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Friday 03 July 2020

ECS continues growth drive with senior appointments

ecsECS has made two senior appointments to support its growth strategy across the business. James Jarvis joins as Chief Sales and Marketing Officer, and Marc Turner comes on board as Customer Experience Sales Director, to support the acceleration of large-scale projects for blue-chip customers tackling digital transformation. ECS has offices in London, Glasgow, Edinburgh, Manchester, and Singapore, and an offshore capability in Pune, and is focused around three main business segments: Digital Engineering, Customer Experience and Data & Analytics.

The firm has built a track record as an Amazon Web Services partner and is a certified Advanced Consulting Partner, Managed Services Partner, and one of only three EMEA Amazon Connect Service Delivery Partners. It is also one of only 12 UK-headquartered businesses to be awarded the DevOps competency partner status by AWS.

It’s been a busy period under CEO, Mark Farrington, who joined in January 2019 and who has worked on bringing greater focus around the three business segments. Amongst other things, last November we saw ECS appoint former RBS CX lead, John Ing, to help accelerate a push into the contact centre market. And 12 months ago, ECS divested of its cyber security division to bring focus to its other capabilities. The firm now has estimated revenue of c£75m, with an ever-improving revenue mix.

The new appointments follow action taken over the past year to boost the sales team across the board. The enterprise experience of Jarvis and Turner should prove very useful as ECS looks to expand its client base beyond where it has traditionally been strong – i.e. banking – into other burgeoning sectors including utilities and insurance. During the pandemic, we understand ECS has played a critical role for various clients (e.g. in grocery retail and banking) enabling their urgent responses to the lockdown.

Posted by: Kate Hanaghan

Tags: people   analytics   customerexperience   appointments   CX  

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Friday 03 July 2020

Lemonade investors celebrate first day fizz

LemonadeLemonade, one of the pioneers of insurtech innovation, has enjoyed a very successful stock market debut following its initial public listing yesterday. The company launched its shares (LMND) on the NYSE and watched them climb from an initial price of $29 to nearly $70. The stock closed the day on $69.41. The increase of nearly 140% reflected a value of $3bn and meant that Lemonade’s first day as a publicly traded company was the most successful stock launch of 2020.

Lemonade announced its intentions to list in June, having previously deferred its original stock market launch (see: Insurtech pioneer announces plans for IPO). The company shelved plans for its IPO in 2019, in light of the disappointing experience of two other Softbank backed startups, Uber and WeWork. Yesterday’s successful launch contrasts sharply with the experience of its stablemates and will no doubt have been a relief to its backers.

Despite the first day froth, profitability at Lemonade remains elusive and the company is still making heavy losses. The insurer’s revenues tripled in 2019, reaching $64m, whilst net losses doubled to $109m. However, the insurtech is of course investing in the future and Lemonade been very successful in attracting younger customers, mostly aged under 35.

Lemonade has been a driving force in the transformation of the insurance industry and has paved the way for others (see: Insurtech innovation “New Kids on the Block”). Following its rapid expansion, and with a significant number of new investors to please, the company will increasingly need to turn its attentions to delivering profits to its shareholders.

Posted by: Jon C Davies

Tags: insurTech  

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Friday 03 July 2020

Fujitsu adds threat response to cyber security services

Fujitsu adds threat response to UK security serviceThe UK will be the first recipient of Fujitsu’s new Threat Response service ahead of a broader European rollout, with a particular focus on giving small to medium enterprise (SME) customers 24/7 access to Fujitsu cyber security experts and consultants based in its Warrington security operations centre (SOC).

Managed security services (MSS) and consultancy are the twin pillars of Fujitsu’s cyber security proposition, of which Threat Response is now another component (see our Cyber Security Supplier Prospects 2020 and Beyond report here). The premium Threat Ready package is designed to quickly answer and resolve queries from IT departments dealing with cyber attacks to minimise the chance of mission critical systems and data being compromised, curtail operational disruption and aid GDPR reporting compliance.

By delivering threat intelligence and response services previously reserved for larger corporates to smaller businesses, Fujitsu and other cyber security suppliers are democratising cyber security provision to a certain extent (see our Cyber Security Market Trends and Forecasts to 2022 report here). That is especially relevant for those organisations moving more applications and services into multi-cloud environments, but perhaps more importantly opens up a much larger pool of potential clients for Fujitsu and other UK managed security service providers (MSSPs) in the process.

