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Friday 17 January 2020

TCS looking to Europe

TCSQ3 numbers were out early Friday from TCS, with global revenues growing at a slower rate of 6.4% YoY (Q3 2019 9.7%) to $5,586m but with operating margins climbing back up to 25% having dipped slightly in Q1 and Q2.

The star performing geography has been Continental Europe, growing at 15.9% YoY and now accounting for 14.9% of the global total (Q3 2019 14.1%). Indeed, Europe is catching up with the UK which has seen growth slow to 7.5% and now accounts for 15.9% of total revenue (Q3 2019 15.5%).

Globally Banking and Financial Services remains the largest sector accounting for over 30% of total revenue but TCS is seeing stronger growth in manufacturing, communications and media and particularly in star performer Life Sciences, now growing at over 17% YoY.

Despite slowing growth in the UK, TCS remains very active here announcing a number of new deal that included: a UK based multinational pharmaceutical company using TCS to transform its R&D operating model, an employee experience transformation deal with a British semiconductor design company, transformation deals with major utilities and insurance players and not to mention the deals with PhoenixVirgin Atlantic and UK Credit Unions that we have covered in previous HotViews posts. 

Yes, growth may have slowed in the UK but it’s all relative, most other large UK based SITS operators would ‘give their right arm’ to be growing at 7.5% organically in the current environment.

Posted by: Marc Hardwick

Tags: results  

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Friday 17 January 2020

Apple takes algorithms to the edge with Xnor.ai

logoAcquisitions of AI/ML startups are common enough but what’s different about Apple’s scoop up of Seattle-based Xnor.ai is the tech edge Xnor.ai brings – literally. 

Xnor.ai has been working on processes to make machine learning algorithms highly efficient. That makes it feasible to run them on devices with limited processing power – mobile phone cameras, smart speakers, smart TVs (think Apple TV in the context of this acquisition) and networking kit.

In other words, Xnor.ai starts to bring algorithms to the edge, something that has been on the tech wish list for some time due to the potential to meet diverse requirements, from privacy to security to low latency. For example, object or facial recognition could be carried out on security cameras that have little processing power or are not cloud connected. Functions like NLP become feasible if the algorithm can operate where the activity is.

Xnor’s aim is clear in its mission statement: “AI Everywhere, for Everyone,” – not that you can check it out anymore as the website has effectively been taken down. With Apple addressing edge computing, it is an acquision of the time.

Posted by: Angela Eager

Tags: acquisition   software   AI   machinelearning   EdgeComputing  

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Friday 17 January 2020

Libraries Northern Ireland extends Fujitsu contract

fujLibraries Northern Ireland has extended its contract with Fujitsu for the provision of a managed ICT infrastructure. The original deal – signed back in 2013 for £25m and extended in 2018 to become worth £33.6m – also saw Fujitsu provide Wi-Fi and RFID services to the libraries.

The extension (from April 2020 for 29 months) has arisen as a result of “complex transitional requirements”, meaning Fujitsu will now be paid an additional £12m to carry on managing the delivery of services. Specifically, the client says: “The software licencing is tied into the current agreement and will take considerable time to replace whilst sustaining system functionality…..Any attempt to transfer systems without an adequate transition period poses an unjustifiable risk of business disruption and total network failure.” It's not an ideal position to be in, but we understand Libraries Northern Ireland has been very satisfied over the years with the degree to which Fujitsu has been able to understand both its organisational and technology needs.

Beyond this specific contract, we understand Fujitsu has had a positive run of both new wins and renewals. What makes some of those new wins particularly important is the emphasis on cyber and consulting – markets that are growing strongly and where it’s critical suppliers have sufficient expertise and differentiation. We also think Fujitsu’s focus on the workplace of the future could pay dividends this year – in both the public and private sectors – as organisations look to advance both productivity and employee experience.

Posted by: Kate Hanaghan

Tags: publicsector   contract   managedservices   workplace  

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Friday 17 January 2020

Experian continues to deliver strong Americas growth

ExperianCredit scoring and information services provider, Experian, has released a Q3 trading update reflecting strong growth in the Americas and declining revenues elsewhere. The Dublin based company is expecting organic global revenue growth of 9% for the 3 months ended 31st December 2019, on a constant currency basis.

The overall global numbers are encouraging, but also hide a mixed picture of Experian’s business performance across its various territories. Growth has been strongest in LATAM where the company expects Q3 to deliver organic growth of 18% on a constant currency basis. Meanwhile revenues in Experian's largest territory, North America are up 10%. However, in EMEA and APAC revenues fell by 13%, whilst the UK and Ireland suffered a 3% decline in the same period.

Whilst wider economic factors should not be ignored, it’s interesting to consider the impact of the newcomers on Experian’s domestic position. Consumer focused startups here are increasingly providing an alternative to the established players and some have enjoyed strong growth (see: TotallyMoney scores £5m to boost growth). With Experian’s UK & I revenues flat at the halfway stage, the situation here may be deteriorating (see: Americas fuels Experian’s H1 growth). However, to put this into context, the Americas delivered 74% of Experian's $4.9bn revenues in FY19, so management is unlikely to be unduly concerned.

Posted by: Jon C Davies

Tags: results  

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Friday 17 January 2020

TfL expands Vivacity sensor network

Vivacity Labs logoVivacity Labs will introduce more sensors across central London locations as Transport for London (TfL) seeks to better understand road use in the capital.

London-based Vivacity was co-founded by Mark Nicholson, Yang Lu and Peter Mildon in 2015. The company, in which Tracsis plc has a 24.6% shareholding (see Tracsis on schedule after H1 and work back), has developed sensors that use artificial intelligence to automatically count road users and pedestrians and classify modes of transport. All video captured by the sensors is processed and discarded within seconds, meaning that no personal data is ever stored.

TfL logoSince 2018, the sensors have been trialled by TfL at two locations in the city. They collect data 24/7, providing far more detailed data than the manual traffic counts TfL has relied upon in the past. The competitive trial, which was the first time the technology had been used within London, showed the sensors were up to 98% accurate

TfL is now in the process of introducing 43 more sensors at 20 central London locations to gather data and further test the full range of capabilities the technology has to offer. The information will provide a better understanding of demand on the road network and help TfL understand where investment in new infrastructure can best be targeted. This includes helping the organisation plan and operate new routes on the city’s cycling network.

The sensors are part of a wider programme of modernisation of TfL's road network systems. They have the potential to link up to London's traffic signals and control centre systems to provide data in real time, which could enable TfL to better balance demand on the network.

Outside of a small number of urban innovators, including London, the UK has been slow to move from smart city trials to larger scale initiatives. However, due to increasing concern about congestion and pollution we expect to see interest in this type of technology grow.

Posted by: Dale Peters

Tags: transport   iot   smartcities   traffic  

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Friday 17 January 2020

Change at Sage as president Blair Crump to retire

logoAhead of its Q1 trading update next week and February AGM, Sage Group has announced changes to its director line up, the foremost being the retirement of President and Executive Director Blair Crump on 31 March 2020. 

