60%. The extent of the decline in the traditional business was more apparent across the full year where new licence revenue dropped 12% and is now 17% of total revenue vs. 19%, while support and maintenance revenue saw a 2% lift, maintaining its 51% of total revenue.

Posted by Angela Eager at '09:16' - Tagged: results   cloud   software  

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Thursday 22 June 2017

Birthday Honours - Part 3

Another omission from my Queen’s Birthday Honours post.

Alison McLaughlin (Regional Director – Scotland and Northern Ireland) at one of our valued clients - Sopra Steria - emailed to point out

“One very significant person from the IT industry in Scotland was recognised in the birthday honours. Polly Purvis – Chief Executive of ScotlandIS was awarded an OBE for services to the Digital Economy in Scotland.  Polly is very significant north of the border and many of us in the sector up here are pleased to see Polly get this recognition”

Posted by Richard Holway at '10:38'

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Thursday 22 June 2017

Northgate Public Services signs TfL deal

NPS logoIt’s encouraging to see Northgate Public Services (NPS) winning business as it continues to transform under the leadership of new CEO Steve Callaghan (see Transforming Northgate Public Services). Working in partnership with Daisy Group, it has just secured a new five-year contract to support its CallTouch Integrated Control Communication System across the Transport for London estate. The deal is initially worth £1.2m to NPS but has the option of a two-year extension and a new control room site is due to be added later in the year as part of the project to upgrade signaling systems for the Circle, District, Hammersmith & City and Metropolitan lines on London Underground.

NPS is probably best known for its work in local government and with the police, but its ‘Safety & Health’ division is also home to solutions like CallTouch, which is used in rail control rooms as well as by fire and ambulance services to improve operational communication and manage all telephone and radio calls from a single touchscreen, something that is particularly important in an emergency. NPS also built the payment system for the Department for Transport’s HGV Road User Levy, so is no stranger to the transport sector generally. (PublicSectorViews subscribers might also be interested in our profile of Northgate Public Services in the UK Public Sector SITS Supplier Landscape Report 2016-17).

Posted by Tola Sargeant at '09:57' - Tagged: contract   transport   software  

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Thursday 22 June 2017

The Queen's Speech 2017

The Lords source: https://www.gov.uk/government/organisations/prime-ministers-office-10-downing-streetThe Queen’s Speech went ahead despite talks with the DUP about a ‘confidence and supply agreement’ appearing to falter. Numerous Conservative election manifesto pledges have been scrapped, but many digital and technology commitments remain.

The Speech opened by saying, “My government’s priority is to secure the best possible deal as the country leaves the European Union.” This is clearly top of the Government’s to-do list, but there are other important considerations too (see Brexit: The implications for further discussion). Brexit will provide both opportunities and threats for SITS suppliers—we will be publishing the results from our Brexit survey next month.

Although work on the industrial strategy (see Government technology strategy: first the good news…) will continue, it remains to be seen how much of January’s green paper will be realised. Yesterday’s Speech focused on two key industry areas, automated and electric vehicles, and the space industry, with legislation being introduced to help the UK lead the way in these fields.

A Digital Charter, was introduced, with the objective of, “making the UK the best place to start and run a digital business and the safest place in the world to be online”. There is clearly a delicate balance between protecting people online, stifling innovation and a free and open internet.

The Data Protection Bill was also introduced to give people better control of their data, including a “right to be forgotten”, and help implement the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR). This Bill and the Digital Charter will have the potential to constrain how companies unlock the intelligence in data. It’s good to see Government commitments to work with technology companies in developing the Digital Charter, but it will also need to support businesses with the introduction of GDPR.

We will, of course, be watching closely the progress of the 27 bills included in the Queen’s Speech as they make their way through Parliament.

Posted by Dale Peters at '09:54' - Tagged: government   digital   data   GDPR   legislation  

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Thursday 22 June 2017

Soldo raises further $11m for ‘au pair debit card’

logoYou’ll get a good sense of multi-user debit card startup Soldo’s target market from its website: “Your au pair finally has an easy and secure way to buy groceries or cinema tickets to keep your kids happy, whatever the weather”. Though why you’d need to give the au pair a card when Soldo will happily issue one your eight-year-old kid is a moot point.

Founded by Italian banking entrepreneur Carlo Gualandri in 2015 and launched for consumers in the UK in November 2016, Soldo went on to release a business version of its service earlier this year. Soldo has now raised a further $11m in a Series A funding round led by Accel, with Connect Ventures, InReach Ventures, U-Start and R204 Partners also participating. Soldo had reportedly raised a ‘seven-figure’ seed round in March 2016.

Actually, Soldo is a very neat idea. Integral to its USP is the ability to track and control spending on its cards (issued by Mastercard) at a personal, family or business level. Soldo charges individuals and families (up to 4 users) £2 per month after a 3-month freebie, and all transactions incur a fixed fee. Businesses pay £5 per user per month plus usage fees.

