Acquisition targets get younger every day: Microsoft’s latest purchase is two-and-a-half-year-old Genee whose AI-using scheduling tool with its natural language processing capability, went into pubic beta just a year ago. It is not destined to go any further as the service will be shut down in short order on September 1 as Genee co-founders Ben Cheung and Charles Lee join Microsoft.
It will be a small purchase for Microsoft (although terms of the deal were not disclosed) but is part of a significant development within both Microsoft and the software sector as a whole. Microsoft’s plan is to roll Genee with its technology into Office 365, as part of its broader‘Conversation as a Platform’ ambition (see here) whereby it foresees human language as the new UI layer, bots as the new apps, and virtual digital assistants (like Cortana) as "meta apps." The vision is to add some form of intelligent capability across the board. Genee will complement Microsoft’s June acquisition of Wand Labs which created natural language messaging solutions (see here) but is part of Microsoft’s bigger plans for chat bots and conversational intelligence.
Virtual digital assistants are beginning to pour out (e.g. from Apple, Google, Amazon, Facebook, Microsoft - and others) on the back of machine learning and AI adoption. This ‘wave of disruption’ is one of the fastest building and the reason it is so disruptive is because it has the potential to change how we interact with applications. As virtual digital assistants are only the starting point for many AI/machine learning uses, suppliers need to learn how to surf this particular wave quickly.
Posted by Angela Eager at '09:16'
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Belfast-headquartered Kainos, which IPO’d last year, is pushing further into the UK healthcare market following the successful implementation of its electronic patient clinical record (ePCR) solution at South East Coast Ambulance Service NHS Foundation Trust (SECAmb) and the launch of a new integrated care platform.
Kainos has been in healthcare since launching its document management system Evolve eight years ago and now has some 33 NHS Trusts (100 hospitals) as customers. It didn’t appear in our last set of rankings for the UK healthcare SITS market, but it’s growing rapidly in health and is not far outside the top 20 with a turnover of c£15m from the sector in its latest fiscal year.
Note also that Kainos is one of Apple’s mobility partners in healthcare and this was key to its recent win with South East Coast Ambulance Service. SECAmb is using Kainos’ Evolve software to capture electronic patient clinical record data at the scene of an incident and share it with receiving hospitals at the A&E department, clinic or ward. Like other trusts, SECAmb was keen to replace paper-heavy processes with digital ones and transform the efficiency of care. The trust’s Head of IT, Mark Chivers, said they picked the device first then the software, so Kainos’ partnership with Apple was all important. Kainos’ app runs on an iPad and works both on and offline.
We were also interested to learn that Kainos is bringing a new product, the Evolve Integrated Care Platform, to the UK market. The cloud-based platform is designed to enable GP, community care and acute electronic patient record systems, as well as some hospital departmental systems, to share information with each other and eventually with the patient and their friends and family too.
Both these products have a natural fit with government policy and the trends currently shaping the NHS IT market, making Kainos one to watch in the sector in the coming months.
Posted by Tola Sargeant at '08:58'
Pre-Brexit uncertainty may well have contributed to a shift of Fintech fundraising to Continental Europe and away from London as Germany garnered 80% more funding than the UK in the three months to the end of June (according to a report from KPMG and CB Insights).
In terms of the larger deals, Finanzcheck, N26 and AEVI raised US$120m between them in Germany, while Tandem Bank, Azimo and Transferwise pulled in US$73m through London.
The Brexit decision is bound to cause some uncertainty within the London Fintech community which has benefited from the free movement of labour across Europe and the early indications are that this issue will not be resolved quickly or easily. Continental European governments are keen to exploit the opportunity by extolling the virtues of their respective locations, but Germany, and Berlin in particular, a pressing the best case. An entrepreneurial spirit within the city, along with cheap rents and a good nightlife appear to be the attractions for Berlin, which according to a study from EY, raised more venture capital start-up funding in 2015 than London. Frankfurt and Munich are also pushing their credentials as Fintech locations.
While the labour movement issue remains resolved, those Fintechs with an eye on European markets will undoubtedly think twice about building their businesses from London. However, most Fintech start-ups will have global aspirations and will want to be near the major global players as they develop their propositions, look for funding and build options for an eventual exit strategy. London is likely to remain at a significant advantage to any Continental European location. However, the sooner some clarity over the UK government’s strategy emerges, the better.
Subscribers can access more information in our reports on Brexit’s implications for Financial Services and on Fintech.
Posted by Peter Roe at '08:57'
Like TechMarketView, global consultancy PwC is anticipating big demand for cyber security consultancy services over the next few years as UK enterprises look to meet new regulatory requirements and shift more responsibility for data security and compliance management onto third party suppliers.
PwC will recruit over 1,000 technology specialists between now and 2020, helping the firm’s clients to formulate effective threat vulnerability management, predictive analytics (threat intelligence) and IT risk and resilience strategies.
The majority of new staff (600) will be sourced externally from current PwC associates and partners, but there are also plans to bring in 200 graduates. PwC’s UK IT Risk Assurance practice has created a dedicated three year graduate recruitment programme for example, due to start in September and designed to deliver the chief information security officers, chief data officers and chief information officers of tomorrow.