He joined in August 2016 to lead sales and customer service as part of Sage’s protracted and challenging SaaS transformation and was there to provide a steadying hand through 2018, the year when the company issued a revenue warning, around 30 senior managers left the company during a management overhaul as half year profits sank, and the then CEO Stephen Kelly made a sudden departure.  

There’s no word on Blair’s replacement as yet. What he/she will need is someone able to work with CEO Steve Hare to keep up SaaS transformation progress. Sage often promotes from within. It has been moving senior executives from acquired Intacct into senior management positions to take advantage of their SaaS experience. 

Also preparing to stand down from her position as non-exec director on the Sage board next month is Soni Jiandani, who joined in February 2017 and was lauded for bringing“her experience of driving industry transformation through market disruption as well as her extensive marketing experience.” 

Posted by: Angela Eager

Tags: software   leadership  

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Friday 17 January 2020

WNS continues to get things right

WNSQ3 results from BPS specialist WNS show continuing strong progress with revenue up 16.1% on last year to $228.2m (Q3 19 $195.9m) on a constant currency basis.

WNS saw healthy growth across its verticals with travel, consulting, and professional services, utilities, and health care, each growing more than 15% yoy. By service line, finance and accounting, customer interaction services and industry-specific BPM all grew at 16% or more.

Growth was slightly less profitable with the Q3’s operating margin at 22.8%, down a touch on the 23% reported in Q3 19 and 23.5% last quarter. WNS put this down to a combination of wage inflation and unfavorable currency movement.

WNS continues to bank solid performances despite significant headwinds (see - WNS confounding the critics) and remains one of the most consistent performers in the BPS space. The numbers portray that WNS is clearly getting a lot of things right on a consistent basis – its sales operation has a great balance of new business development and relationship management, clients are appropriately diversified by industry, size and by geography, whilst management and strategy are both stable and consistent. Most importantly WNS’s offer, now increasingly focused on automation and analytics, is clearly something that customers want to buy.

Based on the company's current visibility levels, WNS expects net revenue to be in the range of $890m to $900m, representing yoy revenue growth of 12% to 13%.

Posted by: Marc Hardwick

Tags: results  

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Friday 17 January 2020

Microsoft drives workplace modernisation at Lloyd's

MSMicrosoft has secured a deal with UK banking group, Lloyds, to modernise the bank’s working environment and promote agile working practices via the use of collaborative technologies. Lloyds has announced a strategic partnership with Microsoft focused on accelerating its efforts around digital transformation, as part of the bank’s £3bn commitment to technology. Lloyds’ new partnership with Microsoft includes: Managed Desktop (MMD); Office 365 productivity; Windows 10; plus a specialist currency management solution.

Lloyd's began working with Microsoft in 2017 when it commenced its Windows 10 rollout by testing and evaluating the scale, security and agility requirements for MMD. Now this wider rollout, across all of Lloyd's banking operations, makes it the largest financial services implementation to date. The move is underpinned by the bank's use of Microsoft Azure public cloud technology.

The burgeoning appetite for public cloud adoption and strong uptake of Azure, have been key drivers for Microsoft’s fortunes in UK financial services. The US giant enjoyed a strong start to its fiscal 2020 with revenues up 14% in Q1 (see: Microsoft Q1 benefits from cloud demand and hybrid).  Commercial cloud revenue benefited as Azure grew by 59%, whilst Productivity and Business Processes revenues were up 13%.

Efforts by the banks and insurers to establish dynamic workplace environments and collaborative practices continue to fuel strong demand for Microsoft’s workplace solutions. Meanwhile the popularity of Microsoft Dynamics 365, with its baked in analytics capabilities, is also helping to drive growth, as organisations look to break down data silos and draw insights from customers, employees, products, and business processes.

Posted by: Jon C Davies

Tags: contract  

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Friday 17 January 2020

Minister’s visit marks funding boost for SHE Software

logoA visit by Scotland’s Minister for Business, Fair Work and Skills, Jamie Hepburn, marked the announcement of a £1.4m Scottish Enterprise Research and Development grant for East Kilbride-based health and safety software developer, SHE Software.

The grant will back a £4m investment by SHE Software in a cutting-edge health and safety technology project, creating 15 new jobs. SHE Software currently employs nearly 100 people, supporting customers across Europe, USA, Australia and New Zealand.

SHE Software is one of the many UK tech SMEs supported by our friends at corporate advisory group ScaleUp Group (see SHE Software scaling up fast).

Another step along the path to becoming a ‘global champion’!

Posted by: HotViews Editor

Tags: funding   startup  

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Friday 17 January 2020

Who wants to be a Trillionaire?

TrillionIt was only 16 months ago that I wrote $Trillion Apple at last as they became the first company to hit that milestone. It didn’t last long as all tech was hit by the great 2018 tech down turn. But they regained that valuation again in July 19. See Boring Apple. Since then there really has been no stopping Apple who ended trading yesterday with a $1.38 Trillion valuation.

The same happened with Amazon on 4th Sept 18. See Amazon hits $1 Trillion valuation. Although they have taken longer to recover from the 2018 downturn and are currently valued at ‘just’ $931 Billion.

The next to join the Trillionnaire Club was Microsoft in Oct 19. They since have powered ahead and last night had a value of $1.29 Trillion - second only to Apple and catching up fast.

AlphabetLast night Alphabet - the parent company of Google - joined the Trillionaire club. Alphabet shares have been on a roll recently due to revamped forecasts for Google’s advertising revenues.

After a superb year in 2019 when NASDAQ rose an amazing 35% - See Share Indices for year 2019 - has been followed by a continued rise in the first weeks of 2020. NASDAQ is up 3% in just 17 days. Even more amazing when you look at the raft of negative news surrounding both tech (increased calls for tighter legislation, taxes, break ups etc) and global issues like Iran, slowdowns in Europe and China not to mention BREXIT.

Posted by: Richard Holway

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Friday 17 January 2020

*NEW RESEARCH* UK SITS stocks finish the year with healthy gains

chartUK tech indices performed extremely well during the first half of 2019 but suffered a big correction during the third quarter. Fortunately, this turned out to be a temporary set-back with growth returning during the final quarter.

The FTSE SCS index, a proxy for UK listed software and IT services (SITS) companies, gained 35% during the first half of the year but lost 17% during the third quarter, regaining some of the lost ground in Q4 with a 14% gain to finish the year up a very healthy 27%.

Other tech sectors also posted strong gains with the Techmark 100 index up 36% yoy and the FTSE Hardware sector gained 74% to lift the wider FTSE Technology sector by almost 30%.

The value of quoted UK SITS companies jumped to £55.6bn in 2019 (2018: £33.5bn) after the London Stock Exchange redefined some of the industry classifications used to segment listed companies.

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

Posted by: HotViews Editor

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Thursday 16 January 2020

*UKHotViewsExtra* Nicky Morgan: five principles to make technology work for all

Nicky Morgan source: https://www.gov.uk/government/organisations/department-for-digital-culture-media-sportBaroness Nicky Morgan, Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS), has set out the approach required to achieve the Government’s ambition of making technology work for everyone.

