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UKHotViewsPremium - An Individual Subscription
20 Sep 2018
How tech companies evaluate and implement business systems
20 Sep 2018
Seeing Machines: the vision to drive strategic change
19 Sep 2018
Cleveland Police looks ahead to 2020
19 Sep 2018
Nationwide talking big on digital
19 Sep 2018
Learning People attracts Talis Capital investment
19 Sep 2018
Accesso grows under new leadership
19 Sep 2018
Rated People is new location for Channel 4 investment
19 Sep 2018
Capgemini and AWS get strategic
19 Sep 2018
UiPath now valued at $3bn
19 Sep 2018
Blippar augments funding but losses are reality
19 Sep 2018
Cognizant advances Salesforce skills with ATG
19 Sep 2018
Apply NOW to join the next Great British Scaleup Event: 13-14 November
19 Sep 2018
Webinar: Decrease risk, increase innovation and improve security
19 Sep 2018
Bango betting on data to drive profitable growth
18 Sep 2018
PwC finds the consulting going heavy
18 Sep 2018
SCISYS buses into new TfL contract
18 Sep 2018
Oracle under the wrong sort of cloud
18 Sep 2018
Saleforce's Marc Benioff buys Time
18 Sep 2018
Snooper startup Shepper snaps up funding
18 Sep 2018
CloudCall H1 turnover up 30%
18 Sep 2018
MortgageGym completes £3.8m funding
18 Sep 2018
Trouble ahead for Smart Meter Systems?
18 Sep 2018
Glasswall smashes £15m funding
17 Sep 2018
Microsoft hooks into AI no code with Lobe
17 Sep 2018
Labrador looks to sniff out energy savings
17 Sep 2018
Reimagine your business potential
17 Sep 2018
Infosys burnishes Nordic cloud credentials with Fluido
17 Sep 2018
Check Point partners BlackBerry on mobile security
14 Sep 2018
Posh furniture portal Clippings designs in $15m funding
14 Sep 2018
Unlock deeper analysis and searchable insight with UKHotViews Premium
14 Sep 2018
Adobe's Q3 baker's dozen
14 Sep 2018
Summer sees deeper dip in European TMT M&A
14 Sep 2018
Oh what a night!
14 Sep 2018
SafeCharge strengthens
13 Sep 2018
UKFast launches new data centre to drive government business
13 Sep 2018
Capgemini reshapes consulting
13 Sep 2018
Tonight's the night!
13 Sep 2018
AXA PPP 'channel' Equipsme equipped with £2.5m
13 Sep 2018
Magnetic Media’s machine learning irresistible to Deloitte
13 Sep 2018

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Thursday 20 September 2018

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UKHotViewsPremium - An Individual Subscription

If you’re a keen UKHotViews reader - who isn’t fortunate enough to have access to a corporate subscription to TechMarketView research - you can now subscribe to UKHotViews Premium, a new service for individuals.

Until now, this invaluable resource – the combination of our searchable UKHotViews archive and our more in-depth UKHotViewsExtra analysis - was only available to our corporate subscribers as part of a subscription to one or more of our focused research streams. But we recognise that there are many individuals that would benefit from access to this rich, searchable source of insight too, so we’ve launched a new service, UKHotViews Premium, especially for you.

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Posted by HotViews Editor at '00:00'

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Wednesday 19 September 2018

Seeing Machines: the vision to drive strategic change

logoAs a company providing computer vision capability into the transport sector, with a tight remit on safety, Seeing Machines is in the right place at the right time. This is reflected in revenue growth for the year to 30 June 2018 which saw an impressive 117% increase to Aus$30.7m. This follows strong underlying performance in the previous year.

Howver, its task now is to shifting its operating model so it can concentrate on core capabilities - real-time identification and understanding of operators/drivers through AI/machine learning analysis of heads, faces and eyes. This enables driver/operator identification, the ability to monitor for attention and detect drowsiness and distraction. The Australian HQ’d, AIM listed company also has a large and valuable data set based on real world data from connected vehicles that it will continue to build, using it to improve its algorithms and drive recurring revenue from data services.

Costs have been rising and losses deepening as the company sought to cover increasing levels of activity across multiple transport markets – automotive, commercial fleet, aviation, rail and off-road (mining sector). Net loss from continuing operations rose to Aus$36m in the most recent year, from Aus$29.7m. In its latest funding round, the company raised £37.4m gross in January 2018 to fund development and expansion.

Following a business review, Seeing Machines is making a strategic change, shifting to an indirect market model. This will allow it to concentrate on the development of its Driver Monitoring Systems while partnering with distributors, particularly around the commercial fleet business, to reduce direct costs. Its fleet businsess is the largest part of the operation and the growth driver - revenue was up 89% in FY18. The company  is moving in the right direction with several significant new OEM/distributor contacts in place and is building strong contracted minimum revenue streams.

Having been in business for two decades, Seeing Machines has waited a long time for computer vision to come to the fore. Now that it has, with autonomous vehicles leading the charge, the business needs to adapt organisationally to meet rising demand. Given the model shift it has a lot to do but it is in a promising position.

Posted by Angela Eager at '17:26' - Tagged: results   software   AI   machinelearning   machineintelligence  

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Wednesday 19 September 2018

Cleveland Police looks ahead to 2020

Sopra Steria logoIn a changing market, you can deliver to client expectations and beyond, but it is still no guarantee that a contract will be extended. That’s the key takeaway from the news that Cleveland Police Authority has decided not to extend, beyond its 10-year term, its contract with Sopra Steria; the contract is due to naturally end in 2020. The company has provided several outsourced services including ICT, control room services, and back office functions. Other services were also  added after the start date (see UK police SITS supplier landscape & market trends 2017-2018).

Cleveland Police Partner logos from Police Crime PlanCleveland Police has nothing but praise for Sopra Steria, its behaviours and its achievements, since the contract was awarded – originally to Steria - in 2010. The contract has changed shape over time with Sopra Steria applauded by the Chief Constable, Iain Spittal, for helping turn the partnership into one that is “outcome and quality-focused”. In hard figures, by 2020, Sopra Steria will have, through the delivery of operational efficiencies, innovative solutions and the transformation of the force’s ICT services, delivered cost savings amounting to £70m, as well as a further £2m since 2016 when the contract was rewritten to allow for greater savings.