Posted by: Martin Courtney

Tags: MSSP   cybersecurity   threatresponse  

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Friday 03 July 2020

Atos uses blockchain to ease the burden of MIFID II

AtosFrench-owned business process specialist, Atos, has been selected by UK investment industry body, TISA, to develop a new digital utility for the asset management industry, in response to the demands of MIFID II. Atos was chosen for the project following a competitive tender process that involved a total of 13 firms submitting proposals to TISA.

TISA, the Investing and Saving Alliance, is an investment industry association with more than 200 members. Its mission is to improve financial wellbeing, promote collective engagement, deliver solutions and champion innovation. Reflecting its commitment to open standards, TISA, is these days increasingly focused on digital infrastructure initiatives.

Atos will partner with TISA in delivering “TURN” (the TISA Universal Reporting Network). A blockchain based platform, which is being created to ease the burden on savings and investment firms of the reporting requirements around MiFID II. The technology will be available across Europe and is scheduled for launch in the final quarter of 2020.

TURN will enable asset managers, financial advisers, and other industry participants to capture and share MIFID II data via a standardised template. All relevant stakeholders will have access to the information in real-time. The system will replace the current approach via which information is inconsistent and sometimes challenging to access.

The success of Atos in this competitive tender is a further validation of its strong technical expertise and breadth of capabilities. The company is one of a number of SITS providers that have successfully built on their reputation for delivery excellence in the financial services space, to increasingly move into initiatives focused on innovation and transformation.

Posted by: Jon C Davies

Tags: blockchain  

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Friday 03 July 2020

VMware buys Datrium for hybrid cloud DR

VMware buys Datrium for hybrid cloud backupVMware’s proposed acquisition of disaster recovery as a service (DRaaS) specialist Datrium may help organisations cut the cost of business continuity by giving them on demand access to cloud-hosted backup infrastructure and storage management tools.

The deal looks like the natural evolution of an already close relationship: Datrium was founded by ex-employees of VMware and duplication specialist Data Domain (acquired by VMware “parent” EMC in 2009) and the company already offers an end to end DR service hosted on the VMware Cloud on AWS platform.

Privately held Datrium has grown to employ around 170 staff in the US and UK since 2012, and has attracted a reported US$170m of funding to date. Its client base grew by an estimated 450% in the first half of 2019. That includes large corporates like Siemens, which in 2018 said using Datrium’s DVX and CloudShift DRaaS tools helped it shave up to 75% off IT spend over time and recover from failure ten times faster by shifting storage management and backup to public clouds.

We think that organisational disaster recovery and business continuity strategies have been brought into sharper focus by the Coronavirus pandemic, and many IT departments suddenly supporting larger numbers of remote workers will demand a fresh approach to the backup of mission critical data assets. With budgets likely to be squeezed this year and next, cost and flexibility will become even more critical, and Datrium’s cloud-native platform appears to meet both requirements.

Posted by: Martin Courtney

Tags: acquisition   storage   businesscontinuity   DisasterRecovery   backup   hybridcloud   DRaaS  

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Friday 03 July 2020

*NEW RESEARCH* Mastering the Art of Practical Innovation

Report imageThe innovation lifecycle blends pain points and purpose, with a splash of serendipity, and the incentive to produce something that is both different and makes a positive difference to business and consumers. The challenge is building a framework to support ongoing innovation - from ideation through implementation to tangible business value - without stifling it. “Mastering the Art of Practical Innovation” explores how Atos approaches the task.

Across the tech sector, providers have assembled skills, capabilities and components to support customers’ innovation ambitions as they digitally transform their businesses. Investment is being directed towards services, products and IP around technologies such as IoT and edge computing, 3D printing and quantum computing, and new business model enablers such as industry data platforms. But there’s a difference between check-listing and melding capabilities together in a way that has a direct effect on the organisation implementing them and their consumers, whose experience is the ultimate arbiter of success. 

Posted by: Angela Eager

Tags: itservices   innovation   digital  

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Friday 03 July 2020

Have you got your copy of this year’s TechMarketView rankings report?

UK SITS Rankings Contents Have you got your copy of this year’s TechMarketView rankings report? Don’t miss out on finding out who ranks where in our top 60 and delving into the supplier profiles of the top 30. The rankings reflect the changes in the market, and in particular how the long-standing suppliers are managing the swing from heritage Software and IT/Business Process Services to new propositions. 

Top 20 ranking tables are also provided for key horizontal market areas as defined by TechMarketView’s Digital Evolution Model (DEM): Enterprise Software, Consulting, Solutions, and Operations (across Business Process, Applications and Infrastructure) giving readers unparalleled depth and breadth of analysis.

