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Monday 16 May 2022

Tech stocks continue to tumble in May

Mid May share indicesIn my first monthly share price performance column a fortnight ago, data for April showed tech stock indices taking a hammering that month, with the tech-heavy NASDAQ down 13% month-on-month (MoM).

We are two weeks into the month of May and there is no let-up in sight. At close on 13 May, NASDAQ was down a further 4.3% since end April - or a massive 17.0% down since 31 March - with the FTSE Software and Computer Services (SCS) index down 6.4% and 9.8% in those timeframes respectively.

The magnitude of these falls is most easily seen in the chart showing the calendar year-to-date (YTD). Comparing the tech-focused NASDAQ and FTSE SCS to the more diversified FTSE 100 - which is broadly holding steady YTD - neatly illustrates the challenge facing technology stocks.

How did we get here?

The tech sector's misfortunes are being driven by rapidly rising inflation in both the US and the UK. As larger economies emerged from Covid during 2021, there was pent-up demand, particularly for goods. But as the pandemic continued to evolve at different speeds in different countries, it played havoc with logistics, causing bottlenecks in complex global supply chains.

High demand coupled with disrupted supply started to set inflation alarm bells ringing, although the US Federal Reserve and the Bank of England initially took the view that inflation may remain transitory. But in recent months we have seen the geopolitical shock of Russia's invasion of Ukraine and a serious outbreak of Covid in China, both of which have significantly increased supply-side constraints across multiple commodities and product lines.

Central banks have started to raise interest rates in earnest - and with the markets no longer believing inflation is transitory, further rate rises are expected later in the year. And in a climate of rising interest rates, investors are turning away from tech stocks whose valuations more likely depend on discounting future cashflows and towards stocks with relatively lower growth expectations and more certain near-term income streams (hence the more solid performance of the FTSE 100).

And where to now?

The difficulty for tech investors is that whilst central banks increasing interest rates can impact the demand side of the inflation equation, there is not a lot they can do about supply-side factors. And the risk of turning the screw too tight, too soon on inflation via interest rates is that it triggers a recession.

So, the best hope for tech markets is that the issues impacting supply chains start to settle down, which could see inflation coming under control. If that happens - and if the market has already priced in roughly the right level of future interest rate increases - then the bottom for tech stocks may not be too far off. That doesn't necessarily mean a quick recovery to previous valuations however. Interest rates surely won't drop back immediately to pandemic lows and indeed may not do so in the medium term. The best bet for technology companies therefore is to double-down on cost management, recurring revenues and pricing power and (where relevant) articulate to investors the path to profitability.

Of course, tech is not a homogeneous sector and some tech companies are weathering the storm much better than others. There will be more on share price performance of different stocks and the broader macro environment in the May full month round-up, available at the start of June.

Posted by Tania Wilson at '07:29' - Tagged: markets   macro  

Friday 13 May 2022

Dip into the latest Market Readiness Index

TechMarketView’s latest Market Readiness Index (MRI) report is now LIVE for our tech buyer clients. The Market Readiness Index is a keystone piece of research within the TechMarketView Tech User Programme, for tech buyers - see: Welcome to the Tech User Programme.

The MRI is designed to help end user organisations – tech buyers and decision makers – determine the readiness of ICT suppliers to support them as they continue to transform. This year’s report is our fourth and as ever it provides a unique insight into the profiled companies, based on in-depth interviews and TechMarketView’s scoring model. tease

This time around we focus on the Top 10 fastest growing Solutions providers to the UK market and specifically the challenger organisations. The criteria we have used to select the Top 10 is as follows: The supplier must be a Top 40 UK Solutions provider with more than 50% of total turnover coming from the Solutions market (as defined by TechMarketView). We have not included the management consultancies in this cohort and have used pro forma revenues to reflect major recent acquisitions.

Companies included are: 6Point6, AND Digital, BJSS, Coforge, Endava, Kainos, Made Tech, Mastek, TPXimpact, Version 1.

A big thank you to all the analyst relations people and company leaders for their inputs - and of course to their customers for contributing.