According to the force, “Cleveland Police has evolved” and “the public sector climate has changed”. It is currently undertaking due diligence to determine how it will support its Police & Crime Plan going forward. There is no indication that it has ruled out private sector involvement. There is, though, a clear sign that any future arrangements will have to have a far greater focus on collaboration between blue light and other public sector services. As illustrated (and taken from the force’s Police & Crime Plan), the force’s partners are wide ranging. There will also need to be an even greater focus on operational efficiency and savings – and ensuring resources are directed to high priority areas. The force has seen a reduction in cash to its budget every year for the last six years and there is no sign of that trend abating.

Meanwhile, while the end of a contract is never to be celebrated, Sopra Steria’s track record will put it in a strong position to gain future work – and future contracts may well span partner agencies too. Moreover, the company has a strong reference site and has built up a wealth of IP through the relationship, having developed additional tools to help the force. Onwards and upwards!

Posted by Georgina O'Toole at '09:33' - Tagged: public+sector   contract   partnerships   police   police   police   police   police  

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Wednesday 19 September 2018

Nationwide talking big on digital

logoAnother UK bank lifting the veil somewhat on its IT plans is Nationwide, outlining its latest strategy in its grandly-titled report “Redefining service for a digital world”.

Nationwide stands apart from many other leading banks and building societies. From 2008 onwards, it underwent a painful rationalisation, both in the core and in its front-office. This included moving to more standardised software and a modern banking platform. It also transformed the relationship between Nationwide and major SITS vendors, particularly IBM, Microsoft and SAP, with the bank taking on more of a system integrator role.

This forward step has allowed Nationwide to be more agile and innovative in its approach, for example, in Low code, with Netcall, AI-assisted service desks, with Capgemini and digital marketing services, with Communisis.

The bank’s new 5-year plan, which should benefit from a better macro-environment and stronger balance sheet than after 2008, will drive total investment over 5 years of £4.1bn, up £1.5bn on the previously planned level. The central themes of the plan are again simplification and better customer/user experience, with new technology platforms, end-to-end customer journeys, leveraging better insight from data and a leaner operating model. Automation, cloud and shared services will feature large as Nationwide embraces Open Banking and renews its branch format and customer channels. A significant investment is planned in re-skilling, including a new UK technology hub.

Nationwide’s current Deputy Chief Executive of Nationwide, Tony Prestedge, became the bank’s COO half-way through the earlier transformation project. Knowing “where the bodies are buried” should help him provide strategic leadership and control of the new project.

Nationwide looks to have a better starting point and a cleaner organisational structure than many other banks, this could ensure faster deployment of innovation and create a good shop window for vendors’ capabilities.

Posted by Peter Roe at '09:31' - Tagged: cloud   legacy   banking   digital   AI   CX  

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Wednesday 19 September 2018

Learning People attracts Talis Capital investment

Learning People logoLondon-based venture capital firm Talis Capital has announced a $2.5m (c.£1.9m) investment in online training company Learning People and its B2B subsidiary SkillsFox.

Launched in 2010, Hove-based Learning People provides online training to individuals across a range of business areas, including cyber security, coding, project management, and digital marketing. Its SkillsFox business, which was founded last year, aims to provide businesses with the tools to upskill their workforce in areas such as cyber security, cloud, project management, compliance and leadership skills.

The new funds will be used to back plans for geographical expansion, platform development and the creation of new products for both its B2C and B2B clients. As part of the deal Tony Glass, formerly General Manager EMEA of online training business Skillsoft, has joined Learning People and SkillsFox as a member of the Advisory Board. Talis will hope he can use his learning and development industry experience to help the business achieve scale. Skillsoft was acquired by Charterhouse Capital Partners for $2bn in 2014.

There is clearly huge demand from businesses and organisations for help in addressing the digital skills gap and upskilling their workforce in specialist areas such as cybercrime. Online training is a hugely competitive space, but the business is growing well, with more than 15,000 students having enrolled on to its courses and its new B2B business already attracting significant clients including BP, KPMG and Vodafone.

Posted by Dale Peters at '09:25' - Tagged: funding   startup   skills   e-learning  

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Wednesday 19 September 2018

Accesso grows under new leadership

AccessoInterim results from Accesso, the software provider to the leisure and entertainment industry shows it to be making good progress under new CEO Paul Noland. Revenue is up 16.7% to $54.4m ($46.6m in H1 17) with adjusted EBITDA up a whopping 73.6% to $15.1m ($8.7m in H1 17).

Accesso’s core business focuses around established verticals of theme parks and water parks and adjacent verticals including ski resorts, cultural attractions, tours and live event ticketing, and has been performing well. Its significant exposure to the US market will have been helped no doubt by a strengthening economy there.

The 2017 acquisitions of Ingresso and TE2 have added both a range of additional capability and should provide opportunities for the Group in greenfield areas such as Healthcare and ticketing distribution. Progress was made here in the first half with a new partnership with Henry Ford Health Systems and work undertaken to further expand its distribution capabilities into the USA. We expect to see further growth here with the establishment of a new Health division and an increased focus for the business on international growth.

Posted by Marc Hardwick at '09:21' - Tagged: results   software   ticketing  

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Wednesday 19 September 2018

Rated People is new location for Channel 4 investment

logoChannel 4 has taken an interesting punt on consumer-focused tradespeople marketplace Rated People, leading a £5.2m funding round for the London-based startup, along with Downing Ventures. Channel 4 is investing through its Commercial Growth Fund, launched in 2015 to target 'high growth potential companies not currently advertising on television'. The station has put 'homefinder hero' Phil Spencer front and centre of Rated People's website as 'brand ambassador' (I assume Kirstie was otherwise engaged).

Founded in 2005, Rated People had previously raised $3.25m from Western Technology Investment and, prior to that, £3.5m from Frog Capital. Rated People lost £4m on revenues of £11.5m in 2016, its last year for which accounts are available.

There's a variety of both national and local websites that offer recommendations for tradespeople, including Checkatrade (now owned by home appliance insurer Homeserve) and consumer champion Which?'s 'Trusted Traders'. I would think you’d probably look at a few of these websites to try to find the best tradesperson for the job. Rated People is free for the punters but of course tradespeople have to pay to get their names on the list. Unless they can build either a dominant market position – and/or offer additional fee-based services – it could be a struggle to make money from what is little more than a tradesperson job ad platform.

Posted by Anthony Miller at '09:17' - Tagged: funding   startup  

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Wednesday 19 September 2018

Capgemini and AWS get strategic

LogoCapgemini and AWS are joining forces to accelerate progress in the enterprise digital Logotransformation space. Initially focused on the European market, the enhanced partnership will target opportunities for SAP migrations, mass application migrations, accelerated data centre modernisation, artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning (ML).

