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Tuesday 22 October 2019

STARTUP? SCALEUP? Not long left for a chance to partner with Sopra Steria and expand YOUR market access

logoChemistry – the new accelerator programme from Sopra Steria, a European leader in digital transformation – is working with the TechMarketView Innovation Partner Programme to give start-ups and small businesses an opportunity to accelerate growth and open up new opportunities.

logoChemistry has been created to support businesses with innovative solutions that are near market ready or already established in the market and help them grow further and faster. The programme is industry-led and has been specifically designed to help companies get their products to market quickly, using a collaborative, supportive and a professional platform.

If you are an innovative company looking for accelerated access to key markets, Chemistry has been developed to help you get there.

What Sopra Steria is looking for

TechMarketView is helping Sopra Steria find partners to address three Challenges of major concern to both the public and private sectors:

  • Challenge 1 – Innovating Cyber Security: Keeping enterprises safe in a world of developing threats.
  • Challenge 2 – Identity Validation and Verification: Ensuring that an individual applying for access to public services is exactly who they say they are.
  • Challenge 3 – Transforming the Inspections Process: Capturing and analysing evidence to radically improve the inspection regime for assurance regarding the fulfilment of fiduciary or statutory responsibilities.

There’s a full explanation of these Challenges here.

What Sopra Steria offers

  • Accelerated market access – Strong, and on-going business relationships with major Public and Private sector clients. We have mature existing client relationships and a reputation for business transformation and excellent service delivery.
  • European presence – You’ll have the opportunity to sell internationally with access to clients outside of the UK through our European presence.
  • Development and growth of your business and product – We will help you grow, mature, and help build your client base, while respecting that your IP is your IP.
  • Development of your people – By joining our programme, you’ll gain access to our masterclasses, expert contacts and a champion within Sopra Steria, all of which will ensure you get the experience and partnership your business needs.
  • Industry visibility – Along with a large Private sector presence, Sopra Steria is a Strategic Partner to Government and by working with us you’ll have the opportunity to raise your company’s profile and visibility across these sectors.
  • Access to Sopra Steria facilities – Sopra Steria have collaborative Digilab spaces country wide and will offer design sprints and workshops to help develop the proposition. There is also an opportunity to use office space and board rooms, if required, to grow your business.

Eligibility requirements

  • Innovative product – The product or service you have created should be on the forefront of the relevant industry.
  • Existing clients – You must have delivered services to at least one previous client, with at least a minimum viable product to help provide future clients with confidence in our services.
  • Potentially scalable solutions – Your product should have the potential to scale to be able to utilise Sopra Steria’s client network and support to deliver to a large range of customers as their requirements develop.
  • Business focused – You should have a product focused on the business benefit for the customer as well as the technical challenge.

How to apply

If you are the Founder or CEO/MD of a privately held innovative, high growth young business and feel you can meet at least one of the Challenges, please apply by completing this webform by Friday 1st November 2019. Successful applicants will be invited to attend a pitch session at Sopra Steria’s London offices week commencing 9th December 2019.

You can find more about the TechMarketView Innovation Partner Programme Chemistry event here. You can also download a flyer about the Sopra Steria Chemistry programme here. For any further information, please email tipp@techmarketview.com.

Posted by: HotViews Editor

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Monday 21 October 2019

UK challenges hit Mastek Q2

Mastek logoMastek points firmly to “challenges in the UK market” when reporting a flat quarter-on-quarter performance for its business to end September 2019 (Q220) – and a 4.9% year-on-year Q120 decline. Total quarterly income stood at Rs252.7 crore. Under the surface, the UK business saw year-on-year revenues (compared to Q219) drop by 6.4% to Rs174.3 crore, while the US market saw revenues grow 2.6%, or 1.4% at constant currency. This is a familiar picture to that seen at the time of the Q120 results – see Mastek US turnaround evident.

The difficulties mean that Mastek has had to cope with a double whammy while managing its cost structure: struggling revenues as well as wage hikes. On the latter, it is interesting to note that the company has increased pay to its digital talent pool – a clear sign of the difficulty (for all companies) in attracting and retaining the right skills. Nonetheless, by making some tough decisions – and reducing its number of employees from 2,035 at the end of June, to 1,937 at the end of September – the company managed to maintain its double-digit total EBITDA margin for the quarter, albeit at 14.9% compared to 15.1% a year earlier.

Moreover, the company sees some positive indicators. “Client mining” has resulted in 11 new clients in the quarter and a 3.9% increase (3.5% at constant currency) in the 12-month order backlog. And the company continues to put the foundations in place, under its Vision 2020 plan, to accelerate growth beyond this financial year. Of course, with a large proportion of business coming from UK Government, much will depend on how quickly UK politics settles down and ICT/digital spend starts to be released again.

Posted by: Georgina O'Toole

Tags: results   offshore   india  

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Monday 21 October 2019

SAP Q3 dominated by cloud progress and Microsoft cloud relationship

logoHaving released Q3 prelims and top seat leadership changes earlier this monthSAP has followed up with full Q319 results and news of a three year cloud partnership with Microsoft

Part of Project Embrace, which was announced in May 2019 and laid out SAP’s strategy for driving cloud adoption of SAP products via collaboration with the hyperscale cloud providers AWSMicrosoft Azure and Google Cloud, the Microsoft relationship will see Microsoft reselling components of SAP Cloud Platform with Azure. 

This is a move by SAP to address customer concerns over the difficulties of migrating on-premise ERP and S/4 HANA to the public cloud. The Microsoft relationship builds on an existing partnership and is delivering positive results, contributing 18 percentage points to the 39% growth (to  €522m) in SAP’s new cloud bookings in Q3. It was probably a factor in the increase in cloud gross margins too, which expanded by just over 5%. Overall cloud revenue grew 37% to  €1.79bn, taking it to 26% of total revenue but SAP still has a long way to go to tip the on-premise to cloud balance.

In April, SAP promised to pay attention to bottom line as well as top line growth and has delivered with operating profit up 36% to €1.68bn, due to disciplined hiring, accelerating operational efficiencies and lower share-based compensation. This was off a 13% increase in top line growth to  €6.79bn. All three divisions saw solid growth, although within Applications Technology & Services, software licence revenue dipped 1% to  €932m. 

Overall it was a solid quarter, including within EMEA where cloud revenue increased 49%  - with Germany and UK cited as highlights. France and UK were deemed “exceptional” in terms of software licence revenue.

As there was essentially no change from the prelim results released earlier in the month and FY, 2020 and 2020-2023 vision guidance remained unchanged, the share price only saw a slight uptick. Q3 is a good base for new co-CEO’s Jennifer Morgan and Christian Klein to kick off from as they deal with the on-going cloud transition, S/4HANA adoption, develop the Qualtrics business as part of the CX push, and make the Intelligent Enterprise a reality for customers and a significant revenue generator for SAP. 

Posted by: Angela Eager

Tags: results   cloud   software  

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Monday 21 October 2019

National roll-out of Electronic Prescription Service

NHS logoOver the weekend Primary Care Minister, Jo Churchill, announced rollout of the final phase (Phase 4) of the Electronic Prescription Service (EPS) will start next month. This should see the proportion of prescriptions sent electronically increase to above 95%.

EPS was first announced by the Department of Health in 2003 following earlier pilots. It was delivered as part of the National Programme for IT (NPfIT) and first introduced at a pharmacy in Leeds in 2009. EPS survived as NPfIT was dismantled (see NPfIT: Analysing the end of an era) and has been making incremental progress since then. In the three years from 2013 to 2016 it is estimated EPS has saved the NHS £136m.

EPS is now used in over 90% of England’s GP practices, with around 70% of their prescriptions delivered via the service. Last year, NHS Digital also began rolling out access to EPS to all integrated urgent care providers nationally using Advanced’s Adastra solution.

Currently EPS allows prescribers to send prescriptions electronically to a patient’s ‘nominated’ dispenser (community pharmacy and/or Dispensing Appliance Contractor) removing the need for a paper prescription. Phase 4, which has been tested with 60 GP practices and c.3,100 pharmacies, will see all prescriptions, regardless of whether the patient has a nominated dispenser, processed electronically. Those without a nominated dispenser will still be given a paper copy of their prescription (known as a token), but it will include a bar code that a pharmacy can scan to download the electronic prescription from the NHS Spine.

