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Tuesday 19 January 2021

Moonpig confirms £1.2b IPO valuation

MoonpigFurther to my post last week about the impending Moonpig IPO we thought the valuation would be £1b. Looks like it is going to be £1.2b.

I remember many decades ago my business partner Anthony Miller went on about there being a marked difference between a ‘Good company’ and a ‘Good stock’.

I have little doubt – from personal experience – that Moonpig is a good company. Great service. I understand the market. The future for greeting cards is clearly online. My only problem is the valuation. Is a loss-making company really worth this much?

Then I have another concern. There have been very few UK tech IPOs. Often it is felt that investors in LSE undervalue tech stocks compared to their US counterparts.

If Moonpig tanks post IPO, it will put another nail in the UK tech IPO scene.

Soo, GOOD LUCK Moonpig

Posted by: Richard Holway

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Tuesday 19 January 2021

Hands on deck to support proSapient raise

logoThe thing that really jarred was the claim on its website that “All consultations are transcribed using our proprietary transcription technology and perfected with human quality assuarance (sic)” – a case of ‘cobbler’s children’ perhaps?

This is London-based ‘expert network’ platform proSapient, which recently closed a $10m Series A funding round led by Smedvig Capital. ‘High-profile’ (take that which way you like) investor Guy Hands and existing backer 24 Haymarket also participated, the latter having seeded the start-up back in November 2019.

Founded in 2017, proSapient is a sort of -one-stop-shop’ for investors and consultants researching potential deals. Besides doing the usual ‘find an expert’ thing, proSapient can also run surveys, manage projects, source hires and – yes – transcribe conversations.

I can find nothing on their business model, but there are many other expert networks in the market (e.g. see More dosh for ‘findanexpert’ startup techspert.io) and usually have a pay-per-call rate and/or subscription fee.

proSapient clearly models itself on US-based GLG (formerly Gerson Lehrman Group), probably the best-known player in this market (indeed proSapeint must have paid Google a princely sum to appear above GLG if you search on those letters – neat!).

While there’s always room for focused players in a market where a particular brand dominates, it would probably help proSapient’s cause if it can at least learn how to run a spellcheck.

Posted by: Anthony Miller

Tags: funding   startup  

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Tuesday 19 January 2021

Civica acquires innovative start-up ntropy data

Civica logoProvider of software for public services Civica, has announced another acquisition although this one is a little different to its usual M&A model being a small, US-headquartered innovator. Founded in 2017, start-up ntropy data Inc provides a software-as-a-service platform for community and stakeholder engagement. Popular with public sector organisations, it has customers in the UK, USA and Australia, including Tourism Northern Ireland and City of Sydney.

Ntropy’s product suite includes engagement, feedback and analytics tools to facilitate outreach, participation and communication through advanced data analytics. This specialist capability is new to Civica but complementary to its existing democracy and engagement software. Civica is increasingly focused on innovation and the acquisition of ntropy data also fits well with one of the core focus areas for its NorthStar innovation lab, data and analytics.

Although ntropy is small – it has c5 employees – the acquisition is designed to drive improved digital engagement and community participation for customers across Civica, including ‘actionable insights’ through data visualisation and AI-driven analytics.  Civica has a strong track record with acquisitions (see Civica enhances healthcare proposition with MBC deal and track back), and it’s not difficult to see how ntropy’s tech could be applied across its customer base to help a wide range of organisations – not least local authorities and healthcare providers - to understand their customers and communities. 

Posted by: Tola Sargeant

Tags: publicsector   acquisition   software   analytics   M&A   AI   data  

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Tuesday 19 January 2021

Record 2020 for Corero as revenue climbs 73%

Record 2020 for Corero as revenue climbs 73%It certainly looks like it’s been a good year for cyber security supplier Corero despite, or perhaps because of, coronavirus. A trading update suggests it grew its revenue by a record 73% in the twelve month period ending December 2020.

Unaudited results show the company kept up its strong first half momentum to deliver turnover of around US$17m in 2020 (FY19 US$9.7m), with billings accelerating 61% to around US$21m. EBITDA is anticipated to be in line with existing market expectations of a US$1.5m loss.