The joint initiative marks a maturing of the relationship between the two organisations which has been building over the past few years. The arrangement seeks to combine AWS’s extensive ecosystem of cloud technologies with Capgemini’s wider, global application and infrastructure services expertise. As a part of the new focus, the companies plan to collaborate to develop end-to-end customer solutions and accelerators. Capgemini also intends to increase nearly eightfold its number of AWS certified personnel to 5,400.

This is not the first strategic alliance between a major SI and a leading cloud services player to make the headlines of late. Earlier this year Atos announced that its was entering a major partnership with Google (see here). The potential benefits for both parties in these relationships are obvious and compelling; the ability to move up the technology stack in the enterprise arena on the one hand, better access to advanced technologies and precious skills - particularly in the AI/ML arena - on the other.

We commented in our latest UK SITS Supplier Rankings report that AWS now faces the second phase of cloud computing: encouraging large organisations to move more complex workloads onto its cloud. This brings the role of its partner ecosystem into sharp focus. The joint initiative with Capgemini is a clear example of AWS upping its partnering game. We will watch with interest to see whether this strategic relationship bears sufficient fruit for both companies to develop beyond its initial European focus into a world-wide programme.

Posted by Duncan Aitchison at '08:55' - Tagged: cloud   alliance   artificialintelligence   machinelearning  

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Wednesday 19 September 2018

UiPath now valued at $3bn

UiPathRobotic Process Automation (RPA) remains red hot with UiPath becoming the latest software vendor to raise significant amounts of cash.  

Series C funding has raised $225m valuing the business at $3bn and was led by Alphabet’s CapitalG venture arm and included new investor Sequoia Capital Operations as well as existing investor Accel Partners.

UiPath closed a $153m funding round back in March (see here) then valuing the business at $1.1bn and has raised more than $400m in total as UiPath looks to stay ahead in a rapidly maturing market. 

Some of the recent metrics put out by UiPath are quite remarkable with the firm now claiming more than 1,800 customers globally, adding an average of six new enterprise customers per day. This has seen its annual recurring revenue pass the $100m mark, up from $1m just 21 months earlier. 

UiPath like its competitors Blue Prism and Automation Anywhere is benefiting from a rapidly maturing market for RPA that has moved from a focus on educating customers on the art of the possible into scaling capabilities and increasing the intelligence of what the software can deliver, as a consequence RPA is increasingly becoming a strategic tool for digital transformation.

One area where UiPath looks to have stolen a march on the competition is in its focus on“democratising” RPA offering free training programs, a no-cost community edition and free online forums as it bids to gain critical mass in the developer community.

UiPath expects to end 2018 with more than 1,700 employees, a three-fold increase in 12 months, with operations in 30 offices across 16 countries.

Posted by Marc Hardwick at '08:33' - Tagged: funding   RPA  

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Wednesday 19 September 2018

Blippar augments funding but losses are reality

logoAugmented Reality (AR) may well be all the rage – but trying to make any money from it still appears to be elusive. Witness London Bridge-headquartered visual search startup Blippar, which lost more than £34m last year (2017) on revenues of less than £6m, which were down one-third over 2016 (16 month period).

Blippar had been commanding eye-watering notional valuations (see Blippar, Cortexica – What price ‘visual search’?) but has since had to trim it sails, closing its offices on the US West Coast and 'pivoting' to different AR themes. Although announced yesterday, Blippar's latest raise (Series E £28.2m) apparently kicked off with a £20m starter earlier this year (Source: Telegraph). Leading the charge were Candy Ventures and existing backer, Qualcomm Ventures. This sets Blippar's total funding since its launch in 2011 to over $130m (Source: CrunchBase).

In July last year, the FT ran an article headlined, "Can tech unicorn Blippar beat the odds?". Clearly Candy and Qualcomm think it can. Others may not be so sure.

Posted by Anthony Miller at '08:31' - Tagged: funding   startup   augmented reality  

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Wednesday 19 September 2018

Cognizant advances Salesforce skills with ATG

logoIt seems that Salesforce implementation capability has become 'de rigeur' for the Indian pure-plays (IPPs) of late. Just a few days ago, Bangalore-based Infosys announced the acquisition of Nordic Salesforce and cloud migration consultancy, Fluido (see Infosys burnishes Nordic cloud credentials with Fluido). And yesterday New Jersey-headquartered, India-centric Cognizant revealed it is to acquire Kansas-based, US-focused Advanced Technology Group (ATG), a Salesforce consultancy with a strong suit in 'quote-to-cash'.

There's scant detail on the ATG deal; as there is no SEC filing one assumes that not a lot of dosh is to change hands. By the way, this looks like as much a defensive play as offensive. It's not just that taking out ATG keeps it from falling into the hands of Cognizant's competitors. It's also that ATG trains up and partners with a host of boutique and global SIs including the likes of Accenture and Deloitte. I guess they may need to look elsewhere for their Salesforce skills!

Posted by Anthony Miller at '07:54' - Tagged: offshore   acquisition  

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Wednesday 19 September 2018

Apply NOW to join the next Great British Scaleup Event: 13-14 November

Don't miss out on the opportunity to accelerate your company's scale-up journey by applying for our fifth Great British Scaleup Programme event (GBS5) to be held on Tuesday 13th and Wednesday 14th November at the London offices of Great British Scaleup Programme Official Supporter techUK.

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.

Nearly 30 ambitious UK tech SMEs have already 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."

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 12-18 months – then please apply by filling in the application form on the TechMarketView website here by close of business Friday 5th October 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 Great British Scaleup programme, please drop a note to gbs@techmarketview.com.

Posted by HotViews Editor at '06:00'

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Tuesday 18 September 2018

Bango betting on data to drive profitable growth

logoBango, the Cambridge-based Direct Carrier Billing (DCB) company, has continued to build on its strong performance in 2017 (see ….bingo for Bango). End User Spend (EUS) going over Bango’s platform more than doubled to £220m in the half-year to June, enabling the core payments business to move to EBITDA profitability. Group revenue advanced by 54% to £2.64m.

Bango management are confident that their platform can continue to scale without significant additional costs and is increasingly putting more emphasis on data, as seen in a recent renegotiation of a large MNO contract. Here it reduced payment processing fees but opened up opportunities to increase revenues from its growing data business, recently expanded with the January acquisition of the Audiens Customer Data platform and the introduction of a new SaaS delivery model.