Roll-out of Phase 4 to GP practices using the TPP SystmOne platform begins on 18 November 2019. NHS Digital is currently working with EMIS, Vision and Microtest to confirm dates for their systems. It is estimated EPS will save the NHS £300m by 2021 by increasing efficiencies, reducing processing time and minimising prescribing errors. 

Posted by: Dale Peters

Tags: nhs   digital   transformation  

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Monday 21 October 2019

Action packed year for The Access Group

logoWith nine acquisitions under its belt, it has been another action packed and successful year for The Access Group

Access Workplace has been a significant contributor. This is the in-house built cloud platform that integrates and surfaces Access applications and data. Key features include its persona-based (rather than software-centric) approach and vertical orientation; the latter is something we are seeing with competitor Advanced’s cloud platform too. Access CEO Chris Bayne, who had previously highlighted Workplace as a growth lever for the company, says it was a key growth driver during 2019, with over 150,000 users across the commercial and not-for-profit sectors after its first year on the market.   

The Access Group’s vertical focus is one of its strengths. It continues to expand its vertical capability via acquisitions such as VolcanicMicrodecJoyfulConquest and iCareHealth within healthcare, recruitment and not-for-profit (NfP). With the acquisitions of direct debit processing Rapidata who operates in the NfP sector and Eazy Collect, a payment platform provider for SME’s, NfP, blue-chip corporates and public sector, the company was also able to extend its presence in the fast moving and competitive payments sector. Our conversations with Bayne suggest interesting developments are in the pipeline, so eyes on the Access World event in November. 

The company also moved into a new sector, creating the Digital Learning and Compliance division out of the acquisitions of SaaS risk and compliance software provider Riliance and a learning management systems provider Unicorn. The vertical theme continues, with the division providing risk and compliance solutions to several sectors, including legal and financial services. 

These activities, coupled with the existing business, boosted proforma revenue by 41% to £214m, with proforma EBITDA up 45% to £74m in the year to 30 June 2019. Organic proforma revenue growth was 14%, continuing the long-established pattern of strong underlying growth; 4 acquisitions were completed during FY18. The number of verticals supported and rate of acquisitions could be a concern but the concentration on relatively small companies in adjacent areas seems to be working out and delivering profitable growth, while diversification contributes to stability. 

Posted by: Angela Eager

Tags: results   cloud   software  

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Monday 21 October 2019

Winnow scales up funding

logoI’ve been following the fortunes of London-based ‘smart scales’ startup Winnow with some interest since its first seed round back in 2015 (see Winnow weighs in with £600k seed funding) as I think it’s a really bright idea. Basically, Winnow has developed smart weighing scales that sit under food waste bins in restaurant kitchens. The scales are connected to a customised tablet on which staff can touch in the type and amount of food being thrown away. Winnow’s cloud-based app analyses the data and costs out the food wastage.

Founded in 2013, Winnow has since raised further funding (see Winnow scales up its smart scales) and recently announced a $12m Series B round backed by  Ingenious, Ingka Investments (IKEA’s venture arm – IKEA is a Winnow anchor client), Circularity Capital, Mustard Seed and D-Ax. This followed an $8m loan from the European Investment Bank. Winnow claims its kit is installed in over 1,000 sites worldwide.

Winnow’s business model remains opaque (“Price on Application”) but as I mooted previously, it’s probably based on a roll-up hardware/software packaged service. I also can’t get any sense as to when Winnow expects to become profitable (I assume it’s still burning cash). This idea deserves success but as it is hardware-driven, scaling up to profitability will not be straightforward.

Posted by: Anthony Miller

Tags: funding   startup  

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Sunday 20 October 2019

*NEW RESEARCH* UK SITS indices fall as global tensions grow

CHARTUK tech stocks had mixed fortunes during Q3 as international trade tensions and talk of a global slowdown weighed on shares.

The FTSE SCS index, a proxy for UK listed software and IT services (SITS) companies, was the worst performer in the UK tech sector with a 17% fall. Micro Focus was a major contributor to the drop with its shares falling 45% in the quarter following a profit warning (see here).

The FTSE Telecom indices faired better, boosted by a 25% gain by Vodafone which lifted the FTSE Mobile index by 24% but stock price falls from BT and other fixed line providers resulted in a 9% drop in the FTSE Fixed Line index and limited the FTSE Telecom index to a 13% gain.

In the broader stock markets, the FTSE 100 was down very slightly (0.2%) as was the Nasdaq index (down 0.6%).

TechMarketView Foundation Service subscribers can read more about the comparative performance of UK SITS stocks in IndustryViews Quoted Sector Q3 2019 Review by clinking here.

Posted by: HotViews Editor

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Friday 18 October 2019

GP IT Futures framework suppliers announced

NHS Digital loglNHS Digital has announced 69 suppliers are to be awarded a place on the new GP IT Futures framework. This framework will replace the GP Systems of Choice (GPSoC) agreement that is due to expire on 31 December 2019. The new framework is valued at £500m and runs until 2023.

The GP IT Futures programme covers a broader range of services than GPSoC and is a key component in helping primary care achieve the requirements set out in the NHS Long Term Plan, the NHS Tech Vision and the five-year framework for GP contract reform. The Prior Information Notice was published in August 2018 with the Contract Notice following in May 2019. It is the first framework to be awarded as part of the Digital Buying Catalogue, which will act as a digital marketplace for clinical commissioners and other NHS buyers.

The strategic objectives of the programme are to achieve real-time and secure access to data for patients and NHS users; allow interoperability between systems; enable a relevant, resilient and plural ecosystem of GP and primary care IT systems; and allow data to be easily and consistently captured to enable comparison of activity and clinical outcomes.

Of the 69 suppliers 16 were part of the existing GPSoC Lot 1 framework, including the four principal system suppliers: EMIS, Microtest, TPP (The Phoenix Partnership) and Vision (In Practice Systems). There will be 53 new entrants on the GP IT Futures framework, including three new entrants offering core clinical systems—Meddbase (UK), MedicalDirector (Australia) and MEDITECH (USA).

The award is subject to each supplier completing the assurance process successfully; this process is currently underway and due for completion shortly. Solutions from suppliers that are part of GPSoC Lot 1 are scheduled to be available from 1st January 2020 and the new solutions will become available throughout next year. The full list of suppliers is available here.

Increasing the number of suppliers and the breadth of services available to GP practices is designed to enable a more modular approach to IT systems in primary care. The expansion in the number of core clinical systems should encourage further competition in a sector that is dominated by EMIS and TPP. However, encouraging a GP practice to voluntarily implement a new core software platform will be no easy task.

Posted by: Dale Peters

Tags: nhs   framework   digital   healthcare  

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Friday 18 October 2019

Accenture acquires again for Industry X.0 business

accAccenture has acquired Happen, a privately owned innovation firm with its own proprietary methods, frameworks and digital tools for driving innovation. Terms of the acquisition were not disclosed.

Happen was founded in 2007 and is headquartered in London with offices in Amsterdam and New York. The firm can help customers with innovation strategy, design, ideation, insight and research in order to drive business growth.

Industry focus areas are consumer goods, food & beverage, retail and life science. A core capability is gaining consumer insights to identify new opportunities and how those can be commercialised. 

The Happen team will join Accenture’s innovation practice, which sits within its Industry X.0 business. It’s a very nice add-on, bringing many examples of success in driving innovation for business gains. For example, Happen worked with a healthcare company to reinvigorate its cough medicine market strategy, improving its market position and sales.

Happen is the lastest in a string of acquisitions by Accenture to create depth of capability in Industry X.0. Most recently, it bought Pragsis Bidoop and ?What If!, with other acquisitions including Mindtribe, designaffairs, and Altitude.

Posted by: Kate Hanaghan

Tags: acquisition   innovation  

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Friday 18 October 2019

UKCloud and Shaping Cloud target healthcare opportunity

UKCloud logoUKCloud Health has joined forces with cloud migration specialists Shaping Cloud to help healthcare organisations envisage, design and execute the right multi-cloud strategy through a new ‘Transformation Accelerator’ programme.

The synergies between Shaping Cloud (an alumnus of our 4th Little British Battler programme back in 2014 and shortlisted for the TechMarketView Innovation Partner Programme last year) and UKCloud Health (the dedicated healthcare division of UKCloud, which was established in 2017) mean the partnership can offer a solution that covers the end-to-end cloud transformation lifecycle.

