Menu
You are not logged in and only seeing 7 days of articles. Please sign up or login to view more
UKHotViews
Tuesday 31 January 2023

Police Digital Service highlights 2021-22 progress

PDS logoThe Police Digital Service (PDS) has published its first annual report, highlighting £27m in cashable and cost avoidance savings over the year ended 31 March 2022.

PDS was launched in April 2021, transitioning from the Police ICT Company and taking on a broader remit to harness the power of digital, data and technology in policing (see Introducing the Police Digital Service). Its responsibilities include being the delivery vehicle for the National Policing Digital Strategy 2020-2030, which launched in January 2020 (see National Policing Digital Strategy 2020-2030).

This was a pathfinder year for PDS with a focus on building capability and capacity. In April 2021 PDS employed 46 people, but it ended the year with 84 employees. The organisation now includes five directorates: business engagement; cyber services; digital data and technology; delivery services; and operations.

Key successes during the year include the National Enabling Programmes (NEP) rolling out Microsoft 365 across 38 of the 45 territorial forces in the UK. The National Management Centre (NMC), intended to enhance the cyber resilience of police forces, has also made good progress (see National Management Centre: Enhancing Cyber Resilience in UK Policing). It also helped deliver the programme to migrate all forces off the Government Convergence Framework (GCF) towards routing emails securely over the internet and using police.uk instead of pnn.police.uk. Significant progress has also been made with the Video Enabled Policing programme, which should improve efficiency and enhance collaboration between police and its criminal justice partners.

One of the five key digital ambitions detailed in the National Policing Digital Strategy concerns strengthening the relationship policing has with the private sector and fostering a vibrant PoliceTech landscape. In this area PDS highlights its role in ensuring policing can benefit from the MoU between Microsoft and CCS (see New Microsoft MoU with UK Government); renewing it VMware enterprise licencing agreement renewal; and establishing its Social Media Framework with Orlo and Salesforce (see Police Digital Service launches social media framework).

It has been a solid first year for PDS, but there is clearly much more to be done to create a more digitally enhance police service, including, but not limited to, attracting and retaining the requisite digital skills, cloud migration, data management and interoperability, and encouraging more start-ups to thrive in the sector. We discussed many of the challenges facing police forces in our recent UK Police Software and IT Services Suppliers, Trends, and Forecasts report.

Posted by: Dale Peters at 09:50

Tags: police   law+enforcement   public+safety   digital+transformation  

Twitter   Facebook   LinkedIn   Email article link
Tuesday 31 January 2023

Cybersecurity startups innovating with NCSC

NCSCThe National Cyber Security Centre (NCSC), along with innovation company Plexal, have announced the latest companies to join its ‘NCSC For Startups’ programme.

‘NCSC For Startups’ is the successor to the NCSC’s Cyber Accelerator programme, and is being run jointly with Plexal (as well as with partners Deloitte, CyNam, Hub8 and QA). The aim of the initiative is to work with startups to help them develop their solutions, adapt their current technology to a new cyber challenge and pilot solutions.

The startup companies will also benefit from support with investment, marketing, connections to private sector opportunities and product development. So far 60 businesses have already participated in the programme, which have collectively gone on to raise £430m.

The programme is looking to solve a range of different cybersecurity challenges including around Operational technology, protecting SME’s, Ransomware, and two new challenges for 2023; IIoT Encryption and Resilient Products.

The four latest companies to join are:

  • Lexverify, an AI-powered assistant that prevents legal and compliance risks on electronic communication in real time. The AI assistant also provides continuous training to employees. The company was founded in 2020 and HQ’ed in Birmingham.
  • RoboShadow is a London HQ’ed cybersecurity startup founded in 2017 who are aiming to bridge the cyber technology gap. Their software offers a broad range of functionality from advanced network scanning, device management and governance & compliance, with much of it freely available or priced at a low monthly fee.
  • Bristol based Rowden Technologies is working on the digital fingerprinting of devices to help secure networks. The company also offers a range of products outside of Cyber across Edge Intelligence, autonomous systems and digital services.
  • ZORB Security provides cyber protection for business employees who need to access confidential data from outside of the corporate office. They offer both a software solution and a hardware device to protect home networks.

