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Friday 22 May 2020

Navenio raises £9m for hospital workforce AI platform

Navenio logoOxford University spin-out Navenio has secured £9m in Series A funding. The round was led by Hong Kong-based QBN Capital with additional participation from G.K. Goh, Hostplus, Big Pi Ventures, Oxford Investment Consultants, and existing investors, including Oxford Sciences Innovation, IP Group and the University of Oxford.

Navenio, which spun out in 2015, provides infrastructure-free indoor location solutions. The technology utilises existing smartphone devices to localise people within a broad range of contexts and markets, including healthcare. It has no reliance on traditional location systems such as GPS, Beacons or RFID.

Its Intelligent Workforce Solution provides an automated system for the tasking of healthcare staff and prioritising workload based on their location. Navenio says the solution is often described as “a bit like Uber, but for Healthcare Teams”. The company sees significant benefit in hospitals utilising the technology during the COVID-19 crisis, including infection control response, porter tasking, staff support and patient movement. The new funding will help the business increase the scope its offering in the UK, as well as expanding in the USA and Asia.

The immense pressure on healthcare systems has increased significantly during the pandemic and will remain incredibly challenging as delayed treatments restart; hence, ensuring resources are utilised effectively and efficiently is more vital than ever.

Posted by: Dale Peters

Tags: nhs   funding   startup   AI   healthcare  

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Friday 22 May 2020

*NEW RESEARCH* COVID-19 Vulnerability and Resilience: Top 20 Suppliers

TechMarketView continues to publish analysis that gets to the very heart of how the UK market and industry are coping as the pandemic continues.cov

Today we launch our COVID-19 Vulnerability and Resilience: Top 20 SITS Suppliers analysis. It is a unique look at how the larger providers of Software and IT Service providers have responded, and how well placed they are to survive and thrive. Compiled by our expert analysts, it gives an easy-to-digest summary of their position across eight areas: Pre-COVID Financial Strength, Industry Focus, Supply Chain, Remote working ability, Revenue model, Talent retention, Business model agility, and Corporate conduct.

Some of the findings are heartening, and demonstrate the thoughtful approaches taken thus far. Likewise, the analysis shows that a highly considered approach must be taken to navigate the coming months and quarters; some customers are facing collapse, and certain sectors face structural changes, the likes of which we have never seen before.

The analysis is available to corporate subscribers here: COVID-19 Vulnerability and Resilience: Top 20 SITS Suppliers.

If you would like to become a client, please contact Deb Seth.

Find out more about TechMarketView’s core Foundation Service, here.

Posted by: HotViews Editor

Tags: covid-19  

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Friday 22 May 2020

Tech Goodness: Eggplant offers testing automation aid

eggplant logoLockdown may be easing and back to workplace plans progressing but the pressure to keep systems running safely and efficiently does not let up, nor do examples of Tech Goodness from the supplier community. 

The ‘new normal’ will continue to put pressure on websites and networks, bringing performance testing forward, particularly automated user-centric performance testing. Software testing specialist Eggplant is making Eggplant Performance, which simulates virtual users at the application UI and network protocol levels, available for free until the end of June, along with 20 free sessions with Eggplant's Advanced Performance Engineering Team (the latter on a first come, first served basis). It is also offering free business value assessments to help organisations build a business case for automation through access to its ROI visualisation tools, and free automation accreditation. As well as NHS software care packages. 

As we move into the next stage of the COVID-19 response, technology will come under increased scrutiny as costs are reviewed in the light of an economic downturn and prioritised as “must have” – or not. Talking with Eggplant CEO John Bates and COO Antony Edwards recently, there were plenty of signs that automated testing software is well positioned to make it into the “must have” category. Eggplants capabilities have been called on by organisations in the thick of the UK C-19 response and demand for remote testing from both existing and new customers has risen as businesses reorganise around the remote working model that looks set to be an important aspect of working life for the foreseeable. 

Posted by: Angela Eager

Tags: testing   software   Techgoodness  

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Friday 22 May 2020

Pandemic takes toll on HPE Q2

HPEQ2 results out overnight from HPE show the impact of the COVID-19 crisis is starting to bite. Q2 revenues of $6bn were down 15% year-on-year (constant currency) and non-GAAP operating profit was down 42% to $365m.

