In UK Government G-Cloud: meeting its objectives?, we found 80% of total sales, by value, through the G-Cloud framework were from central government. Within local government, usage has been limited. However, a new framework - the Local Authority Software Applications framework (LASA) - published by the Crown Commercial Service (CCS) is designed specifically for local authorities and should encourage greater take-up by local councils. Like G-Cloud, it requires suppliers to openly disclose their prices.
LASA has not been mandated by central government. It is the result of a partnership between procurement coalition Pro5, the London ICT Programme and the Local Government Association (LGA). Local authorities are, therefore, likely to feel greater ‘ownership’ of the framework, which will hopefully lead to greater usage.
LASA is divided into eleven lots including core local authority business applications such as revenue and benefits, social care and libraries plus newer areas like Open Government Systems. Encompassing a wide array of service lines backs up the ambition for the LASA to be a one stop shop for local authorities looking to purchase applications as well as related support services. Initially the framework will be for two years plus the potential for a two year extension.
Local authorities often doubt whether they have achieved the best price for applications. They look to services such as openlylocal, Socitm’s Applications Register or Spikes Cavell to provide reassurance; having pricing information within the framework itself should ease those concerns. Open book pricing is an important step in engendering transparency between local government suppliers and their customers and will work well in established areas such as revenues and benefits. However, in newer areas like Democratic and Citizen Engagement systems it will be harder to compare apples with apples.
Posted by Michael Larner at '10:13'
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Deloitte reported a fourth year of growth when it released its annual results, but with revenue growth of just 1.4% to £2.55bn it only just made it and the year to May 31 2014 was the slowest growth year during the period (see here for the previous year). Management puts it down to a "complex and challenging" market background and has a mixed view of prospects for the current year. On one hand, growth has increased in the period to date, helped by better economic conditions. But the other indicates “political uncertainty” i.e. the 2015 UK General Election could have a negative effect. Consulting revenue edged up 0.5% to £622m. Total UK revenue was up just 0.2% to £2.3bn.
From our perspective, its security focus should provide Deloitte with prospects, particularly if it can hammer home the business implications of security breaches. The firm is also looking at the digital agenda for growth but like everyone else is still building and organising to enable it to take hold of this opportunity. Its digital unit (which moved to a special 'Digital office' in Clerkenwell in April) has delivered 50% growth in two years and is expected to double by the end of next year. The level of growth combined with the lack of any hard numbers suggests actual digital revenues are still low – and if that is the case, Deloitte is not unusual. One of the most pressing challenges facing SITS suppliers is unlocking digital spend, which is being held back by organisations’ lack of certainty on how and where to apply digital technologies and strategies on an enterprise-wide basis. Consulting has a prime role to play in opening up the digital market.
Posted by Angela Eager at '09:49'
Back in July, the National Audit Office (NAO) published a report into HMRC’s Aspire contract (led by Capgemini). We commented at the time – see HMRC resisting Cabinet Office directives – that it appeared to us that the department was resisting the pressure to a) novate Fujitsu’s subcontractor revenues and b) re-compete elements of the Aspire contract.
Today the Times has two articles looking at HMRC Aspire (both behind the paywall) entitled “Get IT Right” and “IT ‘disaster’ could cost taxpayer’s billions”. As is common in the press, the articles are inflammatory, using terms like “Public sector IT projects have a proud history of going spectacularly wrong...” and “the public purse has been splurged at the whim of a greedy contractor...”.
But cut through all that and there are some points worth highlighting. Indeed, points we have made on occasions before. Putting aside the history of the Aspire contract, the articles criticise the coalition Government’s plan to split Aspire “into 100 parts”. It looks to us like the “100 parts” claim comes from assuming that the contract will be worth £10b (close the the lifetime value of the existing contract). The Cabinet Office ‘rule’ is for no contract let to be worth over £100m. Firstly, there is no indication that the new contract(s) will be worth anywhere near that amount and, secondly, they will likely be for far shorter terms than the current arrangement.
