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TCS UK breaches £2b revenue barrier
19 Apr 2018
*UKHotViewsExtra* Cyber security suppliers join new cold war at RSA 2018
19 Apr 2018
MoD: Skills gap requires innovative response
19 Apr 2018
EU Supply becomes profitable
19 Apr 2018
Reorganisation stifles Idox in H1
19 Apr 2018
City & Guilds Group migrates SAP to Azure
19 Apr 2018
Reality Zero One gets more real with funding round
19 Apr 2018
Visible progress at RhythmOne
19 Apr 2018
GetRentr gets funding for compliance watch service
19 Apr 2018
Capita re-appointed by the BBC
19 Apr 2018
Personably onboards funding to onboard persons
19 Apr 2018
Aula raises $4.2m to take on LMS providers
19 Apr 2018
BenevolentAI raises $115m to scale-up drug discovery
19 Apr 2018
WANT TO ACHIEVE YOUR SCALE-UP POTENTIAL?
19 Apr 2018
Double your chances of G-Cloud success !
19 Apr 2018
Mid-tier Mindtree finishes with a flourish
18 Apr 2018
*UKHotViewsExtra* Pharmacy2U's mission to disrupt UK healthcare
18 Apr 2018
Mastek marching onwards and upwards (mostly)
18 Apr 2018
Be Heard booms
18 Apr 2018
Andy Isherwood starts new role at AWS
18 Apr 2018
Book now for discounted tickets to TMV Evening 2018
18 Apr 2018
IBM UK declines in Q1
18 Apr 2018
NHS must prepare for future cyber attacks
18 Apr 2018
BT Enterprise, boldly going……
18 Apr 2018
GBG continues to deliver
18 Apr 2018
and finally...
18 Apr 2018
Is your IT organisation ready to adopt Frugal Innovation Methodologies?
18 Apr 2018
Netflix continues to be a Big Hit
17 Apr 2018
Changing of Accenture UK public sector guard
17 Apr 2018
Catalyst UK aims to accelerate the adoption of HPC
17 Apr 2018
Accenture & PA Consulting get agile with Home Office
17 Apr 2018
Mi-Pay: better progress in 2018?
17 Apr 2018
Katzenberg's WndrCo adds $11.5m to Mixcloud's mix
17 Apr 2018
Earth-i releases first colour video from space
16 Apr 2018
Positive indications from Kainos
16 Apr 2018
The UK can shape the ethical development of AI
16 Apr 2018
London Market Group launches Strategic Sourcing unit
16 Apr 2018
Number's up for WhichBingo in XLMedia swoop
16 Apr 2018
Draper Esprit eyes double-size year
16 Apr 2018
Arvato Systems appoints new UK broadcast sales lead
16 Apr 2018
TechMarketView Early Stage Partner Programme entries closed
16 Apr 2018
Foresight looks to the future with Codeplay investment
16 Apr 2018
Thoughts on Sir Martin Sorrell's departure from WPP
16 Apr 2018
Join Entuity for a complimentary Service Provider Breakfast Briefing: “Harness AI and Network Analytics for Future Growth”
16 Apr 2018
Parekh sets Infosys on course for faster growth
13 Apr 2018
**OUT NOW** VMware plots new directions with AppDefense and PKS
13 Apr 2018
Sage warns on revenues
13 Apr 2018
Avast targets US$4bn London IPO
13 Apr 2018
HCL takes software plunge with Actian
13 Apr 2018
Fujitsu plays to the public sector’s tune
13 Apr 2018
Symantec, NTT Security team up on cyber
13 Apr 2018
LAST CHANCE TO BE A 'DIGITAL DISRUPTOR'
13 Apr 2018
European tech buyers paying less for profit!
12 Apr 2018
Nick Wilson resurfaces at Micro Focus
12 Apr 2018
VR 'sociable network' vTime gets real funding boost
12 Apr 2018
Zipjet cleans up a Series B funding round
12 Apr 2018
Zuckerberg testifies to Congress
12 Apr 2018

UKHotViews©

 

Thursday 19 April 2018

TCS UK breaches £2b revenue barrier

logoAs predicted last quarter, Mumbai-based TCS became the first Indian pure-play to breach the £2b revenue barrier in the UK – a tremendous achievement for UK MD Shankar Narayanan and his team. Indeed TCS capped off FY18 (to 31st March) with its fastest quarterly UK revenue growth all year, up by nearly 11% yoy. As a result we estimate TCS UK revenues grew by almost 9% in the FY, reaching £2.05b.

At the worldwide level, TCS' headline revenues grew by 8.6% to $19.09b, which represented 6.7% growth at constant currencies. Operating margins settled at 24.8% just under a point light from the prior year.

It must be said that TCS is on a roll. Earlier this year TCS won its largest ever contract with US insurer Transamerica (see Transamerica banks on TCS’ BaNCS) and is displacing Capita at Prudential in a 10-year deal worth over £500m (see TCS on a roll in life & pensions).

All this is achieved organically – TCS has never made a 'stand-alone' acquisition (i.e. outside of an outsourcing deal). While other IT services firms are going hell for leather acquiring digital agencies and all sorts, TCS apparently 'grows their own', claiming digital revenues in excess of $4b.

Very, very impressive.

Posted by Anthony Miller at '17:29' - Tagged: results   offshore  

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Thursday 19 April 2018

*UKHotViewsExtra* Cyber security suppliers join new cold war at RSA 2018

UKHotViews PremiumThis year’s RSA IT security conference brought together some of the leading players in the cyber security world in more ways than one, demonstrating what looks like real intention to enable greater collaboration in the fight against cybercriminals and state-sponsored hackers.

Thirty four companies signed the Cybersecurity Tech Accord (CTA) billed as a “watershed” agreement between rivals and a "digital Geneva Convention" designed to protect civilians against government-orchestrated attacks - a neat fusion of commerce and politics as big tech firms join the ongoing confrontation with Russia in particular.

A joint technical alert by the GHCQ-operated National Cyber Security Centre (NCSC), FBI and the US Department of Homeland Security warning of malicious cyber activity being carried by Russian state sponsored hackers coincides nicely with the CTA’s formation, whose members have pledged to abstain from helping governments to launch cyberattacks in the first place.

Click here to read more ... 

Posted by Martin Courtney at '12:16' - Tagged: alliance   cybersecurity   cyberwarfare   rsaconference  

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Thursday 19 April 2018

MoD: Skills gap requires innovative response

MoD LogoIt’s a similar story to much of the public sector – a shortage of skills, with a particularly desperate situation in specific areas. This week, the National Audit Office (NAO) published its report ‘Ensuring sufficient skilled military personnel’. The big picture is the largest gap in resource compared to current requirement for a decade: The MoD is 8,200 personnel short of where it needs to be (or 5.7% below). But the NAO also highlights that these figures mask much larger shortfalls in critical skills, such as engineers, pilots and intelligence analysts.

Perhaps the most depressing line to read: “The department does not expect to resolve the majority of the shortfalls in the next five years.” A longer-term response has been outlined, including, for example, working to improve the flow of STEM skills into the market more generally.

Technology & digital skills get plenty of airtime in the report. This is predominantly in relation to the need for the MoD to respond to changes in the way warfare is conducted. But there is also an underlying message that technology and digital could be used more effectively to reduce pressures on the overstretched regulars.

Hub and spoke imageThere are a multitude of ways that the MoD will tackle the short to medium-term skills shortage. Firstly, it is inevitable that it will have to lean on industry more strongly. But there are more specific initiatives that will be interesting to suppliers too. Firstly, there will surely be an opportunity to support a more rapid development of internal workforce capabilities. And secondly, there will be a greater need to accelerate innovation within the department for improved efficiency and effectiveness. We will have much more on this in the coming weeks, as TechMarketView is pleased to be working with the MoD on its new ISS Innovation Hub and Spoke Engagement model. That means are in a privileged position to be able to bring our subscribers up-to-date information on the key challenges to which the department wants industry to respond… and to be able to connect you with the right people to pursue the opportunities. Watch this space!

Posted by Georgina O'Toole at '09:41' - Tagged: public+sector   defence   skills   innovation  

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Thursday 19 April 2018

EU Supply becomes profitable

EU SupplyEU Supply the Stockholm-headquartered but AIM-listed public sector tender management platform achieved a maiden profit for the full-year 2017.

A solid H1 performance built the foundations for the year on which revenue grew by 36% to £4.7m (2016: £3.4m) and delivered its first operating profit of £100k (2016: loss of £800k).

2017 revenue growth was underpinned by decent sales activity with several new contracts signed generating a stronger order book going into 2018. Extensions of important contracts were also achieved in Ireland and The Netherlands including an €800k deal with the Ministry for Public Expenditure and Reform of Ireland. 

Sales have continued into the new financial year with a number of smaller customers signing up in early 2018, particularly in Norway and Denmark. The pipeline also appears to be strong with the company in discussion with more than 20 new customers on integration projects due to commence within the next 12 months.

EU Supply appears to be benefiting from the requirement for mandatory e-tendering provisions at milestones before November 2018 in EU/EEC states. The challenge now is to grow its profitability whilst expanding to take advantage of the opportunity presented.

Posted by Marc Hardwick at '09:24' - Tagged: results   tender   profit  

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Thursday 19 April 2018

Reorganisation stifles Idox in H1

Idox logoAIM-listed Idox has released a trading update on its performance in the first five months of its H1 (six months ending 30 April 2018). H1 2018 results will be “well below” the same period last year, but it says, despite going through “an unsettling period of major reorganisation”, sales performance has remained strong.

The business had a very challenging 2017 as a result of delays in contract sign-off, problems with revenue recognition and issues relating to the acquisition of 6PM (see Idox FY hit by a perfect storm and work back). Its share price has fallen by approximately 60% over the last 12 months.

Today’s update includes details of what management have been doing to try to turn the business around. This includes a full review of its systems and processes, rationalisation of its acquisitions, plans to shrink the property estate, investment in sales resource and optimisation of professional services and support. The reorganisation is expected to deliver annualised savings of c.£7m.

