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Wednesday 06 December 2023

*NEW RESEARCH* UK SITS market stalls

TechMarketView today issues its updated outlook for the UK Software and IT Services (SITS) market (click here). In this new forecast cycle we update the estimates published in the Summer to reflect current economic conditions and market activity in Q3 and Q4.Cover

The latest data shows that the UK SITS market unlikely to expand in real terms in 2023. As TechMarketView analysts tracked quarterly supplier results and buyer sentiment/action through the second half of the year, it confirmed that the headline growth numbers we published in our most recent Market Trends and Forecasts report in June are proving to be accurate. Factoring in the November assessment by the Office of Budget Responsibility of the average GDP Deflator for 2023, however, it appears that there will have been no underlying year-on-year (yoy) improvement in SITS demand over the last twelve months.

In our latest Market Outlook Update we take a deeper dive into the 2023 numbers, look at what’s been happening in the market since the summer and more importantly assess how the prospects for the coming year are shaping up.

TechMarketView subscribers, can read our analysis now. If you aren't a subscriber – or aren't sure if your organisation has a corporate subscription – please contact Deb Seth to find out more.

Posted by: Duncan Aitchison at 10:06

Tags: forecasts   newresearch   market trends  

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Wednesday 06 December 2023

IBM and Meta launch AI Alliance

ibmIBM and Meta have announced that they are creating an AI alliance, formed of over 50 organisations including IT services and software providers, LLM suppliers and a range of research and academic institutions, with an aim to build stronger collaboration in the development of safe and responsible AI.

metaOrganisations part of the alliance include; AMD, Intel, FPT Software, Oracle, Dell Technologies, ServiceNow, LLM providers Hugging Face and UK based Stability AI, as well as numerous Universities including Harvard, Berkeley, Notre Dame, Tokyo and Yale, and organisations from industry like Cleveland clinic and Sony.

The AI Alliance is focused on ‘fostering an open community and enabling developers and researchers to accelerate responsible innovation in AI while ensuring scientific rigor, trust, safety, security, diversity and economic competitiveness’.

The aim will be to pool resources and knowledge and the alliance plans to form working groups, and a governing board. It will be starting projects (or enhancing existing ones) around; benchmarks and evaluation tools, advancing the ecosystem of open foundation models, fostering a ‘vibrant’ AI hardware accelerator ecosystem (i.e. more than just Nvidia), and support building global skills and educational content to inform the public and policymakers on benefits, risks, solutions and regulation.

Notably absent from the alliance of course are Google, Open AI, Microsoft and Anthropic, arguably some of the largest competitors to both Meta and IBM (though IBM also partner with Microsoft and Google), all of which are taking a much less open-source approach to the development of AI models and solutions. Open-source has its pros and cons, it democratises access to AI, but also enables anyone, including for malicious use, the ability to easily access advanced AI tools.

With so many different organisations involved it’s hard to see what practical actions the alliance will be able to deliver, in many ways it just feels like an attempt to shift attention away from Microsoft and OpenAI. The absence of key players also means that the ecosystem remains fragmented, and any actions from the alliance may not be universally adopted, doing little to allay current concerns around AI development. That said, more collaboration and openness can only be a good thing, and if it helps accelerate the use of AI for societal benefit such as tackling climate change and address issues such as bias and discrimination, then this would make it a worthy endeavour.

Posted by: Simon Baxter at 09:56

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Wednesday 06 December 2023

Unilever and Accenture join forces on AI

LogoConsumer goods multinational, Unilever and Accenture will collaborate to explore new applications to scale generative AI. The two companies have worked together for the last thirty years and this latest initiative will focus initially on initially focus on three primary area: forecasting, modelling complex data relationships with graph technology, and generating insights of trends, patterns, and predictions through AI.

Unilever’s global AI Lab “Horizon3 Labs” in Toronto will take the lead on the joint efforts. Opened last month, the new facility aims to accelerate the generation of new AI concepts, designs, and projects that can be deployed and shared across the business globally. Built to provide a platform for collaboration and co-creation, Horizon3Labs will draw on Accenture’s AI expertise, ecosystem and assets. The latter include the firm’s generative AI-based platform AI Navigator (see here) and  its proprietary “switchboard,” which allows a user to  customise and manage foundation models.

