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SCC continues Services march with strong growth
27 Jul 2017
Chatbot Cleo carries on with £2m funding
27 Jul 2017
Sophos reaffirms outlook for FY18
27 Jul 2017
Capgemini H1: HMRC insourcing complete
27 Jul 2017
Just Eat dining well
27 Jul 2017
Monitise: Waiting for Fiserv
27 Jul 2017
IP EXPO Europe, ExCeL London 4-5 October 2017
27 Jul 2017
An Evening with TechMarketView
27 Jul 2017
Mphasis emphasising HP/DXC growth
26 Jul 2017
Capita combines local government software businesses
26 Jul 2017
Worldline showing good underlying growth
26 Jul 2017
Wipro and HPE team up on flexible infrastructure for enterprise
26 Jul 2017
Sage raises stakes with US Intacct deal
26 Jul 2017
Belfast’s B-Secur secures £3.5m in a heartbeat
26 Jul 2017
Atos: "Technology leap" drives H1 success
26 Jul 2017
Sportr raises more funding – but who are they?
26 Jul 2017
‘World class’ LBB Rimilia allocated $25m cash boost
26 Jul 2017
*New Research* Civica: the next chapter
25 Jul 2017
Ideal Flatmate gets funding to help find …
25 Jul 2017
GB Group’s strategy driving continued growth
25 Jul 2017
Alphabet beats expectations but investors nervous
25 Jul 2017
GDPR – 10 months to go
25 Jul 2017
Gresham Technologies on growth track
25 Jul 2017
Busy year for Draper Esprit
25 Jul 2017
An Evening with TechMarketView welcomes Sage
24 Jul 2017
Strong growth in Microgen’s H1
24 Jul 2017
Positive FY for Earthport
24 Jul 2017
‘Unicorn’ Civica finds new Partners for its journey
24 Jul 2017
Diversification keeping SThree resilient
24 Jul 2017
*NEW RESEARCH:* ESAS Supplier Rankings 2017
23 Jul 2017
Graphcore - the cool 'chip' kid of machine intelligence
21 Jul 2017
Cloud growth improves Microsoft's challenger position
21 Jul 2017
Blackstone/CVC bid to takeover Paysafe
21 Jul 2017
Receipt Bank banks $50m Series B funding
21 Jul 2017
Brazil’s Lima on the up and up at IBM
21 Jul 2017
** NEW RESEARCH ** UK SITS stocks number highest for 3 years
21 Jul 2017
Wipro chases a $2b quarter as margins squeeze tighter
20 Jul 2017
US driving growth at NIIT Tech
20 Jul 2017
Tego becomes Zego as gets £1.2m funding delivery
20 Jul 2017
Civica buys into HR and payroll with Carval Computing
20 Jul 2017
Cloud drives SAP Q2 revenue up, profits down
20 Jul 2017
*NEW RESEARCH* Lemongrass migrates FrieslandCampina’s SAP to AWS
20 Jul 2017
LBB Contego secures £3.5m funding
20 Jul 2017
More margin squeeze at Mindtree
20 Jul 2017
Mastek: so far, so good
20 Jul 2017

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Thursday 27 July 2017

SCC continues Services march with strong growth

sccOfficial FY17 numbers out today from SCC show it’s seen a handsome return on its three-year strategic plan. The privately-owned firm saw turnover increase almost 9% to £1.7bn, with EBITDA up 26% to £41m.

The company’s heritage is in resale, but SCC has undertaken a bold and effective strategy to build its services capabilities, with particular focus on the mid-market. Indeed, services in the UK are now 31% of revenue – and grew 10% to £194m in FY17. Data Centre Services specifically (where SCC has put a lot of investment) were up almost 30% to £56m.

We think the company's focus in the mid-market coupled with careful management of exisiting major accounts (e.g. Department for Work and Pensions, DXC Technology, Northern Gas and Ladbrokes) contributed significantly to its progress.

SCC also announced new contracts in the year, including Grafton Group, Interserve, Liverpool Victoria Insurance, Secure Trust Bank and Skipton Building Society.

SCC CEO, James Rigby, is clear that the company’s future is firmly in the areas it has worked hard build upon, namely cloud, data centre services, managed services and managed print. But something tells us SCC will continue to be a company that moves forward with the times, working hard to shift into growth areas. Indeed, Rigby highlights future growth in areas such as data and cognitive.

See where SCC places in our leading players ranking here: UK SITS Supplier Rankings 2017.

Posted by Kate Hanaghan at '09:42' - Tagged: results   cloud   managedservices   datacentreservices  

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Thursday 27 July 2017

Chatbot Cleo carries on with £2m funding

logoWhen I want to know how much I’m spending and what I’m spending it on, I ask Quicken. Well, not ask, actually – I have to launch the programme on my laptop and run a report. But I’m just an old-fashioned boy and I just haven’t quite got my mind around talking to my technology.

If – or perhaps, when – I do, I could always ask that question of London-based banking ‘chatbot’ startup, Cleo, which has just raised a further £2m in a seed funding round led by LocalGlobe along with various existing investors. Founded in 2016, Cleo raised $700m in angel funding in January this year (see Angels chat with Cleo about managing money).

From what I understand, Cleo is ‘read only’ – in other words, it can analyse transactions from your bank account(s) but not manipulate money. So once Cleo has told you the answer to your question, you’ll have to go to a ‘real’ banking app to do something about it.

But banks are already getting into the chatbot act themselves, including CapitalOne and Amex, both using Amazon’s Alexa as the voice interface. Others are following, and there are other startups besides.

So unless, investors are going to be prepared to dish out considerably more dosh to turn Cleo from a princess into a queen (of banking, that is), then maybe it will do better to sell its ‘smarts’ to someone else.

Posted by Anthony Miller at '09:29' - Tagged: funding   startup  

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Thursday 27 July 2017

Sophos reaffirms outlook for FY18

sophA Q1 trading update (to end June) from Sophos has seen the company reaffirm its outlook for FY18. The Abingdon-headquartered security firm said FY18 would see mid-to-high billings growth and a 50-100 bps improvement in cash EBITDA margin.

As for the first quarter itself, billings increased 19% (constant currency) – in spite of Q1 FY17 being a strong comparison – while revenue grew 14% (constant currency) to $141.8m. The Americas out-performed other regions (including EMEA which saw mid-teens billings growth) with billings up 25%. Operating losses deepened in Q1 to $15.6m from $4.9m, which reflects the company’s increased investment in R&D alongside a shift of billings to recurring subscription contracts.

The end user business has continued to see strong demand, with billings growth of more than 30%. Sophos is taking advantage of the “surge” in customer demand for anti-ransomware solutions, with a “temporary shift” in its go-to-market. As a result it’s been rewarded with high single-digit growth in network security.

Sophos has also been enjoying a very positive performance in its share price. When it announced its FY17 results in May, shares were up 8% to 398p. Although this morning’s upward movement is only slight, shares have continued to track upwards since May and are currently at 485p (up from 225p when the company floated in June 2015).

Posted by Kate Hanaghan at '09:16' - Tagged: security   tradingupdate   ransomware  

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Thursday 27 July 2017

Capgemini H1: HMRC insourcing complete

Capgemini logoThere’s quite a few parallels between Atos’ H1 results yesterday (see Atos: “Technology leap” drives H1 success) and Capgemini’s H1 results announced today.