BT also said it would hire 900 new security recruits (170 of them graduates) in April whilst other SITS suppliers with big cyber security consultancy ambitions (including Accenture and Atos) have bought in suitable expertise through acquisition. PwC itself acquired Edinburgh based identity access management (IAM) consultancy Praxism in January.
Here at TechMarketView we do wonder whether the numbers will prove enough, or can be trained sufficiently quickly, to meet heightened interest in security consultancy and professional services in the short term though.
Compliance with the EU general data protection regulation (GDPR) becomes mandatory for any UK company storing or processing large volumes of information pertaining to EU citizens in May 2018, and TechMarketView expects to see a big spike in demand for regulatory advice and assistance in the meantime.
Subscribers to our SecureConnectViews research stream can access our latest report GDPR compliance unchanged by Brexit here.
Posted by Martin Courtney at '08:44'
Our fourth annual ‘Evening with TechMarketView’, sponsored by NetSuite, will take place in London on Thursday 8 September 2016. We're delighted that so many of you have already booked your place but if you haven't got around to it yet don't leave it any longer! We're down to the last few places - you can book by clicking here.
The TechMarketView analyst team is busy preparing for what promises to be an enjoyable and informative evening with drinks, dinner and of course analysis of the disruptive trends and suppliers shaping the UK software, IT services and business process services sectors.
Following the success of the sell-out 2015 TechMarketView Presentation & Dinner, this year’s event will once again be held in the magnificent premises of the Royal Institute of British Architects (RIBA) in Portland Place, London, from 6.15pm. We’re expecting a similar audience to the previous three years with around 250 ‘movers and shakers’ from the UK tech scene, for what has been described by previous C-level attendees as “the best networking event in the industry”.
The evening, which will be centred around our 2016 research theme ‘Surfing the Waves of Disruption’, will commence with short, insightful presentations from the TechMarketView analyst team highlighting key trends in the UK software and IT services market. As in previous years there will also be a guest appearance from the CEO of a disruptive ‘Little British Battler’ company.
The formal part of the evening will be followed by ample time for networking over pre-dinner drinks, sponsored by Wells Fargo, and a sumptuous three course dinner with your peers.
TechMarketView Presentation & Dinner 2016
Venue: Royal Institute of British Architects (RIBA), Portland Place, London
Date & time: Thursday 8 September 2016, from 6.15pm
Ticket price: £395+VAT per person for TechMarketView research subscription clients and £495+VAT per person for everyone else.
Tables of ten are £3,950+VAT – ideal if you fancy bringing the team along or entertaining clients and prospects.
To secure your place, please click here to book or email tx2 Events who are organising the evening for us on email@example.com.
The TechMarketView Presentation & Dinner 2016 is proudly sponsored by:
Posted by HotViews Editor at '14:20'
Major banking companies in the UK are dependent on bespoke software for their core banking operations. These businesses are central to the banks’ success but are under pressure due to higher costs, increasing competition and additional regulation. We have long argued that the established banks should increase their use of third party providers of more standardised software to reduce cost and complexity and to accelerate innovation.
Following a series of meetings with software vendors and several company-specific reports, FinancialServicesViews now provides an overview of the banking software market in its latest report; “The role of Banking Software Providers in the transformation of the sector”.
This analysis discusses the issues of dependence on bespoke software and comments on the key criteria for supplier choice as the banking sector increasingly looks to the suppliers of standardised software for a wider range of core banking functionality. With the emergence of new challengers to the established banks, the inexorable move to more standardised systems and the role that the software providers can play in the implementation of innovative technologies and services, this area should continue to experience above-average growth over the medium term.
This report is available to subscribers to FinancialServicesViews, via this link. If you would like to subscribe to this research stream, please contact our Client Services team.
Posted by Peter Roe at '09:36'
Idox is making another digital services acquisition on its quest to reach £100m in revenue in the medium term (see here and work back).
After last months’ purchase of Open Objects in the health and social care space, Idox is now buying Liverpool-based digital agency Rippleffect Studio Ltd for £2m in cash.
Rippleffect is a 70-person B2C player offering strategy and planning, user experience, web design and development, ecommerce, search engine optimisation and digital advertising. Clients include Everton and Liverpool football clubs, UK Sport, Visit Guernsey, Aldermore Bank, J D Wetherspoon and the Health Foundation.
Rippleffect is in a hot space, but clearly underperforming. FY15 revenues were down 2% yoy to £6.3m, and it just broke-even with a net profit of £35k (down almost 60% on the previous year). Idox expects it to be earnings enhancing in year one, so a tight control on costs and focus on growth is going to be critical. The price of 0.3x revenue therefore sounds about right.
Idox plans to integrate Rippleffect into the business, in conjunction with with its other recent digital acquisition of Reading Room (see here). It will continue to be managed by its existing team reporting to the group MD responsible for Idox's digital agencies.
Idox’s plan is to ‘expand its delivery of digital services across all its domains and sectors’. However it's not clear where the synergies lie between Rippleffect and Idox’s core in information management for the public and engineering sectors. This is key to achieving those all-important cross-sell and up-sell opportunities.
Posted by John O'Brien at '09:33'
Tracsis, the AIM-listed provider of software and services for the traffic data and transportation industry, has made significant progress in FY16. Revenues for the year to end of July were in excess of £32m, 26% up on the prior year, with all parts of the business contributing well including the recent acquisitions.
