HotViews Archive

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PayPal overwhelms iZettle
21 May 2018
Do you have what it takes to be a TechMarketView analyst?
21 May 2018
PM setting AI on to early cancer diagnosis
21 May 2018
Startupbootcamp Insurtech programme shifts into a higher gear
21 May 2018
Highland proves a lucky talisman for Incopro
21 May 2018
Atos, Dell EMC and Microsoft fire first salvo in AI campaign
21 May 2018
UKCloud. The multi-cloud experts – powering digital transformation in the UK Public Sector
21 May 2018
Sopra Steria awarded new UKVI contract
18 May 2018
The Good Till Co. completes third investment round
18 May 2018
Raise your company profile in our HotViews newsletter & get in front of 18,500+ key decision makers
18 May 2018
Methods and FinancialForce team up to good effect
18 May 2018
Backers help Maze trace path through funding maze
18 May 2018
FE finds funds
18 May 2018
Ocado shines at last
17 May 2018
Experian has strong finish to the year
17 May 2018
*UKHotViewsExtra* Capita’s PCS contract woes underline the need to rewrite the rules on risk transfer
17 May 2018
Oracle and Google bring in more intelligent cloud assets
17 May 2018
HRtech MeVitae plugs in £500k for ATS plug-in
17 May 2018
Sparkler catches PA’s eye
17 May 2018
Sophos FY18 revenue and billings up 18% yoy
17 May 2018
NPIF scatters Ash £200k
17 May 2018
Channel activity nudged Actual Experience up in H1
17 May 2018
*UKHotViews Extra* Elliott takes Cognizant money and runs
17 May 2018
#ATT wins Best Specialist Annual Report & Accounts Award
17 May 2018
The Business Boom
17 May 2018
Unit4 majors on business value and an open platform
16 May 2018
LoopUp bets the business on MeetingZone
16 May 2018
Fuse Universal raises $20m from Eight Roads Ventures
16 May 2018
Join us for An Evening with TechMarketView in September!
16 May 2018
Blue Prism updates on buoyant first half sales
16 May 2018
Worldline scores SIX to build lead in European payments
16 May 2018
Micro Focus holding steady after previous warning
16 May 2018
HPE buys Plexxi for hyperconvergence
16 May 2018
'Refreshed' NIIT Technologies looks to verticalised future
16 May 2018
UK IT Visa cap breached
16 May 2018
NEW White paper - Changing lives: bringing disruptive technology to local government
16 May 2018
Mimecast FY18 revenue up 38%
15 May 2018
Capita wins Financial Services Compensation Scheme contract
15 May 2018
MedCircuit secures funding for A&E software
15 May 2018
Convergys shares rise on sale talks
15 May 2018
Unlock deeper analysis and searchable insight with UKHotViews Premium
15 May 2018
Gatwick Airport teams with HPE to transform network
15 May 2018
appScatter bolsters security
15 May 2018
Concirrus steaming ahead in marine insurance
15 May 2018
Colao stands down amidst mixed Vodafone FY18 results
15 May 2018
Mercia appraises Clear Review with £0.5m funding
15 May 2018
Mphasis breaks through the billion-dollar barrier
14 May 2018
Eckoh Trading Update shows good progress
14 May 2018
The 8th Enterprise Awards - ‘The Oscars of the Technology Industry’ Closing Date 25th May 2018
14 May 2018
StatPro lands another big fish
14 May 2018
Symantec FY clouded by investigation
14 May 2018
*NEW RESEARCH* Capita - The Road to Reinvention
14 May 2018
Cognism raises £2m to cleanse more data
14 May 2018
InterQuest founder aims to exit AIM
14 May 2018

UKHotViews©

 

Monday 21 May 2018

PayPal overwhelms iZettle

logoiZ

Another day, another M&A deal in the payments sector. After Worldline’s purchase of SIX last week to transform the European payments business, PayPal’s US$2.2bn move to buy Stockholm-based iZettle will have global importance.

PayPal has been very active in investing in smaller companies to add potentially disruptive technologies to its portfolio but this deal, by far the largest it has ever done, will significantly broaden the company’s angle of attack into the payments sector. iZettle brings much greater capability in the small business sector, with its card reader technology enabling companies to take debit and credit card payments from customers. This will bring PayPal into direct competition with new-generation companies like Square, as well as established acquirers like Worldpay (now part of Vantiv) with their in-store systems and extended networks, enabling PayPal to capture a greater proportion of the payments value chain and consequent margin. The deal will also go some way to fill the (revenue and strategic) hole created by Ebay’s decision last year to manage payments on its own platform. Ebay had accounted for 20% of PayPal’s revenue.

PayPal waded in for iZettle as the Swedish company moved towards an IPO. The bid price was twice the proposed IPO valuation, giving the founders of iZettle an easy decision as to whether to accept the offer. With a stockmarket valuation of over US$90bn, this deal may well not be PayPal’s only bold step to capture more of the dynamic payments market.

Posted by Peter Roe at '09:27' - Tagged: acquisition   payments   M&A  

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Monday 21 May 2018

Do you have what it takes to be a TechMarketView analyst?

TMV logoTechMarketView is expanding and we’re looking for someone with a passion for financial services and fintech to join our friendly team as a Research Director or Principal Analyst.

You may already have been working as an analyst for a number of years, you may be working for a financial services organisation in the tech space, or perhaps you come from the worlds of journalism or market intelligence within the UK tech industry and are keen to take on a new challenge?

Whatever your background, you will need to be able to demonstrate expertise in the market for software and IT services within the financial services sector, particularly in the UK.

Join the TechMarketView team

Of course, it’s just as important that you’ll be a good fit with our small but growing team.  We’re looking for people who are:

·      self-motivated team players with strong business acumen

·      able to demonstrate integrity, drive, an enquiring mind & analytical thinking

·      excellent written and verbal communicators known for attention to detail and the ability to meet deadlines

·      experienced in interpreting data and drawing insightful conclusions

·      accustomed to engaging with senior decision makers and presenting to clients

·      happy working from home (we all do) but able to attend monthly meetings in the Guildford area (Surrey) plus client meetings in London.

There is scope to tailor the role for the right candidate, who may work on a full-time or part-time basis. Naturally we offer a competitive compensation package, commensurate with experience.

If you think you fit the bill and you’re interested in joining the ‘TechMarketView family’ please send your CV and a covering email to our Chief Research Officer, Kate Hanaghan (khanaghan@techmarketview.com), before the end of May.

Please note that we do not accept resumes from recruitment agencies, headhunters and other third party services providers – only direct applications will be considered.

Posted by HotViews Editor at '09:21'

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Monday 21 May 2018

PM setting AI on to early cancer diagnosis

logoPrime minister Teresa May is to pledge millions of pounds to fund the use of AI/Machine learning for early detection of cancer and chronic conditions. With experts saying early cancer detection could save 22,000 lives in the UK per year, this is the sort of technology-enabled outcome few would argue with.

imageDuring a speech in Macclesfield, the PM will say: "Late diagnosis of otherwise treatable illnesses is one of the biggest causes of avoidable deaths… The development of smart technologies to analyse great quantities of data quickly and with a higher degree of accuracy than is possible by human beings opens up a whole new field of medical research." The AI/machine learning funding is part of the Grand Challenges set out in the 2017 Industrial Strategy. We see the welcome ambition as one of the types of developments the TechMarketView’s “breaking the boundaries” research theme seeks to highlight.

Early cancer detection is the sort of scenario that is perfect for AI/machine learning - narrowly defined use cases coupled with reams of relevant data. The ambition is to develop and run algorithms on the NHS’s treasure trove of data, analysing patients' medical records, genetic data and lifestyle habits to provide GP’s with information to trigger earlier intervention.

What’s notable for the tech sector is the PM sees a significant role for private sector organisations. They could be hyperscale cloud providers and those with AI/machine technologies and expertise. This is a major opportunity (healthcare is a prime and active area for AI/machine learning: BenevolentAI raises $115m to scale-up drug discovery being one recent example) but there are warning flags including privacy and ethical concerns about commercial companies using NHS data for profit. Hopefully Lessons from Deep Mind/Royal Free will be valuable in helping shape initiatives and responsible data use. There are other considerations too, such as ensuring the right infrastructure, the practicalities of data wrangling and sharing, finding the resources (and headspace) within the NHS to take on the ambition and keeping a lid on unrealistic expectations. However, it has so much potential to make a difference - clinically and from a tech perspective in showing the ability of AI/machine learning to deliver tangible outcomes.

Posted by Angela Eager at '09:10' - Tagged: publicsector   software   machinelearning   machineintelligence  

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Monday 21 May 2018

Startupbootcamp Insurtech programme shifts into a higher gear

logoProgress in both the Insurtech sector and the maturity of accelerator schemes were in evidence as Startupbootcamp celebrated the end of its third Insurtech programme with its Demo Day last week.