Soldo is just one of a number of banking startups with specific target markets. For example, Loot, which also partners with Mastercard, is aimed at foreign students coming to the UK to study (see Loot banks another £2.5m). I have little doubt that well-focused banking startups like these will gnaw away at the roots of the traditional banks. However, they may find the so-called ‘challenger’ banks, with more responsive IT, quicker to turn their attention to niche markets if they think there may be rich pickings.

Posted by Anthony Miller at '08:56' - Tagged: funding   startup  

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Thursday 22 June 2017

Imagination puts itself up for sale

ImaginationBack two months ago, Apple dropped a bombshell on Imagination Technologies, see 3rd Apr 17 Apple to do without Imagination, giving them notice that they were to stop using their graphics chips in new products. Imagination shares crashed over 60% on the news.

Last month Imagination put two (MIPS and Ensignia) of its three businesses up for sale and instigated legal proceeding against Apple who they believed could not develop graphics chips without infringing their IP.

Today Imagination has announced that they are putting the whole company up for sale as they had received approaches from a number of parties. Imagination shares have jumped 22% this morning. Ironically Apple has a c8% stake in Imagination.

I’ve held up Imagination as the type of tech company that the UK does well and should do more of. Indeed you can reread my We need more ‘Imagination’ post from 23rd June 2009 to gauge my previous enthusiasm. Whereas ARM worked hard to insulate it from one customer holding all the strings - its designs are used in almost every smartphone/not just Apple’s - Imagination didn’t have that luxury. With Apple having a stake I guess we all believed that Apple would buy Imagination if they really wanted their own graphics chip. I still think that would be the best solution.

But whatever happens, methinks yet another really Great British company (and a Great British Scaleup to boot) will fall to a foreign predator

Posted by Richard Holway at '08:46'

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Thursday 22 June 2017

Another layer of funding for TrueLayer as roll-out slips

logoIt was just four months ago that London-based fintech startup TrueLayer raised $1.3m in seed funding as it launched a private beta version of its platform for app developers and fintechs to connect with banks and other established financial services companies (see TrueLayer raises US$1.3m for API platform). Founded in July 2016, they’ve just announced a $3m Series A funding round led by Anthemis Group, with existing investor Connect Ventures also participating.

However, it looks like there may have been some delay in the launch of its platform in Continental Europe, which we understand was targeted for this year but is now reportedly signalled for later in 2018. This is perhaps hardly surprising given TrueLayer’s reliance on every single bank operating in the EU updating their legacy systems to provide interfaces to third party applications, which they are in effect required to do under the terms of new regulation such as the Payment Services Directive II (PSD2) which comes into force in January 2018.

Simples. NOT!

Posted by Anthony Miller at '08:02' - Tagged: funding   startup   FinTech  

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Wednesday 21 June 2017

Travis Kalanick quits Uber

UberSo Travis Kalanick has finally got the message and quit as CEO of Uber. Looks like nobody wanted to serve as COO and therefore #2 to Kalanick. Maybe Uber will now get a CEO with a moral compass.

The litany of issues at Uber have been widely publicised. Uber is a ‘marmite’ company. I have a few friends who swear by them. I have many others who swear at their very mention. Indeed several of my female friends say they would NEVER go in an Uber taxi. As I have reported before on HotViews many Uber drivers say they earn a pittance but are tied to Uber because of the loans they took out to buy their cars.

On top of all the other issues at Uber, the way that it avoids tax - in particular VAT - gives great concern to both me as a tax payer and, I am sure, the other taxi firms who do not have the luxury of an offshore billing location. As with Airbnb, are we really happy to see whole swaths of law abiding and tax paying businesses suffer to a model which does neither?

I’m all for progress but some of the parts of the ‘gig economy’ seem really dangerous and retrograde steps to me. 

Posted by Richard Holway at '14:58'

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Wednesday 21 June 2017

Prince's Trust UK gets new CEO

PTStaceAs so many of our readers are also supporters of the Prince’s Trust (wonder why?) I’m sure you will be interested to learn that Nick Stace has been appointed as CEO of The Prince’s Trust UK with effect from Oct 17. Dame Martina Milburn is moving up to be CEO of both the Prince’s Trust UK and Prince’s Trust International. I’ve known Martina since she joined as CEO in May 2004 and have huge respect for her and, indeed, what she has achieved at the Trust in those 13 years. A really tough act to follow!

Nick Stace is currently CEO at the Royal College of Veterinary Surgeons - a post he has held since Sept 2012. Nick is also on the board of the Financial Conduct Authority and, according to LinkedIn, a council member of the National Trust. Nick has also run campaigning at Which? and the Australian equivalent Choice as well as being a special adviser to the Prime Minister’s Office in 2008.

The Prince’s Trust UK holds a very special position in my life - as I know it does to so many others. Its work giving disadvantaged young people a new start in life has brought some amazing results. I look forward to meeting Nick and doing whatever I can to help the Prince’s Trust continues its fantastic work.