As expected, Tracsis performed even more strongly in the second half of its financial year than it did in the busy first half – a period that saw two acquisitions, a strategic investment and a disposal (see 'Smart' moves for Tracsis in H1). According to today’s trading update, H2 revenues exceeded £18m (H1: £14.3m) and profitability was also stronger in the second half.
For the full year, ‘adjusted’ profit and EBIDTA are expected to be ahead of the previous year, but ‘exceptional’ costs related to the acquisitions and disposal are set to impact statutory PBT. The business is debt free and highly cash generative though and cash balances remain strong despite the acquisitions (over £11m at the end of July compared to £13.3m at the end of FY15).
We’re pleased to see that both core parts of the business are performing well. The Rail Technology & Services Division reports good organic growth as it continues to expand its portfolio of products and consulting services, and gain traction in new markets outside the UK. And the Traffic & Data Services Division is benefiting from its expansion into event traffic management (via the SEP acquisition) and secured several significant new contracts in the second half.
As yet, Tracsis hasn’t seen any material change to business activity or demand for its products and services as a result of the UK’s EU Referendum decision. Whilst it’s too early to assess the long term implications of Brexit on the business, the management believes Tracsis’ focus on the niche verticals of traffic data and transportation provides good resilience to external influences such as Brexit.
Posted by Tola Sargeant at '09:07'
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Posted by Cortex at '00:00'
Accenture’s multi-year contract extension with Dixons Carphone is the latest in a series of outsourcing deals agreed by the retailer that drops cash into SITS supplier pockets.
Dixons Carphone was previously a customer of EnergyQuote JHA, acquired by Accenture in 2015, and the French company will be delighted to keep the high-profile UK logo on its books.
The agreement will underpin ongoing systems integration work following the merger of Carphone Warehouse and Dixons Retail in August 2014. That is now over two years of effort which shows how complex (or thankless) a task splicing disparate IT systems together within large organisations can actually be.
But we feel the real action (and the reason for retaining Accenture) rests on the application development and support for the Dixon Carphone Group’s bespoke Connected World Services customer relationship management (CRM) and omnichannel retail platform (honeyBee).
Much of the retailer’s multi-channel sales operation now rests on honeyBee (originally developed in partnership with Accenture). We think it can ill afford to risk any delay or disruption to its ongoing development as the Group looks to reduce its opex and pursue a sweeping digital transformation programme.
Dixons Carphone does now appear to have recognised the error of its ways in trying to keep and maintain Carphone Warehouse and Dixons Retail legacy on-premise systems thus far. It is now adopting a hybrid cloud strategy that will see more of its applications and services hosted centrally and managed by third party vendors. It moved 2,500 virtual server images alongside database and middleware components into IBM’s infrastructure as a service (IaaS) cloud platform last month for example, and also signed a £54m three year contract extension with UK IT staff agency InterQuest.
Posted by Martin Courtney at '09:42'
Updata Infrastructure, part of Capita IT Enterprise Services, won a competitive tender to supply managed network services to the Gloucestershire Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust.
The five year agreement will provide local (LAN) and wide area networking (WAN) infrastructure to 140 hospitals and GP surgeries alongside virtual private network (VPN) connectivity for remote workers.
Terms of the deal were not disclosed and its financial value is likely to be modest. More importantly it does provide another demonstration of Capita’s ability to pick off public sector contracts beyond its core business process outsourcing (BPO) business where basic networking connectivity is required.
Certainly the £80m acquisition of Surrey-based Updata in 2014 now appears to be paying dividends for Capita. 2016 has already seen Updata deliver another five-year deal to supply WAN services to Northumbria Police worth £2.1m, and a framework agreement to connect 109 school and public sector sites in partnership with network provider CityFibre.
If Updata continues its success, it will help Capita carve out a signficant portion of post-Brexit networking connectivity contracts in both public and private sector organisations that had previously held off investment.
With more applications and services moving into cloud hosted environments, LAN/WAN connectivity becomes an increasingly key piece of the infrastructure jigsaw and we think many organisations will need to upgrade bandwidth, reach and capacity to cope with the strain.
Posted by Martin Courtney at '08:46'
It appears that the break-up of UK-based recruitment & HR software firm Bond International may well be approaching its final stages.
Near-30% stakeholder, Toronto-based ‘stealth’ software aggregator, Constellation Software, has agreed not to obstruct the sale of Bond’s HR and Payroll Software and Services Division to Tenzing Private Equity (see Bond intent on gradual dismemberment) and has extended its offer to purchase Bond’s remaining Recruitment Software Division until 8th September. Constellation is holding to its original bid price of 105p per share (see Constellation formalises bid for Bond), but not surprisingly, it has reserved the right to adjust the offer if circumstances change.
Bond’s shares closed last night at 110p. Constellation last upped its stake in Bond in November 2010, buying 8.2m shares at 75p. The Canadian firm is a canny buyer and of course has benefited from Bond’s sale of its other subsidiaries. An each-way bet that seems to be paying off.
Posted by Anthony Miller at '08:11'
Cisco reported solid if unspectacular revenue growth in FY16, with turnover up 3% yoy to US$48.7bn after being ‘normalised’ to account for the divestiture of its service provider video CPE business during the period.
Growth would otherwise have been flat but Cisco did increase adjusted (GAAP) net income 20% yoy to US$10.7bn and diluted net income per share to US$2.11 compared to US$1.75 cents in FY15.