Nonetheless, the concerns over restructuring HMRC’s IT contract arrangements in line with the, now common, SIAM/tower model are valid. As the NAO report highlighted, the department has had problems managing the existing arrangement. It begs the question why the Government think it will be any easier managing multiple inter-related contracts. With limited commercial and contract management expertise within Government, it is easy to envisage a renewed swelling of payments to the management consultancies. Indeed, as our UK public sector SITS supplier landscape report 2014-15 highlighted, consultancies like PA Consulting and Deloitte have already started to report strong growth in their public sector businesses. Though the Cabinet Office has a programme in place to bolster internal expertise, it is questionable whether they will be able to attract the right people in the right timescales.
This comes one the same day that the FT highlights delays in the implementation of the first Independent Shared Services centre and the on-boarding of initial ‘customers’ (ISSC1, being implemented by Arvato). With the General Election looming, any criticism of existing policies – whether it is the Shared Services agenda or the restructuring of ICT arrangements - will attract great interest from the supplier community and more uncertainty in the pre-Election period. Uncertainty inevitably leads to a reluctance to sign new deals.
Posted by Georgina O'Toole at '09:45'
In a sure sign of the increasing tie-up opportunities to be made between business process services (BPS) and automation software players, Genpact is now making its second such partnership, with US-based IT automation software provider Automic. This adds to another tie-up formed last year with Israeli IT automation player Ayehu (see Genpact partners with automation player Ayehu).
Automic (previously called UC4, until a name change in 2013) is one of the ‘old-guard’ automation providers we mention in our newly published report Business Process Automation – a brave new world for BPS providers. The business has been around for some 25 years, and best known for automation of day to day backups for mainframes and distributed technology for customers like EON, T-Systems, eBay, Fujitsu and GE (Genpact’s largest customer and former parent). Automic is now owned by Swedish private equity firm EQT VI, acquired for €220m in August 2012 from Carlyle European Technology.
Automic is evolving, via accreditations in both SAP and Oracle to automate their key applications. It is also keen to expand in business process automation (BPA), targeting functional tasks such as billing and finance to automate manual workaround activities that are deployed to reconcile data between different systems.
BPA is where we believe there is huge potential to remove costs, improve efficiencies and streamline processes for their customers. Automic claims that its technology can reduce manual efforts on financial reporting by 90%, and deliver 45% savings in payroll processing.
IT services accounts for 25% of Genpact’s revenue vs. 75% for BPS, so IT automation partnerships address a much smaller revenue base within the group. We see this as a safer first step for Genpact to test the water with automation technologies, since they also come with attached risks to existing revenue streams.
Posted by John O'Brien at '09:32'
Since her June appointment, see here, Monitise’s new joint-CEO Elizabeth Buse is making her presence felt; focusing on delivery, conserving cash and allowing Alastair Lukies to develop partnerships, especially that with IBM, discussed here. The deeper cooperation with Big Blue, further explained in an announcement today, will accelerate Monitise’s progress in the mounting land-grab across mobile banking and m-commerce. It should also enable a more robust and resilient relationship with the banks, particularly in the US, as bank CEOs demand more from their mobile strategies.
Central to the announcement is the focusing of IBM’s sales and specialist resources to sell and deliver Monitise’s Mobile Money service and content, initially into the Financial Services vertical but then across other verticals. Monitise will also transfer its Professional Services team, some 20% of its employees, into IBM. A key requirement will be for this team to leverage the wider IBM and increase the resources available to promote and integrate this technology into the customer base. This move completes the transition of Monitise to the subscription model for mobile “Bank, Pay and Buy” as announced in March, see here.
Monitise stresses the coalition’s mutual objectives (too many partnerships have failed as goals were misaligned). IBM benefits from a bigger m-banking portfolio, additional relevance to FS customers globally and more sales of IBM (cloud) infrastructure. Monitise gets distribution capability, scale and more market credibility. Monitise’s diminishing cash pile will now be focused on developing the technology and product offerings, rather than supporting individual customer implementations. Finally, the deal de-risks Monitise’s re-iterated forecasts, of 25%(plus?) revenue growth in 2015, 2016 profitability and 30%+ EBITDA by end 2018.
The market will learn more at the annual results on September 15th. Much remains to be done, but this is a good step forward.
