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Wednesday 12 June 2024

An Evening with TechMarketView: The UK's top tech event returns this Autumn

TechMarketView is delighted to announce that our Autumn networking event will return on Thursday, 26th September 2024 from 6:30-9:30pm at the prestigious Mall Galleries in London.

This year's revamped format features a more relaxed atmosphere with drinks and canapés designed to maximise networking opportunities. Hundreds of movers and shakers from the UK tech sector are expected to attend and mingle with peers. Hear from TechMarketView's respected analyst team and our special guests.

In addition to networking, guests will enjoy an exclusive private viewing of the Royal Society of Marine Artists' annual exhibition - a showcase of the best in contemporary marine art.

BOOK YOUR TICKETS HERE

If you’re unsure whether your organisation qualifies for the client price, please contact us to double-check before booking: info@techmarketview.com.

Why Attend?

This event provides an unparalleled opportunity to directly engage with industry leaders, key decision-makers, and influential voices. Make new connections, catch up with existing partners, or simply spend quality time with clients in an elegant setting conducive to meaningful conversation.

Become a Sponsor

For organisations aiming to amplify their brand presence, a limited number of sponsorship opportunities are available. We offer exclusive packages tailored for both global brands and SMEs looking to enhance their visibility and reach. Benefits range from case study articles and advertising, to branded areas at the event and social media recognition. This is your opportunity to engage with clients, partners, peers, and our respected analysts, while being recognised as a key supporter of TechMarketView.

Full details on sponsorship options can be found here or by contacting Deb Seth at dseth@techmarketview.com.

The ‘Evening with TechMarketView’ consistently draws the UK tech scene's biggest names - don't miss your chance to get involved!

TMVE 2024

Posted by: Barbara Ravens at 09:50

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Wednesday 12 June 2024

Atos lines up €270m Worldgrid sale

ALTENFollowing yesterday’s news that French IT services vendor, Atos, had finally resolved its restructuring negotiations (see: Atos opts for Onepoint consortium) the company has today revealed that it is in talks over the sale of its Worldgrid business unit. According to a company statement, Atos has entered INTO exclusive negotiations with French Engineering and IT services specialist, ALTEN over a deal worth €270m.

Worldgrid, which is focused on the energy and utilities sector, provides specialist consulting and engineering services. The business, which currently employs around 1,100 people, generates annual revenue of approximately €170m. ALTEN is itself an established player in the energy and utilities sector and is also the company that acquired UK-based Methods Group in 2022 (see: ALTEN acquires Methods).

At this stage, the transaction appears to be a virtually done deal, with Emmanuel Besse, Head of Worldgrid, quoted as saying “We look forward to join (sic) ALTEN delivering unique solutions to energy and utilities clients. Our combined strengths will position us as partner of choice…”. The transaction is expected to close before the end of 2024 and is subject to the consultation of the relevant employee representative bodies and other customary regulatory approvals.

Posted by: Jon C Davies at 09:20

Tags: M&A   acquisitions  

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Wednesday 12 June 2024

Oracle FY24 growth muted overall, though cloud continues to shine

OracleOracle has released its Q4 2024 and full year results (for the year ended 31 May 2024). Revenues for the quarter were up 4% year-over-year in constant currency to $14.3bn; and, for the year as a whole, up 6% ccy to $53bn.

It’s a far cry (in overall growth terms) from this time last year (see Oracle reports record FY revenues on the back of 50% cloud growth), when the company posted Q4 revenues up 18% yoy ccy in 2023 (and with FY23 up 22% ccy), but Oracle’s cloud business continues its star performance. Q4 2024’s IaaS plus SaaS revenue was up 20% ccy to $5.3bn, with the IaaS component of that – Oracle Cloud Infrastructure (OCI) – up a stellar 42% ccy to $2bn. SaaS revenues were also all up double-digits yoy in Q4 (Fusion Cloud ERP +19% ccy to $800m and NetSuite Cloud ERP +19%, also to $800m).

Across the year, the picture has remained pretty consistent (see Oracle lays groundwork for growth in health as AI cloud drives Q3 performance and work backwards) – with cloud repeatedly showing strong double-digit growth as demand for AI drives sales in OCI, in particular. CEO Safra Catz commented that “enormous demand for training LLMs” had resulted in the company signing the “largest sales contracts in its history” during the second half of FY24. At the Q3 point, Catz said that she expected that the IaaS part of the business would remain in a hypergrowth phase “for the foreseeable future” (it was up 53% that quarter). Q4 OCI growth of 42% is down a fifth on Q3’s rate, but nonetheless still comfortably hyper. Oracle is banking on AI-fuelled sales to drive a return to double-digit revenue growth overall for FY25.

