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Monday 16 May 2022

Mystery backers activate funding round for ‘activist’ network Ethos

logoThere are plenty of social networks where you can rant and rave (almost) to your heart’s content about (almost) anything that’s on your mind.

Young entrepreneur Alejandra de Brunner has taken the idea niche by creating what I’d be inclined to call a ‘social impact network’ (a better use of the phrase than the term relating to ‘impact investing’, I feel). She’s just launched The Ethos Network, which the PR describes as ‘a community of young activists’ (not the picture I would want to paint) but was perhaps better put as ‘the home of social discussion’ in an interview with the founder in Startups magazine.

Ms de Brunner launched Ethos in 2020 on the back of a £300k pre-seed funding round which valued the start-up at £2.8m pre-money. She recently raised a further £1.5m in seed funding round and again the names of the backer(s) were not disclosed. However, I note that self-styled entrepreneur, environmentalist and philanthropist Henry Kenner has chaired Ethos since September 2021 so I would imagine he worked his contacts.

I am not entirely clear about Ethos’ business model, but from what I gleaned from a press interview, it looks like being sustained by advertising and sales from ‘social impact’ brands. Tough, tough, tough, but I admire her ambition to reach her objective of 30m active monthly users by 2025. Unfortunately, I just don’t see her getting there (but kinda hope she does).

Posted by: Anthony Miller at 09:44

Tags: funding   startup  

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Monday 16 May 2022

Tech Mahindra on the up

LogoPune-HQ’d IPP Tech Mahindra closed out FY22 in fine fettle. Top line growth of 22% yoy in the final quarter lifted full year revenue to just shy of $6bn. For the twelve months ended 31st March, turnover rose by 17.5% on a currency basis and generated an EBIT margin of 14.6% (FY21: 16.5%).

Business momentum continued to build for the company as the financial year progressed with nearly all of Tech Mahindra’s verticals and geographies expanding at double digit percentages in FY22. There were particularly strong performances from the firm’s Technology, Financial Services and Communications, Media and Entertainment focused units. Sales to customers in these industries, which collectively generated almost 70% of global turnover, increased yoy by 32.4%, 28.2% and 21.7% respectively. Only the Manufacturing sector failed to exceed 10% growth. Tech Mahindra’s European operations, which accounted just over a quarter of company activities, saw their FY22 revenues improve yoy by 18.5% to c.$1.57bn.

Having shrunk in the prior FY (see here), this latest set of financial results points to a business very much back on the up. Tech Mahindra remains, however, very much the junior member of the offshore Top Tier club. All of the firm’s historic peers have now passed the $10bn annual revenue mark. Indeed, the company is nearer in scale to soon to merger LTI Mindtree business which has its sights set on becoming India’s next large-scale IT Services player. More radical action would seem to be in order if Tech Mahindra is to cement longer-term its position on the list of IPP majors.

Posted by: Duncan Aitchison at 09:08

Tags: results   offshore   systemsintegration  

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Monday 16 May 2022

Guider finds the way to funding to find mentors for 'employee wellbeing'

logoThere are so many start-ups jumping on the ‘employee wellbeing’ bandwagon that I’m surprised the wheels haven’t collapsed under the weight.

They tend to cluster around a few key themes, of which one of the most popular is the ‘benefits marketplace’, where employees can get goodies at favourable prices, such as Juno (see Backers improve Juno’s wellbeing with more dosh for ‘points for prizes’ marketplace) and Walking on Earth, which is not a new David Attenborough documentary but a marketplace for yoga, nutrition and mediation services (see Backers assume donor position in Walking on Earth’s yoga+ marketplace).

London-based Guider takes quite a different approach. Rather than connecting workers to external suppliers, it matches them with internal mentors. It’s all done with algorithms (natch) which Guider uses to pair employees with mentors with relevant experience.

