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WCIT Outstanding Tech Student Awards 2019
20 Feb 2019
Amazon's ad business takes share from Google
20 Feb 2019
Google to acquire Alooma for simplified cloud migration
20 Feb 2019
Palo Alto plans US$560m Demisto buy
20 Feb 2019
Backers cater for Spoonfed’s growth ambitions
20 Feb 2019
IMImobile intensifies North America focus
20 Feb 2019
Significant years
20 Feb 2019
Blancco H119 revenue up 19% yoy
20 Feb 2019
NSHX: New unit to oversee NHS technology strategy
20 Feb 2019
Barclays shows loyalty to Bink’s loyalty card app
20 Feb 2019
Leidos set for growth after strong finish to FY18
20 Feb 2019
Senseon gets US$6.4m for AI powered security
20 Feb 2019
Join our Tech User Programme
20 Feb 2019
Barclays implements Pay by Bank
19 Feb 2019
*UKHotViewsExtra* Cogeco Peer 1: businesses held back by SD-WOT Syndrome
19 Feb 2019
Innovator StaffCircle squares up with £250k funding round
19 Feb 2019
Further momentum at dotdigital despite retail headwinds
19 Feb 2019
Mambu attracts €30m for core banking push
19 Feb 2019
What a 12 years it has been!
19 Feb 2019
Considered a career in teaching?
19 Feb 2019
Nationwide to roll out Watson powered bot
18 Feb 2019
*New Research* TechMarketView's Market Readiness Index
18 Feb 2019
Backers charge up ChargedUp to share more volts
18 Feb 2019
GoCardless plots global expansion
18 Feb 2019
More regulation looms for social media giants
18 Feb 2019
LTI strengthens its banking credentials
18 Feb 2019
Want to appear in UKHotViews eNewsletter?
18 Feb 2019
Adept4 closes a very “challenging year”
15 Feb 2019
JP Morgan coin highlights blockchain’s progress
15 Feb 2019
Zopa gears up for banking launch
15 Feb 2019
Eastnine aims to get market-fit with seed funding
15 Feb 2019
Santander calls on IBM for competitive edge
15 Feb 2019
DeepCrawl weighs up more dosh to crawl deeper
15 Feb 2019
*NEW RESEARCH* The Expanding Influence of Babylon
15 Feb 2019
Capgemini UK puts in sprint finish
14 Feb 2019
Civica helps NHS' Chesterfield Royal to digital health
14 Feb 2019
Starling boosted by cash injection
14 Feb 2019
Welcome further improvements at Micro Focus
14 Feb 2019
IBM opens up Watson AI to competitors’ clouds
14 Feb 2019
Veeam FY18 revenue up 16%
14 Feb 2019
UKHotViewsPremium - A unique subscription service for individuals
14 Feb 2019

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Wednesday 20 February 2019

WCIT Outstanding Tech Student Awards 2019

Today I attended the 103rd WCIT Business Lunch at Wax Chandlers Hall.

StudentThe occasion was to present the Outstanding Student Award for 2019. Alderman & Sheriff Vincent Keaveny gave the award to Rachel Lee Mekhtleva who got a 1st in Maths and Computer Sciences at Imperial. This is a young lady who is seriously going places! She was offered a job at Facebook but wants to do a PhD instead. All I can say is that Sheryl Sandberg better watch her job...

What was even more interesting was that the other 4 ‘runners up’ were all female. Yes, that’s right all 5 finalists in a tech related student competition were female. Rachel was asked why? She gave the most brilliant answer which EAchastised males for making computing look nerdish whereas it was full of creativity, design, understanding people’s needs etc. Things, she said, that females understood better than males.

Then our friend John O’Connell from ScaleUp Group presented the WCIT Master Lady Parmley with a cheque for £10,000 raised at last year’s Enterprise Awards Dinner.

A reminder that TechMarketView are sponsors again for this year’s ‘Oscars for Tech Entrepreneurs’ Dinner on 25th June 19 at the Dorcester. More details from Tina at TX2

Posted by Richard Holway at '21:43'

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Wednesday 20 February 2019

Amazon's ad business takes share from Google

GoogleAmazonRegular readers will be aware that I have long warned that the biggest threat to Google’s ad business comes from Amazon. If I am searching for a product my first port of call is now Amazon - not Google. Given that product searches, rather than run of the mill information questions, are where Google makes it money, I have warned that this could seriously damage Google’s business.

Today eMarketer have reported that Amazon will claim 8.8% of US digital ad spend in 2019 (up from 6.8% in 2018) whereas Google will see a reduction from 38.2% to 37.2%. Facebook stays relatively flat at 22.1%.

Small changes but the trendline is clear.

Posted by Richard Holway at '21:08'

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Wednesday 20 February 2019

Google to acquire Alooma for simplified cloud migration

gcpGoogle’s proposed acquisition of start-up Alooma is a smart move. Financial details of the acquisition were not disclosed but the Israeli start-up raised c$15m in total funding prior to being acquired.

Alooma is a Google Cloud Spanner data integration partner (others include Informatica and xplenty), meaning the start-up helps enterprises streamline the process of loading data into the database service. It has a data pipeline tool that can take data from multiple sources and migrate it to a single data warehouse. The importance of this is that once customers have migrated they can then adopt Google’s analytics, security, AI and machine learning offerings.

In addition, Google will benefit from the expertise Alooma has built around enterprise and open source databases, which should contribute to the further development of migration capabilities within GCP. 

It looks like Alooma with continue to support existing customers on competitors’ clouds (e.g. AWS, Azure), but any new customers will be have to use Google Cloud Platform (GCP).

All in, a very nice add-on to GCP and one that should be low-risk given the existing relationship between the firms.

Posted by Kate Hanaghan at '09:52' - Tagged: acquisition   cloud   data   dataintegration  

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Wednesday 20 February 2019

Palo Alto plans US$560m Demisto buy

Palo Alto plans US$560m Demisto buyThe proposed acquisition of security orchestration, automation and response (SOAR) specialist Demisto will add more artificial intelligence and machine learning capabilities to Palo Alto Network’s threat prevention and incident response platform, in addition to around 150 existing customers.

Expected to close in the third quarter, by our reckoning Demisto will be Palo Alto’s fourth acquisition in the last 12 months following earlier deals for RedLock, Secdo and Evident.io. All four combined will add a collective chunk to the company’s revenue whilst strengthening its cloud compliance, endpoint protection and security analytics play.Palo Alto plans US$560m Demisto buy

Demisto’s platform is designed to help security operations centre (SOC) teams maximise their productivity by automating communication and workflow collaboration, using a chatbot (DBot) to streamline the interactive analytics process. Its automated playbooks claim to have helped reduced security alerts that require human review by as much as 95%, allowing skilled security analysts to cut through the noise to focus on more complex threats.

That is a crucial advantage in a market where cyber expertise remains difficult and expensive to come by, leaving some enterprise IT departments with little option but to lease security analytics services from managed security service providers (MSSPs). Subscribers to SecureConnectViews can read more in our Security, Networking and Cloud Predictions 2019 report here.

Posted by Martin Courtney at '09:50' - Tagged: acquisiiton   cybersecurity   PaloAltoNetworks   Demisto  

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Wednesday 20 February 2019

Backers cater for Spoonfed’s growth ambitions

logoIt’s basically the backbone of an ERP system for the commercial catering industry – and what a great idea it is too!