Despite the weak first half, which is attributed to the reorganisation, management remain confident that Idox will deliver an improved performance over the full year in line with market expectations. It says order intake has been encouraging and high levels of recurring revenue provides good visibility for H2.

Idox will need to deliver against these forecasts for H2 if we are going to see investor confidence return.

Posted by Dale Peters at '09:23' - Tagged: tradingupdate   restructure   H1  

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Thursday 19 April 2018

City & Guilds Group migrates SAP to Azure

cgCity & Guilds Group, which delivers workplace qualifications, certification and assessment, is set to make a big leap into the public cloud.

The organisation is about to complete the migration of several business critical applications to Microsoft Azure. This includes its SAP R3 estate (which handles eight million transactions per annum) in preparation for a move to R4/HANA. Other applications that have been migrated include its web-based examination and assessment service, its online learning portal, and its Sitecore web content management system.

We understand there are only a handful of organisations across Europe that have achieved something similar with their SAP applications on Azure. Like many, the IT team at City & Guilds was initially cautious about shifting such critical applications to public cloud. However, Alan Crawford (CIO) told me that being a “cloud first” organisation supports its need for greater scale and flexibility as it pursues growth across a range of geographies. In the past, City & Guilds Group has built for peak use but it will now be able to flex capacity as and when required. Specifically with regards to SAP, the migration to Azure has enabled a move to a newer version.en

City & Guilds Group says it will save £1m a year thanks to the move. Some of that is a straight Opex saving, but the organisation was also, critically, able to avoid a hardware upgrade that was due.

The work was led by Ensono, a US brand that entered the UK market in 2016 via its acquisition of Attenda. City & Guilds Group is a long-time Attenda client, having used a private cloud environment built and managed by the supplier for a number of years. However, we understand that in spite of the longstanding relationship, Ensono was in fact challenged by a competitor on the Microsoft Azure public cloud bid until it announced the acquisition of Reading-based Azure specialist, Inframon*, in July 2017. For Crawford, Inframon’s Azure capability combined with Ensono’s managed service expertise gave Ensono the edge and ultimately the contract.

*Note that Ensono continues to be acquisitive and recently bought Wipro's data centre assets in the US, UK and Germany. 

Posted by Kate Hanaghan at '09:22' - Tagged: cloud   SAP   migration  

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Thursday 19 April 2018

Reality Zero One gets more real with funding round

logoI was fascinated by the 3D image of the vegetable on AR/VR startup Reality Zero One's website. It was slowly rotating rather like a spacecraft lost in space, and you could grab it with your mouse and rotate it in any direction you like to see other surfaces. OK, it's monochrome and you can't actually roll it over on itself, but it does provide endless minutes of entertainment.

The London-based startup is currently in Alpha-test phase and is developing both the hardware, the Clone One Pro 3D capture system, and the software to 'replicate real things and stream them into whichever digital reality you choose'. They have just raised £285k in a seed funding round led by the British Robotics Seed Fund, an investment fund specialising in UK-based robotics startups. The Startup Funding Club, the London Co-Investment Fund and a number of angel investors also contributed. 

The way I read it, Reality Zero One is all about reducing the cost and time to digitise real-world objects in 3D, and if the images on its website are anything to go by, you won't need a custom studio set-up to do it. I don't know what other products are already out there to do this, but it's an early-stage market and there's plenty of room for innovators.

But £285k sounds like such a paltry sum for what appears to be a massive opportunity. Hope they can make it go a long way.

Posted by Anthony Miller at '09:15' - Tagged: funding   startup   augmented reality   virtualreality  

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Thursday 19 April 2018

Visible progress at RhythmOne

logoLooking at its latest trading statement, the all-in commitment to on-platform based programmatic trading by adtech provider RhythmOne is progressing well, with estimated revenue for the full year (to March 31 2018) up 71% to $255m and adjusted EBITDA up an impressive 900%, albeit only to $14m.   

FY18 numbers are compared to FY17 continuing operations (the company has been selling off and shutting down non-core aspects of the business as it transitions fully to programmatic trading - see Progress on strategic change at RhythmOne). In addition, it made several acquisitions during the year to help achieve the transition, including data driven marketing platform provider RadiumOne and YuMe which operates on the demand side of video advertising. Growth in H1 was driven by the acquisitions the company had made in FY17 and FY18, which is reflected in the full year figures.

There is visible progress against its goals of growth in on-platform programmatic revenues, integration of acquisitions and continued adjusted EBITDA profitability. There is work to do to integrate YuMe and it has the ongoing challenge of operating against much larger players but although the decision to take the business in a new direction was driven by necessity (a shift in the market) it looks like RhythmOne now has the situation under control.

Posted by Angela Eager at '09:12' - Tagged: software   tradingupdate  

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Thursday 19 April 2018

GetRentr gets funding for compliance watch service

logoIts USP is using AI (of course) to track UK property licensing regulations and consultations in ‘real-time’, though I must admit I didn't realise that the regs were quite that dynamic. Nonetheless, London-based PropTech startup GetRentr sees room in the sell-side of the property rental market for a service that keeps a watch on your property portfolio (or your client's if you are an agent) to make sure it is compliant with the apparently ever-changing regs.

GetRentr has raised £500k in a seed funding round backed by Life Ventures and EPIC Private Equity among others.

I think the challenge for GetRentr will be the business model in terms of how they charge for the service. No doubt keeping abreast of the regs is a tiresome prospect for landlords and agents. And the penalties for non-compliance can be painful (GetRentrs' website trumpets " Avoid £30,000 fines for breaches in licensing"). But I suspect enforcement moves much slower than enactment, and in any event, the lead time from consultation to regulation should give landlords time to prepare.

So what will they be prepared to pay GetRentr to be their 'watcher'? Let's see.

Posted by Anthony Miller at '08:39' - Tagged: funding   startup   PropTech  

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Thursday 19 April 2018

Capita re-appointed by the BBC

CapitaIn advance of next week’s announcement of its delayed full-year results, Capita revealed that it had been re-appointed by the BBC to run its Audience Services contract.

BBCCapita has been running Audience Services since 1999 and the contract is central to the corporation's relationship with Licence Fee payers in handling all complaints, comments and enquiries that the BBC receives across all the usual communication channels. It’s a complicated contract as predicating volumes of correspondence is difficult given spikes can be created by a controversial comment by a presenter or a broadcasting error.

Capita employs around 100 people on Audience Services based out of Belfast and provides a diverse range of services including answering enquiries from the public on its programmes and services, capturing audience feedback to inform services, taking donations on behalf of Radio 4 and Lifelines Appeals and managing the initial stage of the corporation’s complaints process, whilst also attracting audiences to Studio recordings.

The BBC is one of Capita’s most important clients where it also collects the TV License on behalf of the corporation on a contract running to 2022. As part of the new five-year contract Capita is offering a technology refresh from both its own and third-party offerings.

Posted by Marc Hardwick at '08:34' - Tagged: customerservices   Capita  

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Thursday 19 April 2018

Personably onboards funding to onboard persons

logoThere are niches to be found even in (perhaps especially in) well-trodden paths. The well-trodden path in this case is the HR software market, and the niche being worked by London-based startup, Personably, is employee onboarding (or as we say in English, induction).

Although many established HR products include an element of onboarding functionality, this is usually more suitable for large enterprises. Personably, however, targets high-growth startups and scale-ups, which typically have less evolved HR systems and processes yet need to get new hires up and running very quickly.

Founded in 2016, Personably has raised £500k in a seed funding round led by Global Founders Capital (GFC), the venture arm of Rocket Internet, with various angels also participating.

Personably has attracted high-profile startups such as GoCardless, Monzo and Nested into its client base (indeed Matt Robinson, co-founder of GoCardless and Nested, is one of its angel investors). The funding is being used to build out the product. As a SaaS product, Personably charges a monthly fee based on the number of hires. Sounds like a smart idea to me.

Posted by Anthony Miller at '08:03' - Tagged: funding   startup   hrtech  

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Thursday 19 April 2018

Aula raises $4.2m to take on LMS providers

Aula logoLondon-based edtech start-up Aula has raised $4.2m (c.£3.0m) in seed funding to help drive its ambition of replacing the email platforms and learning management systems (LMS) used by universities.

The round was led by investors Project A, Brighteye Ventures, and Sunstone with participation from existing investors including Nordic Makers. It follows a pre-seed round in January 2017, which included participation from Emerge Education.

Aula was founded in 2016 by University of Oxford graduates Anders Krohn, Adrian Franklin and Oliver Nicolini, in a response to dissatisfaction with existing LMS, such as Blackboard, Moodle and Canvas. The company believes that the current LMS used by universities have been successful at enabling the administration of learning, but do little to enhance the learning experience itself.

Aula’s approach is more focused on user experience and helping facilitate interactions between users in a similar vein to Slack. The platform is being designed so that it could replace both LMS and email at education institutions, with additional functionality being provided by apps via an API ecosystem—Aula refers to this as a ‘digital campus’.

The funding will be used to invest in building the case for a ‘digital campus’ with existing partner institutions, which include: Ravensbourne, Royal College of Art, University of Nottingham, and University of Derby. It is also seeking to expand the number of partner institutions and to make it easier to build integrations with the Aula platform.

Universities are increasingly focused on improving the student experience, but it’s not going to be an easy task to displace Blackboard and Moodle, as each hold approximately 40% of the UK market, and other suppliers, such as Tribal, see opportunities in communication and collaboration tools (see Tribal acquires rights to Wambiz private social network).

Posted by Dale Peters at '07:49' - Tagged: education   funding   startup   university   edtech  

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Thursday 19 April 2018

BenevolentAI raises $115m to scale-up drug discovery

BenevolentAI logoBenevolentAI, the UK start-up applying artificial intelligence (AI) to develop new medicines, has raised $115m (c.£82m) at a pre-money valuation of $2bn. This round included new investors, mostly US-based, as well as existing investors including Woodford Investment Management. BenevolentAI has now raised in excess of $200m since it was founded by Ken Mulvany in 2013.