Guider is the brainchild of entrepreneur Nick Ross, whose previous form in this market was with Molten Ventures (nee Draper Esprit)-backed ‘employee engagement platform’, Perkbox, about which I was originally sceptical but since have become a believer (see Draper Esprit shows more loyalty to Perkbox). Perkbox is one of those rare start-ups that is profitable – or at least was in 2020 (last accounts on record) where they made £1.77m net profit on £73.5m in turnover.

Ross launched Guider in 2018 and has raised £2.4m in seed funding from Fuel Ventures, which also backs Juno. It appears that the deal was closed in December 2021 but for some reason Ross chose to delay the formal PR till last week.

I like the people-matching marketplace business model as it is totally asset light and, like most matchmaker services, is ‘all care, no responsibility’, i.e. Guider’s revenues are not contingent on a successful ‘outcome’. I’m assuming that Guider is a subscription-based service with fees dependent on the size of client organisation, but that’s just a guess.

Ross has built an impressive client list for Guider, including the likes of M&S, LVMH, EY, and Aviva, among many others. Guider apparently already has an office in New York and plans to open in France and Germany. This, I suspect, will be more of a challenge, given different cultures, so hiring the right people to tune the algorithms (and if course sell the service) will be crucial to success.

Posted by: Anthony Miller at 08:49

Tags: funding   startup  

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Monday 16 May 2022

Gravity influences Santander's cloud migration

SantanderSpanish bank, Santander, has released an update relating to its ongoing digital transformation programme, indicating that it has now successfully migrated 80% of its IT infrastructure to the cloud. Like numerous banks globally, Santander is adopting cloud technology to modernise its core and transform its IT estate. 

Santander has indicated that to support its cloud migration it has relied heavily on software developed by the bank’s in-house technology team. Gravity, is a bespoke application that the banks says is playing an essential role in the modernisation of its core platform.The initiative is designed to help improve business agility, reduce costs, streamline operations and enhance data efficacy.

This latest update from Santander is interesting as a benchmark and follows a similar release by the bank 12 months ago, at which point the bank claimed to have migrated 60% of its IT infrastructure. The nature of such technology initiatives means that the most challenging elements of the cloud migration are likely to still remain. As a result, it is not necessarily straightforward to predict just how long Santander still has to go before its cloud journey is complete.

Posted by: Jon C Davies at 08:28

Tags: banking   santander  

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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

Tags: markets   macro  

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Saturday 14 May 2022

Another crazy day in MuskLand

TwitterA month back my post was headlined Elon Musk and Twitter: ‘To buy the company…or not?’ Since then I have oft-remarked that (for an analyst) ‘Musk was the gift that just kept on giving’. And I still don't know the answer to my question!

Friday proved to be another crazy day in MuskLand as he tweeted that he was ‘pausing the bid’ – seemingly because he questioned the validity of Twitter’s estimate of the number of fake accounts it had.

Or maybe he’s having second thoughts? Maybe he really can’t raise the dosh?

The $1b ‘break fee’ is hardly going to hurt Musk. But it sure would hurt Twitter. Friday's tweet sent their shares down over 10% (they had been down 25% at one point) and, at $40.72, are now way below the $54.20 Musk offered. Given that there seems to be no other bidders in the offing, is this just a ploy by Musk to get the price reduced? Or is he really willing to just walk away?

You may think this is just an entertaining sideshow. But real people are getting hurt. Twitter has already announced job losses and rescinded recent job offers. Recent buyers of Twitter shares might well have taken Musk at his word. Clearly that wasn’t that wise as they are now nursing big losses.

I always thought there were trading regulations around making price sensitive announcements. Every tweet that Musk makes moves markets – see this comments on taking cryptocurrency to buy Tesla cars etc.

It’s all getting a bit beyond a joke now…

Posted by: Richard Holway at 16:15

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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

Tags: digital   MRI   TechBuyers   digitalsolutions  

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Friday 13 May 2022

Growing momentum at rebranded Sage during H122

Sage logoThere were several positives to take away from Sage Group’s H122 results, particularly its cloud progress. Revenue from cloud native solutions reached 21% of total (organic) revenue, up from 16% in the year ago period, as the focus on cloud solutions delivered results. 