We’ve questioned and probed, we’ve analysed the numbers, the investments made, and the decisions taken. We’ve undertaken a rigorous scoring and analysis exercise across six key areas:

  • Corporate Resilience
  • Suitability of Offerings
  • Skills & Resources
  • Partner Ecosystem
  • Industry Expertise
  • Delivery & Execution.

The MRI launched in 2019 with our first report looking at how well placed the UK’s Top Ten IT and Business Process Services players were then in terms of their ability to deliver digital transformation. In 2020, TechMarketView published our Market Readiness Index looking at the UK's IT/BP Services providers ranked 11-20. Our third report revisited the ten largest players and assessed their progress as of last year. 

Tech User Programme members can read the research here: TechMarketView Market Readiness Index 2022.

If you would like to find out more about joining the programme and accessing the report, please contact Deb Seth.

If you are Software and IT Services provider and an existing TechMarketView subscription client, reports published within our Tech User Programme are available to purchase. Please also contact Deb Seth.

Posted by HotViews Editor at '09:45' - Tagged: digital   MRI   TechBuyers   digitalsolutions  

Friday 13 May 2022

Book your table for the 2022 TechMarketView Evening!

Don't miss your chance to book a place at the TechMarketView Evening 2022! Our popular flagship event is back for the eighth time, and, after a two-year hiatus, we can’t wait to spend the evening with so many of you in person.

The event will take place at the magnificent Royal Institute of British Architects (RIBA) building in London on 22 September. 

Book Now!

As in prior years, you can expect an opportunity to mingle with your peers at the welcome drinks reception; to hear first-hand from our analysts and guest speakers through a series of short presentations on our latest research; and to network over dinner with leaders from across the UK tech sector.

The theme for the evening will mirror TechMarketView’s research theme for the year, Building Resilience, which seems even more appropriate now than it did when we launched it at the end of 2021. 

Join us from 6.30pm on 22 September to gain insight from – and share views with - our expert analyst team and guest speakers around the theme of ‘Building Resilience’ and what it means for the UK tech sector. 

Ticket sales are now open!

To secure your place, book your table or individual tickets via our event partners tx2 Events today here.

If you’re unsure which tickets you’re eligible for, or you’d like details of the sponsorship packages available, please email info@techmarketview.com.

With grateful thanks to our sponsors. 

 

Posted by TMV Team at '00:00' - Tagged: event  

Thursday 12 May 2022

Addressing the tech skills shortage is essential for economic growth

Digital skills pictureTuesday saw the Queen's Speech lay out the government's agenda for the coming year. Unsurprisingly the government's stated priority was "to grow and strengthen the economy and help ease the cost of living for families". With consumer price inflation now at 7.0% and news on Thursday that GDP contracted in March, the economic situation is understandably front of mind for businesses and consumers.

There is much for the technology sector to consider in the government's stated priorities. You can read Georgina's comprehensive summary of where digital investment will support these priorities here.

Meanwhile The Times Education Commission Summit, in associated with professional services firm PwC, also took place on Tuesday. The Commission launched in June last year, with the objective of "examining Britain's whole education system and considering its future in light of the Covid-19 crisis, declining social mobility, new technology and the changing nature of work".

It set out a slew of worrying statistics - including several from a survey of employers conducted for the summit, which found that:

  • 33% of businesses said their organisation could compete better in international markets if the education system were reimagined to better meet their needs;
  • 35% reported basic skills (literacy & numeracy) shortages in their organisation; and
  • 39% were struggling to recruit people with the right digital and technological proficiencies.

The government is correct that a focus on growth is essential for the country to prepare for the future. And as we have commented before, it is also correct that digital investment is a key building block in achieving the innovation and improvements in productivity which are essential to driving growth. Some measures targeting skills of young people and workers were presented in the Queen's Speech. But statistics such as those bulleted above suggest there is a long way to go to provide UK businesses with the talent pipeline they need.

Aside from the moral imperative of ensuring more equal access to the skilled jobs market for all in our society, there is also another imperative which should worry us all. The current shortage of workers in particular disciplines - including IT - has the ingredients to create a wage/price inflation sprial, as those with the in-demand skills bid up wages for employers desperate to attract them. This threatens to embed inflation and depress growth for the medium-term, leaving those without the skills to bargain even worse off.