Posted by Peter Roe at '09:15'
Nice to see the take-out tables being turned for a change. Essex-headquartered e-recruitment software developer The Internet Corporation (trading by its product brand Amris) has acquired Zao, a social recruitment platform based in Los Angeles. Terms were not disclosed. According the blessed TechCrunch, Zao received $1.3m in seed funding from an undisclosed source a couple of years back. As far as I can tell, TIC/Amris is self-funded.
Amris is an applicant tracking system aimed at enterprises wanting to handle their own recruitment. They seem to have a goodly bunch of well-known brands in the client mix, even including Netherlands based international recruitment giant Randstad! Good on them!
Posted by Anthony Miller at '09:29'
Longstanding Telecity CEO, Mike Tobin, has today said he will step down at the end of October. The official press release states that now is the right time for a new leader to take the company to the next stage of its development.
Tobin has been absolutely instrumental in growing the company, which in terms of UK revenue sits just outside the Top 50 in our latest Software and IT Services player rankings (UK SITS Rankings 2014). Tobin’s association with Telecity stretches back around a decade when he joined Redbus as sales and marketing director (he became CEO the following year), and subsequently led the merger with Telecity in 2006. In 2007, Telecity listed on the main market with a capitalisation of £436m. It’s now worth £1.6bn.
Telecity’s latest set of results (Telecity pushes H1 growth upwards) show improved organic growth and adjusted margin – a performance driven by the on-going demand for data centres that can support the growth of internet-powered businesses in particular.
Richard Holway comment: When I heard the news of Mike Tobin's resignation this morning, I wasn't quite as surprised as others. There had been rumours of disagreements between Mike and others on the TeleCity board for some time - some centering around the return of capital to shareholders.
Anyone who knows Mike will realise that he is something of a 'one off'. His management style - which all can read about in his book Forget Strategy, Get Results, published last year - might not always appeal to everyone and one suspects makes him something of a maverick on any board. But people - clearly including his staff - really love him. Literally following him to 'the depths of the sea and the peaks of mountains' regardless of the risk. His departure will be a very unsettling time for everyone - staff, clients and shareholders.
From a personal viewpoint, I've got to know Mike well because of his huge support for the Prince's Trust (and other charities). If the term 'Heart of Gold' is going to apply to anyone, then it would be to Mike Tobin. I'm also a TeleCity shareholder who has done very nicely thank you during Tobin's time. Indeed Tobin himself has a c£5m shareholding and I'm sure he too will not want to see that damaged. Although, as one might expect, TeleCity shares have opened down nearly 10% on the news this morning.
One thing I am absolutely sure of is that 'we ain't heard the last of Mr Tobin'. Indeed, I understand he still intends to speak at the TechMarketView Conference on 17th Sept. Can't wait.
Posted by Kate Hanaghan at '09:11'
We are really looking forward to seeing so many of you at BAFTA on the evening of September 17th for our 2014 event, Race for Change: An Evening with TechMarketView, sponsored by Telecity.
If you haven’t yet booked your place you need to get your skates on – there are just seven tickets left available for the evening, which promises to be a high profile date in the UK tech calendar. The event includes short, insightful presentations from the entire cast of TechMarketView research directors - 'topped' by our esteemed chairman, Richard Holway, and 'tailed' by our inimitable Managing Partner, Anthomy Miller – followed by a drinks reception and sumptuous dinner in the magnificent surroundings of BAFTA in Piccadilly.
For full details of the evening see our Events pages then book one of the last few places by clicking here or by contacting Tina Compton at techUK who is organising the event for us (email tina.compton@techUK.org). Don’t miss the opportunity to join us for what promises to be an informative and enjoyable evening. #TMVEvening2014
Posted by HotViews Editor at '08:55'
Indian offshore services market leader TCS has scored another ‘first’ for Diligenta, its UK-based Life & Pensions software and services subsidiary, with a “multi-million pound, multi-year” contract at Friends Life for its International operation. Up till now, all of Diligenta’s contracts have been solely related to clients’ UK operations.
This deal is fundamentally different to the original £1.4bn business process services contract that Diligenta won at Friends Life back in November 2011 (see here), in that it is a traditional IT outsourcing contract (i.e. Friends Life still runs the business process). The application will be based on the TCS BaNCS financial services platform used for Friends Life's UK business and will be hosted by TCS in the UK.
