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Saturday 28 January 2023

Happy 40th Birthday, Lisa

LisaForty years ago, a young 36 year old Richard Holway was responsible (amongst other things) for Hoskyns (now CapGemini) Business Centres. We’d originally setup HBC to sell IBM, DEC and HP PCs into Hoskyns corporate clients. I think the venture was at one time the largest supplier of PCs to corporate UK. Apple had courted us on several occasions to include the Apple 11 in our range but they were more of a SME solution than something that would appeal to Hoskyns clients.

Then I remember a call from Keith Hancock, the MD of Apple UK, asking if I’d like to borrow a new Apple offering ahead of its official launch. An Apple offering specially for corporates, I was told. Several boxes were delivered to my office in Africa House on a Friday afternoon. When I plugged them all in (and it actually worked) it was an experience that really did change my life.

For the first time I laid my hands on a mouse. For the first time I used a GUI and saw icons instead of file or program names. For the first time I drew a picture and printed it on a dot matrix printer. It came with a word processor, a spreadsheet, a drawing package and an elementary database. It blew my mind away to such an extent that I stayed late into the evening and had to call security to let me out!

I have written about this life-changing experience many times on HotViews and its predecessors. See my post Juicy Apple of 23rd Oct 2007.

Apple had leant me an Apple Lisa. This was the first fruits of Steve Jobs’ famous visit to Xerox PARC where he had first seen many of these innovations. But for all its technical wonderfulness, Lisa was massively expensive (it cost about £30,000 in today’s money!) and was a sales flop - selling only c6000 in the first year. Indeed it is said that Apple buried 2700 unsold Lisas in a landfill in order to claim the tax write-off!

But it paved the way for the 1984 release of the Apple Mac. And the rest, as they say, is history as it paved the way for everything we now take for granted in computing. Even if you don’t use a Mac, you will be familiar with its features as they were incorporated into Microsoft Windows.

So Happy 40th Birthday, Lisa!

Posted by: Richard Holway at 22:47

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Friday 27 January 2023

IFS flying high on continued double-digit growth

IFSSwedish software vendor, IFS, has released full-year results highlighting the company’s fifth successive year of double-digit growth. For the year ended 31 December 2022 Net Revenue rose by 19% to SEK 8.4bn helped by strong uptake of the IFS Cloud. Annual Recurring Revenue (ARR) was up by 44% to SEK 6.1bn, Software revenue was up 28% to SEK 6.6bn SEK and total cloud revenue up by 80%.

Founded in 1983, Linköping headquartered IFS employs around 5,000 people and is majority owned by private equity firm EQT. 2022 saw a number of important milestones for the company including the launch a j.v. with BearingPoint in April aimed at accelerating the pace of IFS Cloud deployments. In July, IFS acquired EAM software specialist Ultimo Software Solutions.

Whilst IFS is modest in size, the company is certainly on the right track and has an impressive record for consistent growth. I suspect that whilst the name will be family to many people in the UK, they may not necessarily know why. For many it is likely to be the “high-profile” sponsorship deal with TfL that now sees the IFS brand emblazoned on the cable cars over the Thames at London’s Royal Docks, in Greenwich. The deal has certainly put IFS on the map, raising awareness with millions of travellers, including those visiting events at the O2 and the ExCeL arena.

Posted by: Jon C Davies at 09:23

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Friday 27 January 2023

Activist investors round on Salesforce

sfFollowing news that Elliott Management – a so-called activist investor – had taken a multi-billion-dollar stake in Salesforce, reports are emerging that it is now seeking seats on the Board.

Salesforce is set to begin nominating new members in mid-February and the rumour mill is whirring with suggestions that Elliott is looking to make replacements. Although nothing has been confirmed or denied by the official channels, none of this sounds beyond the realms of possibility.

Like others, Salesforce has recently laid off a notable number of employees. But beyond that, concerns have been raised about whether leaders are fully realising the value in the company and what more might be done to increase profitability.