Key to Corero’s expansion were 42 new customer adds during the year. A large slice of those (17) involved distributed denial of service (DDoS) solutions sold to service providers alongside Juniper Networks routers, switches and security platforms (up from 6 in 2019) under a strategic sales partnership forged in 2017 which is now generating considerable rewards. A similar initiative that sees Corero’s SmartWall Threat Defense System form the spine of European network service provider GTT Communications DDoS platform for its own customers is also helping Corero reach new customers.

TechMarketView has been saying for some time that pandemic disruption would act as brake on some tech suppliers and a turbo boost for others. The surge in remote working has undoubtedly put additional strain on telco, cloud  service provider and large corporate networks suddenly tasked with hosting and securing much higher volumes of end user traffic, and many appear to have identified scalable DDoS protection as an indispensable part of their cyber security armoury. 

Posted by: Martin Courtney

Tags: DDoS   telecoms   tradingupdate   cloudserviceproviders   networksecurity  

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Tuesday 19 January 2021

Prompt Payment Code to be strengthened to 30 days from July

Prompt PaymentYesterday it was announced that the Prompt Payment Code would be strengthened from July 21 so that 95% of payments to small enterprises (defined as firms with <50 employees – like TechMarketView LLP) must be paid within 30 days. Currently the limit is 60 days which will remain for firms with >50 employees. Directors will be personally responsible for adherence. SMEs will be permitted to charge interest on overdue payments – although I’d say ‘Good luck with that…’

2871 companies have signed up to the Prompt Payment Code – including many in the UK tech sector like Accenture,  ATOS, Capita, Fujitsu, Sopra Steria etc. You can CHECK HERE to see if your company is a Current Signatory. Adherence to the code is part of the decision making in the awarding of public sector contracts. But it is ‘interesting’ that none of the Indian HQed players seem to be on the list.

Dare I say it, ‘About time!’. Getting paid is a significant problem for many SMEs who are estimated to be owed £23b in late payments in the UK.

TMV deals with almost all the larger players in the UK tech market, so we have first-hand experience of this. Our terms are very clear on our 30-day payment terms. But many of the larger players insist on longer terms as a condition of doing business with us. Because of the code, many insisted on 60 days – so we welcome the change.

That’s just the start of it. You think winning the business is hard bit! It can then take an age to get a PO number and the invoice approved by the manager responsible, Then the clock starts ticking when the invoice is entered into the purchaser’s system. Any minor change or 'error' and the clock is reset. That’s assuming you are already an approved supplier. Getting setup as a new supplier is a herculean task – with checks on your anti-slavery, bribery, inclusiveness, whistle-blowing etc policies all being checked.

In our experience the smaller the company, the faster we get paid – which is rather counter-intuitive!

It would probably not be good for our business to ‘name and shame’ the poor payers. But we will be very interested to see if things get better in July.  

Posted by: Richard Holway

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Tuesday 19 January 2021

Low code platforms begin their 2021 march

Oracle logoInteresting to see that Oracle has made its low code APEX platform available as a managed cloud service. Where it was a part of Oracle Database, it can now be accessed as a standalone service. It runs on Oracle Cloud Infrastructure (OCI) and there is an option to upgrade to the full Autonomous Database for those who need access to more traditional coding, so one of the objectives is encouraging adoption of these offerings too, nevertheless the move is a welcome one. SAP logo

The announcement comes as SAP also makes a new low code move with the SAP Cloud Platform Extension Suite. The company is not new to the low code area but the Suite extends, gathers and formalises its capabilities. 

Low code continues to gain traction as organisations grapple with agile working, digital enablement and data driven operations, and is being firmly backed from Amazon Web ServicesMicrosoft and Google at one end, to specialists such as AppianMendix and OutSystems at the other, joined by the likes of NetcallZoho and Pega as well as enterprise application suppliers like Oracle, SAP, Unit4 (see Digital Enablement via Low Code Platforms for a market overview and the HotViews archive here for examples of recent developements and adoption).

As demand for applications outstrips the capacity of professional developers and organisations look to tap into the capabilities of their staff when it comes to using data more effectively via citizen developers, low code is a natural way to go. Combine low code development with collaboration, and  apply it to automation enablement too and the use cases expand. It doesn’t do away with the need for traditional coding and there are other caveats such as the need for structure and governance but adoption is rising and work models emerging. Microsoft highlights the emergence of collaborative fused development groups comprising traditional coders, IT staff and citizen coders where coders write and store reusable API connectors low coders can pick up and use; or coders architect the overall plan so that low code-developed apps are better able to align with strategic goals and compliance requirements and isolated one-offs are minimised.