Cybersecurity startups continue to attract significant attention and investment, but it is also a highly competitive market. Accelerator programmes can be a big boost, especially for fledgling start-ups, though even with funding SME’s can still struggle to compete with established suppliers. However, with the threat landscape continually evolving there are always new areas to look for differentiation.

Posted by: Simon Baxter at 09:45

Tags: startup   cybersecurity  

Twitter   Facebook   LinkedIn   Email article link
Tuesday 31 January 2023

Lloyds banks on motor app Caura’s ’30 million’ users

logoAccording to stats from the DVLA, as at the end of March 2022 there were 40.4 million licensed vehicles in the UK. Which is why you may be as surprised as I to learn that, according to one media release, ‘all-in-one’ driving-related payments app Caura has 30 million users, having only launched in 2020. Now that’s what I call a ramp-up.

I first wrote about Caura in June 2021 after a seed funding round (see Caura drives more dosh so motorists can pay their dues). I was much bemused by founder and CEO Sai Lakshmi’s frank reply when a journo asked him at the time how the start-up generates revenue. “Right now, we don’t,” said he.

Unfortunately, I am not able to tell you whether the situation has changed since then. But I can tell you that Lloyds Bank has just invested £4m in the startup. Perhaps they were tempted by the opportunity to market to Caura’s '30 million' users, who knows?

The idea behind Caura is that motorists tell the app everything about their motoring payment obligations (finance payments, insurance, driving licence, road tax, MOT, tolls, etc etc) and they can then pay them all through the app. Lakshmi has a penchant for consumer data aggregation apps; he was a founder of a VC-backed prescription management app (Echo) which he sold in 2019 to McKesson, then owner of LloydsPharmacy (his business partner was previously a manager at LloydsPharmacy’s online doctor service). The scheme is similar to Caura – you pop your medication details into the app and it orders the prescriptions for you.

But here’s where I struggle with Caura’s business model: they don’t charge users and they don’t receive a fee or commission from providers when users purchase their services via the app. So how does Lakshmi make money then? There’s no ads for his financial services providers on the Caura website. What am I missing?

Maybe the answer to that question is … an exit!

Posted by: Anthony Miller at 09:36

Tags: funding   startup  

Twitter   Facebook   LinkedIn   Email article link
Tuesday 31 January 2023

TPXimpact revises down revenue and profit guidance

ITPXimpact logot was only two months ago – at the end of November 2022 – that TPXimpact stated that it still expected full year revenues of £90m and an adjusted EBITDA in the range of £7-7.5m for its financial year to end March (see TPXimpact H1: Challenged internally and externally | TechMarketView). This was despite an organic revenue decline of 6.5% in H1 (total revenue up 7.7%). Now, only a month into its Q4, it has released trading update that revises that guidance. It now expects full year revenues of c£80m – a essentially flat year-on-year - and adjusted EBITDA of 2-3%, or £1.6-£2.4m.

It seems that after an “encouraging” November, December was particularly “disappointing”. Indeed, Q3 revenue was down 3.9% to £19.0m, and down 14.6% on a like-for-like basis. The finger is pointed at external factors that were outside of TPXimpact’s control. The Q3 adjusted EBITDA margin stood at 3.1%, compared to 12.9% in Q322.

There’s a lot going on here. As TechMarketView readers might remember, the management team at TPXimpact changed on 1st October 2022. The decision was taken that TPXimpact needed a different set of hands to take it onto the next stage, through its complex integration, and on to achieve its ambitious growth targets. New CEO Bjorn Conway has set about trying to ensure that TPXimpact, with its increased scale, is capable of bidding for and winning larger contracts, as well as delivering sustainable margins.

Conway has a challenge on his hands. He is dealing with far more difficult market conditions than his predecessors faced; a tough fiscal environment is already resulting in levels of uncertainty, caution and delayed decision making in the company's key markets. However, our concern is not so much about whether the company can win business – indeed, the Q3 order intake looked healthy at £41m; it’s about whether TPXimpact has, and is set to, take on too much in the light of its own internal challenges. The company cites recruitment challenges and a concern over being able to achieve the right mix of resource and skills on a timely basis to support new business wins. While in the short-term those issues might put pressure on margins (due to an increased reliance on contractors), longer-term it has the potential to be damaging to project execution and, more importantly, delivery reputation.  