Elliott is not the only activist investor with a stake in Salesforce. Starboard Capital and Jeff Ubben also own a ‘piece of the pie’ – placing mounting pressure on Salesforce leadership.

In addition, Marc Benioff became the sole CEO of Salesforce following the announcement that Co-CEO, Bret Taylor, would be stepping down. Some have accused Benioff – who has always had something of a ‘rockstar status’ – of becoming distracted.

All the evidence would seem to suggest change of some sort is on the near horizon.

Posted by: Kate Hanaghan at 09:10

Tags: cloud   investment  

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Friday 27 January 2023

Actual Experience pulled back by legacy

Actual ExperienceAIM-listed Analytics-as-a-Service minnow Actual Experience, has gone through a tough time of late (see Actual Experience continues to struggle) and saw Group revenue decline to £1.18m (2021: £1.74m) last year, impacted by the non-renewal of two legacy product contracts. The SME made losses for the year of -£5.3m (2021: -£5.9m).

The business clearly had a tough 2022 but at least it has a plan as it pivots towards SaaS and the growing demand for digital workplace services. Enacting this plan will of course require investment, and October saw the business tap the public markets for an additional £2.8m in funding. 

Operationally, the business has also had a busy year making changes to its Board and C-suite bringing in those with SaaS experience. This should help, as will a brand refresh and associated repositioning. However, fundamentally the future success of the business depends very much on the performance of its new SaaS offering, the DWMP. This was launched last summer, going live with an existing customer in October. Today’s results announcement points to a pipeline of opportunities including, “advanced discussions with a large UK central government department” and “advanced discussions with two leading professional services firms” with decisions due by the summer. Closing these deals (and others) will be key to turning this ship around.

Posted by: Marc Hardwick at 09:03

Tags: results   saas   analytics  

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Friday 27 January 2023

How not to sell me something (5) – “I’m in your area”

picHere’s another of my favourites.


I'm planning to be in the area this week to meet with some customers, and I was planning to drop off a couple of security cameras for you to try while I'm here (completely free).

I work for [xxxxx], and we are the fastest-growing manufacturer of enterprise-grade hybrid-cloud building systems (CCTV, Door Access, Sensors).

Could you let me know what time this week to stop by with the cameras?

Let me know,


Poor Ed (who of course I don’t know from a bar of soap) is probably still touring Britain trying to find ‘our area’ given that we don’t have offices and the only address on our website is a PO box in Farnham. Smile – you’re on CCTV!

Posted by: Anthony Miller at 09:00

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Friday 27 January 2023

CAPITA IS LOOKING FOR NEW PARTNERS! Click on the pic to find out more

Capita TIPP Q1 2023 - Launch calling image

Posted by: HotViews Editor at 08:43

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Friday 27 January 2023

Dell boosts cloud offering with Cloudify acquisition

Dell logoDell Technologies has acquired the open source, multi-cloud orchestration platform Cloudify in a deal widely reported to be worth up to $100m.

Although neither Dell nor Cloudify has released a statement about the acquisition, Dell has posted a Form S-8 filing with the US Securities and Exchange Commission detailing share awards for Cloudify employees as part of the deal.

Cloudify logoCloudify is headquartered in Herzliya, Israel and also has offices in New York. It was launched as a beta product release by GigaSpaces Technologies in 2011 before becoming generally available in 2012 and then spinning off as its own company in 2016. It describes its technology as a platform that allows organisations to transition to public cloud and cloud-native architecture by enabling them to automate their existing infrastructure alongside cloud native and distributed edge resources. It is designed to manage multi-cloud environments at scale, and to bridge the gap between DevOps and IT service management processes.

It's an interesting move for Dell, which follows its disposal of Boomi in 2021 (see Dell to sell Boomi for $4bn) and the announced sale of VMware last year (see Broadcom to acquire VMware for US$61bn). Cloudify will enhance Dell’s multi-cloud service proposition, which is an area where it holds big ambitions. Last year it announced Project Alpine, which is designed to deliver file, block and object storage software to hyperscale cloud-service providers, and Project Frontier, an initiative to deliver an edge operations software platform. It has also been expanding its consumption-based offerings under its Apex proposition.