Posted by: Angela Eager

Tags: cloud   development   low-code  

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Tuesday 19 January 2021

BT secures Landweb extension

BT logoBT has secured a five-year extension to its longstanding contract with the Department of Finance's (DoF) Land & Property Services (LPS) in Northern Ireland.

The company was awarded a contract for the provision of a Land Registry Solution for Northern Ireland in 1999. The PFI Concession Agreement was originally for 17 years (two years for system development and 15 years for service delivery), but due to additional service requirements it was extended during the initial stage of the contract for a further three years. The PFI expired in 2019 but was modified to include an extension of two years, taking it to 2021. The new extension now takes the contract out to July 2026.

The programme consists of two parts: Landweb and Landweb Direct. The former comprising internal facing business processes automation, including workflow, EDRMS (electronic document and records management system), GIS and bespoke applications, and the latter being the customer focused service, which allows solicitors and others to access land registry data.

At the outset the contract was estimated to be worth £46m, with payments being dependent on the number of transactions successfully processed through Landweb. By the time the contract extension commences in July 2021 it will actually have been worth approximately £105m. This includes estimated cost savings of £1.8m which were negotiated by the DoF for the term of the 2019-2021 extension—this equates to a 30% discount in the total monthly transactional charges.

The agreement was subject to a recent investigation from the Northern Ireland Audit Office (NIAO). Its report, which was published in June last year, concluded that poor strategic planning by the DoF meant that alternative mechanisms for service provision had not been identified, necessitating the series of contract extensions. Although the report went on to say they found no evidence to clearly demonstrate the programme had delivered value for money, it did conclude that BT had provided "a fully functional and consistent IT service".

The latest extension, which has an estimated value of £20.5m over its five-year term, includes a 35% reduction in cost from the original baseline contract and will take the total contract value to over £125m. BT has also agreed to benchmarking and open book accounting as part of this contract.

Although the size of the payments to BT have raised concerns, the company went into the deal with no guarantee of income and many of the NIAO’s recommendations regarding evidence of value for money have been adopted in the latest extension. The Landweb contract is an important one for the business and although an extension was expected, BT will be glad to have secured their position for another five years.

Posted by: Dale Peters

Tags: contract   managedservices   automation   government   northern+ireland   PFI  

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Tuesday 19 January 2021

Three picks TCS to speed up its 5G rollout

TCSTCS UK and Ireland has got the New Year off to a good start with a contract win at Three UK to help the mobile network operator accelerate its 5G rollout. No numbers for the deal have been released that will see TCS help configure and maintain Three’s new 5G network.

TCS has been working with CK Hutchison owned Three for 15 years with a particular focus on moving the telco’s operations into the cloud. Three UK launched its 5G services back in 2019 and claims to be already live in 175 towns and cities across the UK. The speed of the 5G rollout is crucial to Three where it has the potential to offer the smaller player a competitive advantage over its larger rivals.

3TCS’s role is to manage the configuration of the network and ensure that it integrates correctly with the 5G radio access network. This will include configuring the core network for new site deployments, site upgrades, performance management, and 3G and 4G tuning changes. TCS’s software is being bought in to speed-up configuration checking and reduce manual errors so that things work first time around, particularly via the use of automation. TCS is also providing 24x7 support across the network for configuration corrections and ad-hoc site testing. 

We have written extensively about how speed and agility have become increasingly important for SITS buyers and their service providers – indeed the pandemic has only accentuated this. 5G is a classic example of a new technology where a race is on to get to a critical mass of operation and Three has entrusted TCS to deliver speed. TCS in turn, has grown another long-term client relationship further (its modus operandi) in yet another sector where it has increasing UK strength.

Posted by: Marc Hardwick

Tags: contract   5G   telecommunications  

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Tuesday 19 January 2021

Strong growth in the Americas bolsters Experian

ExperianCredit scoring and information services provider, Experian, has released a Q3 trading update highlighting a continued improvement in its fortunes, driven by strong growth in the Americas. The statement, covering the three months ended 31 December 2020 revealed organic revenue growth of 10% on a constant currency basis, despite a continuing slowdown elsewhere.