This year’s Insurtech programme focused on 11 startups, chosen from over 1,000 applicants, as described in our December HotView, see Insurtech returns to centre stage….These start-ups, bringing expertise and enthusiasm across a wide range of technologies were able to make great strides in terms of proposition and strategic development following three months of collaboration with Startupbootcamp’s 28-strong list of established industry partners which literally spans the A to Z of the insurance sector (from Admiral to Zurich). All of the start-up participants had signed (or were on the brink of signing) partnership deals with larger companies.

Central to the success of the accelerator is the ability to focus on real business problems, thereby ensuring a meaningful dialogue between the rigorously selected Insurtech newcomer and the larger player. Startupbootcamp has now shepherded 50 companies through its Insurtech accelerator programme and claims that over 300 pilots and partnerships have been set up as a result.

Sabine Vanderlinden, the CEO of Startupbootcamp’s Insurtech initiative, has now announced the launch of its Colab programme for Insurtech. This innovation programme will focus on industry-wide themes, enabling its industry partners to collaborate with early-stage companies on a global basis as they address disruption and new market opportunities. This programme should give added impetus to the Insurtech sector and further reinforce Startupbootcamp’s position within it.

Posted by Peter Roe at '08:52' - Tagged: funding   partnerships   insurance   insurtech  

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Monday 21 May 2018

Highland proves a lucky talisman for Incopro

logoOriginally founded by a law firm, London-headquartered Incopro has developed into a sort of tech-led one-stop-shop to help brands counter IP infringement. Underpinning Incopro's services is its Talisman software platform which is basically a search engine trawling the internet oceans looking for pirates and other evil-doers. Incopro also acts as a hub for a network of global legal firms and IP experts who can provide its clients with advice on how to skin them when you catch them (not their terminology, I hasten to add!).

Incorporated in 2011, Incorpro has just raised a substantial $21m in a funding round backed by Highland Europe in what appears to be its first injection of external cash. The funding will be used for R&D and to expand its existing operations in China, as well as other geographies.

I have no idea how Incopro's business model works, though I can see the opportunity for a multi-stream revenue model deriving from tech platform usage, bill-by-the-hour legal advice and perhaps an element of payment by results, plus introductory commissions from their legal network.

There are numerous law firms that have IP infringement practices, but I am not ware of (neither would I expect to be in all honesty) any that have a tech platform at their core. Not so much disruptive as differentiated. Smart idea.

Posted by Anthony Miller at '07:52' - Tagged: funding   startup  

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Monday 21 May 2018

Atos, Dell EMC and Microsoft fire first salvo in AI campaign

atosautomationAtos is partnering with DellEMC and Microsoft to present a joined-up set of propositions in the area of Artificial Intelligence

Financial services companies are keen to benefit from the implementation of Artificial Intelligence, hoping to improve customer experience, smooth regulatory reporting and achieve higher levels of operating efficiency. However, many still have to reorganise their data architectures if they want to achieve anything more than modest automation gains from point solutions. Building a strategic approach to AI, based on a holistic and enterprise-wide view of data are vital pre-requisites of a long-term strategy.

dellmsThe Atos Intelligent Automation Platform announced at the Finextra Next-generation-banking conference last week is based on the Atos Codex business-driven analytics platform. This is supported by a Dell EMC Private Cloud and High-Performance Bundles to process a sufficient volume of data, accessing voice and video as well as data input. A public cloud instance is offered using Atos-managed Azure capacity, enhanced by Azure AI services to facilitate the implementation of Machine Learning and Cognitive services. A hybrid cloud version is available using a combination of Azure and Dell EMC systems.

Most banks and insurers are still in the initial phases of their use of AI. Atos and its partners want to initiate discussions with these customers, engaging with business leaders to address real problems. They will be looking to apply substantial domain expertise to tune the systems, build appropriate support for decision making and develop deep customer relationships in this exciting area. Their aim is clear, to become the go-to, strategic providers for end-to end AI and Intelligent Automation solutions.

As discussed in a recent BusinessProcessViews report, the greater adoption of AI and consequent automation methodologies will also provide new challenges and opportunities for BPS providers.

Posted by Peter Roe at '06:03' - Tagged: partnerships   financialservices   big+data   automation   AI  

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Friday 18 May 2018

Sopra Steria awarded new UKVI contract

Sopra Steria logoTransformation and technology specialist Sopra Steria has been awarded a major Home Office contract to deliver a new visa and immigration service. Although terms of the contract have not been disclosed the original contract notice said that it would run for a three-year period with an option to extend for up to two additional years and, assuming the extension is awarded, would be worth c.£91m. Sopra Steria will take on the contract in October 2018.

Procurement was conducted by the Home Office acting through UK Visas and Immigration (UKVI). UKVI runs the UK’s visa service, its responsibilities include: applications for British citizenship from overseas nationals; running the UK’s asylum service; deciding on applications from employers and educational establishments who want to join the register of sponsors; and managing appeals from unsuccessful applicants.

As part of the contract Sopra Steria will help deliver a more streamlined application process from over 60 locations across the UK, including 56 local libraries. It will be working in partnership with the Society of Chief Librarians to help extend the reach of the service into local communities.

The service will allow people to submit biometric information including photos, fingerprints, and signatures and their supporting evidence at a single appointment, as well as uploading digital files in advance of their appointment. This evidence is then copied and sent to UKVI, which means that important documents, such as passports, do not have to be handed over whilst applications are processed. There will also be an option for people to pay more for added value services. This will contribute towards the Home Office objective for the border, immigration and citizenship system to become self-funded by 2019-20.

This is a good win for Sopra Steria, providing further evidence that things are improving for the business in the UK (see: Sopra Steria Q1: UK market improvement).

Posted by Dale Peters at '09:46' - Tagged: contract   government   transformation  

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Friday 18 May 2018

The Good Till Co. completes third investment round

good tillLondon-based start-up, The Good Till Co., has closed its third round of funding.

The company provides a SaaS-based EPOS solution hosted on Amazon Web Services and delivered via iPads. The system works with a card reader to take payment from customers and can also link into SaaS-based accounting software such as Xero, Quickbooks and Exact to provide analysis of transactions to help clients understand their businesses better. The funding (£600k) will be used to support sales & marketing and product development. good

The Good Till Co. was founded in 2014 by Oli Rowbory (pictured), Jonny Hunot and Animesh Chowdhury, and revenue is currently just under £1m. Its first round of investment took place in 2015, which helped grow the number of customers substantially.

Today, Good Till’s customers – around 1,000 – range from (a small number of) big hospitality/entertainment chains to one-man-band retail outlets, and even my local ‘sweet shop’, Godalming Delights (retro sweets/coffee/gelato), where I caught up with Oli and the shop’s owner.

There is an interesting group of investors involved in this round of funding, including Adam Hale (see Sage acquires Fairsail), James Murray (Founder and Chairman of Alternative Networks – see Daisy to buy Alternative Networks), and Chairman Alastair Mills (ex-CEO/Chairman of Six Degrees) who is leading the round.

Our understanding is that Good Till is all but alone in being a UK-based SaaS EPOS provider – although we expect it is only a matter of time before others emerge. Companies including Vend and iZettle play in a similar space but are based outside of the UK. Clearly Mills et al believe Good Till has an interesting proposition and position in the UK market. With new funding (and industry experts) behind it, we expect to see the company’s revenue accelerate in the short-term.

Posted by Kate Hanaghan at '09:40' - Tagged: funding   retail   payments  

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Friday 18 May 2018

Methods and FinancialForce team up to good effect

logoAs regular HotViews readers know, we like to keep up to date with the companies who have come through our Little British Battler and Great British ScaleUp programmes so we were pleased to hear about Methods Business and Digital Technology, one of the participants in round three of Great British ScaleUps (see Great British ScaleUps Programme  - GBS3 Candidate Summaries).

logoAs a provider of digital transformation services, primarily to the UK public sector, it is also undergoing internal transformation and chose cloud provider FinancialForce to help do so, with evident success. Having implemented FinancialForce financial management and professional services automation and redesigned its back office function, Methods has improved business performance and customer service, including 40% savings on back office finance function costs due to a single solution for timesheets, accruals, invoicing, and revenue recognition. That’s a good result for both companies.

The success also underlines the importance of software tuned to the needs of industries and specific types of business – FinancialForce is ramping up its focus on professional services automation, including building out accounting revenue recognition capabilities for digitally enabled businesses for example, where sales consist of a mix of product, subscription and usage-based models. It is all part of the XaaS (Everything-as-a-Service) development that suppliers like FinancialForce and Unit4 are majoring on. TechMarketView subscribers can read more about the digital/PSA link, and other growing PSA suppliers - from Kimble to aspects of Atlassian, in Enabling Digital: Services shift execution and intelligent PSA.