Speaking at the launch of Tech Talent Charter’s Diversity in Tech benchmarking report, Morgan said the UK tech sector has gone from strength to strength in recent years, highlighting record levels of VC investment in 2019. The “unashamedly pro-technology” Government wants to “sustain, intensify and spread this growth” and has a vision to “ensure a thriving economy, driven by world-leading technology, that works to the benefit of all citizens”. Morgan said there are five key principles she sees as critically important if the Government is to achieve its goal.

  1. Pro-technology government

  2. Sharing the benefits of technology widely and fairly

  3. Pro-innovation regulation

  4. Protecting the vulnerable and ensuring safety and security

  5. A free and open Internet

UKHotViews Premium logoThis was a wide-ranging speech, which highlights the Government’s ambition to build on the progress that has been achieved in recent years and establishes a commitment to put the tech sector at the heart of the Government’s ambitions for this parliament. UKHotViews Premium and research subscribers can read more about the five priciples here.

Nicky Morgan’s full speech can be read here and for more information on the Tech Talent Charter (of which TechMarketView is a proud signatory) please see: https://www.techtalentcharter.co.uk. For more information about TechMarketView's subscription services please contact Deb Seth.

Posted by: Dale Peters

Tags: strategy   government   digital  

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Thursday 16 January 2020

VR Education held back by lack of headsets

VR EducationYear-end trading update from virtual reality edtech provider VR Education, shows slow and steady progress with expected revenue for FY19 of €1.02m. Whilst this represents 42% growth on the previous year (FY18: €0.72m) it remains below market expectations with slower growth put down to a delayed launch of mobile headsets from hardware providers. As a consequence, shares are down 13% this morning at time of writing.

The company reduced its EBITDA loss to an above expectations c.€1.49m (FY18: €1.54 million) citing last year’s strong cost control measures.

Despite the teething problems VR Education remains an interesting business, offering the education sectors something both new and innovative. ENGAGE, its online virtual learning and corporate training platform has the potential to be disruptive but as with most innovation it takes time for market demand to catch up with the tech. On the plus side the ENGAGE platform signed up its first customers after it was released on PC-supported VR devices at the end of 2018.  

Clearly resolving the hardware issues remains critical to company success. 2019 was the first year that decent affordable standalone VR devices have become available to consumers. There is a huge amount of activity in this space scheduled for 2020 that should see a range of VR headset makers bringing new product to market, particularly around the 5G roll out. With ENGAGE becoming platform agnostic in early 2020, the Group should be in a much better position to close and deliver on sales opportunities.

VR remains at an early stage of adoption in education, particularly in state schools where there are clearly both practical and financial barriers, but the technology is evolving rapidly, becoming more affordable and has huge potential.

Posted by: Marc Hardwick

Tags: education   VR   tradingupdate  

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Thursday 16 January 2020

Float floats Marchmont’s boat

logoI do find it curious when an add-on costs more than the product to which it attaches, but such is the case for Edinburgh-based online cash management and forecasting startup, Float. The tool integrates with popular accounting packages such as Xero, FreeAgent and QuickBooks, and pricing starts at £49 per month. In contrast, Xero’s fees start at £10 p.m. and even its premium service costs just £30 p.m.

Anyway, I tell you this because Float has just raised its first round of venture funding, with a £1.5m seed round led by Marchmont Ventures. Founded in 2010 by a man with a spreadsheet, so to speak, Float will use the funds to open a new office in Sydney this month as a gateway to the A/NZ market (not coincidentally, Xero is a ‘kiwi’ company).

According to the PR, Float was “approaching profitability in 2019”, which I guess is at least a statement of direction of travel, though not an ETA.

The oft-quoted maxim goes something like, “revenue is vanity, profit is sanity, cash is reality”. Float’s focus on cash flow management absolutely hits the ‘reality’ spot. Would be good to see some ‘sanity’ too!

Posted by: Anthony Miller

Tags: funding   startup  

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Thursday 16 January 2020

Sabadell provides early validation of IBM's cloud strategy

IBMIBM has won a major technology transformation deal with Spanish banking group, Banco Sabadell. The €1bn contract also addresses some of the challenges the bank faces at its troubled UK subsidiary, TSB. IBM has secured a hybrid cloud deal which will see it drive Sabadell’s cloud strategy for the next 10 years and work with TSB in the UK, to modernise its technology estate.

Sabadell is looking to streamline its technology footprint and increase cloud adoption in order to reduce complexity and improve business agility. IBM will help the bank to better manage workloads and dataflows across its infrastructure and to accelerate the use of artificial intelligence. IBM will utilise, Red Hat’s OpenShift technology to deploy container architecture and cloud-native applications.

Meanwhile, TSB is investing £120m to transform its digital channels and consolidate its IT estate and supplier relationships (see: TSB starts its belated digital journey). Going forward, IBM will operate and manage all of the bank’s infrastructure. The vendor will also build and manage TSB’s private cloud and run services across the bank’s core platforms. As part of the programme, TSB is building a new technology centre in Edinburgh, set to open in April 2020, with the creation of 100 new jobs.

Strategically, IBM’s “big bet” is of course its $34bn acquisition of Red Hat. This newly acquired part of the business has already been performing well and IBM has been busy transforming its software portfolio into a cloud-native, suite of offerings, which it is taking to market via its recently launched, Cloud Paks (see: IBM software goes cloud native with Cloud Paks).

Early last year, IBM secured a number of major financial services transformation wins, including European banking’s largest ever cloud deal, with BNP Paribas (see: UK Financial Services Supplier Prospects). The latest deal with Sabadell is an early validation of IBM’s reinvigorated cloud strategy, post Red Hat, and provides Big Blue with another, cloud based, transformation reference for financial services in Europe.

Posted by: Jon C Davies

Tags: contract   banking  

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Thursday 16 January 2020

Headwinds for Hays

logoToday’s trading update (3 months to 31st Dec. 2019) from UK-headquartered recruitment giant, Hays, echoed the sentiments of much smaller peer, Pagegroup, both listing a litany of reasons why net fee income - aka gross profit - declined (see Pagegroup’s global challenges (and everyone else’s too!)).

At a local level, both players saw UK net fee income (gross profit) fall, by 5% for Pagegroup and by 4% for Hays. The latter number belied an 8% decline in private sector vs an 8% rise in public sector, which represents about 30% of Hays’ UK business. IT recruitment grew by 11% at Hays (not separately disclosed at Pagegroup).

As I mooted previously, while we may be reaching ‘the end of the beginning’ of the Brexit saga, the impact of ‘events’ in other regions look set to create headwinds for all global players for some time to come.

Posted by: Anthony Miller

Tags: recruitment  

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Wednesday 15 January 2020

Temenos takes the pain out of core modernisation

TemenosLeading banking technology vendor, Temenos, has announced a milestone in the evolution of its cloud native, banking software, with the roll-out an array of core microservices, based around T24 Transact. By making this latest set of components available as stand-alone and cloud agnostic, the Swiss vendor is providing banks with the ability to safely update critical elements of their core banking jigsaw, one piece at a time.