Bango is targeting the growing marketing spend of game and app developers that is directed through the mobile network operators. Bango aims to target this spend more accurately using the capabilities of Audiens and its extensive knowledge of DCB trends. Management suggests that this typically trebles the revenue addressable by Bango and drives higher sales and returns for both the developer and Google/Amazon. Progress in Japan in using DCB for the sale of physical goods for Amazon, success in growing Amazon Prime revenues in India via Bharti Airtel and new customer wins add to near-term potential.

The increased emphasis on data is delaying overall EBITDA profit, which is now expected in 2019, but should further increase the value of Bango to its App Store partners. Management’s confidence is underpinned by a pipeline of operator upgrades which opens up an additional US$4bn of EUS and by cash balances (following a placing in January) which should take the group to profitability and cash generation.

Posted by Peter Roe at '09:50' - Tagged: acquisition   ecommerce   big+data   payments   AI   appstores  

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Tuesday 18 September 2018

PwC finds the consulting going heavy

LogoPricewaterhouseCoopers LLP (PwC) has reported a respectable set of results for FY 2018 (the twelve months ending 30th June). The UK revenue growth rate of 5% held yoy to generate sales of £3.76b while profit for the year was up a healthy 14% to £935m. This enabled PwC to reverse the sequential declines in distributable profit per partner of 5% and 8% respectively in the last two years and raise the average partner pay-out for FY18 to £712k.

In terms of service lines, Deals had the strongest year lifting its top line by 10% to £711m.  From an industry sector perspective, a 14% jump in Public Sector revenue to c. £400m was largely off-set by a 2% decline Financial Services sales to £1.22b.

Echoing the recent performance of rivals Deloitte (see here), PwC saw growth of its consulting business, of which we estimate SITS activities represent c.30%, slow to a crawl. Revenue from this service line increased by just 1% (down from 7.2% last year) to £778m.  This was despite a reported high demand for IT related services including cyber, data analytics and GDPR.

PwC’s investment in technology continued apace as digital reshapes rapidly the world of business services. The internal deployment of cloud-based technologies such as Google Work, Salesforce and Workday was accompanied by the expansion of client facing expertise in AI, virtual reality and drones. The firm also opened Frontier in London, a collaborative space with clients and to bring its emerging technology teams together.

Posted by Duncan Aitchison at '09:48' - Tagged: consulting   resullts  

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Tuesday 18 September 2018

SCISYS buses into new TfL contract

SCISYS logoSCISYS sweet spot is supporting its clients in the delivery of complex business systems. And its latest £2m contract win with Trapeze Group (UK) is another great example. The company will provide software design, development and support services to Transport for London for its timetabling and scheduling in support of the Future Bus Systems Programme. The development covers data migration services, collaboration and document management functions, as well as systems integration services. Under the contract, SCISYS will also undertake support & maintenance following development completion.

Transport for London was already a SCISYS customer. Moreover, the company’s Commercial division upped its focus on the transport & logistics sector last year so that it could further benefit from SCISYS’ transport domain knowledge. SCISYS has always been good at fostering close relationships with its clients, allowing the company to have strong influence over how they spend their money. This looks like a case in point. We would have expected TfL to have turned to its IT Solutions Framework (see TfL selects its line-up for IT Solutions Framework), which does not include SCISYS; however, it appears that TfL chose a direct tender route for this requirement.  

Posted by Georgina O'Toole at '09:47' - Tagged: public+sector   localgovernment   contract   transport   systems+integration   development   support  

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Tuesday 18 September 2018

Oracle under the wrong sort of cloud

logoBarely there growth combined with cloud opacity in Q119 sent Oracle shares tumbling nearly 5% in after hours trading.

At 1% growth to $9.2bn, revenue was behind expectations but it was the lack of cloud visibility that was frustrating as Oracle continued with the reporting structure it introduced in Q418 that merged Cloud Services and Licence Support under one umbrella and Cloud and On-premise licence sales under another. The lack of cloud and on-premise separation is at odds with its previous reporting and its peers within the software sector.

Even with the new reporting structure, the inference is that cloud growth has shortened its stride. Cloud Services and Licence Support only grew 3% yoy in Q119 (quarter ending 31 August 2018). In Q418 the sector turned in yoy 10% growth, so there is a clear slow down. At $6.6bn this segment represents 72% of overall revenue but maintenance of on-premise systems will make up the majority of that. Cloud and On-premise licence revenue (9% of total revenue) declined 3% to $867m, following the 4% decline of Q4 when it represented 16% of total revenue. Hardware and services revenue also declined.

In the year ago quarter, total cloud revenue reached $1.5bn which was a 51% rise over the previous year, driven by SaaS sales, up 62% to $1.1bn, with PaaS and IaaS up 28% to $400m. That put cloud revenue at c.16% of total revenue and contributed to overall revenue growth of 7%. Looking at the 1% total revenue growth in Q119, we can surmise that the rate of cloud growth has plateaued as on-premise sales continue to fall.

Lacklustre performance follows the news earlier this month that president of product development Thomas Kurian has taken extended leave of absence. Oracle has not disclosed the reason but media reports suggest disagreements between Kurian and chairman and CTO Larry Ellison because Kurian wants to run more Oracle software on public clouds. Another concern is a class action lawsuit against Oracle relating to allegations over its cloud sales. The wrong clouds appear to be hanging over Oracle although it did report net income up 6% to $2.3bn which is not to be sniffed at.

Posted by Angela Eager at '09:29' - Tagged: results   cloud   software  

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Tuesday 18 September 2018

Saleforce's Marc Benioff buys Time

TimeI remember, back in the 1980s, commenting on how successful Chairman or CEOs of tech companies would buy a helicopter at the first opportunity. Indeed, I often joked that if you ever saw a photo of the Chairman’s helicopter hovering over the new fountain in the forecourt of the new corporate HQ - it was definitely time to sell the shares!

Then later the badge of success moved on to buying into a football or rugby team.

TimeNow we’ve reach the era of ‘I’m filthy rich so I’ll buy a newspaper’. Perhaps the highest profile such purchase was Amazon’s Jeff Bezos buying The Washington Post - much to the ire of President Trump. Then Steve Jobs’ widow bought into The Atlantic.