This is Glasgow-based catering management software startup Aptus Systems, trading by its software brand Spoonfed, which has the likes of Le Pain Quotidien, Crussh, and Benugo on its client list. Spoonfed is also well established on the US East Coast with a new base in Denver coming soon, and also has customers in Canada, Ireland, Holland, Belgium, France and Australia. Spoonfed integrates with a host of platforms used in the catering industry from accounting (Sage, Xero), to payment (Sage Pay, PayPal), to marketing (MailChimp) and delivery (Google Maps).

Founded in 2013 by a couple of ‘chaotic caterers’ (their words) then running their own office delivery business, Spoonfed currently has 11 employees and is aiming for 20 by the end of the year. Spoonfed has recently raised a very modest £575k in a funding round led by Scotland angel network, Equity Gap. Back in 2015, Spoonfed had launched a crowdfunding round to try to raise £275k at a £1.5m pre-money valuation but only reached £155k.

Spoonfed is a ‘Little Scottish Battler’ that is already punching above its weight – and looks like it has the potential to become a Great Scottish Scale-up!

Posted by Anthony Miller at '09:23' - Tagged: funding   startup  

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Wednesday 20 February 2019

IMImobile intensifies North America focus

LogoUK HQ’d cloud communications software and solutions provider IMImobile has appointed industry veteran Bruce Bales as Chief Executive Officer, North America. He is tasked with both consolidating the company’s US and Canadian operations and expanding IMImobile’s footprint on the other side of the pond.

Over the last 18 months the company has made a series of North American acquisitions (see here). These comprise established mobile communication platform providers SUMOTEXT Corporation and Impact Mobile as well as email service provider Express Pigeon. IMImobile has also built up a diverse roster of both public and private enterprises and wireless operators in the region. These include the U.S. Department of Education, Starbucks, Avis/Budget Group, Estée Lauder, Southwest Airlines, Astellas, AT&T and Sprint.

The company believes that the US and Canadian markets together represent a huge opportunity for its cloud communications suite. The appointment of a dedicated, seasoned regional CEO is seen as key to both driving further operational integration and accelerating revenue growth in the territory.

Bales joins IMImobile with more than 20 years of experience across North America working for public communications technology companies such as AT&T, Glenayre Technologies, and CLX Communications. He will work alongside Tim Miller, President, IMImobile North America and founder of acquiree SUMOTEXT Corporation.

To date the company has not published separate figures for its North American business. To better gauge progress here, it is to be hoped that IMImobile’s increasing strategic focus on this geography will be accompanied by more detailed reporting of its performance in the region.

Posted by Duncan Aitchison at '09:18' - Tagged: communications   appointments  

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Wednesday 20 February 2019

Significant years

Thanks for the really positive feedback on the podcast. See What a 12 years it has been!

Mac2007 can clearly be seen as a pivotal year for tech. There have been other pivotal years.

1981 springs to mind with the launch of the IBM PC and the start of the ‘Microsoft’ era.

But the same can be said of 1984 and the launch of the Apple Mac.

For me, the launch of the IBM S/360 in 1964 gave birth to the commercial use of computers. ICT responded with the launch of the 1900 series later in 1964 which was the first computer that a young Holway worked upon. 

I guess there are many other significant years for tech.

1969My thoughts had turned to the subject of significant years as I was reminded of all the really significant events that occurred fifty years ago in 1969.

Can any year rival this for firsts?

Feb - First flight of the Boeing 747 Jumbo

Mar - First flight of the Concorde

ArmstrongApr - Hawker Siddeley Harrier enters service with the RAF

July - Apollo 11 lands on the Moon and Neil Armstrong takes that ‘giant leap for mankind’

Aug - Launch of UNIX

Oct - First email sent over ARPANET (initially linking 4 computers together) - the forerunner of the internet

Nov - Colour TV launched in the UK

Abbey RoadIn the world of popular culture, 1969 gave us Woodstock, saw the last public performance by the Beatles, the release Abbey Road (in my opinion their best ever album) and the first airing of Monty Python’s Flying Circus.

Oh and Lulu won the Eurovision Song Contest with Boom Bang-a-Bang!

And Holway got married for the first time!

Posted by Richard Holway at '09:15'

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Wednesday 20 February 2019

Blancco H119 revenue up 19% yoy

Blancco H119 revenue up 19% yoy

Data erasure specialist Blancco saw a strong start to its fiscal year, with first half revenue up 19% yoy to £14.6m in constant currency and adjusted EBITDA rising 71% to £3m following a restatement involving a retrospective application of IFRS15 and IFRS9 accounting rules for H118. The AIM-listed company’s net debt fell from £2.7m in H118 to £2.3m in the same period.

Blancco (formerly Regenersis ) has undergone significant change over the last few years. After an interim period 2018 saw the arrival of a new executive team in Matt Jones (CEO) and Adam Moloney (CFO) following the departure of former CEO Pat Clawson in the wake of a FY17 revenue restatement involving two contracts worth £2.9m.

After selling off its repair services business in 2016, the company narrowed its focus on three core business divisions – mobile (device security diagnostics), data centre/enterprise (hard drive, server and virtual machine data destruction) and ITAD (IT recycling and disposal).

Those three entities each contributed roughly a third of the company’s H119 turnover, with enterprise/data centre revenue up 30% yoy to £4.7m, partly driven by anxiety over newly introduced data protection regulation such as the GDPR. Blancco has also expanded its global channel partnerships, meaning it relies less on direct sales and more on resellers to take its proposition into a broader market, particularly amongst small to medium enterprises (SMEs).

Management don’t expect Blancco’s second half performance to match the first as expanded headcount costs come into play. But recent investment in research and development and marketing, alongside the integration of software development kits (SDKs) into partner products and services, should help the business achieve solid FY19 growth nonetheless.

Posted by Martin Courtney at '09:03' - Tagged: resullts   cybersecurity   H1   Blancco   dataerasure  

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Wednesday 20 February 2019

NSHX: New unit to oversee NHS technology strategy

NHS logoSecretary of State for Health and Social Care Matt Hancock has announced the formation of a new unit to lead the NHS digital transformation strategy. NHSX will lead many of the initiatives required to deliver objectives detailed in The Future of Healthcare: Our Vision for Digital, Data and Technology in Health and Care and the NHS Long Term Plan.

Yesterday’s announcement is short on detail, but says the new unit will “combine the best talent from government, the NHS and industry” in an effort to bring together “all the levers of policy, implementation and change” to “build world-class digital services”. It says digital transformation has been slow because responsibility for digital, data and tech has been split across multiple agencies, teams and organisations; NHSX is intended to unify these responsibilities within one organisation.

NHSX will bring technology responsibilities, people and resources from the Department of Health and Social Care, NHS England and NHS Improvement, and it will have oversight of NHS Digital. It will also work closely with the Government Digital Service and other central government functions.

Responsibilities of the new unit will include: setting national policy and developing best practice for NHS technology, digital and data; setting standards, including cybersecurity; interoperability; supporting new technologies—in partnership with industry and its own development; making sure source code is open by default; reforming procurement; and developing digital skills. The unit, which is expected to begin operating in April, will have its own CEO who will have strategic responsibility for setting the national direction on technology across the NHS in England.