The company is split into two businesses: BenevolentBio and BenevolentTech. BenevolentBio focuses on applying BenevolentTech’s AI technology to the development of new medicines. BenevolentAI’s business model is focused on monetising the discoveries, either by taking them to market itself or out-licencing to a pharmaceutical company.

The technology is currently being used to ingest and contextualise structured and unstructured bioscience data to build a knowledge graph of relationships. By understanding these relationships it’s possible to identify molecules that may have failed earlier trials and repurpose them to treat other diseases.

It started its first drug discovery programme in 2016, looking at amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, and is now working on more than 20 different programmes. In February 2018 it acquired a drug discovery and development facility on the Babraham Research Campus in Cambridge. The acquisition means that it is now able to work across the entire drug development process from drug discovery to late stage clinical development.

In 2014 the Association of the British Pharmaceutical Industry estimated that it typically costs £1.15bn and takes 12 years to research and develop a new medicine, and only one-third go on to recover R&D costs. Using AI to reduce drug discovery timescales and improve efficiencies in the drug development process could revolutionise the pharmaceutical industry.

BenevolentAI is planning to use the new funds to scale-up and expand the scope of its drug development activities. But it’s not stopping at healthcare, it intends to use a portion of the funds to extend its capabilities into other areas, such as advanced materials, agriculture, and energy storage.

We will be covering the business in more detail in our forthcoming report on AI in healthcare.

Posted by Dale Peters at '07:40' - Tagged: funding   startup   healthcare   AI  

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Thursday 19 April 2018

WANT TO ACHIEVE YOUR SCALE-UP POTENTIAL?

We can show you how!

logoHere's another opportunity to accelerate your company's scale-up journey by applying to participate in our fourth Great British Scaleup Programme event (GBS4) to be held on Tuesday 5th and Wednesday 6th June at the London offices of Great British Scaleup Programme Official Supporter techUK.

Over 20 ambitious UK tech SMEs have had their scale-up potential assessed through the TechMarketView Great British Scaleup Programme and are now reaping the benefit of advice on which parts of the business model are constraining growth and what to do about it.

Don't just take our word for it. Here's what CEO's of prior Great British Scaleups have said about the programme:

  • "Working with the Scaleup team has been enjoyable ... With their experience and market contacts we are on track to partner with a new investor"
  • "The GBS program was an excellent opportunity for an independent review of our business and growth strategy from a team focused on providing unbiased feedback and input"
  • "The assessment process was very rigorous and highlighted strengths and areas of business that require more work. This information was very useful in prioritising our current action plan"
  • "The interview process … allowed us to explore the scaling topics openly and in depth ... in a safe environment. In many cases this exposed known challenges but the external insights into those challenges is of great value."

logoSuccessful applicants will be invited to participate in a CEO-level, confidential 90-minute workshop session with TechMarketView research directors and executive advisors from Great British Scaleup programme Advisory Sponsor, ScaleUp Group, the team of successful tech entrepreneurs that have been responsible for accelerating growth and achieving over £4b in successful exits at many well-known tech companies.

The workshop session will assess your company’s potential and scalability using the ScaleUp Growth Index®, a proprietary scorecard which identifies areas of your business that might be an inhibitor to achieving extraordinary growth. Unlike traditional company scorecards which focus on past financial performance, the ScaleUp Growth Index® assesses your company’s future scale-up potential and identifies areas to address to become Global Champions.

In our experience, the companies that stand to benefit most from the Great British Scaleup programme are typically generating single-digit millions in revenues and already growing at double-digit rates, but are finding themselves resource-constrained, especially cash. Indeed, ScaleUp Group is particularly experienced in assisting companies find Series A-level funding.

If this sounds like your business today, or might well be in the next 12 months, then please apply by filling in the application form on the TechMarketView website here by Friday 11th May 2018. There is no charge to participate.

There's more information on the Great British Scaleup page on our website, and if you have any other queries about the programme, please drop a note to gbs@techmarketview.com.

Posted by HotViews Editor at '06:00' - Tagged: gbs  

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Wednesday 18 April 2018

Mid-tier Mindtree finishes with a flourish

logoBangalore-based mid-tier offshore services firm Mindtree finished the FY (to 31st March) with a real flourish, after seeing growth rate and margin increase quarter-by-quarter.

Headline revenues ended the year at $847m, nearly 9% up on the prior year, with a near-16% spurt in Q4. FY operating margin was 10.4%, nearly a point higher yoy, with perhaps a promise of better to come given a Q3 operating margin of 12.0% and Q4 at 13.5%.

The order book is looking even healthier, with nearly $300m of business in the backlog, over $50m higher than in the prior quarter.

This is solid stuff, and sets management a challenge to do even better this year, especially on the profitability front, given Mindtree used to command operating margins in the high teens.

Posted by Anthony Miller at '15:25' - Tagged: offshore   resullts  

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Wednesday 18 April 2018

*UKHotViewsExtra* Pharmacy2U's mission to disrupt UK healthcare

LogoThe UK’s largest online pharmacy, Pharmacy2U, has secured a further £40m of investment to support the growth of its online NHS repeat prescription service. Already a disruptive force in the UK healthcare market, Pharmacy2U has persuaded London-based healthcare-focused private equity firm G Square to back it with a significant investment alongside existing investor BGF. BGF has financed Pharmacy2U since 2016, supporting its merger with rival Chemist Direct in July of that year with two separate rounds of funding totaling £17m.

Founded in 1999, Pharmacy2U is a hi-tech alternative to ‘bricks-and-mortar’ pharmacies, offering online managed repeat and private prescriptions, online-only GP consultations for certain conditions and an online store for ‘health and wellbeing’ products via its subsidiary Chemist Direct.

It’s the repeat NHS prescription business that we think holds the most near-term promise for Pharmacy2U, which was a founding partner to the NHS on the development of the Electronic Prescription Service (EPS)…. More….

HVP logoTo read the full UKHotViewsExtra article with our analysis of Pharmacy2U and its disruptive impact on the UK healthcare market, TechMarketView subscription clients and UKHotViews Premium subscribers should log in and click here or follow the More link above.

If you’re an individual who’d like access to all UKHotViewsExtra articles and our extensive library of more than 15,000 UKHotViews articles, then our new UKHotViews Premium service is for you – see here for more details and to sign up!

Posted by Tola Sargeant at '14:31' - Tagged: healthcare   scaleup   pharmacy  

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Wednesday 18 April 2018

Mastek marching onwards and upwards (mostly)

logoMumbai-based mid-tier offshore services firm, Mastek, closed the FY (to 31st March) building on the growth in revenues and profitability from prior quarters.

Headline FY operating revenues, at Rs8.17b (c.£100m) were almost 50% up yoy due to the acquisition of US-based Oracle Commerce and CX consultancy, TAIS (Trans American Information Systems) in December 2016 (see Mastek does Dallas with TAIS). Even so, we estimate FY organic growth was a rather splendid 15%. This was accompanied by a significant improvement in profitability to 12.5%, up from 8.3% the prior FY.

The only fly we spotted in the ointment was a 4% sequential decline in TAIS revenues in the final quarter, the first since Mastek acquired the business. This was more than mitigated by a 14% increase in Mastek's UK revenues, which currently account for 72% of the total. I'm sure management are on the case!

Posted by Anthony Miller at '12:06' - Tagged: results   offshore  

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Wednesday 18 April 2018

Be Heard booms

LogoLondon-based mid-tier digital marketing company Be Heard Group plc has announced an eye-catching set of results for the year ended 31st December 2017. Fuelled by two further acquisitions, the firm saw both net revenue and operating profit double yoy to £19.6m and £1.6m respectively in what was only its second full year of operation. Underlying organic net revenue increased by a healthy 25% over 2016.

Established in 2015, Be Heard has focused on creating a network of digital companies spanning the marketing services, creative content, data and analytics, UX and e-commerce sectors. To date it has acquired five such business; agenda 21, Kameleon, MMT Digital, Freemavens and The Corner. In total the group both employs some 330 personnel and has built up an impressive blue-chip client base which includes Barclays, Coca Cola, GSK, SSE and Unilever.

Having assembled a “string of pearls” that spans the full digital marketing services spectrum, Be Heard is now switching its attentions to driving organic growth through maximising collaboration across its partner agencies. Nearly a third of its revenue already comes from clients using two or more Be Heard brands and it believes that there is significant untapped cross-selling potential. To this end, it intends to co-locate its London teams during the second half of 2018.

The digital marketing agency arena has been a hotbed of acquisitive activity. Nearly half of the companies that feature in the TechMarketView’s Top 20 ranking of UK application services providers have bought one or more creative agencies in recent times.  In our latest report $5 Billion and Counting…Is the SI Creative Agency Gamble Paying-Off we look at the drivers behind this phenomenon and the alternative strategies being deployed. Both these organisations and Be Heard believe that traditional marketing holding groups, such as WPP and Publicis, are struggling to adapt to the needs of the digital age. They see that a significant slice of the $500 billion pa global Advertising and Branding market is up for grabs for a new breed of player. It will be interesting to watch how this battleground develops.

Posted by Duncan Aitchison at '10:01' - Tagged: resullts   customerexperience  

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Wednesday 18 April 2018

Andy Isherwood starts new role at AWS

awsThere’s been no official confirmation, but according to his LinkedIn profile, Andy Isherwood is now Managing Director of Amazon Web Services, EMEA.

andyAndy was of course most latterly Managing Director of Hewlett Packard Enterprise (HPE) EMEA and before that UK MD at the firm - following many years of service there. He left HPE earlier this year and we just knew he wouldn’t stay out of the industry for very long.

Andy’s breadth of experience, including with some of world’s largest organisations and biggest IT spenders, would have been very attractive to AWS.

The firm has been in the UK market for around a decade, but with most organisations still sinking much of their IT budget into legacy systems, the opportunity for public cloud migration is clear. AWS is now one of the Top 20 Infrastructure Services providers in the UK (by revenue), according to TechMarketView estimates. However, its rate of growth is on a different scale to most of its peers (who are also its partners in many instances), which brings its own set of challenges. For example, maintaining recruitment levels to ensure it has enough people with the right skills, and helping partners and customers keep up with the rapid rate of product development.