Oracle’s multicloud operations with Microsoft and Google have also expanded significantly of late. Q4 saw nearly half (11 of 23) of the OCI datacentres being built inside Azure go live (giving customers the capability to run every version of the Oracle database in both Azure and Oracle Cloud). The company also announced an agreement with Google today which will see it build 12 OCI datacentres within Google Cloud too, providing similar capabilities there (beginning in North American and European regions, before expanding globally).

Posted by: Craig Wentworth at 09:17

Tags: results   multicloud  

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Wednesday 12 June 2024

Advania acquires Servium

AdvaniaMicrosoft partner Advania, a portfolio company of Goldman Sachs Asset Management, has announced the acquisition of Servium, a UK-based IT services provider. No financials have been released.

Founded in Iceland in 1939, Advania provides IT Services in the UK, Sweden, Iceland, Norway, Denmark and Finland and we have covered their UK acquisitions before (see Advania acquires Content+Cloud from back in 2021). Warrington, Chessington and Basingstoke-based Servium has some 750 UK based clients across a broad range of industry sectors that should offer Advania a boost across a wide range of IT services (data, cloud, workspace, security etc..), software and hardware procurement, as well as potentially strengthen relationships with some key manufacturers and distributors.

Advania targets the mid-market, one of the most dynamic and competitive components of UK SITS, and where Servium should help strengthen and broaden its offer to UK SMEs, who remain in need of help with the cost and complexity of digital transformation requirements.

Commenting on the deal, Geoff Kneen, CEO of Advania UK, said “It is exciting to welcome the Servium team to Advania. Servium is a company with a long-standing heritage and an excellent reputation for helping customers succeed in achieving value for money when procuring technology and services. The combination of Advania and Servium will allow us both to deliver greater breadth of service and increased value to our clients. The cultural alignment of focusing on clients first and providing a great place to work for talented and ambitious people was clear from the start of our conversations and we are looking forward to what we can achieve together.”

Posted by: Marc Hardwick at 09:11

Tags: acquisition   mid-market  

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Wednesday 12 June 2024

Wipro launches Gen AI SaaS platform

LogoWipro has unveiled its Lab45 Artificial Intelligence (AI) Platform. A product of the company’s Innovation Lab, the SaaS offering comprises over 1,000 GenAI agents as well as no code and low code pre-built GenAI applications for HR, sales, marketing, and operations functions.

Lab45 AI leverages GenAI and machine learning to enable the integration of language and visual processing for generating images from text prompts, as well as the ability to index, parse, and summarise content. It also supports Large Language Models (LLM’s) from leading providers as well as custom deep-learning models. With API-based access for custom applications, the platform aims to make it easier for clients to deploy Gen AI to their environments.

Over the past six months, select Wipro teams and external users have been working with the software to hone its capabilities. Lab45 AI has already been successfully applied to use cases in HR, reducing the time it takes to read and interpret specific clauses from voluminous contracts, and in sales, enabling better and faster forecasting, analysis, and report generation. The platform has also been employed to support both website analysis and lead generation in marketing and software quality engineering and testing activities.

Over the last year, proprietary GenAI platforms have become must have accessories among the larger IT services players. Recent months have seen launches of a host of offerings designed to accelerate enterprise adoption of AI. These include Cognizant Neuro®️ AI, EY.ai and Capgemini RAISE. Lab45 AI should at least help Wipro better compete with its rivals in the latest tech gold rush.

As a part of its wider $1bn AI investment programme, Wipro also last week announced that it has partnered with SaaS-based security specialist, Zscaler to introduce Wipro Cyber X-Ray. The  AI-assisted decision support platform provides an executive dashboard to visualise cyber risk posture, activate cyber initiatives, and help to understand over- or under-investment in security programmes.

Posted by: Duncan Aitchison at 08:41

Tags: offshore   saas   platform   genAI  

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Wednesday 12 June 2024

IFS acquires Copperleaf

IFSMid-sized cloud enterprise software provide IFS has been making good progress of late publishing a strong set of Q1 results towards the end of April reflecting a strong start to the new FY (see here). Focusing on six main industry sectors – including Aerospace and Defence, Energy & Utilities, and Manufacturing – has led it to differentiate by bringing a range of capabilities onto a single platform. Its Enterprise Asset Management (EAM) solution is a growth area, benefiting from developments in Digital Twins and the Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT). By addressing Cloud ERP, the sector can begin to shift towards Industry 4.0 with the aim of becoming globally competitive.

To bolster its offer in the EAM space IFS has announced the acquisition of Copperleaf a provider of decision analytics software for “asset-intensive industries”. The combined IFS/Copperleaf proposition looks complimentary and should now give customers access to a platform to better manage their assets across the lifecycle to help drive efficiency improvements.