With that in mind, we are cautious about the company maintaining its guidance for revenue growth for the next financial year at 10-15% like-for-like, despite the strong order picture. We hope Conway will ensure realism is injected into his forecasts, alongside ambition, otherwise the management team risks making damaging decisions. The next challenge, however, is to conclude discussions with its bankers regarding the company being unlikely to pass its debt covenants on the measurement date of 31st March.

The share price has fallen by 38% in early trading (at 09:20) to 28.51p.

Posted by: Georgina O'Toole at 09:26

Tags: digital   trading+update   profit+warning  

Twitter   Facebook   LinkedIn   Email article link
Tuesday 31 January 2023

Growth accelerates for Instem

LogoAIM-listed life sciences software and IT services provider, Instem plc saw the pace of turnover growth increase through the second half of FY22. The company’s latest trading update states that sales in the twelve months ended 31st December are expected to reach £59m, up 28% yoy supported by an in-year hoh improvement of 13.8%. In addition, annual recurring revenue grew by approximately 40% to £34m.

The top line performance was boosted by the full contribution from the company’s recent £50m acquisition push. This bagged drug discovery business The Edge Software Consultancy Ltd, clinical trial solutions specialist d-Wise Technologies, and Swiss rivals PDS Pathology Data Systems Ltd.

The company also reports that the price increases implemented to address the impact of wage inflation on its bottom line experienced during H122 (see here) are delivering a positive impact on operating profit. At the adjusted EBITDA level, however, the second half saw a decline, decreasing sequentially by almost a quarter. Nonetheless, the full fiscal year result is predicted to be in line with market expectations of c.£7.9m, down 4.2%.yoy to generate a margin of 13.4% (FY21: 17.9%).

Instem again provided an upbeat assessment of its prospects and said that it continues to see healthy demand for its higher margin SaaS offerings. The company remains confident that the strength of its order book means that is well placed to both sustain revenue growth and improve profitability in the coming years.

Posted by: Duncan Aitchison at 09:08

Tags: saas   software   life+sciences   trading+update  

Twitter   Facebook   LinkedIn   Email article link
Tuesday 31 January 2023

NTT Data to improve data quality at Cadent

NTT Data2023 has got off to a good start for NTT Data with wins already notched up at both the University of Reading and HS2. The purple patch continues with news that the IT services provider has seen its Everis subsidiary selected by Cadent Gas, one of the UK’s largest gas distribution networks, sign an agreement to improve the quality of its asset data.

Cadent manages large amounts of historic data, so the initial focus of the project will be to look how the quality of asset data can be improved to provide better business  and operational insight. Energy Data Management is a key focus area for energy regulator Ofgem and if done correctly will help reduce costs, drive down risk, and improve decision-making. NTT data will be implementing ecosystem partner Informatica’s data quality software.

As we outlined in our recent report Predictions 2023: Tech opportunities in an economic downturn  - better and more efficient use of data is essential to the pursuit of productivity. However, progress towards eliminating data silos across organisations has been held back for a wide variety of reasons, including an ongoing reliance on legacy technology, a lack of specialist skills, resistance from incumbent suppliers, heterogeneous and poor-quality data sources, and the challenge and expense of keeping up with changing standards. Expect to see more opportunities and deals announced in this area as the year progresses.

Posted by: Marc Hardwick at 08:29

Tags: contract   datastrategy  

Twitter   Facebook   LinkedIn   Email article link
Tuesday 31 January 2023

CAPITA IS LOOKING FOR NEW PARTNERS! Could you be their next success story?

CLICK ON THE PIC TO FIND OUT HOW YOU CAN APPLY TO SCALE UP WITH CAPITA

Capita TIPP Q1 2023 - Distributed

Posted by: HotViews Editor at 08:16

Twitter   Facebook   LinkedIn   Email article link
Monday 30 January 2023

*NEW RESEARCH* India-centric SITS Suppliers: UK Public Sector Presence & Ambition

ItIndian Centric SITS Suppliers Presence and Ambition Report Cover Jan 2023’s been interesting to watch the Indian-centric software and IT services (SITS) suppliers* over the twenty years that I have tracked the UK public sector market. For many years, they have acted with a lack of certainty in terms of their commitment to pursuing opportunities in this area of the UK market.  