The introduction of NHSX obviously raises questions about the future role of NHS Digital. NHSX will act as the commissioner for NHS Digital’s work, so we may see some changes in strategic direction longer term, but its statutory position will not change, and the initiative has been welcomed by its CEO Sarah Wilkinson.

The digital transformation programme facing the NHS is enormous and something had to be done to speed up the process. Introducing a central body with responsibility for digital strategy, should help to minimise duplication and improve efficiency, although it may lead to disruption in the short-term as roles and responsibilities are formalised. In time, it should also make it easier for suppliers to engage with the NHS on digital transformation initiatives.

Posted by Dale Peters at '08:55' - Tagged: nhs   strategy   healthcare   government   digital+transformation  

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Wednesday 20 February 2019

Barclays shows loyalty to Bink’s loyalty card app

logoWhen I wrote about digital loyalty card manager Bink’s angel funding round back in December 2016, it didn’t seem to support any of the loyalty cards I use, notably Nectar (see Angels show loyalty to Bink with £2m). The startup was hoping to raise a further £25m a couple of years ago (Source: Business Insider) but as far as I can tell the only funding closed since was a £10m round led by Barclays announced last week.

So I decided to take another look at Bink’s app but still couldn’t see any reference to Nectar cards. But ironically the Apple app store also led me to German loyalty card manager Stocard which does – and a slew of other apps that do much the same thing.

Actually, that’s not a completely fair comparison. If I understand correctly, Bink links your loyalty cards to your payment cards so if you shop in a store with a loyalty card linked to your payment card, you will automatically get the loyalty points credited when you pay. Get it? Got it! Good. However, I can find no mention of what happens if you ‘go cardless’ and pay directly by app.

I feel that Bink’s proposition is rather ‘over-egging the omelette’. Loyalty cards and payment cards are changing all the time and Bink is creating a rod for its own back trying to link them all together. And without an apparent solution for cardless payments (not an issue for ‘basic’ loyalty card managers like Stocard), I worry that Bink might be chasing down a blind alley.

Posted by Anthony Miller at '08:49' - Tagged: funding   startup  

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Wednesday 20 February 2019

Leidos set for growth after strong finish to FY18

Leidos logoLeidos’ Q4 and full year 2018 results demonstrate its success in driving growth across the business, particularly in the last quarter. In Q4, revenue was 5.2% higher than the prior year quarter at $2.65bn and operating margins increased to 7.1% from 4%. Whereas for the full year revenue was $10.19bn, an increase of just 0.2% on the prior year. 

Across the business, Q4 revenue at Defense Solutions was up 3.6% to $1.27bn driven by new contract awards; Civil revenue for the quarter also increased by 3.6% to $885m as program volumes increased; and Health revenue climbed 12.7% above the prior year quarter to $497m, also driven by an increase in net program volumes.

As usual, it’s impossible to glean much about the UK performance from the results, but it’s notable that the £65m ONS Census contract announced in November (see Serco & Leidos amongst Census 2021 beneficiaries) was one of three deals globally highlighted in the results. This three-year deal, coupled with the renewal of existing contracts (see Leidos retains Scottish Government contract), certainly bodes well for Leidos’ future performance in the UK.

Indeed, having successfully integrated Lockheed Martin’s Information Systems & Global Services (IS&GS) business (see Leidos: IS&GS integration success and work back) the group’s focus is now on growth and it is well placed to deliver. In the UK, the company will be looking to draw on the experience it has gained within the MoD to continue broadening its footprint outside its traditional defence hunting ground. Other areas of focus include health, safety & security, transport, and other areas of civil government (see UK Public Sector Supplier Prospects 2018).

Globally the outlook is also for further growth. For FY19, Leidos is forecasting revenue of $10.5-$10.9bn and adjusted EBIDTA margins of 9.9% to 10.1%.

Posted by Tola Sargeant at '08:49' - Tagged: results   centralgovernment   defence   healthcare  

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Wednesday 20 February 2019

Senseon gets US$6.4m for AI powered security

Senseon gets $6.4m for AI powered securityThe US$6.4m of seed funding awarded to London-headquartered cyber security firm Senseon will help the start-up expand its business in Europe and the US.

Senseon was founded in 2017 by David Atkinson – formerly commercial director at Darktrace and a cyber operative at the Ministry of Defence. It’s Management Dashboard employs artificial intelligence (AI) to “triangulate” threat detection by collating and comparing intelligence feeds and data sets from multiple sources – everything from the endpoint and firewall to cloud services and containers for example.

The investment round was led by MMC Ventures and Mark Weatherford, chief cyber security strategist at hybrid cloud security specialist vArmour and formerly Deputy Under Secretary for Cybersecurity at the US Department of Homeland Security.

The funding is just the latest investment in cyber security tools that use AI and machine learning to quickly sift through huge volumes of information to identify cyber security threats, including Egress, Cybereason and Darktrace, now valued in excess of US$1.6bn.

We expect financial backing for other security start-ups will quickly emerge – enterprises struggling to contain cyber threats whilst simultaneously lacking the manpower and expertise to run their own analytics in-house are likely to need all the automated tools they can get to protect their data, applications and infrastructure for some to come (subscribers can read more in our Security, Networking and Cloud Predictions 2019 report here).

Posted by Martin Courtney at '08:12' - Tagged: funding   startup   cybersecurity   Senseon  

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Wednesday 20 February 2019

Join our Tech User Programme

TechMarketView’s Tech User Programme was launched to coincide with the publication of our new Market Readiness Index research. This exciting programme of research is designed to support end-user organisations as they navigate their way through the choppy seas of digital transformation and beyond. TUP

Leveraging our depth of expertise and knowledge we will share our opinions and insights on the market, the suppliers, the technology and relationships required in order to be successful against a backdrop of fast-paced change. The first Tech User Programme report - TechMarketView Market Readiness Index (MRI): Top 10 UK IT & business process services suppliers – is available right now.

The Tech User Programme offers a range of benefits from accessing the end-user research to being part of an environment that seeks to drive innovation amongst suppliers and peers. Membership is available to end-user organisations and the great news is that the annual fee is being waived for the first year. To find out more contact Deb Seth or visit our webpage. We look forward to welcoming you on board.

Posted by HotViews Editor at '00:00'

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Tuesday 19 February 2019

Barclays implements Pay by Bank

ZappUK bank Barclays has announced plans to roll out the Pay by Bank app to its mobile banking customers to enable online purchases direct from their bank accounts, via its merchant network. Pay by Bank was developed by Zapp, a unit established by UK payments network, VocaLink, in 2013, with the aim of facilitating real-time mobile payments via bank apps and the Faster Payments network. Zapp is now a wholly owned, subsidiary of Mastercard, which acquired VocaLink in 2017.

The Pay by Bank app was originally announced to great fanfare, with ambitious growth plans and expectations that it would ultimately rival traditional giants, such as MasterCard and Visa (see: Open Banking and PSD2). However, following the Mastercard acquisition of Vocalink, Pay by Bank went very quiet, and it still has very limited adoption and usage. At the time, the Vocalink deal was highly controversial, in light of the near monopoly that it handed to a single, dominant, commercial provider. In the UK, the majority of salaries, domestic utility bills and state benefits are still paid via the Vocalink network. Some in the industry also voiced concerns that the acquisition would greatly inhibit innovation and restrict the transformation of the UK’s outdated payments infrastructure.