CEO Steve Hare characterised H1 (ending 31 March 2022) as strong and in line with expectations as investments in sales, marketing and innovation continued to accelerate revenue across Business Cloud,  underpinned by new customer acquisitions. On a statutory basis revenue was marginally down yoy to £934m from £937m (due to Swiss and South Africa disposals and FX headwinds) with operating profit essentially stable at £204 vs. £203m. Organically, revenue rose 5% to £924m with operating profit up 4% to £184m. 

Northern Europe (UK/Ireland) delivered a 6% revenue increase to £212m (5% organic growth to £210m) and news of new customer acquisitions for Sage Accounting, Sage Intacct, Sage People plus migrations to Sage HR was positive. Sage Intacct also grew rapidly in the UK. This is an offering that seems to have galvanized the company and its cloud strategy, with lessons taken from its success feeding into the overall approach. Across the group, organic Cloud Native progress was notable with 40% growth taking revenue to £192m, 21% of Sage’s total organic revenue. Cloud Connected saw 12% revenue growth to £391m and reassuringly there was migration from both desktop and Cloud Connected products to Cloud Native Sage Business Cloud. 

Sage also made progress on its strategic priorities. Among these, there were interesting developments around Intacct to scale it vertically and geographically and to scale Sage’s Digital Network, that included the launch of Intacct Manufacturing in France and the acquisition of Bright Pearl which added retail capability. Indeed, there was momentum across all the priorities including the Small Business engine (together with the post period £20m acquisition of Futrli in the accountancy practice area), and the move to provide the mid-market business with capabilities adjacent to core accounting. Overall there was a sense of growing momentum and activity from Sage during H1- and a new brand to go with it. 

Posted by: Angela Eager at 09:43

Tags: results   cloud   software   accounting  

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Friday 13 May 2022

IBM and AWS tighten relationship

IBMIBM and Amazon Web Services (AWS) have signed a “Strategic Collaboration Agreement” that will see a broad selection of IBM’s software catalogue made available as SaaS offerings on AWS. AWS

IBM Software is (of course) already available on its own IBM Cloud but this move gives customers more choice to access offerings spanning automation, data and AI, security and sustainability capabilities. It is built on the Red Hat OpenShift Service on AWS (ROSA) and runs cloud-native on AWS.

IBM’s last financial year indicated momentum (as did Q1) in the business reflecting its strategic focus on AI and hybrid cloud. Within the hybrid cloud mix, it makes sense to be able to give customers more choice regarding which platforms they can run. It will also open doors for AWS, which continues to be a bright spot for parent, Amazon.

Since its spin-off from IBM, Kyndryl (see Kyndryl begins it evolution) has been making the most of its independence and has built out a whole raft of partnership agreements - including also with AWS.

Posted by: Kate Hanaghan at 09:30

Tags: saas   cloud   hybridcloud   partnership  

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Friday 13 May 2022

Telefonica Tech business outperforming as overall revenue declines

TelefonicaSpanish HQ’ed Telefonica announced group revenue declined 9% YoY in Q122 to €9.4bn. Net profit fell 20% to €706m, though lower than expected, offset by inflation-matching price rises, operating efficiencies and its cloud and cybersecurity business. Including 50% from the Virgin Media O2 Joint venture, core earnings rose 2.1% on revenue up 3.2%. UK revenue increased 4.3% with earnings growing 6.5%.

Telefonica Tech which operates across Spain, Germany, Brazil and the UK saw revenues of €299m in Q1, down slightly from Q4, but over 80% higher YoY. Cloud makes up around 60% of revenue with 30% from Cybersecurity and 10% from IoT & Data. The Cyber business performed above expectations, and the business strengthened through partnerships with AWS, Oracle and Zscaler. Services revenue from IoT & Big Data Solutions is growing at double-digit figures.