Revenue from the company’s largest segment, North America, was up 9% in the third quarter, whilst LATAM rose by 13% helped my massive growth in Consumer Services (+178%). Experian’s busines in the UK and Ireland fell by 2% in the same period, with declines in all areas except Consumer Services (+1%). Meanwhile, revenue from EMEA and APAC was down by 11%.

Experian’s performance is something of a barometer for the global economy and the maturity of the economic cycle in different territories. The company has seen its fortunes improve since the advent of the pandemic, with strong US mortgage growth and rapid expansion in Brazil being two key factors (see: Experian highlights improving prospects). Closer to home of course, Experian’s numbers perhaps give the rest of us less cause for optimism in terms of the short to medium term outlook.

Posted by: Jon C Davies

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Tuesday 19 January 2021

Aptitude looks to the future with confidence

AptitudeUK-based, accounting and finance specialist, Aptitude Software, has released an encouraging trading update highlighting healthy growth and improving prospects. The statement covering the year ended 31 December 2020, revealed that Annual Recurring Revenue (ARR) grew by 11% to £31.2m, off the back of both new logos, and growth amongst the company’s existing customer base.

A strong close to the year saw sales increase in several key markets during the final quarter of 2020. Aptitude also revealed that it had recently entered into multi-year agreements with two North American insurers for its SaaS based Accounting Hub and Insurance Calculation Engine.

Aptitude has demonstrated that the market for its products in financial services remains resilient. The company appears to have benefitted from the modernisation of its product suite and the roll-out its as-a-Service offerings (see: Aptitude maintains strong trajectory). Growth in this area will also provide more predictable revenue performance. Overall, the group performed in line with expectations in 2020. Meanwhile, Aptitude’s balance sheet remains healthy, with zero bank debt and cash on deposit up nearly 36% at £44.8m.

Posted by: Jon C Davies

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Tuesday 19 January 2021

Mindtree’s recovery gathers pace

LogoBangalore-based mid-tier offshore services supplier Mindtree backed-up the rebound which began in Q221 with an even stronger third quarter performance. Revenue for the three months to 31st December increased by 5% qoq on a constant currency basis to $274m, although this was not quite enough to return the firm to yoy growth. Compared with the same period last year, turnover was down by 0.4%. Operating margin of 19.6% for the quarter marked a continued improvement, up by both 230 bps against the prior quarter and a thumping 68% on Q320.

Growth was broad-based with all of Mindtree’s target vertical industries, service lines and geographies (see here for more details of the company’s recently announced 4x4x4 strategy) delivering better sales qoq. Even the firm’s Travel, Transport and Hospitality sector unit, turnover from which is down by nearly a half post-COVID, delivered a sequential top line increase of 12.5% in the last quarter.

Closer to home, the pace of recovery in the UK lagged a little behind the global tempo. Revenue from the company’s activities in the country increased by 3.7% qoq in Q321 to $21.4m. This, however, still left quarterly sales in the region c.10% below where they were a year ago.

The firm’s total turnover for the first nine months of FY21 is down some 4% yoy and it would take a spectacular final quarter to return the company to annual growth. The progress made since June suggests, however, that Mindtree is well set to finish its currrent financial year with good forward momentum.

Posted by: Duncan Aitchison

Tags: results   offshore   systemsintegration  

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Tuesday 19 January 2021

Optimise your 2021 outlook – book a TMV Market Update now!

2021As UK SITS suppliers gear up for another challenging year, never have the latest, best-informed market insights been more valuable. The abilities of leadership teams and market facing units to both understand and respond rapidly to the evolving demand dynamics will be key to the successful pursuit of growth.

What better way to kick-off 2021 therefore than with a TechMarketView Trends & Forecasts Briefing. These interactive video conference sessions bring to life our recently completed Market Outlook 2020 – 2023 Update research. Tailored to the specific interests of the audience, presentations can include analyses covering demand projections, market shaping trends and emerging opportunities for the following areas:

  • The overall UK Software and IT Services market
  • The Consulting, Solutions, Operations, Enterprise Software and Cyber Security horizontal segments
  • The Public Sector, Financial Services, Manufacturing, Telecommunications, Media & Technology, Retail & Wholesale, Energy & Utilities, and Travel & Transportation vertical industries

For more information and to discuss your specific requirements please contact Deb Seth.