Organic revenue growth (constant scope and currency) for Capgemini stood at 2.7% with revenues reaching €6,412m (compared to 2.2% for Atos). Moreover, both experienced an improvement in performance in Q2, highlighting continuing momentum; for Capgemini Q2 organic revenue growth was 2.9%. For both, continental Europe contributed strongly to H1 success; for Capgemini, that was put down to strength in application services and consulting, resulting in double digit percentage growth in both Germany and Italy. In addition, both highlight the benefits they are seeing from investment in digital technologies; for Capgemini, investment in digital customer experience and digital manufacturing, combined with sectoral expertise, has translated to strength across the manufacturing, financial services and CPRDT (consumer products, retail, distribution & transport) sectors. Digital and cloud revenues were up 23% (now representing 35% of total revenues). Lastly both reported operating margin improvement at the 'adjusted' level; for Capgemini, it was an increase of 30bps to 10.5% (the 'real' OM was up 6% to 8.4%; compared to 5.2% for Atos (a small decline)).

But, of course, each faces its own legacy situations. For Capgemini, in the UK, that legacy issue remains the transition of its flagship HMRC Aspire contract. The expected decline in revenues for the UK came to pass, as insourcing of some elements of the contract continued. The result was a 5.9% ccy revenue decline to €894m (14.7% decline on a reported basis). Public sector, which once (not too long ago) dominated Capgemini’s UK business, now accounts for just 38% of revenues. Meanwhile, the UK private sector has a “healthy” performance, driven by financial services and energy & utilities (in Q1 – see Capgemini Q1: the Aspire impact (again) and Making Tax Digital (or not) – private sector growth was mid-single-digit percentage). House of Fraser was a key win in March, showcasing some of Capgemini’s newest IP (see House of Fraser shops for fresh ideas with Capgemini). As well as the private sector strength, there are some other positives for the UK. Firstly, the insourcing journey at HMRC is now complete. Probably related to that, sequential growth in the last quarter (Q217 vs. Q117) was positive (+5.4%) and the y-o-y decline in Q2 was not as steep as in Q1 (-4.2%). Moreover, the region remains very profitable with a 15.1% profit margin (up 60bps). And there was also positive news for the public-sector business, which extended its relationship at the Environment Agency, benefiting the global bookings picture.

One difference that really stands out between Atos and Capgemini is the headcount direction of travel. Atos’ headcount has declined at both the global and UK level – the decline, which reflects increasing industrialisation and automation - is mainly being handled through natural attrition with some being replaced by different – namely digital – skills. Meanwhile, at Capgemini, the worldwide headcount increased y-on-y: +6% to 196K. However, all the increase was attributable to growth in offshore locations, which represent 57% of Capgemini’s total headcount. The increasing offshore weight at Capgemini has been a consistent trend over the last few years. But we wonder, how long for given that it, too, is investing heavily in automation, and given that 62% of revenues come from application services, where the trend is increasingly for agile development requiring client site presence. There is still a long way to go before automation will make a serious dent in offshore application services but, slowly, the differentiation in offshore headcount between the leading UK players is becoming less of an issue.

Posted by Georgina O'Toole at '09:10' - Tagged: results   ApplicationServices   digital  

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Thursday 27 July 2017

Just Eat dining well

logoIf you need any further proof that you can turn a UK startup into a global unicorn while making handsome profits and generating cash – if you have the right business model – then look no further than food delivery service Just Eat (start here and work back).

Half-time results (to 30th June) reveal net revenues up 44% to £247m, with operating profit running in lock-step, holding operating margins rock solid at 20%. The business generated nearly £46m in net cash in the period.

The ‘right’ business model basically means asset-light, where ‘assets’ include people as well as facilities. This is what differentiates Just Eat’s business model from that of archrival Deliveroo, which engages (I guess I shouldn’t say ‘employs’!) a fleet of delivery riders and is now building a network of kitchens too.

Of course, competition looms in the shape of interlopers Amazon Restaurants and UberEats, as well as ‘traditional’ competitors, such as GrubHub, Delivery Hero and Takeaway.com. Meanwhile, the industry will continue to consolidate the smaller players out of the market. But I can see no compelling reason why the industry will consolidate down to a market of one any time soon – or indeed any time at all. I think different country markets will favour different players, as is often the case for services businesses. This applies to taxi services too, by the way.

For the record, Just Eat IPO’d in April 2014 at 260p per share. Its shares are now worth over £7, valuing the business at nearly £5b. Tuck in!

Posted by Anthony Miller at '08:38' - Tagged: resullts  

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Thursday 27 July 2017

Monitise: Waiting for Fiserv

logoJudging by today’s trading update from once-Unicorn Monitise, you have to wonder what’s going to be left for Fiserv to acquire (see Fiserv swoop for Monitise).

Revenues remain in decline, with not a single contract signed for its flagship FINkit product. Meanwhile, they continue to burn cash.

With masterful understatement, Monitise CEO Lee Cameron reported that “Current trading remains challenging”.

So sad.

Posted by Anthony Miller at '07:37' - Tagged: trading  

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Thursday 27 July 2017

An Evening with TechMarketView

Sage company logoWe look forward to welcoming well over two hundred CXOs from the world of UK tech and beyond to our flagship event, An Evening with TechMarketView, in October. The 2017 event is held in association with Sage and will take place at the Royal Institute of British Architects (RIBA) in Portland Place, London on Thursday 5th October, commencing at 6:30 pm with welcome drinks.

This will be followed by an hour of valuable foresight from the TechMarketView analyst team on the prospects for tech suppliers in the UK market in 2018 and beyond, especially in the context of ‘Unlocking the Intelligence’, our theme which embraces the transformational potential afforded by digital technologies such as artificial intelligence, machine learning and cognitive computing.

We would then like to welcome you to a drinks reception ahead of a sumptuous three-course dinner. During the evening, there will be plenty of opportunity for networking with other ‘movers and shakers’ in UK tech.

The Evening with TechMarketView has been a sell-out for the last four years so book early to secure your place. 

We hope you can join the TechMarketView team, and of course our esteemed chairman Richard Holway MBE and managing partner, Anthony Miller, at what so many executives tell us is the one industry event they simply can’t afford to miss!

For full details and to book your place visit tx2Events here or contact event coordinator Tina Compton at tx2Events (tina.compton@tx2events.com).

TechMarketView Evening 2016

Posted by HotViews Editor at '00:00'

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Wednesday 26 July 2017

Mphasis emphasising HP/DXC growth

logoThere is a magnificent irony that, free from the shackles of erstwhile owner HP (in its various guises), private equity-controlled offshore services firm, Mphasis, is growing revenues faster in what is now DXC than it is in its ‘direct’ customers. As a result, revenues from direct clients comprised 70% of Mphasis’ revenues in Q1 FY18 (to 30th June), down from 72% the prior quarter.

Just for the record, Mphasis’ headline revenues grew by just over 1% yoy to Rs15.4b, about 2% growth qoq. Operating profit declined, knocking margins down 140bps yoy to 13.8%, 80bps lower than the prior quarter.

This must all be very confusing for DXC, what with Mphasis vying for business in its accounts on the one hand, and now HPE teaming up with Bangalore-based offshore services major, Wipro, to offer on-demand infrastructure services (see here), undoubtedly eyeing up DXC’s accounts on the other.