Posted by: Dale Peters at 08:15

Tags: acquisition   cloud   multi-cloud  

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Thursday 26 January 2023

Netcompany flying in UK public sector

Netcompany logoNetcompany (see UKHotViews archive), which states an aspiration to be a European IT market leader, has released its results for the year to end December 2022. The year contrasted significantly with 2021, when the focus had been on the large transformational acquisition of Intrasoft in Luxembourg. In 2022, focus shifted to advancing and accelerating the existing business, not only in its homeland of Denmark, but also in Norway, the UK, and the Netherlands, as well as trying to increase the existence of joint project between Netcompany-Intrasoft and the rest of the Netcompany Group.

For the full year, Netcompany increased revenues by 52.7% to DKK 5,544.6m, or 52.5% at constant currency. Organic revenue growth was 14.9%, or 14.7% at constant currency. The adjusted EBIDTA margin stood at 20% compared to 24.3% in 2021.

The UK outperformed other European countries with strong revenue growth of 31.7% in the year. The UK represents 9.7% of Netcompany’s global revenues (DKK 535.4m or c£65m). The adjusted EBITDA increased from 12.7% to 18%. Notably, growth in the public sector was 60%, while revenues from the private sector declined, as the company chose to decommission a number of non-strategic projects.

The UK business has focused during the year on establishing larger footprint within fewer customers. This is noticeable when reviewing contract data from the UK Government’s G-Cloud and DOS frameworks (Digital Future); the company has expanded its footprint significantly in both the Ministry of Defence and NHS Digital, as well as in other clients such as National Highways and the Home Office. Most recently, it has signed a two-year, £10m, contract with the Foreign Commonwealth and Development Office (FCDO) to support Rosa, the Government’s global digital system for accessing Secret-level documents and information. Also in January, it signed a 12 month, £4.5m, deal with HMRC to support activities associated with the National Transit Computer System (NTCS) Phase 5 deployment.

With a more laser-sharp focus on expanding existing clients, Netcompany puts much of its success in the UK down to better pricing and improved utilisation. During the year, it increased its UK headcount by 23.8% to 505. Indeed, we have witnessed Netcompany attract talent from the larger IT services companies.

The UK is expected to be a significant growth driver for the Group in the near-term. The company is building up a portfolio of references that highlight “well executed project delivery”. Importantly, for us, in times of economic turmoil and uncertainty, Netcompany is able to differentiate by offering clients and prospects an accelerated digital transformation journey. It has established a product suite across a range of public and private subsectors designed to give customers a head start. In public sector, its solutions cover tax & customs, public safety, healthcare, and digital government.

Posted by: Georgina O'Toole at 09:43

Tags: results   defence   health   public+sector   digital+transformation   central+government   IT+services  

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Thursday 26 January 2023

IBM grows 12% in FY22 as layoffs announced

IBMIBM announced revenue growth above expectation in Q4, and growth of 12% for FY22, however the company also announced 3,900 layoffs representing 1.5% of IBM’s workforce.

For Q4 FY22 IBM reported revenue of $16.7bn, up 6% at constant currency, though flat in real terms. IBM has seen success from its focus on hybrid cloud and AI, with good growth across all geographies.

For the full FY22, revenue was up 12% (cc) to $60.5bn, with about 4 points attributable from sales to Kyndryl. Hybrid cloud revenue was $22.4bn, up 17% (cc). Currency volatility was a significant headwind in 2022, impacting revenue by $3.5bn dollars. The planned layoffs are related to the spinoff of its Kyndryl business and a part of AI unit Watson Health. No UK specific revenue was provided, but in January IBM named Dr Nicola Hodson as its new Chief Executive for UK&I, succeeding Sreeram Visvanathan. – See here

Looking deeper at the Q4 results, Software revenue was up 8% (cc) to $7.3bn. The company said that its platform-based approach to hybrid cloud and AI is resonating with clients, with its OpenShift hybrid cloud platform now generating $1bn in annual recurring revenue. The Red Hat business grew 15%, with Automation up 9%, Data and AI up 8% and Security up 10%. One notable new UK deal was the BBC using IBM’s AIOps software to automate the management of its IT infrastructure.