For the brightest beginning to the New Year, book your TMV Market Update today.

Posted by: HotViews Editor

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Monday 18 January 2021

EXCLUSIVE: Optimum backers support price optimiser BlackCurve

logoYou read it here first! London-based ecommerce pricing optimisation start-up BlackCurve has closed a third funding round, raising further £1m. The round was led by Chairman, Martin Fincham (see Veeqo, Essentia appoint Fincham to the board et al for some of Fincham’s other ‘day jobs’), with participation from Nauta Capital, The Cambridge Angels Network and other prominent Angels, and members of the ScaleUp Group, along with a matching contribution from the UK Government’s Future Fund. BlackCurve previously raised funding in March 2019 (see BlackCurve optimises funding with new seed round).

Founded in 2016 by father and son Charles Huthwaite and Philip Huthwaite respectively, BlackCurve tracks retail prices across multiple channels (from £99 per month) and can tweak pricing dynamically (from £499 per month). BlackCurve also has a supply and demand decision-making module from £2,499 per month.

BlackCurve is fortunate to have many wise and experienced minds not just backing them but also advising them.

Posted by: Anthony Miller

Tags: funding   startup  

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Monday 18 January 2021

More dosh for Deliveroo as JET eyes a bigger slice of the UK

logologoThe UK – and London in particular – is shaping up as a key battleground for UK-based Deliveroo and (since the merger) Netherlands-based Just East Takeaway (JET).

Last week, JET CEO Jitse Groen signalled such as the company reported a near-trebling of UK orders delivered by its own network in 2020. However, this only represents 15% of the company’s total UK orders, the vast majority of which are still delivered by the restaurants’ own people.

Meanwhile, Deliveroo is girding its loins with a further $180m raised from existing investors, led by Durable Capital Partners and Fidelity Management & Research Company, valuing Deliveroo at over $7bn. This is expected to be its last funding round before a much-mooted IPO, about which the kimono was finally opened. Deliveroo last raised funds in May 2019 with a $575m Series G round in which the largest investor was Amazon (see Amazon Primes Deliveroo). However, it took several months before they got the dosh after the UK CMA got into the act.

Both Deliveroo and JET lose money – lots of it. Probably will lose even more. Great business model.

Posted by: Anthony Miller

Tags: funding   startup  

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Monday 18 January 2021

Ringing exec changes at SAP - and Microsoft

SAP logoSAP is shaking up its leadership team as its prepares its 2021 cloud gambit; changes that will affect Microsoft too because SAP’s gain is Microsoft’s loss.

Microsoft’s corporate VP of Azure marketing  Julia White, who has been with the company for c.20 years, is leaving to join SAP as Chief Marketing and Solutions officer. Just last week it was announced that corporate VP for Commercial Management Experiences Brad Andersen (responsibilities include deploying the Microsoft 365 Modern Workplace), was also leaving Microsoft after c.19 years to join SAP’s Qualtrics business (for which an IPO is scheduled). Sabine Bendiek, formerly Microsoft Germany Management Board Chairwoman who oversaw a 50% increase in cloud growth and whose appointment was announced in September, started with SAP this month as Chief People Officer. In mid  2021 she will also take on the COO duties CEO Chris Klein plans to relinquish. 

Meanwhile, much respected Adaire Fox-Martin who heads up SAP’s customer success operation will be leaving the company. Long term SAP exec Scott Russell will take over her role. Current Chief Marketing Officer Alicia Tillman, who has been with SAP for six years, is also leaving. 

At Microsoft, Harv Bhela (a 24 year Microsoft veteran) will step into Andersen’s role; while Azure VP John "JG" Chirapurath (18 years with the company) will become the interim marketing lead.

The shakeup says much about SAP’s intensifying focus on its necessary cloud transition –- and willingness to learn from one of the most notable cloud transition success stories – as its reworks its sales and marketing approach, wrangling its large portfolio and many messages into a more holistic presentation. SAP’s RISE launch on 27 January is expected to reveal more about its cloud plans and ambitions. It follows the release of Q220 prelims that met lowered guidance (see SAP shares crash 22%). Revenue was down 6% to €7.54bn. Cloud revenue increased 8% to €2.04bn while licence sales fell 15% to €1.7bn. However profit after tax increased 18% to €1.93bn while operating cash flow essentially doubled to €7bn, exceeding the €6bn expected. However, FY21 revenue is expected to be flat due to coronavirus consequences. Full results are scheduled for release later this month. 