Shaping Cloud logoThe service is divided into three sections—Discovery: to capture information about the existing IT Infrastructure; Analysis: to create an inventory of assets and build an architecture schematic; and Presentation: to detail findings and recommendations for digital transformation, including total cost of ownership and potential for rationalisation. And assuming all goes to plan, the organisation will then look to UKCloud to deliver a secure multi-cloud hosting solution.

The NHS Tech Vision, published this time last year, stated there should be an assumption that all NHS services should run in the public cloud with no more locally managed servers. It highlighted a range of advantages to this approach, including resilience, security, scalability, data sharing, and making it easier to update applications. The accompanying Digital, Data and Technology Standards Framework said infrastructure decisions should adhere to the Government's Cloud First Policy and be underpinned through an understanding of the total cost of ownership for their full lifecycle.

The benefits associated with healthcare organisations moving to the cloud are clear, and there is plenty of encouragement to do so from the Government and its non-departmental public bodies, but progress has been slow. However, we are seeing more public sector organisations take a programmatic approach to their cloud journey e.g. Shaping Cloud recently won a contract to transition Greater Manchester Health and Social Care Partnership to the cloud. If programmes like the Transformation Accelerator can make it easier for healthcare organisations to break through the barriers associated with legacy infrastructure and organisational complexity, we should see adoption levels improve. 

Posted by: Dale Peters

Tags: nhs   cloud   partnerships   healthcare  

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Friday 18 October 2019

Hanover comes to the rescue of the Brady bunch

BradyEarlier this week, Brady plc, the provider of trading, risk management and settlement solutions, announced that it is set to be acquired by Hanover Investors. The Cambridge based energy and commodity markets specialist has agreed a bid via Hanover Bidco, that values its operations at £8.3m. The offer represents a premium of around 50% on the Brady share price as at 11 October.

Brady has been enduring difficult trading conditions for some time, but had appeared turn a corner in 2018, with improved full year financials. Meanwhile, the advent of new CEO, Carmen Carey in February, also gave rise to temporary optimism. However, recent interim financials revealed a deterorating picture once again, with an operating loss of £3.3m, 47% higher than last year (see: Brady hit by sales slowdown and increased losses). In September the company revealed that it would need to borrow a total of £16.5m in working capital to support its ongoing operations. Brady's share price subsequently sank to an all-time low of 6.63 pence, 95% off its peak.

Hanover has a reputation as something of a turnaround specialist and the offer clearly comes as a lifeline for Brady's employees, customers and shareholders. Hanover has already indicated that it is prepared to commit significant funding to enhance Brady's propostion, in a marketplace that has the potential to provide significant future opportunities.

Posted by: Jon C Davies

Tags: M&A  

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Friday 18 October 2019

WNS confounding the critics

WNSEarlier in the week, US based equity analysts expressed reservations in WNS’s future prospects, citing exposure to Brexit and risks to its business model posed by automation. Whilst these issues of course remain, WNS continues to confound its critics revising up its fiscal 2020 guidance off the back of some strong Q2 results.

Shares were up 8% yesterday on 13% Y-o-Y revenue growth for the quarter to $220.7m (£199.1m Q2 19), having also added 6 new clients, expanded 9 existing relationships and renewed 15 contracts. Operating profit was $28.7m ($24.8m Q2 19) with an adjusted operating margin of 23.5% (up 250 bps).

Whilst for some, exposure to the UK economy looks like a risk to the business, WNS’s management is adamant that the UK pipeline remains very strong with clients firmly committed to existing plans. Perhaps we shouldn’t be surprised, indeed, many of WNS’s services are of course counter cyclical – not just traditional BPO cost cutting but automation and procurement services are all very attractive in environments when “pennies have to be counted” and efficiencies gained.

WNS must continue to push on its automation drive but remains a business in good shape with strong visibility to double-digit organic growth, somerthing most of their competitors would give their right arm for. Its strategy of focusing on specialist, domain-specific BPS services and investing heavily in automation remains the right one.

Guidance for fiscal 2020 is now for revenue between $861m and $892m, up from $794m in fiscal 2019.

Posted by: Marc Hardwick

Tags: results   bpo   bps  

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Friday 18 October 2019

Home loan startup Proportunity secures £2m

ProportunityUK startup Proportunity has successfully raised £2m in seed funding. The investment was led by FinTech investors Anthemis (Sean Park and Amy Nauiokas) and supported by Axel Springer Digital Ventures. Founded in 2016 by former software engineer Stefan Boronea and Oxford educated ex-Bain consultant, Vadim Toader, Proportunity aims to help first-time buyers get on the property ladder via its innovative approach to lending (see: Money lender Proportunity gets funding to bet on property prices).

Under the strapline. “Don't rent - Own”, Proportunity helps buyers overcome the challenge of finding a large deposit by providing an equity loan of up to 15% of a property’s value. This in turn helps the borrower to secure a more competitive mortgage loan and thus can reduce overall borrowing costs considerably. Proportunity’s proposition is underpinned by data analytics and machine learning, which the company claims helps it assess the relative merits of properties, especially those in up-and-coming areas. By using local crime statistics, school ratings as well as information on broadband speeds and pollution, the company believes it can reduce the risk for both for the borrower and the lender.

Since becoming FCA authorised in 2018, the startup has attracted around 5,000 users and issued loans on properties worth over £10m. The latest cash injection brings the total invested in Proportunity to date to £3.7m and demonstrates its investors confidence its business model.

Whilst securing a first step on the property ladder is an enduring challenge for many, Proportunity’s propostion is of course, heavily reliant on the fortunes of the economy. It will be interesting to see how this fledgling loan provider progresses in the face of a general slowdown in the UK property market.

Posted by: Jon C Davies

Tags: funding   Lending  

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Friday 18 October 2019

*UKHotViewsExtra* O'Connor and Trad3r look to change the rules

GianniFollowing the news earlier this week that UK startup, Trad3r, had successfully raised around £1.2m in new funding from a group of respected angel investors (see: Trad3r secures £1.2m cash boost), I caught up with the company’s charismatic young founder and CEO, Gianni O’Connor (pictured).

O’Connor is an extremely bright and enthusiastic individual with something of an infectious personality. In addition to his obvious energy and intellect, he is driven in part by altruistic sentiment, coupled with a healthy disrespect for the status quo. O’Connor hopes that Trad3r may help transform attitudes to financial services, both inside and outside of the established investment community.

The Trad3r app, which was launched in 2016, aims to broaden the appeal of trading to a wider audience by gamifying the stock market experience. Trad3r enables its users to gain their first experience of trading in an entertaining, low risk environment via innovative asset classes that are appealing to its target audience. As well as buying and selling traditional stocks, Trad3r enables users to trade other “virtual” commodities such as celebrities and footballers. Successful trading is rewarded with incentives such as points and prizes, as well as hard cash.

The 26-year old Londoner already has another successful startup under his belt, in the form of innovative free music streaming and social media app Micsu. O’Connor launched Micsu in 2013 whilst studying for a degree at Coventry University and first visualised the base code that was key to its success whilst sitting a mid-term exam. 

TechMarketView subscribers including UKHotViewsPremium clients can learn more via UKHotViewsExtra (see: O'Connor and Trad3r look to change the rules).

If you do not already have access to our subscription content and you would like to learn more, please contact Deb Seth for details.

hvp

Posted by: Jon C Davies

Tags: funding   FinTech   Gamification  

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Friday 18 October 2019

STARTUP? SCALEUP? Don't miss this opportunity to partner with Sopra Steria and expand YOUR market access

logoChemistry – the new accelerator programme from Sopra Steria, a European leader in digital transformation – is working with the TechMarketView Innovation Partner Programme to give start-ups and small businesses an opportunity to accelerate growth and open up new opportunities.

logoChemistry has been created to support businesses with innovative solutions that are near market ready or already established in the market and help them grow further and faster. The programme is industry-led and has been specifically designed to help companies get their products to market quickly, using a collaborative, supportive and a professional platform.

If you are an innovative company looking for accelerated access to key markets, Chemistry has been developed to help you get there.

What we’re looking for

TechMarketView is helping Sopra Steria find partners to address three Challenges of major concern to both the public and private sectors:

  • Challenge 1 – Innovating Cyber Security: Keeping enterprises safe in a world of developing threats.
  • Challenge 2 – Identity Validation and Verification: Ensuring that an individual applying for access to public services is exactly who they say they are.
  • Challenge 3 – Transforming the Inspections Process: Capturing and analysing evidence to radically improve the inspection regime for assurance regarding the fulfilment of fiduciary or statutory responsibilities.