Vancouver-headquartered Copperleaf has operations all over the world including in the UK. The software provider targets process and asset heavy industries including Utilities, Water & Wastewater, Roads & Highways, Chemicals and Telecoms, claiming to manage “over two trillion dollars of physical and digital assets around the world”. On paper, it looks like a good addition to the IFS enterprise software suite with a complementary offering across a similar client base, that should support upsell and cross sell opportunities. Copperleaf clients include ONE Gas - one of the largest publicly traded natural gas utilities in the US, Manitoba Hydro - a large integrated electricity and natural gas distribution utility in Canada, and National Grid. Completion of the deal is subject to usual regulatory approvals.

Posted by: Marc Hardwick at 08:33

Tags: acquisition   EAM   asset management  

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Tuesday 11 June 2024

iomart closes a year of strong progress

iomartFY24 results from iomart show the company finished a busy year in a strong position. Revenues were up 10%, including contributions from two acquisitions (Accesspoint Group and Extrinsica) during the 12 month period.

Total revenue was £127.0m, with Cloud Managed Services up 17% to £75.2m. The organic growth rate in the Cloud business – which is central to the firm’s strategic growth plans – was 3%, following its return to organic growth in the prior financial year. Adjusted EBIT margin for the business as a whole was steady at 15.1%.

We caught up with Lucy Dimes this morning for a little more colour on the activities going on behind the scenes; the last six months has seen much work undertaken to get iomart's internal house in order. Dimes has been in the dual role of Chair and CEO, but today it was announced that Richard Last has been appointed as new Chairman. Last is a great addition to the team, in particular bringing experience of driving growth businesses (e.g., Gamma).

iomart, which is focused on the mid-market end of the SME customer segment, plays firmly in the hybrid cloud area, helping organisations build and manage their environments. We see lots of ongoing opportunity to support customers with what are difficult and complex activities, and over the next 12 months Dimes plans to really double down on growth here. However, she also says: “We’re in a really good financial position, which gives us lots of ‘firepower’indicating that more acquisitions are on the cards. Broadening and deepening iomart’s cyber portfolio and capabilities is a likely target area. If it can get that right, and keep motoring with the hybrid managed services in tandem, iomart should be able to line itself up for stronger organic growth in the mid-term.

Posted by: Kate Hanaghan at 10:15

Tags: results   cloud   managedservices   cyber  

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Tuesday 11 June 2024

Emapsite helps Idox deliver solid H1

Idox logoIdox plc delivered a solid financial performance in the first half of FY24, driven by last year's acquisition of Emapsite. The period covering the six months ended 30 April 2024 saw the company deliver improvements across revenue, Adjusted EBITDA and net debt.

Revenue, which included a full six-month contribution from Emapsite, was up 21% to £43.1m (H1 FY23: £35.8m). Excluding the impact of Emapsite, revenue was up 2% to £36.5m (H1 FY23: £35.8m). Recurring revenues increased by 29% (7% excluding Emapsite) to £27.4m (H1 FY23: £21.2m), which accounted for 63% of total revenue during the period (H1 FY23: 59%).

Operating profit was up 15% to £5.7m (H1 FY23: £4.9m); profit before tax increased by 12% to £4.6m (H1 FY23: £4.1m); and Adjusted EBITDA improved by 8% to £13.1m (H1 FY23: £12.1m). There was a slight drop in Adjusted EBITDA margin from 34% in H1 FY23 to 30%, which was in line with expectations following the Emapsite acquisition. Idox also improved its net debt positions significantly, which stood at £6.6m on 30 April 2024, compared to £14.7m at the end of its last financial year (31 October 2023), following payment of the initial consideration of £14.8m in connection with the Emapsite acquisition.

On a divisional basis, Land, Property & Public Protection (LPP) continued to lead the way. Revenue in this part of the business, which includes Idox Geospatial, was up 35% to £29.0m (H1 FY23: £21.5m). It secured several significant wins during the period, including with North Northampton Council, Stroud District Council, City of York Council and London Borough of Merton.

Performance in the Communities and Assets divisions was less positive, with revenues remaining broadly flat at £7.1m. Highlights in Communities included strong recurring revenue growth (up 12%) in Idox's Lilie sexual health solution and a significant uptick in orders for its election services in the run-up to the UK General Election. In Assets, there were a couple of significant contract extensions in North America, and its iFit asset tracking solution delivered revenue growth of 9%.