However, we have seen a distinct change in attitude over the last few years. It is, perhaps, unsurprising, considering that the public sector makes up a quarter of the UK SITS market, that this group of players has decided, albeit at different times, to make a serious play for a slice of the pie. No longer are they willing to miss out on the opportunities open to them.

In this report we have researched and analysed the Indian-centric SITS suppliers active in the UK market to determine the turnover they derived from the UK public sector SITS market in their last reported financial year (and the year-on-year growth). Seven companies feature in our rankings (where an Indian-centric SITS supplier is absent from our rankings, it is because we have determined their revenues outside the commercial sector are negligible.) Alongside the UK public sector SITS revenues of the seven ranked suppliers, we have also included a breakdown of their UK public sector revenues by subsector (as defined by TechMarketView): central government, local and regional government, health, education, police, and defence.

For the five Indian-centric suppliers with the most revenues from the UK public sector – Wipro, TCS, Mastek, Cognizant, and HCLTech – we have provided a profile outlining their performance, ambitions, and prospects in more detail. TechMarketViews’ PublicSectorViews subscribers can delve into the evolution of their public sector businesses, their existing clients and contracts, their go-to-market strategies, and where they are directing their investment.

To download the report, follow this link: Indian-centric SITS Suppliers: UK Public Sector Presence & Ambition | TechMarketView. If you are not yet a subscriber, or are unsure if your organisation has a corporate subscription, please contact Deb Seth about how to access this latest detailed analysis – there will be a range of options open to you.

*We define Indian-centric as those suppliers that are either Indian-headquartered, were founded in India, or have most of their employees based in India.

Posted by: Georgina O'Toole at 15:27

Tags: offshore   defence   education   police   health   indians   suppliers   IPP   competitoranalysis   local+government   public+sector   central+government   competitivelandscape   competition   supplier+rankings  

Twitter   Facebook   LinkedIn   Email article link
Monday 30 January 2023

CGI selected by ESA to support next phase of 5G/6G facility

TheCGI logo European Space Agency (ESA) has selected CGI to lead on a project, backed by the UK Space Agency, to expand the 5G facility at the European Centre for Space Applications and Telecommunications (ECSAT) at the Harwell Campus in Oxfordshire.

CGI has been working with the ESA to develop the facility since 2020 (see CGI to develop 5G innovation hub with ESA | TechMarketView and CGI wins European Space Agency 5G navigation contract | TechMarketView. This latest contract will move the development of the facility into the next phase, using the capability for outreach and practical work.

The 5G/6G Hub, which opened in February 2022, includes a demonstration room, technical lab for application service testing, and a private high-capacity integrated network covering the spaces. It allows exploration of the potential of communications infrastructure converged across ground and space to change the way people live, work, and communicate.

Leading on the new project, CGI will work with a project consortium, including satellite operators Eutelsat and OneWeb, and mobile network operator, Vodafone, to add new features to the hub and to pursue fresh collaborations with industry via a dedicated outreach programme. The aim is to accelerate the 5G transformation of the European digital economy. The project will expand the hub’s dedicated networks to cover ECSAT’s surroundings, and will develop enhanced satellite services, edge computing, multi-network and multi-orbit orchestration, and improved ease-of-use. It will also incorporate environmental impact analysis and recommendations into the architecture.

Having been selected for this new phase, CGI continues to sit at the heart of helping to deliver on the UK’s National Space Strategy and is helping to showcase UK businesses that are at the forefront of emerging space technologies.

Posted by: Georgina O'Toole at 12:52

Tags: contract   communications   space   satellite   5G   networkinfrastructure   6G  

Twitter   Facebook   LinkedIn   Email article link
Monday 30 January 2023

*NEW RESEARCH* UK Police SITS Suppliers, Trends, and Forecasts

Police report coverTechMarketView’s UK Police Software and IT Services (SITS) Suppliers, Trends, and Forecasts report is now available. It is the final report in our series covering the six subsectors TechMarketView tracks. It follows the UK Public Sector Software & IT Services Suppliers Trends, & Forecasts report, which was published in July 2022. It also follows our recent SITS market update—a public sector specific update will be published shortly.