In August Telefonica announced the acquisition of Cancom UK&I for just under €400m, effectively forming Telefonica Tech UK&I. In March they also acquired UK based Incremental, a growing Microsoft Dynamics partner. With the two business combined its estimated annual revenue for Telefonica Tech UK&I is around £210m.

I recently had a chance to catch up with UK&I Managing director Martin Hess, who highlighted the business continued to compete with many of the large SI vendors, and are looking for more opportunities around data and analytics, leveraging the capability of data platform and consultancy provider Adatis (part of Incremental). The UK&I business is also increasingly leveraging its relationship with Microsoft, and building solutions around Azure. The cyber business is seeing rapid growth especially around professional services and Zero trust Endpoint solutions built with AppGuard. Overall, the Telefonica Tech business continues to outperform, especially in the UK the business is punching well above its weight, and continuing to find new opportunities for growth.

Posted by: Simon Baxter at 09:18

Tags: telcoms   earnings  

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Friday 13 May 2022

Crypto startup BVNK raises $40m amidst market sell-off

BVNKUK cross-border banking startup, BVNK has secured raised $40m via a Series A round to help develop its fledgling proposition. The funding was provided by Tiger Global and supported by a variety of other crypto investors.

Launched in October 2021, BVNK hopes to expand the use of crypto financial services by helping corporate clients manage digital assets from a single account. BVNK is offering a business account which currently supports digital assets as well as British Pounds, Euros and US Dollars from where customers can make payments and manage FX from a single interface.

BVNK is the brainchild of Jesse Hemson-Struthers, who was previously the CEO at Coindirect, another FX startup underpinned by digital assets. BVNK claims that it is already processing annualised payments worth in excess of $2bn and has more than doubled its monthly payment volumes since the start of 2022.

Despite the current market correction, impacting both crypto and traditional assets, there is growing demand for settlement services that operate effectively across fiat currencies and digital assets. Of course many experienced investors say that “timing is everything” so it will be interesting to watch the fortunes of BVNK and also that of Tiger Global (a major crypto investor).

Posted by: Jon C Davies at 09:05

Tags: cryptocurrency  

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Friday 13 May 2022

BT continues to see revenue decline as profit improves

BTBT Group saw revenue decline 2% to £20.9bn in FY22 (to 31 March 2022), declines in their Enterprise (down 5%) and Global (down 10%) divisions were offset by growth in Openreach (+4%), with their Consumer division flat for the year. In Q3 BT saw an additional decline caused by a key MVNO customer for BT’s wholesale services (almost certainly Virgin Media) switching to another mobile operator (Vodafone), See - BT Q3 confirms pattern for FY22.  Adjusted EBITDA was £7.6bn, up 2% YoY, with the revenue decline offset by lower costs from BT’s modernisation programmes, tight cost management, and lower indirect commissions. Profit before tax was £2bn, up 9%. UK and Multinational clients made up just over a third of B2B EBITDA and 10% of Total EBITDA.

BT continue go face challenges due to inflationary cost pressures, geopolitical uncertainty and an intensely competitive market environment. The group achieved gross annualised cost savings totalling £1.5bn over the past 2 years and increased their cost savings target to £2.5bn by the end of FY25. BT has also closed over 200 legacy applications, switched to ServiceNow workflow and automation technologies, rolled out AI-based solutions across almost 700 customer queues and reduced their gross headcount by 13k, all as part of cost cutting and efficiency measures.

Openreach continues to build heavily having now passed 7.2m premises. Meanwhile, BT’s 5G network now covers more than 50% of the UK population. BT Group also agreed a new premium sports joint venture with Warner Bros. Discovery bringing together BT Sport and Eurosport UK. They also agreed a new longer-term reciprocal channel supply deal with Sky extending beyond 2030.

For FY23 BT reconfirmed its outlook for revenue growth, EBITDA of at least £7.9bn and normalised free cash flow of £1.3bn to £1.5bn. BT also announced a FY22 final dividend of 5.39pps, bringing the full year total to 7.70pps.