Unilever, whose brands are used by 3.4 billion people every day, currently has more than 400 applications of AI across disciplines including marketing, supply chain, and research and development. For example, the company today has 50,000 ice cream freezers around the world that are AI-enabled to efficiently place the right product in the right freezer at the right time. The company also developed a bespoke AI solution that auto-updates product titles and descriptions on retail websites to respond to search trends to put relevant products in front of consumers.

As we noted in our Artificial Intelligence: Market Trends, Use cases and Suppliers report published earlier this week, the recent boom in interest surrounding Generative AI has galvanised corporate spending and moved AI to the top of the boardroom agenda. Unilever’s investment in Horizon3Labs and its collaboration with Accenture is the latest high-profile manifestation of this trend.

In related news, Accenture has also announced that it is teaming up with London-based provider of human-led AI solutions, Faculty. The Business & IT services heavyweight will become the preferred implementation partner for Frontier, Faculty’s AI operating system. Founded in 2014, Faculty helped over 250 customers across various sectors to build enterprise-level AI solutions. The company’s clients include HSBC, easyJet, Home Office, John Lewis and Sky.

Posted by: Duncan Aitchison at 09:39

Tags: generative AI  

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Wednesday 06 December 2023

IQGeo win with US tier 1 utility

IQGeoUK-headquartered geospatial productivity and collaboration software vendor IQGeo has announced a five-year, $3m contract with an unnamed “major tier 1 multi-service US utility” company to support field crew workflows across its electric and gas operations.

IQGeo’s mobile geospatial solution provides customers with a single integrated environment for managing workflows, and the US utility will put it to use supporting mobile use cases such as inspection and survey, as-built validation, and network fault tracing.

Whilst the US market does make up over 65% of IQGeo’s revenue, the company has nonetheless seen its UK and European businesses grow impressively in recent times – with UK revenue in HI 23 up by more than 300% yoy (to  £1.2m) and Europe up over 700% (to £2m), although some of this growth is acquisitive – attributed to the 2022 acquisition of Belgium-HQ’ed utility-focused software automation company Comsof (see Fibre and grid modernisation power growth for IQGeo).

If you are a supplier targeting the Energy & Utilities sector, make sure you read our latest analysis of trends and growth drivers – Market forecasts and analysis for UK Energy & Utilities.

Posted by: Craig Wentworth at 08:45

Tags: contract   geospatial   mobile   US  

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Wednesday 06 December 2023

CGI utilises AI to enhance underwriting efficiency

CGICGI has launched a new offering that utilises AI in an effort to help insurance underwriters work more efficiently and productively. The vendor’s new Elements360 Workbench solution aims to reduce the administrative burdens associated with the risk-pricing process to enable underwriters to focus more of their time on core activities.

Elements360 Workbench is a modular platform that aims to facilitate the rapid deployment of new underwriting capabilities. CGI’s new offering uses a combination of tools, data, and enhanced workflows. The vendor claims that Elements360 Workbench has the potential to save insurers thousands of hours each year by automating routine day-to-day tasks, which could in turn enable them to grow their books by up to 30%.

The growth in investments around analytics, AI and automation has been one of the most significant recent technology trends within the UK insurance sector. The pursuit of improved risk-pricing, enhanced process efficiency and reduced operating costs are some of the key factors driving this spend, as demonstrated by CGI’s new offering (see: Insurance Sector Suppliers, Trends and Forecasts).

Posted by: Jon C Davies at 08:17

Tags: insurance   CGI  

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Wednesday 06 December 2023

NS&I proves a happy hunting ground for Sopra Steria

Sopra SteriaBack in July we announced that Sopra Steria had won a three-year £92m contract as part of National Savings & Investments (NS&I) Rainbow Programme to transform its outsourced business process services. Sopra Steria is to deliver a range of Business-to-Business services on behalf of NS&I that will cover government schemes such as Childcare Services, Help to Save, Help to Buy ISA, Mortgage Guarantee Scheme, and the Court Funds Office.