Such is the rich tapestry that is the global IT services industry.

Posted by Anthony Miller at '17:33' - Tagged: results   offshore  

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Wednesday 26 July 2017

Capita combines local government software businesses

Capita logoTo help it better meet the needs of its local government customers, and the citizens they serve, Capita has unified more of its software businesses under the Capita One umbrella.

Although Capita One has existed for several years, it primarily covered the education and social care areas of Capita’s local government software offering. The new structure sees most of Capita’s local government software move under one roof, including housing, revenue and benefits, digital and document solutions.

Anthony Singleton, managing director of Capita’s suite of One software products, spoke to TechMarketView about the rationale behind the move. He admits that Capita’s software teams have been too siloed in the past, but that it will now take a more holistic approach.

Singleton explained, whilst its local government customers are still concerned about back-office efficiencies, they are increasingly focusing on improving interactions with their citizens. He expects to see a continued shift to the cloud and a growth in automation and AI in local government, although he admits most of the “low hanging fruit” in terms of digital transformation business has been taken. Austerity has been a catalyst to digital transformation, but the level of transformation achieved varies significantly across the UK.

Capita have recently introduced automation to its revenue and benefits software (see Capita: bringing automation to Revs and Benefits). We can expect to see more activity from Capita in this area, as well as in mobile applications such as chatbots.

We may see some of Capita’s platforms merge and become more open over time, but moving to a single platform is not on the agenda any time soon. For its local government customers, closer integration of Capita’s software should help improve data sharing, facilitate better decision making and drive more timely interventions.

As with all local government suppliers, Capita’s challenge is to help its customers do more with less. Bringing together its software businesses should better position Capita to look for efficiencies across local government regions and help its customers provide a better service to its citizens.

Posted by Dale Peters at '14:10' - Tagged: software   government   digital   transformation   local  

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Wednesday 26 July 2017

Worldline showing good underlying growth

logoAlongside Atos’s first half figures, Worldline have reported that revenue on a group basis was up only 1.7% to €778m. Mobility and e-Transactional Services line (22% of revenues) declined by almost 10% following the ending of the large French “Radar” traffic offence management contract. Underlying growth in this division however was c.9% due to strong growth in e-Ticketing and digitalisation in healthcare and tax transaction services. Merchant Services and Terminals (one-third of group) advanced by 5.2% and the Financial Services business (44%) grew by 5.7%. Operating margins made a strong advance from 18.1% to 19.7% despite a decline in profitability from the Mobility business.

A major engine for growth within Merchant Services is the Indian market, but there is still growth in developed markets, with loyalty services and project revenues with UK transportation companies doing well. In the Financial Services business we are seeing particular growth in Fraud management services, where Worldline’s scale and reach are particularly helpful. Card-based transaction volume was also strong, growing at 14%.

Worldline set out an ambitious three-year plan earlier this year, looking to benefit from (and drive) the consolidation of the European payments industry, the move to digitalisation and the move beyond payments into the Internet of Things and digital platforms. Further acquisitions are a major component of its growth and development of a broader service portfolio, supplementing an organic growth rate of 5-7% (well in excess of market growth rates). We had already seen the purchase of Digital River and they have now announced the acquisition of First Data’s business in the Baltics for €73m. This operation generated €23m revenue in 2016.

Management re-affirmed its organic growth target of 3.5%-4% for 2017, with operating margins above 20%. We can also expect some more acquisitions before the year end.

Posted by Peter Roe at '10:22' - Tagged: acquisition   ecommerce   mobile   payments  

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Wednesday 26 July 2017

Wipro and HPE team up on flexible infrastructure for enterprise

HPEWipro and HPE have announced they will work together to deliver consumption-based IT infrastructure. HPE’s Flexible Capacity (infrastructure delivered on a flexible, pay-as-you-use basis, but housed on-premise) will be combined with Wipro’s range of infrastructure services and global delivery to help enterprises gain the advantages of public cloud while retaining the benefits of on-premise delivery. wipro

Following the spin-off of HPE Enterprise Services and its subsequent ‘rebirth’ as DXC Technology alongside CSC, the importance of partnerships has come into even sharper focus for all parties (see DXC Technology: Revenue analysis and leadership Q&A for more on Nick Wilson’s [UK lead for DXC Technology] view on partnerships.)

The HPE Enterprise Services business is a very significant partner for HPE, but clearly the tone of that relationship has changed notably now they no longer 'live in the same stable block'. That represents both a challenge and an opportunity for HPE. It will need to replace the revenue streams that in the past would have automatically flowed from its 'sibling', but it can now ‘stretch its legs’ in a couple of other ways. Firstly, through developing new/deeper partnerships with other IT services firms/outsourcers, such as Wipro. Just as important is how HPE accelerates its Pointnext consulting/services business (see HPE relaunches Consulting and Tech Services as “Pointnext”) to enable it to both grow services revenue and achieve greater recognition as an IT services provider in its own right. Indeed, we think the Flexible Capacity offering should tweak the interest of the many enterprises that want to pay-as-they-go, but don’t want to leap into the public cloud.

Posted by Kate Hanaghan at '09:32' - Tagged: partnership   infrastructureservices   as-a-service   payasyougo  

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Wednesday 26 July 2017

Sage raises stakes with US Intacct deal

sagelgoSage has announced its largest acquisition, buying California-based Intacct, a cloud-based provider of financial management systems. Sage is paying US$850m (£654m) in cash and options for a business which generated US$88m of revenues over the last 12 months. Revenue growth has been over 30%, but Intacct’s losses are running at around US$20m per year.

Sage has successfully addressed recent problems in its US operation, selling the laggard payments business, installing new leadership and strengthening co-operation with distribution partners. It now sees Intacct boosting the company’s move to being a broadly-based leader in Cloud Financial Management systems, bringing a product suite aimed at the middle-ground, between bottom-end sageOne and sageLive and the more comprehensive sageX3 enterprise solution. Sage also sees opportunities for Intacct sales in other English-speaking markets and other cross-selling, particularly of Sage People solutions acquired in the Fairsail deal.

This deal will add around 15% to Sage’s US revenue and strengthens its position in a high-growth, but still-fragmented market. The challenge for the Sage management is to present a coherent and joined-up portfolio through its distribution networks, to leverage the capabilities of Intacct to scale the cloud business and to maintain and then improve operating margins. The Intacct business is expected to remain loss-making in “the early years”.

Sage also reported on 9-months’ trading. Organic growth edged upwards to 6.4%, with faster growth in recurring revenue (9.3%) and software subscriptions (30.6%). France continues to be flat. Sage looks set for a good year and analysts will be edging up organic growth forecasts, but success in the Intacct deal will be important in how the market rates the Sage management and strategy.  

Sage is the seventh largest supplier of Enterprise Software to the UK market, as reported in our latest ESASViews Supplier Ranking.

Posted by Peter Roe at '09:16' - Tagged: acquisition   cloud   software   M&A   Finance  

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Wednesday 26 July 2017

Belfast’s B-Secur secures £3.5m in a heartbeat

logoGreat innovation is not only happening on mainland Britain, you know!