The opportunity in both the UK and across EMEA should be exciting for Andy and we look forward to catching up with him shortly to understand more about his plans.

Posted by Kate Hanaghan at '09:52' - Tagged: appointments   leadership  

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Wednesday 18 April 2018

Book now for discounted tickets to TMV Evening 2018

TMV logoTechMarketView's sixth annual Presentation and Dinner will take place at the magnificent Royal Institute of British Architects (RIBA), in Portland Place London, from 6.30pm on Thursday 13th September

Up to 250 of UK tech’s ‘great & good’ are expected to attend the evening event which has become a popular fixture in the tech calendar and has been described by attendees as “the best networking event in the industry”.

Don't miss your chance to secure tickets for the 2018 Evening with TechMarketView’ at the discounted ‘early bird’ rate which is only available until 1 May.

Superb networking & expert insight TMVE 17

The evening will begin with an extended welcome drinks reception, supported by InterSystems, giving plenty of time for networking over a glass or two of your favourite tipple.

After drinks with your peers, spend an hour or so with our leading analysts - including our Chairman Richard Holway MBE and Managing Partner Anthony Miller - and guest speakers as they share their insight and opinions on key trends and suppliers disrupting the UK tech sector. Then sit down to a sumptuous three course dinner and enjoy further networking with our CXO level guests.

Book by 1 May for Early-Bird rates

As in previous years, TechMarketView subscription clients and SMEs that have been through TechMarketView's Little British Battler (LBB) and Great British Scaleup (GBS) Programmes benefit from a 20% discount on ticket pricing. Our growing band of UKHotViews Premium subscribers also qualify for this discount (yet another reason to sign up!).

To get the best deal, book before 1 May to secure tickets at ‘early bird’ pricing. For full details and to book your place click here or contact our event management partners tx2 Events with any queries.

The TechMarketView Evening 2018 Welcome Drinks Reception is proudly supported by:

InterSystems logo

To express your interest in sponsorship packages related to this or future events 
– some of which come with sought after speaking slots -
please contact TechMarketView’s Tola Sargeant or Sarah Robinson directly.

Posted by HotViews Editor at '09:39'

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Wednesday 18 April 2018

IBM UK declines in Q1

IBMAs per its fourth quarter last year, IBM continued to see a decline in its UK revenue performance. For the first quarter of 2018, the firm at the very top level turned in revenue of $19.1bn reflecting flat growth (constant currency). Revenue growth in Q4 was 1% and we had hoped that would be sustained (IBM hits milestone as Q4 sees return to growth).

While Europe as a whole returned to growth in Q1, the UK and Germany both declined – although “they had a marked improvement in their year-to-year growth trajectory”.

Beneath the top line there was (as usual) a very mixed performance by business segment. Some of this was down to the market, some to execution, and some to the nature of the offerings. In security, one of IBM’s “strategic imperative” areas, revenue was up 60% - aiding growth of 10% across the board for these strategically important offerings. Cognitive solutions grew 2% and analytics returned to growth, which are not exciting numbers but reflect the rate at which IBM’s large customers are allocating budget here. Getting growth levels up in these areas will partly depend on more joint solutions being developed with customers (e.g. the Watson-based service desk avatar IBM is working on with a large petro-chemical company) and then driving revenue from these. Totting up the past 12 months, “strategic imperative” revenue totaled $37.7bn – or 47% of revenue.

In both of IBM’s large services business (GBS and Technology Services and Cloud Platforms), the revenue trend was downwards with both declining 1%. Nothing surprising there – and nor is it surprising that areas such as digital strategy and cloud infrastructure services delivered good growth. While these revenue patterns are not unexpected, IBM’s shares took a knock as Wall Street analysts wanted to see higher earnings per share guidance.

Posted by Kate Hanaghan at '09:38' - Tagged: results   cloud   cognitive   digitalstrategy  

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Wednesday 18 April 2018

NHS must prepare for future cyber attacks

NHS logoNearly a year after WannaCry exposed cybersecurity vulnerabilities in the NHS, plans to implement the lessons learned are still to be agreed, according to the House of Commons Public Accounts Committee (PAC).

The PAC report (PDF), published today, reviews the impact of the global ransomware attack, which took place in May last year (see here), and how prepared the NHS is for future cyber-attacks.

The attack affected about 80 of the 236 NHS trusts in England, leading to the cancellation of c.20,000 hospital appointments and operations, and five A&E departments having to divert patients to other hospitals. The Department of Health had developed a cyber-attack plan prior to WannaCry, but this wasn’t initiated until three hours after a major incident had been declared.

It could have been much worse. The attack took place on a Friday in the summer when there is less demand on the service. NHS Digital had also issued a critical alert to NHS trusts just before the attack warning them to patch their Window 7 systems. Approximately two-thirds of trusts had completed patching at the time of the attack, but many had not. At the time c.5% of the NHS IT estate was still using Windows XP.

The NHS was not prepared for WannaCry (see here for further discussion), but at some point it will face a more sophisticated and malicious attack, which will put patient data at risk. There is still much work to be done. NHS Digital has completed cybersecurity and vulnerability tests at 200 trusts (88 prior to WannaCry)--all trusts have failed the assessment; some because Windows 7 patches had still not been applied. Earlier this year the Department of Health and Social Care, NHS England and NHS Improvement published its recommendations for strengthening the NHS’s cyber security, but today’s report reveals that the cost and timing of implementing them have yet to be agreed.

WannaCry was a wake-up call for the NHS, but it’s clear the Government needs to act faster on the lessons learned. The NHS doesn’t have the requisite cyber-skills to address the challenges alone and will need to look to industry for support. 

Posted by Dale Peters at '09:35' - Tagged: health   government   cybersecurity   ransomware  

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Wednesday 18 April 2018

BT Enterprise, boldly going……

logo

For many years now, BT Group has wrestled with the problem of finding the right organisational structure for its non-Consumer business. It is only two years since the creation of “Business and Public Sector” (B&PS) and in May last year we saw the start of a 2-year restructuring of the Global Services business.

The latest (and if history is any guide, not the last) move to simplify the Group’s operating model, accelerate transformation and “sharpen focus on customer experience” is to combine BT’s Business and Public Sector unit with the Wholesale and Ventures operation into BT Enterprise.

This move is essentially putting all the UK non-consumer business into one unit (as the stated Global Services remit covers multinational companies and financial services organisations). This will mean that the BT Enterprise unit will cover a wide range of customers with the full spectrum of the Group’s extended product portfolio. This move should alleviate the thorny issues of transfer pricing, revenue allocation and customer ownership and create additional cost saving and efficiency opportunities. Management will however have to optimise performance from a wide range of businesses with very different value propositions.

We would look to BT management to use this further reorganisation to shorten decision lead times, remove layers of management and improve the accountability of the individual operations. Time will tell as to how the detail will be worked out however, as these reorganisations usually take time to work through. The organisation will report as one unit from October.

February’s Q3 results showed that life in operations continues to be difficult, with a poor performance from the enterprise business and things continuing downhill for Global Services and B&PS. Results for the full year to March 2018 are due on May 10th.

Posted by Peter Roe at '09:17' - Tagged: cloud   network   FinTech   wholesale  

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Wednesday 18 April 2018

GBG continues to deliver

GBGGB Group (GBG) the Chester headquartered identity data intelligence specialist, provided an update this morning on its trading performance for the year to 31st March.

GBG is now expecting to report adjusted operating profit of some £26m (2017: £17m), up 53% on last year and ahead of the market consensus. Revenue is expected to grow by around 37% to c.£119.7m, also ahead of consensus, of which 17% is organic.

As we have seen over the last couple of years (GB Group continues to be on the up) its strategy of aggregating data sources and adding scale in a fragmented market continues to deliver. Its recent acquisitions (most notably PCA Predict) appear to be bedding in and this coupled with double digit organic growth bodes well for the future. GBG now has operations in 17 countries serving both established brands like HSBC and Zurich Insurance as well as disruptives such as Stripe and Plus500.

GB Group’s data sources, its international footprint and breadth of capabilities have positioned it well in a market set to see strong growth. We will cover in more detail when full year results are published in early June.

Posted by Marc Hardwick at '08:47' - Tagged: bigdata   identity   fraud  

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Wednesday 18 April 2018

and finally...

JokeI would guess that the most popular question asked of our own Amazon Alexa is ‘Alexa - Tell me a joke’. Our ‘Little Ones’ like it because the jokes are so excruciatingly bad.

Amazon’s Alexa clearly rules in the voice-assistant market with Google Assistant, Microsoft's Cortana and Apple’s Siri trailing. Apple’s ‘problem’ is the absence of a device like Amazon’s Echo - until HomePod was released a few months back. Although there is little evidence of it coming anywhere close to rivalling Amazon.

Maybe it’s the quality of the jokes? The Times today reports Apple gives smart speaker more dumb jokes. It reports of John Giannandrea being poached by Apple from Google to head its AI unit and wonders if he was behind Apple giving Siri a whole range of new jokes.

The Times quotes asking “Siri, tell me a joke” and getting the following:

Q - “What’s the difference between roast beef and pea soup?”

A- “Anyone can roast beef”

or “I paid $20 to see Prince but I partied like it was $19.99”

I remember Tim Berners Lee saying that if he’d known how many cat videos there would be he would never have invented the www. Maybe that’s similar to how the many teams that have laboured over many years to bring us voice recognition and AI feel about its major use being to tell us jokes!

Posted by Richard Holway at '07:59'

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Tuesday 17 April 2018

Netflix continues to be a Big Hit

NetflixHaving referred to the FAANGs on many occasions, I guess I better continue to report on Netflix.

Last night they reported a quite stunning Q1 with revenues up a staggering 42% yoy at $3.7b. Profits were up an even more impressive 63% at $290m. The 14% price hike last year helped both the top and bottom lines. Netflix added 7.4m new customers to make a 125m member base- with most of the growth coming from outside the US. Indeed overseas revenues are now 50% of the total. As they are growing faster, they will soon exceed US revenues.