As a result, the company is taking steps to cut costs, including salary reductions for leaders (e.g. at CEO and Executive VP level base salaries will be reduced by 25%). The firm is also looking to save $1bn through restricting recruitment, changing its property model, and making business process improvements. The companhy has also taken steps to support its channel.

HPE has set a course to become a totally as-a-service business by 2022. If that wasn’t challenge enough, trying to achieve this under tighter cost controls will make the goal even harder to hit. However, CEO, Antonio Neri said the firm was still “ensuring we align resources to priority growth areas so that we are well positioned to accelerate our edge-to-cloud strategy and address the needs of our customers in a post-COVID-19 world”.

Positive spots include 17% annual run rate growth for the firm’s GreenLake as-a-service offering, and traction in North America with its Intelligent Edge business growing 12%.

Advisory & Professional Services revenue was down 8% to $237m – although it hit an operating margin of 0.8% compared to (5.4%) in FY19. Depending on the account/sector - in other words whether project spend is being cut or whether the customer is looking to accelerate competitiveness/the digital journey - this business line will be facing both opportunities and intensified pressure. HPE can help itself by ensuring customers fully understand how its services proposition addresses both existing and new challenges in the context of the pandemic.

Posted by: Kate Hanaghan

Tags: results   cloud   as-a-service   edge  

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Friday 22 May 2020

Monzo's founder makes way for a new CEO

MonzoFollowing recent reports that digital bank, Monzo, is in the throes of a major fundraising effort (see: Monzo finalises plans for £80m cash call), founder Tom Blomfield has stepped down from his role as CEO.

It has been announced that TS Anil, who currently heads up Monzo’s US operations, is set to replace Blomfield as CEO, with the bank’s outgoing leader stepping into the newly created position of President. Prior to his appointment in December 2019, Anil held senior banking roles within Citi and Standard Chartered and most recently spent 4 years with payments giant, Visa. He will no doubt bring a wealth of operational financial services experience to his new role.

Having left Oxford University in 2008, equipped with a master's degree in Law, Blomfield has spent the last 5 years helping Monzo to develop into one of the UK’s leading challenger banks. The bank has enjoyed strong growth since its foundation in 2015 and Blomfield’s entrepreneurial drive has helped establish it as a significant force in financial services marketplace. Monzo currently boasts around 4m customers and more than 1,500 staff.

The challenges of operating in a heavily regulated industry and running a major global bank, do however require a particular skill set and also perhaps, a different sort of energy. The resume of Blomfield’s successor appears to indicate that he possesses the right sort of acumen for dealing with the regulators and overseeing an increasingly large corporate structure.

In all my interactions with founders and fintech entrepreneurs to date, the thing that typically impresses me most is their vision and drive. Although I don't know Tom Blomfield personally, I suspect that his own energy and other admirable qualities may now be far more valuable focused elsewhere, rather than as the operational head of a “big” bank.

Posted by: Jon C Davies

Tags: banking   FinTech  

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Friday 22 May 2020

Scottish Borders leads the way in new blended learning approach

Scottish Borders Council logoYesterday, the Scottish Government announced that schools in Scotland are expected to reopen from 11 August, with most pupils spending around half their time in class and half learning at home. Support for this blended model will include an initial £9m of government funding to supply 25,000 laptops or tablets to disadvantaged children. A second phase of investment will see further funding to support digital inclusion as part of a £30m package.

However, Scottish Borders Council (SBC) schools will have a head start on other parts of the country, having already established a major programme to enhance digital learning in the region. The Inspire Learning programme, which was announced last year, includes £16m investment from SBC over a 10-year period to provide every pupil from school year P6 to S6 with an iPad and access to a suite of learning tools. The initiative, which also includes significant investment in teacher training and support infrastructure, is being supported by SBC’s IT partner CGI, alongside XMA and Apple.

CGI logoSBC identified a need to improve and update the ICT equipment in schools and starting in January 2018 worked with CGI to build the programme. The rollout of devices started in September 2019 and to date nearly 6,300 pupils have been provided with an iPad. The roll-out of devices was accelerated so it could be completed before the COVID-19 lockdown, helping ensure secondary schools in the region had access to the right technology to support learning from home.