The company is slowly but surely shifting its revenue mix away from hardware and into software and services. Global services turnover (US$12bn) was up 5% yoy whilst product sales fell 1% to US$37.3bn. Much of that product decline originated in lower sales of telecommunications routers where Cisco is facing intense price competition from new market entrants and greater deployment of SDN/NFV technology.
Cisco’s global switch revenue held stable yoy whilst its data centre infrastructure (up 4% to US$3.4bn) and collaboration (up 9% to US$4.4bn) businesses expanded. Like rivals including IBM and FireEye, Cisco’s security turnover also grew 13% to US$2bn.
The EMEA region saw a 2% fall in product revenue (US$9.7bn) counteracted by a 6% gain in services turnover (US$2.6bn), a trend new Cisco UK and Ireland chief executive Scot Gardner is under pressure to manage safely.
News of large scale lay-offs also emerged, not unusual for Cisco but rumoured to be much bigger this year (9,000-14,000 staff or up to 20% of its entire workforce).
Cisco confirmed 5,500 redundancies (and US$400m of Q117 costs) as it looks to trim opex, with traditional switching and routing hardware expertise presumably first out of the door. The scale of the transition was always going to be painful, but Cisco looks to be making steady progress even if the pace of change will not be fast enough for some.
Posted by Martin Courtney at '09:44'
Lyceum Capital has sold Adapt to New Jersey-headquartered Datapipe. Datapipe provides managed hosting and cloud services and its lead investor is Abry Partners. The terms of the deal have not been made public.
Lyceum first invested in Adapt back in September 2011 acquiring a majority stake for £30m. At the time it was pitched as a buy-and-build venture, but Adapt in fact only made two acquisitions: eLINIA in 2012 and Sleek in 2013.
Adapt CEO, Stewart Smythe, told us that private equity firms had been “trying to bounce us into UK mergers”, but the deal with Datapipe brings an interesting global angle. First and foremost this is about Datapipe accelerating its European presence. However, it also opens up opportunities for the Adapt business, which serves medium and large organisations, many of who will have overseas operations.
Under Lyceum’s ownership, Smythe has overseen a managed decline in the company’s co-location/connectivity business to the extent that around 65% of revenue is now driven through Adapt's private cloud platform. Here revenue growth is c20%. Top line growth, however, has been dampened by the decline in the legacy revenue streams. Indeed, Group revenue declined almost 14% in FY15 to £43.3m. EBITDA (pre-exceptionals) was £5.6m (FY14: £4.6m). FY16 numbers haven’t been released yet.
Smythe says that joining the Datapipe ‘stable’ enables him to accelerate his strategy by 18-24 months. In particular, around public cloud where Datapipe has a more advanced offering. That should help the UK business against competitors such as Rackspace, but also the more traditional IT services firms, including IBM.
Posted by Kate Hanaghan at '09:39'
Business process services provider arvato has formed a new partnership with robotic process automation (RPA) pioneer Blue Prism, following a successful pilot project at one of its local authority customers, Sefton Council.
arvato UK&I CEO Debra Maxwell told us recently, RPA has proved far more successful than they expected, hence the reason behind formalising the partnership. Arvato will now become one of the growing number of major services partners alongside the likes of Deloitte, Sopra Steria, Capgemini, Cognizant, IBM and Hexaware.
Sefton is the first local authority we know of that is openly using RPA to improve efficiency and productivity. And it follows another, Enfield Council, which has started using IPSoft's virtual agent Amelia in its helpdesk support (see here).
We have known about the project at Sefton for a while now, and it has not involved any loss of jobs that we know of. Rather, people have been freed up to work on more valuable customer facing enquiries, which are experiencing increased demand due to recent welfare changes.
RPA is performing the more labourious back office tasks like signing up people to direct debit payment for council tax, to indexing documents and assigning them to specific workflows. These tasks typically involve scanning documents and manually uploading information into 'several disjointed back-office platforms'.
Enfield and Sefton's decisions to promote Intelligent Automation, suggest a changing attitude by local authorities around the use of Business Process Automation. To us it seems a 'no-brainer', as a means to do more behind the scenes, faster and more accurately, but retain the same level of resource at the front line (see Business Process Automation – opportunities in the Robotic Revolution).
Posted by John O'Brien at '08:55'
There are only 24 tickets left for our 2016 Presentation & Dinner at the Royal Institute of British Architects, London, on the evening of 8 September.
If you were thinking of coming and haven't booked yet don't leave it too late. More details here and you can book via event organisers tx2 here.
Posted by HotViews Editor at '07:50'
You might well have read my comments in the FT today - Rivals Intel and ARM to partner for new chip manufacturing venture. Intel will now use its Foundary to manufacture ARM chips. First client is LG.
It really does (as I said to the FT) show the supremecy of ARM in the smartphone arena in particular. As far as ARM is concerned, they probably don't care less who does the manufacturing. But for Intel it really is an admission that they have failed in this all important segment of the market.
But, in some ways, Smartphones are yesterday's battle. The future is all about IoT, autoTech etc. ARM looks pretty well setup there too. Not so sure about Intel...
But this all goes to show what a great UK tech success ARM was/is. Indeed how sad I am that they will not be independent anymore after the SoftBank acquisition. It really didn't need to happen. as an ARM shareholder of some many years, I had no intention of selling. Indeed I knew of no better 'home' for this investment.