Netflix has avoided the travails of the other FAANGs. Netflix  shares are up 60% YTD.

Netflix’ CEO Reid Hastings seemed rather pleased that their revenues were subscription - not ad -based. As Zuckerberg claimed that Facebook was a tech company (“Because we employ a lot of coders”) Hastings said “We are much more of a media company…”

Netflix is a big hit in our family. I can’t wait for the next series of The Crown.

Posted by Richard Holway at '14:36'

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Tuesday 17 April 2018

Changing of Accenture UK public sector guard

Shaheen Sayed headshotThere’s been a changing of the UK public sector guard at Accenture. Mark Lyons, who led the practice for nine years, has moved into a new leadership role in Accenture’s Global Citizen Services team. Into his shoes, leading the UK Health & Public Service practice steps Shaheen Sayed.

Like Mark and many others in the UK management team, Shaheen has had a long career at Accenture, working on projects in both the public and private sectors for over twenty years. Most recently, she has worked as an advisor to senior Financial Services clients. Shaheen is also “a respected adviser on inclusive business cultures and is a recognised through leader on human capital and the evolution of talent in the digital age”. We look forward to meeting with Shaheen once she has her feet firmly under her new table.

Posted by Georgina O'Toole at '09:49' - Tagged: public+sector   leadershipchanges   leadership  

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Tuesday 17 April 2018

Catalyst UK aims to accelerate the adoption of HPC

Catalyst UK logosIndustry and academia are collaborating to establish supercomputer deployments at three UK universities. The three-year Catalyst UK programme will see Hewlett Packard Enterprise (HPE) design, build and support the deployments in conjunction with Cambridge-based ARM and German software company SUSE (part of Micro Focus).

The three supercomputer clusters will be based at EPCC (University of Edinburgh), University of Bristol and University of Leicester. In total they will run more than 12,000 Arm-based cores, hosted by HPE systems running the SUSE Linux Enterprise Server operating system. The installations are due to be completed in summer 2018 and represent one of the largest Arm-based HPC deployments in the world.

The programme aims to showcase the potential of HPC installations, particularly in terms of building applications that could improve productivity in the UK. It will also provide training for researchers, helping build the skills required to work in HPC, particularly in exascale computing.

The Government has seized upon technology as the key to improving the UK’s productivity, with the Industrial Strategy (see Industrial Strategy: facing up to Grand Challenges) highlighting the potential economic benefits of developing artificial intelligence (AI) capabilities in the country. Improving the availability of HPC sites and increasing collaboration between industry and academia will be vital if the UK is going to position itself as a global leader in AI.

Posted by Dale Peters at '09:47' - Tagged: government   HPC   supercomputing   productivity  

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Tuesday 17 April 2018

Accenture & PA Consulting get agile with Home Office

Accenture logoPA Consulting logoAccording to the Home Office, Accenture and PA Consulting have been successful in their bids to be the delivery partners for the Home Office’s Immigration Technology Portfolio. The Caseworking Delivery Partner 2 tender was published on the Digital Marketplace in November last year, with the closing date for applications in December. Contracts are due to be signed next week. According to the tender, it has been hoped that the contract would start on 1st March and last for two years. The budget range was stated at £9m-£10m for a maximum 3 delivery teams for 2 years.

These awards highlight the very different environments in which the SIs are having to work within Whitehall. The Home Office’s aim is to replace numerous legacy systems (including CID, ASYS, BRP, ICW and PBS) with a new digital offering – “a new extensible and reusable framework to meet the needs of immigration and asylum claims within UK Visas and Immigration (UKVI).” Large SIs were involved in the development and implementation of these old systems, but under very different, more sizeable, and much more traditional, arrangements. For example, IBM was the strategic delivery partner for ICW (Immigration Casework) for many years before the programme was cancelled. Those programmes ran into numerous issues, as highlighted by a 2014 National Audit Office report – see here.

Accenture and PA Consulting will be working within an agile delivery environment, focused in incremental improvements. They will work collaboratively with numerous suppliers – large and small - who have already been involved in development (including 6Point6, Atos, BJSS, Capgemini, Cognizant, Deloitte Digital, IBM and Mastek. According the tender, PA Consulting has also had earlier involvement. There may be scenarios where the Accenture and PA Consulting Scrum Delivery Teams have resources from other suppliers placed within them. Interesting, though, that despite applications from 9 SMEs vs 7 large suppliers, it is, once again, the large suppliers that have been deemed most suitable; the competition was heavily weighted to technical competence (rather than price). As we highlighted in Brexit preparation snapshot: Whitehall progress & supplier opportunities, the Home Office is one of the departments most impacted by Brexit. However, with system requirements dependent on the post-Brexit visa policy for EU residents, suppliers will need to ensure flexibility in the system.

Posted by Georgina O'Toole at '09:40' - Tagged: public+sector   centralgovernment   SI   agile   digital  

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Tuesday 17 April 2018

Mi-Pay: better progress in 2018?

logoBagshot-based Mi-Pay, the provider of digital transformation and mobile payment solutions to mobile network operators had a mixed year in Calendar 2017. The numbers don’t look that impressive as total revenue fell to £3.1m, from £3.3m and the operating loss ticked up to £0.6m, from £0.4m. Year end cash was £2.9m (December 2016: £3.5m).

However, underlying these figures there is better news. Mi-Pay’s largest customer (28% of revenue) extended its contract for a further three years, four new non-MNO customers were connected thus broadening the group’s potential, and a new revenue stream opened up in direct fraud management. Gross margins improved, driven by better fraud management (a key selling point) and the delivery of a wider range of payment solutions.

After the year-end, Mi-Pay has raised some more cash, cut costs and shuffled its management team, giving some financial headroom and possibly a clearer direction as the company strives towards profitability. Growth this year will be driven by Transaction Services revenue (now 87% of the total), with a faster growth rate expected than the 3.5% delivered in 2017. Analysts expect a move to positive EBITDA this year.

Mi-Pay appears to have some key pieces of IP in the important areas of fraud management, tried and tested customer relationships and a crucial role in enabling several giant businesses (e.g. JPMorgan, PayPal, Amazon) to deliver their payment solutions to end customers. Mi-Pay’s share price is now a third of what it was three years ago and the company looks like it could be an attractive morsel for an ambitious aggregator.

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

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Tuesday 17 April 2018

Katzenberg's WndrCo adds $11.5m to Mixcloud's mix

logoThere's no shortage of audio streaming websites and apps available to listen to, and with well-known 'elephants in the room' you'd wonder if there are any niches left for startups. Well, London-based Mixcloud found such a niche a decade ago and has since developed a sound reputation (if you'll pardon the pun) for long-form audio streaming.

Until now the business has been bootstrapped, but the company has just announced its first external funding, $11.5m, from WndrCo, the US investment house co-founded by media mogul Jeffrey Katzenberg.

It looks like Mixcloud is testing different business models, generating revenues from listeners, content providers and advertisers. The basic service is free for unlimited listening and uploads but of course includes ads. Premium (£4.99 p.m.) and Pro (£9.00 p.m.) services provide extra features.

WndrCo's investment aims to turn Mixcloud from what is currently a UK-centric curated streaming service into a global player. Sounds like they have the right backers on the case.

Posted by Anthony Miller at '08:27' - Tagged: funding   startup  

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Monday 16 April 2018

Earth-i releases first colour video from space

SatReaders are no doubt aware how enthusiastic I am about rockets and space travel. Everything I have written on HotViews to date has been about US space endeavours - mostly about SpaceX recently.

But amongst the large ‘postbag’ I have got whenever I write on the subject, a BRITISH space company - Earth-I - has asked many times to be featured. On 12th Jan 18, the Earth-I VividX2 satellite was launched. It is the first of a series to be launched in the years to come. It weighs 100kg and is orbiting 505km above the earth at c7km per second. It is the first commercial satellite able to produce full colour Ultra high definition video of ‘life on earth’. It can lock onto a target location and record 2 minute videos every time it passes over.

AirToday they released their first full colour video and, as an exclusive, HotViews readers can view it here - https://youtu.be/OBxJSroyTcI.

You may well say ‘What is the point?’. The video shows many practical uses. Eg monitoring traffic flow on a motorway, showing aircraft movements at an airport or ships in a harbour. Another example would be monitoring crops or how climate change might affect different areas of the planet over time. The constant ‘fly over’ the same position makes it possible to show changes over any period of time eg how a building is being constructed or crops growing. I guess we all have seen military use of such technology. But earth-I is a commercial venture - bringing this technology at a reasonable price to the private sector.

Earth-I is headquartered close to TechMarketView in Surrey Research Park in Guildford. Website www.earthi.space  

Posted by Richard Holway at '19:56'

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Monday 16 April 2018

Positive indications from Kainos

logoUK-based provider of IT, consulting and software solutions Kainos has issued a cautiously upbeat assessment of its performance for the year ended 31 March 2018. Trading in the period has continued in line with market expectations and the company believes that it remains well positioned in its core markets.

The direction of travel reported for H1 FY18, during which revenues improved by only 2% over H1 17   (see here), appears to have carried forward into the second half. Growth in its Digital Services business is described as having been particularly strong, suggesting that the 5% revenue increase achieved in the six months to 30 September 2017 has accelerated during H2. Its international client base too has continued to expand, as have its activities in the commercial sector. A very strong sales orders performance, generating a comparable increase in contracted backlog, is also noted. These numbers were up 94% and 43% respectively in H1 18.

The constrained funding in the NHS, which dragged down UK revenues by 7% in H1, is continuing to impact short term growth, although sales activity levels are reported to be showing signs of improvement. Kainos will, however, enter FY 19 with a robust balance sheet, a strong cash position, a growing level of recurring revenue and a solid new business pipeline. Headcount has also increased by c. 20% over the last twelve months.

A seventh consecutive year of growth would seem to be firmly on the cards. Kainos will announce its full year results on 29 May 2018. We must wait until then to learn whether and by how much it has improved on the modest revenue increase delivered in H1.