The much anticipated, and highly comprehensive, Supplier Rankings report is available for our Foundation Service clients here: UK SITS Supplier Rankings 2020.

Or, if you are not a client of the Foundation Service, or indeed of TechMarketView, contact info@techmarketview.com today to find out how to get your copy.

Posted by: HotViews Editor

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Friday 03 July 2020

Ample room for improvement in police ICT

HMICFRS logoIn his annual report on the State of Policing, Sir Thomas Winsor, Her Majesty’s Chief Inspector of Constabulary, has raised concerns about the development and use  of technology by police forces in England and Wales.

He said that forces face the challenge of balancing short-term funding for frontline services with the longer-term investment needed to enhance technological capability. The report says there are examples of forces making significant investment in computer systems that aren’t providing the benefits they should, and, in a few cases, these poor systems—or difficulties in implementing new ones—have reduced forces’ effectiveness.

Sir Thomas said that progress has been made with forces working together to share systems, but too many are still procured separately and lack interoperability. He called on forces to be more open about their ICT investments and the benefits they are achieving. The introduction of the Single Online Home, which provides the public with a consistent way of accessing police services online, was highlighted as a positive development. But more generally, he said there was "ample room for improvement" in police ICT arrangements.

Despite the concerns, the report does say there is now greater recognition of the important role that data and technology, particularly machine learning, have to play. The report highlights the advances made by Avon and Somerset Constabulary, West Midlands Police, South Yorkshire Police and Greater Manchester Police in developing data-driven services.

The police are struggling to adapt to the challenges associated with the scale and complexity of modern criminality as criminals increasingly exploit technology. The reports says that even the most basic investigations require specialist expertise for examining digital devices, which often leads to delays.

The report calls on forces to make collective decisions about systems to prompt closer alignment and commonality in the use of ICT. It says that policing in England and Wales needs leaders who will exploit the capabilities of technology. Concerns about the 43 forces operating independently are nothing new, but as forces face an increasing threat from borderless crime, closer integration of ICT systems and decision making will be required to ensure the ongoing effectiveness and efficiency of policing.

Posted by: Dale Peters

Tags: police   transformation   interoperability   bluelight  

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Thursday 02 July 2020

Envestors finds investors to back investment platform

logoIt took me a little while to get my head around this one, as the PR described Envestors as ‘a digfital marketplace to connect UK startups and investors’.

Founded in 2004, Envestors is in fact an FCA-registered corporate finance broker, and they run a private investor network for sophisticated investors such as HNW individuals and Family Offices. Envestors has developed a proprietary investment platform, Envestry, to run the network, which they also white label to other investor networks.

Envestors has raised £2m through the SidebySide EIS fund to further develop and extend the Envestry platform.

As best as I understand it, Envestors charge companies seeking investment 6% of the funds they introduce along with a fixed £3k fee to complete the IM. Networks using the Envestry platform are charged an additional 3% of funds transacted through the platform.

One of Envestors’ great successes was the sale of parking management business Parking Eye to UK business services market leader Capita for £50m back in 2014, making a 77x return! Capita subsequently sold Parking Eye to a vehicle owned by Macquarie et al for £235m (see Capita offloads ParkingEye for £235m), also not a shabby return.

Posted by: Anthony Miller

Tags: funding  

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Thursday 02 July 2020

Bristol’s OurPeople gets more dosh to communicate with your people

logoKeeping in touch with a dispersed workforce is challenge enough in the best of times, let alone now. There are many messaging apps and enterprise collaboration platforms that can be used for enterprise-wide communications with mobile workers. In recent times we have also seen the emergence of start-ups specifically designed for this purpose.

One such is Bristol-based OurPeople, which has raised $2m in a Series A funding round led by New York-based VC, Alpine Meridian. Also investing, in what appears to be a quasi-management buy-in, is US-based entrepreneur Robert Neveu, who joined OurPeople as managing partner in February, which I therefore assume was when the funding actually completed.

OurPeople was founded in 2016 by fitness industry entrepreneur, Ross McCaw, who remains CEO. Its client list includes marquee brands such as Virgin Active, Serco Leisure and West Ham United.

OurPeople appears to target the same market as Leicestershire-based workplace communications startup StaffCircle, one of the first tranche of UK tech SMEs selected to participate in our TechMarketView Innovation Partner Programme (see here). StaffCircle itself raised further funding just a couple of months ago (see Remote-working innovator StaffCircle secures further funding).