Excellent news from Northern Ireland that Belfast-based B-Secur, the developer of ECG (electrocardiogram) authentication technology, has raised £3.5m million in an early-stage funding round from a syndicate including Accelerated Digital Ventures and Kernel Capital, aka The Bank of Ireland Kernel Capital Venture Funds. Woodford Investment Management and British Business Bank were also in the frame. Incorporated in 1996, B-Secur had raised £2.5m in a seed funding round in March 2015.

B-Secur is an interesting play in the biometric security market, reading an individual’s heartbeat pattern to verify their identity. I can’t, however, establish from its website whether B-Secur has developed proprietary sensor technology to record your heartbeat, or whether it is meant to integrate with existing ‘wearables’ (such as watches) and ‘touchables’ (such as fingerprint readers on smartphones).

Nonetheless, right time and, it seems, right place!

Posted by Anthony Miller at '09:16' - Tagged: funding  

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Wednesday 26 July 2017

Atos: "Technology leap" drives H1 success

Atos logoAtos H1 results (to end June 2017) reveal impressive progress in transforming the company on numerous fronts. And that progress has translated into a strong financial performance in the period, with Atos stating: “Atos’ technology leap marks the strongest H1 ever”. Organic revenue growth also improved further in Q2.

Revenue was up 11.6% at constant exchange rates, to €6,311m, and by 2.2% organically. In Q2, organic growth was 2.4%. There was organic growth across all business units: infrastructure & data management (I&DM) +0.9%; business & platform solutions (B&PS) +2.6%; big data & cyber security +13.8%; Worldline contribution +2.3%.

Atos believes that it is seeing the results of its commitment to invest in innovation and technology. What's interesting is that more companies, including Atos, are now highlighting the "science" involved in their offerings as well as the technology. Atos' commitment has been clear - organically, via acquisition and via partnership -  with a strong emphasis on data management and cyber security. The investment has also had a clear impact on profitability. The operating margin in H1 was up by 190+bp to 8.5%. Though investment in big data & cyber security pushed the OM in that division down marginally, other divisions benefited from a shift to the cloud, automation, robotisation and industrialisation. I&DM also benefited from the execution of the Unify restructuring plan. Adjustments to the workforce, to align with this new operating environment, have resulted a headcount reduction (down from 100,096 to 98,480).

Across the geographies, UK&I performed the most strongly – organic revenue growth was 3.4% in H1 (and 4.1% in Q2). The region which, along with North America, is said to be showing “strong commercial dynamism”, is highlighted as contributing to growth in I&DM (with all verticals performing strongly), as well as winning new customers in big data & cyber security, driven by High Performance Computing (HPC). Recent wins have included a new contract with Northern Ireland Electricity Networks (see Atos surges into NIE Networks) and its BBC renewal (see Atos broadcasts success with BBC). However, the UK&I business was the only region to go backwards (albeit marginally) on operating margin – it fell from 9.8% to 9.4%. Having said that, it remains the second ranked geography by region, after North America. We will be speaking with Adrian Gregory, Atos UK&I CEO, shortly, to find out more.

Posted by Georgina O'Toole at '08:43' - Tagged: results   cloud   big+data   SI   automation   robotics   cybersecurity  

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Wednesday 26 July 2017

Sportr raises more funding – but who are they?

logoThe only ‘proof point’ I can find on London-based content discovery plug-in startup Sportr’s website is its one testimonial from online fanzine The Rugby Pod. There’s precious little else to explain what it does and why it has picked sports media as its target market.

Anyway, Sportr has raised a further $350k in a seed funding round backed by various angel investors. According to CrunchBase, Sportr was founded in 2013 and had raised £180k in two prior funding rounds.

The only record I can find of Sportr at Companies House suggests it was incorporated in 2015 but is now dormant. Co-founder Adam Benzecrit is registered at Companies House as a director of a number of companies, some active, some dissolved.

I don’t get it but clearly others do.

Posted by Anthony Miller at '08:39' - Tagged: funding   startup  

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Wednesday 26 July 2017

‘World class’ LBB Rimilia allocated $25m cash boost

logoAnother TechMarketView Little British Battlers has scored it big time!

Worcester-based automated cash allocation software developer, Rimilia, has raised $25m in a funding round led by Kennet Partners and Eight Roads Ventures.

Founded in 2008, Rimilia joined the Little British Battler brigade in November 2014 (see LBB Rimilia – world class in a box!). At the time, we flagged Rimilia as a promising starter in the then nascent Business Process Automation (BPA) market. BPA has since been rebadged RPA (Robotic Process Automation) and is one of the most exciting growth segments in tech.

Many congratulations to founding CEO, Chris McGibbon and his team.

Posted by Anthony Miller at '08:02' - Tagged: funding   lbb  

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Tuesday 25 July 2017

*New Research* Civica: the next chapter

Civica logoSpeculation that OMERS Private Equity was preparing to sell Civica first started to appear in April this year, with sources suggesting that Goldmach Sachs had been appointed to explore potential deals (see Civica to be put up for sale?). Yesterday, we got confirmation that a deal had been done, with Partners Group agreeing to acquire the business for £1,055m (see ‘Unicorn’ Civica finds new Partners for its journey).

TechMarketView caught up with Civica’s Founder and Executive Chairman Simon Downing and CEO Wayne Story to get their views on what the deal means for the company. More...

Posted by Dale Peters at '10:04' - Tagged: acquisiiton   public   sector  

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Tuesday 25 July 2017

Ideal Flatmate gets funding to help find …

logoI guess you could describe this startup as a cross between a dating app and Airbnb, in that London-based Ideal Flatmate is a roommate matching platform (romance is assumed optional).

Founded in 2015, and using an algorithm ‘designed in collaboration with Cambridge professors’ (aren’t they all nowadays?), Ideal Flatmate has raised further funding in a seed round led by entrepreneurs Steve Leach and David Pollock. This brings total funding so far to £500k and values the startup at £1.63m.

There’s no obvious indication on its website as to how much roomies have to pay in order to find their perfect haven (browsing is free, of course). However, a TechCrunch article earlier this year talked of a £4.99 per week subscription fee to get ‘compatible matches' sent to you.

On the other hand, you could check out competitor SpareRoom and contact the room-letter for free. Cheshire-based SpareRoom was established in 2004 and reportedly raised $6m in a funding round in September last year.

Just as there are multiple dating platforms, there is undoubtedly room in the market for multiple flatshare platforms too. I would imagine that location is the key criterion by which roomies would choose a share. Whether they (or landlords, or advertisers) would be prepared to pay good money for the extra ‘smarts’ in Ideal Flatmate to also in effect pre-screen potential cohabitants rather remains to be seen.

Posted by Anthony Miller at '09:39' - Tagged: funding   startup  

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Tuesday 25 July 2017

GB Group’s strategy driving continued growth

logoToday’s AGM statement from GB Group (GBG), the Identity Data Intelligence specialist emphasises the global reach and growing momentum of this business. As companies world-wide seek to reduce the risk of fraud, GBG’s network of data partners and access to a wealth of identity-related data put it in a strong position. After a good year, where revenue advanced by 19%, and 12% organically, building additional scale in its international operations is obviously a key part of their strategy. The recent progress in China, where 46 financial services companies are now customers, is testament to its success.