Posted by Duncan Aitchison at '09:52' - Tagged: tradingupdate  

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Monday 16 April 2018

The UK can shape the ethical development of AI

Select Committee Report Cover ImageToday’s report by the House of Lords Select Committee on Artificial Intelligence (AI) says the UK is in “a strong position to be among the world leaders in the development of artificial intelligence”, but the “transformative potential” for the technology requires “active engagement by one and all”.

The Select Committee was appointed in June last year to consider the economic, ethical and social implications of advances in AI. Its report, ‘AI in the UK: ready, willing and able? (PDF)’, says the Government is embracing the potential for AI and that its enthusiasm for the technology shown through recent initiatives such as the Industrial Strategy should be welcomed.

It says there is an opportunity for the UK to shape the ethical development of artificial intelligence on the global stage. However, the Committee has concerns about the adequacy of existing legislation to cover the technology should it “malfunction, underperform or otherwise make erroneous decisions” and it has asked the Law Commission to clarify.

The Committee said that Government investment in skills and training is imperative if the impact of AI on the jobs market is to be mitigated. It says that many jobs will be enhanced by AI and new roles will be created, but some jobs will disappear. It also says that the public often has an inaccurate impression of how AI works and called on the Government to understand the importance of public trust and confidence in AI.

Whilst welcoming the investment by the likes of Amazon, Apple, Facebook, and Microsoft in the UK, the Committee said that large companies “must be prevented from becoming overly powerful within this landscape”. It said that the monopolisation of data made it difficult for SMEs to compete and that there was an argument for making more publicly-held data available to developers, as well as a need for strong “ethical, data protection and competition frameworks”.

As we discussed earlier this year (see AI: Excitement vs. fear at Davos) politicians are struggling to get to grips with a complexity of AI. Hence, this comprehensive report from the Committee, which contains many important considerations and recommendations for the Government, should be welcomed.

Posted by Dale Peters at '09:48' - Tagged: government   report   AI   data  

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Monday 16 April 2018

London Market Group launches Strategic Sourcing unit

LMGThe London Market Group, which supports the commercial (re)insurance broking and underwriting communities in London, has launched the London Insurance Market Operations and Strategic Sourcing (LIMOSS) unit. LIMOSS’s objective is to source and manage the portfolio of market services on which the London Market depends and to provide a clear flightpath as the sector modernises, digitalises and keeps pace with new regulation.

Head of this unit is Patrick Molineux, former head of the CSC Insurance team who brings a huge amount of experience to this important role. Patrick and his team in LIMOSS will be working with the major service providers to ensure the cost-effective and quality provision of shared services to the community of users, increasing the degree of automation and coordination across a range of diverse systems.

The London Market Group has been working hard to accelerate the transformation of the insurance market in terms of increasing efficiency and agility and lowering the cost of commodity functions through its Target Operating Model approach, (see our report “The role of BPS in Transforming the London Insurance Market”).

The creation of LIMOSS is another major step forward. As a result, we would expect a much greater level of coordination with the service provider community and a significant broadening of the use of shared services within the wider commercial (re)insurance sector. This should in turn ensure that users will be able to more effectively access new technologies (such as the Internet of Things and AI) and scale-advantaged processes. As this area of the insurance business strives to retain its pre-eminent competitive position, the creation of LIMOSS will be particularly important as global competition intensifies and as the sector copes with ever more stringent regulation and the likely disruption of Brexit.

Posted by Peter Roe at '09:26' - Tagged: platformbased+bps   bps   insurance   regulation   brexit  

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Monday 16 April 2018

Number's up for WhichBingo in XLMedia swoop

logologoIn our unending quest to bring you the broadest coervage of the UK tech sector, we bring you news that AIM-listed gambling-focused media company XLMedia has acquired Leeds-based online bingo game comparison website (I kid you not!) WhichBingo. Terms were not disclosed. Launched in 2000, WhichBingo provides reviews, information and offers for a total of 412 (I also kid you not!) UK bingo sites. XLmedia has its eyes down for a full(er) house, it seems.

Posted by Anthony Miller at '09:13' - Tagged: acquisition  

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Monday 16 April 2018

Draper Esprit eyes double-size year

logoIt's coming up to two years since European tech sector-focused VC firm Draper Esprit launched on AIM (see Cooking up an IPO for Draper Esprit) and its portfolio has been growing apace. A preview of its FY results (to 31st March 2018) shows a more than doubling of its gross primary portfolio value to £244m, boosted by several new and follow-on investments, more recently including a £6m boost for TechMarketView Great British Scaleup consumer complaints website Resolver. A few months after its IPO, Draper Esprit took a large minority stake in VCT manager Elderstreet Investments back in November 2016. More on this prolific investor in UK tech when the full results are announced.

Posted by Anthony Miller at '08:54'

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Monday 16 April 2018

Arvato Systems appoints new UK broadcast sales lead

ArvatoArvato Systems has announced a new Sales and Business Development lead for the UK, Ireland and Nordics, Russell Grute.

Russel GruteGrute joins Arvato’s broadcast team and will focus on selling IT product solutions for Digital Media Management and developing new markets for the full Arvato Systems Media portfolio.

Grute joins Arvato Systems following seven years at independent consultancy Broadcast Innovation where he focused onbroadcast and digital media strategy and media management. Grute previously worked for Pharos/Evertz, TSL, Leitch/Harris, Tyrell Corporation and Sony Broadcast

Arvato is a business going through quite a lot of change. The recent acquisition of Media Asset Manager Vidispine alongside growing partnerships with Microsoft and AWS are supporting growth at Arvato Systems. Elsewhere parent company Bertelsmann announced in January that it was reviewing the future of Arvato CRM (the non-French speaking bit), with a sale the most likely outcome (Bertelsmann to offload Arvato CRM). The Group expects the review to be completed in the second half of 2018.

Posted by Marc Hardwick at '08:36'

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Monday 16 April 2018

TechMarketView Early Stage Partner Programme entries closed

logoWe've had a fantastic response from UK tech SME's looking to become a Capita Scaling Partner Digital Disruptor, and applications to our new TechMarketView Early Stage Partner Programme are now closed.

Over the next few weeks, TechMarketView and the Capita Scaling Partner team will be assessing applications to select those that will go through to the pre-qualification stage in July. From there, Capita will choose which candidates will progress to the four-week series of assessment workshops to choose which companies it will partner with.

Keep an eye on UKHotViews for more news.

Meanwhile, don't worry if you missed the boat on this exciting programme as tomorrow we will be launching the fourth event in the TechMarketView Great British Scaleup Programme for UK tech SMEs looking to achieve their scale-up potential.

Full details in tomorrow's UKHotViews.

Posted by HotViews Editor at '08:14' - Tagged: gbs   tesp   csp  

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Monday 16 April 2018

Foresight looks to the future with Codeplay investment

logoPrivate equity investor Foresight Group has backed Edinburgh-based software tools developer Codeplay to the tune of £2.1m, of which half was invested by the Foresight Williams Technology EIS Fund, a collaboration with Williams Advanced Engineering, the technology and engineering services business of Formula 1 racing team Williams Group.

Founded in 2002, Codeplay develops compilers, debuggers and other low-level developer toolkits for heterogeneous systems, including System-on-Chip software. I assume Williams' interest was piqued by Codeplay's ComputeAorta product set which is being used to develop autonomous vehicle technology.

Drive on!

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

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Monday 16 April 2018

Thoughts on Sir Martin Sorrell's departure from WPP

SorrellI never thought I would pen an article in which I felt ‘sorry’ for Sir Martin Sorrell. But anyone who ends a 33 year career as the longest service FTSE100 CEO being drummed out for reasons unknown, deserves some sympathy. Sorrell built an unknown company called Wire & Plastic Products into a global juggernaut with 3000 offices in 112 countries - providing superb returns for shareholders over the medium to longer term. Despite recent falls, WPP's shareprice is up 3x in the last ten years alone.

Sure, Sorrell faced many criticisms for his gigantic pay-packet. But if he had earned that by owning ‘founder’ shares in WPP, nobody would have batted an eyelid. Without Sorrell, the WPP story would never have happened. Sorrell displayed all the characteristics of a founder - workaholic, ruthless, attention to detail, demanding extreme loyalty etc.

I’ve heard Sorrell speak on many occasions - both in the media and in person. He is remarkable for his recall of facts and figures. He always has an ‘opinion’ and I usually find myself in agreement. I was particularly pleased that Sorrell accepted in the invitation to address the Prince’s Trust Leadership Dinner in 2013. I have quoted his “Doing Good is Good for Business” on many occasions since.

It is well reported that the advertising business is going through much disruption as it moves from the old ‘analogue’ media like TV and print to ‘digital’ platforms like Facebook and Google. In the process, companies are moving their buying in house - by-passing agencies like WPP.

Maybe, at the age of 73, Sorrell should be retiring anyway. But the manner of his departure seems hardly fitting for a person who has achieved so much. Of course, it may transpire that a dreadful deed has been perpetrated. But, at the moment, the nature of that dirty deed is being kept secret. Telling, perhaps, that Sorrell is being treated as a ‘Good Leaver’ and, financially, the effects are said to be ‘immaterial’ to WPP.

Within our own tech industry, long-serving Founder/CEOs at Microsoft/ SalesForce/ Amazon/ Apple/ Dell etc,  or in the UK at Capita/ Computacenter/ Sage/ Aviva(CadCentre) etc, have all provided superb returns for shareholders - which tend to evaporate once that ‘old’ CEO departs/dies.

Sorrell will be a hard act to follow. I doubt we will see his like again. Indeed I suspect WPP will now be broken-up.

Posted by Richard Holway at '07:26'

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Friday 13 April 2018

Parekh sets Infosys on course for faster growth

logoFor the first time in some while, Bangalore-based Infosys was first cab off the rank among the India-headquartered offshore services firms to report its FY results (Note: Cognizant is technically US-HQ'd and has a calendar year-end), which I guess was a statement of intent from new CEO, Salil Parekh, to re-establish the company's leadership in at least this respect.