Today The Times reports that Salesforce’s Marc Benioff and his wife Lynne are buying Time Magazine from Meredith (who also own Fortune and other titles)  for $190m. Must admit I used to buy Time for airplane journeys. But now I just take my iPad/Kindle for reading material on such journeys. Indeed the reason for Meredith selling is a slump in sales of the print version - down from a print run of 3m to 2.3m yoy. Although online sales grew from 27.4m Unique visitors to 31.7m, the revenues generated nowhere near keep pace with declines in revenues from print. Revenues have fallen 9% in the last year.

Time’s most well-known feature is the Time Person of the Year (BTW - used to be Man of the Year). This could not just be people but ‘groups’ (eg it was ‘YOU’ in 2006 to represent ‘the individual content creators of the www’). To me the most famous cover was 1982 where the Machine of the Year was ‘The Computer’. Jeff Bezos (Amazon) was Person of the Year in 1999 and Mark Zuckerberg (Facebook) in 2010. Strangely neither Bill Gates, Steve Jobs or Elon Musk ever made it to the Person of the Year although they have all been on the front cover for other reasons.

Posted by Richard Holway at '08:52'

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Tuesday 18 September 2018

Snooper startup Shepper snaps up funding

logoI suppose it's more socially acceptable than being called a Snooper. Being a Shepherd, that is. I don't mean the one tending sheep. I mean a 'gig economy' worker who signs up with London-based startup, Shepper, to carry out 'on-demand inspections' on their customers' assets.

From just £10, you can hire a 'Shepherd' to nip round to your property to take some photos and jot a few notes (e.g. ' The rear gate leading to the backyard is open.'). Shepper also offers "more tailored data collection & task solutions for business across a range of industries", including "data collection for big consumer brands" and "evidence collection for insurance companies".

Founded in 2016, Shepper has raised $5.4m in a Series A round led by Aviva Ventures (the venture arm of the eponymous insurer) and Oslo-based (and usually Norway-focused) Idekapital Fund 1, along with various angels.

Shepper is not alone in the world of snooper startups. The more honestly named BeMyEye spies on shops on behalf of its clients (typically large multinationals), for example to check that their products are being displayed and promoted as agreed (see BeMyEye spies growth with Task360). Shepper claims to offer aspiring Shepherds 'full training and support' as well as insurance cover through its partnership with Twickenham-based 'on-demand' sharing economy-focused insurance startup Guardhog (via Hiscox).

I guess the time has come for the private detective industry to get 'disrupted'.

Posted by Anthony Miller at '08:42' - Tagged: funding   startup  

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Tuesday 18 September 2018

CloudCall H1 turnover up 30%

CloudCall H1 turnover up 30%Cloud telephony integration (CTI) specialist CloudCall continued its excellent progress in the first six months of FY18, growing revenue 30% yoy to £4m as it tempted more customers and end users onto its CRM focussed unified communications platform.

A rapid headcount expansion – the company now employs 141 people compared to just 40 at the end of H117 – had a detrimental effect on CloudCall’s EBITDA loss which widened to £1.5m. Its cash reserves too halved to £2.4m as it invested in infrastructure and people, though the company remains debt free after paying off its £900m deficit in FY17.

Management are confident those investments will pay dividends over the course of the full financial year, with new instant messaging and SMS products primed to boost turnover in H218. Having cleverly aligned its embedded telephony tools into leading CRM platforms like Bullhorn, Salesforce and Microsoft Dynamics it’s hard to see CloudCall going wrong in the near term.

Posted by Martin Courtney at '08:36' - Tagged: results   H1   CloudCall   CTI  

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Tuesday 18 September 2018

MortgageGym completes £3.8m funding

MortgageGymMortgageGym a London-based FCA-regulated mortgage robo-adviser has closed a £3.8m funding round valuing the business at £12m. Backers include LSL Property Services and existing investor GoCompare Group.

This follows a seed funding round of £2.5m completed last year and almost twelve months of integration with GoCompare’s services. The company also benefits from a partnership with LSL mortgage broker networks – which had some 2,300 mortgage advisers arranging £21bn of lending in 2017.

MortgageGym was started two years ago by John Ingram and David Vertannes with the aim of allowing UK homebuyers to complete their entire application online in 15 minutes through a free, online portal combining both robo- and live-broker advice.

This is an exciting area of Fintech that continues to increase the pressure on traditional providers to streamline what is traditionally a painful process for borrowers.

Posted by Marc Hardwick at '08:13' - Tagged: funding   FinTech   mortgages  

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Tuesday 18 September 2018

Trouble ahead for Smart Meter Systems?

logoI don't know whether to be bemused on concerned about chairman Willie MacDiarmid's statement in today's interim results from Glasgow-headquartered utility meter installation and asset management firm Smart Meter Systems (SMS).

In talking about the company's increasing investment in capacity, he referred to "the wider continued progress of the government-mandated programme, which requires UK energy suppliers to fit c.53 million new smart meters by the end of 2020." If management is truly basing its opex and capex plan on this timeframe, then, as they say (or rather sing), 'there may be trouble ahead' (see Smart Meter Madness (10): The long wait to 2025).

Notwithstanding that, SMS is one of the few beneficiaries of the government's smart meter rollout fiasco. Headline revenues for the 6 months to 30th June rose 27% to £46.7m, with GP increasing 18% to £22.5m, trimming gross margins back (again) from 51% to 48% (see SMS registers more growth on the meter). Operating profit grew by only 11% to £12.3m, pushing operating margins down (again) at 26%.

So long as management gets realistic about progress with the smart meter rollout, then SMS should be able to prosper on the back of it for some years to come.

Posted by Anthony Miller at '07:49' - Tagged: results   smartmeters  

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Monday 17 September 2018

Glasswall smashes £15m funding

Glasswall smashes £15m fundingLondon-based security software start-up Glasswall Solutions closed £15m of funding led by IPGL, the investment vehicle majority owned by Michael Spencer, founder and chief executive of financial markets company ICAP.

Glasswall has offices in London, Chelmsford and the US, and will use the cash to build further solutions and grow its customer base across North America and Europe.

The start-up has developed a cloud-hosted deep file inspection engine – FileTrust - that neutralises advanced persistent threats (APTs) embedded in email messages and common file attachments (Word, Excel, PDF, PowerPoint etc). For the moment, Glasswall looks very much like a one trick pony but its solution is in vogue with the growing trend that sees enterprise IT departments shifting security provision off-premise and into the cloud alongside their email systems (think what Mimecast and ProofPoint are doing with Office365, for example).

Although best of breed we think it may not be enough to tempt some buyers unless Glasswall can deliver additional, value added product and services in tandem however, meaning the £15m would be well spent on expanding that portfolio and building  APIs that link to other security tools to foster a "strength in depth" approach to cyber security.