Posted by: Simon Baxter at 07:57

Tags: telcoms   earnings  

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Friday 13 May 2022

Endava’s dizzying growth continues

LogoFY22 is turning into an exceptional year for Endava. The nearshore-centric digital SI’s 50% yoy top line growth performance delivered in H1 continued through the third quarter. This has led, as we had anticipated in our coverage of the company’s Q2 results (see here), to a further upping of full year revenue guidance. Endava now expects sales for the period to reach between £652m and £654m (previously £636m to £640m), representing constant currency growth of between 46.0% and 46.5%.

Turnover for the three months ended 31st March hit £169.2m up from £112.3m in Q321. Adjusted profit before tax rose by 43% yoy to £34.2m in the latest qaurter with the associated margin easing down 110bps to a still very healthy 20.2%. Global headcount topped 11,000 personnel at the end of the March up from just over 8,000 a year earlier.

The narrative regarding the third quarter figures remains broadly the same as that for those in the first half of the year. The three acquisitions made by the firm during the course of FY21 certainly played a part in the strength of the yoy turnover comparisons in Q3. The vast majority of the improvement in sales for the period was, however, organic with every facet of the firm’s geographic and vertical business portfolio achieving significant top line growth. In this country, the company saw revenue for the period increase by just over a half yoy to £72.8m thereby further consolidating Endava’s position as one of the Top 10 fastest growing Solutions providers to the UK market.

Although the bulk of the firm’s delivery capability is based in Eastern Europe, Endava generates no income from Russia, Ukraine and Belarus, and none of its personnel are located in these countries. The company does, however, employ some 1,200 people in Moldova who produce approximately 9% of total turnover. To date, Endava has seen no sign of any impact from the Russia-Ukraine crisis on this business. Contingency plans are, nonetheless, in place should the situation change. It is to be hoped that the firm never has cause to invoke these arrangements.

Posted by: Duncan Aitchison at 07:24

Tags: results   systemsintegration   digital   nearshore  

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Friday 13 May 2022

CGI secures significant HMRC deal

CGI logo (red letters on white background)CGI has secured a significant deal with HM Revenue & Customs (HMRC) that aligns to its strategic ambitions in UK Government. Under a two-year contract, valued at £42m, and part of HMRC’s Technology Sourcing Programme (TSP - see UKHotViews archive), CGI will work with the department’s existing Chief Technology and Design Office (CTDO) to build user-focused technology solutions. It will support HMRC to provide on-demand contracted services for HMRC’s Future Project and Programme Portfolio and its Enterprise and Solution Architecture Function.

CGI will draw on its capabilities in enterprise, solution, and data architecture, and will provide a range of in-house specialists in the design of user-centred products, innovation support, strategy, and assurance, across a range of technologies. Sitting at the heart of HMRC, CGI will be involved in supporting major departmental programmes such as ‘Making Tax Digital’ and ‘Transformation of the UK Customs & Borders’.

We track CGI’s UK public sector business closely. Michael Herron, CGI UK’s Senior VP for Central Government, has, for the last few years, pursued a strategy focused on expanding the number of ‘anchor’ accounts in the business unit. The aim has been to broaden the company’s array of existing clients (Ministry of Justice, HM Courts & Tribunals Service, Crown Prosecution Service, National Crime Agency) – see Public Sector Supplier Prospects 2022 and Beyond. So far so good. Growth for the UK Government Business Unit was an estimated 10.5% in FY21 (to end September 2021) and in FY20 was 14.2%. This was achieved via a combination of growing existing accounts – including outside of core arrangements – see CGI delivers MoJ service desk) – and adding a suite of new logos such as  the Disclosure & Barring Service in 2019 (a contract that it has since extended – see CGI discloses DBS contract extension).

As with all contracts in central government, CGI has committed to creating additional social value beyond the contract requirements and has pledged to work with a community of preferred SMEs underpinned by a flexible ecosystem to help deliver the services (40% of work to be fulfilled by SMEs).