Consulting revenue was up 9% (cc). Revenue from strategic partnerships grew at a strong double-digits and strategic partnership bookings were up over 50%, with Azure and AWS more than doubling. IBM Consulting announced its eighth acquisition of the year in December with the purchase of US-based Octo – See here.

Business Transformation revenue grew 7%, driven by data and client experience transformations, along with supply chain and finance optimisations. Infrastructure revenue was up 7% (cc), with zSystems revenue up 21%. 

For FY23, the company expects constant currency revenue growth consistent with its mid-single digit model and about $10.5bn in consolidated free cash flow, up more than $1bn yoy, with a plan to unlock more productivity, expand strategic partnerships and invest in specific growth markets.

Posted by: Simon Baxter at 09:36

Tags: ibm   hybridcloud  

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Thursday 26 January 2023

Idox targets double digit growth

Idox logoAs indicated in November’s trading update, Idox made solid progress in FY22 (year ended 31 October 2022). Revenue increased 6% to £66.2m (2021: £62.2m); recurring revenue increased by 12% to £40.5m (2021: £36.3m); operating profit increased by 13% to £8.7m (2021: £7.6m); and adjusted EBITDA increased by 15% to £22.5m (2021: £19.5m).

The specialist information management software and solutions business has been progressing well through its transformation strategy. Last year the it acquired LandHawk Software Services for a total consideration of £1.4m; a move that further enhanced its GIS capabilities (see Idox swoops for LandHawk). This deal followed the 2021 acquisitions of Aligned Assets (address management solutions), thinkWhere (GIS) and ExeGesIS (GIS). The company has facilities in place for further acquisitions and it continues to assess strategically aligned opportunities.

Public Sector Software (PSS) accounted for 88% of Idox’s revenue during the year, with the remainder derived from its Engineering Information Management (EIM) business. PSS revenue increased 8% to £58.3m (2021: £54.1m) driven by recurring revenue growth with local authorities, new wins and full year contributions from its 2021 acquisitions. EIM did not perform as well, with revenue falling 2% to £7.9m (2021: £8.1m), which was blamed on difficult market conditions in the oil and gas sector; however, it closed new contracts during the second half of the year and is expected to return to growth in FY23. Idox added 190 new customers in FY22, including 15 to its Idox Cloud offering.

The outlook for the company looks positive and management reports an encouraging start to its current financial year. Trading is in line with expectations, with the company targeting double digit organic growth in FY23. Idox has good visibility of future revenues—recurring revenue accounted for 61% of the total revenue during FY22—and management reports a strong sales pipeline and confidence about the outlook for the year. 

Posted by: Dale Peters at 09:09

Tags: results   software   local+government   public+sector  

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Thursday 26 January 2023

Investment boosts for two UK VR start-ups

LogoVirtual reality workforce learning specialist, Gemba and immersive virtual retailLogo provider Emperia have raised a total of $28m in Series A funding. Both of the London-HQ’d, metaverse-focused start-ups will use the fresh monies to accelerate international expansion.

Gemba, which is registered as TLN Training Ltd, believes that its has created a unique offering that combines its VR headsets with software and content to help enterprises train distributed workforces across multiple sites. Founded in 2013, the company now employs some 50 personnel. Its platform is used by more than 675 companies, including Nike, Dell Technologies, Pfizer and Caterpillar. The latest investment round was led by Parkway Venture Capital, with the $18m raised to be used to boost growth in Europe, the Middle East and Africa and also help Gemba expand into the North American market for the first time.