Shame. Shame. Shame.
Posted by Richard Holway at '22:51'
Thankyou to everyone who responded to my plea for information on the UK Telecomms market in the 1960s. See - I still need your help.
I now have all the information I need and will publish it in due course. It is VERY interesting!
Posted by Richard Holway at '22:44'
In a hugely unexpected turn of events, the BBC has just reported that the £11b roll-out of smart gas and electric meters throughout the land has been delayed yet again on account of the fact that the comms infrastructure – which should have gone live yesterday – is not yet ready. A re-examination of sheep’s entrails now leads government to forecast a September go-live date, despite the received wisdom that goat's entrails are reportedly far more accurate.
Frankly, the comms infrastructure is not the real problem.
Regular readers will know my views that this was a doomed project from inception (start with More ‘smart meter’ mutterings and work back), as clearly demonstrated by the Government’s own numbers. According to the latest progress report issued in June by the (then) Department of Energy, Climate Change and Boundless Blue-Sky Thinking, a further 559,000 smart meters were installed in domestic premises in Q1 2016, taking the total so far to 2.89m, leaving some 47m ‘dumb’ meters yet to be replaced. At current course and speed that will take about another 20 years, somewhat missing the 2020 deadline by the merest smidgen.
Perhaps that won’t matter as by then we probably won’t have enough electricity generation capacity for the smart meters to measure anyway! Home windfarms, anybody?
Posted by Anthony Miller at '16:27'
The move by Lockheed Martin to spin out its government IT services business and merge it with Leidos Holdings completed last night. The combination of Leidos IT solution and technical services plus the Information Systems & Global Services (IS&GS) segment from Lockheed Martin has created a c$10bn business.
The transaction value was c$4.6bn and included a $1.8bn special cash payment to Lockheed Martin and $2.8bn of Leidos shares.
The move was designed to allow Lockheed Martin to concentrate on its aerospace and defence business but the exit is also a way of removing itself from the low margin services business that had been struggling (see here). For Leidos, it adds scale and from a UK perspective, prepares it to expand the UK business. In contrast to Lockheed Martin, as a dedicated services and solutions provider Leidos can focus all its resources on IT services. In a market where both UK government (the core sector for IS&GS) and overall IT services spending remains tight, Leidos will need to make the most that the benefits of scale and a dedicated focus can bring.
The structure of the UK business has not been disclosed yet but we understand Leidos will have c1500 people concentrating on Public Services, Transportation, Energy and Defence, so there is no change in the focus areas that were previously covered by the separate operations. Within the expanded Leidos business the major MoD contract signed in 2015 remains its largest contract in the UK (and one of the largest across the group).
With this move Leidos becomes a more substantial player in the UK market and essentially a new competitor for IT services companies with more established UK operations, particularly those with major government interests. We’ll keep up to date with developments.
Posted by Angela Eager at '09:58'
CSC is making new waves in the UK healthcare IT market by offering its Care Coordination and Population Health management solutions ‘as-a-service’ through the UK government’s G-Cloud Digital Marketplace. The move is set against a backdrop of CSC’s strategic commitment and investment in BPS globally (see CSC: Not yet at "revenue crossover" point and work back) and a continued commitment to healthcare in the UK, which saw the official end of the National Programme for IT in the NHS (NPfIT) contracts last month.
CSC’s approach builds on its work with Trafford Care Co-ordination Centre that began last year (see Improving Patient Care Co-ordination: CSC & Trafford if you’re a PublicSectorViews subscriber). It’s offering NHS Clinical Commissioning Groups (CCGs) a series of business process services that together provide a single point of co-ordination for a patient’s care journey. The offering is supported by integration capabilities and a delivery platform, which includes sophisticated analytics to provide population health insights and support intelligent health and care commissioning. As CSC’s VP for UK healthcare Philippe Houssiau explained, “it’s like an air traffic control system for health and social care”.
It is early days for population health management and care coordination in the UK and it will be interesting to see the level of demand for solutions such as CSC’s in the near term. Despite Lord Carter’s recent review of hospital efficiency advocating services like these, we fear that the majority of cash-strapped NHS organisations will hesitate to invest. There will be pioneers like Trafford though and CSC should be well positioned to support them, with the G-Cloud listing providing visibility even if contracts are let through other means.
As an aside, despite the end of NPfIT CSC is still a major player in the NHS IT market. Indeed, four additional trusts signed up to receive its Lorenzo patient record software before July’s deadline for Department of Health funding as part of NPfIT, meaning that 15 trusts are still receiving central funding to deploy the software under contracts that stretch out until 2022. CSC also has NHS Lorenzo deals outside the programme and recently launched the software in Australia and New Zealand.
Posted by Tola Sargeant at '09:45'
A year of change has made a world of difference to Access Intelligence. The latest strategic moves have been the recent spin off of AITrackRecord and the sale of the Due North procurement business. First half numbers in total show a revenue of £5.5m with an EBITDA loss of £506k. This includes the activities of the Cision UK and Vocus UK businesses acquired mid 2015. The numerous businesses that remain in the pre-existing Access Intelligence portfolio were up just 2% in revenue terms over the year (to £2m). With trading losses from discontinued businesses more than offset by the profits made on disposal, the business made a small loss at the after tax level, of £92k.