This morning, Sopra Steria announced that it will also now manage NS&I’s frontline contact centre as the government owned financial services provider looks to digitise and transform its customer experience. Sopra Steria will also provide back-office services to NS&I, including managing the end-to-end internal banking service between NS&I and HM Treasury, HM Revenue and Customs, and the Ministry of Justice. The combined value of the contracts is worth £369m to Sopra Steria with service transition scheduled to begin in spring next year.

NS&I is proving a happy hunting ground for Sopra Steria as it looks to grow its financial services presence in the UK. NS&I should fit particularly well within Sopra Steria’s portfolio, sitting at the intersection of the public sector and financial services. NS&I is also a great reference client being one of the UK's largest retail savings organisations with 25m customers, more than £220bn funds under management, best known for its Premium Bonds but also offering a range of other savings products. 

John Neilson, CEO Sopra Steria UK, said “These contract wins solidify our position in the financial services market in the UK and reflect our significant investment in the sector. We’re ideally placed to create an exceptional customer experience for NS&I’s savers, having delivered many similar contracts, at scale, in both the private and public sectors……..Our skilled and experienced teams have worked hard to create a solution that ensures inclusivity and accessibility for all NS&I’s customers. We’re looking forward to delivering the transformational change NS&I needs.”

Posted by: Marc Hardwick at 07:47

Tags: contract  

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Tuesday 05 December 2023

East Hampshire District Council selects Civica to manage its property portfolio

CivicaEast Hampshire District Council (EHDC) has selected Civica to bring its property, estates, and asset management functions and processes together onto a single cloud-based platform.

The three-year contract will see the council roll out Civica Property Management for its portfolio of operational and commercial properties (including offices, leisure centres, industrial estates, business centres, and parks), providing a single view of the assets to “improve cost management and maximise revenue generation” as well as presenting “one cohesive service for citizens”.

It’s been a busy season for Civica’s property management offering, with Homes England also selecting the platform for its 9,000-hectare land and property portfolio in October (see Homes England selects Civica to migrate to cloud-based property management).

EHDC is the first win announced since news broke of Blackstone entering into a definitive agreement to acquire Civica from its current owner, Partners Group AG, late last month (see Blackstone to acquire Civica) and keeps up the momentum in the company’s local and regional government business – only a couple of days before the Blackstone announcement, Civica also revealed that Trafford Council was deploying the company’s Cx Regulatory Services platform to move regulatory service for its 235,000 residents to the cloud as part of a five-year deal.

Posted by: Craig Wentworth at 09:51

Tags: contract   property   LRG  

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Tuesday 05 December 2023

TPXimpact H1: Bucking the 2023 market trend

TPXimpact logoThe latest results from digital transformation services provider, TPXimpact, for the six months to end September 2023, reveal that the Group is bucking the market trend with its recent performance. TechMarketView’s latest analysis – that will be published before year end – will reveal a slowdown in the market throughout 2023, supporting our previous forecasts. However, over the April to September period, TPXimpact’s revenue growth picked up.

For the half, like-for-like revenue growth (considering the disposals of Questers and TPXimpact Norway) was up over 22% £41.6m. The acceleration is illustrated by 7% growth in Q1 followed by 38% growth in Q2. Speaking to me this morning, CEO Bjorn Conway, and CFO Steve Winters, pointed to the impact of large deals including wins with HM Land Registry (announced in May 2023) and the Department for Education (announced in the same month). But they also highlighted “just getting better at the way we do things” from monitoring the pipeline through to delivery. This impact is being seen one year after Bjorn and Steve took on their roles (see All change at the top for TPXimpact | TechMarketView).

Also growing in the period was EBITDA, resulting in a margin boost from 2.6% (H1 23) to 4.8%. That improvement reflects the way that the Consulting business (representing 67% of revenues) is managing itself. The business has become better at understanding its people, their capabilities, and their availability, and as a result, recruiting based on need and only using contractors where there is a specific need.

As things stand, following the aforementioned disposals, Public Services represent 90% of revenues (heavily skewed to central government at 60%), but the aim, with the appointment of a new Managing Partner for the Commercial business, is to grow there too. TPXimpact already has a strong foundation of commercial clients to build from. And, importantly, Bjorn, based on his prior experience at EY, is firmly of the belief that the transfer and translation of ideas between the public and commercial sectors benefits all. The other new appointment is of a new Chief Technology and Innovation Officer (CTIO) – Jay Bangle - to lead the Group’s technology and engineering teams. As someone who brings a deep background in demystifying AI and what it can do, he should – aligned to our newly launched 2024 Research Theme ‘Enabling Acceleration’ – help TPXimpact move clients on from the current planning, experimental and small-scale project stage.