Posted by Richard Holway at '13:58'

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Wednesday 21 June 2017

*NEW RESEARCH* Transforming Northgate Public Services

NPS logoWe caught up with the new management team at Northgate Public Services (NPS) earlier this month and were impressed by what we found. Steve Callaghan was appointed CEO by NPS’ private equity owners Cinven last September. He recruited Group CFO, Alan O’Reilly in November last year and has made a number of other changes. Both have a track record in turning businesses around and driving growth and although NPS isn’t a ‘turnaround’ per se, it’s clear that the new approach is already transforming the business.

Steve started his career as a commissioned officer in the British Army and his straight-talking leadership philosophy owes a lot to principles more usually associated with the military or elite level sport. The strategy for Northgate Public Services comprises three phases: Crawl (FY17 to end April), Walk (FY18) and Run (FY19+). As the business enters FY18 and begins to ‘walk’, it is set on a path for profitable growth after a transformative FY17.  

The crawl phase had four core elements (or ‘swim lanes’ as Steve refers to them)... More...

Posted by Tola Sargeant at '09:37' - Tagged: public+sector   localgovernment   strategy   police   healthcare   housing  

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Wednesday 21 June 2017

Adobe: strengthening cloud business

logoIt was yet another quarter of double digit growth for Adobe in Q217 - making it the eighth in a row - as it reported revenue up 27% to $1.77bn on the back of its cloud business that continued to gather strength. Subscriptions are now 84% of total revenue so the cloud transition is largely complete. It wasn’t just the top line that grew, net income expanded 53% to $374m. Better than expected results sent shares up c.4%, a nice bonus for the company that joined the Fortune 500 list for the first time last week.

The Digital Media business was core to overall performance with 29% growth in the period to June 2 2017, taking it to $1.2bn and within that Creative Cloud hit a significant milestone, breaking the $1bn revenue mark for the first time as existing users expanded their usage and new ones came on board.

Having well and truly pushed past the transition pain, Adobe can - and is - beginning to take advantage of the network effect, using its cloud base and the scale of its portfolio to increase its addressable market as customers add on services from its varied offerings. Management describes digital transformation as the burning platform for adoption and as this is still early days for many enterprises, it is looking optimistically at the market, including Q3 revenue guidance of $1.8bn. 

Posted by Angela Eager at '08:59' - Tagged: results   software  

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Wednesday 21 June 2017

Liberata and Jadu form strategic partnership

Liberata logoPublic sector specialists Liberata and Jadu have formed a strategic partnership to target digital transformation opportunities in local government.

Jadu logoThings have been looking up for business process services (BPS) and automation specialist, Liberata since Charlie Bruin took charge at the end of 2015 and its £43m acquisition by Outsourcing Inc (see Japanese BPO firm OSI buys Liberata) has helped provided a secure foundation for the business.

It’s had a good start to 2017, adding a £75m BPS deal with existing customer Hounslow Council and a £5.4 million deal with the London Borough of Hillingdon to provide revenues & benefits and customer services (see Liberata re-invigorated; wins new £75m Hounslow BPS deal). Issues with its existing Hounslow contract, where council tax payments were taken one working day early, and its payroll contract in Worcestershire, where a small number (0.6%) of payees reported underpayments, have taken the gloss of things slightly, but the problems were resolved quickly and effectively. 

Leicester-based, Jadu specialises in cloud-based customer experience software, providing web content management, online forms, and case management tools as part of its Continuum platform. Jadu claims more than 30% of local councils in the UK are using Continuum, including Birmingham City Council, Manchester City Council, and the Royal Borough of Windsor & Maidenhead. Earlier this month it added Canterbury City Council to its list of customers—the council intends to use Continuum to help deliver 85% of transactions online within two years.

There will be many more digital transformation opportunities in local government, but it’s an increasingly competitive space. Combining Liberata’s BPS and automation expertise with Jadu’s digital channel knowledge is a sound move and will help both companies better support the digital transformation of councils. Liberata and Jadu share several customers, which should provide an early opportunity to collaborate and lead to a number of quick wins.

Posted by Dale Peters at '08:29' - Tagged: partnership   government   digital   transformation   local   council  

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Wednesday 21 June 2017

Capgemini analyst event day two - ‘traditional BPO is dead’

lLast week we attended Capgemini’s global analyst day in London, where we heard about what the future holds for its global BPO business.

Last year, Capgemini dropped the ‘BPO’ moniker, and replaced it with ‘Business Services’, to reflect the dramatically changing shape of how business process services (BPS) are being bought by enterprises today. Aruna Jayanthi, global head of Business Services, said she believes the days of traditional BPO are now dead, and have been for the past 18 months to 2 years. We agree with this view, as we will show in our soon to be published Market Forecasts. Intelligent Automation is fast replacing the old BPO model, and causing contracts to become shorter and renegotiated far earlier too.