These results marked Parekh's first full quarter at the helm and he made sure there were no surprises, reporting revenues for the 12 months to 31st March 2018 at $10.94b, 7.2% higher yoy and comfortably within the 6.5%-7.5% guidance range. Similarly, FY operating margins at 24.3% were within the guided 23%-25% range, and just 40bps below the year prior.

Parekh is projecting slightly higher growth and slightly lower profitability this year (FY19 to 31st March 2019) with revenues expected to rise between 7% and 9% in USD terms and operating margins to sit somewhere in the 22% to 24% range.

Infosys also announced the acquisition of the splendidly named US-based digital agency WongDoody for a maximum $75m. Going in the opposite direction are Kallidus/Skava (see Infosys misses, acquires and invests) and Panaya (see Infosys-Panaya: Big fanfare, low risk, little value), acquired under prior CEO Vishal Sikka, which Parekh has put in the shop window. They are expected to leave the premises by March next year.

Hopefully Parekh will be able to spend increasingly more time moving Infosys forwards and increasingly less time backtracking the many missteps of his predecessor.

Posted by Anthony Miller at '16:07' - Tagged: offshore   resullts  

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Friday 13 April 2018

**OUT NOW** VMware plots new directions with AppDefense and PKS

Available now to TechMarketView clients is this must-read research note looking at a couple of important recent moves by VMware.vm

This is the company that of course pioneered virtualisation for commodity x86 servers. Since the turn of the millennium, the firm has used its first mover advantage to build a substantial presence in organisations of all sizes, initially focusing on server consolidation, but later building out its technology to turn it into a platform for data centre automation.

Nowadays, VMware faces increasing challenges as the hypervisor technology that underpins virtualisation is regarded as something of a commodity. Competition is also coming not just from on-premise rivals such as Microsoft with its server platforms, but also from cloud providers including Amazon Web Services.

With this in mind, the firm must adapt its strategy to keep its existing technology relevant to customers while developing new products to help customers meet the challenges of today’s fast-moving IT landscape.

In "VMware plots new directions with AppDefense and PKS" we look at two of VMware’s latest product releases and examine how these fit in with that strategy.

This research note is available to clients taking InfrastructureViews and SecureConnectViews, our key research programmes for Cloud, Infrastructure Services, Security and Networking.


For subscription and analyst engagement enquiries, please contact Deb Seth.

Posted by HotViews Editor at '09:27' - Tagged: cloud   security   virtualisation   VM   conatiners  

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Friday 13 April 2018

Sage warns on revenues

sageSage Group this morning issued a revenue warning citing "inconsistent operational execution” over the last six months. At the time of writing Sage’s share price has fallen 12% today on top of the 16% decline since the beginning of the year. 

Organic revenue growth for H1 18 was 6.3% (H1 17: 7.4%) impacted by two main factors: a decline in recurring revenue growth to 6.4% in H1 18 (H1 17: 11.1%) and contract licence slippage in the enterprise segment. Contract slippages appear to be related to sales execution issues in the African and Middle Eastern business whilst the decline in recurring revenue growth is being felt in Northern Europe (which covers the UK).

Sage has revised down FY18 revenue guidance from around 8% organic growth to around 7%. Guidance for organic operating margin of 27.5% remains unchanged reflecting the impact of existing cost reduction measures already creating efficiencies in the back office.

Management stressed that it believes the overall market opportunity for Sage, as outlined at its recent Capital Markets Day (CMD) 2018, remains unchanged. This set out the company’s goals to 2020 and you can read our takeaways on that here. Clearly however, the plan has not got off to the best of starts and even if the market opportunity remains unchanged whether and how today’s announcement delays things remains to be seen.

Elsewhere in the update Sage stressed some of the positives of H1 notably the growth of Sage Business Cloud, with ARR of over £335m, growing at 57%, double digit growth in North America and overall organic operating margin of 24.5% in line with expectations.

Sage’s Management promised more details on the issues and an outline of plans to address them when the H1 18 results are announced on 2nd May.

Posted by Marc Hardwick at '09:19' - Tagged: software  

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Friday 13 April 2018

Avast targets US$4bn London IPO

Avast targets US$4bn London IPOPrague-headquartered cyber security company Avast Software is reportedly targeting a US$4bn London Stock Exchange IPO as it looks to fund further expansion of its global operations. Despite its muted enterprise focus, Avast has a solid business model and a clear vision for the future which we think will be a strong pull for investors.

Backed by private equity firm CVC Partners, Avast has already grown considerably in recent years, acquiring rival AVG for US$1.3bn in 2016 and UK-based Piriform in 2017. Adjusted revenue for the last financial year (ending December 2017) reached US$780m (up 9% yoy from US$714m) with adjusted cash EBITDA jumping to US$451m from US$353m.

Around two thirds of Avast’s estimated 435m global users (which include around 14m in the UK) are consumers using its PC and smartphone antivirus products. The remainder are largely small to medium business (SMB) customers subscribing to its advanced endpoint protection and managed remote monitoring and support services. We guess the latter account for the lionshare of the company’s turnover given that the consumer proposition is based on a freemium model that doesn’t charge for the basic version of the software.

Avast management are bullish it can grow revenue further by upselling more of the premium paid products and driving greater cross-selling across its portfolio however. The company is busy developing products to address the Smart Home market (connected speakers, doorbells, IP cameras, thermostats, TV devices, digital personal assistants etc) through its SaaS based Smart Life IoT Security Platform. Avast employs around 1,700 staff globally (roughly 100 in the UK), including over 600 in research and development.

It is also targeting more partnership deals with telcos and mobile operators which will deliver its security solutions as part of mobile phone subscriptions, having recently forged agreements with Aircel in India and Vodafone in Avast’s native Czech Republic.

If the US$4bn valuation emerges (the company was valued by CVC at US$1bn in 2014), Avast’s IPO could be the biggest ever float for a technology company in the UK, though a previous attempt to float on the NASDAQ in 2012 was abandoned due to “tough market conditions” according to Reuters.

Posted by Martin Courtney at '08:53' - Tagged: ipo   cybersecurity   Avast  

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Friday 13 April 2018

HCL takes software plunge with Actian

logologoChennai-headquartered offshore services major HCL Tehcnologies has made a big jump into the database and analytics space with the acquisition of Palo Alto based Actian, the Oracle archrival previously known as, Ingres. The acquisition is being effected via a joint venture between HCL and Sumeru Equity Partners (SEP), a tech-focused, mid-market private equity firm founded in 2014 by investors and operators from Silver Lake Sumeru, a $1.1 billion fund started in 2007 within Silver Lake. The all-cash deal is valued at $330m and HCL will own 80% of the JV and will part-finance the deal with $125m in debt. Actian had revenues of $107m in 2017 with an EBITDA of $38.5m. Actian will continue to operate as a separate entity within HCL, led by current CEO and President, Rohit De Souza.

logoThe background to Actian and its players makes interesting reading – but you'll have to be a TechMarketView subscription research client or a UKHotViews Premium subscriber to see the rest in UKHotViews Extra!

Posted by Anthony Miller at '08:47'

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Friday 13 April 2018

Fujitsu plays to the public sector’s tune

Fujitsu logoSubscribers who downloaded our recent research note on Fujitsu’s UK Public Sector business – Fujitsu UK Public Sector: Times they are a-changing – will have noted our observation that Fujitsu is in the process of evolving its approach to Government. Key to that has been listening to the customer and working to support their desired direction of travel. Reading other PublicSectorViews research would have alerted subscribers to the increasing need for suppliers to support their clients’ or prospects’ migration to a hybrid cloud environment. And in the public sector that means a combination of public cloud, private cloud and the joint venture set up between the Cabinet Office and Ark Data Centres, Crown Hosting.

Put those two things together and Fujitsu’s announcement today is a logical step. Go to Crown Commercial Service (CCS) framework agreements, like G-Cloud and Technology Services 2, and public sector organisations will be able to turn to Fujitsu to help them on this migration journey. The company has worked with Crown Hosting Data Centres to develop a consultative model comprising a roadmap of modular services that can support departments, agencies or authorities.  The modularity is intended to allow customisation to the unique needs of each client, ensuring alignment of the roadmap to “future operating models, ambitions and aspirations”.

We’re not going to sit here and pretend that Fujitsu is unique in its ability to support organisations in this way. There are plenty of companies offering cloud migration services to the market (a search for ‘cloud migration’ on G-Cloud brings up 8,248 results at last count!), and the majority would claim they can support a move to hybrid. Just this week HPE boosted its capabilities by buying RedPixie (see HPE buys RedPixie to deepen hybrid capabilities). But equally we’re not going to say that Fujitsu is wasting its time ‘packaging up’ and going to market in this way. Templated approaches, particularly once they have been successfully implemented by multiple clients, give public sector organisations confidence to proceed. If Fujitsu can be the company to give them that confidence, and differentiate its offering in the same breath, then why not?

Posted by Georgina O'Toole at '08:00' - Tagged: public+sector   g-cloud   cabinetoffice   hybridcloud   consultancy   cloudmigration   migration  

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Friday 13 April 2018

Symantec, NTT Security team up on cyber

Symantec, NTT Security team up on cyberA strategic partnership between Symantec and NTT Security will see the two companies expand their respective web security service portfolios to better compete with rivals.

The agreement will integrate Symantec’s web security gateway and cloud access security broker (CASB) tools (and some elements of its Integrated Cyber Defense Platform) with NTT Security’s threat detection and advanced analytics platform.Symantec, NTT Security team up on cyber

Symantec already offers its own advanced threat detection (ATP) solution and it's not clear if it will sell both to either its own or NTT Security customers. In contrast, NTT Security’s product portfolio is decidedly narrow, with the subsidiary of Japanese telco NTT Com primarily focussing on consulting, systems integration and support services.

For the moment the two companies will look to provide tighter web and cloud application access from fixed and mobile devices, but future collaboration will share “telemetry” information and involve a greater level of endpoint protection.

As we have said previously, the scale and diversity of cyber threats currently arraigned against UK organisations looks too big and complex to be addressed by any one provider (subscribers to SecureConnectViews can read our Cyber Security Market Trends & Forecasts 2017-2020 report).