Posted by: Angela Eager

Tags: results   cloud   software   appointments  

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Monday 18 January 2021

* NEW RESEARCH * Edge AI: Pushing Workload Boundaries

* NEW RESEARCH * Edge AI: Pushing Workload BoundariesEdge computing implementations are starting to gain momentum though the majority of organisations are still looking to identify potential use cases and better understand how the architectural approach can improve their application delivery, data processing and workflow automation. Some companies are already testing the water with small scale pilot projects before applying the technology elsewhere, particularly when it comes to supporting workloads with high performance requirements that use artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning (ML) technology.

The larger and more complex the AI/ML data set involved, the harder applications have to work to ingest, process and analyse the information. That puts considerable strain on the underlying network, storage and server architecture which shifts data from one place to another for analysis, a situation that often creates latency and bandwidth bottlenecks that can both undermine application performance and compromise security and regulatory compliance policies.

TechMarketView’s latest Edge AI: Pushing Workload Boundaries research discusses how and where edge compute architectures and approaches can help to solve those performance issues by processing data in distributed locations rather than centralised data centres.

Subscribers to TechSectorViews can read more detail in our Edge AI: Pushing Workload Boundaries report here. If you don’t have a subscription and would like to know more about how to access our services, please email Deb Seth for more information.

Posted by: Martin Courtney

Tags: AI   ML   EdgeComputing   networkinfrastructure  

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Monday 18 January 2021

IQGeo continues to improve

IQGEOA full-year trading update out this morning from geospatial software provider to the telecoms and utilities sectors IQGeo Group, has the business continuing to improve, building on its solid H1.

Revenue for the year should grow to at least £9m (FY 19: £7.8m) with progress clearly being made on its own geospatial platform where revenue is expected to grow by some 30% to more than £7m (FY 19: £5.5m). The firm’s strategy of investing in its own IP on a subscription model appears to be paying off - orders here have grown by 42% to £10.7m (FY 19: £7.5m) with the transition to a recurring revenue model also moving in the right direction with 35% of all revenue now recurring, up from 21% in 2019. 

The business is also becoming more profitable - Gross margins are expected to exceed 50% (FY 19: 42%) and better management of costs has seen EBITDA losses fall to c.-£2.5m (FY 19: loss of -£4.8m).

IQGeo has had plenty to prove as a stand-alone business since the disposal of the Ubisense RTLS over two years ago and having finished 2018 with declining revenue and delays in closing contracts (see here).The Group’s focus on utilities, telecoms and broadband has helped it navigate COVID with these sectors all boosted by the move to home working. The acquisition just before Christmas of Utah-based OSPI also provides further access to the US market and specific capabilities in fibre optic network planning and design.Full year results are out in March which we will cover in more detail.

Posted by: Marc Hardwick

Tags: results   geospatial  

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Monday 18 January 2021

HCL hits $10bn 2020 revenue milestone

hclHCL Technologies has reported its Q3 results (three months to the end of December) with revenue (constant currency) up 3.5% (to $2.6bn) on Q2 and up 1.1% on the comparable quarter last year. The firm should congratulate firm itself on hitting the $10bn revenue milestone for the calendar year 2020.

The firm’s Engineering and R&D Services was down 5.1% on last year (down 6.8% in Q2). The Products and Platforms segment was up 9.3%, with IT and Business Services up 1.1%. Without question, it is the Technology and Services vertical that is the strong growth area; the segment was up 20.2% on last year. Manufacturing, meanwhile, dipped 13.1% and Telecommunication, Media, Publishing & Entertainment dropped 7.0%. Financial Services was roughly flat (-0.5%). In terms of geographical performance, Europe grew 6.3% quarter-on-quarter but was down 1.0% on the comparable quarter last year. The Americas grew 2.2% on last year, with the rest of the world roughly flat. The EBITDA margin for Q3 was 28.2% (US GAAP).