Jayanthi remains ‘extremely optimistic’ about the future, because the shift is throwing up new areas for people to consider outsourcing, which are digitally enabled, like customer services, mid-office and digital supply chain - all processes which need re-designing for a digital age. Indeed it’s a positive twist on Automation, which rival WNS is also witnessing (see WNS benefitting from Automation and RPA). 

Intelligent Automation is a key play for Capgemini in this evolution, via partnerships with companies likee2OpenLlamasoftUiPathPegaBlue Prism and Celaton (InStream), and the development of its own Automation Drive orchestration platform (see our report What are the opportunities for Artificial Intelligence in BPS?). Capgemini is also building out its own industry specific platform IP, with the specific aim of solving specific ‘business problems’.  They include Capgemini’s cloud-based contact centre platform Odigo, as well as others in healthcare, reference data management, and mobility for the automotive sector.

Odigo became part of the group via the acquisition of parent Prosodie in 2011 (see here). It supports multichannel voice, video, chat, email, social media, SMS and IoT for companies like Telefonica, DHL, Fnac Darty, Swiss Life, Sodexo and La Redoute. The focus is now moving beyond SaaS to broader ‘customer journey transformation’ that will rely on the broader BPS capabilities of the group, as well as more personalised conversations via the use of AI, chatbots and natural language generation (NLG). Focusing on RPA and AI techniques is the right shift for Capgemini Business Services, that should help deliver higher outcome impacts for BPS customers.   

Posted by John O'Brien at '07:59' - Tagged: IntelligentAutomation  

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Wednesday 21 June 2017

RM secures a healthy Glow contract

RM plc logoEducation resources and technology supplier, RM has secured a significant contract with Education Scotland to continue providing authentication and portal services for Glow, Scotland's national online learning environment. The 5.5-year deal, with the option to extend up to a maximum of 10.5 years, is worth £1.3m per annum.

RM has been part of Glow from the start. It won the £37.5m five-year deal (with the option for a two-years extension) to develop the Scottish Schools Digital Network in 2005. Subsequently renamed Glow, the service launched in 2007 and was the world’s first national school intranet programme and the one of the largest Microsoft SharePoint implementations undertaken.

The contract was due to end in 2012 with Education Scotland widely expected to move to a new platform based on open source systems and Google’s application suite. However, after much internal wrangling, Google withdrawing from the process and time running out, RM was awarded a £5.5m 15-month deal to implement a new phase of Glow based on Office 365 and its own RM Unify platform providing authentication and portal services. The contract was further extended to the end of 2017.  

RM beat two other suppliers to win the latest contract, which commences in January 2018. It will deliver new platform functionality and also help deploy Google’s G Suite, which, it was announced in April, will now be available alongside Office 365 on Glow.

Glow hasn’t been an easy ride for RM; government mismanagement and poor initial perceptions have been difficult to overcome. It’s worked hard to improve things and Glow is now averaging c.150,000 unique user per month (Jan-May 2017); up 30% on the same point last year. As well as being a useful contract in its own right, this deal provides RM with the ability to further develop RM Unify for use outside of Scotland, where it continues to form a significant part of its multi-academy trust proposition.

Posted by Dale Peters at '07:16' - Tagged: education   scotland   government   school  

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Tuesday 20 June 2017

Dunmore consolidates Wipro Consulting

logoIt was back in 2009 that I last took a closer look at Bangalore-based offshore services major, Wipro’s consulting practice and, not surprisingly, much has changed since then.

Early this year Wipro recruited ex-Cognizant UK consulting lead, Phil Dunmore, to bring together the disparate parts of Wipro’s consulting ecosystem with the aim of substantially increasing the size of the business. That journey is now well under way.

I met up recently with Dunmore, and subscribers to the TechMarketView Foundation Service can read more in the accompanying OffshoreViews note, downloadable here.

Posted by Anthony Miller at '13:33' - Tagged: offshore  

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Tuesday 20 June 2017

Mavenlink: targeting the professional services lifecycle

logoAs a former global managing partner at Accenture, Ray Grainger knows a thing or two about the services industry and has bought that knowledge to bear on Mavenlink, the software company he co-founded in 2008 to provide project management and resource planning to professional services companies.

With triple digit yoy growth, the SaaS company appears to have hit a sweet spot. It raised $39m in November 2016 from Goldman Sachs and is using this to expand its operations, including opening its first European office in London. Targeting services businesses, from classic IT and accounting to marketing agencies, it offers end-to-end project and resource management software.

The modern twist is it is designed for teams who may be physically dispersed, so can account for variables like location of expertise and geographic diversity. The nature of work has changed observed CEO Grainger: professional services software has to do more than support time and expense functions, people are dispersed, contracts are of shorter duration and people will not necessarily be on site, so technology is needed to bring people together. The focus on teams, collaboration and resource optimisation is a hot topic across the SITS market from Atlassian in the developer segment to Kimble Applications in professional services automation with its resource scheduling, visibility and insight capabilities.