Plans are also in place for the roll out of Inspire Learning to primary pupils. iPads have been given to every primary teacher in the region and training is being provided ahead of P6 and P7 pupils receiving devices later this year.

The blended learning approach all Scottish schools will be facing in August will bring many challenges e.g. timetabling, training and infrastructure. SBC’s plans to reduce inequality within the classroom has meant schools in the region have been in a good position during the pandemic and it should stand them in good stead for the start of the new school year.

Posted by: Dale Peters

Tags: localgovernment   scotland   learning   schools  

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Friday 22 May 2020

Tech Goodness: Ideagen enables first-ever digital World Health Assembly

IdeagenAIM-listed risk management software specialist Ideagen has provided the World Health Organisation (WHO) with pro bono use of its document collaboration and governance software, PleaseReview, allowing the WHO to conduct this week its first-ever digital World Health Assembly.

WHOThe Assembly was due to be attended in person by over 4,000 delegates from the 194 Member States, as well as NGOs, philanthropic organisations and other parties. Normally this meeting would have been face-to-face in the Palais de Nation in Geneva, but social distancing measures rendered this impossible.

PleaseReview allowed for secure real-time online collaboration on documents providing an audit trail of responses, changes and agreements. When each word is poured over and debated by thousands of people and the outcome of those debates is so high profile, getting it right is vital for the WHO.

We have seen lot of this type of pro bono activity post-COVID. Given this helped enable the first-ever digital World Health Assembly it is directly linked to the global pandemic response. Doesn’t get much better than that.

Posted by: Marc Hardwick

Tags: covid-19   Techgoodness  

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Friday 22 May 2020

NHS Login deploys facial verification tech from SME iProov

iProov logoIn another example of rapid tech deployment in the health sector, facial verification technology from SME iProov has been deployed to verify users signing up to NHS login from the NHS App on Android and iOS. Over the past couple of months, the NHS has seen a surge in demand in people registering for an NHS login as they look to manage their health digitally. More than a million people have now registered with NHS login, with a peak of over 60,000 new IDs verified during the first week of April.

The technology from iProov, which was part of TechMarketView’s Innovation Partner Programme with Sopra Steria in December, verifies that an individual is a real person, the right person, and is authenticating themselves ‘right now’. This protects against the risk of identity theft while giving people quicker and more convenient access to vital services wherever they are.

iProov’s Flashmark facial verification technology is now used by citizens to create an NHS login through the NHS App, which in turn allows for easy access to essential services such as GP appointments, access to medical records and ordering repeat prescriptions. When we met the founders last year, we were very impressed by iProov’s technology, which verifies facial features against identity document photos using a series of coloured flashing lights generated by your standard mobile device. It will enable users in England to create their NHS login remotely, securely and conveniently at a time when they need it most, removing the need for manual and in-person verifications, thereby freeing up valuable NHS resources and saving money. 

Founded in 2011, we believe iProov is ‘one to watch’ in UK tech. In addition to NHS login, the SME’s patented technology is already used to verify identities in the Home Office ‘EU Exit: ID Document Check’ app, which enables European citizens to apply to the EU Settlement Scheme. It also provides Genuine Presence Assurance to governments, banks and other enterprises, including the US Department for Homeland Security, allowing them to authenticate users remotely on smartphones or other devices.

If your organisation is looking to find partners with innovative technologies and solutions that can help you bring greater innovation to your customers, a TechMarketView Innovation Partner Programme (TIPP) could be the answer. Please contact Anthony Miller (amiller@techmarketview.com) for details.

Posted by: Tola Sargeant

Tags: innovation   scaleup   healthcare   mobile  

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Friday 22 May 2020

Accesso raises £32.9m as customer base badly hit by C-19

Accesso logoHeavily impacted by COVID-19, technology solutions provider to leisure, entertainment and cultural markets accesso Technology Group, has raised £32.9m (gross) through a new share placing and subscription.  

After a challenging 2019, 2020 had started well with revenue up c.13% in the first two months before crashing c.12% during March. Transaction revenue, which represents 73% of total revenue, fell to near zero. After two rounds of cost cutting measures and assuming a nominal level of activity from mid-summer onward, management believed the company had the liquidity to support operations through summer and into the autumn period. The successful placing provides breathing space while the situation around when and how its clients can open their doors again becomes clear.