Despite the challenges in local government, the outlook for the business looks positive. Integration of Emapsite has gone well and has strengthened Idox's geospatial offering significantly. This should lead to further opportunities for growth as the public sector increasingly relies on geospatial solutions to provide the insights to drive efficiency and effectiveness. Order intake was up 4% on H1 FY23 to £54.1m, which coupled with good levels of recurring revenue, provides good visibility of growth in the remainder of FY24 and beyond. We also expect to see Idox explore opportunities to expand and enhance the business through acquisition, potentially in the Communities and Assets parts of the business, which would benefit from additional scale. 

Posted by: Dale Peters at 10:10

Tags: results   gis   software   geospatial   H1   local+government   public+sector  

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Tuesday 11 June 2024

Eckoh enjoys life Stateside

EckohFull year results from UK-based call centre payments specialist Eckoh, have revenue dipping -4% to £37.2m (FY23 £38.8m) as total ARR ticked up 1% to £30.8m (FY23 £30.4m). Group profitability improved with both adjusted EBITDA and adjusted operating profits increasing by 8% to £10.2m and £8.3m, respectively. Whilst Eckoh’s pivot to the cloud (see Eckoh sees a positive future in the cloud and work backwards) has continued to temper revenue growth in the short term, it is seeing positive improvements in recurring revenue and operating margins  - increasing by 250 bp to 22.4% (FY23 19.9%).

The big plus for the Hemel Hempstead-headquarterd business is the progress it has been making in North America (48% of Group revenue and increasing) with a record level of new contracted business in the region, up 44% YoY to $16.8m, benefiting from the creation of a single commercial team there (see Cloud pivot helps Eckoh prosper in North America). This helped contribute to significant improvements in both total contracted business (up 52% to £52.6m) and new contracted business (up 29% to £18.7m). We caught up this morning with CEO Nik Philpot who explained “The first half of the year was all about excellent contract renewals, but the second half was all about new business wins, and we have built a strong sales pipeline of exciting new business opportunities, supported by the impact that the new PCI standard is having as well as the significant risk of operating work from home agents without security measures.” The US is also less mature from a security and compliance perspective than Europe providing significant opportunities with generally larger operators.

Looking forward, Eckoh expects to see growth in FY25 as existing accounts continue to expand. AI and bots in the contact centre, as well as hybrid working and associated security concerns, should help the business deliver on this. Management points to a positive start to the year with £8m+ of total contracted business signed year to date.

Posted by: Marc Hardwick at 10:08

Tags: results   payments   CX  

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Tuesday 11 June 2024

GB Group gaining momentum in Identity and Location

logoMomentum seems be increasing slightly for digital location, and identity fraud software provider GB Group, though the business is still struggling to really capitalise on the demand from organisaitons to reduce losses from fraud and secure against an increasing amount of identity theft.

Following a relatively flat H1 which saw revenue decline -1.1% (See - GB Group flat in first half), there were signs towards the end of the FY that momentum is picking up. Final results show FY24 revenue decreased -0.5% to £277.3m (+2.7% in constant currency), with growth accelerating to 5.0% in Q4, driven by improved demand for Identity solutions in the Americas and EMEA. TechMarketView estimates the UK share of total revenue is c.£80m. According to management, growth in FY24 was constrained due to macroeconomic conditions impacting consumer demand, and changes in consumer behaviors within the internet economy, though that doesn’t really give great insight into why the business is struggling to attract new logos.

The Location service line performed well, up +7.3% (cc) with the business capturing growing demand from customers including HelloFresh, Aldi and Santander. Identity, which represents over half of revenue, declined -0.7% (cc), with investment platform Webull, choosing GBG as its end-to-end onboarding partner in EMEA and APAC. In Fraud, revenue grew +7.8%, with its fraud monitoring solutions chosen by large financial institutions in Southeast Asia, and a win supporting UK Companies House with investigations related to new Economic Crime legislation.

The business has been focusing strongly on simplification and cost-effectiveness with £10m of annualised savings in FY24. GB Group is also re-organising to be more globally aligned, with a strategic focus on the implementation of a global operating model. Investments in AI and other areas of innovation continue as it seeks to create more differentiation. In January, Dev Dhiman took on the role of CEO replacing 7-year veteran Chris Clark who stepped down. Dhiman takes on the role following just over 3 years in a successful stint as Managing Director for Asia Pacific. (See New CEO at GB Group).

For FY25, GB Group expect the business to perform in-line with expectations, with mid-single digit revenue growth on a constant currency basis, with improved momentum in Identity and Location continuing from the final quarter of FY24.

Posted by: Simon Baxter at 09:58

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Tuesday 11 June 2024

IPO: Raspberry Pi shares jump as trading begins

Raspberry Pi llogoShares in Raspberry Pi jumped 39% when they began ‘conditional trading’ on the London Stock Exchange’s Main Market this morning as part of the low-cost computer maker’s IPO. It’s a promising start to listed life for Raspberry Pi, with unconditional trading for the public set to begin on Friday 14 June and high levels of interest in this rare UK tech IPO.