The major, established players in payments have been circling the wagons for some time, in the face of disruptive innovation and new competitive threats (see: Understanding the UK payments market and FinTechViews – why all the M&A in payments?). Mastercard sees Zapp as an important route into the market for UK debit payments, which is currently a stronghold for its great rival Visa.  Mastercard is of course currently engaged in another fight for supremacy in the face of the changing ecosystem (see: Battle for Earthport heats up).

Posted by Jon C Davies at '09:51' - Tagged: payments  

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Tuesday 19 February 2019

*UKHotViewsExtra* Cogeco Peer 1: businesses held back by SD-WOT Syndrome

*UKHotViewsExtra” Cogeco Peer 1: businesses held back by SD-WOT SyndromeCogeco Peer 1’s (CP1) latest research on attitudes to software defined wide area network (SD-WAN) connectivity amongst UK organisations makes for interesting reading.

Its findings resonate with our own thinking here at TechMarketView: namely that while the technology offers considerable potential for organisations looking to procure more flexible WAN bandwidth at lower cost to optimise cloud application and service performance, the technology remains in the early stages of adoption.*UKHotViewsExtra” Cogeco Peer 1: businesses held back by SD-WOT Syndrome

More …

Not a TechMarketView subscription research client? Then why not subscribe to our low-cost UKHotViews Premium service to access all of our UKHotViews and UKHotView Extra posts?

Posted by Martin Courtney at '09:30' - Tagged: CogecoPeer1   SD-WAN  

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Tuesday 19 February 2019

Innovator StaffCircle squares up with £250k funding round

logoIt’s always good to hear when participants in our UK tech SME support programmes are recognised by investors for their business potential.

Such is the case for Leicestershire-based workplace communications startup StaffCircle, which was selected by Capita Scaling Partner to be among the first tranche of UK tech SMEs joining our TechMarketView Innovation Partner Programme (then known as the TechMarketView Early-Stage Partner Programme) in June last year (see TechMarketView Early Stage Partner Programme: StaffCircle).

StaffCircle is a cloud based platform for communicating with a dispersed workforce. It works with any phone or any browser and does not require software to be installed or an app to be downloaded to the employee’s device.

Founded in 2017, StaffCircle has since gone on to secure a £250k investment from the MEIF (Midlands Engine Investment Fund) Proof of Concept & Early Stage Fund. The funding will be used to create five new jobs to support further R&D and Sales & Marketing.

This is a great vote of confidence in founding CEO (and seasoned entrepreneur) Mark Seemann and his team, and yet another great example of UK tech innovation.

And do watch out for the announcement of the participants in the next TechMarketView Innovation Partner Programme in association with Civica Innovation Partners for which entries are now closed. We will be announcing further TechMarketView Innovation Partner Programmes in association with our enterprise clients later this year.

Posted by Anthony Miller at '08:50' - Tagged: funding   startup   tesp   tipp  

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Tuesday 19 February 2019

Further momentum at dotdigital despite retail headwinds

logoMarketing automation SaaS provider dotdigital Group reported a very decent set of interims (to 31 December 2018) which saw headline revenue grow 33% to £24.9m but even on an organic basis it achieved 15% growth. What we are seeing is the success of its three pillar strategy - geographic expansion, partnerships, and product development – increasing business momentum.

These growth initiatives are reinforcing each other as sales through channel partners and system integrators for Magento and Shopify helped drive 30% growth in the US, while channel expansion in APAC hoisted sales by 80%. Sales through strategic partners increased 43% YoY to £10.3m. EMEA growth was modest compared to the other regions, with 10% growth for the Engagement Cloud platform business (previously known as dotmailer), restricted by Brexit uncertainty, the impact of the introduction of GDPR and the challenging retail environment.

Retail headwinds and the impact of “a few large” retail customers going into administration dulled the impact of the Comapi Communications Platform-as-a-Service acquisition, hitting its headline sales, but dotdigital says it did not impact group level profitability. Operating profit came in at £4.9m vs. £4.4m. As integration of the Comapi omni-channel capability progresses, dotdigital’s revenue opportunities should open out on the back of personalised, timely and channel-sensitive campaigns – and confirm the (sometimes painful) shift from dotdigital as an email-centric to an omni-channel supplier. 

Posted by Angela Eager at '08:49' - Tagged: results   software  

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Tuesday 19 February 2019

Mambu attracts €30m for core banking push

MambuEuropean core banking innovator, Mambu, has successfully raised €30m (£26m) via a new funding round led by Bessemer Venture Partners. Also contributing to the total were, existing investors Acton Capital, CommerzVentures, Point Nine Capital and Runa Capital. Berlin based Mambu plans to use the cash to increase its core team as it aims to significantly grow its revenues.

Launched in 2011, Mambu is one of a very small band of cloud native, core banking vendors, that are shaking up the traditional vendor landscape. Mambu provides its technology via a SaaS model and already claims more than 50 customers, including leading European neo-banks N26 (Germany) and ABN-Amro’s, New12 (Netherlands). Purpose built for the cloud, using the latest approaches and technologies, cloud native, core banking platforms are architected in a flexible, agile manner that is unlike any of their traditional rivals.

Closer to home, Lloyds Banking Group has invested heavily in fellow cloud native, provider, Thought Machine, and it was recently revealed that the bank is to start migrating clients onto their innovative Vault platform (see: FS firms learn to dig the new breed). Meanwhile Swiss based, Temenos, has become the only established vendor, so far, to provide a cloud native offering. As reported yesterday, it would appear that new partners are lining up to work with Temenos following the launch of T24 Transact in January (see: LTI strengthens its banking credentials). Whilst many established banks may ultimately decide not to replace their core, for those that are looking to take that step, it is difficult to make a strong case for the traditional core banking vendors.

Posted by Jon C Davies at '08:27' - Tagged: cloud+native   core+banking  

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Tuesday 19 February 2019

What a 12 years it has been!

ATTSeidenbergLast week I was interviewed alongside Mike Seidenberg - one of the fund managers from San Francisco who manage the Allianz Technology Trust (#ATT). You can now listen to the Podcast of the interview.

We talked about what caused the tech stock sell off in the latter part of 2018, China, the IT spending environment in 2019, digital transformation, payment systems & cyber security, M&A and the ‘Hot’ sectors going forward. Although I say it myself, the ‘chemistry’ worked rather well and I think you’ll find the podcast both informative and quite entertaining (an unusual combination!)

I participated in the podcast because I have been a director @ #ATT since Jan 2007. I explain in the podcast what my role as a director has been. The team in SF is responsible for the portfolio and individual stock picks. My input is more in terms of overall trends. So, for example I can debate the global market for cyber security but which stock to buy is totally up to the team. Indeed, we have seen how, even within growth sectors, individual execution can vary greatly.

I also believe that all directors should have ‘skin in the game’. I bought a slug of #ATT shares on my appointment in Jan 2007 and they are now showing a gain of nearly 600%. Indeed #ATT is up another 21% in the first 7 weeks of 2019. So I am pretty pleased to have been involved with about the best peforming tech investment trust over any period you care to choose.

What a 12 years it has been!