Acquisitions have been a major component of the company’s strategy, for example with DecTech in Asia Pacific, and now with the purchase of UK-based PCA Predict. The company reports that the PCA Predict and its integration are both doing well. It will be interesting to see how GB Group leverages PCA’s SaaS platform and specific expertise in Address Data Intelligence across the wider Group. In any event, the move to aggregate data sources remains a value-creating strategy given the fragmented and still embryonic nature of the market. GBG appears set for continued growth.

Posted by Peter Roe at '08:56' - Tagged: bigdata   identity   fraud  

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Tuesday 25 July 2017

Alphabet beats expectations but investors nervous

Alphabet Google logoAlphabet (still better known to most as Google) continued to grow at an exceptional rate in Q2 (to 30th June 2017), beating market expectations. But, still, there was some nervousness from investors, that resulted in the share price sliding around 3% in after-hours trading yesterday.

At the topline, revenues grew by 21% (vs. Q216) to $26b, and by 23% on a constant currency basis. Investor nervousness came due to a deceleration in growth in Google’s core online search advertising business (advertising revenues were up 18%). That deceleration occurred due to the company paying larger amounts of money to partners delivering traffic to Google’s search engine (such as Apple’s iPhone). In Q1, we also highlighted (see Alphabet exceeds expectations and shares soar) that advertisers had threatened boycotting YouTube due to their ads appearing against inappropriate content; it’s not clear how much impact this had, but confidence around YouTube from Alphabet CEO Sundar Pichai on the results conference call suggests little (this included excitement over the way YouTube is now finding its way onto our TV screens in our living rooms).

Google continues to invest for the future. Indeed, headcount continued to swell – up from 66,575 in Q116 to 75,606 in this latest quarter. Some of this is about the ‘other bets’, like Google Cloud Platform (GCP), and the hardware business. Revenues from these areas grew 34% but they still only represent 1% of total revenues (proportion up slightly). Moreover, the losses for ‘other bets’ (although not as deep as a year ago) still stand at $772m for the quarter. It's also about investing in machine learning and AI to drive deeper success within the core business. Pichai points to the launch of an array of smart features in Google Maps, Google Mail and Google Photos, for example. One of the more intriguing developments is AutoML or ‘auto-machine learning’, which allows one AI to be the architect of another. This has implications for Google’s own business, allowing it to move faster with its AI development. But, it is also interesting from a broader perspective as, in a world where we are severely sort of software engineers, there is the potential to ‘lower the bar’ – or in the words of Pinchai, “AutoML will take an ability that a few Ph.D.s have today and will make it possible in three to five years for hundreds of thousands of developers to design new neural nets for their particular needs.”

Of course, the big hit on Alphabet’s results was the impact of the $2.7b European Commission fine (accrued in Q217). Excluding the impact of the fine, operating income rose from $5,698m to $6,868m. Including the impact, operating profit was $4,132m, dragging the margin from 28% (in Q216) to 16% in Q217.

Posted by Georgina O'Toole at '08:50' - Tagged: results   google   AI   machinelearning  

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Tuesday 25 July 2017

GDPR – 10 months to go

flagOn 25th May 2018, the EU’s General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) comes into force. GDPR introduces a completely new layer of obligations on companies that hold data about individuals and at the same time gives those individuals much more significant rights. The right to be forgotten is the most important (and talked-about) element, but there are also implications regarding audit trails, data portability, accountability, correcting errors and the requirement to explain any automated decision-making that is derived from a person’s profile and stored data.

The progress of many sectors; eCommerce, smart cities, retail banking, education, social care, etc. will increasing depend on the sharing of data, so GDPR is an important hygiene factor for most, if not all, connected companies.

We have already written about GDPR and the additional complexity it will bring, expressing our concerns about compliance requirements and the issue of dealing with multiple databases across the banking sector.

logolbbHowever, with many companies potentially affected, with most having other important issues on their to-do lists, there is a real opportunity in the market for a more straightforward, data-driven approach that does not require massive investment. Little British Battler Infoshare (Infoshare-is.com) may well have a solution. They are introducing a GDPR add-on for their ClearCore software will allow organisations to know where customer information is held across systems. This enables the creation and management of a list of “consents” and will apply client arbitration rules to all outbound messages, ensuring that the latest marketing permissions are applied. It will also log information requests and incorporate a “forget-me” functionality.

Infoshare recently won a contract with LBB Mvine to enable the ECB to manage data and collaboration across its 60 different user-facing systems. Another LBB with solutions targeted at the GDPR issue is helpIT.

Posted by Peter Roe at '08:44' - Tagged: regulation   data   brexit  

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Tuesday 25 July 2017

Gresham Technologies on growth track

logoResults for the six months to June show group revenues up 26% to around £10m, the like-for-like advance coming in at 19% (before the contribution of recently acquired C24 Technologies). Adjusted EBITDA was up 46% to £2.15m. Revenue generated by the Clareti real-time transaction control system was ahead by 53%, with related software revenues up 138% to £3.7m.

As chronicled in HotViews, (see here and work back) Gresham Technologies has made consistent progress, driven by the Clareti (CTC) system and enabled by investment in international sales and delivery capabilities. In the half year, Gresham added 8 new CTC customers, 3 of which were in the important US market. The purchase of C24 Technologies is also paying off, bringing with it additional technology and a development environment to further speed and simplify Clareti system implementation.

Gresham now enjoys significant momentum in key markets, with flagship clients in US Tier 1 banking and hedge fund management. In Europe, they are making good progress in large insurers. Success is growing in Asia and Australia. However, in addition to new customer acquisition, we now expect sustained growth in share of wallet.

Gresham has used a “breakthrough” proposition to penetrate companies which have huge technology budgets. Through targeted development and the C24 Technologies acquisition it now has a much broader service portfolio to drive follow-on sales. The Cloud-based Clareti-as-Service enables rapid adoption by smaller business units, Clareti Analytics provide additional business intelligence, Clareti Accounts Receivable Management is a vertically-targeted offering. They are developing a debt-servicing platform for complex loans as well as a Data Accelerator to improve the performance and quality of data lakes. As a consequence, we can expect sales to existing customers to be a major feature of company strategy and a substantial long-term revenue and profits driver.

Posted by Peter Roe at '08:17' - Tagged: big+data   legacy   regulation  

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Tuesday 25 July 2017

Busy year for Draper Esprit

logoIt’s been a little over year since European tech sector-focused VC Draper Esprit launched on AIM (see Cooking up an IPO for Draper Esprit). Since then, it’s continued to be a prolific investor in UK tech, including backing employee engagement platform’ Perkbox, ‘on-demand’ GP service Push Doctor and, most recently, machine intelligence startup, Graphcore.

During the FY (to 31st March 2017), Draper Esprit invested in 13 new and six existing portfolio companies, and then went on to successfully raise a further £100m in a placing in June. Since then, its portfolio companies have raised £54m of additional capital, of which nearly half came from funds managed by Draper Esprit.

Shares in Draper Esprit have eased since its maiden half-time results (see Frenetic first first half for Draper Esprit), but are still 25p above their 300p launch price.

The UK tech startup scene is as vibrant as it has ever been – arguably more so – despite all the ‘uncertainties’. It’s great to see Draper Esprit is one of its most fervent supporters.