Raspberry Pi priced its shares at 280p on IPO, giving a market capitalisation of £514.6m on commencement of conditional dealings. When trading began at 8am this morning shares popped to 392p, before settling at around 367p as I write.

The initial offer size of £166m equates to around 31% of the company’s ordinary shares on admission, however if, as seems likely, an over-allotment option is exercised, then the final offer size will be £178.9m, or 33% of the company’s shares.

Raspberry Pi’s IPO, which was first rumoured back in 2021, is a reason to be cheerful about tech on UK public markets after the disappointment of ARM’s decision to list on NASDAQ in 2023 and a series of recent take-private deals backed by US private equity.

Encouragingly, CEO Eben Upton, said the quality of the interactions during the marketing process for the IPO has underlined their belief that London has the right calibre and sophistication of investor to support growing, ambitious technology businesses such as Raspberry Pi.

Upton founded Raspberry Pi in 2012 to make computing more accessible to young people and it’s particularly pleasing to see the Raspberry Pi Foundation, the UK charity set up at the same time to promote computer science among young people, benefiting from the success of the business and its IPO. To date, the charity has received over £50m.

Cambridge-based Raspberry Pi is about much more than just enthusiasts and education now though with its single board computers used worldwide and 72% deployed in industrial settings. In FY23, it reported revenues of $266m and a gross profit of $66m.

I look forward to following Raspberry Pi’s journey as a listed company and hope its success might encourage other tech companies to follow suit. There are signs of an uptick in IPO activity more generally, with the likes of Chinese fashion giant Shein, Monzo, Brewdog and Klarna also rumoured to be considering flotation in London.

Posted by: Tola Sargeant at 09:58

Tags: ipo  

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Tuesday 11 June 2024

Apple Intelligence debuted at WWDC

AppleAt its Worldwide Developers Conference, Apple finally outlined its vision for AI with the launch of ‘Apple Intelligence’, with a number of new AI features coming to Apple devices, improvements to Siri and integrations with ChatGPT.

With Microsoft making a big push with its new Copilot+ PC’s, as well as playing catchup to the AI capabilities from Google and Samsung, everyone was waiting with baited breath to see how Apple would respond. The company is rarely a first mover these days, but has often found a way to leapfrog competitors with superior products, helped along by its loyal fanbase.

The new Apple Intelligence (AI) features will be embedded in the Mac OS and iOS, and will help support users across a range of actions such as automatically writing messages, summarising text, and intelligently managing notifications. The AI will also work between applications, including third party apps. Other inbuilt features include an Image Playground, to generate images in a number of styles from word prompts, and new AI features to improve its photos apps, enabling you to search for pictures using natural language (finally).

Siri is also getting an upgrade (at last), Apple says it now has “onscreen awareness,” meaning it can understand what you’re asking. You will also be table to talk to it in more natural language and in text. Siri will be able to search across multiple applications to find information or images, such as helping to fill in forms with personal information or find certain messages or attachments. ChatGPT will also come to iOS, macOS, and iPadOS later this year, with no additional cost, and will work as an add on to Siri when it lacks certain information.

Much like with my coverage of Salesforce the other day (See - Spotlight on Einstein AI and Data Cloud at Salesforce World Tour), there was an important focus on privacy, with a needle at Microsoft given the concerns regarding its new AI Recall feature. Many of Apple’s AI features will work on device, with private cloud compute used for anything more complicated. The company says it will never store or be able to access user data. Apple also says it will ask your permission before it sends questions, documents, or photos to ChatGPT, though that doesn’t necessarily allay concerns of where your data goes after that.

Overall, Apple Intelligence wasn’t the blowout announcement and market leap many people were hoping for, but it has certainly made Apple products much more competitive at a time when it seemed like competitors may finally be jumping ahead. The fact that the AI features are so strongly embedded in the Mac OS system, and don’t require buying a new PC, will be strong selling points over the new Microsoft Copilot+ devices. Apple will also hope the new announcements boost iPhone sales as its new features are limited to only its latest devices, though this will be an annoyance for many who are not set for an upgrade for a few years.

Posted by: Simon Baxter at 09:51

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Tuesday 11 June 2024

Atos opts for Onepoint consortium

atosAtos has said that it will be going ahead with the financial restructuring proposal from the Onepoint consortium after a lengthy battle and a period of serious upheaval.