We have already published our subsector reports on Central Government, Defence, Health, Local & Regional Government and Education.

In this report you will find our analysis of the performance of the UK Police market in 2021. It also contains an update to our Top 10 SITS supplier rankings for the subsector, with analysis of what is driving each supplier’s performance, as well as an insight into those suppliers that are threatening to unseat the leading players.

We also look at the years ahead (2022-2025), with police forces trying to hit the 20,000 officer recruitment uplift target, whilst trying to improve retention and maximise the availability of resources. Forces are also facing increasing challenges related to the ever expanding quantity of data and lack of interoperability in the sector. We look at opportunities for suppliers, including cloud migration, automation and wellbeing support.

PublicSectorViews suppliers can find out the size of the UK Police SITS market, its future growth, and who the leading suppliers are by downloading Police Software & IT Services Suppliers, Trends & Forecasts 2022-2025 today.

If you are not yet a subscriber, or are unsure if your organisation has a corporate subscription, please contact Deb Seth to find out more.

Posted by: Dale Peters at 10:04

Tags: police   report   market+trends   law+enforcement   public+safety   public+sector   supplier+rankings  

Twitter   Facebook   LinkedIn   Email article link
Monday 30 January 2023

Computacenter achieves record fourth quarter

cccComputacenter has released a pre-close trading update for FY22 with figures showing it finished the year with a record fourth quarter.

Furthermore, the firm says it will hit its 18th consecutive year of underlying adjusted diluted earnings per share growth (the firm’s EPS performance puts it amongst an elite group of firms to have received the TechMarketView Boring Award). Full-year results for 2022 will come in “slightly ahead” of the guidance issued by the Group in Q3.

A strong dollar and a small acquisition in H1 added to a very strong top line (+30%). However, COVID-related headwinds impacted the Services margin. Computacenter has also seen an improvement in the supply chain shortages it had been experiencing with the situation having “improved materially”.

The firm has been seeing strong demand across all countries from a Technology Sourcing (resale) perspective. However, on the Services side, while “revenue performance was strong”, the margin in this business was “impacted by the unwinding of covid-related benefits during the year… and inflationary pressures”.

Going forward, the firm expects product sales to remain “extremely buoyant” while also remaining confident of “continued Services revenue growth”. With an ambitious investment programme underway, Computacenter expects 2023 to be “another year of progress”.

Posted by: Kate Hanaghan at 09:45

Tags: services   growth   resale   EPS   tradingupdate  

Twitter   Facebook   LinkedIn   Email article link
Monday 30 January 2023

Virtual wards at the heart of NHS recovery plans

NHS logoThe NHS and UK Government has published its blueprint to help recover urgent and emergency care services, reduce waiting times, and improve patient experience. The plan places virtual wards at the heart of the recovery, which will see a greater number of patients get the care they need at home rather than in hospital.

The challenges in the NHS are clear. The latest statistics (November 2022) show there are nearly 7.2m people in England waiting for treatment, with 2.9m waiting over 18 weeks for treatment and over 400k waiting more than a year. In December 2019, before the COVID-19 pandemic hit the UK, the median waiting time was 8.3 weeks with 84% seen within 18 weeks, but it now stands at 13.6 weeks and 60% are seen within 18 weeks.

The slow flow of patients through hospitals means patients are having to wait longer to access A&E and ambulances are taking longer to arrive. In December 2022, there were 2.28m A&E attendances, the highest reported since the collection began, with more than 54k emergency admissions waiting more than 12 hours from the decision to admit to admission. Last month, the average ambulance response time for Category 2 incidents (which includes serious conditions, such as stroke or chest pain) in England stood at 93 minutes against a target of 18 minutes.

The new two-year plan aims to increase capacity, grow the workforce, speed up discharge from hospitals, expand new services in the community, help people access the right care first time, and tackling unwarranted variation in performance across different systems. Digital technology will have a key role in helping drive the recovery, but this plan largely focuses on its use in virtual wards and really only restates existing ambitions.