Emperia has developed a platform which gives companies the tech and visual infrastructure to build and manage virtual stores and thereby enable the creation of immersive experiences for brands across multiple retail sectors. Founded in 2019, the company is already partnering with several high profile brands including Dior, Bloomingdale’s, Burberry, Lacoste, Christie’s and Sunglass Hut. Emperia intends to use the $10m secured from the latest round led by Base10 Partners to both develop the capabilities of its platform and expand into new international markets and retail sectors.

The metaverse has been losing its lustre of late as concerns grow that its is more hype than substance with little of significant productive benefit to offer. Opportunities to advance its adoption remain, however, for very specific use case focused propositions, demand that Gemba and Emporia are both seeking to tap into.

Posted by: Duncan Aitchison at 08:58

Tags: funding   training   retail   VR   startups   metaverse  

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Thursday 26 January 2023

ServiceNow grew 23% last year

ServiceNowDigital workflow software provider, ServiceNow, ended the year with a solid Q4 (+20%) to post revenue growth of 23% for FY 2022. ServiceNow ended 2022 with total revenue of $7.2bn on which it made operating profits of $355m (+5%). Subscription revenue increased 24% to hit $6.89bn, while professional services grew 10% to $354m.

EMEA now accounts for a quarter of the Group’s revenue and the workflow provider has been making solid progress here, particularly in the UK. A particularly active part of the market has been UK public sector which has started to respond positively to its purpose-built solutions launched in H122. ServiceNow recently joined the ranks of SalesforceOracleWorkdayMicrosoftAWSHPEIBM, and Google Cloud in becoming the latest tech provider to sign a Memorandum with the UK Government’s Crown Commercial Service. (You can read more on this specific initiative here). Indeed, we have identified a total of c£100m of ServiceNow related contracts awarded by the UK public sector since the beginning of 2022. 

Other recent highlights, include a range of new features rolled out in Q4, such as automated service suggestions, Service Request Playbook, and Workplace Scenario Planning. ServiceNow also announced last week a multi‑year transformation of its Partner Program designed to help partners via greater flexibility, better incentives, and an improved experience.

Looking forward the software provider expects to maintain revenue growth at a similar level to FY22 for both Q1 and for FY23.

Posted by: Marc Hardwick at 08:49

Tags: results   software   workflow  

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Thursday 26 January 2023

SAP's growing cloud momentum fuels FY growth

SAPERP specialist, SAP has announced its latest full-year results, revealing healthy revenue growth off the back of the company’s growing momentum around cloud. Total revenue for the 12 months ended 31 December 2022 was up 10.9% to €30.87bn. Despite the strong revenue performance, profits at the Walldorf-based software vendor were down 68% to €1.7bn due to rising costs, the worsening economic outlook and the company’s withdrawal from Russia and Belarus.  

Cloud revenue was up 33% to €12.56bn as SAP continues its own transformation, including a shift to subscription-based pricing. To support this journey SAP has made a string of acquisitions and divestitures along the way as it transitions customers to S/4HANA, via the public cloud. SAP’s cloud revenue growth in FY22 was impressive across all regions with Brazil, Germany and Japan all delivering outstanding growth. China, India, the Netherlands, Switzerland, and the US were also strong. Recent high-profile customer wins include ArcelorMittal Europe, Euronews, SEB, Qualcomm, BOSCH and Transport for London (TFL)

SAP remains the pre-eminent ERP Platform provider, with a market share around twice that of its nearest rival (Oracle). The company's growing cloud momentum reflects important progress for SAP which lags behind its competitiors in this regard. However, the migration to S/4HANA still has a long way to go, with the majority of SAP clients apparently still evaluating the merits of such a move.

Posted by: Jon C Davies at 08:30

Tags: erp   SAP  

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Thursday 26 January 2023

Are Tesla’s glory days now over?

TeslaI’ve lost count of the number of HotViews posts I have written about Elon Musk of late. As I have oft-said ‘There is never a dull, no news day in MuskLand’.

Looking back, almost the news or comment has been critical. Whether it was about the goings on surrounding the Twitter takeover or, in the last few days. Musk’s appearances in court over his tweets about securing finance for Tesla – which proved rather wide of the mark.