For tech

Back in Jan 07, Apple had yet to launch the iPhone. The mobile market was dominated by Nokia and every self-respecting executive carried a Blackberry. Hardly anyone had heard of Facebook which had only just been made available to users in the UK. Social media was Bebo or MySpace. Amazon was just about to launch the Kindle and was best known as an online bookseller. Cloud was a new team used by us analysts. Talk of electric cars or driverless cars would have been greeted with derision.

For Holway

It’s been a fascinating 12 years for me too. I joined #ATT because Ovum, after IPOing in mid 2016, had just been bought by Datamonitor. I was free! As well as #ATT, I took on other directorships and also started my 2 year term as Chair of the Prince’s Trust Technology Leadership Group.

It would be another two years before Anthony and I launched TechMarketView.

Wonder what the next 12 years will hold...

Posted by Richard Holway at '07:52'

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Monday 18 February 2019

Nationwide to roll out Watson powered bot

NationwideIn another validation of TechMarketView’s predictions for the UK financial services sector (see: NEW RESEARCH: Financial Services Predictions 2019), the use of AI and cognitive technologies is continuing to proliferate. In the latest development, Nationwide Building Society is set to launch a virtual assistant to service its mortgage customers. Nationwide’s new virtual assistant will utilise machine learning from IBM Watson and help first-time buyers by responding to their initial enquiries. Christened Arti, the technology will provide front line support to customers and will escalate enquiries to a human service agent as the interaction progresses.

AI and Cognitive Technologies have become key areas of focus for financial services organisations and activity in this area has accelerated greatly over the last 2 years. There is a keen appetite amongst banks and insurers to explore proofs of concept and possible use cases for these technologies. Meanwhile some of the early adopters are already reaping the rewards. This burgeoning interest demonstrates the potential business value that institutions recognise in both AI and Cognitive and 2019 is likely to see continued growth in project activity.

In truth, virtual assistants and Robo-Advisers are just the public face of AI and cognitive. Financial services organisations are awash with vast amounts of data, and many of their services rely upon relatively routine business processes and data driven decisions. As a result, there are a multitude of potential applications for technologies such as AI and cognitive in the back office.

Posted by Jon C Davies at '09:24'

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Monday 18 February 2019

*New Research* TechMarketView's Market Readiness Index

MRI logoIn case you missed the excitement this month, TechMarketView is proud to have launched the first research published as part of our brand-new Tech User Programme (see here for more information).

Our first Tech User Programme report focuses on the UK’s Top 10 IT and business process services providers: Accenture, Atos, Capgemini, Capita, Cognizant, DXC, Fujitsu, HCL, IBM, and TCS. The in-depth, highly valuable, 86-page, report answers a fundamental question for the end user community: how ready are these leading suppliers to support their clients – the tech buyers – as they seek to digitally transform their organisations?

To answer this question, TechMarketView’s has designed the Market Readiness Index (MRI). The Index has been devised with buyers, for buyers, to help assess how advanced suppliers are when it comes to being able to contribute to the creation of more intelligent and more automated organisations for their customers. Our conversations with end user decision makers have revealed that they are looking for independent and expert guidance that they can trust. They want new ideas, honest recommendations and true collaboration from suppliers. And we have responded to that.

The MRI applies our highly regarded, rigorous, research approach to assess suppliers across six key areas: Corporate Resilience; Suitability of Offerings; Skills & Resources; Partner Ecosystem; Industry Expertise; and Delivery & Execution. This involves in-depth, revealing conversations with various functions within the supplier organisations as well as with a selection of clients.

TUP logoOver the coming months, we will expand our Tech Users Programme and will set about assessing a broader cross section of players. The analysis will be shared with senior buyers in the TechMarketView’s end user community.

If you are an End User organisations and have joined our Tech User Programme, you can download the report – TechMarketView Market Readiness Index (MRI): Top 10 UK IT & business process services suppliers – today. If you would like to find out more about joining the programme and accessing the report, you can find out more from Deb Seth.

If you are an IT/BP services provider and you are an existing TechMarketView subscription service client, reports published within our Tech User Programme are available to purchase. Please contact Deb Seth for information.

Posted by HotViews Editor at '09:23'

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Monday 18 February 2019

Backers charge up ChargedUp to share more volts

logo

How far can you stretch the ‘sharing economy’ model?

I can see the sense in bicycle-sharing. It costs a lot of money to buy a bicycle just for occasional use and it’s not easy to carry one with you on the off chance you need one. Having said that, our street is littered (OK, slight exaggeration – perhaps one or two a week) with abandoned bikes waiting, I assume, for the mother-ship to rescue them.

On the other hand, you can buy a phone charger pack for a few quid and keep it with you. Which is why I struggle with the business model behind London-based startup, ChargedUp. They have developed a pick-up and drop-off battery system for those times that you are caught with a dying mobile.

The ChargedUp system comprises a bespoke battery charger which houses 10 intelligent batteries released from the charger though an app. The batteries can be returned to any other venue that has a ChargedUp charger (assuming, I suppose, it’s not already full of batteries). You get the first hour’s charge free and then pay 50p for 30 minutes charge. If you don’t return the battery you are charged £30. The battery itself needs recharging in a ChargedUp station every couple of times it’s used.

ChargedUp has just raised £1.2m in a seed funding round led by The Garage and JamJar. The startup, which was founded in 2017, had previously raised £200k in pre-seed funding.

In a media interview last August, ChargedUp founder Hugo Tilmouth was hoping to have a network of 1,000 charging stations by the end of 2018. According to ChargeUp’s website, they have so far reached 250.

Surely within just a few years all mobile devices will have wifi charging capability. I can’t see how ChargedUp's backers will ever recoup their investment.

Posted by Anthony Miller at '08:59' - Tagged: funding   startup  

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Monday 18 February 2019

GoCardless plots global expansion

GoCardlessUK based, payments innovator, GoCardless, has successfully raised $75m in additional funding, as the company seeks to fuel its global expansion. Founded in 2011, GoCardless facilitates recurring online payments, and the company currently processes around $10bn worth of transactions a year for more than 40,000 corporate clients. The latest capital injection has been led by US technology giant, Alphabet (the parent company of Google) and by SaaS pioneer, Salesforce.

GoCardless establishes payments using bank account details, as opposed to using payment cards. This approach greatly reduces costly delays, processing issues and failed payments. The company’s proposition has proved to be a reliable and appealing one to its corporate clients. The latest investment in GoCardless follows a previous funding round in 2017 (see: GoCardless raises $22.5m).

GoCardless CEO and co-founder, Hiroki Takeuchi, was paralysed in a cycling accident in 2016. However, the company and its creator have not let that personal tragedy hold back the fortunes of the payments, technology provider and GoCardless has continued to enjoy impressive growth. In 2018 the company opened offices in Paris, Munich and Melbourne, and has plans to open in Spain and the US later this year. As GoCardless plots its global expansion and mulls its technology roadmap, it will be interesting to see whether the company can continue on its impressive path.

Posted by Jon C Davies at '08:19' - Tagged: funding   payments   cards  

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Monday 18 February 2019

More regulation looms for social media giants

A report from the Digital, Culture, Media and Sport Committee on disinformation/fake news has hit the news headlines today. You can read the full report HERE.