There’s a full explanation of these Challenges here.

What Sopra Steria offers

  • Accelerated market access – Strong, and on-going business relationships with major Public and Private sector clients. We have mature existing client relationships and a reputation for business transformation and excellent service delivery.
  • European presence – You’ll have the opportunity to sell internationally with access to clients outside of the UK through our European presence.
  • Development and growth of your business and product – We will help you grow, mature, and help build your client base, while respecting that your IP is your IP.
  • Development of your people – By joining our programme, you’ll gain access to our masterclasses, expert contacts and a champion within Sopra Steria, all of which will ensure you get the experience and partnership your business needs.
  • Industry visibility – Along with a large Private sector presence, Sopra Steria is a Strategic Partner to Government and by working with us you’ll have the opportunity to raise your company’s profile and visibility across these sectors.
  • Access to Sopra Steria facilities – Sopra Steria have collaborative Digilab spaces country wide and will offer design sprints and workshops to help develop the proposition. There is also an opportunity to use office space and board rooms, if required, to grow your business.

Eligibility requirements

  • Innovative product – The product or service you have created should be on the forefront of the relevant industry.
  • Existing clients – You must have delivered services to at least one previous client, with at least a minimum viable product to help provide future clients with confidence in our services.
  • Potentially scalable solutions – Your product should have the potential to scale to be able to utilise Sopra Steria’s client network and support to deliver to a large range of customers as their requirements develop.
  • Business focused – You should have a product focused on the business benefit for the customer as well as the technical challenge.

How to apply

If you are the Founder or CEO/MD of a privately held innovative, high growth young business and feel you can meet at least one of the Challenges, please apply by completing this webform by Friday 1st November 2019. Successful applicants will be invited to attend a pitch session at Sopra Steria’s London offices week commencing 9th December 2019.

You can find more about the TechMarketView Innovation Partner Programme Chemistry event here. You can also download a flyer about the Sopra Steria Chemistry programme here. For any further information, please email tipp@techmarketview.com.

Posted by: HotViews Editor

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Friday 18 October 2019

Your Autumn advertising seserves to go off with a Bang.

TechMarketView Autumn Advertising offer

Posted by: HotViews Editor

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Thursday 17 October 2019

AI-driven Healx raises $56m to fight rare diseases

Healx logoCambridge-based Healx has raised $56m (c.£44m) in Series B funding to help it accelerate the discovery and development of new treatments for rare diseases using AI.

The funding round was led by Atomico with participation from Intel Capital, Global Brain and btov Partners. The investment follows a $10m (c.£8m) Series A round in 2018 and a £1.5m seed funding round in 2016 (see Healx finds purpose to repurpose with £1.5m). All previous investors, including Balderton Capital, Amadeus Capital Partners, and Jonathan Milner also participated in the latest round.

The company, which was co-founded in 2014 by CEO Tim Guilliams, Andreas Bender and David Brown (the latter being a co-inventor of Viagra and former Global Head of Drug Discovery at Roche), will use the investment to develop its therapeutic pipeline and to launch its global Rare Treatment Accelerator programme. This programme seeks to combine the knowledge, information and expertise in rare disease patient groups and clinicians, and employ Healx’s Healnet AI platform to accelerate the discovery of new treatments.

Healnet uses natural language processing to extract disease knowledge from published sources and to complement biomedical databases and proprietary, curated data in a similar way to BenevolentAI (see BenevolentAI raises $115m to scale-up drug discovery). Healx aims to move new treatments towards the clinic within 24 months. Traditional commercial models of drug discovery aimed at more common diseases typically take at least 10 years to reach the marketplace.

In the EU a rare disease is defined as any disease affecting fewer than five people in 10,000. It is estimated there are between 6,000 and 8,000 rare diseases, with another five being described in medical literature each week. Almost 6% of the UK population will be affected by a rare disease, which are often chronic and life threatening, at some point in their lives. Healx’s ambition is to advance 100 rare disease treatments towards the clinic by 2025.

Most of the large pharmaceutical companies have started to adopt AI to accelerate drug discovery, but they will always concentrate on treatments for the most common diseases. By targeting rare diseases Healx could carve out a niche in the market and help those suffering from often overlooked diseases.

Posted by: Dale Peters

Tags: funding   startup   lifesciences   AI   healthcare  

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Thursday 17 October 2019

IBM revenue dips for fifth consecutive quarter

ibmThird quarter results out from IBM overnight showed revenue was down over the comparable period last year by 3.9% to $18bn – or 0.6% when adjusting for divested businesses and currency. That appears to be a little lower than concensus targets from financial analysts. Meanwhile, revenue for Red Hat was up a healthy 20% (constant currency).

Global Technology Services (includes infrastructure and cloud services and technology support services) was down 4.1% (cc) to $6.7bn. Global Business Services (includes consulting, application management and global process services) was up 2.2% (cc) to $4.1 billion - led by growth in consulting (+5% constant currency).

Cloud & Cognitive Software (includes cloud and data platforms which includes Red Hat; cognitive applications; and transaction processing platforms) was up 7.8% (cc) to $5.3bn.

The pedestrian top line performance masks a sound strategy beneath. It’s certainly not that IBM is doing the wrong things (e.g. see IBM continues crucial divestment strategy, IBM software goes cloud native with Cloud Paks, Inside the dramatic world of Quantum Supremacy) or that it is unable to ink the right type of “New” deals (e.g. see IBM lands MoD Land AI deal). The challenge – and it is the same across the industry – is doing all of this quickly enough and at scale in order to counter pressures on the top line performance from elsewhere.

The Red Hat acquisition is just the sort of brave move we need to see from the very large, established Software and IT Service providers, but shareholders will have to remain patient. Evolving a business of this scale will require further big, bold moves, cash and excellent execution. No pressure, then.

Posted by: Kate Hanaghan

Tags: results  

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Thursday 17 October 2019

HPE backs Pensando for edge computing

HPE backs Pensando for edge computingHaving emerged from stealth mode, it looks odds on that start-up Pensando Systems has the vision and backing to make a sizeable impact in a new world of edge computing where the processing architecture moves closer to the data rather than the other way round.

Founded by former Cisco telecoms executives, the firm coincided the launch of its software-defined distributed services platform with US$145m series C funding led by HPE and Lightspeed Venture Partners, taking the total amount of investment to date past the US$278m mark.

The money will beef up Pensando’s engineering, operations and go to market efforts, with HPE chief technology officer Mark Potter joining its board alongside ex-Cisco chief executive John Chambers. HPE also plans to integrate Pensando’s technology into its own network, server, security and storage portfolio, which we guess will form the basis of an alternative play to its traditional hyperconverged data centre products for the customers that want it first outlined it its Intelligent Edge programme last year.

Edge computing is important for telcos, cloud service providers and large enterprises either already or planning to collect huge volumes of data from billions or trillions of end user devices, information which by virtue of its’ scale is time consuming and expensive to transmit over core networks to large, centralised data centres for processing and analysis.

The thinking goes that by harnessing machine learning and other process intensive techniques to crunch the information in smaller facilities at the edge of the network closer to the data itself, costs can be minimised, latency reduced and application performance enhanced (see Intel: In Place to Power Data Centre Transformation).

Increased deployment and use of Internet of Things (IoT), artificial intelligence (AI) and fifth generation (5G) mobile networks (see our report  5G: Opportunities in Next Generation Mobile Networks) is likely to drive that need. All that’s left is for the broad church of network hardware/software suppliers, telcos and cloud service providers to work out how they can make the most of the opportunity without cannibalising their core telecoms, hosting and data centre businesses.

Posted by: Martin Courtney

Tags: funding   HPE   EdgeComputing   Pensando  

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Thursday 17 October 2019

Cognizant acquires Contino

cogCognizant has acquired London-based Contino for an undisclosed amount.

Founded in 2014 by Matt Farmer (CEO) and Benjamin Wootton (CTO), Contino has been through five rounds of funding, most latterly with Columbia Capital (who also took part in Series A funding) and Top Tier Capital Partners.

Targeting highly regulated industries, Contino’s services are based around cloud technologies, DevOps, digital engineering, and data analytics using the 'Squad Model'. Contino is a global premier partner with Amazon Web Services and has “deep expertise” in Microsoft Azure and Google Cloud Platform. Customers include Adidas, Barclays, Lloyds Bank, Morgan Stanley, and Vodafone.