TPXimpact remains on a journey, being only one year into its three-year plan. It remains loss-making at the operating level, largely because of goodwill impairment charges and continuing – though reducing - restructuring costs. And the employee retention rate, though also moving in the right direction, remains on the low side for a company like TPXimpact (at 86% in an annualised basis). But the progression is very positive. Its biggest challenges in the years ahead will be ensuring the successful delivery of its large deals, further cementing differentiation around its purpose-driven philosophy and weathering the expected General Election-related challenges in the UK Public Sector.

Posted by: Georgina O'Toole at 09:46

Tags: results   digital   digital+transformation   central+government   public sector  

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Tuesday 05 December 2023

AdvancedAdvT switches to AIM with more acquisitions on the cards

AdvancedAdvTAdvancedAdvT, the Vin Murria-led organisation that acquired five Capita software businesses earlier this year, has announced plans to move its share listing from London Stock Exchange’s main market to AIM with effect from 10 January 2024.

Switching the listing to AIM makes a lot of sense for AdvancedAdvT. The AIM market provides a more suitable regulatory environment for businesses of its size, offering more flexibility in terms of corporate transactions and providing access to a broader pool of investors.

And given Vin’s track record in creating value for shareholders over the years – she sold Computer Software Group for £500m in 2007 and Advanced Computer Software for £765m in 2015 – AIM investors are likely to see the appeal of AdvancedAdvT (even if its name is a bit of a mouthful!). Formed in 2020, the business (referred to as a SPAC) has the objective of generating attractive long-term returns for shareholders by acquiring companies, bringing them together and making performance improvements to generate long term value.

Having failed to get its hands on M&C Saatchi in 2022, AdvancedAdvT acquired five software businesses from Capita for a combined enterprise value of c£33m in cash in July this year. The five businesses turned over c£35m in FY22 with nearly three-quarters of that revenue being recurring or SaaS-based. AdvancedAdvT has now disposed of one of those businesses, Synaptic Software, to Fintel IQ for £3.5m in cash to enable it to have a ‘more strategically aligned owner’.

Going forwards, AdvancedAdvT has four businesses with strong recurring revenues that it intends to use as a platform to rapidly scale, innovate and build both organically and inorganically, much as Vin did at Advanced Computer Software. Based on the Capita acquisitions, its two platforms are focused on business/data and compliance solutions and on human capital management.

AdvancedAdvT also has some £78m of cash in the bank to fund further acquisitions and investment, so I have a feeling we can expect plenty more news from Vin and her team in 2024. With a strategy centred around backing sectors characterised by long term AI, digital transformation, data analytics and business intelligence trends that are in the early stages of adoption, they’ll be looking to acquire businesses that meet key characteristics including high recurring revenue, sticky customers and mission critical products and services. Watch this space!

Posted by: Tola Sargeant at 09:30

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Tuesday 05 December 2023

iomart feels acquisitive benefits

iomartCloud and hosting provider, iomart, has today announced H1 results and the acquisition of the entire issued share capital of Accesspoint Group Holdings Limited.

The initial consideration is £4.5m in cash on completion on a debt and cash free basis, with a potential further £500k in cash payable on the achievement of certain post-acquisition milestones.

On the results front, iomart saw its top line jump 18% to £62m for the six months to 30 September 2023. Adjusted EBITDA was up 5% to £18.6m. The Concepta and Extrinsica acquisitions generated £6m of additional revenue during the period.

The largest segment of revenue comes from the company’s core Cloud Managed Services business, which was up 27% to £37m thanks to “modest organic growth”, price adjustments, and a not insignificant £4.3m from acquisitions. In June, the core business hit an important milestone in returning to organic growth.