Posted by Anthony Miller at '07:59'

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Monday 24 July 2017

An Evening with TechMarketView welcomes Sage

Sage logoWe are very pleased to announce that the 2017 Evening with TechMarketView is being held in association with Sage. Sage is the UK’s largest tech company on the FTSE100 and proud to be the market leader for integrated accounting, payroll and payment systems. 

We are delighted to have Sage as the Diamond sponsor for this, our flagship annual event, and look forward to welcoming them, along with well over two hundred CXOs from the world of UK tech and beyond.

The Evening with TechMarketView will be held at the Royal Institute of British Architects (RIBA) in Portland Place, London on Thursday 5th October, commencing at 6:30 pm with welcome drinks.This will be followed by an hour of valuable foresight from the TechMarketView analyst team on the prospects for tech suppliers in the UK market in 2018 and beyond, especially in the context of ‘Unlocking the Intelligence’, our theme which embraces the transformational potential afforded by digital technologies such as artificial intelligence, machine learning and cognitive computing.

TMVE 2016We would then like to welcome you to a drinks reception ahead of a sumptuous three-course dinner. During the evening, there will be plenty of opportunity for networking with other ‘movers and shakers’ in UK tech.

The Evening with TechMarketView has been a sell-out for the last four years so book early to secure your place. TechMarketView research subscription clients are eligible for a 20% discount on standard ticket prices. 

I hope you will be able to join me, and of course our esteemed chairman Richard Holway MBE and managing partner, Anthony Miller, at what so many executives tell us is the one industry event they simply can’t afford to miss!

For full details and to book your place visit tx2Events here or contact event coordinator Tina Compton at tx2Events (tina.compton@tx2events.com).

Posted by Tola Sargeant at '13:00' - Tagged: event  

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Monday 24 July 2017

Strong growth in Microgen’s H1

logoInterim figures (to June) for this provider of business-critical software and services delivered pre-tax profit of £5.6m on revenue of £28.4m. In constant currencies, revenue was up almost 40% and operating profit ahead by 33%. Cash generation remained strong, adding £5m of additional net funds, despite acquisitions and increased dividends.

Microgen’s Aptitude Software business delivered an exceptional performance, with revenue up 70% to £19.5m, boosted as customers for its Revenue Recognition Engine rushed to meet regulatory deadlines. Implementation revenues doubled in the period. A key positive is the 42% increase in the ongoing revenue base. This increases confidence in longer term growth, as Aptitude’s solutions play a key role in customer management and regulatory reporting functions and are generally used for many years. After significant recent success in the telecommunications sector, the opening up of sales into the US healthcare market is another major positive. New rules governing regulatory reporting in the leasing and insurance markets are also creating additional opportunities to deploy Aptitude’s revenue recognition solutions. Microgen’s strategy of using specialist partners to open up new markets is also paying off.

The Financial Systems Group continued to show growth as it re-balances towards the specialist Trust and Fund Administration (T&FA) business. Overall, revenue from this division was up 10% to £8.9m, while T&FA revenue was up 25%, to £5.4m. Margins declined as investment in the T&FA business continued (with the Primacy acquisition and further development of the 5Series product) and as legacy business declined. With additional cross-selling, targeting greater wallet share and addressing bigger potential customers, further growth can be expected. Microgen is also investigating the potential of adjacent sectors.

Management has established clear strategies to create sustainable profits growth in both divisions.

TechMarketView’s more detailed analysis of Microgen is available here.

Posted by Peter Roe at '10:02' - Tagged: software   financialservices   regulation  

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Monday 24 July 2017

Positive FY for Earthport

logoUnaudited full year figures (to June) for Earthport, the cross-border payments network operator make interesting reading. The brief statement shows revenue growth of 33% (to £30.3m and adjusted EBITDA losses falling by 65% to £2.4m. Cash at year end totalled £11.9m, down from £14.4m a year earlier.

Over the past year there is a lot to be positive about…….

The cash burn has been substantially reduced, as volumes grew (up 67% to 11m transactions with monetary value up 48% to US$17.5bn), boosting the utilisation of the company’s extensive global network and as administrative expenses were held at around £26m. The network executed payments across 193 destination countries, in 49 currencies. Over ten countries are in the pipeline to be added to the network and there are 143 new opportunities being worked through to drive new business with new and existing clients.

The relationship with Bank of America Merrill Lynch was also expanded to cover more currencies and countries.

Management report that the underlying business generates an operating margin of 25% (excluding investments in growth opportunities). Good progress was made in opening up the Indian market, with greater connectivity across other large Asian markets (Bangladesh, the Philippines) and also in developing activity in the US eCommerce market.

But there is still a lot to do……

We have repeatedly stressed the importance of moving to volume with the major banking customers. This is still proceeding slowly. The move to push eCommerce activity may fill the wires (a good thing) but it decreases average revenue per transaction (down 15% to £2.64). Unless Earthport can make further inroads into the activity of the larger and longer-established banking customers, its near-term progress will rely on more competitive (and lower unit value) markets, delaying the move to profits and positive cash flow.

Posted by Peter Roe at '09:58' - Tagged: ecommerce   network   payments   banking  

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Monday 24 July 2017

‘Unicorn’ Civica finds new Partners for its journey

logoIt’s been a long and successful journey for UK-headquartered software and services firm Civica since it was spun out from Sanderson back in 2000, on which the first significant milestone was its IPO in March 2004, valuing the company at £79m.

Just a few years later, in 2008, 3i took Civica private at a valuation of £190m (see here). At the time, Civica had revenues of £127m. Five years on, with revenues having grown to £183m, Civica changed hands again in a secondary buyout at a £390m valuation by OMERS Private Equity, the private equity investment arm of Canada’s OMERS pension plan (see here). By then Civica was turning over £205m.

Today it was announced that Civica has been acquired by Swiss private markets investment manager Partners Group, valuing the company at just over £1b. A sale had been mooted in early May (see here). Civica turned over £268m last year and generated £55m in EBITDA (see 15 years of growth for Civica).

This is a fantastic result for Civica chairman Simon Downing and CEO Wayne Story and proof positive that with smart management and supportive investors, British unicorns are far from just being the stuff of fairy tales.

We will be speaking with management this afternoon and will be adding more 'colour and movement' for TechMarketView subscription service clients very soon.

The journey continues!

Posted by HotViews Editor at '09:13' - Tagged: acquisition  

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Monday 24 July 2017

Diversification keeping SThree resilient

logoThe good news in the half-time results for UK-headquartered international recruitment firm SThree is that its international business is growing gangbusters while the UK is becoming marginally less of a drag on performance.

But the ‘usual suspects’ of Brexit uncertainty and UK public sector reform (see SThree still feeling post-referendum pain in the UK) conspired to pull UK revenues down by 8% to £129.9m and gross profit down by 14% to £25.3m, paring gross margins down to a still very respectable 20.3%. Permanent recruitment was worst affected, with UK&I GP down 25%. SThree’s core ICT recruitment was also hit hard, with UK&I GP down 19%. The UK now contributes just under 19% of group GP.

In complete contrast, SThree’s 16% growth in the US and 7% growth in Continental Europe boosted group headline revenues for the six months to 31st May 2017 by 17% to £521m, representing 7% growth in constant currencies. Group GP remained steady at £40m, shaving over a point of gross margins to 25.8%. However, back-office heroics saw headline operating profit rise by 26%, lifting operating margins up from 2.9% to 3.7%.