Temenos provides its main offerings, T24 Transact and Temenos Infinity, as two individual products. T24 Transact is the transactional core engine of the bank, whilst Temenos Infinity is the digital front office, providing comprehensive functionality around customer engagement (see: Temenos addresses banking industry imperatives). Temenos Infinity already utilises APIs to connect users with a wide range of tools and services, and T24 Transact is following suit.

Each of the T24 Transact microservices can be deployed independently, enabling banks that do not currently use T24 as their main core engine, to retain their existing systems whilst modernising them on a supplemental basis. In addition to its existing range of standalone services, Temenos has now made available microservices supporting core elements of the banking process including: Accounts and Deposits; Retail Lending; Enterprise product; and Enterprise Pricing.

Whilst Temenos does have longstanding relationships with several global banks, it has predominantly grown by serving many of the World’s smaller, commercial and community banks. The latest development appears to be targeted squarely at major banks, that are struggling with the risk-laden, complexity of core system modernisation. 

Posted by: Jon C Davies

Tags: banking  

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Wednesday 15 January 2020

Mindtree maintains momentum

LogoBangalore-based mid-tier offshore services firm, Mindtree, has backed up its second quarter return to double-digit growth (see here) with another set of very respectable results for Q320. Revenue for the three months ended 31st December of $275.2m generated yoy constant currency growth of 10%. As importantly, profitability was restored to the company’s more typical levels. By our calculations operating margin for the period increased sequentially by 270 bps to 12%.

The stars of the latest quarter were the US and the Hi-tech & Media industry sector. The former, which now accounts for nearly three quarters of Mindtree’s global revenue, saw turnover increase by 11.2% yoy. The top line for the latter, which is the company’s largest vertical by sales, grew by just over 15%. There was good progress too on Mindtree’s rotation to the “new”. Q3 digital revenues were up 13.5% yoy and now generate nearly 40% of the company’s global turnover.

The picture was less rosy in Europe for Mindtree. The slowdown that started earlier in FY20 continued through the third quarter leaving Q3 revenues in this region marginally below the level generated in the same period twelve months ago.

There were worrying signs too on the staff churn front. Mindtree’s TTM attrition rate increased sequentially again to 17.2% at the end Q320, up from 13.4% just a year ago. Urgent action would appear necessary to stem this rising tide. It will be important to see signs of a reversal of this trend during the final quarter of FY20.

Posted by: Duncan Aitchison

Tags: results   systemsintegration   IPP  

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Wednesday 15 January 2020

Google moves deeper into no code with AppSheet acquisition

logoGoogle Cloud’s acquisition of no code platform provider AppSheet marks a further overt low/no cloud move, having launched App Maker for G Suite back in mid 2018. It also plays to its ambition to “reimagine the application development space”, enabling applications to be built faster and more efficiently without the need for traditional development expertise.

Terms of the deal were not disclosed but Seattle-based AppSheet, who started out in 2014, has secured $18.5m funding and built up a very credible customer base that ranges from Toyota to Costco. The product already integrates with G Suite and also with Office 365, SalesforceBoxDropbox and cloud databases including AWS DynamoDB, using the data, field and column names from those apps to create new mobile applications. 

As end user organisations look to increase the cadence of app development, support automation and bring new perspectives and types of people into the app lifecycle, low/no code development is one of the enablers. The approach complements traditional development, adding a fresh dimension and supports a level of citizen development that some organisations are finding valuable in driving innovation. For Google Cloud, low/no code also sits alongside automation, application integration and API management. AppSheet is also expected be utilised to support Google Cloud’s activities in vertical sectors such as financial services, retail, and media.

As highlighted in UKHotViews yesterday, low code platform providers are expanding their scope (see Appian acquisition strengthens low code/RPA connection), while more suppliers are hooking into low/no code development: MicrosoftSalesforce, SAP, as well as specialists such as K2 SoftwareMendixOutSystemsNetcallKony and Betty Blocks. There are persistent rumours AWS is working on a low/no-code offering too.

Posted by: Angela Eager

Tags: acquisition   cloud   software   automation   low-code  

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Wednesday 15 January 2020

CGI bags IFRS17 contract with BNP Parabis Cardif

CGI LogoCGI has been awarded a worldwide contract by BNP Parabis Cardif, the provider of bancassurance partnerships and creditor insurance. Over the next 21 months, CGI will deliver services to support its client to comply with the new IFRS17 legislation, which comes into force on 1st January 2022; IFRS17 redefines the way insurers calculate and report margin on insurance contracts. The value of the deal is not disclosed.

Led by CGI’s operations in France, CGI will work with BNP Parabis Cardif’s actuarial, finance and IT teams. CGI’s partnership with Moody’s Analytics, provider of financial intelligence, which it entered into in 2018, is central to the arrangement.  CGI will provide business consulting and systems integration services to support the implementation Moody’s Analytics RiskIntegrity solution for IFRS17. Compliance to the new regulation is required across 100+ countries.

CGI is not the only company pursuing IFRS17-related opportunities. In the middle of last year, we wrote about Aptitude’s flagship AICE product, which also facilitates compliance with the regulation. Aptitude is partnering with leading management consultancies such as KPMG, Deloitte, Accenture and EY as it goes to market (see Clarity of purpose fuels growth at Aptitude).

Posted by: Georgina O'Toole

Tags: contract   financialservices   regulation  

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Wednesday 15 January 2020

Bundesliga enhances fan experience with AWS ML

awsAmazon Web Services (AWS) will be working with the German Bundesliga to deliver an enhanced experience for fans during the live broadcast of football matches.

Bundesliga will use AWS’s artificial intelligence, machine learning (ML), analytics, compute, database, and storage services to deliver real-time stats.

Using Amazon SageMaker – a managed service that builds, trains, and deploys ML models – Bundesliga will create a statistics platform able to churn out the type of fascinating analysis sports fans love. Using live data streams and historical data from over 10,000 games, Bundesliga will be able to make real-time predictions for when a goal is likely to be scored, identify potential goal-scoring opportunities, and highlight how teams are positioning and controlling the field.

AWS will also be able to create a more personalised experience for fans (using ML services such as Amazon Personalize) and make recommendations for game footage, marketing promotions, and search results based on their favourite teams/players/matches.

An enhanced experienced is something fans have come to expect – take Wimbledon/IBM, Rugby Sevens/Capgemini, and Manchester United/HCL, for example – and expectations will only get higher.

Sports fans are just one audience set where “experience” is gaining increasing attention. As organisations look to transform into digital/data-driven entities, they must address the quality of experience they are able to offer to their customers (such as sports fans), their employees, partners – and every other individual they ‘touch’. And the only way to effectively accelerate this is with a significant commitment to technology that is intelligent, connected and data-driven.