As such partnerships like this one are a good tactic for security product and service suppliers that want to stay relevant to their customers by amassing multiple tools under a single service wrap.

Posted by Martin Courtney at '07:38' - Tagged: partnership   cybersecurity   Symantec   CASB   NTTSecurity  

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Friday 13 April 2018

LAST CHANCE TO BE A 'DIGITAL DISRUPTOR'

logoDON'T MISS OUT! Applications close TODAY for Capita Scaling Parter Digital Disruptor, the first initiative in our new TechMarketView Early Stage Partner programme in association with Capita Scaling Partner, Capita’s new start-up development business.

We are offering an unrivalled opportunity for early-stage UK tech companies to access lucrative client markets that would usually be well out of reach.

Here's what's in store for successful applicants:

Accelerated market access

logoCapita Scaling Partner Digital Disruptors will get the benefit of:

  • A dedicated business development team that works with them over 2-3 years to secure scale business deals from Capita's extensive client base
  • Direct access to decision makers in Capita's corporate clients through relationships that have been built up over 30 years
  • The ability to negotiate scale deals with clients on an equal footing
  • Direct channels to UK and Ireland consumers
  • Capita’s proprietary consumer data, collected from handling over 45 million contacts every day
  • Access to Capita's low cost and scalable shared services
  • Access to Capita's extensive investor network and relationships with investment banks.

Capita will sit side by side with the successful candidates, pitching their proposition to its own client base, providing them with direct access to decision makers. Successful companies are encouraged to 'think big and act big' while retaining their own brand, culture, identity, agility, and negotiating terms with clients and suppliers on an equal footing. 

Extensive business development support

Successful candidates will progress through a series of business workshops run over a four-week period, including:

  • Technology workshops – led by Capita's experienced software and hardware IT professionals to review your technology base and explore improvements
  • Sales workshops – with Capita business units and business development professionals to explore cross-selling opportunities into Capita's clients, leveraging Capita's direct-to-consumer channels, honing your proposition, and building out your development roadmap
  • Financial modelling workshops – to rigorously analyse your existing business plan and to model how Capita could improve it through partnership.

At the end of the four-week programme, the candidates that stand to benefit the most will be offered the opportunity to engage with Capita as equity partners.

Eligibility requirements

You should be the founder or CEO/MD of an early-stage UK tech company that has a digital technology proposition with the potential of disrupting established markets or creating new markets. By 'early stage' we mean a company whose product or service is (i) at – or close to – the MVP (minimum viable product) stage: (ii) has been successfully deployed to one or more clients; and (iii) is now looking to distribute at scale.

To be selected for the programme you should apply in the first instance to attend an intensive 90-minute Pre-Qualification Session (PQS) with TechMarketView research directors and Capita Scaling Partner advisors. The PQS event will be held in London on Wednesday 4th July 2018.

Applications must be submitted on this webform by close of business TODAY, Friday 13th April 2018.

Applicants will be notified if their application has been successful by Friday 25th May. There is no charge to apply for or, if accepted, participate in a PQS.

You can find more information about the TechMarketView Early Stage Partner Programme on the TechMarketView website and further information about Capita Scaling Partner on the Capita website. For further information please email tmvesp@techmarketview.com.

Posted by HotViews Editor at '06:00' - Tagged: tesp   csp  

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Thursday 12 April 2018

European tech buyers paying less for profit!

chartThe number of European TMT deals increased slightly in March, according to latest data from corporate finance firm Regent Partners, but remained below the longer term monthly average of 300. The total value of deals remained steady at about $27b. Valuation multiples diverged again with the aggregate Price/Sales ratio up from 1.4x to 1.6x but the Price/EBITDA ratio fell again, from 7.6x in February to 6.7x in March, the sixth consecutive monthly decline, suggesting that European tech buyers increasingly value growth over profit.

There was much M&A activity in the private equity-backed UK tech mid-market in March, including two acquisitions by Vista-backed Advanced, the first being the £16m acquisition of SaaS-based eprocurement company Science Warehouse, and the second of Canadian Information Balance; and TE Associates-backed (and now Hg-backed) Access Technology's acquisition of online procurement solution Procure Wizard.

Appetite for UK fintechs was proven again and again with the £275m acquisition of London-based Clearscore by credit rating agency and data provider Experian, the £53m acquisition of SaaS accounting developer FreeAgent by RBS, and American Express' acquisition of UK Fintech Cake Technologies, but for a more modest £10m.

And there's much more. Subscribers to the TechMarketView Foundation Service can read our regular quarterly summaries of corporate activity in the UK software and IT services sector in IndustryViews Corporate Activity, or just search on ‘acquisition’ in the UKHotViews archive.

logoAnd don't forget, if you are not a subscription research service client but would like to get full, searchable access to our entire UKHotViews archive, just sign up for our new UKHotViews Premium service. It's blindingly good value for anyone with skin in the UK tech game looking for TechMarketView's incisive commentary on companies and trends in the sector.

Posted by HotViews Editor at '13:50' - Tagged: acquisition  

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Thursday 12 April 2018

Nick Wilson resurfaces at Micro Focus

mfWe knew it wouldn’t be long before Nick Wilson resurfaced following his departure from DXC Technology, and we’ve just heard he’ll be taking up a role at Micro Focus.

nwNick - who most recently spent a year as UK SVP & GM for DXC Technology (the largest IT services player in the UK) - has just started as Worldwide VP for Professional Services at Micro Focus. He’ll be working on creating a more integrated professional services offering and business that’s better at helping customers maximize the value from their Micro Focus investments as well as pulling through additional product sales. To us it makes sense to put a services veteran in charge of this business, not least one that has a reputation for being very good at ‘fixing things’. 

Nick has had a variety of senior roles in the past across many geographies including EMEA, the UK, Australia, New Zealand and South Africa with the likes of IBM, Unisys CSC and HP/HPE. We suspect he's pretty proud to now be working for a British firm and keen to take on the opportunity that Micro Focus faces following its acquisition of the former Software division of Hewlett Packard Enterprise. Indeed, his time spent with HP/HPE in the past should prove to be of great use. Nick is a hugely experienced Exec and we wouldn’t be surprised if his role at Micro Focus broadens over time.

Posted by Kate Hanaghan at '08:52' - Tagged: software   appointments   leadership   professionalservices  

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Thursday 12 April 2018

VR 'sociable network' vTime gets real funding boost

logoI've only watched the first episode of Channel 4's new mixed-reality drama, Kiss me First, and I'm already hooked. Now I find I can recreate the experience for myself and my friends (hopefully without the drama) using Liverpool-based VR 'sociable network' startup, vTime. vTime is basically 'chat with avatars' in settings of your choice, and already claims over one million users across the planet.

Launched in 2015, vTime has raised £5.4m in a Series A funding round led by Deepbridge Capital and also included investment from Liverpool institutional loan and equity provider MSIF.

While I am impressed with the short video on vTime's website I struggle to find the business model. Is it advertising (there were no ads visible on the website clip)? It can't be sale of your personal data (I hope) I as I've skimmed through vTime's  Privacy Policy and they say they collect extensive information about your usage of the system (hosted on AWS in the US, by the way) but will not disclose personal data to third parties. But there are several exceptions.

One such notable exception is Google, as vTime uses Google Analytics "in order to better understand your use of the System and how we can improve the System. Google may plant a permanent cookie on your device to identify you as a unique user the next time you visit the System" from which any data Google collects then comes under the auspices of Google's privacy policies. I haven't followed that chain through to see where else your personal data might end up.

So do read the small print if you intend to be 'virtually sociable' as the personal data you are disclosing – wittingly or otherwise – is very real.

Posted by Anthony Miller at '08:39' - Tagged: funding   startup  

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Thursday 12 April 2018

Zipjet cleans up a Series B funding round

logoLondon- and Berlin-based on-demand laundry service (or 'laundry service' as it used to be known back in the day) Zipjet has raised further funding (a 'seven-figure sum', reportedly) from Henkel Ventures and BSH Home Appliances Group. For those who don't understand how a laundry service works, their website has these helpful instructions: you book collection; your dirty laundry is picked up; your clean laundry is returned. Ain't technology wonderful!

Posted by Anthony Miller at '07:42' - Tagged: funding   startup  

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Thursday 12 April 2018

Zuckerberg testifies to Congress

FBZuckFacebook’s Mark Zuckerberg faced a second day of cross examination yesterday - this time by Congress. I tuned in live for half an hour and was amazed at how sycophantic many of the Congressmen/women were. Praising Facebook (‘My 80 year father loves it - see the photo I am holding up’) and Zuckerberg (‘you are a great example of the Great American entrepreneur’).

To be honest, we didn’t really learn much more than the previous session. See my previous post Zuckerberg testifies to Senate. Other than that Zuckerberg’s own Facebook account had been compromised by Cambridge Analytics. But it does now seem certain that the US will apply some regulation on Facebook. Indeed Zuckerberg confirmed (again) that the European GDPR rules would be applied to all Facebook users - including in the US.

But the damage has been done. Kathy Castor (one of the Congresswomen I saw live) said “We do NOT like to be spied on. Facebook has evolved to a place where you are tracking everybody. You are collecting data on just about anybody’. People around the world now understand that rather better. Some will be appalled and that just must affect whether and/or how they use Facebook in the future. In turn that will negatively affect how Facebook can ‘monetise’ your data.

CAI have already stated that I believe that Facebook has peaked. On TechMarketView we covered them from close to the start of the operations in the UK in 2007. I suspect that, ten years hence, Facebook might well be of limited import. A footnote in tech history.

And talking of Footnotes…

Footnote 1 - I commented on Zuckerberg’s attire on 10th Apr. Yesterday he changed to a dark blue tie but the shirt still looked as if it could do with an ironing. Surely, with his wealth, he could have afforded to look a bit smarter.

Footnote 2 - I was awaiting a message from Facebook to say if my own account had been compromised. It didn’t come. But you can check yourself at How to check whether your Facebook data was compromised by Cambridge Analytics . I did and it appears I was not affected.

Posted by Richard Holway at '07:27'

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