Posted by Martin Courtney at '09:25' - Tagged: funding   cybersecurity   GlasswallSolutions  

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Monday 17 September 2018

Microsoft hooks into AI no code with Lobe

logoIt is noticeable that terms like ‘democratisation’ and ‘accessibility’ are being used more frequently where AI/machine learning is concerned as suppliers encourage wider adoption. Developments such as packaged services (see Machine Learning-aa-a-Service – market overview, technology, prospects) that can be used to speed up the creation of intelligent applications are also ramping up. Microsoft’s latest acquisition in the AI/machine learning sector - San Francisco 2015 startup Lobe - is in line with these trends.

Using a visual interface, Lobe provides the means to build deep learning models that can be embedded into applications. The drag and drop method is designed to attract less technical users - users do not have to be machine learning specialists or software engineers. It aligns with the growing popularity of low code platforms, the rise of citizen developers and ever present shadow IT. As identified in Enterprise Software Market Trends and Forecasts to 2021, shadow IT is seen as one way of driving innovation within large companies who might otherwise struggle.

As Lobe can be used to understand hand gestures, hear audio and read handwriting, putting an accessible tool in front of non-IT developers and tech-savvy business users with different approaches to traditional developers could produce some interesting outcomes. There is a limit to what can be achieved with drag and drop development but it can provide a starting place and encourage innovation. It will complement Azure Machine Learning Studio, which also provides a drag a drop interface.

Lobe (acquired for an undisclosed sum) joins Microsoft AI/machine learning acquisitions such as Semantic Machines (conversational AI), Bonsai.ai (deep reinforcement learning for AI within industrial control systems) and Maluuba (the search for general AI). It will continue to operate standalone (but with access to Microsoft resources) and be available across multiple platforms. 

Posted by Angela Eager at '09:17' - Tagged: acquisition   software   machinelearning   machineintelligence  

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Monday 17 September 2018

Labrador looks to sniff out energy savings

logoTechMarketView has long railed at the folly of the misguided government initiative to install smart energy meters in every home, (see Smart Meter Madness (10) and work back to see the extent of this sad saga). The case we have continually made is that there are other ways for people to monitor their own energy usage and take action to reduce their bills.

London-based Labrador (thelabrador.co.uk) looks to apply smart technology to automate and personalise energy switching. Labrador will monitor a consumer’s energy usage and check market tariffs and any specific contract terms. They will then recommend a change of supplier if there is a significant potential saving. If a smart meter is already installed they supply a free “Labrador Retriever” device which connects to the broadband router and tracks energy use, but they also offer a service for consumers with traditional meters. Labrador get paid by the energy suppliers (for the switch from one supplier to another) so the service is free to the consumer.

Labrador has received an undisclosed growth capital investment from Livingbridge, via the Baronsmead Venture Trusts.

All in all, this looks like an interesting approach and a good way of getting real value from your expensively installed smart meter.

Posted by Peter Roe at '09:08' - Tagged: funding   energy   AI   smartmeters  

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Monday 17 September 2018

Infosys burnishes Nordic cloud credentials with Fluido

logoInfosys CEO Salil Parekh is continuing his mission to 'get back to the knitting' and refocus the erstwhile exemplar offshore services star on its services roots with the acquisition of Finland-headquartered Salesforce and cloud migration consultancy, Fluido.

Infosys will pay a maximum of €65m cash (including earn-outs, etc) for the 200-strong consultancy, which was founded in 2010 and also has offices in Sweden, Denmark, Norway and Slovakia. Fluido is majority-owned by the Management team and private equity firm CapMan, with Salesforce Ventures having a minority stake. Fluido had already been working as an Infosys partner prior to the acquisition. Seems like a 'full' price but a sensible deal.

Posted by Anthony Miller at '08:10' - Tagged: offshore   acquisition  

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Friday 14 September 2018

Check Point partners BlackBerry on mobile security

Check Point partners Blackberry on mobile securityCheck Point’s ISV partnership with BlackBerry Limited highlights a growing emphasis on beefed-up security for mobile devices, though the Israeli firm’s choice of partner may initially seem incongruous.

Formerly known as Research in Motion or RIM, BlackBerry Limited is the original developer of BlackBerry smartphones, though the hardware is now owned by Chinese consumer electronics manufacturer TCL operating under the BlackBerry Mobile brand.Check Point partners Blackberry on mobile security

Rather, BlackBerry Limited focusses exclusively on enterprise software - including identity access management (IAM), automotive and Internet of Things (IoT) solutions alongside secure smartphone tools designed to make it easier for corporate customers to manage security on large fleets of mobile devices. The new partnership will integrate Check Point’s SandBlast Mobile threat prevention platform with BlackBerry Dynamics to enhance BlackBerry’s Unified Endpoint Management (UEM) solution.

Cyber threats targeting mobile devices are a growing problem for enterprise IT departments. McAfee’s annual mobile threat report highlighted significant year on year increases in spyware, banking Trojans, ad click fraud and botnet activity in the last 12 months for example, whilst it is estimated that up to 96% of smartphones do not currently have cyber security software pre-installed.

What’s more, mobile threats are notoriously difficult to spot amongst an avalanche of apps where the boundaries between spyware and the “just annoying” are increasingly blurred. The Pegasus spyware in 2017 was initially able to harvest data from iPhones before Apple thwarted the exploit for example, before subsequently morphing itself into an Android app.

We think the Check Point tie up looks far more attractive for BlackBerry though it should help Check Point get access to a select, but small, group of corporate buyers. Either way, the partnership is a good example of cyber security companies coming together to plug holes in their solutions and expand their business through reseller agreements.

Posted by Martin Courtney at '09:56' - Tagged: mobile   cybersecurity   CheckPoint   BlackBerryLtd  

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Friday 14 September 2018

Posh furniture portal Clippings designs in $15m funding

logoAt first blush I thought that London-based Clippings was just another furniture ecommerce portal. Well in a way it is, but it does have an interesting twist in that it's more directed towards interior designers looking to source high-end furniture from top brands. To that end it includes a Pinterest-like clippings feature (hence, one assumes, the company's name) for designers (or I suppose consumers) to create 'interactive mood boards'. Clippings also claims to offer tools to simplify the order management process but I can't see any examples of this functionality on its website.

Anyway, founded in 2014, Clippings has raised a further $15.4m in a Series B funding round, led by Advance Venture Partners, with participation from existing backer C4 Ventures, which led the £2.8m Series A round in May last year.