Posted by Angela Eager at '09:16' - Tagged: cloud   software   enduser   digitaltransformation   GreatBritishScaleup  

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Friday 18 May 2018

Backers help Maze trace path through funding maze

logoTheir strapline is marketing techno-twaddle, as in "perform quantitative user-testing at the design phase to provide designers with long-awaited actionable KPIs", but the idea is spot on.

The team behind London-based startup Maze.Design have developed a testing platform for app prototype user interface (UX) design. Basically, the app developer specifies an objective ('mission') for the tester – such as 'Send a friend request to Anthony' – and Maze then tracks the user's path through the prototype app. Maze records which users achieved the mission using the expected sequence of interactions, those that got there through an 'unexpected' path, and those that threw in the towel. Maze collects other user activity data too, and then presents the results to the app developer.

Maze currently works with a couple of well-known prototyping tools (InVision, Marvel) and the aim is to extend to others. Maze has a 'freemium' pricing model and 'real' pricing starts at $19 per month up to $99 per month (another UK startup with an aversion to its national currency!).

Formally incorporated in the UK earlier this year by French nationals Jonathan Widawski and Thomas Mary, Maze claims over 2,000 users from the likes of Uber, eBay, IBM, Microsoft and Mastercard. To get them further along the way, Partech and Seedcamp have backed Maze with £350k in pre-seed funding.

There are plenty of app prototyping tools in the market, and plenty of app testing tools too. But on a quick search of the internet I haven't yet found a user interface path-tracing tool like Maze. If Maze could become a 'universal' plug-in for 'full-fat' app testing tools as well as prototyping tools, you’d imagine it could have great market potential.

Posted by Anthony Miller at '08:40' - Tagged: funding   startup  

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Friday 18 May 2018

FE finds funds

logoFintech and data are natural allies and that’s what Woking, UK-based data and analytics provider FE (Financial Express) provides. That combination has proved attractive, with Hg investing in the company having watched the business for some years, although the sum has not disclosed.

FE was founded in the mid-1990’s by Oxbridge graduates and former Citigbank colleagues Michael Holland and Craig Wilson after they sold LSD Software, the pension and administration software company they had previously created. FE is not shiny and new but as a 400+ employee company with a good client list, it has built a reputation for providing fund data, rating and research for investors, advisers, asset managers and platforms in the UK and Australia. 

Posted by Angela Eager at '08:27' - Tagged: funding   startup   software   FinTech  

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Thursday 17 May 2018

Ocado shines at last

OcadoI have to give Ocado credit for perseverance.

At last, today, Ocado - and CEO Tim Steiner in particular - got the recognition their technology deserved with a 45% share price rise to 797p on the back of a licencing deal with Kroger - one of the world’s/USA’s biggest grocery chains. Kroger will also take a 5% stake in Ocado. I was even happier when I learned that those with ‘short’ positions in Ocado had ‘taken a bath’.  

Sure, Ocado has taken a long time to get its technology established - and make a profit. But isn’t it great to see a UK HQed tech company taking the long route AND getting there in the end. We should applaud them. With a market value of £5.3b, Ocado could well enter the FTSE100 next month. Ocado now has a higher value than M&S.

Ocado was founded in 2000 - that’s 18 years ago. They IPOed in July 2010 at 180p but sank soon after. Indeed, year after year Ocado faced a barrage criticism from their large band of dounters. Hence the army of shorters. But any true believers ‘staying the course’ are now enjoying a 340% return.

The Kroger deal was the 4th in  the last six months for Ocado. I guess we, in the UK, associate Ocado with Waitrose. But it also struck a deal with Morrisons and more recently with French Casino Group, Swedish ICA and Canadian supermarket chain Sobeys.

Posted by Richard Holway at '21:30'

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Thursday 17 May 2018

Experian has strong finish to the year

Experian logoGlobal information services provider Experian had a strong Q4 helping it achieve total revenue of $4.7bn in the year ended 31 March 2018. Revenue was up 8% (7% at constant currency) compared to last year (FY17: $4.3bn), with organic revenue growth coming in at 5%. It had a particularly strong Q4 with revenue growth of 12% and organic revenue growth of 8%.

Statutory operating profit fell by 2% to $1.1bn and statutory profit before tax was down 7% to $994m. However, its non-GAAP benchmark EBIT grew by 8% to $1.3bn, with EBIT margins of 27.7%.

Globally its EMEA/Asia Pacific region was the top performer—it was up 11% on a constant currency basis to $393m. North America, which represents 57% of its ongoing activities, was up 8% to $2.6bn, and Latin America improved by 6% to $788m.

Performance in the UK & Ireland (UK&I) was more sluggish as growth in B2B continues to be offset by a decline in Consumer Services. UK&I revenue was up 3% to $830m (FY17: $807m), but flat on an organic constant currency rate. Consumer Services was down 16% in constant currency to $171 (FY17: $202m). Its B2B business improved, with Credit Services leading the way (up 7% to $270m), followed by Decision Analytics (up 6% to $234m) and Marketing Services (up 4% to $155m).

In UK&I, Experian says regulatory changes associated with Open Banking are opening up more opportunities for the business and it is continuing to expand into new markets, such as the price comparison sector, background checking and telecommunications. It expects subscription-based credit monitoring services to continue to contract, but it is seeing greater use of data and analytics in credit comparison services. The acquisition of Clearscore (see Experian acquires Fintech startup Clearscore), which is still subject to regulatory approval, should help improve its Consumer Services business.

Posted by Dale Peters at '10:15' - Tagged: result   FinTech  

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Thursday 17 May 2018

*UKHotViewsExtra* Capita’s PCS contract woes underline the need to rewrite the rules on risk transfer

capitaThe National Audit Office (NAO) today released its findings into Capita’s primary care support services contract with NHS England and poses some significant questions regarding risk transfer and the need for genuine partnership working if the private sector is to play a positive future role in helping transform public services.  

Capita initially entered into a seven-year £330m contract with NHS England in August 2015, to deliver a diverse set of primary care services ranging from payments to GPs, opticians and pharmacies, staff pensions, cervical screening invitations and transfer of patient medical records. 

Hv premiumCapita’s transformation programme was extremely ambitious, planning to close 35 out of 38 support offices across the country and reducing staff numbers from 1,300 to 650 all in a short space of time. This level of change was going to be necessary to achieve NHS England’s equally ambitious desired cost savings and in order to deliver profitably for Capita which was already planning for a £64m loss in the first two years even before problems came to light. 

Not a TechMarketView subscription research client? Then why not subscribe to our low-cost UKHotvViews Premium service to access all of our UKHotViews and UKHotView Extra posts? Click the flag for more information. 

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Posted by Marc Hardwick at '09:55' - Tagged: contracts   NAO  

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Thursday 17 May 2018

Oracle and Google bring in more intelligent cloud assets

logoWhen building and buying AI/machine learning capability and surrounding tools it’s a case of little and often, which Oracle and Google have both demonstrated once again. Oracle has acquired startup DataScience.com while Google has added startup Data Cask.

With DataScience.com Oracle has gained a Machine Learning-as-a-Service (MLaaS) platform – specifically a cloud based workspace for data science projects and workloads. It will add to Oracle’s expanding AI/machine learning portfolio that includes the Oracle AI Platform Cloud Service (AI/machine learning libraries and deep learning frameworks), Oracle Mobile Cloud (which includes conversational/chatbot capability), Oracle Autonomous Data Warehouse Cloud (including a machine learning utility for heavy duty workloads) and Oracle Analytics Cloud (an AI/machine learning enabled data visualisation tool). The plan is to bring DataScience.com’s tools together with Oracle’s IaaS to provide a unified machine learning solution.

Cloud based AI/Machine learning services are a hot spot for hyperscale cloud providers Amazon Web Services, Microsoft (Azure) and Google as they cater for large enterprises and build up the range of services running on their cloud infrastructure.

logoGoogle’s latest addition is also designed to increase its appeal to large enterprises via additional Google Cloud services around data and analytics. Data Cask provides tools to simplify the building and management of big data analytics on Hadoop. It comes shortly after the acquisition of Velostrata, which provides tools to help organisations migrate workloads to the cloud, and the partnership with Atos whereby Google is the designated public cloud provider of choice. These activities are designed to attract enterprise customers and increase Google’s market share in a sector dominated by AWS and Microsoft Azure.

TechMarketView subscribers can read further analysis of these areas in:

·      Machine Learning-as-a-Service: Market Overview, Technology, Prospects 

·      Will machine intelligence open enterprise doors for Amazon Web Services and Alphabet Google?

Posted by Angela Eager at '09:53' - Tagged: startup   acquisitions   AI   cloudservices   machinelearning   machineintelligence  

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Thursday 17 May 2018

HRtech MeVitae plugs in £500k for ATS plug-in

logoClearly 'point solution' HRtech is all the rage (you can see for yourselves by searching on the hrtech tag in UKHotViews) and here's another startup at the recruitment end of the HR process, this one with the bold mission "Building a Career Loving World".