With some key capabilities in areas where market demand is strong, we fully understand the attraction for Cognizant, which has made various other European acquisitions in the recent past. In the UK specifically, Cognizant acquired design agency Zone in 2017, helping to underpin its prime growth areas in hybrid cloud transformation, digital engineering and customer experience transformation.

The concern, however, is that once the earn-outs are done, key personnel will opt to leave their new owner. And even before that, those that are not tied in could decide the corporate life is not for them. Cognizant has an annual UK revenue run rate of c$1.3bn (revenue +11% in the first half of 2019), with almost 300,000 staff worldwide – versus Contino’s mere 350. Making acquisitions a success is challenging enough, but when the difference in size is such, succeeding can be incredibly challenging. HPE managed to do it with RedPixie by giving key personal from the firm leadership roles inside HPE and by focusing the integration process around people (see Did HPE make a success of its RedPixie acquisition?).

It’s possible that Contino’s Squad Model could play a critical role in retaining teams/staff and the approach customers do seem to love, but Cognizant will have to tread very carefully every step of the way through the integration process to get this one right.

Posted by: Kate Hanaghan

Tags: acquisition   cloud   data   DevOps  

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Thursday 17 October 2019

Novosco sold to CANCOM for £70m

CANCOMBelfast-headquartered managed cloud provider Novosco has been acquired by German IT Services player CANCOM in a £70m deal. Novosco will help strengthen CANCOM's growing presence in the UK and Irish markets building on last year’s acquisition of Organised Computer Systems Ltd (OCSL).

NovoscoNovosco is an IT services provider with offices in Belfast, Dublin and Manchester mainly providing managed services and cloud-based services as well some consulting and support. The business has been in expansion mode recently growing off the back of a large NHS deal and support from Invest Northern Ireland and Danske Bank (see here). Prior to the acquisition the Group was planning to achieve revenues of some £55m and an EBITDA margin of 17% for 2019.

Not only does Novosco help CANCOM grow its UK&I base but will help improve the wider Group's margin profile. Novosco will also help strengthen the managed services offering of CANCOM, a business that already has annual revenues of €1.4bn with offices in Germany, Austria, Switzerland, Belgium, UK and USA.

Given the current value of Stirling, UK assets like Novosco, Sophos and today’s other acquisition Contino must all look great value to overseas acquirers. Given this, one of the unintended consequences of Brexit to date looks to have been the increasing overseas control of UK Plc.

Posted by: Marc Hardwick

Tags: acquisition   managedservices   ireland  

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Thursday 17 October 2019

Yorkshire BS picks OutSystems for low-code development

OutSystemsUS headquartered, low-code platform specialist, OutSystems, has been selected by the Yorkshire Building Society as it seeks to enhance its customer experience and improve operational efficiency. The Boston based technology provider will support the society as it implements a new e-commerce platform and provide additional functionality via various mobile applications for its retail and broker customers.

OutSystems, which was founded in Portugal in 2001, uses a low-code approach to help organisations rapidly develop new applications and integrate them with existing systems. In 2018, the company received a major investment from KKR and Goldman Sachs to support its growth ambitions, as it looks to capitalise on the growing low-code market (see: OutSystems get $360m cash injection).

The original eCommerce system used by the Bradford based building society was deemed, no longer fit for purpose. As a result, the society hopes that its use of OutSystems’ low-code technology will help it to improve operational efficiency and cut inbound calls by 40%, by automating routine account servicing. The new technology should also save the society around £600k per annum by digitising the distribution of annual reports.

The use of low-code platforms is becoming more and more prevalent within financial services as companies seek faster deployment of new functionality. In the face of widespread transformation initiatives and the need shorten delivery timescales, providers such as, OutSystems, Kony, Appian and Mendix (Siemens) are increasingly helping banks and insurer to accelerate change (see: Digital enablement via low code platforms).

The UK’s largest building society, Nationwide, also recently selected OutSystems to help it develop and implement a new digital business savings service. This latest deal with the Yorkshire Buiilding Society is another indication of the burgeoning appeal of the cost-effective, low-code approach.

Posted by: Jon C Davies

Tags: contract   low-code  

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Thursday 17 October 2019

Mindtree back to double-digit growth

logoNew CEO Debashis Chatterjee should be pleased with the more positive trend at Bangalore-based mid-tier offshore services firm, Mindtree, having taken the reins of the now Larsen & Toubro-controlled company in August. Chatterjee was previously President, Global Delivery and Global Leader for the Digital Systems and Technology practice at Cognizant (see L&T appoints new CEO for Mindtree).

Mindtree’s headline revenues grew by 10% yoy to $271m in Q2 (to 30th September), 2.6% higher qoq, with both rates better than the prior quarter (see Uncertainty slows Mindtree’s progress). Growth in constant currencies also improved to 11.1% yoy and 3.2% qoq. By our calculations, Mindtree’s operating margin expanded from 6.3% in the prior quarter to 9.3%, though is still rather below its more typical 12%-14% range of recent years.

We will be meeting Mindtree European management soon and will add colour and movement then.

Posted by: Anthony Miller

Tags: results   offshore  

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Thursday 17 October 2019

Netflix to face stiff competition

NetflixI only feel the need to comment on Netflix as they are the ‘N’ in FAANG.

But they are also an interesting study in the how the Disrupters can themselves be disrupted. Netflix seemed to have the video streaming market much to themselves. Sure, a bit of competition from the likes of Hulu. But now they are about to face competition from some seriously ‘Big Boys – Disney, Apple, HBO Max and even BritBox. At the same time, these other players are pulling their old films and TV shows from the Netflix platform. First run box sets are one thing – but I gain great comfort in watching TV comedy episodes I have watched a dozen times before. Friends was (one of) the most popular views on Netflix but will be pulled from their catalogue when HBO starts up. Same applies to The Office when BritBox starts up.

All these things added to the unease that faced Netfix’s Q3 results where adding 520,000 new subscribers in the US was below the 800,000 expected. Although the 6.3m new subscribers added outside the US beat expectations. Netflix will have to spend heavily on new shows to match the competition. Amazon recently bagged Phoebe Waller Bridge of Fleabag fame for a reputed $50m.

No wonder Netflix’s shares have dived 20%+ in the last few months.

Posted by: Richard Holway

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Wednesday 16 October 2019

Relative Insight speaks the lingo of money

logoI’m not at all sure that Lancaster-based language analysis software developer Relative Insight really wants to be labelled “Paedophile identification tech” (Source: BusinessCloud) as this is just one of its many and varied uses even though this was its origin.

Founded in 2012 as a result of a 10-year research project with Lancaster University’s linguistic and cyber security departments, Relative Insight originally designed its technology to support law enforcement agencies identify criminals masquerading as children in chat rooms. However, the platform is now used by brands and agencies to understand language differences between key audiences to optimise marketing engagement. Clients include Disney, Unilever and New York-headquartered advertising agency R/GA.

Relative Insight has just raised £4m in a Series A round led by Maven Capital Partners of which £1m came from the Northern Powerhouse Investment Fund.  

According to its website, Relative Insight ‘compares two data sets to identify significant differences and similarities in the way people speak, from word choice to emotion through to topics and themes’. As best as I can tell, the platform only analyses English language though can pick up nuances between US and UK English. The challenge – and indeed the opportunity – is surely to cross-analyse different languages.

Posted by: Anthony Miller

Tags: funding   startup  

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Wednesday 16 October 2019

SharpCloud: From ‘Battler’ to ‘Scaleup’ to Series A

logoIt’s always great to be able to trumpet the successes of the many UK tech startups and scaleups that have participated in our SME programmes. So we are delighted to report that London-based visualisation platform company SharpCloud has just completed its first external funding, raising £4.5m in a Series A round backed by YFM Equity Partners.

Founded in 2008, SharpCloud, was an alumnus of our sixth Little British Battler programme in April 2015 (see LBB SharpCloud – improving collaboration in the enterprise), and graduated to become a Great British Scaleup in June 2018 (see here).

Many congratulations to cofounders Sarim Khan and Rusty Johnson on this significant milestone.

Posted by: Anthony Miller

Tags: funding   startup   lbb   gbs  

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Wednesday 16 October 2019

Woefully out of date IT systems hinder screening programmes

NHS logoNHS England has published a report detailing the conclusions from The Independent Review of Adult Screening Programmes. In November 2018 Professor Sir Mike Richards was commissioned by NHS England to lead a review of national cancer screening programmes. Interim findings of this review were published in May 2019 and at that time the terms of reference for the review were significantly extended in recognition it would have implications for the organisation of other adult screening programmes.