Posted by: Kate Hanaghan

Tags: machinelearning   data   experience  

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Wednesday 15 January 2020

Dixons Carphone outsources to Webhelp

WebhelpConsumer electronics and mobile retailer Dixons Carphone has decided to outsource its contact centre operations to customer management specialist Webhelp

Dixons CarphoneDixons Carphone is looking to increase its customer satisfaction scores and drive cost efficiencies by handing over its pretty substantial contact centre operations. Perception in the retail market is that Dixons Carphone is lagging behind its competitors when it comes to Customer Satisfaction scores and will be looking to an outsource to drive the necessary step change in performance. According to trade paper Retail Week, Webhelp will be taking on most of Dixons Carphone’s contact centre operations based in Sheffield and Preston.

This is not the first time that the company has outsourced, having for many years partnered with Capita and was for a time the outsourcers largest contact centre client. These operations were subsequently taken back inhouse a few years ago.

This is just one example of the merry go round of Insource V Outsource that continues across all UK sectors. Typically, this follows a pretty familiar pattern where efforts are focused on using a switch of provider to make some tough choices and drive efficiency savings. What is less common however is securing the necessary upfront investment to drive through genuine customer experience transformation, something that in the long run is far more important than whether the service sits inhouse or with a third-party.

Posted by: Marc Hardwick

Tags: contract   customerexperience   customerservice  

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Wednesday 15 January 2020

Visa earns its open banking stripes via $5bn Plaid deal

PlaidUS payments giant, Visa, is to acquire San Francisco based, FinTech, Plaid, for $5.3bn. Plaid is specialist provider of API-enabled data aggregation services. The company works with financial companies and third-party services providers, keen to capitalise on the burgeoning API economy. Founded in 2013 by William Hockey and Zach Perret, Plaid was originally intended to be a personal financial management tool. However, when the founders encountered difficulties connecting the data sources required, the company switched its focus to the provision of open APIs.

Plaid shares similarities with the phenomenally successful, Stripe (see: Payments innovation, New Kids on the Block). Meanwhile in Europe, where PSD2 has accelerated the use of open-APIs, there are a number of companies facilitating data aggregation, such as: TrueLayer; openwrks; Bud; Tink and Yapily. Globally the trend for open banking is helping to transform the provision of financial services across a number of territories and consumer demand for innovative, mobile products and services, has helped to accelerate adoption.

The Plaid deal, the latest in a line of recent acquisitions by Visa, is an astute move (and great news for investors in the startup). The acquisition will embed Visa at the heart of financial services innovation and, as the landscape evolves, should provide first-hand insight into the ecosystem of service providers that are emerging, via Plaid’s client base.

As highlighted in our Financial Services Prediction 2020, there have been numerous recent examples of established providers working increasingly closely with the new breed of FinTech startups. Far from heralding the death knell for the incumbents, the future is likely to be far more harmonious and collaborative than many originally predicted. During 2020, TechMarketView expects the convergence between the worlds of the disruptive innovators and the established “Big Beasts” of financial services to accelerate further.

Posted by: Jon C Davies

Tags: acquisition   M&A   OpenBanking  

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Wednesday 15 January 2020

First Derivatives appoints Seamus Keating as CEO

First Derivatives logoNewry headquartered financial services technology provider, First Derivatives (FD), has appointed Seamus Keating as Chief Executive Officer with immediate effect. He succeeds the Group's founder, Brian Conlon, who passed away in July 2019.

Keating joined FD as a Non-Executive Director in December 2012 and became Chairman of the Group in July 2013. He has extensive leadership expertise in finance and technology in both the private and public sector, including as non-executive chairman of Version1 and non-executive director of BGL Group, Mediclinic International and Mi-Pay Group. He held a number of senior roles at Logica until its acquisition in 2012 by CGI, including Chief Financial Officer, Chief Operating Officer, President of the Benelux region and chair of its worldwide Financial Services practice.

First Derivatives has also announced Donna Troy has been appointed Chairman; she has held a Non-Executive Director position with the Group since January 2018. Troy has held CEO, division general management and sales leadership roles in organisations including IBM, Partnerware, McAfee, SAP, Dell and Epicor. She currently holds non-executive roles at Pivot3, TIBCO, Aptean and Curvature.

Keating said he was “grateful to FD's employees who have shown immense dedication during this difficult period." As we commented in November (see First Derivatives delivers impressive growth), armed with a strong pipeline, FD appears well positioned to further build on Brian Conlon’s impressive legacy.

Posted by: Dale Peters

Tags: appointment   Finance  

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Wednesday 15 January 2020

UK tech startup investment hits record in 2019

logoArticles in today’s FT and The Times allude to new research from entrepreneur network Tech Nation produced for the UK government’s Digital Economy Council, showing that investment in UK tech startups exceeded a record £10bn in 2019, over 40% higher than the prior year.

The report is broadly in line with our own research from data sourced by corporate finance Ascendant (see Bigger VC funding deals for UK and Irish Tech), which estimates the value of UK and Irish tech VC investment in the 12 months to 30th September 2019 at a little over £8bn, over 30% higher year-on-year. We will be publishing our full-year 2019 report in the next few weeks.

We’ve yet to see the detail but it seems the Tech Nation report includes deals which we would not normally include in our estimates, in particular, the $1.4bn raised by supply chain finance company Greensill. Nonetheless, the report thoroughly supports our extremely upbeat view on the prospects for the vibrant UK startup and scaleup industry.

Posted by: Anthony Miller

Tags: funding   startup  

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Wednesday 15 January 2020

Deepening European decline hampers Wipro’s progress

LogoOffshore services major Wipro saw its pace of growth slow during Q320 dragged down by a worsening sales performance in Europe. For the three months to 30th December, constant currency revenue (adjusted for the company’s various divestments) increased by just 2.8% yoy (Q220:3.8% see here) to $2.1b. This generated sequential top line improvement of 1.8% qoq which sat towards the upper end of the guidance for the period. Operating margin for the quarter was 18.4%, up a scooch on Q220 but down some 140bps on the same period last year.

Wipro’s Americas geography, the company’s biggest region by revenue, delivered a decent quarter in which turnover increased 7.2% yoy. Beyond this, however, the only noteworthy divisional performance came from Wipro’s Consumer Business unit. Now the company’s second largest industry vertical accounting for 17% of global activity, sales in this sector were up by over 12% yoy in Q320.

The rate of growth of Wipro Europe, conversely, slid even further backwards. Having shrunk by 2.7% yoy during the second quarter of FY20, Q3 saw the rate of annual top line decline increase to 4.3% albeit on the back of 1% qoq increase. The contrast with Infosys, which reported its results earlier this week (see here), is again marked. Wipro’s rival drove revenues in this region ahead by 12% yoy during the final three months of last year.

Revenue guidance the company for the final quarter of this FY is for sequential growth of 0.0% to 2.0%. This will both deliver a low single digit growth year at best and result in still further ground being cede by Wipro to its IPP peers.

Posted by: Duncan Aitchison

Tags: results   systemsintegration   IPP  

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Tuesday 14 January 2020

Accenture reorganises to bring digital "value at speed"

Accenture logoAccenture continued to beat market growth with a strong performance in its FY19 and in Q120 (see Accenture kicks off FY20 at pace). But, after six months at the helm, CEO Julie Sweet (see Julie Sweet gets top job at Accenture) is aware that the company’s success been founded on continually evolving the business in line with the digital demands of its clients and prospects. So, yesterday she announced that from March 2020 there will be some changes to its Growth Model and to its Global Management Committee.