MeVitae has developed a plug-in for enterprise applicant tracking systems (ATS) to try to better match candidates with vacancies. The 'USP' is that MeVitae 'learns' which candidates the recruiter selects in order to do a better job next time.

MeVitae has raised £500k in a funding round led by Startup Funding Club, along with Force Over Mass, Twenty Ten Capital, BBH ZAG and the London Co-Investment Fund, among others. Founded in 2014 and housed at the European Space Agency Business Incubation Centre in Oxford, (shooting for the stars?), MeVitae had previously raised some £250k in various grants to develop the technology.

MeVitae also seems to run a job board where candidates can build a 'digital profile' (aka CV) which I assume is then matched against vacancies in enterprise clients using its ATS plug-in.

There are many applicant tracking systems in the market and it's not stated which of these MeVitae will plug into. I am also confused as to where the startup is putting its focus – is it to develop a very smart plug-in for OEM HRtech developers or is it as a job board? These are quite different business models. More clarity please!

Posted by Anthony Miller at '09:38' - Tagged: funding   startup   hrtech  

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Thursday 17 May 2018

Sparkler catches PA’s eye

LogoMid-sized management consultancy PA Consultants has acquired boutique digital marketing agency Sparkler. The London-based firm specialises in customer insight, brand strategy and service design. It will add additional strength to PA’s existing innovation, digital and strategy expertise.

Terms were not disclosed but Sparkler, which was founded in 2001, has a team of over 60 people. Focused on understanding the human side of the digital world, Sparkler was named Best Agency at the Market Research Society 2017 awards. It brings to its new owner an impressive string of brand name clients including Microsoft, eBay, Diageo, Sainsbury’s, Sky and Uber.

PA is by no means the first SITS player to make a move into the brand and service design world. The digital agency sector has been a hotbed of acquisitive activity of late. Nearly half of the companies that feature in the TechMarketView’s Top 20 ranking of UK application services providers have bought one or more such firms in the last three years and the potential upside is significant. Capgemini, for example, has stated that its creative design and user experience agency Idean is now generating revenue leverage of 200% for the application services business (see here). In our recent 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.

Through the Sparkler tie-up, PA is aiming to bolster its credentials in the fast growing, CX-driven digital transformation programme arena. It will, however, face some very stiff competition from the many IT services heavyweights which have already made and bedded-in multiple acquisitions in the design and branding space.

Posted by Duncan Aitchison at '09:15' - Tagged: acquisiiton   customerexperience   digitaltransformation  

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Thursday 17 May 2018

Sophos FY18 revenue and billings up 18% yoy

Sophos FY18 revenue and billings up 18% yoyAnother strong year for Sophos saw the Abingdon-headquartered cyber security supplier grow its revenue 18% in constant currency yoy to US$641m, with billings up by the same margin to US$769m.

Gross profit increased to US$497m from US$408m in FY17, with operating losses shrinking to US$32m from US$44m the year before. The company’s shares rose 2% on the news following a 19% gain after April’s trading update.

That bulletin, and Sophos’ H1 results, gave us an early indication of the company’s continued success in a buoyant cyber security market build on solid enterprise demand for hardware, software and services (see Cyber Security Market Trends and Forecasts 2017-2020) to combat the growing volume and diversity of cyber threats arrayed against UK organisations, including large scale ransomware attacks such as WannaCry and NotPetya.

The only questions we had were whether Sophos would turn a profit for the year and sustain the rate of its consecutive quarterly billings growth. The answers are “no”, and “don’t know”. Sophos’ comprehensive loss for FY18 widened to US$70m from US$44m in FY17 - swelled by currency fluctuations on debt revaluation and a larger than usual US$14m tax bill - whilst Q417 billings information was not published.

The biggest source of revenue and billings growth in FY18 came from the Sophos Central cloud-based security management platform, which saw turnover more than double yoy to US$186m. Across its predominantly software and service portfolio (hardware revenue makes up 20% of the total) Sophos added around 40,000 new net customers expanding the total client base to over 300,000.

Regardless of the ongoing questions around short-term profitability and any deceleration in billings growth we think the combination of Sophos’ cloud-orientated portfolio, SME focus and channel first sales strategy puts it in a good position to keep thriving in FY19 (read our Cyber security Supplier Prospects 2018 report).

Posted by Martin Courtney at '09:12'

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Thursday 17 May 2018

NPIF scatters Ash £200k

logoWhen imagination fails you, simply name the company after yourself, why don't you. Hence Hull-based adtech startup Ash TV gets its name from founder Ash Lewis, who has developed an in-browser video advertising platform for mobile devices.

Given that in eight days' time GDPR will (in theory at least) stem the flow of the personal data that Ash TV and its ilk depend on to deliver personalised advertising, the timing of Ash's new £200k funding round shows much confidence by existing backer NPIF- Mercia Equity Finance.

I can't wait to see what video treats are in store for me!

Posted by Anthony Miller at '08:53' - Tagged: funding   startup   adtech  

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Thursday 17 May 2018

Channel activity nudged Actual Experience up in H1

logoThe question hovering over Analytics-as-a-Service provider Actual Experience’s interim results (to 31 March 2018) is the extent it is delivering on its channel strategy, given that the switch from direct sales to a channel model stripped the company’s already sparse revenue down further during the previous full year. The good news is there is a nudge in the right direction: H1 revenue rose 37% albeit only to £0.26m, with channel partners accounting for 86% of revenue (vs. 40% in the year ago period).

The most significant development came after the close, when one of its four channel partners secured a contract that is expected to generate revenue of over £1m per year. The significant size helps validate Actual Experience’s channel strategy, which has entailed significant investment in automation and support to make it easier for partners to integrate the company’s technology into their offerings. The deal goes some way to supporting its estimate of average annual revenue of $500k per enterprise customer but several more significant deals are needed before this estimate can be proved. The company also signed up another reseller post period.

As we’ve commented previously, Actual Experience has a good offering – technology to understand the correlation between a user's experience of a digital journey and bad behaviour amongst the businesses, technologies, networks, data centres and applications involved in the delivery of that digital journey – but has not been able to get the execution right. It has also suffered from low level investment by organisations to protect their digital brands – there is interest and early stage projects, which continued through H1 – but limited revenue. Turning those initial forays into larger scale projects – and quickly – is what is needed given an operating loss of £3.8m that is eating into the £17.5m the company raised last year. 

Posted by Angela Eager at '08:30' - Tagged: results   contract   software   analytics   digitaltransformation  

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Thursday 17 May 2018

*UKHotViews Extra* Elliott takes Cognizant money and runs

logoGreat catch by India's Economic Times spotting that activist investor Elliott Management disappeared from New Jersey-headquartered offshore services firm Cognizant's shareholder list in its March 2018 SEC filing. And full marks to Elliott for spotting an opportunity for a 50%+ return on investment in under 18 months!

By the way, Elliott recently took a very small stake in Bangalore-based Wipro (see Elliott sniffs around Wipro) and just last month Elliott disclosed a 5.1% stake in Micro Focus prompting a 30% recovery in its share price (and see Micro Focus holding steady after previous warning).

logoRead more here …

Posted by Anthony Miller at '08:17' - Tagged: offshore  

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Thursday 17 May 2018

#ATT wins Best Specialist Annual Report & Accounts Award

ATTAs readers will no doubt be aware, I have been a director of the Allianz Technology Trust - #ATT - since Jan 2007 and am extremely proud of the exemplary performance of the Trust over whatever period in that 11 years you care to choose. Also very proud that #ATT now consistently trades at a premium to NAV. Indeed to such an extent that we have both exhausted all the shares held in Treasury and recently block listed a further 2.5m shares which have ‘sold like hot cakes’ since. See my post after the April 18 AGM - Cracking performance from #ATT.

AICOne of the major reasons for #ATT’s success (apart from its superb share price performance!) has been the emphasis we have put on attracting retail - rather than institutional - investors. Indeed retail investors now represent over ¾ of #ATT’s shareholders.

Last year we completely revamped our Annual Report & Accounts to make it much more ‘user-friendly’. It really is a great read. You can download it CLICK HERE.

Last night we received the ultimate accolade when #ATT was awarded the Best Specialist Annual Report & Accounts Award at the Association of Investment Companies - AIC Dinner at the Savoy.

We are all very chuffed.

Photo shows #ATT Company secretary, Eleanor Emuss, receiving the award from Charles Cade of Numis.

Posted by Richard Holway at '06:58'

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Wednesday 16 May 2018

Unit4 majors on business value and an open platform

logoFresh from two days with Unit4 at its Connect Ambassadors event in Amsterdam where the focus was on developments to the Wanda digital assistant, a People Platform no/low code extension kit so partners and customers can build out from the core platform, plus targeted AI/machine learning use cases via Prevero’s Corporate Performance Management, it is apparent that the company is listening to its customers and responding to their requests. With loyal customers (many have been with Unit4 for well over decade) plus a stream of new customers (where 2 out of 3 buy into the SaaS model), Unit4 ‘s growing confidence shows in the levels of openness, on a business and technical level.