Central to the Group’s transformation is the leveraging of the established Vuelio platform through the acquired customer base, database and software which added £3.1m of revenue in H1. This has expanded the reach of the Vuelio business beyond the public sector and broadened the portfolio. Vuelio offers services for the management and analysis of news and media, as well as the monitoring of activity across the political community and other stakeholders. The SaaS delivery model opens this functionality to a very broad customer base.
Management attention is now focusing on driving the Vuelio business forward, consolidating onto a single platform and migrating customers as well as reducing costs throughout the Group following the disposals. The Group’s tighter focus on a growth market is expected to generate further progress and better profitability throughout the rest of 2016 and 2017.
Posted by Peter Roe at '09:21'
Azzurri Communications agreed a deal to supply a package of voice, collaboration, security and networking services to UK charity Victim Support, the second publicly announced contract win since Azzurri's £48.5m acquisition by Maintel in April this year.
Terms were not disclosed, but with Victim Support’s charitable status we guess it is more the nature and scope of the deal rather than its monetary value which is important for Azzurri.
The contract provides a blueprint for the type of converged service platform that the company is looking to supply with the backing of its new owner, and shows Azzurri moving beyond the hosted IP telephony contract it secured wtih NFU Mutual in May. It involves the delivery of an integrated unified communications as a service (UCaaS) platform to 1500 Victim Support staff spread over 100 sites using a mixture of Microsoft Skype for Business and Azzurri’s ICON Communicate managed communications services proposition.
Certain locations will also get wide area networking (WAN) connectivity, alongside unified threat management (UTM) and distributed denial of service (DDoS) protection. Azzurri will handle migration, integration with Victim Support’s existing Microsoft Dynamics customer relationship management (CRM) deployment, and ongoing support and maintenance.
The win is a good example of how suppliers are merging network, security and cloud hosted applications into single service packages which boost recurring revenue streams (others include Alternative Networks, Claranet and Redcentric). Azzurri and Maintel will now undoubtedly be keen to use the charity as a flagship deployment to help attract bigger deals elsewhere.
Posted by Martin Courtney at '08:47'
I guess you’d call it an ‘innovation consultancy’, but Imaginatik imagines itself ‘a recognised industry leader with a full-service innovation offering and deep consulting expertise’. That said, they’re still losing money – though less of it.
Headline revenues for the FY to 31st March grew 17% to £3.9m, three-quarters of which derived from the US market. Operating losses narrowed from £1.55m to £1.05m leaving the bottom line £945k in the red (FY15: -£1.46m). The company has been loss-making since listing on AIM in 2006.
Imaginatik boosted its heavily depleted bank balance in May with a 2.5p per share placing and open offer that aimed to raise £2.1m (see Imaginatik imagines another dash for cash) but which apparently fell short at £1.7m. Imaginatik’s shares closed yesterday at 1.77p.
Why can't they innovate a profit for themselves?
Posted by Anthony Miller at '08:34'
Thankyou to those that responded to my plea yesterday for info on the size of the UK Telecomms market in the 1960s. But nobody has yet supplied any meaningful figures or estimates. Amazing as several responses were from top BT execs of old who also couldn’t locate the figures! Of course, there was no BT then – it was all part of the GPO.
The most interesting response I got was about telecoms equipment from Hansard of 27th Jan 1969
“The Postmaster-General has said many times—I want to be fair to him, and I acknowledge this—that the present Post Office capital programme is the largest capital programme ever undertaken. It is simply not enough. Last year we spent about £291 million on telecommunications capital equipment, and this year we shall spend about £334 million. In America during the same period ten times as much is being spent. America is a bigger country, but it is not ten times bigger, and its population is not ten times ours. Moreover, the American telephone system is much more developed than ours. It penetrates to 85 per cent. of homes, whereas ours penetrates to only 25 per cent. of homes.”
Interesting to note that only 25% of UK households had a telephone at the end of the 1960s.
Anyway, if any reader has even an informed guess on the size of the UK Telecomms market in, say, 1969 – Was it < or > £1b? – please drop me an email on firstname.lastname@example.org.
Posted by Richard Holway at '08:03'
It’s an e-commerce marketplace with a very worthy mission – helping cancer sufferers find products and services to help improve quality of life.
Founded in 2015, Live Better With has raised $2m in a seed funding round led by early stage VC, Fig, along with Downing Ventures, Forward Partners and the London Co-Investment Fund. Based in London, Live Better With operates in the UK and in the US. Rather than displaying products and services by brand, the platform groups them by ‘situation’, e.g. ‘feeling sick’, ‘in pain’, ‘caring for kids’.
One imagines the idea could be extended to ‘live better with’ other conditions besides cancer too.
It’s a commercial venture for a noble cause.
Posted by Anthony Miller at '07:54'
I was alerted by The Times today (See – App makes a meal of restaurant leftovers) to the Too Good to Go food App. Basically food outlets which want to reduce food waste, advertise left over food at reduced prices. Users can search and then pick up their leftover meal during a given time slot – one assumes at the end of the day/night. The App is free for the restaurants. I assume the App just takes a cut of the revenue generated from users. Users can also donate money so that the meals can be supplied to others in need.
The Times gives an example of the Red Dragon Chinese restaurant in London which had dishes reduced from £8.95 to £2.90 at the end of the night.