FacebookAlthough the report is aimed at social media in general it is Facebook, and to a lesser extent, Google that have been singled out. Mark Zuckerberg was accused of failing to show ‘leadership or personal responsibility’ over his failure to appear in person before the committee. The DCMS recommends a compulsory and legally backed code of ethics to remove fake news, disinformation and harmful content (such as the recent teenage self-harm content). An independent regulator would be established. Fines could be levied and, in certain cases, criminal charges. The Electoral Commission to be given new powers relating to political advertising and associated ‘disinformation’. Costs of implementation to come from a levy of social media companies.

The issue boils down to whether social media companies are merely ‘platforms’ or ‘publishers’. I’ve often cited my own Farnham Herald Test. Over the last ten years the Farnham Herald has lost much of its classified advertising to social media - from house sales to ‘find me a plumber in Farnham’. Conversely the Farnham Herald employs ‘real people’ who not only write original stories but vet the letters/comments sent in for publication. An advert extolling self-harm would be as unthinkable as would a letter suggesting the murder of the local MP. That vetting costs money just as the source of their revenue is moving elsewhere. And don’t get me started on who pays their local and national taxes...

I think the days where social media companies say that the stuff they carry ‘has nothing to do with me guv’ whilst reaping huge financial reward are coming to an end. Implementing any new regulations will cost social media companies big time. Although AI will of course help, it will not be the total solution. More and more real people will have to employed. At least that will start to level the playing field for the likes of the Farnham Herald.

Posted by Richard Holway at '08:13'

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Monday 18 February 2019

LTI strengthens its banking credentials

LTIThe news that Larsen & Toubro Infotech (LTI) is set to acquire German based, Nielsen+Partner for €28m, demonstrates the growing importance of financial services to the Indian technology provider and its ambitions for the banking sector. The cash deal will see LTI acquire the global operations of Hamburg based software services and IT consulting firm, Nielsen+Partner, which specialises in wealth management and banking and has a presence in both Europe and Asia Pacific.

LTI has been on the acquisition trail recently and acquired another specialist, financial services IT consultancy, Syncordis, in 2017 (see: LTI leaps ahead). Crucially, both Syncordis and Nielsen+Partner are Temenos experts and LTI clearly recognises the potential of working more closely with the Swiss banking technology provider. The advantages of which may have come into even clearer focus, after the recent launch of Temenos’ cloud native, core banking solution T24 Transact.

LTI has been performing strongly of late (see: LTI does the business as it moots Mindtree move) and the company’s leadership has been executing well on its strategy. This latest transaction should further serve to boost LTI, as the company establishes itself as a formidable contender in the banking technology space.

Posted by Jon C Davies at '08:13' - Tagged: acquistion   M&A   banking  

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Monday 18 February 2019

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Friday 15 February 2019

Adept4 closes a very “challenging year”

adeptWarrington-based Adept4, which provides managed and professional services to UK SMEs, has detailed the difficulties it faced during its financial year (to end September 2018).

In terms of the numbers, revenue was roughly flat at £10.2m 
(70% is recurring revenue) a disappointing reduction on the 7% organic growth in the previous year. Operating losses sank to £3.3m from a small profit last year, in part due to an impairment charge of £2.6m in respect of goodwill in its acquired businesses. However, the company was also hit with reduced margins as it moved more customers to cloud services. 

Adept4 is making no bones about the fact that FY18 was tough on several fronts. Of note is that the firm pursued a legal claim against the vendors of one of the businesses it acquired. This in itself was a distraction, but it also had a knock-on effect on sales as key professionals from the acquired firm left earlier than anticipated. New sales people have been brought in but they have “not yet delivered the results we had hoped for”.

There have been some positives, though. The management team is stronger following the recruitment of a new Chief Technology Officer, a Director of Operations and a new Sales Director. And there have been improvements in service levels. However, Adept4 is quite rightly taking a very cautious approach in its new financial year. It’s stepping back from driving new business and instead is looking to safeguard its relationships with existing customers, and protect its cash balances and shareholder value while it explores “the strategic options for the Group”.

Shares in the firm were down almost 5% at time of writing.

Posted by Kate Hanaghan at '09:25' - Tagged: results   managedservices  

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Friday 15 February 2019

JP Morgan coin highlights blockchain’s progress

JPMUS investment bank, J P Morgan has launched its own, blockchain derived, crypto-currency the “JPM coin” to facilitate transactions between clients of its wholesale payments business. Despite previous public criticism of crypto-currencies by J P Morgan's CEO, Jamie Dimon, the bank says it has always "believed in the potential of blockchain technology".

Although a lot of the public “hype” around blockchain may have subsided recently, the disruptive potential of the technology is widely recognised, as evidenced by recent M&A activity (see: Facebook acquires blockchain startup Chainspace and Battle for Earthport heats up). There is a great deal of activity around blockchain going on behind closed doors within financial services. Many of the major banks have crypto-currency projects that are now well advanced.

Whilst the JPM coin is the first, major crypto-currency to be publicly revealed by a leading US bank, it is not unique and follows in the path of the Signet system implemented by US rival, Signature Bank, late last year.  Signature has already, successfully attracted more than 100 clients to Signet who are currently using their blockchain based system to move millions of dollars every day. The future model, that many in the industry envisage, is that most major financial organisations will ultimately operate their own crypto-currencies. As evidenced by the news from J P Morgan, that destination may have just moved a step closer.

Posted by Jon C Davies at '08:51' - Tagged: payments   banking   blockchain  

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Friday 15 February 2019

Zopa gears up for banking launch

ZOPAZopa, the innovative, UK based, P2P lender, has moved a step closer to fulfilling its goal of becoming a fully-fledged bank, with the appointed of Gordon McCallum as its new chairman. McCallum is a former CEO of Virgin’s UK management company and will take over from the co-founder of Zopa, Giles Andrew, who is handing over the reins after running the business for nearly 15 years. Andrew is also chairman of several other FinTechs and plans to make these his focus going forward.

Launched in 2005, by a group of forward thinking entrepreneurs, Zopa was at the vanguard of peer to peer lending, and as such, was a genuine disruptive force in the financial services industry. Zopa successfully raised an additional £44m in investment funding in 2018, to support its banking ambitions (see: Zopa banks another £16m to become a bank). The P2P lender was subsequently granted a UK banking license in December.

Having lived through the previous financial crisis, the team at Zopa will know that, the scale of consumer debt and the potential of an economic downturn are risk factors for a pure lender. Expanding into banking will enable Zopa to progress its plans to launch a range of new financial products and services, and crucially to balance its portfolio. As one of the industry's true innovators, it will be interesting to see where Zopa’s ambitions take it in the future.

Posted by Jon C Davies at '08:34' - Tagged: banking   p2p  

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Friday 15 February 2019

Eastnine aims to get market-fit with seed funding

logoThe received wisdom is that you are more likely to exercise when you are doing it with someone else than if you do it alone. Indeed our chairman Richard Holway is known to enjoy a weekly ramble with pals in the wilds of Surrey as I remain slumped in my armchair watching the snooker on TV (despite the fact that I have an exercise cycle and rowing machine gathering dust in my home office).

I tell you this because of the news (Source: TechCrunch) that ‘social fitness’ app Eastnine has been launched on the back of a £2m seed funding round led by LocalGlobe and Cherry Ventures, with a host of (assumedly fitness fanatic) angels. Now in ‘beta’, Eastnine’s app offers audio-based professional coaching sessions and then lets you race against other users who have taken the same coaching session. Currently free to use, the app aims to adopt a ‘freemium’ model over time.