Virtual wards can help people receive treatment in their home, using remote monitoring tools, wearables and associated technology platforms to avoid unnecessary admissions to hospital. The NHS has rolled out 7,000 virtual ward beds so far and the ambition is to scale up capacity to above 10,000 by next winter, with a focus on frailty and acute respiratory infection. The longer-term plan, which was already announced as part of last year’s Plan for Digital Health and Social Care, is to reach 40-50 virtual wards per 100,000 people.

Although the report states that digital technologies provide the opportunity to change the way in which services are provided and transform the way in which people access services, it is only concerned with expanding initiatives that are already well underway and lacks wider ambition. The two-year plan is a step in the right direction, but the problems in the NHS are now so entrenched and entangled with other services, such as social care, that it will take a far more radical, longer-term and better funded plan to get the health system back to a pre-pandemic level.

Posted by: Dale Peters at 09:24

Tags: strategy   iot   wearable   healthcare  

Twitter   Facebook   LinkedIn   Email article link
Monday 30 January 2023

Glisser glides into administration

logoFounded in 2014, five years before London-based event management startup-cum-unicorn Hopin burst onto the market, London-based Glisser just didn’t manage to reach the same dizzy heights even with a such a long head start.

A sad post on Glisser founder Michael Piddock’s LinkedIn page last Friday was the only sign I can find that Glisser is to enter administration this week leaving 25 souls, mainly in the UK and US, without a job. Piddock has listed their contact details on LinkedIn, though as well-meaning as that is, I wonder whether it was wise to include their mobile numbers.

Piddock founded Glisser after a varied career spanning marketing roles at LendLease, Vanco and Octopus Investments, where he was subsequently appointed VCT Business Manager the year before he launched Glisser.

We met Piddock when Glisser was selected to pitch at TechMarketView’s sixth Great British Scaleups event in June 2019, ironically the same year that Hopin was founded. At the time, the Glisser platform was mainly targeting smaller, internal and external enterprise events and already had some 300 clients in the UK and US (see Great British Scaleup: Glisser).

However, Piddock struggled to raise significant funding for Glisser, securing a $1m seed investment from Downing Ventures and London Co-Investment Fund (et al) in 2016, with an unspecified follow-on funding round in May 2022, with Gresham House also participating. In contrast, Hopin’s first external raise was £5m in February 2020 (see Backers hop into Hopin to create more virtual events), and since road the waves through to a $450m Series D round in 2021 that valued the startup at $7.75bn (see Hopin trumps its C with a D (funding round, that is!)). However, Hopin’s fortunes (and valuation) took a battering in early 2022 as IRL events started to resurge. According to media reports, Hopin’s revenues breached $100m in 2021.

In his valedictory LinkedIn post, Piddock said ‘There will be a time and a place to tell our story’. It is one that I – and, I suspect, Glisser’s still extant competitors – would be very keen to hear.

Posted by: Anthony Miller at 09:12

Tags: startup  

Twitter   Facebook   LinkedIn   Email article link
Monday 30 January 2023

Ondo Insurtech celebrates success in the Nordics

OndoWalsall-based claims prevention specialist, Ondo Insurtech, has revealed that leading Nordic insurer Länsförsäkringar is rolling out its LeakBot service. The move by Sweden’s largest property and casualty insurer follows a successful trial of the IoT technology and will eventually see LeakBot used by up to two million home insurance policyholders in the country.

Ondo works with property insurers to deploy technology solutions that help to mitigate losses and in some cases prevent them. LeakBot is an IoT solution that utilises smart sensors to protect homes from the impact of water damage by alerting stakeholders. The technology has been demonstrated to deliver a 70% reduction in the cost of claims (see: Ondo demonstrates that prevention is better than cure).

Ondo launched on the LSE in 2022 following the reverse takeover of HomeServe Labs by Spinnaker Acquisitions (a "SPAC"). The number of registered customers on its platform reach grew by 43% in the company’s most recent half-year. In addition to its existing partnerships with Direct Line and Hiscox, the Ondo also recently secured a contract with Admiral.

The effective management of claims is strategic for property and casualty (non-life) insurers, both in terms of cost and profitability as well as customer satisfaction and business retention. Connected devices are already helping to transform insurance business models, with the emphasis shifting from indemnity and restitution to prevention and loss reduction. Technologies such as LeakBot are clearly a “win win” for customers and insurance companies alike, with water damage one area in particular area where swift intervention can greatly reduce losses.