The consortium consists of Onepoint, Butler Industries and Econocom, and some of the company’s financial creditors. Atos had been considering two proposals for financial restructuring. One was the EPEI consortium (EPEI in consortium with Attestor Limited), the other Onepoint. Atos laid out a few reasons for its decision, including it being the best option for employees and clients, as well as providing “adequate financial liquidity to fund the business” and ensuring a “stronger capital structure”.

The firm says it will work with the consortium to create a definitive financial restructuring agreement “by July 2024”. Regular readers will have noted our previous frustrations with the process; getting a decision in place is a definite and important step forward.

Although the battle between the two consortiums has been rumbling away in the background, our expectation had been that Onepoint would win out as it keeps the entity in French hands. Furthermore, EPEI was more likely to break up the firm, with a strategic review on the cards to determine the future of the Eviden business.

More from our Chief Analyst – who has tracked this story moment by moment – as and when.

Posted by: Kate Hanaghan at 09:50

Tags: investment  

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Tuesday 11 June 2024

Reports indicate sale talks may be underway at DXC

DXCAccording to the Reuters news service, Kyndryl, (the IT services provider spun off from IBM) and private equity firm, Apollo Global, are in talks about a possible joint bid to acquire DXC Technology. It is also reported that, alongside those discussions, DXC is looking to spin off its successful global Insurance operations as a separate entity. If the reports are confirmed the move would represent the third high-profile bid for DXC during its relatively short existence, following interest from Atos in 2021 and a private equity suitor in 2022.

Whilst none of the parties involved have issued any comment on the unconfirmed reports, such a move would not be unexpected considering DXC’s failure to deliver revenue growth and its most recent financial performance (see: Another yar of decline as revenue slides at DXC). The initial reports indicate that a potential bid price of between $22 and $25 per share may be being considered. With DXC’s share price having been languishing close to an all-time low of $15 such an offer would represent a significant premium to the company’s long-suffering shareholders, even after the stock rallied to around $18 overnight on news of the talks.

It has been obvious for a while now that DXC has been putting its insurance operations “in the shop window” a move that first became apparent when the company began publishing segmented financials for the business around twelve months ago. Furthermore, when delivering DXC’s latest full-year financial results, CEO, Raul Fernandez singled out the insurance segment for special focus at the very start of his global earnings call. DXC’s FY24 financials show that Insurance Software and BPO was the company’s leading vertical in terms of revenue growth, delivering a year-on-year increase of 3.3% to reach $1.54bn despite challenging market conditions.

DXC is the global leader in life and wealth, speciality and reinsurance whilst the company’s technology processes 1 in 5 property and casualty transactions worldwide. The company has been making significant investments in the business over the past eighteen months (see: DXC goes back to the future for insurance success). As part of this, DXC has recruited (or in many cases re-hired) around 1,500 insurance industry experts. As the insurance industry increasingly looks to modernise its IT estate, it is also worth noting that DXC Technology is the largest AWS insurance industry customer in the world and currently has around 20m policies running on the AWS cloud. Furthermore, as a result of DXC’s major footprint in the Commercial and Specialty sector, 60% of centrally processed London Market transactions currently go through DXC systems.

Whilst developments appear to be at a relatively early stage, Kyndryl seems to be an obvious suitor for the rump of DXC, in fact many commentators (including this one) have long speculated that such interest might materialise. Meanwhile, with a potential price tag of around $2bn and a ready-made ring-fenced business, DXC’s global insurance operations may to some look like the most appealing of the two potential transactions. If things indeed do eventually play out as initially seems possible, it will perhaps be the end game that many have been expecting for some time.

Posted by: Jon C Davies at 09:40

Tags: M&A   acquisitions  

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Tuesday 11 June 2024

Cognizant bets a further $1.3bn on ER&D

LogoThree years on from its acquisition of digital automotive engineering research and development (ER&D) specialist ESG Mobility, Cognizant is set to buy ER&D services heavyweight, Belcan.Logo Under the terms of the definitive agreement signed yesterday, the offshore-centric major will pay c.$1.29bn (comprising $1.19bn in cash consideration and a fixed 1.47 million Cognizant shares) for the Cincinnati-HQ’d business. The transaction will be funded through a mix of cash on hand and debt. Through the purchase, which is expected to be EPS accretive in 2026, Cognizant will significantly strengthen both its engineering capabilities and its position in aerospace & defence industry vertical.

Founded in 1958 and in private equity ownership since 2015, Belcan provides mission-critical digital engineering services to a blue-chip roster of clients which includes Boeing, General Motors, Rolls-Royce, NASA and the U.S. Navy. The firm employs 10,000 people across 60 locations globally and generates annualised sales of c.$800m. In the UK, Belcan has offices in Bristol, Cheltenham, Derby, Glasgow, London, Runcorn and Southampton. According to its most recently filed accounts, which covered the year ended 31st December 2022, the company has over 400 personnel in this country supporting revenue of some £69m pa.