Scientific and technological advances in recent years, for example AI, genomics and new biomarkers, have the potential to fundamentally change the nature of national screening programmes and ensure that more people at risk of a condition can be targeted and the timeliness of results for patients improved.

In his report, Sir Mike, who was the NHS’ first cancer director as well as the CQC’s chief inspector of hospitals, considers the challenges posed by IT systems that he describes as “woefully out of date and long due for replacement”.

The report concludes that IT systems currently “sit in an over-complicated landscape which hinders the delivery of screening programmes” and “none have the full functionality required now or for the future”. The review identifies a number of problems with the current situation, including that multiple versions of systems and poor interoperability delay the transfer of information. It says that individual systems are old and liable to fail, which necessitates manual workarounds that can pose a risk to safety, and that the lack of a coherent, long term strategic vision for screening technology has meant efforts to improve the system have been slowed, stopped or duplicated.

The report highlights the progress made in addressing some of these challenges, welcoming the introduction of NHSX. The discovery phase for developing new systems for breast and cervical screening have been completed and these are now moving into alpha development.

Sir Mike recommends NHSX set out a roadmap for the delivery of new targeted and population screening IT systems as soon as possible and that the development of these systems should include a focus on the functionality needed to support improvements in uptake and coverage of screening.

Posted by: Dale Peters

Tags: nhs   legacy   healthcare  

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Wednesday 16 October 2019

3D funding for Threedium

logoAs humans we like things that move, we like to look at objects from different angles, and poke and prod them. That’s the behavior London startup Threedium is tapping into with its 3D product configuration and visualisation platform, which has earned it €1m in seed funding from a group led by High-Tech Grunderfonds (HTGF) with participation from Kinisis Investment (KI), and Sandhutch

The company (founded in 2017) has taken the 3D capability found in CAD programmes - the ability to rotate objects around an axis to see them from different viewpoints  - and applied a light weight version to the digital customer experience domain. Using its SaaS platform, organisations can create mobile-optimised 3D configurators, 3D web visualisations and AR mobile campaigns. The aim is customer engagement and Threedium has been working with brands including Sainsburys, Douglas, Johnson & Johnson and Mercedes to optimise their customers’ online digital experiences.

The shift from 2D to 3D, from static to dynamic content, is natural one and the technologies that allow it are becoming more accessible. 

Posted by: Angela Eager

Tags: funding   software   startups  

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Wednesday 16 October 2019

SD-WAN deals pushing GTT European expansion

SD-WAN deals pushing GTT European expansionGTT Communications, which snapped up London-based network service provider Interoute (formerly Easynet) last year, has used its pan-European infrastructure assets to ink another software defined wide area network (SD-WAN) deal with a Belgian multinational corporate (MNC).

Brussels-headquartered fruit, vegetable and plant supplier Greenyard Group – which operates multiple sites in the UK under the Greenyard Fresh UK brand – will provide a managed SD-WAN service linking 80 sites across the UK and North America, additionally supporting a unified communications platform and SIP trunking service for 6,000 telephone numbers.

Terms of the deal were not disclosed but the customer sees GTT’s SD-WAN as a cruicial element in its ongoing cloud migration strategy that demands resilient network access to Greenyard’s mission-critical SaaS applications. It’s also the third major pan-European SD-WAN contract GTT has won since the Interoute acquisition after similar deals with Europac this time last year and Nilfisk last July, putting the company in direct competition for MNC business with the likes of BT, Orange Business Services (OBS), Telstra, Tata Communications and Vodafone amongst others.

Subscribers to SecureConnectViews can read our round-up of SD-WAN platforms and suppliers in our report SD-WAN Builds New Service Models for Network Providers here.

Posted by: Martin Courtney

Tags: contract   SD-WAN   telecoms  

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Wednesday 16 October 2019

UiPath doubles down on making automation easier

UiPathRobotic Process Automation (RPA) player UiPath has revealed where it has been spending some of the vast sums raised to date, simultaneously announcing yesterday two acquisitions designed to help clients scale automation.

The battleground for RPA has very much moved on from awareness to adoption and whilst the majority of major organisations have at least some experience of RPA many are struggling to scale. To help address this UiPath has made two acquisitions. 

Firstly, StepShot is an Estonian-based provider of process documentation software that helps clients record, document, and share processes as well as automate some of the key steps in robot creation.

Secondly, UiPath has added Dutch-based ProcessGold, a software provider that identifies processes ripe for automation (process mining) and then measures the impact.

Both of these tools are being combined in the UiPath Explorer product family and are all about making RPA simpler and easier to deploy, breaking down some of the barriers to scaling automation. This looks like smart business for UiPath which gets that the next phase of maturity for RPA is the battle for adoption and democratisation of the technology – indeed, go big or go home.

Posted by: Marc Hardwick

Tags: acquisition   RPA  

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Wednesday 16 October 2019

Attitude and linguistics secures $5m for Relative Insight

logoLancaster-based Relative Insight describes its offering as a language understanding platform which means it analyses language data from unstructured and undefined data sets such as customer feedback, social media, online product ratings and reviews, web page copy and market research surveys. What is noteworthy is that the purpose of this linguistic analytics is to understand and compare linguistic and attitudinal differences. 

For brands looking for better understanding of how customers and influencers are talking about their products, this has the hallmarks of a valuable tool that can replace hours of intensive manual labour. The comparative aspect is particularly interesting because it can be used to analyse language differences over time for example and to help get to grips with the language used by different groups (which could be defined by age, geographic location, interest areas and so on) which could play a key part in customer experience and personalisation improvement. 

That proposition has secured $5m funding from Maven Capital Partners that Relative Insight will use to open its first office in the US, and further develop its AI/ML-based platform. The startup has travelled quite a way since it started in 2012, developing the platform via a 10-year R&D project with Lancaster University that was designed to enable law enforcement to detect language distinctions in online chat rooms.

Posted by: Angela Eager

Tags: funding   startup   software   AI   machinelearning  

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Wednesday 16 October 2019

Trad3r secures £1.2m cash boost

Trad3rUK startup, Trad3r, has successfully raised £1.2m in new funding from a group of respected angel investors. The funding was led by Kabbalah founder, Karen Berg and celebrity jeweller, Neil Lane and included Alex Oliver, the founder of US consulting giant, Oliver Wyman.

Trad3r was founded in 2016 by the impressive young British entrepreneur, Gianni O’Connor. The company aims to gamify the stock market experience and thus broaden the appeal of trading to a wider audience. The Trad3r app enables people to experience trading in an entertaining, low risk environment. Users can earn incentives such as points and prizes via successful trading activities in traditional stocks as well as other “virtual” commodities such as footballers and celebrities.

This significant investment marks an important next step for Trad3r, with the app having so far demonstrated considerable appeal amongst its target audience. O’Connor, who already has one successful startup under his belt, is driven in part by altruistic sentiment and is hoping to help transform attitudes to financial services, both inside and outside of the established investment community. Trad3r is certainly an intriguing proposition and it will be interesting to watch the company's future progress, along with that of its charismatic founder.

Posted by: Jon C Davies

Tags: trading   funding  

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Wednesday 16 October 2019

Genpact makes Rightpoint acquisition

GenpactOne of the symptoms of the “digital chaos” seen in the market at the moment is the increasing requirement for expert advice as clients work out what to do next. Demand for front-end based consultancy services has been increasing as organisations accept the scale of the change management challenge. Genpact becomes the latest service provider to ramp up its consulting offer here, investing in US-based digital experience agency Rightpoint. 

RightpointStrategically, Genpact is making good progress moving itself up the food chain, away from its legacy ‘lift and shift’ heritage towards that of a transformation partner (see here) and has developed strong digital credentials built around its Genpact Cora platform. The addition of a design / experience consulting layer should help elevate its proposition up from operations to something more strategic and the ‘holy grail’ of integrating the front, middle and back offices.

Rightpoint was founded back in 2007 and principally serves big US based clients with five key offers including customer experience and engagement, commerce, digital products, digital workplace, and digital operations. Given Genpact big global client base it’s likely that the offer will be pushed outside the US. Terms of the transaction have not been disclosed.