Like its customers, Unit4 is dealing with the digital shift that is driving transformation in the way it operates and what it offers. It is forthright enough to say it is an ongoing journey but progress was evident at Connect 2018. We’ll provide further analysis of Unit4’s developments and strategy but it is noticeable that where previously the company had tended to major on features and functions, its strategic mindset is coming to the fore: there is a determined focus on business value and the specifics of how and where Unit4’s portfolio can deliver business results for customers.

Posted by Angela Eager at '09:54' - Tagged: saas   cloud   software   machinelearning   digitaltransformation  

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Wednesday 16 May 2018

LoopUp bets the business on MeetingZone

logoIt's well over a year since we last wrote about AIM-listed London-headquartered conference call SaaS provider LoopUp (see LoopUp signals ‘moderated’ H2 profit) and it has to be said it's been an investor's dream!

Listing on AIM in August 2016 at 100p per share and a £41m valuation (see LoopUp dials into AIM), LoopUp's shares have just topped 450p on news of its proposed 'bet the business' acquisition of Warwick Holdco Limited, the holding company for UK-headquartered conferencing services provider MeetingZone Group, from private equity backer GMT Communications Partners for £61.4m cash. GMT acquired MeetingZone in July 2011 in a £38.5m MBO. Founded in 2002, MeetingZone had revenues of £11m at the time of the buyout.

I say 'bet the business' because this is a reverse-in by LoopUp, whose revenues were £17.4m last year compared to £22.4m for MeetingZone. Both businesses have similar EBITDA margins around the 20% mark. Whichever way you look at it, it's a huge meal to swallow, and LoopUp is planning to raise the dosh through a £50m placing at 400p per share and a £17m loan, given it had less than £3m cash left in the bank at the end of last year. The extra dosh will be used to shore up LoopUp's balance sheet, not surprisingly.

At first blush, the 'strategic fit' looks sensible though moves LoopUp away from being a SaaS pure-play to a broader conference services business, through MeetingZone's own audio conferencing services and its reseller arrangement with Cisco's Webex and Spark, and its value-add services product around Microsoft Skype for Business.

But strategic fit does not necessarily mean a marriage made in heaven, and the close relative sizes of the parties will undoubtedly present LoopUp management with their biggest challenge in the company's 15-year life.

Posted by Anthony Miller at '09:42' - Tagged: acquisition   placing   fundraising  

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Wednesday 16 May 2018

Fuse Universal raises $20m from Eight Roads Ventures

Fuse logoLondon-based learning management system (LMS) business Fuse Universal has secured $20m (c.£14.8m) Series B investment from Eight Roads Ventures.

The company, which was founded by CEO Steven Dineen in 2008, has developed a modular and flexible next-generation LMS aimed at the workplace learning market. The cloud-based Fuse platform has been designed to integrate with existing systems or replace legacy LMS and communication tools.

The workplace learning market is a competitive space, but one that is growing rapidly. Fuse has reported strong growth since its Series A funding round in 2015, which saw Education Growth Partners invest $10m in the business. It is currently working with over 100 clients, including major brands such as Vodafone, Spotify, Dixons Carphone, Merck, and Intercontinental Hotel Group.

The latest investment will help Fuse advance its work in machine learning and augmented reality, and support continued geographic expansion. Fuse also intends to use the funding to accelerate development of its FuseSchool platform, which delivers free educational content to children and currently has over 140,000 subscribers. As part of the deal Eight Roads Ventures partner Michael Treskow will join the Fuse board.

Posted by Dale Peters at '09:31' - Tagged: funding   startup   lms   learning  

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Wednesday 16 May 2018

Join us for An Evening with TechMarketView in September!

Don’t forget to book your places at the TechMarketView Presentation and Dinner on Thursday 13thSeptember – spaces are limited and over half the tickets have already been sold.

We are looking forward to welcoming some 250 UK tech CXOs to the evening event - held at the Royal Institute of British Architects (RIBA), in Portland Place London - for a heady mix of analyst insight and quality networking. Make sure your organisation doesn’t miss this fantastic opportunity!

For more details of the event see here or contact Tina Compton at our event management partners tx2 Events to reserve your place.

TMV Evening banner

Posted by HotViews Editor at '09:22'

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Wednesday 16 May 2018

Blue Prism updates on buoyant first half sales

blue prismToday’s trading update from RPA player Blue Prism for the first six months of FY2018 shows it to be ahead of the curve on scheduled revenue growth.

Blue Prism’s 2017 results released in January revealed continued growth off the back of strong sales activity (particularly overseas) which has clearly continued into the new financial year. 

The business took the decision in January to raise some £40m in cash essentially to further expand its global network and invest in its front-end sales and marketing capabilities. This appears to already be delivering securing 559 software deals; of which 223 were new customers, 298 were upsells to existing customers and 38 were renewals all signed during the first half of the year.

The RPA boom is showing no signs of slowing down anytime soon and indeed is benefiting from a maturing automation market where organisations are looking to deploy it in much greater numbers as it permeates ever wider areas of clients’ operations. Indeed, successful deployment in conjunction with complementary technologies such as Machine Learning or Natural Language Processing promises the potential for further growth as it becomes a more powerful and strategic tool.  

Blue Prism now expects to report revenue of £47.5m (FY17 £24.5m) for 2018 comfortably ahead of current expectations and an adjusted EBITDA loss of £18.9m (FY17 £8.3m loss) broadly in line with expectations.

Posted by Marc Hardwick at '09:17' - Tagged: tradingupdate   RPA   blueprism  

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Wednesday 16 May 2018

Worldline scores SIX to build lead in European payments

logosixIn another deal in the rapidly consolidating payments space, Worldline is acquiring SIX Payment Services from the SIX Group for US$2.75bn(€2.3bn), reinforcing Worldline’s position as the largest payments business in Europe. Management estimate that the combined entity will have 10% of the European Merchant Acquiring business and 20% share in supporting payments for Financial Services companies.

SIX, who last year announced its desire for a scale partner in payments, will receive a 27% stake in Worldline (receiving new shares, with Atos retaining a majority 51% stake) and €283m cash. The deal will close in Q4 2018.

SIX Payment Services enjoyed a 17% increase of merchant acquiring turnover in 2017 to over €75bn, with net revenue of €844m. In net revenue terms, the business is just over half the size of Worldline, which delivered €1.6bn of net revenue in 2017. The SIX Group will now be more focused on the operation of the Swiss Financial Markets.

The deal should accelerate net revenue growth across Worldline, with operating margins likely to be boosted over the next three years as Worldline management drive for synergies to the tune of €110m at the ODMA (Operating Margin before Depreciation and Amortisation) level. Management say that the deal will be earnings enhancing in 2019, with a “double digit” earnings boosted anticipated in 2021.

Alongside the broad portfolio of payments services (terminals, card acceptance, ATMs, payments processing) within SIX Payment Services, Worldline will own 20% of TWINT, the Swiss next-generation bank-owned mobile and P2P payment scheme. The deal provides more scale as well as leadership positions in Switzerland, Austria and Luxembourg and opens up more opportunities for Worldline to deploy its platform-based services and benefit from the trends towards Open Banking and innovative payment systems.

Posted by Peter Roe at '09:12' - Tagged: acquisition   payments   M&A  

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Wednesday 16 May 2018

Micro Focus holding steady after previous warning

When it issued a logowarning in March, Micro Focus lost half its value overnight. The release of its pre-close trading statement for the six months to 30 April 2018 indicates more of a steady state performance within guidance bounds.

The company expects revenue to be better than guidance of minus 9% to minus 12% (constant currency) when compared with pro forma H1 results for last year. Although revenue will be boosted by “an unusually large licence deal of approximately $40m, which closed earlier than expected” excluding this contract, first half  results are expected to be at the better end of guidance.

A $40m contract is a rarity within the software market these days so its signing is an indication of confidence in the enlarged company and that the issues that led to the warning – which were attributed to one-off transition issues from the Micro Focus/HPE Software merger – are being addressed. It will be interesting to see whether the contract covers Micro Focus or HPE Software products or a combination of both – the latter would be a tangible proof point of the value proposition of the enlarged Micro Focus. We’ll be looking for more detail when interim results are released on 11 July 2018.

Full year revenue guidance to 31 October 2018 is minus 6% to minus 9% and if the company reaches the midpoint management expects an Adjusted EBITDA margin percentage (one of its preferred KPIs) of approximately 37%. That is down on the pre-HPE Software figure 46.2% for FY17 but will provide a benchmark to measure improvement against. The trading update has been well received with the share price rising so far this morning. 