The move to beef-up its ER&D capabilities makes sense for Cognizant which has been struggling to revitalise global growth (see here). While overall the Software and IT Services market has been slowing of late, the Manufacturing Sector has been proving a fertile hunting ground for a wide range of suppliers (see our recent Manufacturing sector gets fired up article for more details).

The company is, however, far from alone in turning to inorganic options to gain ground in this arena. Last month Infosys announced its intention to buy German-based Engineering R&D services specialist, in-tech GmbH. In 2021, Accenture purchased Germany-HQ’d engineering consulting and services firm, umlaut and the prior year saw Capgemini acquire Altran Technologies for €3.6bn. Further mergers in the space should be expected as firms continue to build out their Industry 4.0 propositions.

Posted by: Duncan Aitchison at 08:58

Tags: acquisition   manufacturing   engineering  

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Monday 10 June 2024

RM and Searchlight join forces to support digital assessment

RM logoRM and Searchlight Consulting have announced a strategic partnership intended to help exam assessors and awarding bodies accelerate their digital transformation efforts. As part of the partnership, RM will launch RM Consulting, a new business unit offering consultancy services to assist clients in the move towards digital assessment.

Searchlight logoThe partnership will see RM combine its extensive education technology heritage and digital assessment expertise with Searchlight's digital transformation design and delivery capabilities. Mark Cook, CEO of RM, is also non-executive chairman at Searchlight; hence, the synergies between the two businesses should be clearly understood.

Cook said, "The launch of RM Consulting marks another key step in the development of [RM's] strategy." It is expected to form a pillar in RM's growth plans, which include building a Global Accreditation Platform to enable end-to-end digital examinations, authoring, and accreditations (see RM draws a line under turbulent times and sets sights on growth). RM Consulting will form part of the company's RM Assessment division.

The move follows RM's recent expansion of its longstanding partnership with The International Baccalaureate (IB), which will see the Abingdon-headquartered business support IB's drive towards digital assessment (see RM and The International Baccalaureate announce long-term partnership). 

Posted by: Dale Peters at 10:05

Tags: education   assessment   edtech   digital+transformation  

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Monday 10 June 2024

*NEW RESEARCH* AI in Supply Chain - Making Supply Chains Intelligent

Global Supply Chains have been under incredible strain since the pandemic, subsequently made worse by raw material and skills shortages, conflicts in the Ukraine and the Middle East, an energy crisis, and inflation. Supply Chains that were traditionally optimised for cost and quality of service have had to become more resilient, sustainable and intelligent.

Supply Chain AITechMarketView has taken a close interest in the role that Software and IT Services (SITS) providers might play in offering solutions to the risks and threats faced by the Supply Chain Management (SCM) industry and its customers. This culminated in the publication of two major reports towards the back end of 2022 – one looking to identify and profile opportunities for SITS providers operating within the supply chain resilience space (Supply Chain Resilience: Opportunities for SITS providers), and the other, focusing on the specific threats and opportunities presented by Cyber Security (Supply Chain Resilience: The Cyber Threat).

The rise of ‘industry 4.0’ has meant that technologies such as automation, AI, robotics and logistics management systems are becoming much more prevalent, and as a result supply chains have become intertwined in the global tech race.

The impact of AI was addressed in both reports but subsequent to publication we have seen a rapidly increasing amount of interest, hype and investment in AI-led supply chain solutions. As a follow up to the Supply Chain Resilience reports we now look at how AI-led solutions (both traditional AI/Machine Learning and Generative AI) can address some of the greatest challenges and opportunities currently faced by global supply chains. Looking forward, we also identify those areas and use cases of greatest opportunity for AI vendors and SITS suppliers looking to serve the supply chain market.

If you are a subscriber to TechSectorViews you can download the report here AI in Supply Chain. If you don’t have a subscription and would like to gain access the report and our other research and services please contact Deb Seth.

Posted by: Marc Hardwick at 09:22

Tags: newresearch   AI   supply+chain  

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Monday 10 June 2024

When will we see another Mike Lynch company in the FTSE100?

I have had a record number of Views, Comments and Likes to my ‘Mike Lynch acquitted on all counts’ ‘gut reaction’ article on Friday. Although it was, to me, the major news item of the week, the news that Darktrace was to enter the FTSE100 - albeit for a short time before the take private deal is closed - also piqued my interest.

Of course they are closely connected as Darktrace was a product of Lynch’s Invoke fund and involved several senior folk from Autonomy.

Using my own definition of an IT (see Footnote1 below) company, the FTSE100 now just has two - Sage and Darktrace.