This is a good example of how IT services suppliers should be ‘sweating the platform’ when selling line-of-business applications, with the aim of reducing cost of sale as well as service delivery. TCS rather seems to have ‘got it’ (and see TCS looks to the verticals).
Posted by Anthony Miller at '08:47'
The lead article in the latest edition of OffshoreViews takes a look at the increasingly divergent fortunes of the infamous Bangalore Blues Brothers, aka Infosys and Wipro, and poses the question whether we might eventually see an upset in the offshore services rankings.
Plus we have our regular update of the performance of the leading India-based suppliers globally and in the UK, along with our detailed (and newly enhanced) key operating metrics which as ever highlights the striking contrasts between the players.
All this – and of course with links to relevant offshore-centric UKHotViews posts – in just 4 pages, ready for download here by eligible TechMarketView subscription service clients.
Posted by HotViews Editor at '07:51'
Business as usual at Salesforce.com during Q215 meant more revenue, more headcount, and losses, a situation that shareholders barely responded to – a sub 1% dip in the share price immediately after the results were announced was followed by a 1% rise.
The trouble is that baseline expectations for Salesforce.com are high that even the Q2 38% increase in revenue to $1.32bn (plus deferred revenue up 31% to $2.35bn) was only seen as the norm; the $30m increase in FY15 revenue guidance to $5.34bn-$5.37bn barely raised an eyebrow. As the company gets bigger, high growth rates will be more difficult to sustain, even with acquisitions.
However, the company is seeing sales ramp up outside the US, especially in Europe (up 42% yoy) as the region increases its cloud adoption. The UK has been a willing adopter but other countries have lagged. Local data centres (UK, France, Germany) and a focus on increasing international sales will help support revenue growth – and with just 19% of total revenue coming from EMEA, SFDC is underweight in the region.
Costs continue to grow (operating expenses topped $1bn) and losses are still the order of the day ($61m net loss). However, there may be signs of a change as the Q2 loss was lower than the $96.9m of Q1, although with the effects of the Exact Target acquisition still working through, the underlying pattern is not clear yet. There was a lot of talk during the Q1 results discussion about improving operating margins (see here) and although Q2 saw a slight movement in non-GAAP operating margins, there is a way to go in other areas. However, costs may be moderating – total cost of revenue was 23% of total revenue which was the same as this time last year and operating expenses as a percentage of total revenue was 80% in Q2, vs. 81% in Q214. A hint of a breeze of change? Let’s hope so.
Posted by Angela Eager at '09:16'
Maidenhead-founded enterprise content management developer Alfresco Software has received its biggest ever investment, raising $45m in a Series D funding round. New investor Sageview Capital joined existing investors Accel Partners, Mayfield Fund and SAP Ventures in the round, which brings the total raised since Alfresco was founded in 2005 to some $65m.
The involvement of SAP Ventures is none too surprising considering that Alfresco CEO Doug Dennerline joined the company after serving as President of HR SaaS pureplay, SuccessFactors, which SAP acquired at the end of 2011 (see SAP looks for SaaS success with SuccessFactors). Dennerline took over from founding CEO John Powell in January 2013 in order to boost Alresco’s US presence – indeed the company now has joint US headquarters in San Mateo, Ca. Alfresco had revenues of £30.5m in the 12 months to 28th Feb. 2013, with operating losses of £7.5m.
This all sounds good news for Alfresco, though rather seems to reinforce the received wisdom that the future for promising UK startups eventually lies across the pond.
Posted by Anthony Miller at '09:05'
It was a delight to meet up again with Yuryi Ferber and James Harrison, co-founders of Sao Paulo-based financial services technology consultancy, BRITech (formerly BRIT Services – see Brazilian BRIT employing more Brits). My particular interest in BRITech (other than the fact that Yuryi and James are good eggs) is that they had set up development of the core platform for their financial services solution, Atlas, in the UK despite the fact that the product is only sold in Brazil. Having peaked at some 20 developers in London, Ferber and Harrison have since transferred much of the business logic development back to Sao Paulo to be closer to their clients. This leaves a core of 12 developers in London focused on the Atlas platform.