Furniture ecommerce portals are two-a-penny. Targeting a specific buyer community and providing integrated workflow tools sounds like a sensible differentiator.

Posted by Anthony Miller at '09:48' - Tagged: funding   startup  

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Friday 14 September 2018

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UKHotViewsPremium LogoUntil now, this invaluable resource – the combination of our searchable UKHotViews archive and our more in-depth UKHotViewsExtra analysis - was only available to our corporate subscribers as part of a subscription to one or more of our focused research streams. But we recognise that there are many individuals that would benefit from access to this rich, searchable source of insight too, so we’ve launched a new service, UKHotViews Premium, especially for you.

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Posted by HotViews Editor at '09:45'

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Friday 14 September 2018

Adobe's Q3 baker's dozen

logoThe Adobe double digit revenue growth streak was evident again in Q3, turning the ‘perfect dozen’ of Q2 into a baker’s dozen in Q3 as the company reported 24% revenue growth, nudging above market expectations, and taking revenue to $2.29bn. There was no sacrifice of the bottom line either as net income rose 51% to $66m. Although the company benefitted from the June 2018 Magento ecommerce acquisition that completed in June, organic performance was strong.

With its subscription shift all but complete the question is what’s next for Adobe. Its largest division, Digital Media, continues to grow at pace, reaching $161bn in Q3 (to 31 August) with 27% revenue growth. Attention is focused on the developing Experience Cloud which contains its marketing, data and ecommerce assets. At $614m it is the smaller of the two divisions by a long way but is in expansion mode having achieved 21% growth during the quarter.

If media reports turn out to be correct Adobe could add marketing automation cloud software provider Marketo to Enterprise Cloud as (unconfirmed) word is swirling that Adobe is in early talks with Vista Equity Partners who bought Marketo in 2016 for $1.8bn. There is a case for acquisition as Adobe has been ramping up its digital marketing business, including making the Magento acquisition. Marketo would provide a B2B enterprise level marketing automation component to complement the existing digital ad design, e-commerce website building and transaction capability, and the ability to create online customer experiences. It would also add further heat to the competition with Salesforce.

Whether the Marketo rumours turn into something or not, the Enterprise Cloud was created to enable Adobe to broaden its horizons beyond digital media, so we anticipate further acquisition activity.

Posted by Angela Eager at '09:36' - Tagged: results   acquisition   cloud   software  

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Friday 14 September 2018

Summer sees deeper dip in European TMT M&A

chartThe usual summer slow-down in European TMT M&A activity was much more evident this year with a 36% drop in the number of deals announced during August. According to latest data from corporate finance firm Regent Partners, the aggregate deal value was correspondingly lower. Valuation multiples were slightly lower with the aggregate Price/Sales ratio down from 1.7x in July to 1.6x in August and the Price/EBITDA ratio fell from 10.9x in July to 9.6x in August.

The top deal involving a UK company during the month was the announcement by HP of plans to acquire Apogee Corporation, a UK-based office equipment dealer and Europe’s largest independent provider of print, outsourced services, and document and process technology. The transaction values Apogee at £380m.

UK-based, Intertek Group, a total quality assurance solutions provider to a range of industries worldwide, announced the acquisition of US-based, Alchemy Systems, a leading provider of SaaS-based People Assurance solutions for the food industry, for $480m.

Other more modestly sized UK deals included Shearwater Group's £30m acquisition of secure networking and cyber security solutions firm, Brookcourt (see here) and West Sussex-based multifaceted tech services firm OCSL's acquisition by Germany-listed IT player, CANCOM. OCSL was chaired by former HP Enterprise Services Vice President, Martin Hess.

All of our commentary on the UK tech M&A scene is available to TechMarketView Foundation Service clients and subscribers to our new UKHotViews Premium service can search on the keyword 'acquisition' in the UKHotViews archive.

Posted by HotViews Editor at '09:10' - Tagged: acquisition  

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Friday 14 September 2018

Oh what a night!

picMany thanks to all our clients and friends who joined us for our sixth annual TechMarketView Evening last night at the imposing Royal Institute of British Architects.

All the feedback suggested that this was the best event we have ever run in every respect. The speakers were engaging, the content enlightening and the networking 'par excellence'. Add in the welcome drinks reception and first-class dinner and, as they say in the classics, 'what's not to like?'.

We have to thank our special guest, Andrew Johnson, Integrated Solutions Manager at Shell Retail, who was interviewed by our very own Martin Courtney. A new double-act is born!

Of course, the evening would not have been possible without the generosity of our sponsors, InterSystems, Aqilla and Brands2Life. And the event simply would not have run as flawlessly were it not for the magnificent efforts of Tina Compton and Tina Gallagher and their event management team at tx2events.

We'll be putting the photos up on our website next week so those there can remember the evening and those that didn't can see what they missed!

Posted by HotViews Editor at '08:32'

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Thursday 13 September 2018

SafeCharge strengthens

LogoHalf year results out today from AIM-listed SafeCharge (a provider of payment processing services, technology and risk management services for online and mobile businesses) show the firm building on the solid performance delivered in FY 2017 (see here). Revenue for the six months ended 30th June grew by 26% yoy to $66.8m. Gross profit increased by 20% reaching £33.6m and adjusted EBITDA was $18m was up 15%. Margins eased back from 29.4% to 27% as the company continued to invest in not only its infrastructure and processing technologies, but also strengthening is sales team.

On the operational front, processed volume increased by 59% to $6.7b with the value of transactions processed through its own acquiring platform growing from 19% to 27% over the same period last year. H118 also saw the launch of a number of new customers including the global ride sharing company Gett, the online retail platform The Level Group and the online ecommerce platform Global-e.

SafeCharge senior management painted an upbeat picture of the outlook for the remainder of 2018 and indicated that full revenue should reach the top-end of market expectations of around $130m. On the current business trajectory, sales of this level would seem eminently achievable.

Posted by Duncan Aitchison at '09:58' - Tagged: results   payments  

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Thursday 13 September 2018

UKFast launches new data centre to drive government business

ukfManchester headquartered cloud and hosting firm, UKFast, has launched a new data centre with the aim of meeting the growing demand it is seeing from public sector clients.

The “multi-million pound” investment is the company’s fifth facility and has the technology (i.e. supercomputers purpose built for deep learning and analytics) to enable AI services and provide the very high levels of security demanded by government buyers.