The App was co-founded by Chris Wilson and Jamie Crummie with funding from Leeds and Queen Mary Universities.
We as a nation – and I must admit including the Holway household – throws away too much completely edible food. 600,000 tonnes a year The Times suggests. So Too Good to Go seems to work on every level.
Posted by Richard Holway at '07:23'
Cloud HR and financial software provider Workday has handed IBM rather a nice gift: a 7-year deal to run Workday’s development and testing environment on IBM Cloud.
Although the contract size was not disclosed the length marks it as a significant deal and Workday has already said it will expand usage beyond development and testing.
This is quite a coup for IBM, not only because of the length of the cloud contract and Workday's status as a cloud pure play but also because Workday chose it over AWS who it uses to run its production services. Microsoft and Google would no doubt have welcomed high caliber Workday with open arms too but Workday may have felt IBM was more of a neutral partner given Microsoft’s existing business applications and Google’s move towards enterprise applications.
Workday and IBM have been building their partnership, which includes IBM’s global Workday Consulting Services, its 2015 acquisition of Workday services partner Meteorix and IBM’s position as a large customer though its adoption of Workday Human Capital Management internally.
As we noted in Q2 results: legacy ‘ball and chain’ still grips IBM, IBM aims to become a “Cognitive Solutions and Cloud Platform Company.” It will be a lengthy and bumpy ride but we think it has the right approach. Partnerships are an important part of its transformation and Workday is part of that. This new face of the IBM/Workday partnership is also a proof point that for cloud infrastructure providers it pays to know, nurture – and be patient.
Posted by Angela Eager at '09:48'
The progress of Earthport, the cross-border payments network provider, makes for fascinating reading.
The investor day in April (see Keep calm and carry on?) gave management the opportunity to re-emphasise the longer term vision of generating substantial volume from their existing banking customers. They also highlighted the eCommerce and remittances markets as presenting shorter-term opportunities for volume and margin.
Earthport management are looking to show consistent progress and by today’s Trading Update generally fulfilled that requirement. In terms of numbers, estimated revenues for the year to June 2016 rose 18% to c.£22.7m, in line with the April forecasts, but at a slower rate (+78% last year). Gross margin is down to 70%, from 77.5%, the fall attributed to the increased functionality within the network. Transaction volumes were up a record 89% and the value of payments carried exceeded US$11bn, up 73%. However, revenue per transaction declined by a third to £3.12 as eCommerce customers are brought on and as rates get keener as volume grows. In terms of the important cash number, the company just squeaked in at the bottom of its targeted range.
Looking forward, the key questions are how the mix of growing transaction volumes and declining value per transaction combines to build enough growth at the bottom line, and how fast the higher value banking customers are turned on. Management repeat their expectation of cash breakeven in H2 2017.
The company reports a growing share of wallet in existing customers, with Earthport’s network being used in “complementary areas of their business” and that the business’s “true growth opportunity is beginning to be realised”. Certainly, progress is being made, but Earthport still needs to wrestle with the glacial processes within its customer banks and this will take time, and patience.
Posted by Peter Roe at '09:27'
SciSys has built on its encouraging start to the year (see SciSys back on form in 2016) and does not expect any adverse consequences as a result of the UK’s EU referendum outcome in June, quite the opposite in fact.
The group conducts about half its business in euros, supplying bespoke software systems, IT-based solutions, web & mobile application development and support services to the Space, Defence, Media & Broadcast, Government & Commercial sectors. It’s therefore set to benefit from a weaker pound. According to the management team, if the euro-sterling exchange rate stays at broadly the same as its current level for the remainder of 2016, full year expectations will be “significantly exceeded” even after allowing for costs of c£0.5m incurred for currency hedging in the first half.
Importantly, trading has also remained strong resulting in buoyant cash flows in H1 and enabling SciSys to move from a £1m net debt position at the start of the year, to £1.4m net cash at the end of June. We’re pleased to see the order book is also well up on a year ago, underpinned by a sizeable pipeline of prospective new business opportunities. This bodes well for the remainder of 2016, particularly as SciSys’ full year trading performance is traditionally biased towards the second half. We’ll bring you more detail when first half results are published in September.
Posted by Tola Sargeant at '09:22'
It’s just as well that machine learning enabled analytics has been the technology of choice for so many start-ups, given the rate at which they are being acquired. The latest batch of acquisitions includes Salesforce taking on BeyondCore, Zendesk buying BIME Analytics, and Cloubability taking DataHero.
What’s happening is the the shift to intelligent software as vendors aim to develop smart and more predictive software by embedding machine learning capabilities as core functionality. This is one of Salesforce’s declared aims and BeyondCore, along with other machine learning/AI acquisitions such as MinHash, TempoAI and RelateIQ plus its own in-house development, work towards this goal. Evidence of progress emerges through Salesforce Analytics Cloud but also through other product areas. The most recent outward sign of the move to intelligent software was the announcement earlier this week of Salesforce Inbox Calendar, an intelligent calendar designed for salespeople.
Salesforce also acquired start-up Coolan last month which provides tools to track and analyse infrastructure to help increase reliability and improve efficiency, indicating why suppliers needs to invest in analytics for their own purposes as well as to improve their offerings to customers.