The first change is a reduction in the number of Service lines, down from five to four. They will be Strategy & Consulting; Interactive; Technology and Operations. Accenture Digital is dropped – a move that makes eminent sense considering ‘digital’ is a thread that runs through all other areas. The people and capabilities from Accenture Digital willl be redeployed across the businesss.

The second change is that the business will be managed through the three geographic units – North America, Europe, and Growth Markets – instead of the operating groups (see TechMarketView Market Readiness Index). Changes to the Global Management Committee reflect this; the GMC currently has 18 members all of whom report directly to Sweet. As of 1st March 2020, the GMC will have 39 members, 15 of whom will be her direct reports.

What doesn’t change is that Accenture will continue to go to market by industry. Indeed, the plan is to expand its global industry programs, further emphasising the breadth and depth of Accenture’s industry expertise. And the GMC will have a broader representation from both services and geographic markets.

When we look at the strategies of ICT suppliers as they look to differentiate in the ‘new’ digital world, actions are increasingly about accelerating digital progression for clients. That might be investing in IP, strengthening the partner ecosystem, or emphasising front-end consultancy expertise. As Sweet highlights, the next few years must be about “delivering on the (digital) promise” – or as our 2020 Research Theme highlights, “taming the Digital Chaos”.

Accenture’s announcement is about reorganising internally to increase its agility (by embedding digital skills across its range of capabilities) and accelerate digital for its clients (by having a more frictionless organisation geographically and by industry). Sweet points to wanting to offer “value at speed”. Clients should benefit from cross-industry and cross-geographical expertise in key digital areas (worth noting that one of the strongest growth areas of Accenture's bsiness of late has been in cross-industry intelligent platforms and 'next wave' offerings). But there is also a potential employee recruitment and retention benefit to the changes, as the embedding of digital across the business could open up more opportunities for Accenture’s people and provide additional intellectual stimulation.

Posted by: Georgina O'Toole

Tags: organisationalstructure   leadership   digitalchaos  

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Tuesday 14 January 2020

H1: foundations improving at Rosslyn Data Technologies

logoRevenue dipped at Analytics-as-a-Service provider Rosslyn Data Technologies during H1 (to 31 October 2019) but it was the result of action to remove low margin product and services revenue and replace it with annual recurring revenue. This was part of its existing consolidation programme, designed to put the building blocks in place to accelerate growth. While it meant revenue dropped 11.7% to £3.1m, there was a positive effect on the gross profit margin which rose to 81.2% from 78.4% in the year ago period

Prospects for the rest of the year are looking solid, with the traditionally stronger H2 starting well in terms of contracts and pipeline build for the RAPid platform so the company is expected to meet management’s full year targets. Significant wins during H1 and since include contracts with a multinational general insurance company and a manufacturer of rolling stock and infrastructure for the rail network that had a combined contract value of £0.9m; a £0.6m contract with a science-led sustainable technologies business; and a €1m contract with an international building materials group. 

One of the smart things Rosslyn did during H1 was to acquire bulk supply chain data provider Langdon Systems from the administrators (for a bargain c.£50k). It brings a welcome 60 new customers but the additional benefit is that its focus on import/export duty management systems, reporting and analytics positions Rosslyn well for when the UK leaves the EU and situations where companies are required to report to HMRC for EU imports and exports. 

Posted by: Angela Eager

Tags: results   software   analytics   data  

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Tuesday 14 January 2020

AWS strengthens Home Office relationship with new four-year deal

AWS logoAmazon Web Services (AWS) has secured a four-year deal for the continuation of the public cloud hosting services it has been providing to the Home Office. The new contract commenced last month and runs until December 2023.  

The call-off contract, which was awarded via G-Cloud, is worth up to £100m but will operate like other framework agreements i.e. no commitment to spend to the total value. If it did reach the top end it would certainly represent one of the largest European deals AWS has secured to date. At four years, this is a long contract term for a government cloud services deal; G-Cloud awards are normally restricted to 24 months but can be extended with prior approval from the Government Digital Service (GDS).

The Home Office has not provided any details regarding how they will be using AWS’ services, but it has been working with the company for several years, including migrating immigration and core policing services to its hosting platform. A statement from the department simply highlights that the contract will provide “significant savings” over the four-year term and that it was awarded after a “fair and open competition”.  

The Home Office is one of the largest departments in Whitehall, employing over 33,000 people, and has been investing heavily in cloud services. It spent £356m on services via the Digital Marketplace frameworks (G-Cloud, Digital Outcomes & Specialists, and Digital Services) in 2018-19 (including £18.3m with AWS) and in the first seven months of 2019-20 had invested a further £227m (£12.7m with AWS). The department is also the Government’s pathfinder for the Oracle Cloud ERP through the METIS programme.

In our UK Public Sector SITS Supplier Rankings 2019 report we estimated AWS grew its UK public sector revenues by more than 80% in the year ended 31 December 2018, taking it up to c.£120m. By our initial estimates, this gave it a share of just under half of the public sector IaaS and PaaS market in 2018—we expect it achieved further growth in 2019. For more details about AWS in the UK public sector please see: Amazon Web Services: Public Sector Progress.

Posted by: Dale Peters

Tags: contract   cloud   iaas   PaaS   government  

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Tuesday 14 January 2020

Boku held back by its uncertain identity

BokuAIM listed, US payments provider, Boku, has released a full year trading update, reflecting strong growth in its core segment coupled with a slowdown and losses in its new identity division. Overall, Boku’s revenue for the 12 months ended 31st December 2019, was up 42% to approximately $50m, whilst EBITDA is expected to show an increase of 59% to $10m.

Boku is a “carrier billing” specialist and plays in the same space as Cambridge based, stellar performer, Bango (see: Potter’s magic rubs off on Bango). This enables mobile phone users to make purchases that are paid for via their mobile phone subscription. Historically, this approach has tended to be more prevalent where access to banking services is restricted, however, it is gaining popularity in more affluent areas and amongst the youth segment in particular.

Boku’s business is split into 2 main parts, Payments and Identity. Payments has had a very good year in which Boku processed transactions worth $5bn (+39%). Meanwhile, at the year end, active users were up 33% to 17.8m. Boku expect full year payments revenue to be approximately $43m, an increase of 23%.

Boku’s identity division (created on 1st January 2019 following the $25m acquisition of Danal) reported 253m billable transactions and revenue of $6.7m, up 45% and 26% respectively (on a pro forma basis). However, revenues slowed in H2 and overall, the identity business is set to record a full year loss of $5m.

The market reacted badly to the update and Boku’s share price fell by 28% in early trading to around £75. Despite obvious disappointment with the performance of its newly acquired identity division, Boku remains strong in its core segment, which represents 87% of the overall business. Furthermore, on the face of it, the company’s attempt to diversify seems eminently sensible. 