Mavenlink’s future plans are particularly interesting because it is looking to create a digital professional services network within the next 12-18 months - a marketplace in effect where professionals can offer their services and organisations can buy into them as and when needed, rather than keeping permanant staff on the bench and worrying about utilisatition rates. With digital skills in short supply it could be a timely debut. It is a major undertaking and there are plenty of risk and questions - not least the revenue model. But it is a new approach that aims to use technology to deliver business requirements in a new way, which is what modern digital business should be attuned to.

Posted by Angela Eager at '09:55' - Tagged: software  

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Tuesday 20 June 2017

Surrey health and care devolution deal

NHS logoLocal and national health and care organisations in Surrey Heartlands have signed an agreement to improve the integration of health and social care in the region and pave the way to devolution.

The agreement was signed by national bodies, NHS England and NHS Improvement, the three Clinical Commissioning Groups (CCG) that form the Surrey Heartlands footprint (Guildford and Waverley CCG, North West Surrey CCG, and Surrey Downs CCG), and Surrey County Council. Shadow working arrangements between these bodies will be put in place this year, alongside further commitments to explore the potential for devolution, which is scheduled to begin in April 2018.

The Surrey Heartlands devolution deal will be similar to the arrangement in Greater Manchester, which started last year, giving local health and care leaders and clinicians more control over services and funding.

This deal is part of what Simon Stevens, CEO of NHS England, described last week as, “the biggest national move to integrating care of any major western country.” Speaking at the NHS Confederation in Liverpool, Stevens announced the Surrey Heartlands deal alongside eight accountable care systems (ACS), which have been formed to improve the coordination of services between GPs and hospitals, physical and mental healthcare, social care and the NHS.

The eight ACS are: Frimley Health, South Yorkshire and Bassetlaw, Nottinghamshire, Blackpool and Fylde Coast, Dorset, Luton (with Milton Keynes and Bedfordshire), Berkshire West, and Buckinghamshire. These organisations will be at the forefront of the integrated care agenda and are likely to present new opportunities for SITS suppliers.

Devolution may no longer be at the top of the Government’s agenda, but, as we discussed in Predictions 2017—Unlocking the Intelligence, the integration of health and care services at a regional level remains of critical importance, hence we are likely to see more regions follow the devolution path of Greater Manchester and Surrey Heartlands. 

Posted by Dale Peters at '09:38' - Tagged: health   care   devolution   integration   council  

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Tuesday 20 June 2017

AimBrain raises £4m to verify identity

logoWhen talking with vendors and banks the subject of security and authentication comes up repeatedly. How can you engage in a transaction unless you can be sure that the person you are dealing with is who he says he is? How can you have the appropriate level of security without making the customer experience so awful that he goes elsewhere? As the financial services value chain gets more fragmented, with customers more willing to flit between providers, these issues become more difficult.

AimBrain, a London start-up offering “biometric identity” as a service, seems to hit many of the right buttons. It offers a plug and play, modular approach to a combination of verification techniques based on voice recognition, facial recognition and the way you interact with your device (typing speed, the way the device moves as you type, etc.). These techniques can be carried out in the background without the customer being aware to provide initial verification for a small transaction and then additional tests can be applied when bigger sums are involved or when warning flags have been raised.

AimBrain, founded by Andrius Sutas and Alesis Novik in 2015, has just raised £4m in a round led by BGF Ventures.

Note: Subscribers can read our latest FinTechViews report, on Yolt’s UK market launch, here.

Posted by Peter Roe at '09:31' - Tagged: saas   funding   security   identity   FinTech  

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Tuesday 20 June 2017

Serco signs largest ever contract worth £1.5bn

lSerco has now signed its largest ever contract, worth AUD2.6bn (£1.5bn) over the next 20 years – to operate the New Grafton Correctional Centre (NGCC) in New South Wales, Australia – to become the largest correctional facility in Australia. Serco announced in March that it had been named preferred bidder on the project.

The big win follows another important award for Serco, in February, worth £600m, to provide IT-enabled support services to St Barts NHS Trust in London (see here). 

At NGCC, Serco is part of the NorthernPathways consortium (which includes construction firms John Holland, Macquarie and John Laing), who will design, build and operate NGCC in a public private partnership, and then operate the facility under a licence arrangement with the New South Wales Government. The prison will create more than 1,100 jobs during construction and about 550 permanent jobs with Serco.

Serco is already a major provider of correctional facility services in Australia, where it operates the current largest correctional facility, Acacia Prison. Serco should have significant experience and expertise to bring to NGCC. The recent creation of centres of excellence across Serco's Health, Justice & Immigration and Transport sectors, should help with the sharing of skills, best practice and intellectual property too.