Accesspoint Group Holdings Limited is the holding company of Accesspoint Technologies Limited, which is relatively small (£3.8m in revenue and adjusted EBITDA of £800k in the year ended 31 August 2023) and focused (managed and hosted services including infrastructure hosting, software licensing, security management, business continuity services and communications provisioning to the legal sector). Once combined with iomart’s existing capability in the legal sector, the acquisition will underpin iomart’s position in that market. The move follows a similar theme to the Concepta and Extrinsica transactions in aiming to improve the customer proposition.

Meanwhile, work continues to get sales and service delivery into good shape, with a new CTO joining to help develop target growth areas in hybrid cloud, data management and security services, and modern workplace.

In September, then-CEO, Reece Donovan, left with immediate effect and was replaced by Lucy Dimes whose key challenge will be to get the organic growth heart beating vigorously.

Posted by: Kate Hanaghan at 09:30

Tags: results   acquisition  

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Tuesday 05 December 2023

Synaptic becomes acquisitive Fintel's fifth deal of 2023

FintelUK wealth management technology specialist, Fintel, has acquired adviser software provider Synaptic Software in deal worth £4m in total. The acquisition includes an upfront cash consideration of £3.5m, with a further £500k investment committed to the ongoing develop Synaptic’s technology. As a result of the deal, Synaptic will become part of Fintel IQ, its new owners technology and knowledge platform.

Synaptic supports due diligence and compliance in the retail wealth management space. The company’s software is currently used by around 1.6k financial advisers in the UK. It was formerly part of Capita’s portfolio before being sold in June this year as part of a bundle of non-core businesses divested for £33m (see: AdvancedAdvT to buy five Capita software businesses).

Fintel has been highly acquisitive of late and has been busily mopping up smaller players in the market. The deal comes less than a month after Fintel splashed out £9.1m on VouchedFor and AKG and is the firm’s fifth acquisition in 2023 along with Competent Adviser and Micap. Fintel also owns high-profile brands Defaqto and SimplyBiz. Synaptic is an established vendor amongst UK financial advisers and the deal appears to complement Fintel’s existing capabilities.

The UK wealth management sector continues to experience significant change as demographic shifts and increased competition fuel demand for new technology solutions. An appetite for automation, the evolving face of investment advice, new asset classes and disruptive innovation are among the many elements in the mix and M&A has been on the increase (see: UK Wealth Management SITS – Assessing the Opportunities).

Meanwhile, Fintel’s acquisition of Synaptic Software is still subject to FCA regulatory approval and is expected to complete in the coming months. As a result of the deal, Ben Rogers and Ian Henry, who have been running Synaptic Software since its sale by Capita, will leave the company and return to their leadership roles with AdvancedAdvT. ​

Posted by: Jon C Davies at 09:07

Tags: M&A   wealthmanagement   acquisitions  

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Tuesday 05 December 2023

BT wins £175m South West police deal

BT logoBT Group has been appointed as the single supplier on a framework to provide ICT managed services for the South West police region. The four-year contract could be worth up to £175m to the communications services business. 

The South West police region covers five forces: Avon & Somerset, Devon & Cornwall, Dorset, Gloucestershire, and Wiltshire. Collaborative arrangements between these forces exist at a variety of different levels, including the strategic alliance between Devon & Cornwall and Dorset. There are also a range of other collaborations, including those related to major crime investigation, forensic services, counter-terrorism, and the SW Regional Organised Crime Unit (ROCU). 

The scope of the new contract, which was led by Devon & Cornwall Police, includes service management, customer service desk, applications, end user workplace, technical security, hosting, data and voice network, field mobile and Airwave services. 

BT has been providing an ICT managed service to Devon & Cornwall since 2015 (see BT ousts Capita at Devon & Cornwall Police). Through contract extension negotiations, these services were subsequently extended to Dorset Police as part of the alliance with its neighbouring force. 

Full details of which of the five forces will utilise the framework have not been revealed, but this was an important win for the business, and BT will be delighted to have the opportunity to build upon its successful history in the region.

Posted by: Dale Peters at 08:59

Tags: contract   police   collaboration   law+enforcement   public+safety   managed+services  

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Monday 04 December 2023

Launching TechMarketView's 2024 Research Theme: Enabling Acceleration

Enabling Acceleration Launch Report - Cover ImageWe are excited to launch TechMarketView’s research theme for 2024: Enabling Acceleration (full report here).