Posted by: Jon C Davies

Tags: payments  

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Tuesday 14 January 2020

Yotta secures South Gloucestershire deal

Yotta logoOxford Metrics plc subsidiary Yotta has secured a multi-year contract to supply its Alloy asset management software to South Gloucestershire Council. The Leamington Spa-based company won the four-year deal, which runs until December 2023 via a competitive tender process. The Government's Contracts Finder facility suggests the deal is worth £500k. 

The council intends to work with Yotta to make it easier to keep track of and schedule the work required to maintain and improve roads, street lights, parks, streets, drainage and waste collection. By helping to collate and share data across the organisation it hopes to be able to improve the services it provides to local residents.

The contract, which was awarded in December but only announced by Oxford Metrics today, marked the end of a good year in terms of local government contract wins for Yotta. During 2019 it secured business with Northumberland County Council; North Somerset Council via Agilisys; Kent County Council; Bath and North East Somerset Council; Bury Council; and 3C ICT, a shared IT service between Cambridge City Council, Huntingdonshire District Council and South Cambridgeshire District Council.

Yotta’s headline revenue of £7.0m for the year ended 30 September 2019 was down on the previous year (FY18: £7.3m) as it continued to transition from a perpetual to SaaS delivery model (see Motion measurement moves Oxford Metrics forward). However, it reported its highest ever annualised recurring revenue, which was up 8.8% year-on-year to £6.2m (FY18: £5.7m) and, with the transition to pure SaaS delivery now complete, we should see further progress in 2020.

Posted by: Dale Peters

Tags: localgovernment   contract   saas   software  

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Tuesday 14 January 2020

Pagegroup’s global challenges (and everyone else’s too!)

logoIf you want a list of the challenges facing global tech and support services companies, just take a peek at UK-headquartered recruiter, Pagegroup’s, latest trading update:

There are challenges in EMEA, including social unrest in France and heightened political tensions, notably in the Middle East. Asia Pacific continues to be impacted by trade tariff uncertainty in Mainland China, the protests in Hong Kong, as well as the fires in Australia. In the Americas, the weak Financial Services market in New York, as well as social unrest in Chile are expected to continue to impact the region's results. In the UK, Brexit related uncertainty is expected to be ongoing during 2020.”!!

This was a precursor to Pagegroup presaging a rare decline in group gross profit ahead of the announcement of its FY results in March.

We may be reaching ‘the end of the beginning’ of the Brexit saga, but the impact of ‘events’ in other regions look set to create headwinds for all global players for some time to come.

Posted by: Anthony Miller

Tags: warning   recruitment  

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Tuesday 14 January 2020

Duncan Tait scales up ScaleUp Group

picDuncan Tait is certainly not letting the grass grow under his feet since leaving Fujitsu (see here).

Just last week we announced that Tait has joined the board of freshly-rebranded UK public sector services firm Agilisys as non-exec director (see Agilisys: New Year, New You). And now we are pleased to announce that Tait has joined our very good friends at ScaleUp Group, the unique team of successful technology entrepreneurs helping UK tech SMEs become global champions.

Founded and chaired by venerated tech entrepreneur, John O’Connell, ScaleUp Group continues to attract high-calibre tech executives to the team, more recently including entrepreneur, Lisa Powis, ex-Sage VP, Alan Laing, ex-CGI Europe CEO, Tim Gregory, and ex-Lansa CEO, Martin Fincham (see ScaleUp Group scales up with new talent), as well as young entrepreneur Duane Jackson (see Kashflow founder returns to accountancy with Staffology launch).

Just before Xmas, ScaleUp Group took forensic risk management solutions firm, FISCAL Technologies, through to a successful Series A funding round (see ScaleUp Group helps boost FISCAL's growth potential) just a few weeks after securing funding for Active Navigation.

There’s more to come – Tait is in very good company!

Posted by: Anthony Miller

Tags: people  

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Tuesday 14 January 2020

*UKHotViewsExtra* Innovation is not the only thing fuelling UK startups

MatthewStaffordI caught up recently with Matthew Stafford, one of the co-founders of investment syndicate, Dot Matrix Group (DMG) and global supper club, 9others. Investment syndicates like DMG are among the variety of funding streams helping to support innovation in the UK and fuel the country’s startup boom.

DMG launched its investment syndicate in 2018 and there are currently around 70 members, keen to contribute, learn and invest together. Its angel investors range from experienced, serial investors to those far less prolific. The syndicate also includes some first-timers, keen to explore alternative forms of investment and happy to participate in seed and Series A funding rounds.

One of DMG’s most high-profile investments to date is Coconut, the tax and accounting app founded by former PwC alumni, Sam O’Connor and Adam Goodall. Coconut is one of a number of financial services offerings aimed at the UK’s burgeoning self-employed workforce (see: Coconut cracks tax and accounting admin). 

TechMarketView clients, including HotViewsPremium subscribers, can learn more via HotViewsExtra (see: Innovation is not the only thing fuelling UK startups). 

Posted by: Jon C Davies

Tags: funding  

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Monday 13 January 2020

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Monday 13 January 2020

Retailers must step up tech game to retain “conscious consumers”

ibmResearch from IBM’s Institute for Business Value shows that a third of global consumers (aged 18-73) would be prepared to abandon even their most favourite brands if they fail to align with their personal values. Consumers of all ages are now more inclined to pay more and switch to alternative brands that better reflect their views on sustainability and ethical business approaches, for example. The IBM report, Meet the 2020 consumers driving change, explains that one in three consumers stopped buying at least one of their preferred brands in 2019. 

That is clearly very worrying news for retailers that have not fully acknowledged the potential impact of the “conscious consumer”, but it is equally problematic for “conscious retailers” that are not able to demonstrate their positive qualities. 

And that’s where technology can play a critical role. Terra Delyssa, a Tunisian olive oil producer that distributes through retailers globally, is using blockchain technology so consumers can easily trace the oil all the way back from the retailer to the farm via a bar code.

Consumers want to know much more about where their purchases have come from, the impact on people and planet, and what the retailer is doing to improve matters. That means the entire supply chain needs to become smarter and digitally driven, delivering goods in a much more transparent way.

Posted by: Kate Hanaghan

Tags: retail   blockchain   supplychain  

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Monday 13 January 2020

Appian acquisition strengthens low code/RPA connection

logoAppian is pushing ahead with its mission to connect low code and RPA with the acquisition of Spanish RPA platform provider Novayre Solutions and its Jidoka RPA platform. This is not Appian’s first move into RPA (having partnered with Blue PrismUiPath and Automation Anywhere previously) but it is its first acquisition and its first move to take RPA in house.

In financial terms the acquisition of the startup won’t be significant (terms were not disclosed) but it is an important move for Appian. With a presence in the areas of low code development, business process management and low-code development, as well as dynamic case management and digital process automation, 20-year-old Appian is working towards a full stack automation platform capable of orchestrating people, bots and AI/ML. 