Undoubtedly there is room in this market for more than one start-up. As ever, success will depend as much on focus as on function.

Posted by: Anthony Miller

Tags: funding   startup  

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Thursday 02 July 2020

Totalmobile does the double on acquisitions

tmTotalmobile has announced today that it has closed two acquisitions. The field service/mobile workforce management provider has purchased Lone Worker Solutions (LWS) and Software Enterprises (known as Global Rostering System - GRS). The move adds further capability and scale to Totalmobile’s suite of SaaS-based Field Service Management software.

LWS provides access to safety alerts, status updates and locational information to support staff who are operating in high risk environments or undertaking sensitive activities. Its diverse customer base includes Network Rail, Mitie and Centrica. GRS enables organisations to build efficient staff rosters, that ensure the right staff are assigned to the required locations and shifts. Its solutions are currently being used to roster over 100,000 emergency services field-workers in the UK.

The acquisitions are to support Totalmobile’s aim to become the “preeminent Field Service Management provider within the UK’s Public Services, Housing, Property and Facilities Management, Infrastructure, Transport and Logistics sectors”. And certainly, these bolt-on acquisitions look to be a very sensible move in that regard.

The transactions follow what was a transformational year for the company in 2019 (again, on the back of acquisitions), which saw it grow the top line by 70% and EBITDA by 295%. The firms says the acquisitions of LWS and GRS will create 25% in additional revenue growth.

Posted by: Kate Hanaghan

Tags: acquisition   fieldservice  

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Thursday 02 July 2020

*UKHotViewsExtra* Accenture to cut up to 900 UK staff

Accenture logoAccenture is to cut between 700 and 900 UK jobs, equating to between 6% and 8% of its 11,000 employees in its offices across London, Aberdeen, and Cambridge. The news was picked up by the Guardian, which saw an internal note to staff. Accenture have since responded.

The internal note highlights that the company already had an overcapacity when the pandemic hit. And over the last period, additional strain has been felt due to lower demand and reduced natural attrition. The company has also identified that “structural costs need to be addressed”.

Accenture is keen to highlight that it has already taken actions to cut costs by decreasing travel (wouldn’t have been hard!), reducing contractor numbers, and pausing recruitment, but it has not been enough. As a result, redundancy talks will commence in the middle of this month, with all levels affected, including MDs (Accenture’s equivalent of ‘Partner’).

UKHotViews Premium logoAccenture’s statement reads: “We remain confident in our business in the UK for the long term. We are taking steps now to be able to continue investing in our workforce and our business, ensuring we have the right people with the right skills to best serve our clients and are well positioned for the future. We have notified our UK people that it is necessary to go into collective employee consultation for a proposed redundancy programme.”

TechMarketView subscribers, including those signed up to UKHotViewsPremium should read UKHotViewsExtra  -Accenture to make up to 900 UK staff redundant for our opinion on the news. If you are not yet a subscriber, please contact Deb Seth to find out how to access this and much more.

Posted by: Georgina O'Toole

Tags: restructure   covid-19  

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Thursday 02 July 2020

Tesla - Now the most valuable carmaker in the world!

TeslaPretty amazing to read today (See FT) that Tesla’s value at $205b is now higher than Toyota and is now the most valuable carmaker in the world. Also pretty amazing to realise that Tesla’s share price is up five-fold in the last year. Indeed, as I wrote in my Share Indices Review for June, Tesla is up 158% in 2020 YTD.

Elon Musk believed the Tesla share price was too high at $755 in May. It is now $1100!

The problem is that I (and most others) have thought the Tesla share price too high at most times over the last couple of years! Of course, we have proved to be wrong every time. Fortunately, as a long term Tesla shareholder, I have ignored my instincts.

But, putting the share price to one side, there is little doubt that Tesla has really shaken up the automotive industry. Tesla has dragged a reluctant industry into the electric age. I’ve also make the point - See Elon, The Battery Boy - that, in my view, Tesla’s future  is more about batteries for the storage of renewable energy than cars.

Posted by: Richard Holway

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Wednesday 01 July 2020

BookingTek goes ‘contactless’ with £2m funding round

logoIn times like these, it pays to be agile enough to turn a crisis into an opportunity. London-based hospitality industry booking start-up BookingTek (one of the few start-ups that really does what it says …) is doing just that.  

Following a £2m investment from undisclosed backers, BookingTek has launched a ‘contactless’ version of its TableRes booking platform. The app will be free of charge for medium and large restaurant chains to help them manage social distancing. The app lets diners reserve, order, and pay at the table, or ‘click and collect’, on their smartphone totally contactless. I am assuming that while restaurants can use the ‘contactless’ version of TableRes free, they still have to pay BookingTek its slice of the bill.