Posted by: Angela Eager

Tags: software   fundraising   shares  

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Thursday 21 May 2020

Mercia’s funds back Nutshell to crack the mobile app nut

logoIf you believe the PR, even a simple bloke like me could design, build, deploy and manage a suite of mobile apps “in minutes … without writing a single line of code”.

That’s the promise from Newcastle-based start-up, Nutshell Software, which has just raised £1.2m from Mercia-managed Northern Venture Capital Trust (VCT) Funds and the North East Venture Fund.

Nutshell was launched in 2017 by Martyn Cuthbert, the entrepreneur behind rail and transport industry workflow software firm, OnTrac, which he sold to Leeds-based traffic data and transportation software and services provider, Tracsis, in 2015 for just under £20m (see It’ll be a game of two halves for Tracsis and work back).

As an ‘old coder’ myself (Miller’s the name, Cobol’s the game) it would be fair to say I am now somewhat distant from the low-code/no-code tools on the market today. However, I am old enough and wise enough to know that no matter what the claim, it is never that easy!

But good on Cuthbert for giving it a go and getting the backing!

Posted by: Anthony Miller

Tags: funding   startup  

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Thursday 21 May 2020

Resilient Endava downgrades outlook

LogoTrading held up comparatively well for London HQ'd digital SI Endava during the first part of this year. Revenue in Q320 (the three months to 31st March) increased to £92.2m by 25.7% yoy on a constant currency basis, just shy of the bottom end of the guidance issued with the second quarter results. This produced sequential top line growth of over 7%.

Adjusted profit before tax for the latest quarter, which removed the impact of a significant one-off credit related to the company’s non-recurring discretionary employee bonus scheme, was up 21% yoy to £16.0m. This delivered a margin of 17.4%, down 70bps compared to Q319.

There was little change in the composition of the company’s revenues. The UK remained the single largest market for Endava accounting for 45% of global sales. This was followed by North America (28%) and Europe (25%), the latter of which returned to growth after a slower Q220 (see here). Payments and Financial Services continued as the company’s best performing vertical industry again producing over half of total turnover last quarter. The softening of demand in the Telecommunications, Media and Technology sector (25% of revenue), which emerged during the last three months of 2019, persisted though the last quarter with yoy top line growth limited to just 4%.

Endava began to see not only a slowdown in its sales pipeline, but also a reduction in the size of its client teams and delay in projects from January onwards as the pandemic began to bite. As a result, the company is now anticipating that Q420 sales will decrease by c.6% qoq. Endava has also reduced its full year constant currency revenue growth expectations from between 25% and 26% to within the 23% to 23.5% range. If achieved, this will still represent a pretty impressive performance given the current circumstances.

Posted by: Duncan Aitchison

Tags: results   systemsintegration   digital  

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Thursday 21 May 2020

Aveva moves into data centre ops with Schneider Electric

Aveva logoWe caught up with Aveva CEO Craig Hayman as the company was about to release details of its extended partnership with Schneider Electric to tackle the operational needs of multi-site hyperscale data centres. When data centres heavily leaned on, the partnership has come to fruition at an opportune time.

The partnership brings together Aveva’s Unified Operations Centre, which provides monitoring & control, asset performance and operations optimisation, with the control and monitoring capabilities of Schneider Electric’s EcoStruxure for Data Centers, with the aim of bringing deep insight to day-to-day operations. The issue the combo tackles is data centre operators’ need to reduce risks, save costs and optimise performance - while working at scale across several sites. In other words, overcome data centre silos. Key to that is access to relevant, connected data - engineering, operations, performance – and platforms. 

From the Aveva perspective, its industrial background means it is well placed to add to the Schneider Electric data centre capability. It also marks a move into a new sector for Aveva and one of its major moves since the reverse acquisition of 2019. FY20 was a “satisfactory” year for Aveva but it is going into FY21 with the dual challenges of COVID-19 related uncertainty and oil sector disruption. However, as we have highlighted (see here), it does have several strengths to carry into FY21 and is continuing to invest in strategic areas such as cloud and AI. This latest partnership is one such example.

Posted by: Angela Eager

Tags: partnerships   software   datacentres  

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Thursday 21 May 2020

Smarterly looks to grow following Salvus acquisition

SmarterlyUK fintech, Smarterly, has successfully raised an additional £7m to help fund the growth of its workplace wealth management platform. Family firm, Major Oak, provided £5m of the investment, with the rest of the cash coming via crowdfunding and existing backers.