Terms of the BeyondCore deal were not disclosed. Founded in 2004, the San Mateo based company is reported to have raised $9m in funding from Menlo Ventures. Salesforce will benefit from BeyondCore’s expertise as much as its product (which will continue for the time being) and delves into data to detect patterns and relationships while also providing visualisation capabilities alongside the ability for users to collaborate on analytics, an area that is not well addressed in general.
As we move towards the autumn season, prepare for an avalanche of machine learning analytics acquisitions as suppliers look for an edge and to gain expertise. Get up to speed by reading the recent ESASViews reports - Machine learning in analytics: grasping its disruptive force and Machine learning: market and emerging suppliers.
Posted by Angela Eager at '08:56'
It’s great to see both my ‘home teams’ (UK and Brazil) winning medals, but that’s not the only news coming from the ‘land of the samba sun’.
With thanks to Angelica Mari of the Brazil Tech blog, I see that UK trade minister Lord Mark Price and Brazil’s industry, trade and services minister, Marcos Pereira, have recently signed a bilateral technology development cooperation agreement. The aim is to initiate a number of projects around Internet of Things, Big Data, smart grid technology, multimodal transport technologies, and traffic control, as well as smart cities and sustainable urban environments, clean energy, control and use of water and blue-green infrastructure. The projects will be financed from the Newton Fund, which promotes the economic development and welfare in partnering countries through science and innovation partnerships.
I have met many exciting Brazilian tech companies and startups over the years (e.g. see Brazilian Tempest flies higher with EMBRAER investment) and find that the country is not left wanting for tech innovation. Good to see Brazil sharing it with the UK.
Posted by Anthony Miller at '08:51'
I am giving a presentation soon on the changes in the UK ICT Scene from the 1960s to the present day. Because I am so old I have pretty good figures for the market size of the IT bit throughout. But I just cannot find even a rough estimate of the size of the 'C' bit (ie Telecommunications) in the 1960s. Then, of course, Telecommunications was almost completely Fixed Voice and almost all of this was supplied by the General Post Office until 1980 when BT was formed.
So if you have any idea of the annual market size of Telecommunications in the UK in the 1960s, pls drop me an email on rholway@Techmarketview.com. I'll be happy to give you a namecheck on Hotviews with your input.
Posted by Richard Holway at '08:37'
I just happened to be looking at our Twitter feed and noted we had a new follower whom I thought was long since buried – veteran IBM systems management software firm, Macro 4.
Sure enough, they are very much alive and well and still living in Crawley since being acquired at the end of 2008 by US peer, Unicom Systems (see Macro 4 goes under the hammer).
Macro 4’s website was a trip down memory lane for a long-since ex-IBM’er like me, with reference to products for IBM Console Management, Job Scheduling and Spool File Management – I nearly wept tears of nostalgic joy!
Anyway, judging from their accounts, Macro 4 still seems to be in graceful decline, with 2014 revenues of £19.5m, compared to £29m in 2008 – but is still very profitable and cash generative.
There’s a lot to be said for legacy – and we will undoubtedly be saying it for many more years to come.
Posted by Anthony Miller at '08:24'
Software and managed services provider, Castleton, has closed off FY15 with more steps forward. The company moved from a loss of £100k to an adjusted EBITDA of £3.6m, with results in H1 giving the first indication that the company was moving into the black. Revenue was £18m, up from £6m due to the numerous acquisitions. Recurring revenue across the Group now stands at 58%.
Castleton, which trades as Castleton Managed Services Ltd and Castleton Software Solutions Ltd, has been buying up firms in the public/not-for-profit sectors to cement its presence as a niche provider in those markets.
In its Managed Services business, adjusted EBITDA increased by 25% following the shift to more profitable deals.
Three acquisitions in the year (Brixx Solutions, Impact Applications, Kypera Holdings) helped solidify the company’s ERP capabilities in the social housing sector, while organic growth across the Software Solutions division as a whole was up an impressive 20%.
Chief Executive, says the company is “on track with our H1 budget”. Indeed, once Castleton has benefitted from a full year of trading from all of its acquisitions, financial results are set to improve further.
Posted by Kate Hanaghan at '08:24'
Now under the stewardship of executive chairman Peter Harveson (see Ubisense CEO senses it’s time to go – at last!), Cambridge-based ‘enterprise location intelligence' solutions company Ubisense is finally starting to knock itself back into some sort of shape – well, two shapes, actually.
After yet another set of woeful FY results (see Ubisense – the truth is in the numbers), the half-time score (to 30th June) is looking much better; net losses have been slashed from £7.5m to £785k as revenues inched up 3% to £10.7m. The order book backlog grew 11% to £10.4m, boosted by £11.7m of new orders, vs £8.5m yoy.
Besides materially cutting costs, new management has restructured Ubisense back into two essentially autonomous operating divisions ‘with different technologies and predominately separate customer bases’. Though not spelled out in the results release, one might reasonably infer the words ‘prior to seeking strategic buyers’.
I have been following the fortunes of Ubisense since its IPO five years ago (see Ubisense gets off to fine start on AIM), when it listed its shares at 180p; last night they closed at 27p. I have always felt that the products ought to have been far more successful, but prior (founding) management just did not know how to make that happen. New management is doing the necessary repair job, but even newer management will be required to realise Ubisense’s full potential.
Posted by Anthony Miller at '07:54'
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