Committed followers of TechMarketView will be aware that every year our theme is designed to sum up in a few words the key trends that we think will impact the tech market in the year ahead. Our 2024 research theme – Enabling Acceleration – highlights the intense pressure that organisations feel to keep pace with the speed of technological innovation and make a transformation step change.

That pressure has been magnified with the introduction of Generative AI and its dominance of tech-focused conversations, media publications, and events. How often do we now hear the phrase, “a presentation would not be complete without the mention of GenAI”?

GenAI has, arguably, been a fresh catalyst that has resulted in CXOs of all organisations considering how new technologies are set to impact their businesses. They are worrying about everything from keeping pace with the competition, to keeping pace with cyber threats, to keeping pace with employee expectations.

As a result, we are seeing organisations reassess their existing data and AI investment and seek to scale pilots and proof of concepts faster to realise benefit more widely. We believe the twelve months of 2024 will see companies shift time and resource into making sure they are ready to adopt and leverage – at pace – the value of emerging (as well as more traditional) technologies, including but not limited to AI.

For a more in-depth delve into our 2024 Research Theme, TechMarketView subscribers can download the research report - Launching TechMarketView’s 2024 Research Theme: Enabling Acceleration - now. If you are not yet a subscriber and would like to understand more about our research theme, including the key actions that we believe suppliers and end users should be taking in the year ahead, please contact Deb Seth to find out how to access. 

Posted by: Georgina O'Toole at 17:16

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Monday 04 December 2023

TechMarketView announces Senior Leadership Team

TechMarketView is delighted to announce that Senior Research Directors, Dale Peters and Marc Hardwick, will be joining the company’s newly formed Senior Leadership Team (SLT).

Marc and DaleFollowing a Management Buyout in the Summer by existing management (Tola Sargeant, Georgina O’Toole, Deb Seth, and Kate Hanaghan), the Senior Leadership Team has been formed to drive forward specific strategic initiatives. These will largely be focused on improving the customer experience by broadening our portfolio and creating new ways to absorb our insights.

Dale Peters will be celebrating seven years at TechMarketView in January. He leads the PublicSectorViews research programme having worked in public sector technology since 2002. Alongside his invaluable experience, Dale’s drive for excellence and his ability to deliver insightful analysis from swathes of data makes him incredibly popular with clients.

Marc Hardwick celebrated six years with TechMarketView in October. He is a Senior Research Director within the TechSectorViews research programme focusing on user experiences, automation, and Business Process Services. Marc is a hugely experienced analyst with a range of senior roles under his belt. Furthermore, his ability to deliver complex projects has delighted customers over the years.

TechMarketView’s research focus in areas such as Sustainability, AI, Customer Experience, Cyber, and Automation has proved invaluable to our clients in 2023. Our unique insight into the various distinct areas of the UK public sector market, and our understanding of the large and complex UK Financial Services market, has helped guide suppliers and buyers alike as they navigate change and transformation. The SLT will drive forward exciting initiatives in 2024 making sure customers continue to leverage an even richer selection of analysis, advisory services, and project work to support their important strategic decisions.

Posted by: HotViews Editor at 09:45

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Monday 04 December 2023

Atos supporting UEFA EURO 2024

Atos logo - bright blueAt the end of 2022, Atos announced that it had been selected as the Official Technology Partner of UEFA National Team Football until 2030. It has now announced that under that arrangement it will deliver key on-site and remote IT services for the UEFA EURO 2024 taking place in June and July next year in Germany.

Aleksander Čeferin, UEFA President, and Nourdine Bihmane, Deputy CEO Atos Group and CEO Tech Foundations, meeting in Nyon, Switzerland. (Photo by Kristian Skeie - UEFA/UEFA via Getty Images)As the only international IT services company with a dedicated specialist Sports and Major Events division, Atos has vast experience of ensuring that the IT and operations systems associated with such events serve all stakeholders including sports fans and the media. It is best known as the Worldwide IT Partner of the Olympic Games. In this case, UEFA aims to offer an “extraordinary digital experience”, making it the “most connected Euro ever”.