Posted by Angela Eager at '08:55' - Tagged: software   tradingupdate  

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Wednesday 16 May 2018

HPE buys Plexxi for hyperconvergence

HPE buys Plexxi to boost HCNHPE’s planned acquisition of software defined networking (SDN) specialist Plexxi will boost its hyper converged data centre proposition to support customer hybrid IT migration, and also marks the closer alignment of HPE’s solutions with partner VMware.

Terms of the deal were not disclosed but the 100-strong New Hampshire start-up has reputedly raised US$83m in funding and was last valued at $267m in 2016. It comes with a small customer base in the US including Iron Mountain, Washington State University and Kronos, plus an EMEA sales channel.

Plexxi’s technology is built on the concept of “intent based networking”, embedding virtualisation within integrated server, storage and networking solutions to deliver more flexible, automated application hosting and delivery options for larger enterprises and cloud service providers (CSPs).HPE buys Plexxi to boost HCN

The deal was announced on the same day that Plexxi upgraded its HCN software to enable closer integration with VMware NSX and vSphere, mirroring HPE’s own Synergy “composable” architecture which is also closely tied to (and marketed alongside) the same VMware products.

HPE’s hyperconverged networking (HCN) proposition is built partly on its own data centre hardware and partly on technology it acquired from SimpliVity for US$650m in 2017. Similar hyperconverged solutions aimed at large enterprises and CSPs are available not only from VMware itself as well as its Dell EMC parent, but also Cisco (which acquired Springpath last year), Huawei, Microsoft and Nutanix amongst others.

While there are many competitive players, we think hyberconverged infrastructure presents a big market. There is steady demand for upgrades to data centres populated by older server, storage and network infrastructure struggling to cope with the performance and capacity demands presented by increased volumes of cloud workloads, particularly when it comes to supporting hybrid IT delivery (read our report Azure Stack: Where Microsoft’s New Private/Hybrid Cloud Platform Sits in the UK Cloud Services Ecosystem here).

Posted by Martin Courtney at '08:32' - Tagged: SDN   HPE   hyperconvergence   Plexxi  

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Wednesday 16 May 2018

'Refreshed' NIIT Technologies looks to verticalised future

logoWhat really surprised me at yesterday's analyst event held by mid-tier Indian pure-play NIIT Technologies was when CEO Sudhir Singh explained that one in three Indian engineers were trained by its progenitor, and now sibling, organisation NIIT (National Institute of Information Technology). The veteran (35 years-old) managed training services firm has an outstanding reputation in its home country and it is this that NIIT Tech builds upon to be able to compete with larger Indian pure-play peers to recruit bright young things into the business.

Almost as surprising was none of the top management team that NIIT Tech fielded at the analyst event had been with the company for more than about three years. Singh himself only joined last year (see NIIT Tech looks to Genpact for next CEO) and has since set about recruiting management from top-tier competitors (see NIIT Tech moves forwards under new exec team). Most significantly, Singh has inverted the organisation from being 'horizontally' driven (by service line) to vertical market sub-sector driven, narrowing its focus to specific segments of the Travel & Transport, Insurance, and Banking/Financial Services industries. The very positive impact of this was brought to life in presentations by a number of NIIT Tech's European clients.

Also impressive was the success that NIIT Tech has enjoyed through its 2015 acquisition of Hyderabad-based Pega and Appian business process management consultancy Incessant Technologies (see NIIT Tech edges forward and acquires). This was followed a couple of years later by Incessant's acquisition of Idaho-based Pega consultancy RuleTek (see US driving growth at NIIT Tech) firmly establishing NIIT Tech's credentials in the BPM space.

As I always say, the truth is in the numbers (see NIIT Tech set fair for new FY) and under Singh's leadership the numbers are looking good!

Posted by Anthony Miller at '08:02' - Tagged: offshore  

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Wednesday 16 May 2018

UK IT Visa cap breached

VisaAccording to a BBC News report (based on research from CASE), 1,600 IT specialists from non-EU countries  who had been offered jobs in the UK were denied visas between Dec 17 and Mar 18 . These were Tier 2 visas designed to cap the number of non-EU skilled workers. The cap had only ever been exceeded once before - in June 2015 when just 66 applications were refused. So 1600 is a huge increase. The cap is 20,700 per year.

One theory is that EU IT workers are leaving the UK - or not applying for jobs - post BREXIT. Thus spurring the need for more non-EU workers.

I have mixed feelings about this. As readers know, I have long argued that we MUST train our own IT experts rather than rely on an external pool to always fill the gap. The visa cap should have spurred more firms to ‘train their own’. Of course, this takes time. But it is many years since the cap was introduced and it should have been reaping rewards - in terms of more home-grown IT experts - by now.

Conversely, most of the young tech companies I visit employ non-EU IT experts. Indeed many have been founded or are managed by such people. This has been one reason why the UK has such a vibrant tech scene. In turn, this can fuel the recruitment and training of our own talent.

Also, remember that IT visas are only offered to those that have job offers. So, rather than being a burden on the UK economy, they contribute immediately by way of taxes etc.

If you have views on this - or if your organisation has been affected by this cap - please drop me an email at rholway@techmarketview.com.  

Posted by Richard Holway at '07:48'

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Tuesday 15 May 2018

Mimecast FY18 revenue up 38%

Mimecast FY18 revenue up 38%Mimecast is showing no signs of any deceleration in its rapid growth just yet. The cyber security specialist saw strong demand for its messaging, backup and data archiving solutions in FY18 as public and private sector companies across all geographies continue to migrate their e-mail systems off-premise and into the cloud. Subscribers to SecureConnectViews can find out more in our Cyber Security Supplier Prospects 2018 report here.

The company grew its total FY18 revenue 38% yoy in constant currency to US$261m, with adjusted EBITDA reaching US$26m compared with US$12m in FY17. A GAAP net loss of US$14m (25 cents per diluted share) was significantly worse than the equivalent FY17 loss of US$5.4m, a symptom of big increases in RnD, sales and marketing and administration costs (including German data centre expansion). Gross profit percentage per customer was flat at 73%, but Mimecast continues to sign up more clients than it loses - 4k net adds over the 12 month period expanded its global customer base to 30,400.

The company's management appears relatively cautious in its outlook for Q119, forecasting constant currency yoy growth in the range of 26-28% and revenue of US$76-77m. That would be short of the 40% yoy growth posted in Q118, but still a long way north of our calculations for the UK cyber security market as a whole (read our Cyber security Market Trends & Forecasts 2017-2020 report here).

We have often wondered just how long Mimecast can maintain its stellar performance, but regardless of any slowdown we see strong demand for cloud hosted secure messaging continuing in the short to medium term.

Posted by Martin Courtney at '10:02' - Tagged: results   cybersecurity   Mimecast   email   cloudsecurity  

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Tuesday 15 May 2018

Capita wins Financial Services Compensation Scheme contract

capitaCapita announced its first significant contract win since the launch of its new strategy at the end of April. 

FSCSCapita is focusing on a small number of growth pillars, one of which is customer management where following a competitive tender it has been selected by the Financial Services Compensation Scheme (FSCS) to consolidate all of its claims handling services.

The contract is worth some £37m over an initial 4¾ year term with an option to extend for a further two years and will see Capita become the sole provider for all inbound and outbound customer contact for the handling of pension, insurance, mortgage, deposit and investment claims. FSCS claims handling had previously been provided by three separate suppliers one of which was Capita.  

FSCS is looking to use the new contract to help improve the customer experience and build trust in the sector through providing “smarter and more automated digital processes”.

This is an early positive endorsement of the ‘new Capita’ at a time when it is embarking on its own transformation project. Customer management and experience is one its chosen growth platforms and this contract shows it can win clients looking for next-gen services at a time when there is huge noise in the market concerning its own future direction.

Posted by Marc Hardwick at '09:45' - Tagged: contract   customermanagement  

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Tuesday 15 May 2018

MedCircuit secures funding for A&E software

MedCircuit logoManchester-based healthcare technology startup MedCircuit has secured £153,000 investment from NPIF - Mercia Equity Finance.

The business was founded in 2015 by NHS doctor Lanre Olaitan to assist nurses and doctors in A&E departments in the triage of patients. The software allows patients to check in using an iPad and asks them to provide details concerning their reason for attending A&E. It employs an algorithm and question tree approach to build additional information for the doctor.

The aim is to improve efficiency through the reduction in the time doctors spend taking notes at the start of a consultation. The clinical information provided by patients via the software means the doctor can spend less time on patient history, focus on clinical examination and speed up consultations. This should allow patients to move through the system more quickly and help to reduce waiting times.

The funding provided by NPIF - Mercia Equity Finance, which is managed by Mercia Fund Managers and part of the Northern Powerhouse Investment Fund, will be used to further develop the software and to run trials across a number of UK hospitals. MedCircuit also secured a £50,000 grant from Innovate UK in 2017 and a further £80,000 investment from the Oxford Innovation Opportunity Network.