Posted by: Jon C Davies at 08:50

Tags: insurance   claims   insurTech  

Twitter   Facebook   LinkedIn   Email article link
Sunday 29 January 2023

Activists

Similarities between Michael Dell and the ‘take private’ at Dell Technologies in 2012 and Marc Benioff at Salesforce currently

DellWhen Michael Dell agreed to be the guest speaker at the Prince’s Trust Technology Leadership Group 20th Anniversary Dinner on 16th Jan 23. I was originally asked to be the interviewer. So I duly bought and read Dell’s autobiography – Play Nice But Win. As it turned out they preferred BBC presenter, Naga Munchetty, for the role. I had all my questions ready though. Like ‘Did Michael regret calling his company Dell Computers (now Dell Technologies)?’ Very few tech companies take the founders name – and those that do mostly fail (Think Osbourne or Sinclair). Afterall Dell had registered The PC Company as a name! Michael was also unique in being married to the same woman (Susan) for over 30 years with no divorce in sight.  How did he do that? With the litany of failures of large acquisitions, ‘How did Dell avoid the dreaded Acquisition Indigestion when they acquired EMC?’

But the question I really wanted to ask Michael was ‘What do you REALLY think of Carl Icahn?’ Icahn was the activist investor who became a thorn in Dell’s side trying to thwart his every move to take Dell private in 2012/13. Icahn is referred to several times in the book as Michael’s ‘nemesis’ and his ‘frustrations’ with Icahn’s antics are obvious throughout.

BenioffI was reminded of this today reading the reports of how activist investors (including the (in)famous Elliott Management) had set their sights on Marc Benioff’s Salesforce. Apart from both being multi-billionaires, Benioff and Dell have many similarities having both founded – and continue to run – highly successful tech businesses. Both started businesses whilst still at school. Both are the same age (56/57). Both companies were hit by the activists because their share price as public companies had slumped. Salesforce share price is down c50% since 2021. Salesforce has suffered the dreaded Acquisition Indigestion with its 2020 acquisition of Slack for which (in hindsight) it grossly overpaid (at 33x annual revenues!)

Dell and Benioff seem to be quite different characters however. Can’t see Michael hosting DreamWorld quite like Marc!

Posted by: Richard Holway at 14:50

Twitter   Facebook   LinkedIn   Email article link
Saturday 28 January 2023

Happy 40th Birthday, Lisa

LisaForty years ago, in January 1983, a young thirty-something year old Richard Holway was responsible (amongst other things) for Hoskyns (now CapGemini) Business Centres. We’d originally setup HBC to sell IBM, DEC and HP PCs into Hoskyns corporate clients. I think the venture was at one time the largest supplier of PCs to corporate UK. Apple had courted us on several occasions to include the Apple 11 in our range but they were more of a SME solution than something that would appeal to Hoskyns clients.

Then I remember a call from Keith Hancock, the MD of Apple UK, asking if I’d like to borrow a new Apple offering ahead of its official launch. An Apple offering specially for corporates, I was told. Several boxes were delivered to my office in Africa House on a Friday afternoon. When I plugged them all in (and it actually worked) it was an experience that really did change my life.

For the first time I laid my hands on a mouse. For the first time I used a GUI and saw icons instead of file or program names. For the first time I drew a picture and printed it on a dot matrix printer. It came with a word processor, a spreadsheet, a drawing package and an elementary database. It blew my mind away to such an extent that I stayed late into the evening and had to call security to let me out!

I have written about this life-changing experience many times on HotViews and its predecessors. See my post Juicy Apple of 23rd Oct 2007.

Apple had lent me an Apple Lisa. This was the first fruits of Steve Jobs’ famous visit to Xerox PARC where he had first seen many of these innovations. But for all its technical wonderfulness, Lisa was massively expensive (it cost about £30,000 in today’s money!) and was a sales flop - selling only c6000 in the first year. Indeed it is said that Apple buried 2700 unsold Lisas in a landfill in order to claim the tax write-off!

But it paved the way for the 1984 release of the Apple Mac. And the rest, as they say, is history as it was the start of everything we now take for granted in computing. Even if you don’t use a Mac, you will be familiar with its features as they were incorporated into Microsoft Windows.