Meanwhile BRITech completed its first acquisition earlier this year, of Financial On Line, a 10-man fintech developer based in Campinas, Sao Paulo state’s third-largest city, located about 55 miles from Sao Paulo city. Their PAS back office product is aimed at small and medium banks and financial services companies, neatly complementing BRITech’s focus on the front office at top tier players.
Ferber and Harrison plan further acquisitions over the next few years to help them enter other Latin American markets – and perhaps beyond – and are already looking at external funding options to support their plans. But they are committed to keeping the core platform development in the UK as they find they can recruit and – importantly – retain top quality skills more economically than they can in Sao Paulo.
BRITech is a great UK inward investment story – we just need more of them!
Posted by Anthony Miller at '07:55'
Quindell, the buy-and-build insurance business process services player published a strong set of interim results, showing rapid growth, upward shifts in divisional EBITDA and an increase in full year guidance.
The larger, Professional Services division (82% of revenue at £293m in H1) advanced by 108%, returning EBITDA margins of 41%, up from 28% in H1 2013. Legal Services led the way with a 140% uplift in revenue and margins of 56%. This operation now handles 180k cases p.a. through its slick and integrated operation. The plan is to add another c.40% to the employee roll here by year end as Motor claims grow and with the potential in hearing loss cases.
In Digital Services, revenues leapt 185% to £64m, with EBITDA margins staying just over the 70% level. Telematics continues to be a key area for growth, as Quindell completes the acquisition of Himex and ingenie. The management are confident of their strong position in the UK (despite recent rumours around the RAC deal, see here) and North America and are now looking to build in Continental Europe.
The company is emphasising its strong cash flow credentials in its interim statement. It returned a (pre-exceptional) operating cash outflow of £51m in H1, but is forecasting a breakeven in Q3 and strong cash generation thereafter, based on strict control of trade receivables and internal costs. As total cash used across the business in H1 (in investing, financing and operations) reached £115m, this will be the focus of keen attention going forward. At the end of the half, Quindell had cash-in-hand of £85m.
Full year revenue guidance is maintained at £800 to £900m, but EBITDA margin guidance is now 35% - 45%, lifting the upper bound by 5% points. As we would expect, the management remains confident.
Posted by Peter Roe at '10:12'
There is perhaps a smidgen of comfort that management can take from HP’s Q3 results though it’s more in the promise than the actuality.
True enough, headline revenues grew yoy for the first time in 3 years, albeit by just 1% to $27.6bn, though operating margins contracted by a point and a half to 5.3%. Indeed, you don’t have to delve too deeply under the covers to see that this was not what you might call a balanced performance.
In fact with HP it’s still really all about the hardware. Personal Systems revenues grew by 12% to $8.65bn, assisted by XP end-of-life migration, which CEO Meg Whitman referred to as ‘largely done’. Revenues at HP’s Printing business fell by 4% to $5.59bn, with consumer models leading the downward charge. Enterprise hardware (servers, storage, networking etc) managed 2% revenue growth to $6.89bn, with ‘industry standard’ servers growing at a perky 9%, which Whitman attributed to customer uncertainty over Lenovo’s impending purchase of IBM’s x86 server business (see here).
Software and Enterprise Services told a somewhat different story, with headline revenues declining by 5% and 6% respectively. However, there was profitability improvement in both divisions, with Enterprise Services margins creeping up by just under a point to 4.1% and Software by just over a point to 21.2%. The Services improvement was more about layoffs (see Job cuts, revenue decline - more turnaround pain at HP), with Whitman referring to the business as ‘work in progress’. As for Software – well, let’s not go there while HP is still mired in its battle with Mike Lynch. But it is of note that HP is looking to get back on the acquisition trail again; if so, let’s hope it chooses its targets more wisely.
I leave my last comment for the ascendancy of Whitman to the HP chair last month – in addition to her chief executive role – following the resignation of prior chairman Ralph Whitworth. Whitworth’s valedictory comment rather says it all: “Meg and (independent director) Pat (Russo) are unwavering in their commitment to the corporate governance, capital allocation and management incentive principles that drove our decisions these past three years”. Hmm.