BookingTek was founded in 2011 by ex-Regus sales director Matthew Stubbs as Day Office (also did what it said …), then pivoted a couple of years later to develop a SaaS-based meeting room booking platform for the hospitality industry (MeetingMaker). Development started on TableRes in 2016 and late that year, BookingTek raised further growth capital (see BookingTek meets Mobeus for further funding), with additional funds being raised in 2017.

BookingTek boasts a great collection of hospitality brands among its client base, including Marriott, IHG, Ritz-Carlton and Whitbread. According to accounts filed at Companies House, BookingTek booked a net loss of £862k on revenues of £2.28m in 2018, the latest year on record.

The timeline on BookingTek’s website ends in Sept 2018, suggesting not much has happened since then. In any event, the COVID-19 lockdown would have really hurt, so let’s hope this smart development of a contactless app will help kick-start the business again.

Posted by: Anthony Miller

Tags: funding   startup  

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Wednesday 01 July 2020

Backer throws a £2m canopy around Canopy

logoI had the pleasure of meeting Tahir Farooqui, Founder and CEO of renter financial services start-up Canopy, back in 2017 when the business was called InsureStreet (see Angels help InsureStreet help renters get the key to the door). InsureStreet (as was) offered an insurance product which covered the risk to renters’ deposits at a vastly reduced cost to laying down a typical deposit to rent a property. They were also piloting a ‘Rent Passport’ app which allows renters to build up a profile of good rental behaviour, rather like a credit profile.

Roll forwards three years and Farooqui’s ambitions have extended to offering other financial products for renters, which I guess prompted the name change to Canopy, I assume as in a shelter for renters (but also a name used by other tech companies).

Rental deposit insurance is still the core of Canopy’s business and the Rent Passport also appears to be alive and well. Canopy since added rent tracking to the mix, through a partnership with credit reference agency (and backer) Experian, which also provides Canopy’s tenant reference check service.

Canopy has now raised a further £2m from existing backer West Hill Capital “to accelerate partnerships with letting agents and grow a portfolio of financial products”.

Canopy is not the only game in town for rental deposit insurance, so Farooqui’s vision to try to build the business into a broader financial services platform for property renters makes sense. But when all’s said and done, Canopy is primarily an insurance broker, which means all the ‘free’ value add (for example, unlimited tenant credit checks for landlords and agents) as well as the core policy and claims management activities, would I assume have to come out of the commission. The question is, then, will there be enough margin to make the business model work?

Posted by: Anthony Miller

Tags: funding   startup   insurTech  

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Wednesday 01 July 2020

Wipro wins big twice

Wipro logoIt’s been a very good week for Wipro. Over the last seven days, the company has landed two new large infrastructure services contracts; one with The John Lewis Partnership, the other with Germany-based energy company E.ON. Although no financial details regarding the awards has been released, it is likely that the combined total value of the deals will run into the hundreds of millions of pounds.

Starting closest to home, the engagement with John Lewis is described as forming a key part of the Partnership’s new Technology and Change function. This aims to better support its business strategy and enable it to respond more quickly to the digital expectations of customers. Wipro will deliver technology infrastructure services such as cloud hosting, networks, end user compute and an internal help desk for the Partnership’s 80,000 Partners. Unusually for outsourcing in this country these days, the deal also involves the transfer of staff. 244 non-customer facing John Lewis Partnership Partners are expected to be TUPE’d over to Wipro later this year to support this new relationship.

Somewhat further afield, the multi-year contract with E.ON awarded to Wipro last week is for infrastructure modernisation and digital transformation services . The pan-European engagement, which includes the UK region, will involve Wipro helping to move the energy heavyweight’s legacy data centre operations to a hybrid cloud model. The company will also collaborate with E.ON to both reduce its datacentre footprint and streamline its IT infrastructure.

Large new name signings have been thin on the ground for Wipro of late. Prior to the John Lewis deal, there had been no major named UK contract announcements made in the prior twelve months. Two big wins in such short order would be eye-catching in any circumstances. That Wipro has closed both sales amidst the fallout from the coronavirus pandemic is an even more impressive achievement. This brace of freshly inked contracts will certainly make the most welcome of welcome gifts for the company’s new CEO Thierry Delaporte when he clocks in for the first time next Monday morning.