Posted by: Marc Hardwick

Tags: acquisition   consulting   digital  

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Wednesday 16 October 2019

Europe slows Wipro’s growth

LogoOffshore services major Wipro continued to move forward during Q220, albeit still at a gentle pace. For the three months to 30th September, constant currency revenue (adjusted for the sale of its Workday & Cornerstone businesses) increased by 3.8% yoy to $2.05b. This generated sequential top line growth of 1.1% qoq which hit the midpoint of the guidance for the period. Operating margin for the quarter was 18.1%, up a praiseworthy 310bps on Q219.

There were some notable bright spots in the latest set of results. Wipro’s Americas unit, its biggest geography by revenue, saw turnover increase 9.4% yoy. Sales in the company’s BPS centric Digital Operations and Platforms practice were almost 17% higher than during the same period last year. These now account for approaching a sixth of global activities. There were good performances too in the BFSI, Consumer and Energy & Utilities industry verticals, all of which enjoyed 6% yoy top line growth.

Europe, however, slid backwards. Having apparently stabilised in Q120 (see here), Wipro’s revenues in this region, of which the UK generates around half, shank by 2.7% yoy and 1.9% sequentially during the latest quarter. The contrast with IPP rivals Infosys, which saw sales in this geography for the same period surge ahead by 15% yoy (see here), could not be more stark.

We recently caught up with the Wipro UK leadership team. From our discussions with them it is clear that much has already been put in train to reinvigorate growth here. Judging by the guidance the company has provided for Q320, there is also an expectation that business momentum will continue to gather during the next quarter. We will have to wait to see whether this includes an improvement in Wipro’s European fortunes.

Posted by: Duncan Aitchison

Tags: results   offshore   systemsintegration  

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Wednesday 16 October 2019

Vocalink retains Link ATM Infrastructure contract

VocalinkUK based payments provider, Vocalink, has successfully seen off rival bidders to retain the contract to provide the technology infrastructure supporting the UK’s Link ATM network. The Mastercard owned firm secured the deal via a tender process that included alternative competitor bids for the first time. In total there were 4 other potential providers, including US payments giants Visa and FIS.

The latest deal has a maximum term of 10 years and secures Vocalink’s role as infrastructure provider for a minimum period of 5 years. The contract provides for 24 service provision to the network’s 70k ATMs and includes switching and settlement services, including real-time transaction enquiry and liability management, and overnight reconciliation.

The Link contract was put out to competitive tender in response to demands from the UK’s payments regulator. At the time, Mastercard’s 2016 acquisition of Vocalink proved to be highly controversial, handing as it did a significant slice of the UK’s payments infrastructure to one major provider (see: Barclays implements pay by bank).

Posted by: Jon C Davies

Tags: contract   payments  

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Wednesday 16 October 2019

Typhoons and Nomophobia

Typhoon damageThanks for all our readers who emailed their comments on my Streets of Tokyo article last week. Some of you thought that the homeless situation in Japan was not as rosy as I had made out – citing seeing homeless people on the streets of Osaka etc.

We didn’t make it to Osaka as Typhoon Hagibis intervened. We headed North instead to Hakodate to ride out the worst of the storm. Although even there it was pretty bad.

Japan is really well prepared for storms, earthquakes and tsunamis. The death toll was pretty low considering the ferocity of the storm. Indeed, commentators have said that that Japan in the best place in the world to weather these events. Japan has spent billions building storm drains as wide as an airliner under Tokyo. Here the many tall buildings are really earthquake proof.

Also the Japanese tend to obey instructions. If you are told to ‘stay put’ you do just that. How many times have we seen photos of people ignoring such warnings in other countries?

But returning to my homeless theme, the Japanese papers today headline two homeless people in Tokyo who were refused entry to a shelter in Tokyo at the height of the storm because they had the wrong address. The papers were naturally incensed and the Japanese authorities have promised to act swiftly to ensure it never happens again.

I was also impressed with the many text messages we received warning us foreigners about the storm and what to do. It is times like this that make you value your smartphone and its connectivity the most.

Which reminds me that yesterday the Oxford English Dictionary finally included NOMOPHOBIA – the fear of being without your mobile phone. Truly a word of our time!

Posted by: Richard Holway

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Wednesday 16 October 2019

CALLING ALL STARTUPS AND SCALEUPS! Do you have the right Chemistry to partner with Sopra Steria?

logoChemistry – the new accelerator programme from Sopra Steria, a European leader in digital transformation – is working with the TechMarketView Innovation Partner Programme to give start-ups and small businesses an opportunity to accelerate growth and open up new opportunities.

logoChemistry has been created to support businesses with innovative solutions that are near market ready or already established in the market and help them grow further and faster. The programme is industry-led and has been specifically designed to help companies get their products to market quickly, using a collaborative, supportive and a professional platform.

If you are an innovative company looking for accelerated access to key markets, Chemistry has been developed to help you get there.

What we’re looking for

TechMarketView is helping Sopra Steria find partners to address three Challenges of major concern to both the public and private sectors:

  • Challenge 1 – Innovating Cyber Security: Keeping enterprises safe in a world of developing threats.
  • Challenge 2 – Identity Validation and Verification: Ensuring that an individual applying for access to public services is exactly who they say they are.
  • Challenge 3 – Transforming the Inspections Process: Capturing and analysing evidence to radically improve the inspection regime for assurance regarding the fulfilment of fiduciary or statutory responsibilities.

There’s a full explanation of these Challenges here.

What Sopra Steria offers

  • Accelerated market access – Strong, and on-going business relationships with major Public and Private sector clients. We have mature existing client relationships and a reputation for business transformation and excellent service delivery.
  • European presence – You’ll have the opportunity to sell internationally with access to clients outside of the UK through our European presence.
  • Development and growth of your business and product – We will help you grow, mature, and help build your client base, while respecting that your IP is your IP.
  • Development of your people – By joining our programme, you’ll gain access to our masterclasses, expert contacts and a champion within Sopra Steria, all of which will ensure you get the experience and partnership your business needs.
  • Industry visibility – Along with a large Private sector presence, Sopra Steria is a Strategic Partner to Government and by working with us you’ll have the opportunity to raise your company’s profile and visibility across these sectors.
  • Access to Sopra Steria facilities – Sopra Steria have collaborative Digilab spaces country wide and will offer design sprints and workshops to help develop the proposition. There is also an opportunity to use office space and board rooms, if required, to grow your business.

Eligibility requirements

  • Innovative product – The product or service you have created should be on the forefront of the relevant industry.
  • Existing clients – You must have delivered services to at least one previous client, with at least a minimum viable product to help provide future clients with confidence in our services.
  • Potentially scalable solutions – Your product should have the potential to scale to be able to utilise Sopra Steria’s client network and support to deliver to a large range of customers as their requirements develop.
  • Business focused – You should have a product focused on the business benefit for the customer as well as the technical challenge.

How to apply

If you are the Founder or CEO/MD of a privately held innovative, high growth young business and feel you can meet at least one of the Challenges, please apply by completing this webform by Friday 1st November 2019. Successful applicants will be invited to attend a pitch session at Sopra Steria’s London offices week commencing 9th December 2019.

You can find more about the TechMarketView Innovation Partner Programme Chemistry event here. You can also download a flyer about the Sopra Steria Chemistry programme here. For any further information, please email tipp@techmarketview.com.

Posted by: HotViews Editor

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Tuesday 15 October 2019

Latest TechMarketView Research

TechMarketView’s expert analyst team has been as busy as ever in October. Make sure you haven't missed a must-read!

Advanced reportHighlights include the latest report from Angela Eager, TechMarketView Research Director for Emerging Tech,  Advanced: Developments and Differentiation. After the £2bn vote of confidence in Advanced by existing investor Vista Equity Partners and new investor BC Partners in August, Angela assesses the progress Advanced has made as a transforming and growing UK HQ’d company and where its opportunities lie.

And if you missed it earlier in the month, be sure to check out the UK Public Sector SITS Supplier Rankings 2019 report from our highly respected PublicSectorViews analyst team. The data-rich report provides the definitive Top 20 suppliers to the UK public sector tech market, plus Top 10 rankings for each of the subsectors we track (central government, local government, health, education, police and defence), and a snapshot of the ‘ones to watch’ from outside of the ranking tables.

You’ll also find a host of insightful UKHotViewsExtra articles hot off the presses. This week:

Marc Hardwick, who leads our BusinessProcessViews research, analyses the strategy and outlook for business process services specialist Liberata in Liberata – getting ‘match-fit for digital’.