There’s a large number of social fitness apps in the market already, as well as ‘socially enabled’ fitness machines, such as internet-connected exercise cycle Peloton, whose TV ads mercilessly interrupt my snooker viewing and cause me just to slump further in my armchair. Not sure that Eastnine will have any more joy in West Five.

Posted by Anthony Miller at '08:19' - Tagged: funding   startup  

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Friday 15 February 2019

Santander calls on IBM for competitive edge

ibmThis week’s news that IBM has secured a major deal with Santander, to transform the Spanish banking group’s global IT architecture, is the latest sign that the battle for the higher ground in financial services is heating up. Technology has become the key to competitive advantage in the banking  sector and Santander’s declared aim is to “build the most advanced IT architecture" in financial services.

The $700m (£545m) transformation deal, will see Big Blue leverage technologies such as AI, blockchain and big data, to help Santander successfully address the key competitive challenge of, improving customer engagement with its accountholders. Crucially, whilst helping Santander to respond to the transformation imperative, the efficiency and modernisation offered from the project is expected to deliver significant savings to the bank’s overall IT budget.

IBM has had a run of major banking wins of late. Most recently, with its BNP Paribas deal (see: IBM and BNP Paribas announce major cloud deal), which was reportedly one of the largest ever cloud deals in European banking. Santander meanwhile, has always viewed technology as a competitive enabler. For example, the Spanish bank’s ability to acquire and successfully integrate acquisitions, such as UK bank, Abbey National, was largely predicated on the flexibility of its core banking platform. Santander is already working across a hybrid, multi-cloud environment and has created its own Cloud Competence Centre, which is working closely with IBM. As a result, Santander’s own transformation journey and strategic goals are far more advanced than some its banking rivals.

Posted by Jon C Davies at '07:53'

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Friday 15 February 2019

DeepCrawl weighs up more dosh to crawl deeper

logoLondon-founded web analytics product developer DeepCrawl has raised a further £2.4m in a funding round led by prior Series A investor, Beringea. This brings the total raised by the company, which was founded in 2010, to £4.2m (Source: CrunchBase). Crawl on!

Posted by Anthony Miller at '07:51' - Tagged: funding   startup  

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Friday 15 February 2019

*NEW RESEARCH* The Expanding Influence of Babylon

Babylon logoNHS England has given permission for Babylon’s GP at Hand service to extend outside of London for the first time. It had previously advised against expansion due to concerns about access to local clinical pathways and screening services. NHS Hammersmith and Fulham Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG), where GP at Hand is based, and Birmingham and Solihull CCG will now work together to agree when the service will start operating in Birmingham.

Report Cover ImageUse of Babylon’s GP at Hand app, which provides a symptoms checker, appointment booking and online consultation service, has grown rapidly since its introduction. It has been a controversial success story though, because when patients sign up for the service they deregister from their existing GP practice and the NHS funding for that patient goes with them. This is leading to concerns about a two-tier system developing where the younger and fitter patients are cherry picked from their previous practice.

Babylon has long wanted to expand the GP at Hand service outside of London, but, until now, had been blocked by Hammersmith and Fulham CCG and NHS England. The restrictions on expansion into Birmingham have now been removed and GP at Hand looks set to add patients from the city to its service shortly.

In this report we look at the history of GP at Hand, the impact of its expansion, the company behind the technology and concerns about how that company has been championed by the Government.

PublicSectorViews subscribers can download a copy of the report here.

If your organisation doesn’t yet subscribe to our in-depth public sector and healthcare research and you’d like to know more about our 2019 subscription packages please contact Deb Seth for the details.

Posted by Dale Peters at '07:36' - Tagged: nhs   healthcare   government   AI  

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Thursday 14 February 2019

Capgemini UK puts in sprint finish

Capgemini logoIn October, at the time of the Q3 results (see Capgemini UK returns to growth), we reported Capgemini being in “rude health”. The FY18/Q18 results (to end December 2018) reveal that that description is still apt. With growth across the business, at the headline level, Group revenues increased by 5.4% - equating to 8.1% growth at constant exchange rates (to €13,197m) and 6.2% growth organically. Within that, the business mix shifted further towards digital and cloud services, with growth of 20% (ccy) pushing its share of Group revenue up to 45%.

This is impressive growth – well above market growth rates. Capgemini is focused on two strategic imperatives. The first: more dynamic management of its portfolio of services. The second, aligning the whole organisation around the client (supported by its new client-centric organisational structure). These are both elements that we analysed in depth in our TechMarketView Market Readiness Index (MRI), with Capgemini one of ten companies assesses for its readiness to support its clients on their digital transformation journey. Focused investment is paying dividends and allowing Capgemini to grow while also improving profitability – the operating margin was up 20 basis points in the year to 12.1%.

Application services remains the lion’s share of Capgemini’s revenues (64% share) and revenues increased 10.1%. But, arguably, the most interesting growth trends are in ‘Consulting’ and ‘Managed Services’. Consulting revenues (6% of the total) were up 37.4% (ccy). Some of that was down to acquisitions but strong activity also played a large part; the establishment of Capgemini Invent, combining expertise in strategy, technology, data science and creative design, is playing out positively. Meanwhile, a 4.2% decline in ‘Other Managed Services’ was negatively impacted by a slowdown in BPO, and a contraction in infra services in the public sector, but counteracted by strong growth (in H2) in cloud integration and orchestration services. Technology & Engineering Services (15% of total) grew 5%.

The UK finished the year with an impressive Q4 – growing revenues by 9% in the last three months of the year compared to the previous quarter. We had commented that the UK would have to have a sprint finish to push the region into growth territory for the full year… and it managed it (just!). Growth at constant exchange rates was +0.1% for the full year (we’ll gloss over the small headline decline once foreign exchange rates impact). The private sector was the growth engine, as the financial services and energy & utilities sectors came up trumps. And while public sector declined, Capgemini talks of “a clear rebound at the end of the year”. The UK was highlighted as one of the strongest regions for ‘Technology & Engineering Services’. Due to the change in business mix, the UK operating margin declined from 16.1% to 12.6%.

Posted by Georgina O'Toole at '10:08' - Tagged: results   systems+integration   consulting   ApplicationServices   digital  

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Thursday 14 February 2019

Civica helps NHS' Chesterfield Royal to digital health

Civica logoCivica appears to be gaining traction in the UK healthcare market with its cloud-enabled digital health platform, CITO. It has just extended its partnership with Chesterfield Royal Hospital NHS Foundation Trust through a five-year contract for a full migration to CITO, which will support the Trust’s digital IT strategy. The news comes after other long-standing Civica customers, Lancashire Care NHS Foundation Trust and University Hospitals of Leicester NHS Trust, made similar moves in the second half of 2018.

Civica has been working with Chesterfield Royal Hospital since 2012 using its electronic document management system (EDMS) WinDIP to digitise paper records. The upgrade to the CITO EDMS and clinical information management system will integrate more than 30 existing clinical systems into a single ‘Electronic Version of Truth’. 

It is easy to see the appeal of CITO to Trusts that don’t have all encompassing electronic health record systems (EHRs) and need to deliver on the NHS’ paperless 2020 agenda. The cloud-based system enables a single view of patient records from multiple systems through a single sign-on interface. It also facilitates the transfer of essential information between the Trust and its healthcare partners, something that is central to the NHS’ vision of the future (see the UK Public Sector SITS Market Trends & Forecasts report and NHS Long Term Plan: What does it mean for tech? for more). 