SThree retains its traditional high exposure to ICT recruitment (now 44% of group GP). But (prior) management’s strategy years ago to diversify into other recruitment disciplines and, more importantly, other geographies, has made SThree one of the more resilient players in the recruitment sector.

Posted by Anthony Miller at '08:23' - Tagged: results   recruitment  

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Sunday 23 July 2017

*NEW RESEARCH:* ESAS Supplier Rankings 2017

logoThe eagerly anticipated 2017 Enterprise Software & Application Services (ESAS) Supplier Rankings report has arrived. ESASViews subscribers should click here to access the download.

This report examines the pull and pull of opposing forces that are keeping the ESAS market in check from a growth perspective and explores how the top suppliers to the UK market are dealing with the multiplying changes and uncertainties they face, from digital change, through Brexit, to dealing with digital timidity.

It looks at the factors impacting supplier performance, now and in the near future, including the need to master data services with the aid of machine intelligence technologies.

The Top 20 ESAS Ranking provides a view of overall ESAS supplier positions; the separate Enterprise Software and Application Services Ranking tables and analysis provide sector specific granularity. While Microsoft retains the top position in Enterprise Software, and Accenture in Application Services, there has been dramatic change elsewhere as spinouts, mergers and acquisitions have altered the rankings. Where are new entities and entrants DXC Technology and Dell Technologies positioned? Who have they replaced? Who is poised to enter the rankings?

If you don’t have a TechMarketView subscription or don’t take the ESASViews research stream, you can contact Deborah Seth who will be able to advise on subscription options.

Posted by Angela Eager at '19:08' - Tagged: software   rankings   ApplicationServices  

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Friday 21 July 2017

Graphcore - the cool 'chip' kid of machine intelligence

logoIf the calibre and number of investors is anything to go by, Bristol-based startup Graphcore is contending to be the cool kid on the machine intelligence block.

A series B funding round has raised $30m (taking total funding to around $62m), led by London-based VC firm Atomico. The following pack includes existing investors, Amadeus Capital, Robert Bosch Venture Capital, C4 Ventures, Dell Technologies Capital, Draper Esprit Plc, Foundation Capital, Pitango and Samsung Catalyst Fund.

But that’s not all, a gamut of machine learning experts are also investing, including Demis Hassabis co-founder and CEO of DeepMind, Uber chief scientist and professor at the University of Cambridge Zoubin Ghahramani, and the cofounders of Elon Musk's AI research firm, OpenAI.

What’s grabbing their attention is three year old Graphcore’s development of a chipset specifically designed for machine learning and AI – the company calls it an Intelligence Processing unit. Typically, high end graphics cards are used to handle machine intelligence workloads  - which is one reason why nVidia’s share price has soared. But they are not designed for the task, so the race is on to build chipsets that are. Graphcore is up against big names - Google, IBM, ARM, Intel who acquired startup Nervana, nVidia who is thought to be developing specialist processors, while Qualcomm is prototyping too.

All software relies on hardware but the more so where machine intelligence is concerned due to the massive array of mathematical calculations concerned. Fast, efficient, built-for purpose chips can be an accelerator for machine intelligence adoption, opening the doors to intelligent applications on mobile devices as well as for corporate crunching, thus marking the whole area as a growth market. Graphcore also has foot in the software camp with its Poplar graph-framework software that supports machine learning frameworks such as including Tensorflow, MxNet, Caffe2 and PyTorch.

It’ll be easy to consume the $30m; another investment round is mooted for 2018. 

Posted by Angela Eager at '15:35' - Tagged: funding   startup   software   fundraising   hardware   machinelearning   machineintelligence  

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Friday 21 July 2017

Cloud growth improves Microsoft's challenger position

LogoOvernight Q4 and FY17 results from Microsoft appear to support our view that it would be the year it emerged from its transition trough. It wasn’t just the forecast beating results, it was because they were down to rapid cloud growth.

Q4 (to June 30 2017) saw revenue rise 13% to $23.2bn with net income up 109% to $6.5bn, in stark contrast to last year. The drivers were Azure (revenue up 97% although still no revenue number revealed), Dynamics 365 (up 74%)  and Office 365 Commercial (up 43%). There was an important milestone for Office 365 Commercial as subscriptions exceeded revenue from traditional licences for the first time (although not if consumer subscriptions are factored in).

It looks like cloud improvements were across the board. Azure sits within the Intelligent Cloud division which saw revenue increase 11% to $7.4bn. Office and Dynamics sit within Productivity and Business Processes which achieved revenue growth of 21% to $8.4bn. This division also includes data rich LinkedIn which delivered $1.1bn in revenue but high costs meant it turned in an operating loss of $0.4bn. As the LinkedIn data is being infused into Microsoft’s applications, the value (profits) may be slower to come through because it needs customers to really understand the value of data enabled operations within productivity applications. More Personal Computing was down 2% despite a 2% increase in Windows sales, as a drop in Surface sales was logged.

For the full year, net income was up 26% to $21bn on revenue up 5% to $90bn.

With the level of business change Microsoft is undergoing, results are unlikely to be linear but we take the view that the worst is over. There are further changes to come however, as evidenced by its action to lay off thousands in sales and marketing as it further shifts to the cloud. Cloud progress is striking in its own right but it is also significant because it means that despite being smaller, Microsoft can be seen as credible competition to Amazon Web Services for public cloud, and has something to put up against Google Cloud Platform and G Suite. It still needs more ISV and developers to commit to Azure, but with each quarter of Azure growth, more will come. 

Posted by Angela Eager at '09:58' - Tagged: results   cloud   software  

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Friday 21 July 2017

Blackstone/CVC bid to takeover Paysafe

Paysafe logoBlackstone and CVC Capital Partners have launched a takeover bid for the FTSE 250 payment solutions provider, Paysafe Group plc. The all cash offer values the company at £2.9bn.

Paysafe were first approached by Blackrock and CVC in May this year, but a number of indicative proposals were rejected. It granted due diligence access on the basis of a possible offer of 590p per share. Paysafe points out that this represents a 34% premium on the company’s average share price for the six month period ended 30 June 2017. However, it’s only a 9% premium over yesterday’s closing price and at the time of writing, shares were trading at 582p.

Blackstone and CVC are planning to finance the deal, in part, with the disposal of Paysafe’s Asia Gateway business. The sale of this part of the business is a condition of any firm offer, but key terms have already been agreed with a potential buyer.

Its biggest shareholder, Old Mutual Global Investors, which holds a c.10% stake in the business, has sent Paysafe a non-binding letter of support for the deal.  

Paysafe also announced today, that it has agreed to buy Delta Card Services Inc., the holding company for Texas-based Merchants' Choice Payment Solutions (MCPS), for $470m. The deal will expand Paysafe's scale and offering in the USA and will be funded by a $380m loan facility and $90m from existing cash funds. MCPS had revenues of $446m in FY16.

The news of the offer and acquisition follows the £9bn Vantiv deal for Worldpay (see Worldpay shares benefit from game of leapfrog). As we said at the time, companies are scrabbling for position in the payments market and we expect to see further consolidation.

Posted by Dale Peters at '09:47' - Tagged: acquisiiton   Finance   FinTech   deal  

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Friday 21 July 2017

Receipt Bank banks $50m Series B funding

logoNot ‘bank’ in the financial services sense, but bank as in repository – and a very smart one at that.