Back in 2000, the FTSE100 had eight IT constituents:

- Baltimore
- Sema
- CMG
- Logica
- Sage
- Misys
- Capita
- Autonomy.

Sage was then valued at £7.5b. Today it is £10.7b. I did better in a building society!
Capita was worth £2.6b in 2000 but over £5b by 2008. It is now valued at just £245m. How the mighty have fallen!

Autonomy was valued at £2.5b back in 2000. HP paid £7.4b in 2011. Given today’s valuations of AI companies (where Autonomy would probably have been categorised if it had remained independent) that almost looks cheap! Afterall Darktrace alone is valued at £4.25b.

Given Lynch’s track record of forming innovative tech companies in the UK, (See Footnote2 below) I wouldn’t be at all surprised to see another Lynch company in the FTSE100. Just like before, I would be first in the queue to become a shareholder.

Footnote1
As older readers will know, my main area of research for the last 40 years has been the UK Software and IT Services (SITS) sector and its companies. Not hardware or telecoms. ARM was in the FTSE100 in 2000 as were BT and Vodafone.

Footnote2
Lynch formed Cambridge Neurodynamics in 1991 which begat Neuroscript, NCorp and Autonomy. Autonomy begat Blinkx which was also on the London Stock Market.

After Autonomy was sold to HP, Lynch formed Invoke Capital which has backed (most at an early stage) Darktrace, Featurespace, Luminance, Neurence and Sophia Genetics.

I’ve probably missed some out. But it’s an impressive list already!

Posted by: Richard Holway at 09:21

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Monday 10 June 2024

Cognizant and Nexthink target employee experience

LogoCognizant is partnering with Swiss employee experience (EX) softwareLogo scale-up, Nexthink to enhance digital workplace service delivery. Under the agreement, the offshore-centric heavyweight will apply its expertise and portfolio of tools with the platform provider’s flagship product, Nexthink Infinity, to create a new joint offering, Cognizant WorkNEXT™ Workplace Intelligence.

Founded in 2004. Lausanne-HQ’d Nexthink today operates in eleven countries including the UK. The company has developed a Digital Employee Experience Management platform which combines real-time analytics, automations, and employee feedback across the devices, applications and connectivity provided by workplace IT. The tie-up with Cognizant aims to provide end-to-end solutions for proactive, intelligent IT support that not only enhances employee satisfaction and productivity, but also reduces operational costs. The two companies are already collaborating in the US to support workflow technology provider Fortive.

Optimising the interplay between employee experience, user experience, partner experience, and customer experience is increasingly being viewed by enterprises as the key to both driving differentiation and maximising business returns. To date, however, EX has largely struggled to attract investment funds leaving staff often frustrated with the technology within their organisations. In the face of both persistent recruitment and retention challenges and corporate imperatives to drive-up productivity, there is now a pressing need for companies and their IT functions to figure out what’s good and bad for employee experience delivery. The launch of Cognizant WorkNEXT™ Workplace Intelligence appears timely.

Posted by: Duncan Aitchison at 09:07

Tags: experience   partnership  

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Monday 10 June 2024

TCS launches GenAI aggregation platform

TCSTCS is one of the top 10 IT & Business Process Services suppliers that we have featured in our recently published report The road to AI: TechMarketView Market Readiness Index - TechMarketView’s flagship research product for tech buyers who want the best understanding of the UK AI supplier landscape.

This is partly because TCS has made significant investments in GenAI platforms over the last couple of years with a dedicated team for go to market, solutioning, and advisory along with significant scale advantages via some 100,000+ staff now trained on GenAI. TCS’s AI approach majors on industry-based use case demonstrations deployed via its network of Paceport co-innovation centres. Deep partnerships now exist with all the key hyperscalers (AWS, Microsoft, and Google) as well as many key AI solution providers including Nvidia, watsonx (IBM), Anthropic, Hugging Face, and Meta.

However, many customers still find the rapidly changing GenAI landscape extremely confusing and being particularly difficult to decide on which foundational model to go with. In response, TCS has now launched TCS AI WisdomNext, a platform that aggregates multiple GenAI services into a single place designed to help clients adopt the technologies quickly, cheaply and all at scale, by removing some of the barriers to adoption.

Features of the new platform include ‘evaluator bots’, to help clients compare GenAI models and related tech stacks and test scenarios on running costs. Crucially, the platform centralises governance with in-built “guardrails” to ensure compliance with local regulations. Challenges with governance remain one of the biggest barriers to adoption and scaling. Members of the TechMarketView Tech User Programme can read our take on TCS’s AI offer here.

Posted by: Marc Hardwick at 09:06

Tags: genAI  

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