The startup was co-founded in 2017 by CEO, Ben Pollard, who previously spent 10 years with consulting actuaries, Tillinghast (Towers Perrin), prior to becoming chair of his family’s 200-year-old printing business, William Pollard and Co.

Smarterly provides a fully automated savings and investment platform that delivers a variety of workplace savings options, payable via salary deduction. Part of the money raised has helped fund the company’s recent acquisition of workplace pensions provider Salvus Master Trust, whilst the remainder will be used to develop the fintech’s offering.

Smarterly works with over 100 businesses and currently has around 80,000 customers and £230m assets under management. The company is seeking to transform the workplace wealth management space by using innovative approaches to encourage people to save and invest via payroll deduction.

Tools such as the Smarterly platform can help encourage employees to save by simplifying the process and also provide the ability to invest at source, gross of income tax. Whilst there are already a number of established providers in the space, as well as other newcomers, there is still room for further innovation. Following the impact of lockdown and COVID-19, personal financial management may well to move up the agenda for many people.

Posted by: Jon C Davies

Tags: wealthmanagement   PFM   workplacesavings  

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Thursday 21 May 2020

Oxford Metrics: plenty to work with going into H2

Oxford Metrics logoThe figures show a decline in revenue and a small net loss in H1 for Oxford Metrics but the nuances are a better indicator of what’s happening within the business. 

It was a strong first half until the lockdown effect caused delays to the shipment of Vicon orders in the last two weeks of the period (to 31 March 2020). This delay was a factor in total revenue falling 6.5% to £15m, with a related slip into the red resulting in LBT of £0.1m vs. year ago PBT of £1.2m. But on the up side most of the £1.1m of orders carried over have now been shipped to customers and revenue will be recognised in H2.

Vicon is the motion measurement analysis product, used by a range of organisations from hospitals to NASA to EA Sports. Delays meant revenue fell 9.6% to £11.3m but adjusted EBITDA stayed positive at £2m. In this sector, Oxford Metrics’ strategy is to protect its market position while opening up adjacent markets such as Elite Sport and Location Based Virtual Reality and there was slow but measurable progress in both new sectors. 

Yotta, which provides cloud based infrastructure management to central and local government agencies and other infrastructure owners, had a good H1 with revenue up 4.6% to £3.7m and strengthening ARR from the SaaS-based Connected Asset Management offering Alloy. UK local government wins included Warwickshire, South Gloucestershire, Blackburn with Darwen, City of York, Somerset, Worcestershire, and waste services contractor, Ubico. There were also new partnerships with Panasonic, (for Alloy), bbits and Telensa; the latter was particularly interesting because the company provides smart IoT streetlamps. The Yotta business model has pivoted to SaaS now, which provides a firmer footing, but the transition did take the division into an adjusted EBITDA loss of £0.5m. There is a lot happening within this division, including product development so it has a lot to work with.

Guidance has been withdrawn due to economic uncertainty but the company has a strong balance sheet, is debt free and is in forward looking tech areas that could be highly relevant to social distancing circumstances as well as its existing areas.

Posted by: Angela Eager

Tags: results   software  

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Thursday 21 May 2020

Civica wins Norfolk trading standards deal

CivicaHot on the heels of its Liverpool deal to provide citizen support, we heard yesterday that Civica has won a three-year contract to supply Norfolk County Council with its trading standards software.  The cloud-based software is part of Norfolk’s wider digital transformation project.

NCCRegulatory services are another area where Civica is gaining traction in UK public sector with more than 200 organisations now signed up and will have been brought on board by Norfolk to help enhance its digital offer in this space. The majority of trading standards enquiries currently come into the contact centre either as calls or emails and a new cloud-based portal will enable online contact, provide advice and should offer a better service for customers. The software will also improve data collection as information will automatically transfer from the portal straight through into the back office, cutting down on admin time. Civica’s software will also link directly with the Citizens Advice Consumer helpline.

Cloud based deals of this nature our now central to Civica’s strategy and trading standards as a statutory duty should prove a very lucrative area of the market to target.