NGCC is a hugely important deal for Serco as it continues to turnaround its business (see Serco FY16 heading in the right direction). Although outside our core SITS world, NGCC shows the diversity of Serco’s business, which extends into core front line activities for governments around the world. Justice is a big opportunity area as governments seek to transform the way they deliver services. Serco’s focus is on key outcomes like rehabilitation, reintegration, education and training, as well as innovation around systems, recruitment and partnering. 

Posted by John O'Brien at '09:29' - Tagged: contract   supportservices  

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Tuesday 20 June 2017

LBBs deliver a winning partnership at Lords

logo1logo2We were particularly pleased to hear that two of our Little British Battlers, Mvine and Infoshare have combined to deliver an online collaboration platform to the England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB), enabling much slicker interaction with over 1.5m system users.

The ECB runs around 60 different systems to communicate with its users, many of whom will have multiple “personas” in their dealings inside the cricketing world, either as players, fans, coaches, parents, club administrators etc. Dealing with this complexity, enabling a single sign-on capability across the various systems and providing a much-enhanced user experience has been achieved through the Mvine Cloud Services Enablement platform. So far, 5 apps have been consolidated onto the platform and the others will be added at a rate of 1 or 2 per month.

Central to the success of this initiative is Infoshare’s ClearCore de-duplication system and master data management, based on tried-and-tested evidence-based methodologies, honed by work in the Public Sector and with the Royal Mail.

This deal marks a good step forward for both companies. Mvine has also been selected to participate in the GOV.UK Verify scheme, which offers potentially enormous benefits in both the public sector and financial services (but is losing momentum in the face of the recent election, Brexit uncertainty and concern over GDS’s priorities). Nevertheless, this could prove to be a major boost for Mvine’s visibility and P&L. In the case of Infoshare, the Royal Mail success has been a major feather in its cap and the partnership with CGI to build a system to safeguard vulnerable children is another step forward.

Both companies appear to have much to offer. The Lords’ deal also shows that they have both got their eye in and could each be set for a good innings.

Posted by Peter Roe at '09:09' - Tagged: big+data   collaboration   cloudservices   data  

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Tuesday 20 June 2017

Milk visualises £2m funding round

logoOn the fringes of our ‘space’ but most worthy of celebration, is award-winning, London-based Milk Visual Effects, in which the Business Growth Fund has just injected a £2m investment.

Milk provides visual effects (VFX) for TV and feature films, working with content producers including the BBC, Netflix and Warner Bros. BGF has installed Ivan Dunleavy, previously CEO at Pinewood Studios, as non-exec chairman. Milk was founded by five VFX professionals in 2013 and now employs 150 people in London and Cardiff.

Great to see a UK-based, technology-enabled SME splashed across screens large and small around the world.

Posted by Anthony Miller at '08:22' - Tagged: funding   startup  

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Monday 19 June 2017

Queen's Birthday Honours - Part 2

I just knew I shouldn’t have said that there were no IT people in this year’s Queen’s Birthday Honours List.

Chris Winn (Chairman of Sanderson) pointed out that “One unsung heroine who received a 'gong' was OBE for Susan Carol Hawks, who has worked in IT for the Conservative party for many years(possibly back to the 70's) and reflecting the modern ,connected world, has lived in Spain with husband Nigel who got his OBE (in 1997?) for over 5 years”.

Mike Kennedy, Managing Partner at Restoration Partners, pointed out that Mel Morris had been awarded a CBE ‘joining his good friend Ken Olisa OBE [of Restoration Partners]”. Kennedy was an early investor in King Digital (Think Candy Crush..) as well as launching the dating site Udate and internet security firm Prevxx.

Bluntly, I think that both are on the periphery of what we report upon in HotViews. But happy to keep our readers happy!

Posted by Richard Holway at '14:53'

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Monday 19 June 2017

*New Research* Cloud Services – The Road to PaaS in Financial Services

coverLast month, TechMarketView held a Roundtable dinner for vendor and bank representatives where the subject was how the banks could monetise the benefits of Cloud and the importance of moving to Platform-as-Service. The event was again kindly sponsored by Cast Software.

The informative and enjoyable dinner generated much debate about the issues faced by large banks as they accelerate their adoption of Cloud Services, opening up new opportunities in terms of greater agility, better customer and user experience and lower cost. The important issues of next steps, the future role of the CIO and the implications for the bank’s overall culture and strategy were also considered.

FinancialServicesViews subscribers can gain considerable insight about this important and necessary migration by accessing our comprehensive report, “Cloud Services – the road to PaaS". There are crucial questions of how banks can deal with complex, multi-generational application stacks and poor access to customer data, all of which need to be answered before the “mouth-watering” benefits of moving to cloud and platform-as-a-service can be fully realised.

Note: In December, we held a roundtable dinner focusing on the question “Are the Digital Strategies of the Banks working?” Subscribers can access the follow-up report on that discussion here.