The government is adamant it will not spend its way out of economic trouble - but one area where we cannot afford to scrimp is investment in literacy, numeracy and STEM skills.

Posted by Tania Wilson at '15:00' - Tagged: skills   growth   productivity   resilience  

Monday 09 May 2022

*UKHotViewsExtra* Fujitsu holds it steady in FY21

fujitsuRecently announced full year results from Fujitsu showed that at the global level, the firm’s revenue was roughly flat at 3,586 billion yen, with the operating margin edging up from 6.9% in the previous year to 7.7% in FY21. Operating income increased more than 10% year-on-year.

The firm does not break out the performance of the UK in its results documents, but based on our analysis three quarters of the way through the year, we know it’s been a positive year in its Private Sector services business with renewals and expansions across multiple sectors. Public Sector has been more mixed, with both wins and losses contributing to a revenue line that did grow overall.

In this HotViewsExtra (available to subscribers only), we look at some of the key initiatives the firm has been undertaking as it continues to evolve its business: Fujitsu holds steady in FY21.

Posted by Kate Hanaghan at '09:45' - Tagged: results  

Friday 06 May 2022

*UKHotViewsExtra* Broader lessons from Infor’s industry specificity

Infor logoInfor is marking its 20th year of business following its founding back in 2002. As the market accelerates its move towards industry-specific applications and at the same time the ERP cloud transition gears up, this is in an opportune time for the company whose strategy is based on cloud provision of industry-specific ERP suites. 

Its approach is well aligned with strengthening trends but with several other suppliers taking a similar industry ERP cloud proposition to market, that presents a challenge. Given the maturity of the ERP market it is increasingly difficult for suppliers to differentiate, with much coming down to depth, detail and nuance. As industry specificity becomes an increasingly important competitive marker, we look at what it means for Infor and draw some lessons that are applicable across the broader enterprise software sector.

TechMarketView clients, including UKHotViews Premium subscribers, can access the research note Broader lessons from Infor’s industry specificity. If you’d like information about the range of TechMarketView services and how to access them, please contact Deb Seth.

Posted by Angela Eager at '14:37' - Tagged: erp   cloud   software   industryexpertise  

Thursday 05 May 2022

Secure Early Bird Pricing!

Great news! We’re extending our Early Bird ticket pricing for this year’s TechMarketView Evening for another week! In light of our long (sunny!) Easter break, we’d like to give you a little longer to secure your place at a discounted rate. Book by 7th May to take advantage of this offer!

The event will take place at the magnificent Royal Institute of British Architects (RIBA) building in London on the evening of 22 September. Join us from 6.30pm to gain insight from – and share views with - our expert analyst team and guest speakers around the theme of ‘Building Resilience’ and what it means for the UK tech sector.

Early Bird

As in prior years, you can expect an opportunity to mingle with your peers at the welcome drinks reception; to hear first-hand from our analysts and guest speakers through a series of short presentations on our latest research; and to network over dinner with leaders from across the UK tech sector. 

To secure your place at Early Bird pricing, book your table or individual tickets via our event partners tx2 Events today here.

If you’re unsure which tickets you’re eligible for, or you’d like details of the sponsorship packages available, please email info@techmarketview.com.

Posted by TMV Team at '00:00'

Tuesday 03 May 2022

Capita Scaling Partner contender: Infoshare

TIPP logoInfoshare was one of just six UK tech scaleups shortlisted for the recent Capita Scaling Partner pitch event held in association with the TechMarketView Innovation Partner Programme. Contenders are vying for the opportunity for a transformative partnership with UK business systems leader, Capita.

Infoshare logoTMV had the pleasure to meet Pamela Cook and Richard Onslow - respectively CEO and Business Development Director of Infoshare - at the recent Capita Scaling Partner Programme pitch event in London.

Infoshare is a B2B data-for-good company, specialising in creating accurate, enriched and up-to-date single views of data. It uses leading data quality and data management software to transform customer data into a strategic asset by cleansing and linking records from across disparate siloed business systems and by enabling information sharing between organisations.