Last night Tesla announced Q4 results that exceeded expectations with a 59% profits increase YoY to $3.7b on revenues of $24.3b. Tesla delivered 1.3m EVs in 2022 – a smidgen short of its target of a 50% yoy growth.

I had been a long term Tesla investor but sold in 2020/21. As it turned out that was an astute move as the share price has crashed by over 50% since. A friend this week asked me what had made me decide to sell at that time.

My main reason was that I had really turned against Musk. He was a ‘hero’ of mine but his antics and public statements really turned me against him as a person. My grandson thinks he is 'evil'!

Secondly the many reports on the unreliability and build quality of Tesla cars made me realise that the conventional car manufacturers would really hurt Tesla once their EVs went mainstream.

Then there were the growing reports of ‘range anxiety’ which made me, as a potential EV buyer, decide that a pure EV was really not for me. The photos in the media of queues of Teslas waiting for chargers at the M6 Service station over the Xmas break really put me off. Now clearly many others think the same way.

On top of that EVs (and Teslas in particular) are expensive cars. We are in an economic downturn where ‘belts will be tightened’.  As Govt grants are removed,  petrol costs plummet and electricity prices rise, the economic benefits of running an EV have been eroded.

Musk pretty much admits most of this as demand decreases to the point where Tesla has slashed the price of its cars.

With an ageing EV range, maybe Tesla’s glory days are now over?

Posted by: Richard Holway at 08:14

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Wednesday 25 January 2023

Microsoft grows 2% in Q2 with sharp decline in PC revenue

MicrosoftMicrosoft saw revenue grow only 2% in Q2 as organisations exercised caution given the macroeconomic uncertainty, with PC revenue significantly down, though Azure cloud growth continued to show strength.

Microsoft announced total revenue of $52.7bn in Q2 FY23, up 2%, representing a sharp decline in growth compared to the 20% we saw in Q2 last year. Operating income decreased 8% to $20.4bn and net income was down 12% to $16.4bn. Last week Microsoft announced planned layoffs of 10,000 staff, as the company followed suit with numerous other tech companies looking to reduce costs.

Microsoft Cloud revenue was $27.1bn, up 22% yoy (29% in constant currency) , which represent still the main area of strength for the business. Revenue in Productivity and Business Processes was $17bn, up 7% (up 13% in cc) with commercial bookings growth of 7% compared to 32% yoy growth in Q2 FY22. LinkedIn revenue increased 10% (up 14% in cc) with Dynamics products and cloud services revenue up 13% (20% in cc) driven by Dynamics 365 revenue growth of 21%.

Revenue in Intelligent Cloud was $21.5bn an increase of 18% (24% in cc), with Server products and cloud services revenue up 20% (26% in cc), driven by Azure and other cloud services revenue growth of 31% (38% in cc). Revenue in More Personal Computing was $14.2bn and decreased 19% (down 16% in cc). Windows OEM revenue and devices revenue both decreased -39%.

The company continues to focus strongly on AI announcing a further multibillion-dollar investment in its partnership with OpenAI, though a specific figure was not released. Microsoft will deploy OpenAI models across their consumer and enterprise products building on the success of its Azure ML business.

For Q3 it is expected the Intelligent Cloud business will see slower growth with estimated yoy growth of 17-19% (cc). The productivity and business process business is expected to grow 11-13%.

Posted by: Simon Baxter at 10:20

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Wednesday 25 January 2023

Ascential set for trans Atlantic split

AscentialMarketing information, analytics and eCommerce specialist, Ascential plc has announced plans for a significant restructuring of the business. The news accompanied a trading update highlighting double-digit revenue growth across all of the company’s major segments coupled with greatly improved profitability. For the year ended 31 December 2022, Ascential expects to deliver revenue of at least £520m, up 49% on the previous year. Adjusted EBITDA is expected to be at least £118m, up 32.6% on the FY21.