Posted by Anthony Miller at '08:29'
A number of recent NHS IT contract awards could signal a trend away from the use of ‘best of breed’ clinical and patient record systems by UK hospitals and towards single supplier, ‘Enterprise’ electronic patient record (EPR) systems. In our latest PublicSectorViews research note, Tola Sargeant looks at three contracts – Meditech’s at The Clatterbridge Cancer Centre NHS Foundation Trust; Cerner’s at West Suffolk and Advanced Computer Software’s at the mental health trust Sussex Partnership NHS Foundation Trust – and considers the implications for the market of a move away from ‘best of breed’ systems.
PublicSectorViews subscribers can download the research from today here. If you don’t yet subscribe to our public sector-focused research stream and you’d like to know more, please contact Deborah Seth for details.
Posted by Tola Sargeant at '12:41'
Now that UNIT4 is firmly in private ownership there is sadly less visibility on its performance, which is real shame as its public journey to SaaS and the subscription model has been insightful and shone a light on the adoption of SaaS ERP. However, the company has revealed that during H114 SaaS revenue (i.e. not bookings) exceeded licence revenue growth by 40% - and that was on licence revenue that was also growing.
Talking with CEO Jose Duarte, it seems that SaaS is still more popular at the edges of the ERP environment, as you would expect, but it is working its way inwards and the company is winning broad-based cloud ERP deals – e.g. in July, UNIT4 announced that Middlesbrough Council was replacing its SAP implementation with the Agresso local government ERP platform, which will be delivered via the UNIT4 Cloud.
To make the most of the cloud momentum, along with the social, mobile and analytics growth markets, UNIT4 is doubling its R&D investment in the Agresso platform. We’ll have to wait to see how this plays out but with a new CTO starting at the beginning of September there is plenty to come. The company made its first notable SMAC inroads with its Milestone 4 release at the start of the year (see here) but until then it had been a slow SMAC mover. It is taking a smart approach to development – building capabilities that can be used across multiple products (as is already the case with its mobile engine) which will enable it to move quickly. It will also invest to deliver more depth within its vertical solutions – and take some of its local vertical solutions (such as wholesale and real estate) global so this will impact the competitive landscape. The Agresso R&D investment is in addition to the extra $50m being pumped into FinancialForce. Advent International is actively investing in the business, aware that this is a time of real opportunity for alternatives to the leading business software providers, so UNIT4 is set to continue raising its profile – and dislodging SAP and Oracle within organisations.
Posted by Angela Eager at '09:36'
Looking at today’s trading update, the six months to July 31 2014 have gone well for eg Solutions and with on-going confidence in trading and a “significant” new contact with an existing client in its vaults (worth over £1.2m with £0.63m due this year) plus eight other contract wins from new and existing customers signed during the period, it expects to beat full year market expectations. With that as a background it is looking at H1 revenue of £4m and PBT of over £0.6m. These figures compare very favourably to this time last year when the impact of major organisational and business model change (see here) made painful reading.
Acting CEO Elizabeth Gooch is ebullient about the untapped nature of the back office optimisation market eg Solutions and other vendors like AOMi, Verint and NICE operate in and the proposition does play to organisations’ desire to improve the customer experience – something that has to involve the back office. However, it has been ‘the year of back office optimisation’ for a few years now. We’ll be catching up with Gooch when the complete H1 results are released next month for a deeper update on the company and market prospects.
Update: the share price rose 30%+ following the trading update. A series of positive updates this year plus contract wins have apparently increased external confdence to align with eg's internal confidence.
Posted by Angela Eager at '08:31'
After a swift start to its FY (see Harvey Nash quick off the blocks in new year), growth at UK-based international recruitment, outsourcing and offshoring firm, Harvey Nash, pulled back in Q2 compared to the prior quarter.
First half headline revenue growth (to 31st July) looks like coming in at a still creditable 8% (12% at constant currency, ccy) vs 12% (15% ccy) in Q1. Gross profit growth held steady at the Q1 level of 6% ccy but H1 operating profit growth at 5% (12% ccy) was substantially slower than the 12% (17% ccy) recorded in Q1.
Harvey Nash CEO Albert Ellis alluded to ‘robust’ UK growth, though permanent recruitment demand in Germany was ‘subdued’. There was no news on Harvey Nash’s Vietnam-based offshore services activities though undoubtedly we will hear more in the full H1 screed at the end of September.
Posted by Anthony Miller at '07:30'
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