VMWare’s plans for cloud native endpoint security specialist Carbon Black come under the spotlight in Carbon Black forms spine of new VMWare Security Business from SecureConnectViews’ Martin Courtney. The combination of the two companies looks set to propel VMWare into our Top 20 Cyber Security Players Ranking next year

And our Chief Research Officer Kate Hanaghan shares insight on thriving Great British Scaleup Altius and sister company DataSparQ in Altius: A driving force in data science.  

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Posted by: HotViews Editor

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Tuesday 15 October 2019

How Google Cloud is addressing its challenges

logoYesterday was a Google day – a full and informative day spent exploring Google Cloud’s EMEA activities and strategies, including insight into UK specifics. 

While recognised for its technical prowess Google Cloud - home to cloud infrastructure, platform and G-Suite - has struggled to attract the volume of large enterprise business resulting in it placing third among the hyperscale cloud providers after Amazon Web Services and Microsoft Azure. That is firing its determination and yesterday was an opportunity for an update on what the company is doing. 

We’ll be publishing a deeper dive before long but three things stood out. One was the focus on practical solutions. Google Cloud has been a technology-first company but technology always needs some sort of link to practical business problems. While there is no let up on the pace of technology development, there is a welcome and increasing focus on mapping technology to business problems and bringing solutions to market, backed by the a focus on six verticals. 

Recognition of the value of heritage IT was also apparent in the emphasis on hybrid and multi cloud. This was also evidenced through the recently announced Anthos offering that is geared towards building and managing hybrid applications and delivering consistency between on-premise and cloud environments; and the focus on services like Dataproc which delivers a cloud-based managed Spark and Hadoop service on the Google Cloud Platform.

The third area that stood out was the partner programme, not just the intention to scale it out but the moves to bring more structure and a more disciplined approach to how Google Cloud engages with its partners.AccentureAtos and Deloitte are its prime global partners but there is a large and growing cohort of certified, smaller, regional and specialist partners rising too. 

Google Cloud‘s European business is growing faster than any other area – and UK performance is likely to be aligned with that. Performance is partly down to the region ramping up on cloud investment it but also reflects Google Cloud’s investments to move towards the market, providing solutions and targeting industry sectors. 

Posted by: Angela Eager

Tags: cloud   hybrid   hyperscalers  

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Tuesday 15 October 2019

dotdigital delivers on three pillars

DotdigitalMarketing automation SaaS provider dotdigital’s three pillar strategy - geographic expansion, partnerships, and product development continues to help it grow, increasing full-year revenue by 19% to £51.3m (£43.1m FY18). Organic revenue growth from in the core business (excluding discontinued business units) also remained strong at 15% growing to £42.5m (£36.9m FY 18). Adjusted EBITDA from continuing operations grew 24% to £14.7m (£11.8m FY 18).

International expansion has continued to become more important with revenues from outside the UK growing by 28% and now represent 29% of all revenue.

Despite headwinds from the retail sector, overall message volumes sent out by the platform increased by 11% to 16bn from 14.4bn in 2018, reflecting the change in demographics and increasing both recurring revenue growth and average revenue per user (ARPU). Indeed, ARPU grew by 14% from £845 to £966 per month, whilst 86% of group revenues are now recurring of which 90% is contracted, providing good future visibility.

dotdigital has now integrated the Comapi acquisition taking the decision to discontinue both the Dynmark and Donky businesses, increasing the focus in its core SaaS-based marketing platform. This will allow the Group to deliver for clients across a much broader set of channels including mobile and social media. Integration of the Comapi omni-channel capability should drive revenue opportunities off the back of personalised, timely and channel-sensitive campaigns and confirm the shift from being an email-centric to an omni-channel supplier. 

Given the experience with Comapi its perhaps no surprise that Management remains open to further acquisitions should they fit with the strategy.

Posted by: Marc Hardwick

Tags: results   marketing   automation  

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Tuesday 15 October 2019

Atos takes Cortisone 3D contract

Atos logoAtos has had an uphill battle trying to grow its business in defence. It has had a small footprint for some time, most notably as Strategic Partner on the Defence Information Infrastructure (Future) Programme. But other notable business has not been forthcoming, mainly as a result of delays in the Ministry of Defence (MoD) moving forwards with some of its major procurement programmes. However, as we highlighted in UK Public Sector SITS Supplier Landscape 2019, Atos has had some successes since the beginning of 2019, winning  a couple of multimillion pound contracts in support of the Defence-as-a-Platform model.

Bigger still is the win just announced – a contract with an estimated value of £25m, which we understand from the procurement notices will have a 3+1+1 duration. Atos has been selected, via the Tech Services 2 framework, to support digital transformation of healthcare delivery within Defence Medical Services (DMS).  Atos will be the 3D (Design, Develop and Deliver) partner on the long-awaited Cortisone programme, which aims to deliver a suite of Medical Information Services (Med IS) by exploiting Commercial Off the Shelf (COTS) products.

With MoD remaining the overall Design Authority, Atos’ role will be to “execute a sustainable, integrated, cohesive and enduring information capability” to support the delivery of evidence-based medical dental and healthcare outputs. That will involve maintaining and developing the overall solution architecture, artefacts and component integration, providing technical advice and product evaluation; setting up and maintaining environments, installing and configuring COTS products, building and evaluating interfaces and supporting data management; and offering training services and materials.

The Cortisone programme, which will replace and extend the current Defence Medical Information Capability Programme (DMICP), has been a long-time coming; the initial procurement exercise stalled at the end of 2017, when the MoD decided to rethink its approach. It was in January this year that the MoD held an Industry Day to reveal the new procurement route for both the client-side 3D partner services and the Integration Platform and Enterprise Master Patient Index.

The end goal is to optimise the fitness of the military to carry out their roles. But, as highlighted by the MoD, this is a challenging environment, with the DMS estate equivalent to 2x Clinical Commissioning Groups (CCGs) and a Community Trust, and healthcare COTS not designed for Integrated Care Services. There is also technical complexity in the MoD’s ICT estate as it seeks to modernise. We will watch Cortisone’s progress with interest.

Posted by: Georgina O'Toole

Tags: publicsector   contract   defence  

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Tuesday 15 October 2019

Rahko's targeted quantum focus earns £1.3m funding

logoIts approach to tackling the challenging ‘noise’ issue in quantum computing i.e. high error rates, has earned UCL spin-out Rahko £1.3m seed funding from European tech investor Balderton Capital

The London-based company was set up just last year with support from the UCL Challenge Innovation fund and Conception X with a proposition that puts it at the intersection of quantum computing and machine learning. Its work is focussed on 2ndgeneration quantum machine learning algorithms - parametrized quantum circuits - that the company says can be trained like deep learning models and can be highly robust to noise on today’s quantum computers. The Rahko platform is the place for testing and prototyping the algorithms. It is also a means to access available quantum computers (IBM’s quantum computers are commercially accessible for example – see Inside the dramatic world of quantum supremacy). After all, new hardware requires new tech to access it. 

While working on quantum research Rahko also has a targeted and commercial focus and is concentrating on commercially viable problems within chemical simulation. 

Rahko is one of several quantum businesses supported by the UCL Challenge Innovation fund including Quantum Motion (quantum hardware), GTN (generative tensorial networks), PhaseCraft (quantum software and algorithms), Q&I (quantum readiness and consulting). 

Posted by: Angela Eager

Tags: funding   startup   quantumcomputing  

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Tuesday 15 October 2019

TrueLayer heads to Australia to ride the Open Banking wave

TrueLayerTrueLayer, the London-based provider of APIs to the banking industry, is set to expand its global footprint with the opening of its first office in Australia. The UK FinTech provides functionality that facilitates Open Banking by enabling data flows between banks and third-party service providers (see: Open Banking momentum starts to build).

The UK FinTech recently secured an investment of $35m via Series C funding round which the company pledged to use to help support its global expansion (TrueLayer secures $35m for Open Banking push). That cash injection brought the total amount raised by TrueLayer to $47m with the company having also recently established operations in Germany, France, Italy and Spain.

This is a smart move by TrueLayer with Australia on the verge of its own Open Banking revolution. In 2020 the country is set to introduce new rules that should open up the market for third-party providers in a similar way that PSD2 has done in Europe. TrueLayer is positioning itself to capitalise on the opportunity, which should also provide a bridgehead for the lucrative APAC region, as API-enabled data flows help to transform financial services across a number of territories.

Posted by: Jon C Davies

Tags: OpenBanking  

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