Posted by Peter Roe at '14:09' - Tagged: saas   cloud   iaas   legacy   banking  

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Monday 19 June 2017

Keytree reaches transformation milestone with Greggs

logoLondon HQ’d Keytree (one of our Little British Battlers) has several complementary strings to its bow, one of which is its role as an SAP consultancy and SI. Like many suppliers, it is building its digital credentials, proving it can be imaginative and also deal with large digital transformation projects. A case in point is its SAP deployment with high street bakery Greggs. This multi year business transformation programme has reached a milestone, with SAP solutions now deployed in over 1500 shops.

The programme is notable for its scope, size and speed. In 2014 Greggs said it was investing over £25m in processes and systems. As part of that it chose SAP Business Suite on HANA as the basis for a comprehensive transformation to improve its market position and Keytree as the SI of the three year project that reached deep into Greggs front and back office operations. With Keytree, it has been rolling out deployments to shops at the rate of 100 a week. Based on the success of the project, Greggs is planning to commit the next phase to Keytree too, addressing production and warehousing in its supply chain.

This is a great accolade for Keytree but is also a warning to the large SI’s that up and coming suppliers can successfully capture and deliver on large multi year transformation contracts (an increasingly rare breed these days) and win additional business on the back of them. 

Posted by Angela Eager at '10:06' - Tagged: contract   ApplicationServices   digitaltransformation  

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Monday 19 June 2017

Brexit survey - there's still time to take part

Brexit imageThank you to all of you who have taken the time to complete our Brexit questionnaire. We’re keeping the survey open until 7am on Wednesday 21st June, so if you haven’t taken part yet, there is still time.

You can start the survey here: https://www.smartsurvey.co.uk/s/TMVBrexitSurvey - it should take approximately 10 minutes to complete.

The responses we’ve received so far reveal a very interesting, but, unsurprisingly, mixed view of Brexit and its impact on businesses in the UK. We don’t want to give too much away, nor skew responses from those yet to complete the questionnaire, but here’s a small taster or we’ve received so far.  

We’ve seen everything from, “It will lead to more sales opportunities”, through “No tangible impact”, to “Delayed decision making and fewer contracts”.

Obviously, views will vary depending on the nature of the business, but one of the most commonly used words across all sectors is “uncertainty”.

We can’t promise to reduce that uncertainty, but we will be able to provide greater insight into the impact this uncertainty is having, both positive and negative. We will publish the results of the survey in a special report in July (more details of our subscription services here), with an executive summary made freely available through UKHotViews.

Participants have the option of entering a prize draw at the end of the survey, with one lucky person winning a ticket to TechMarketView’s Annual Presentation and Dinner on Thursday 5th October 2017.  

Posted by Dale Peters at '09:37' - Tagged: research   brexit   survey  

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Monday 19 June 2017

Stockviews raises £500k to disrupt the sell-side

logoI spent four ‘character-building’ years as an equities analyst before we launched TechMarketView, and it seems I got out just in time else my job would have been replaced by a robot.

Well, not quite.

The stated objective of London-based equities research platform developer, Stockviews, is to displace traditional sell-side research with a marketplace that connects fund managers directly with ‘independent analysts’. Stockviews uses AI to rank analysts supplying the platform with research according to their performance.

Stockviews has raised a further £500k from existing and new investors, including Silicon Valley venture fund GWC. StockViews has also been granted FCA authorisation and appointed Thomas Balk, the former President of Fidelity International, as its Executive Chairman. Founded in 2014, Stockviews raised £250k backed by Balk, who then became Chairman (I assume then non-exec), angel network Craigie Capital and the London Co Investment Fund. Stockviews was founded by ex-fund manager Thomas Beevers, now CEO, and AI expert Sandeep Bathina, now COO.

The conflicts of interest that challenge the traditional sell-side industry are well known and various attempts have been made to address the problem. But I am not sure that an online research supermarket will be perceived by the buy-side as the answer. My experience working with a truly independent research boutique (Arete Research) is that fund managers will only pay serious dosh to analyst firms with whom they have developed long and trusted relationships and who can provide much more value add than research notes alone.

For this reason I think Stockviews, which is to launch this summer, will struggle to find a pricing model and payment model that will foster the differentiated research they hope to deliver. Perhaps the testimonial on Stockviews’ own website says it all: “I wouldn't call it radical, I would call it enthusiasm for progress”.

Posted by Anthony Miller at '09:22' - Tagged: funding   startup  

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Monday 19 June 2017

Access enters Retail and Hospitality with Selima

LogoFast growing Access Group took a significant step last week, with an acquisition that took it into a new vertical for the company; retail and hospitality, via the purchase of fellow UK-based supplier Selima Ltd. Terms were not disclosed but Selima had revenue of £5m in FY16; Access reported revenue up 25% to £85.9m in its last full year.

What it is getting for its money is cloud based workforce management software and managed payroll services along with a customer list of 300 that includes the likes of Hawksmoor, Young’s Brewery, Academies Enterprise Trust plus as a number of local authorities. Selima is focused on Retail, Hospitality and Education.