Posted by: Duncan Aitchison

Tags: offshore   contract   infrastructure  

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Wednesday 01 July 2020

Capgemini secures £40m from the FSCS

LogoCapgemini has been selected by the Financial Services Compensation Scheme (FSCS) as its strategic technology partner. Won in a two-horse race, the £40m transformational IT outsourcing contract will run for an initial term of five years, with an option for two further twelve-month extensions.

The FSCS is the UK's statutory deposit insurance and investors compensation scheme which protects customers when financial services firms fail. It has paid out some £27b to more than 5m people since 2001. For the past several years, the Body has been sourcing the majority of its IT services through two major contracts: one for application development/test, the other for IT hosting. Following a review of its future needs, the FSCS decided that it would need a different arrangement for the 2020’s to support its transformation ambitions. The engagement of a single strategic technology partner was chosen as the path forward and the procurement process was launched last September.

The scope of Capgemini’s responsibilities comprises three elements: foundation services such as longer-term planning and strategy support, software development and Microsoft Azure and Office 365 Support, transformation services including the migration to a cloud-based environment and the potential replacement of its main claims technology platforms, and future services which may extend the contract into adjacent areas to embrace the likes of infrastructure services and service desk/ITSM tooling.

The win will come as welcome boost to Capgemini UK as strives to reignite growth both following a top line dip during Q419/Q120 (see here) and through the COVID-19 fallout. This announcement may, however, make less happy reading for Cognizant which in 2017 signed a three year contract with the FSCS to help to modernise its systems and applications.

Posted by: Duncan Aitchison

Tags: contract   outsourcing   cloud   transformation  

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Wednesday 01 July 2020

Microsoft opens up free digital training

Microsoft logoAs the number of job losses rise in the wake of the C-19 economic crisis Microsoft has kicked off a mass training initiative to provide free digital skills training to 25m people worldwide by the end of the year. 

It will combine resources from across its business, including LinkedIn and GitHub, to identify what skills are most in demand and offer free access to relevant learning programmes. Low cost certification will be available from $15. Signals from LinkedIn indicates software developers, sales reps, IT administrators, data analysts and graphic designers are most in demand. 

It demonstrates the power of joined up data and resources. LinkedIn Economic Graph provides data on jobs and there will be free access to content in LinkedIn Learning, Microsoft Learn and the GitHub Learning Lab. These will be coupled with Microsoft Certifications and LinkedIn job seeking tools. All resources will be accessible through opportunity.linkedin.com. The company is also creating a new Learning App in Teams designed for employers to skill up employees.

While the initiative will put Microsoft technology in front of many more people, it is still a large scale example of ‘tech goodness’. Other online training providers such as Coursera, edX and OpenClassrooms have also moved to extend access as part of their responses to the situation. 

Posted by: Angela Eager

Tags: training   digital   Techgoodness  

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Wednesday 01 July 2020

Relief for fintechs as FCA lifts Wirecard suspension

WirecardFinancial services regulator, the FCA, has lifted its sanctions on Wirecard Card Solutions (WCS), the UK arm of collapsed German payments provider Wirecard AG. The FCA suspended the operations of Newcastle-based WCS on Friday after its parent company filed for bankruptcy, amid revelations of a $2bn hole in its accounts (see: Wirecard collapse hits UK fintechs).

The regulator took the action to protect UK customers of Wirecard and to prevent funds and assets of WCS being transferred to Germany, where the FCA has no jurisdiction. The move crippled the operations of a number of UK fintechs that use WCS as a service provider. These included the likes of Curve, ANNA and Pockit. Millions of UK customers were left without access to their funds and were unable to process transactions.

In lifting the restrictions, the FCA acknowledged that many customers have faced difficulties as a result of its action. The regulator indicated that it has been working with the DWP, HMT and the Home Office to support those suffering financial distress. The FCA will continue to monitor Wirecard’s UK activities closely and whilst certain requirements remain in force, these should not affect the services provided to UK customers.

In a separate move, Wirecard’s US arm, has been put up for sale. Wirecard North America has issued a statement indicating that it is continuing to operate without any disruption. The company also maintains that its independent cash flow and strong financial position enables it to function on a completely standalone basis from its collapsed German parent.

Whilst the full ramifications of the Wirecard debacle are still to emerge, the potential impact on the UK fintech scene is a genuine concern. Ignoring the financial impact of the inability to trade over the last few days, confidence in startups will inevitably have been undermined and some customers are likely to be far more cautious when considering the services of these innovators.

Posted by: Jon C Davies

Tags: payments   FinTech  

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