Since the partnership began, Atos has helped UEFA manage and improve its systems and applications and supported major tournaments like the UEFA National League Finals. In support of UEFA EURO 2024 it will manage core IT planning and operations systems, including the Event Management systems, and the Diffusion Systems, like the football service platform, the mobile app, and the website. Atos will also provide additional support and operation services, including printing, radio communication and service desk services.

Through Atos’ involvement with events like this it is able to demonstrate its ability to manage complex IT environments, as well as its ability to leverage the value of data. Atos must provide onsite and remote support from multiple locations; ICT venue managers, venue application coordinators and service desk operators will be present in the 10 tournament stadiums, and another group will be present at the International Broadcast Center (Leipzig), where the IT Command Center will hosted. A third Group – of technical teams – will be mobilised from Nyon in Switzerland, Madrid, Barcelona, and other locations to provide remote assistance to any on-site posting and ensure the business continuity of the services delivered to UEFA.

Meanwhile, through the football service platform, Atos will store and distribute past and current UEFA football data to external (broadcasters, media, national associations, etc.) and internal stakeholders (website, apps). The data includes, among others, fixtures, results, line-ups, live match events, standings, statistics, players status and ranking.

(Image: Aleksander Čeferin, UEFA President, and Nourdine Bihmane, Deputy CEO Atos Group and CEO Tech Foundations, meeting in Nyon, Switzerland. (Photo by Kristian Skeie - UEFA/UEFA via Getty Images)

Posted by: Georgina O'Toole at 09:39

Tags: outsourcing   events   IToutsourcing   IT+services   sports  

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Monday 04 December 2023

Capita sells stake in FERA to complete its disposal programme

CapitaCapita has announced the sale of its 75% stake in FERA Science Ltd to Bridgepoint Group for £60m.

Fera was established in 2015 as a joint venture between Capita (75%) and DEFRA (25%) to operate the Food and Environment Research Agency (FERA) over a ten-year period at a time when Government/private sector JVs were all the rage (other examples being Axelos, MYCSP, ENTRUST etc…). Capita acquired its share of the JV for £20m and then took responsibility for providing scientific services back to DEFRA, its network and the Health and Safety Executive. Capita also took on c.400 scientists at a site near York as well as a research and partnership centre of excellence at Newcastle University. FERA specialises in environmental testing, research, and advisory and assurance services for both the public and private sectors (for example, think developing tests for horse meat in supermarket mince products). The deal values the joint venture at £80m and represents a 10.8x multiple on a 2022 standalone EBITDA of £7.4m.

The sale of FERA and Capita’s travel and events business (see here) brings to a close the programme of disposals from its ‘Portfolio’ division that has been a key component of outgoing CEO Jon Lewis’s strategy to pay down debt, and sharpen the business’s focus. Whilst selling the likes of FERA and Axelos most definitely improves the company’s focus they were profitable businesses that demonstrated Capita’s commercial innovation at a time when Government was looking to the private sector for help in slimming down the state.

Posted by: Marc Hardwick at 09:38

Tags: divestment  

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Monday 04 December 2023

LITMindtree partners with Metasphere to scale its smart sewage solutions

LTIMindtreeIndian headquartered SITS supplier LTIMindtree has been selected by wastewater application specialist Metasphere to scale the latter’s monitoring and management platform.

Acquired by global water pump solutions supplier Grundfos in July 2023, UK-based telemetry and analytic specialist Metasphere, provides smart sewer management solutions to the global water utilities industry, deploying over 200,000 sensors for their customers worldwide. The company’s technology provides full network visibility, performance monitoring, and forecasting – helping to detect blockages early and prevent wastewater spills (nature monitoring – both prevention and detection – is one of the use cases we cover in the Sustainability Technology Activity Index).

LTIMindtree has optimised Metasphere’s cloud architecture for AWS – focusing on scaling performance whilst keeping costs down. According to Metaspshere, the modernised solutions have also reduced its customer onboarding times from days to minutes and enabled it to roll out new features faster.