This is another example of Access’s smart adjacency acquisition strategy which enables it to leverage existing capabilities even when moving into new areas. Access already has workforce management capabilities through its Care Management software for example and also has an existing HR and payroll suite. It can align its capabilities in these areas with Selima’s vertical expertise and apply the combined result to the Retail and Hospitality category. Selima’s education assets will also add to the existing Access portfolio for the Academy schools sector.

Access will have to take care over product overlap but with both organic and inorganic revenue growth significantly outperforming the overall UK enterprise market and overall growth easily into double digits over the last few years, the Access management team led by CEO Chris Bayne has learnt how to deal with acquisitions, aided by advice and expertise from PE backers TA Associates.

Posted by Angela Eager at '09:21' - Tagged: acquisition   software  

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Monday 19 June 2017

GDPR raises the stakes

GDPRA report by Consult Hyperion has again raised the spectre of large fines being imposed on the Financial Services sector. The regulation in focus is the EU General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) which will require greater accountability and transparency over the collection and use of personal data. It comes into full force in May 2018, with the power to impose fines up to 4% of an organisation’s annual turnover for significant data breaches. UK companies will need to comply with the GDPR to maintain the confidence of EU business partners irrespective of how the Brexit negotiations pan out (see here).

The Consult Hyperion study suggests that GDPR will cost banks €4.7bn in GDPR fines over the first three years of enforcement, with Tier One banks facing fines as high as a quarter of a billion Euro and the consultancy company expecting nearly 400 breaches.

The more effective use of data is central to the progress of Financial Services. Open Banking and a more competitive payments market with PSD2 depend upon the trusted transfer of data between market participants (see here and our Regtech report).

However, our researches show that many companies remain significantly unprepared for GDPR. Customer data remains spread among many disparate databases. Institutions will find it very difficult, and expensive, to coordinate all this data and to be able to guarantee its integrity, security and, if required, its complete deletion. Much work still needs to be done, in less than twelve months, to provide the necessary systems and governance.

The advent of GDPR could also drive more conservative strategies as companies “Unlock the Intelligence” in their data. As discussed in PublicSectorViews’ Student Data and Analytics, US companies which have to comply with less onerous privacy laws could gain an advantage as new markets develop.

Posted by Peter Roe at '08:55' - 1 comment - Tagged: financialservices   security   regulation   data   brexit  

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Monday 19 June 2017

Touchstone touches LBB Concirrus with another £3m

logoIt seems to be business as usual for university-focused AIM-listed IP commercialisation investor, Touchstone  Innovations, despite its increasingly protracted dance around the maypole (now junepole) with larger peer IP Group (see Touchstone holding out against IP Group and work back).

And it’s great to see that business as usual has led to a further £3m investment in TechMarketView Little British Battler company, Conciruss, the London-based developer of ‘Internet of Things’ solutions for the insurance sector.

Concirrus was part of the ‘Second Coming’ tranche of Little British Battlers back in early 2013. Touchstone (Imperial Innovations as was) made an initial £3m investment in Concirrus in 2015 (see Imperial helps 'Battler' Concirrus innovate with £3m) for a 29% stake. Then in early 2016 Concirrus scored a significant contract to provide some of the underlying technology as part of London’s €25m Smart Cities and Communities Lighthouse programme (see LBB Concirrus to underpin ambitious ‘Smart Cities’ project).

This latest investment takes Touchstone to just short of a 67% holding in the business, as far as I can see it’s largest stake in any of its portfolio companies.

Many congratulations to Concirrus founders Andy Yeoman and Craig Hollingworth.

For further insight into the market opportunities for IoT Services, you should read our new research on the subject, IoT: Time for IT Services firms to accelerate their strategies?, available only to subscription service clients of our InfrastructureViews research stream. Please contact our Client Services team (info@techmarketview.com) for further information.

Posted by Anthony Miller at '08:07' - Tagged: funding   lbb   iot  

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Monday 19 June 2017

GCSE Computing has poor uptake

GCSCVery concerned and disappointed this morning to read all the reports of the problems relating to the new GCSE in Computing. We lobbied for this hard and 5 years ago we were full of hope. But the new exam has attracted few new entrants - just 67,800 registered this year; up modestly from 61,200 in 2016.  58,600 still take the old ICT exam (which required little more than how to use Microsoft products at a basic level). On top of that only 20% of entrants are girls.

To put that in context, there were 5.1m GCSE entries - so Computing is just 1.3% of the total. GCSE English Literature attracted 551,050 entries - over 8x more that Computing.

GCSE Computing is considered as much harder - which was meant to be a good thing. But that seems to have put off many students. On top of that there is a shortage of teachers able to teach the subject. Worse still Computing is still viewed as a subject for boys - not girls.

This is not how it was meant to be and is very worrying for our future

Posted by Richard Holway at '07:24' - 1 comment

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