Posted by: Marc Hardwick

Tags: localgovernment   contract   cloud   software  

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Thursday 21 May 2020

IBM acquires stake in blockchain based we.trade network

IBMIBM has become an equity stakeholder in blockchain based, global trade finance network, we.trade. Formed by a consortium of major European banks, with IBM initially acting as the main technology provider, we.trade utilises digital ledger technology (DLT) to modernise the trade finance process.

In the last 24 months, the global trade finance market has emerged one of the strongest use cases for DLT (see: Trade finance emerges as blockchain’s new sweetspot). The innovative application of this, and other technologies, is helping to accelerate processes, facilitate regulatory compliance and reduce the potential for fraud. In something of a milestone for we.trade, HSBC, financed its first transaction via the platform in August 2019.

As the market for trade finance technology has matured, so the space has seen a number of interesting developments recently (see: Ebury pledges financial support for SMEs and Citi looks to smooth trade finance with Contour). Whilst it would be true to say that, in terms of the wider ecosystem, the we.trade project still has some way to go before fulfilling its transformative potential, IBM’s investment appears to be a sign of confidence in the direction of travel.

Posted by: Jon C Davies

Tags: blockchain   DLT   tradefinance  

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Wednesday 20 May 2020

Crowd gathers again to cheer on Freetrade with another £7m

logoWhat I find interesting* about the latest £7.1m crowdfunding round raised by London-based ‘challenger broker’ Freetrade is that it came barely six months after a $15m Series A round, half of which was stumped up by UK-based pan-European VC, Draper Esprit (see Draper Esprit trades $7.5m for a slice of Freetrade). Until then, Freetrade had solely raised dosh through crowdfunding since its launch in 2015. (*That, and the fact that they got the round done and dusted in the middle of the COVID-19 pandemic!)

The new round launched on 14th May and hit £5m on the first day, including £1m pump-primed from existing backers, with a total of 8,559 people investing. This is nearly double the number of its prior crowdfunding round which raised £3.8m on a £43m pre-money valuation. I can’t find any information yet on Freetrade’s current valuation.

Freetrade’s USP is in the name – they don’t charge a fee for basic trades (executed at close of play) or for a bank account (held by Custodians), though ‘extra features’ such as FX and bank transfers attract a fee. Even ‘instant’ trades (executed immediately), for which they used to charge £1, are now ‘free’. This compares with trading fees of up to £11.95 with other brokers.

I assume Freetrade gets a cut from the brokers executing the trades. But will that be enough alone to make its ‘fee free’ business model work?

Posted by: Anthony Miller

Tags: funding   startup  

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Wednesday 20 May 2020

Busy Microsoft: healthcare cloud; and 'build a bot' acquisition

Microsoft logoAs the virtual version of the Microsoft Build conference kicks off, one of the early announcements was Cloud for Healthcare. The offering brings together a set of existing capabilities, including Microsoft 365, Dynamics, Power Platform, Azure, and Azure IoT on a common data model, to create a tailored solution for the healthcare sector. The aim is to enable better management of patient needs and increase the efficiency of resource deployments. 

While Cloud for Healthcare utilises Microsoft’s own tools, it continues to work with partners, creating opportunities for them to surround the core offering with specialised healthcare capabilities. Epic, Allscripts, GE Healthcare, Adaptive Biotechnologies and Nuance are believed to be on board.

Healthcare is one of the eight industry sectors Microsoft directly addresses. We would expect similar tailored clouds for the other sectors: Financial Services, Retail, Manufacturing, Government, Education, Automotive and Media & Telco. The company is not alone in ramping up its industry sector credentials – over the past year Google Cloud has homed in on six verticals.

It’s going to be a busy week for Microsoft. In addition to Build and Cloud for Healthcare, it has also announced the acquisition of RPA provider Softomotive. The intention is to use its WinAutomation desktop automation product to expand the low-code robotic process automation capabilities in Microsoft Power Automate. What is particularly interesting is how these newer technologies are being combined, how together they have the potential to provide more value that standalone. Also of note is Microsoft’s declared intention of “democratizing RPA and enabling everyone to create bots to automate manual business processes”. There is a focus on making RPA for Windows tasks affordable and ‘build a bot’ capabilities more accessible, which expands the addressable market. 

Posted by: Angela Eager

Tags: acquisition   software   RPA   healthcare  

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