The number of people attending A&E has increased substantially over the years. In 2017-18 there were 23.9m attendances at A&E departments in England (2016-17: 23.4m), with 88.4% being seen within four hours (well below the 95% target). For major A&E (Type 1) departments just 76.4% of patients were seen within four hours in March 2018 (compared to 85.1% in March 2017), the lowest performance since collection began. Improving the A&E check-in process through the appropriate use of technology may be part of the solution, but declining A&E performance reflects much wider and more challenging pressures on the health and care system as a whole.

Posted by Dale Peters at '09:29' - Tagged: funding   startup   software   healthcare  

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Tuesday 15 May 2018

Convergys shares rise on sale talks

convergysShares at customer services giant Convergys are up some 13% since speculation rose that it was looking for a buyer. The Cincinnati-based company, which has a market cap of just over $2bn, would be the latest in a line of contact centre players looking to consolidate. 

Convergys has about 150 locations around the globe (including the UK) that provide customer care, analytics, tech support, collections, home agent and end-to-end selling. In January it announced that CEO Andrea Ayers would leave her role after nearly 30 years at Convergys, including more than five at the helm, signalling a change in direction for the business.

Convergys like its rivals is being put under pressure by the shift toward the automation of customer-service functions and by consolidation among its client base. Traditional contact centre businesses are being caught between the need to invest heavily in automation technologies and delivering an increasingly commoditised service where margins remain under pressure.

This is helping trigger a wave of consolidation as companies seek scale to cut costs and invest more to transform their businesses. Earlier this year German media giant Bertelsmann announced that it is looking to offload Arvato CRM and we expect others to follow suit.

Posted by Marc Hardwick at '09:21' - Tagged: contactcentre   customerexperience   consolidation   convergys  

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Tuesday 15 May 2018

Gatwick Airport teams with HPE to transform network

gatGatwick Airport has completed an 18 month project with HPE/Aruba to install a new network.

The new installation had to happen while the airport remained 100% operational and will serve a range of airport users including 30,000 staff, 250 onsite businesses (e.g. shops and airlines), and of course the 45 million passengers that pass through it each year. hpe

Gatwick’s existing network was a decade old and although it ran well needed a lot of “hand-holding” and would not have been able to deliver the new technologies (e.g. IoT, mobility, analytics) Gatwick wants to introduce and scale.

Cathal Corcoran, Gatwick’s CIO, told me that one of the prime reasons the airport opted for HPE was the firm’s “end-to-end proposition”. In other words, HPE kit combined with HPE architecture and Pointnext’s service capability (see HPE relaunches Consulting and Tech Services as “Pointnext”).

In addition, what is clear is the importance of how well the HPE and Gatwick teams worked together. Corcoran talks about feeling both were “in it together” with HPE being “very much a partner as opposed to a supplier”. With so many businesses and services dependent on the network, and with such a tight timeframe, even HPE’s top leadership team were onsite at times to help ensure everything was going as smoothly as possible.

HPE will provide the on-going support of the network, which shows huge potential for provision of new technologies. We understand Gatwick and HPE are already in discussions around intelligent edge and IoT, but Corcoran is also thinking about ways to drive better value from data and developments around hybrid IT, among other things.

Posted by Kate Hanaghan at '09:04' - Tagged: contract   network  

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Tuesday 15 May 2018

appScatter bolsters security

LogoDevelopments continue apace at recent AIM debutante appScatter. The B2B company that provides a SaaS platform to distribute and manage mobile apps across various app stores is launching an app security scanning service. The move comes hot on the heels of the announcement of its planned acquisition this month of data intelligence specialist Priori Data (see here),

The scanning service, available to existing and new customers for an additional subscription fee, enables its users to highlight - and therefore subsequently address -  areas of potential vulnerability in their apps portfolios, such as security of underlying app users’ personal data. With both the EU General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) due to come into force in ten days’ time and wider concerns over data privacy at an all time high post the Cambridge Analytica scandal, the introduction of this new service by appScatter appears extremely well timed.

The proliferation of mobile apps, micro services and Function-as-a-Service capabilities as part of the shift to composable applications, distribution and management is becoming more of a problem and appScatter is very much in the right place. On the eve of its AIM debut eight months ago, which itself preceded the official launch of the platform in Q4 of last year, we commented that the company’s first challenge would be to maintain its heady opening valuation of £41.1m (see here). A lot of work lay ahead to both make the market and generate sustainable revenues. Judging by these latest announcements, appScatter has clearly set its shoulder to the wheel.

Posted by Duncan Aitchison at '09:03' - Tagged: saas  

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Tuesday 15 May 2018

Concirrus steaming ahead in marine insurance

logoConcirrus, a Little British Battler from the 2103 intake, has continued to make excellent progress. Central to their success has been the decision to focus on the marine insurance sector and apply their analytical and machine learning skills to driving real value within it. This has meant building significant domain expertise and creating an ecosystem of relationships to engage in the complex value chains within the sector. Concirrus has now become an influential aggregator of a wide range of data regarding shipping, vessels and ports, providing insights which can enable insurance companies to improve the management of their risk portfolios and optimise pricing and returns.

The company has recently added several important partnerships, linking up with eniram, (a subsidiary of Finnish marine and energy market specialist Wärtsilä), to access information from eniram’s operational and asset management solutions to drive better insight. AON is also on board as an integral partner and key player in the global insurance market. Last month Concirrus added a go-to-market partnership, working with EY to accelerate adoption of its new, behaviour-based approach to underwriting and risk management in marine insurance.

Overall growth for Concirrus in 2017 was held back by some divestments, although the marine-related business reportedly doubled. Growth of over 50% is anticipated for the current year. The company is just completing a syndicated funding round which is expected to sustain the business until it reaches profitability.

The company is still seeking out new data sets to further enhance its risk insights and could broaden its service portfolio. Having established significant momentum and a position in the sector’s ecosystem, Concirrus is increasingly becoming a logical entry point for Insurtech companies wanting to serve this sector with new data sets and solutions. Concirrus looks on course for real success.

Posted by Peter Roe at '08:54' - Tagged: partnerships   analytics   big+data   insurance   insurtech  

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Tuesday 15 May 2018

Colao stands down amidst mixed Vodafone FY18 results

The UK again underperformed for Vodafone with organic FY18 service revenue down 3.5% to €6.1m including the impact of alterations to handset financing and regulatory caps on roaming charges. Management changes are afoot with current chief executive Vittorio Colao stepping down in October after 10 years at Vodafone’s helm, replaced by current CFO Nick Read, previously head of the UK business and before that the Africa, Asia and Middle East division.

Any UK progress was driven by consumer mobile and fixed line sales, whilst the enterprise business continued to decline in the face of fierce broadband price competition (a situation which Vodafone hopes its partnership deal with CityFibre could address). Adjusted UK EBITDA grew 52% and adjusted EBITDA margin 25% but only 1.4% and 0.3% respectively when changes in handset financing and regulatory settlements are factored in.

Whilst core UK service revenue has been shrinking, Vodafone has put a lot of effort into growing its international business, acquiring CYTA Telecommunications in Greece and outlining plans to merge with Idea Cellular in India and buy Liberty Global assets in Germany and Eastern Europe. On a global basis Vodafone Group revenue slipped 2% yoy to €46.6m (primarily due to declilnes in India), but adjusted EBITDA rose 4% to €14.7m (up 12% organically). A FY17 net loss of €6m was turned into a €2.8m profit in FY18 after momentum in data, fixed/convergence and enterprise sales.

The enterprise business expanded by a modest 1% globally driven by growth in emerging markets whilst also being impacted by roaming caps and price competition in Europe. Though still small, turnover from Internet of Things (IoT) connectivity (including M2M) was up 14% yoy. Vodafone has now hooked up 68m active SIMs to its IoT platform including 14.4m vehicles (helped by deals with Admiral and Continental, see our report IoT: Network Providers Push to Supplant IT Services Players for a detailed appraisal of Vodafone’s IoT business).

The UK may not be Read’s first priority, but it accounts for 15% of the Group total and we think the new chief executive will be looking for domestic improvement nevertheless.

Posted by Martin Courtney at '08:52' - Tagged: results   mobileinternet   mobile   Vodafone   telecommunications   LibertyGlobal  

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Tuesday 15 May 2018

Mercia appraises Clear Review with £0.5m funding

logoHRTech comes in many flavours, from 'full-fat' apps as provided by the usual suspect big brands, which are now being 'disrupted' by new kids on the block such as the unfortunately named Hibob; and point solutions from startups such as Peakon (employee satisfaction assessment) and StatusToday (employee productivity tracking – read 'spyware').