Known historically for its local government software, Civica now has a much wider footprint both in the UK and internationally, public and private sector, and badges itself as a provider of ‘business-critical software applications, digital solutions and managed services’. It can claim to have been in the UK healthcare sector for 30 years – first as a reseller and then with its own software intially through the acquisition of In4tek back in 2009 (see Civica acquires In4tek). 

Posted by Tola Sargeant at '10:02' - Tagged: contract   software   healthcare  

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Thursday 14 February 2019

Starling boosted by cash injection

StarlingUK challenger bank, Starling, has announced that it has successfully raised an additional £75m in funding, bringing the total raised by the bank to date to £133m. Merian Global Investors were the major contributors to £60m in Series C funding, with a further £15m in follow-on funding from Harald McPike (Starling’s original backer and major shareholder). The new capital will be invested in Starling’s retail and SME banking operations, including a European expansion.

Meanwhile, Starling has revealed that it has so far attracted 460,000 personal current account customers and around 30,000 SME account holders. The bank hopes to reach one million customers by the end of 2019. (Rival challenger bank, Monzo, currently claims around 1.5m customers). Starling is also understood to be in the throes of applying for banking license in Ireland, to help protect its expansion plans in the face of an unruly Brexit.

Starling has successfully made progress with some major players in the financial services sector, in the shape of its contract with the DWP, and via its partnership with Mastercard Send. The bank has also established a potentially lucrative relationship with RBS/NatWest (see: Starling makes progress and opens door into RBS). Starling has also been tapping into opportunities around the UK’s Open Banking reforms.  The bank’s app-based, marketplace of third-party financial products is supported by its open API and currently has 11 partners, with more in the pipeline. Starling has experienced encouraging growth to date and the latest cash injection should help it continue to expand its customer base.

Posted by Jon C Davies at '09:59'

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Thursday 14 February 2019

Welcome further improvements at Micro Focus

logoThe Micro Focus share price soared in early trading (up c.11% at the point of writing this post). The reason: a set of results that confirmed the improving trajectory evident in its interim results and the most recent trading update, and an extension to the share buyback programme. Looking back over the past 12 months, there was a notable improvement in H2 over H1 which is attributed to throwing off one-off transitional effects of the HPE Software acquisition and integration.

Having realigned its year end to 31 October, Micro Focus reported statutory results for an 18 month period. But considering that, plus two major business-changing  transactions (the completion of the HPE Software acquisition in September 2017, and approval of the SUSE sale in August 2018 which is expected to close in Q119), 12 month pro forma results provide better insight into performance. And they show the business is moving in the right direction.

Pro forma constant currency revenue for the 12 months to 31 October 2018 (which includes SUSE and 12 months contribution from HPE Software), declined 5.3% to  $4.1bn but significantly the rate of decline slowed and performance was better than the -6% to -9% guidance. Revenue matters of course but the Micro Focus business model emphasises profitability, margins (and shareholder returns) and these continued to head in the right direction. Adjusted EBITDA rose 9.2% to $1.5bn and the Adjusted EBITDA margin increased by 4.6 percentage points to 37.7%.

Although the shape of the business will change once more with the sale of SUSE and the HPE Software integration programme continues, the future looks promising with a “further moderation of revenue decline” expected. This has enabled the company to issue 12 month guidance on revenue from the continuing Micro Focus portfolio (excluding SUSE) of between minus 4% to minus 6% compared to the 7.1% decline for the 12 months to 31 October 2018.

Acknowledging the problems the company has faced via a reference to the move to a more dynamic environment where execution is faster, operations simpler and people more accountable, CEO Stephen Murdoch says the company is getting back on track. There is still work to be done and the infrastructure software provider needs to keep its portfolio rolling forward as organisations reassess their legacy assets, but with its ability to bridge the old and new, Micro Focus is well positioned as organisations look to lower risk ways of modernising and accessing technology-enabled innovation. 

Posted by Angela Eager at '09:52' - Tagged: results   software   digitaltransformation  

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Thursday 14 February 2019

IBM opens up Watson AI to competitors’ clouds

ibmIBM’s Think 2019 event is currently underway in San Francisco and one of the announcements the firm has made is that customers will now be able to connect Watson AI to data held on any cloud (e.g. AWS, Azure), or in their own data centre.

Watson AI is a collection of applications, development tools, machine learning models, and management services, designed to help organisations mine data, predict outcomes, and automate processes. Customers will be able to connect data held in any environment to Watson AI through IBM Cloud Private for Data.

The first Watson AI products to be available in such a way are Watson Assistant (which can be used to build conversational interfaces into apps and devices) and Watson OpenScale (a management console that is designed to make using AI simpler).

There is so much interest in the potential for AI technology but often the challenge is knowing where and how to begin. The Watson brand is very well recognised in end user organisations. However, in a move that IBM describes as a “new chapter”, the firm is giving customers much more choice and potential to start using Watson. It could just be the impetus some need to get going with Watson in a meaningful way.

There is a flood of messaging coming from the supplier community around AI, but that is not mirrored in adoption levels. Finding ways to shift usage from the experimental phase to mass adoption is at the heart of the challenge. 

Expect more Watson offerings to be available across multiple environments over the rest of 2019.

Posted by Kate Hanaghan at '08:49' - Tagged: cloud   AI  

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Thursday 14 February 2019

Veeam FY18 revenue up 16%

Veeam FY18 revenue up 16%Last year was another good year for backup and archiving specialist Veeam, which delivered US$963m of bookings in the 12 months ending December 2018. That represents annual growth of 16%, though the rate of expansion slowed considerably from FY17 when total bookings were up 36% yoy.

By our calculations that is now 12 years of double-digit organic growth for the Switzerland-headquartered company, which added a further 48k customers in FY18 (including the Norfolk and Suffolk NHS Foundation Trust) bringing the total to around 330k.

Like other suppliers – including Veritas, IBM, HPE, Dell EMC, Arcserve and Commvault - Veeam is looking to move the conversation beyond backup and archiving and onto intelligent data management that extends protection from on-premise systems to incorporate off-premise public, private and hybrid cloud-hosted infrastructure and applications and distributed end points (see Veeam: big ambitions for intelligent data management).

The company has done a particularly good job of aligning its virtualised solutions alongside cloud services offered by Microsoft (Office365) and Amazon Web Services (AWS) whilst integrating its storage and data protection software portfolio with leading hardware players such as HPE, NetApp, Cisco and Lenovo.

Despite slower FY18 growth and the departure of co-chief executive Peter Mackay, privately-held Veeam is still held in extremely high regard by investors, having secured a mammoth US$500m of financial backing from Insight Venture Partners and Canada Pension Plan Investment Board (CPPIB) in January.

There are suggestions that Veeam’s competitors are starting to catch up with rival cloud-centric data protection platforms of their own though. While we expect strong enterprise and SME demand for secure, compliant data backup solutions precipitated by the GDPR and other privacy regulations will continue (see our Security, Networking and Cloud Predictions 2019 report) it will be interesting to see if the company can repreat its earlier momentum in FY19.

Posted by Martin Courtney at '07:38' - Tagged: cloud   resullts   dataprotection   backup   archiving   Veeam  

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Thursday 14 February 2019

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