Ascential, consists of a portfolio of businesses, each with a focus on a distinct market segment or geography. Following the completion of a strategic review, the Board is proposing a series of transactions to position the major assets independently whilst maximising shareholder value. Under the proposals, Ascential’s global Digital Commerce assets will become a publicly traded company listed in the US. Meanwhile, the Events businesses will pursue a UK listing as Ascential plc.

If the plans gain shareholder approval, Scott Forbes and Duncan Painter (current chairman and CEO respectively) will take on similar roles within the new listed Digital Commerce business. Rita Clifton, currently Senior Independent Director of Ascential plc and Philip Thomas, currently CEO of Ascential Intelligence and Events will become Chair and CEO of Ascential plc. Meanwhile, Paul Harrison, currently COO, is set to leave the company having accepted a new external role.

Off the back of its strong performance, Ascential’s proposed split appears to make good sense from a longer-term strategic perspective. Separating the businesses should help to attract inward investment, recruit and retain staff and enable the new entities to focus on their particular specialisms.

Posted by: Jon C Davies at 09:49

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Wednesday 25 January 2023

Atos set to sell its Unify UCC business

Atos logo (blue)Back in June 2022, when Atos announced the proposed split of its business in two (see Atos proposes business split: What does it mean? | TechMarketView), a key component of the plan was the need to sell assets worth about €700m to fund the ambitious plans.

First, in June 2022, Atos sold its 2.5% stake in payments company Worldline, raising €220m. Then, in November 2022, came the announcement that it was to sell another non-core asset: Atos Italia S.p.A. With those two sales combined, Atos was two thirds of the way to achieving its €700m target.

The Unified Communications & Collaboration (UCC, or Unify) business has been up for sale since the divestment programme was announced. Unify offers on-premise Unified Communications solutions, cloud-based Unified Communications-as-a-Service (UCaaS) and Cloud Contact Center-as-a-Service (CCaaS) solutions. When Atos talks of the endgame for the split, it has always excluded UCC from the Tech Foundations business’ turnover numbers. Tech Foundations (Atos) is the part of the business retaining the Atos name and incorporating its asset-intensive activities.

Now, Atos has announced that it has entered “exclusive negotiations” with Mitel Networks for the sale of the Unify business. If all goes to plan, the sale is expected to conclude in H2 this year. Mitel will take on a business with revenues of c€550m, 3k employees worldwide, and 40m users across 90 countries. Combined, the Mitel and Unify businesses will serve 75m users, and Mitel will benefit from its new scale as well as from being able to offer clients additional services and more choice across its key markets.  

According to Atos, the sales “brings us closer to the €700m target set seven months ago”. So, we can expect more asset sales to be on the cards. The published timetable for the split shows the company’s reorganisation being completed during H2 2023, with the listing and distribution of the SpinCo (Evidian) part of the business – which brings together Atos’ Digital and Big Data and Security (BDS) business lines - by the end of the year.

Posted by: Georgina O'Toole at 09:10

Tags: cloud   divestment   communications   M&A   collaboration   UCaaS   contact+centre  

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Wednesday 25 January 2023

Psychometric tester Arctic Shores shows aptitude for fund-raising

logoI guess I’ll have to take their word for it that Manchester-based psychometric testing platform Arctic Shores is based on neuroscience (dictionary definition: ‘Any or all of the sciences, such as neurochemistry and experimental psychology, which deal with the structure or function of the nervous system and brain'). Clearly aptitude tests have come a long way since my day.

According to its website, candidates undertake ten behaviour-based assessment tasks (‘Each one is just a few minutes long, ensuring that the candidate has an enjoyable and engaging experience’) from which the Arctic Shores platform claims to capture over 10,000 data points (really? 1,000 data points per task?) based on which recruiters can assess whether the candidate is right for the job.

Who needs a CV? (which is actually Arctic Shores’ core proposition).

Arctic Shores was founded in 2013 by former business executive Robert Newry (CEO) and qualified medic-cum-software developer, Dr Safe Hammad (CTO), who worked in Newry’s prior tech services startup, subsequently sold to Xerox. They came up with the idea for Arctic Shores ‘after a coffee discussing the inequalities of graduate hiring and the lack of innovation in the world of psychometric assessment’ (as you do).