Q3 was a fruitful period for larger contracts with 13 transformational deals won across verticals including Life Sciences and Healthcare, Technology and Financial Services. Notable new business in Europe was won in sectors including Retail, Oil & Gas, Manufacturing, Life Sciences & Healthcare.

The Software business, which was built on the 2018 acquisition of IBM assets, had what HCL describes as “very strong growth in new license bookings”, enjoying “strong resilience through the pandemic era”.

For the final quarter of the financial year, revenue is expected to increase 2%-3% (constant currency), which includes the contribution of DWS.

Posted by: Kate Hanaghan

Tags: results   platform   engineering  

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Monday 18 January 2021

Geoff Shingles CBE

ShinglesI am saddened to report that Geoff Shingles CBE died aged 81 on 14TH Jan 21.

Geoff was one of the pivotal people in the UK IT sector in its early days but went on to assist many other UK tech companies until very recently.

He started in the early 1960s as an apprentice at the Mullard Radio Valve Company before moving in 1963 to Elliott Brothers working on an early ‘shoe box’ computer.

But it was his time at DEC (I was always rebuked for calling them DEC as founder Ken Olsen had insisted they be referred to as the Digital Equipment Corporation) where he is best remembered by me and many others. He joined DEC in 1965 as employee #4 in the UK. After just 3 years, Geoff was appointed UK MD.

The DEC PDP-11 and, later, the DEC VAX, were the first real distributed or mini computers rivalling the mainframe power of IBM and ‘the BUNCH’. These computers were hugely influential in bringing the benefits of computing to businesses of all sizes.  DEC pioneered the OEM market whereby software providers produced solutions which were then sold as ‘turnkey’ systems to users.

That’s where I really became involved with DEC and Geoff when I was at Hoskyns. When I told Geoff Unwin, CEO of Hoskyns and latterly Capgemini, the news he said ‘Geoff’s passing is very sad, he was extremely personable and straightforward to do business with. In Hoskyns at the time we saw the power of the DEC mini-computers and their cost effectiveness. ... It became an era of explosive growth, and Geoff did a phenomenal job of holding on to this tiger and encouraging a new breed of OEMs to accelerate ever more applications and hence growth. One of THE characters of those pioneering times.”

Shingles stayed and progressed with DEC extending his responsibilities outside of the UK to Northern Europe. He left after nearly 30 years with DEC in 1993.

But this was just the beginning of Geoff’s contribution to the UK tech sector. In 1994 he joined Imagination Technologies –becoming Chairman in 1995 – and served until 2015. CEO Sir Hussein Yassie said “Geoff was very much one of the key UK pioneers in global tech. Geoff was a very wise and supportive pillar for me in my efforts to develop and grow the company from very small beginnings to a global tech powerhouse supplying billions of technology products to leading global brands and iconic devices. That journey was a tough but amazing period which also made us very close friends. He totally shared my views of wanting the UK to have its rightful place on the world technology stage.”

On a personal note, I’ve spent all my career trying to support that aim.

Geoff was the Senior NED at Interregnum from 1994-2006 where he supported Sir Kenneth Olisa who said. ‘I was deeply honoured that a founding father of the UK IT industry was prepared to invest his skills and reputation - and characteristically pithy wit - to support me to build a company from the ground up. They don’t make them like Geoff anymore.

Geoff loved working with start-ups. In many he invested alongside Mel Morris (best known for his backing of King the creators of Candy Crush) in many businesses– like Prevx and uDate -over almost 30 years. Mel said, “He had vast experience and an incredible talent for focussing on what REALLY was important. He had a presence that oozed integrity and stature and earned instant respect. A truly humble giant of a man in every way

In an interview with Archives of IT, Geoff said that his major achievement was ‘making no enemies’. Indeed, in the emails I have received since his death became known, Geoff was universally liked and admired. One of many emails was from Alan Laing, MD IFS.  ‘Geoff was a legend of our industry as well as being a gent and all-round lovely guy. He inspired so many people. Me especially as he was my first boss in IT’.

On a more personal basis, Geoff put this down to ‘surrounding himself with others he believed were smarter than him’. I have often quoted that myself and am still amazed at how few so-called managers don’t adopt that same principle.

Our condolences to Geoff’s wife Frances, his children Emma, James and Jonny and many grandchildren.

Posted by: Richard Holway

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