UKFast has now racked-up 18 consecutive years of double-digit growth and has recently doubled the size of its headquarters in Manchester (see Cloud services drives UKFast 2017 growth). This strong performance has very much been driven by the highly entrepreneurial approach taken by founders Lawrence and Gail Jones. We like their attitude towards investing in both the business and start-ups partners (e.g. UKFast makes canny investment in Reconfigure.IO), and what seems to be a never-ending supply of energy to progress UKFast (e.g. UKFast mulls flotation). We look forward to hearing about the new customers this latest data centre might help the firm win.

Posted by Kate Hanaghan at '09:53' - Tagged: investment   hosting   datacentre   AI  

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Thursday 13 September 2018

Capgemini reshapes consulting

LogoCapgemini has merged its consulting and creative businesses to launch Capgemini Invent. The new global brand combines the capabilities of Capgemini Consulting and key technology and data science expertise from the wider group with recent acquisitions of customer engagement firm LiquidHub, innovation consultancy Fahrenheit 212, and its three creative design agencies Idean, Adaptive Lab and Backelite.

Capgemini Invent comprises at its outset a world-wide, multi-disciplinary team of over 6000 specialists. Built around a core of increasingly deep industry content knowledge, the new unit focuses on the design, creation and trial of new digital solutions and future business models. It aims to be the front end for both its clients’ transformation initiatives and Capgemini’s large-scale implementation and run capabilities.

Capgemini is by no means the first of the major SI’s to establish a discrete digitally-oriented brand. Accenture Interactive, IBM.iX and Deloitte.Digital, for example, have all been around for some time (see our recent $5 Billion and Counting…Is the SI Creative Agency Gamble Paying-Off? report for more detail on this). Nor is it a radical operational shift for the Group. Capgemini Consulting has been the relationship owners for its customer experience, innovation and creative acquisitions acting as their bridge builders to the core business. It is nonetheless a significant change and one that also involves the consolidation of its three creative design agency brands under the Idean umbrella.

In our latest Application Services Market Trends and Forecasts report, we observed that the pace of digital adoption is being suppressed as enterprises continue to struggle with the what, when and how of transformation. We also noted both the need for consulting services in the digital age to become more multi-disciplinary and that depth of real business understanding is becoming an essential characteristic of differentiated go to market models. Against the backdrop of these issues, the establishment of Capgemini Invent is a logical and timely move.  

Posted by Duncan Aitchison at '09:47' - Tagged: consulting   digital  

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Thursday 13 September 2018

Tonight's the night!

Tonight's the night you've all been waiting for! We're really looking forward to welcoming our guests to RIBA from 6.30pm tonight for the much anticipated 'Evening with TechMarketView 2018'. We'll begin with a drinks reception, sponsored by InterSystems, followed by an hour of insight from our analyst team and guest speaker Andrew Johnson from Shell, and then enjoy a three course dinner. As a reminder, the dress code is business attire.

If you've left it to the last minute and would like to come, please do contact Tina Compton on 07710 320798  to see if we can squeeze you in.

For full details of the evening see our website: TechMarketView Presentation & Dinner 2018.

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Posted by HotViews Editor at '09:12' - Tagged: event  

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Thursday 13 September 2018

AXA PPP 'channel' Equipsme equipped with £2.5m

logoI hesitate to badge oddly named, London-based health insurer Equipsme as a 'real' startup because at first blush (and indeed at second and subsequent blush) it simply appears to be a digital front-end for a new offering for the SME business market from major health insurer AXA PPP. Indeed Equipsme founding MD, Matthew Reed, was the former head of global SME initiatives at the insurer and pretty much all of Equipsme's services (including underwriting) is channelled through AXA PPP.

That said, Equipsme, founded in 2017 and launched earlier this year, has just raised £2.5m in a Series A funding round led by Livingbridge, via funds from the Baronsmead Venture Trusts, and angel investors.

Equipsme's target market are SME businesses (2-249 employees) of which apparently 95% do not offer private health insurance to their employees. There's a good reason for that – they can't afford to! And I'm not sure they will be able to afford Equipsme's rates either, which start at £7 per person per month and rise to £37 pppm for its top level of cover. The lowest level of cover offers little more than 24/7 online access to a private GP – but why wouldn't you use the NHS Babylon Health app instead (see Babylon Health: better than a human GP?). You can also claim for up to 3 physiotherapy sessions under this plan, but again, your NHS GP could refer you for free physio anyway.

There's no doubt that Reed understands the private medical cover MGA (managing general agent – i.e. insurance intermediary) market. But AXA PPP has its own offerings for small businesses, as does BUPA and I'm sure many others. If you ran a small business and really thought you needed to offer your employees private health cover, why not deal direct with the insurer and have the chance to negotiate a good deal rather than through a broker?

Posted by Anthony Miller at '08:34' - Tagged: funding   startup   insuretech   insurtech  

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Thursday 13 September 2018

Magnetic Media’s machine learning irresistible to Deloitte

logoInteresting to see that Deloitte has acquired the AI/machine learning platform business from NYC-based marketing tech firm Magnetic Media and will pour it into the Deloitte Digital part of the business, adding to the Experience Services Platform. The intention is to provide Deloitte customers with more consumer insights and scope for personalisation and better data management but the acquisition also deepens the company’s push into the advertising and marketing tech space. It also emphasises consulting firms’ rising competition with traditional agencies and ad tech companies.

Deloitte is buying the technology platform and Magnetic Media’s data assets (as well as taking on board product and engineering staff). Terms were not disclosed. From its work collecting purchase intent data from search queries and browsing behavior to create anonymous consumer profiles, Magnetic has a valuable asset. Combining this data and profiles with Deloitte’s own data management capabilities and the Magnetic machine learning tools has the potential to be a strong combination. The Magnetic brand and offices will continue for the moment but will be incorporated in Deloitte Digital in time.

As TechMarketView explored in $5 Billion and Counting...Is the SI Creative Agency Gamble Paying-Off?, consultancies (including Deloitte) have been investing heavily in creative agencies - businesses which house various combinations of design-led thinking and deep marketing and branding expertise. There is evidence it is paying off so Deloitte’s latest move is on trend. What is notable is its emphasis on the experience aspect which plays to the breaking of boundaries between marketing and advertising and the rest of business functions and as was highlighted in Enterprise Software Market Trends and Forecasts to 2021, is a sign that digital transformation is reaching deeper into the fabric of enterprises.

Posted by Angela Eager at '07:56' - Tagged: acquisition   software   AI   consultancy   machinelearning  

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