The company's target market is those organisations holding critical data on individuals, particularly where that data may be inaccurate or incomplete, or organisations needing effective processes for managing personal data and consent. But their traditional markets are expanding; the growing adoption of machine learning, automation and analytics solutions to generate value from data requires the underlying data feeding into these solutions to be accurate and reliable.

Infoshare's technologies were built in collaboration with social care and police analysts to match mission-critical and highly sensitive data that require the highest levels of accuracy and transparency. This incorporates powerful evidence-based, iterative matching and customer consent reconciliation to resolve customers' conflicting data held in multiple databases, enabling organisations to trust their data and have the confidence to use it strategically.

As the volume of data generated and stored in public and private organisations grows, so too does the need to organise and share that data in a way which facilitates decision-making. Infoshare has proven their ability to automatically process tens of millions of records daily, saving their customers significant time or cost. They are already responsible for processing the data for an impressive client roster across both the private and public sectors, including Royal Mail, Pets at Home and the Met Police.

The growing market for Infoshare should therefore be sizeable and we watch their progress with interest.

Posted by Tania Wilson at '09:30' - Tagged: analytics   data   tipp   ML  

Tuesday 03 May 2022

Share Performance in April 2022

Summary

Share price chart end AprilRichard commented in his 1 April column that "if we weren't all too aware of the troubles facing us - a major war in Europe and the highest cost of living hit in a generation - a glance at the share performance in the last month (March) would not indicate that anything much was wrong".

The markets certainly caught up during April, particularly as far as tech was concerned.

NASDAQ fell 12.3% month-on-month (MoM) and is now down 19.2% year-to-date (YTD), as investors moved away from growth bets on new technologies and back towards "traditional" dividend-paying stocks. In the UK, the flagship FTSE100 index was a beneficiary of this flight to dividends, holding flat during April and managing 2.2% YTD growth.

But in the UK, as in the US, almost everything tech-focused was in negative territory for another month, with the FTSE SCS index (which most closely mirrors the mix of stocks we track) down another 3.7% in April and 19.7% YTD. And interestingly, the FTSE Hardware index - which enjoyed a sustained post-pandemic boom as investment in IT infrastructure ramped up - had the bumpiest ride of the smaller specialist indices, with companies perhaps reducing investment spending amid fears of a recession.

Winners and Losers

Despite the gloom, there were strong performances from Twitter, Corero Network Security, Netcall, THG (The Hut Group), PCI-PAL, 1Spatial and Capita, amongst others, though in some cases it was not enough to reverse share price declines earlier in the year.

The Big Tech group - comprising the FAANGs (Meta/Facebook, Amazon, Apple, Netflix and Alphabet/Google) plus Microsoft - all posted month-on-month (MoM) declines, with Netflix taking the overall Wooden Spoon.

Away from Big Tech, the volatile markets saw many other companies posting MoM declines, including Cazoo, Unisys, Oxford Nanopore, Infosys, Tesla and others.HVP logo

More detail on the Winners and Losers is available in Share Performance in April 2022 for HotViews Premium readers.

Outlook 

UK consumer price inflation (CPI) in the 12 months to March stood at 7%, driven by the ongoing and devastating conflict in Ukraine and Covid lockdowns in China, both of which are causing severe supply chain disruption and price increases across many product lines.

Despite these supply-side pressures on inflation, the UK Treasury pressed ahead with pre-planned tax rises in April, putting further pressure on consumers. The combination of all of the above - and other factors - has led to a drop in consumer sentiment to its lowest level since the 2008 financial crisis.

The Bank of England now has the difficult task of working out when and by how much to further increase interest rates to combat inflation, knowing that doing so could further damage consumer confidence and may make a recession more likely. 

Whatever the answer, it is inevitable that rates will rise further. With investors already turning away from growth stocks which performed so well during the pandemic and back towards more cyclical stocks, we can unfortunately expect the bad news to continue for tech for some months to come. All that being said, tech is an embedded part of our lives and our economies now and it is not going away. The question for many tech companies however will be whether they can adapt quickly from being the darlings of the pandemic to something rather less loved, at least for the time being.

Posted by Tania Wilson at '09:30'