Following the merger between LTI (Larsen & Toubro Infotech) and Mindshare a year ago, LTIMindshare is now India’s fifth largest IT services provider by market capitalisation (see LTIMindtree joins the top tier with bold ambitions). As my colleague Duncan Aitchison noted in his coverage of LTIMindtree’s Q2 results in October (see LTIMindtree up 4.4% in Q2), whilst the company’s Hi Tech, Media & Entertainment sales faltered (revenues down 1.3% yoy to $256m) in the three months ended 30 September, its Manufacturing & Resources business proved to be more robust (revenue up 16.2% yoy), generating nearly a fifth of company-wide turnover.

Posted by: Craig Wentworth at 09:21

Tags: partnership   nature monitoring   sewage  

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Monday 04 December 2023

The 'F' word

I don’t think I have ever uttered the ‘F’ word in public. Maybe it’s a generational thing. When my Dad hit his thumb with a hammer he’d say ‘Dash’. Once I heard him say ‘Damn’ and he immediately apologised for his language. I’ve also been taught – and have taught the people who have worked for me – that the ‘Customer is King’. Without customers, we are nothing. Indeed without the support of the business community, our nation is nothing. So I was pretty appalled, both from a language and sentiment viewpoint, to hear Boris Johnson, whilst PM, say ‘F business’ in 2018. Is it any wonder that, even with a change of PM, Labour can attract many more business leaders to its conferences and business breakfasts than the Conservatives? Then last week Elon Musk told the advertisers that had quit X (Twitter) because of his anti-Semitic posts, to ‘Go F yourself’.  The comment was directed at some pretty important advertisers like Apple and Disney. I have to admit that I stopped using X about 6 months ago when Musk took control. To be honest, I always found it a confusing mishmash of often inane comments. I decided to concentrate on LinkedIn for business comment and Facebook for personal/family stuff. Seems I was not alone. X has apparently lost 3m active monthly users in the UK alone since Musk took control. Indeed there are now increasing suspicions that X is losing so much money that its cashflow can’t even cover the interest on the huge debt that X took on when Musk bought in. Will he stump up more of his own cash by selling more of his Tesla shares? Could someone come in to buy X? I wouldn’t put it past Musk to just close it saying ‘F off’ to X’s users as he said to its advertisers. What a crazy world we live in…

Posted by: Richard Holway at 09:19

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Monday 04 December 2023

UiPath shares leap on Q3 improvements

UiPathRobotic Process Automation (RPA) market leader UiPath saw its share price jump more than 25% after profit, revenue, and Annual recurring revenue (ARR) rises were all above forecasts. This saw UiPath stock rise to its highest closing price since April 2022.

Third quarter results from the RPA software vendor saw total revenue increase 24% to $325.9m, above the consensus of $315.6m, with license revenues up 25.3% to $148.1m, and subscription-services revenue up 28.7% to $167.5m. ARR increased 24% to $1.38bn, above the consensus of $1.36bn. Market sentiment also responded to how the business was progressing in its generative AI integration, a big component of the “democratisation” of automation.

Looking ahead, UiPath expects Q4 revenue to be between $381m and $386m, up 24.2% YoY and is forecasting annual recurring revenue of between $1.45bn and $1.455bn. Shares are still down some 70% on the peak of the pandemic but the market is responding to growth and improving profitability, although expectations have certainly been moderated from where this business was when it listed back in 2021.

Posted by: Marc Hardwick at 09:13

Tags: results   RPA  

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Monday 04 December 2023

UK fintech Plum sets its sights on Greece

PlumUK-based money management app, Plum, has secured a €10m cash injection as it looks to continue its European push. The funding is part of a minority equity investment made by Eurobank of Greece and is related to a strategic partnership in the region between the two organisations.

Plum was founded in 2017 by Alex Michael and TransferWise alumnus, Victor Trokoudes (CEO). The app uses open banking dataflows to connect with multiple accounts and a mix of AI, incentives and rules to encourage users to save more. Having started life in the UK, the fintech has been steadily growing its footprint across Europe. Plum is now targeting Greece via its partnership with Eurobank where it hopes to have around 700k users by 2028.

As the economic downturn continues to fuel demand from individuals looking for help managing their finances, Plum hopes that its latest partnership will help it to achieve profitability by early 2025. €5m of the Eurobank’s investment has already been provided, whilst the second tranche will form part of a €15m funding round set for early next year.

Posted by: Jon C Davies at 08:36

Tags: funding  

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