This is a key enabler of the complex digital transformation organisations need to master as they move towards frictionless business operations so we would not be surprised by further activity by low code providers (e.g. OutSystemsKonyNetcall). As suppliers work towards end-to-end automation platforms we could see RPA suppliers buying into low code platforms too. Further insight into the low code market is available in the  Digital Enablement via Low Code Platforms: understanding the position, uncovering the prospects report.

One of Appian’s challenges will be making intelligent automation real. As we highlighted in Taming Digital Chaos: Top Ten Predictions for 2020, hype has run ahead of reality in the automation sector so it has to get back to scaling what works, delivering client value and industrialising areas that are delivering genuine business outcomes for clients.

Posted by: Angela Eager

Tags: acquisition   software   automation  

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Monday 13 January 2020

Quartix held back by Insurance business

QuartixQuartix, the AIM-listed vehicle telematics systems and data services player, is seeing strong growth across its core fleet operation but continues to be held back by its lower-margin Insurance business.

This morning’s year-end trading statement majors on the progress the fleet business is making across all major markets expecting to have grown by around 10% last year, and now accounting for some 80% of all Company revenue. Performance in the UK and Ireland has been especially strong with a 38% increase in installations and 16% growth in the subscription base. Quartix appears to be benefiting from its investment in its software, rolling out web and mobile-based applications and launching further new variants of its telematics products.

Management's current estimates for revenue and EBITDA are £25.6m and £7m respectively, slightly ahead of current market forecasts. However, the Company continues its transition away from the lower-margin Insurance business with new installations here declining by 12% as a consequence. This means that total Company revenues for last year are expected to be broadly in line with the previous year, despite the growth achieved in the fleet business. 

Quartix will publish full results for the year ended 31st December on 24th February when will report more.

Posted by: Marc Hardwick

Tags: telematics   tradingupdate  

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Monday 13 January 2020

Lawtech Juro contracts another $5m

logoWhile much of the glamour seems to glow around fintech startups, another industry well ripe for ‘disruption’ is the legal profession, which is why we have been following the ‘Lawtech’ market with much interest (start with Lawyers beware and work back).

We have tracked the progress of UK-headquartered contract workflow management startup, Juro, since its seed funding round in early 2017 (see Juro contracts with more investors), which was followed by a further seed round in April 2018 (see Juro contracts for $2m funding round). Juro has just raised a further $5m in a Series A funding round led by Union Square Ventures, with participation from existing investors Point Nine Capital, Seedcamp, along with Taavet Hinrikus (co-founder of TransferWise) and Paul Forster (co-founder of Indeed).

Juro has sorted out its business model which is now subscription-based, starting at $125 per user per month (minimum 5 users for 12 months). I couldn’t find any reference on its current website about Juro introducing its clients to solicitors and other third parties (for a commission, I had assumed) so I am pleased they have dumped that idea.

Deliveroo remains an anchor client for Juro, which claims to have customers operating in 50 countries and has processed more than 50,000 contracts. However, as far as I can see, none of its clients (at least, none on its website) are law firms. They mainly appear to be startups (with the exception of Eton Shirts) whose legal teams use the product for contract management.

I suspect Juro would find it hard work to target law firms themselves, assuming many would already have some form of contract workflow management software in use. In which case, Juro’s focus on legal teams in commercial businesses makes a lot of sense.

Posted by: Anthony Miller

Tags: funding   startup   lawtech  

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Monday 13 January 2020

Beeks boosted by £2m Scottish grant

BeeksAIM listed, capital markets technology provider, Beeks Financial Cloud, has secured a £2m grant to help fund research in support of its growth ambitions. The Glasgow based, cloud computing and connectivity provider, received the award from the Scottish Enterprise scheme and will use the funding to support its Network Automation project. The grant is payable in instalments over the next 3 years with the overall project worth around £4m.

Beeks has been performing strongly of late and in December secured 2 more significant deals, jointly worth around £2m (see: Beeks builds on its recent success). Fuelled by recent acquisitions, the company revealed an impressive set of results in 2019, characterised by impressive growth and improving profitability (see: Sustained growth sees Beeks deliver on its promises).

Scotland presents an increasingly favourable environment for technology companies and startup ventures. The Scottish government has committed to increasing grant funding for research and development by 70% and has set a target of increasing Business Expenditure Research and Development (BERD) to £1.75bn by 2025. Beeks is a great example of a thriving Scottish technology company that is benefiting from that government support.

Posted by: Jon C Davies

Tags: funding  

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Monday 13 January 2020

Monzo co-founder Rippon departs

MonzoThe co-founder and deputy CEO of leading UK challenger bank, Monzo, has announced that he is leaving the company. Paul Rippon, who has been involved in the day to day running of the bank since 2015, has revealed that he is quitting to focus on his farming interests in the North of England.

App-based bank, Monzo, has so far been one of the most successful of the new breed of UK banks. The rate at which new customers are joining is accelerating and in September, the company reached a notable milestone, with its accountholders reaching the 3m mark (see: Monzo passes 3m customer milestone). The bank is currently recruiting new customers at a rate equivalent to 55k every week.

Prior to co-founding Monzo with CEO, Tom Blomfield, Rippon was Chief Risk Officer at fellow banking startup, Starling and previously had stints with NatWest, Northern Rock and AIB. He appears to be leaving Monzo in a healthy position. In addition to its strong UK growth, the  bank recently secured £113m in additional capital to fuel its push into the US (see: Monzo targets US fuelled by cash injection). After a long career in banking, Rippon appears to have concluded "...and now for something completely different!"

Posted by: Jon C Davies

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Sunday 12 January 2020

Infosys maintains momentum

LogoInfosys CEO, Salil Parekh has much to be happy about at the start of this new year. The announcement last Friday that he, alongside his colleagues, had been cleared of the anonymous whistleblower allegations of financial impropriety (see here) following a rigorous investigation by the audit committee was accompanied by the publication of positive set of Q320 results. Constant currency revenue for the three months to 31st December was up 9.5% yoy to $3.24b. Operating margin again improved, albeit slightly, to 21.9% qoq. Healthy though this is compared to the majority of Infosys’s IPP rivals, it lags the company’s Q319 performance by 70bps.

Following the pattern set in the prior quarter (see here), growth was strong in almost every facet of the business during Q320. Good progress continues to be made on the rotation to the “new”. Sales of digital services for the last quarter surged ahead by 41% yoy to just over $1.3b. These now represent more than 40% of the company’s global turnover. In terms of industry verticals, retail once again struggled to make meaningful headway. Conversely, the communications sector shone brightly once more delivering a 20+% yoy increase in revenue.

From a regional perspective, third quarter sales in North America and Europe were up yoy by 10.1% and 12% respectively. Given that the UK generates over 30% of the European revenues, it is likely that growth here was of a similar order.

There was an improvement too in staff attrition. The annualised rate eased back to below 20% for the first time this FY, although it remains worryingly high in comparison to many of the company’s peers.

As a result of the Q3 performance, FY 20 revenue guidance was revised upwards to 10.0% --10.5% in constant currency. Operating margin guidance was held at within the range of 21%-23%.

Posted by: Duncan Aitchison

Tags: results   systemsintegration   digital   IPP  

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