As a non-believer, I would normally leave it like that. Except there are two things that sway me into being a little more open-minded about Arctic Shores.

First, they have just closed a £5.75m Series B funding round. The raise was led by Praetura Ventures and Calculus Capital, with participation from existing shareholder Beringea, which led their $5.5m Series A round in 2019 (see Backers warm Arctic Shores). Follow-on funding shows faith. Silicon Valley Bank topped up Arctic Shores’ piggybank with a £1.5m debt facility about a year ago.

Second, Arctic Shores appointed portfolio tech startup board director Adam Hale as chairman in 2020 (see here). Hale is very well respected in this parish, most notably for seeing accounting startup Fairsail through to a very successful exit to Sage back in 2017 (see here). Wise head on board (so to speak).

Am I a convert? Not yet. But I’m prepared to be preached to.

Posted by: Anthony Miller at 09:02

Tags: funding   startup  

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Wednesday 25 January 2023

Fast growing Happiest Minds acquires SMI

HMHappiest Minds has released results for the first nine months of its current fiscal, revealing strong growth in both revenue and profitability. The financials for the period ended 31 December 2022 show that total revenue was up 26% year on year in constant currency, whilst total income was up 29.7%. Operating revenue at the end of the third quarter reached $132m whilst EBITDA grew by 31.4%.

Bangalore-based, Happiest Minds is one of the smaller Indian offshore services providers, however its performance is no less impressive than its larger rivals. The company, which has a strong ethos based around both employee and customer satisfaction, has consistently grown its revenue during the past three years.

Happiest Minds' largest market is currently the US, where it has a well-established customer base. The company has however recently been successfully expanding within the UK and across mainland Europe. Happiest Minds is on course to deliver another very impressive set of annual results, seemingly demonstrating the value of a contented workforce.

Following the publication of its latest financial results, Happiest minds today announced that it has signed a definitive agreement to acquire 100% of SMI - a Madurai (Tamil Nadu) headquartered, IT services company with more than 400 offshore-based employees. SMI provides product engineering services, mainly to US customers, around Enterprise Applications and Systems Integration. The company has an annual run rate in revenues of approximately $9m.

Posted by: Jon C Davies at 08:54

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Wednesday 25 January 2023

Digital twin startup Slingshot Simulations secures £3m investment

Slingshot Simulations logoSlingshot Simulations has raised £3m in a funding round led by Northern Gritstone with participation from Mercia and the Northern Powerhouse Investment Fund (NPIF). It follows a £1.5m seed round in 2021 (see Slingshot Simulations raises £1.5m) and a £750k pre-seed round, taking total investment to £5.5m.

Northern Gritstone was launched in July 2021 by the universities of Leeds, Manchester and Sheffield to support the commercialisation of university spinouts in the north of England. Slingshot Simulations represents its first Leeds-based investment.

The spinout from the University of Leeds was founded by David McKee in 2019. Its no-code digital twinning platform, Compass: Engine, allows users to analyse large data sets, build simulations of real-world objects, assets and systems, and predict outcomes. It has worked on a wide range of projects, including the Yorkshire Geospatial Twin, a partnership between Leeds, York and Hull city councils along with Arup and BT Group, which was funded by Innovate UK and the Geospatial Commission.

Slingshot Simulations will use the new funding to accelerate development and expand the customer base of its software. It is aiming to increase support for organisations working on sustainability challenges, such as the Rainforest Trust, where it has helped optimise their data and simulate outcomes. It also intends to increase the types of services it offers to help reduce carbon emissions from transport and accelerate the net zero ambitions of its customers.

Interest in digital twinning solutions, such as those provided by Slingshot Simulations, is growing rapidly as organisations seek to improve efficiency, productivity, safety and sustainability. It is one of the technologies we highlighted in our recent report on building supply chain resilience.

Posted by: Dale Peters at 08:45

Tags: funding   startup   university   data   sustainability   digital+twin  

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