Posted by: Georgina O'Toole at 07:14

Tags: contract   digital   Solutions   public+sector   application+services   central+government  

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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

Tags: event  

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Thursday 12 May 2022

Mark43 secures inaugural UK customer

Mark43 logoMark43 has signed its first contract with a UK police force. Cumbria Constabulary will use the New York headquartered company’s cloud data platform for everyday policing, including writing reports, undertaking investigations, deploying resources, supporting safeguarding and victim care, and communicating with citizens.

The company, which was highlighted as ‘One to Watch’ in TechMarketView’s recent Police Suppliers, Trends and Forecasts report, supplies Records Management System (RMS), Computer-Aided Dispatch (CAD) and analytics software for public safety organisations. In July 2021 it closed a $101m Series E funding round led by The Spruce House Partnership and Tiger Global Management. When announcing the investment, Mark43 stated its intention to grow its international presence, including establishing a new office in the United Kingdom.

Its solutions are used extensively in the USA, with over 130 agencies using its platform, including Washington D.C., Boston, Seattle, San Antonio and Atlanta police. In March 2021 it signed a landmark deal to provide its platform to New South Wales Police in Australia.

Cumbria Constabulary has 1,285 police officers and c.680 staff, and serves a population of approximately 500,000 people. During the selection process, Mark43 worked closely with the force to understand how they operate and to better understand requirements.

Chief Constable, Michelle Skeer, said, "Improving the digital tools and systems with which our officers and staff do their jobs means they are able to work smarter and more efficiently... Ultimately, this partnership will help our officers do their jobs better for the benefit of tackling and deterring crime and keeping the communities of Cumbria safe."

This is a key win for Mark43, which the company will look to use as a launchpad for further expansion in the UK.

Posted by: Dale Peters at 18:31

Tags: cloud   police   data   law+enforcement   public+safety  

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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

Tags: skills   growth   productivity   resilience  

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Thursday 12 May 2022

Retail specialist itim Group delivered double digit growth

itim Group logoConsidering the turbulence within the retail sector that the past two years only exacerbated, it was interesting to see retail software specialist itim Group report a 14% increase in revenue to £13.5m for the year ending December 2021, with adjusted EBITDA of £2.2m, a 47% increase, and PBT of £226,000.

This was the first year the business, that was founded in 1993, operated as a public company having listed on AIM in June 2021. Over the years it has adapted its business model from its origins as a consulting business for retailers, to proprietary software provision and in 2004 shifted its focus to digital technology. Today it is transitioning to a SaaS model, something that will have contributed to performance during 2021. 

Its performance highlights how retailers continued to invest in technology during tough times - something we have seen with other retail suppliers - and with its omni-channel retailing platform itim was one of the beneficiaries. Retailers are still on their digital and omni-channel journeys but facing more challenges in terms of input costs and inflation which will see them have to assess the feasibility of further tech investment against investment resources and cash flow. However, for itim trading this year started well with new customer wins and extensions of existing contracts. 

Posted by: Angela Eager at 09:54

Tags: results   software   retail  

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Thursday 12 May 2022

Rackspace exploring sale options

raxWhen outlining Rackspace’s Q1 results, company CEO, Kevin Jones, explained that the firm was “evaluating strategic alternatives and options”.

A strategic review of the company has been undertaken and it has been concluded that “a sum of the parts valuation of Rackspace Technology could be greater than our current enterprise value”. There has also been “inbound interest” in the company. 

It was only two years ago that Rackspace switched from being a privately held company to return to the Nasdaq having been acquired by Apollo in 2016. However, it’s clearly time for another re-think and we should know more in the coming months.

Meanwhile, the firm reported first quarter revenue of $726m, up 7% (constant currency) on the comparable quarter last year - a lot lower than its hyperscaler partners and some of the large IT services providers. It is also lower than the FY21 growth rate (11%). Both new customer wins and increased growth in spend from customers of its multicloud services contributed to the top line performance. Income from operations fared less well and was down to $21m from $24m last year.

Posted by: Kate Hanaghan at 09:30

Tags: results   multicloud  

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