Adding to the point solution list comes London-based 'continuous appraisal' startup Clear Review, which has just secured a £0.5m investment from Mercia Fund Managers. Launched in 2016 by former Sony Music HR Director Stuart Hearn, Clear Review eschews the annual employee performance appraisal model in favour of a SaaS-based system for running ad-hoc performance reviews and feedback, also apparently referred to by the HR cognoscenti as 'agile performance management'. Hearn appears to have a bit of a track record in this space since his time at Sony Music. He previously co-founded the now defunct OneTouchTeam 'HR toolkit' as well as (still funct) HR consultancy plusHR.

There is clearly room in the HRtech market for high-function point solutions which go deeper than full-fat HR systems might go in their specific niches. But for me the key to success of these point solutions would be their ability to seamlessly integrate with the brand-name products. In that respect I am not sure Clear Review is quite there yet, offering 'automated data imports and exports' to popular mainstream systems rather than (as far as I can see) full API integration. But perhaps the new funding can help them towards that next step.

Posted by Anthony Miller at '07:59' - Tagged: funding   startup   hrtech  

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Monday 14 May 2018

Mphasis breaks through the billion-dollar barrier

logoOdd they didn't shout it from the hilltops, but Blackstone-controlled, Bangalore-based mid-tier offshore services firm Mphasis broke through the billion-dollar barrier in the year just closed (to 31st March), registering 12% headline growth in USD terms to $1.02B. Well done them! In reported terms, FY revenues grew by 7.7% to Rs65.46B, and operating margins expanded 50 bps to 15.1%.

Perhaps more surprisingly, the proportion of revenues Mphasis generated from ex-parent(s) HP/DXC has being gently rising for several quarters, albeit still only constitutes 26% of the total. Back in the day this was more like two-thirds (see HP/EDS: Anatomy of an offshore delivery unit).

There was a hint that Mphasis' renewed interest in Europe was starting to have some effect (see Mphasis to take sharper aim at Europe) with the percentage of revenues from our region up a tad to 11% in Q4, the highest level for many quarters. But there's still a ways to go.

By the way, Mphasis is one of the very few players that reports its average billing rates. While offshore billing rates have barely moved over the last year, onsite billing rates for application services rose by 8% to $83 per hour, while billing rates for ITO/Infrastructure services jumped by 16% to $81 per hour. That's around £500 per day in our terms. Comparable offshore rates were around $20 per hour. It looks like there's still plenty of life left in the offshore labour arbitrage model.

Posted by Anthony Miller at '17:31' - Tagged: results   offshore  

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Monday 14 May 2018

Eckoh Trading Update shows good progress

logoHotViews has consistently followed the fortunes of AIM-listed Eckoh over the past five years as this provider of contact centre and secure payment solutions built its US business and established a strong position with its patented CallGuard payment solution.

Today’s trading update reinforces the message that good progress is being made in the US, with new contract wins totalling over US$9m in the year and that the UK operation is benefiting from a recent shake-up with respect to the organisation of the sales team. The company also has a strong pipeline and net cash of £3.6m. Management confirm that trading for the year to end March 2018 was in line with market expectations.

Posted by Peter Roe at '09:39' - Tagged: security   callcentres   payments  

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Monday 14 May 2018

StatPro lands another big fish

logoIn March we commented on the significant progress of StatPro, the provider of SaaS-based portfolio management and analytics solutions, after it reported on a “transformational” year. See “StatPro steps up in 2017”.

Then they highlighted their success with the larger asset managers, with ten of the top fifteen using StaPro systems and a consistent trend to increase share of wallet.

One of the key measures of continued success will be the company’s ability to handle ever-larger and more complex contracts with the big players in this industry. The broad catalogue of cloud-based services now offered by StatPro, spiced up by the added capability and credibility acquired with its purchase of the Delta operation from UBS, gives the company additional competitive advantage.

Asset managers are enthusiastically trying to reduce IT and system costs and complexity, looking to a narrowing group of suppliers while at the same time increasing the sophistication of the services they offer their clients and use to manage their portfolios. Many asset managers are also looking to the fund administrator community for a wide range of services to support their operations and fulfil their regulatory obligations.

revStatPro has been working hard with this community, developing them as a major channel to market and can now announce the signing of a multi-year cloud conversion and extension contract with a top ten global fund administrator. This deal will be worth over £0.5m a year as the customer converts its StatPro Seven systems to StatPro Revolution. This will enable the fund administrator to offer an evolving range of services from StatPro’s single platform solution, providing StatPro’s cloud-based services with additional scale and momentum.

Posted by Peter Roe at '09:19' - Tagged: cloud   software   financialservices   regulation  

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Monday 14 May 2018

Symantec FY clouded by investigation

Symantec FY clouded by investigation concernsWith Symantec’s FY18 results overshadowed by news of an internal investigation being conducted by its audit committee, the company will want to clear things up quickly to minimise the fallout from investors, business partners and customers.

The inquiry was prompted in connection with concerns raised by a former employee. Symantec said it may miss the deadline to file its annual 10-K report to the US Security and Exchange Commission (which has been notified of the situation) and have to restate some financial results and its Q1/FY guidance, but declined to discuss the matter further during its earnings presentation.

Investors reacted badly to the news late Thursday, with Symantec’s stock value falling by a third (wiping around US$6bn of the cyber security supplier’s market value according to some estimates).

Putting uncertainty aside the results (if correct) indicate FY18 was a good year for Symantec. Reported GAAP revenue was up 21% yoy to US$4.8bn and net income hit the dizzying heights of US$1.2bn compared to a US$106m net loss in FY17 when acquisition and restructuring costs took their toll.

Symantec appears keen to follow the right course of action but the probe will take time and we find it hard to pass informed comment on FY18 results until we can be sure of their accuracy.

What happens next will have a significant impact on Symantec’s business and reputation. Other companies (such as BT and Redcentric) have emerged heavily bruised but not irrevocably battered after going public about financial irregularities, with executive casualties and restructuring the order of the day.

Whatever the findings of its own investigation, Symantec must lay itself bare to scrutiny to maintain trust in its management and strategy.

Posted by Martin Courtney at '08:56' - Tagged: results   cybersecurity   investigation   Symantec   audit  

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Monday 14 May 2018

*NEW RESEARCH* Capita - The Road to Reinvention

capitaCapita is the largest UK BPS player and remains an important bellwether for the market more generally and its woes since 2016 have been well documented.

New CEO Jonathan Lewis has been onboard since December last year and took the opportunity of the annual results announcement to launch the outcomes of his strategic review and proposed transformation plan. 

If Lewis is successful Capita will look very different in three years’ time. His plan to ‘fix’ Capita is ambitious and makes some bold calls that will require significant investment and crucially changes to the company’s culture, personnel and operating model.

This report represents our initial assessment of the new strategy and transformation programme highlighting some of the likely hurdles that will need to be overcome in coming months if Lewis is to get Capita back on track.

BusinessProcessViews' subscribers can download ‘Capita - The Road to Reinvention’ now. If you are not yet a subscriber, please contact Deb Seth to find out more.

Posted by Marc Hardwick at '08:11' - Tagged: strategy   newresearch   Capita  

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Monday 14 May 2018

Cognism raises £2m to cleanse more data

logoTechnically headquartered in London, but with its beating heart in Macedonia, data cleansing startup Cognism has raised £2m in a funding round led by prior seed investor South Central Ventures, alongside Newable Private Investing, the London Co-Investment Fund, Start-up Funding Club and individual backers. Founded in 2016, Cognism claims 80 paying customers across Europe and America. Cognism's product is designed to be used with popular CRM systems with the aim of generating B2B sales leads, which is how, one assumes, they found their first 80 customers perhaps?

Posted by Anthony Miller at '07:47' - Tagged: funding   startup  

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Monday 14 May 2018

InterQuest founder aims to exit AIM

logoAfter wandering in No-Man's land for the past six months, some of which time without a Nomad to lead the way (see New Nomad leads InterQuest back to No-Man’s-Land), Gary Ashworth, founding executive chairman of IT recruitment firm InterQuest is making what I can only assume is a last-ditch effort to delist the company.

His MBO vehicle, Chisbridge, which currently controls around 58% of InterQuest's voting rights, is leading a proposal to buy out remaining shareholders at 24p per share, a premium of just over 20% on Friday's 19.8p close. InterQuest's shares, which once tipped £1 a couple of years ago, have been in graceful decline ever since. More recently, InterQuest acquired a company in which Ashworth and fellow Chisbridge partner Luke Johnson hold shares (see InterQuest keeps it in the family)

As far as I am aware, InterQuest's dissenting (and now sole) non-exec director David Higgins is still holding out against the 'coup', and had previously rallied opposing forces when Chisbridge's offer stood at 42p per share back in June last year (see Higgins hits out at InterQuest MBO bid). According to the InterQuest 2017 Annual Report, Higgins does not hold any shares in the company.

Perhaps the remaining shareholders might now be finally tempted to take the money and run!

Posted by Anthony Miller at '07:22' - Tagged: recruitment   delisting  

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