So Happy 40th Birthday, Lisa!

Posted by: Richard Holway at 22:47

Twitter   Facebook   LinkedIn   Email article link
Friday 27 January 2023

IFS flying high on continued double-digit growth

IFSSwedish software vendor, IFS, has released full-year results highlighting the company’s fifth successive year of double-digit growth. For the year ended 31 December 2022 Net Revenue rose by 19% to SEK 8.4bn helped by strong uptake of the IFS Cloud. Annual Recurring Revenue (ARR) was up by 44% to SEK 6.1bn, Software revenue was up 28% to SEK 6.6bn SEK and total cloud revenue up by 80%.

Founded in 1983, Linköping headquartered IFS employs around 5,000 people and is majority owned by private equity firm EQT. 2022 saw a number of important milestones for the company including the launch a j.v. with BearingPoint in April aimed at accelerating the pace of IFS Cloud deployments. In July, IFS acquired EAM software specialist Ultimo Software Solutions.

Whilst IFS is modest in size, the company is certainly on the right track and has an impressive record for consistent growth. I suspect that whilst the name will be family to many people in the UK, they may not necessarily know why. For many it is likely to be the “high-profile” sponsorship deal with TfL that now sees the IFS brand emblazoned on the cable cars over the Thames at London’s Royal Docks, in Greenwich. The deal has certainly put IFS on the map, raising awareness with millions of travellers, including those visiting events at the O2 and the ExCeL arena.

Posted by: Jon C Davies at 09:23

Twitter   Facebook   LinkedIn   Email article link
Friday 27 January 2023

Activist investors round on Salesforce

sfFollowing news that Elliott Management – a so-called activist investor – had taken a multi-billion-dollar stake in Salesforce, reports are emerging that it is now seeking seats on the Board.

Salesforce is set to begin nominating new members in mid-February and the rumour mill is whirring with suggestions that Elliott is looking to make replacements. Although nothing has been confirmed or denied by the official channels, none of this sounds beyond the realms of possibility.

Like others, Salesforce has recently laid off a notable number of employees. But beyond that, concerns have been raised about whether leaders are fully realising the value in the company and what more might be done to increase profitability.

Elliott is not the only activist investor with a stake in Salesforce. Starboard Capital and Jeff Ubben also own a ‘piece of the pie’ – placing mounting pressure on Salesforce leadership.

In addition, Marc Benioff became the sole CEO of Salesforce following the announcement that Co-CEO, Bret Taylor, would be stepping down. Some have accused Benioff – who has always had something of a ‘rockstar status’ – of becoming distracted.

All the evidence would seem to suggest change of some sort is on the near horizon.

Posted by: Kate Hanaghan at 09:10

Tags: cloud   investment  

Twitter   Facebook   LinkedIn   Email article link
Friday 27 January 2023

Actual Experience pulled back by legacy

Actual ExperienceAIM-listed Analytics-as-a-Service minnow Actual Experience, has gone through a tough time of late (see Actual Experience continues to struggle) and saw Group revenue decline to £1.18m (2021: £1.74m) last year, impacted by the non-renewal of two legacy product contracts. The SME made losses for the year of -£5.3m (2021: -£5.9m).

The business clearly had a tough 2022 but at least it has a plan as it pivots towards SaaS and the growing demand for digital workplace services. Enacting this plan will of course require investment, and October saw the business tap the public markets for an additional £2.8m in funding. 

Operationally, the business has also had a busy year making changes to its Board and C-suite bringing in those with SaaS experience. This should help, as will a brand refresh and associated repositioning. However, fundamentally the future success of the business depends very much on the performance of its new SaaS offering, the DWMP. This was launched last summer, going live with an existing customer in October. Today’s results announcement points to a pipeline of opportunities including, “advanced discussions with a large UK central government department” and “advanced discussions with two leading professional services firms” with decisions due by the summer. Closing these deals (and others) will be key to turning this ship around.

Posted by: Marc Hardwick at 09:03

Tags: results   saas   analytics  

Twitter   Facebook   LinkedIn   Email article link
Previous 1 2 3 Next 


© TechMarketView LLP 2007-2023: Unauthorised reproduction prohibited see full Terms and Conditions.