London-headquartered Receipt Bank automates the collection and data extraction of receipts and invoices to feed in to popular small business accounting systems, including Sage One, KashFlow and Xero.

Founded in 2010 and launched the following year, Receipt Bank has raised $50m in a Series B funding round led by Insight Venture Partners. This follows a $10m round led by Kennet Partners in early 2016.

Receipt Bank claims over 5,000 accounting & bookkeeping firms and tens of thousands of small business customers in Europe, North America and Australia use its software, and has been doubling its size year on year.

Even for a very small business like TechMarketView, manually sorting out the meagre number of receipts from our spendthrift team is a headache for our esteemed chairman, resulting in the occasional attack of the vapours when the rest of us don’t fill in the forms right. Mind you, whether it is worth paying Receipt Bank’s £20 per month subscription fee to process 50 items (you pay more for more) is a moot point!

Posted by Anthony Miller at '08:27' - Tagged: funding   startup  

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Friday 21 July 2017

Brazil’s Lima on the up and up at IBM

piclogoThose of you who have been following my very occasional musings on the Brazilian tech market will be aware of Rodrigo Kede Lima, whom I first met back in 2014 when he was President of IBM Brazil (see IBM Brazil’s realist and optimist).

In a rather surprising move, Lima left IBM the following year to appear as President and CEO-elect at Totvs, the dominant market leader for mid-market ERP in Brazil and Latin America (see New man at Totvs looks to upset Sage’s LatAm plans).

But in an even more surprising turn of events, Lima unexpectedly left Totvs barely six months into the job, and reappeared at IBM as President of Latin America (see Kede goes back to Blue), based in Brazil.

In an unannounced move, I can now reveal that Lima has just been promoted to General Manager for IBM Global Technology Services (GTS) operations in North America, based in New York. This would be familiar territory for him – but on a much larger scale – as he ran IBM Brazil’s GTS operations for a year before taking on the top country job.

Lima joined IBM in 1993 and was clearly on the fast track from an early stage in his career. It looks like that track is still pointing onwards and upwards!

Posted by Anthony Miller at '07:50' - Tagged: management   brazil  

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Friday 21 July 2017

** NEW RESEARCH ** UK SITS stocks number highest for 3 years

chartOur latest research reveals that the number of UK software and IT services (SITS) companies listed on the London Stock Exchange is the highest quarter-end total since Q4 2014. A combination of gains for UK listed SITS stocks and new entrants into the sector helped lift the aggregate value by 13% qoq to £30.6b. Alfa Financial Software Holdings contributed £1.4b of the gain following its IPO.

Subscribers to the TechMarketView Foundation Service can download the latest edition of IndustryViews Quoted Sector to see our analysis of how the stock performance of UK software and IT services companies listed on the London Stock Exchange compares with their key international peers.

Posted by HotViews Editor at '07:24'

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Thursday 20 July 2017

Wipro chases a $2b quarter as margins squeeze tighter

logoIt was a better quarter than management expected from a growth perspective at freshly rebranded offshore services major, Wipro (see Wipro to ‘be the new’ with new branding), with headline revenues in Q1 FY18 (to 30th June) increasing by 2% yoy to $1.97b, just under 1% higher than the prior quarter. However growth still trailed archrivals’ TCS and Infosys but that’s just how things are. Wipro’s operating margin also suffered again, losing 150bps qoq to 16.8%, a point down yoy and its lowest level on record. However, with a fair wind behind it, management can see Wipro breaching the $2b barrier for the first time this quarter.

But while the truth is always in the numbers, the underlying stories are in fact much more encouraging. For example, about a month ago I met up with Wipro’s new head of consulting, Phil Dunmore (see Dunmore consolidates Wipro Consulting) and was impressed with the progress he is making at bringing together the disparate parts of Wipro’s consulting ecosystem into a more integrated proposition.

And very recently, we met up with Wipro Senior Vice President & Global Head: Healthcare, Life Science and Services, Jeff Heenan-Jalil, who took us through the truly exciting developments (including in the UK!) in this fast-growing $1.2b business unit. We will have much more on this at a later date.

Posted by Anthony Miller at '18:00' - Tagged: results   offshore  

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Thursday 20 July 2017

US driving growth at NIIT Tech

logoManagement at Noida-based mid-tier offshore services firm, NIIT Technologies, kept its foot on the accelerator last quarter, though at the cost of profitability.

Headline revenues in Q1 FY18 (to 30th June) grew by nearly 9% yoy to $100m, just over 3% higher than the prior quarter. US revenues grew by 4.3% qoq in constant currency terms, and now represent 49% of total revenues. However, operating margins were squeezed a couple of points lower than the prior quarter, to 11.2%, though still almost a point up yoy.

It was an eventful quarter for NIIT Tech, what with the acquisition of a 55% stake in Idaho-based BPM (business process management) consultancy, RuleTek. Terms were not disclosed, other than to say that RuleTek had revenues of $6.5m last year. The acquisition was effected through Incessant Technologies, a Hyderabad-based BPM consultancy in which NIIT Tech took a 51% stake for a mooted $17m in May 2015 (see NIIT Tech edges forward and acquires). Incessant had revenues estimated at $17m at the time.

A couple of days prior to acquiring control of RuleTek, NIIT announced the appointment of Genpact executive (and prior, Infosys exec) Sudhir Singh as CEO designate.

NIIT Tech does not appear to be suffering as much as rather larger mid-tier peer, Mindtree (see More margin squeeze at Mindtree), which derives two-thirds of its revenues from the US. The two players have quite different profiles in terms of vertical mix and service line propositions, so on  the face of it NIIT Tech appears to be finding sweeter spots than Mindtree.

Posted by Anthony Miller at '17:20' - Tagged: results   offshore   acquisition  

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Thursday 20 July 2017

Tego becomes Zego as gets £1.2m funding delivery

logoThis is an interesting – and to my mind – differentiated variation on the pay-as-you-go (PAYG) insurance theme.

Launched by Deliveroo drivers in April 2016 as Tego, and now known as Zego (I assume to avoid confusion with a company of that name in the US, though the logo still looks 'T-ish'), the London-based startup offers PAYG insurance specifically for ‘gig economy’ delivery drivers.

Zego has just revealed a £1.2m seed funding round led by LocalGlobe, though it appears the investment was actually made in December 2016. Zego had previously raised angel funding last September.

Zego initially offered add-on ‘third-party only’ cover for food delivery scooter riders for (the driver had to have ‘everyday’ scooter insurance to qualify); this has since been expanded to include scooter courier delivery. It seems the founders chose to reveal the December funding round now to coincide with a limited launch of fully-comprehensive PAYG car delivery insurance cover, underwritten by Aviva.

By focusing on the on-demand delivery market, Zego’s proposition is different to that of PAYG insuretech startups such as By Miles and Cuvva. You can see the possibilities of Zego offering related insurance products – and indeed other financial services products – tailored to this specific (and fast growing) market segment.

On this basis, Zego looks like it may have legs – or should I say, wheels.

Posted by Anthony Miller at '09:51' - Tagged: funding   startup   insuretech  

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Thursday 20 July 2017

Civica buys into HR and payroll with Carval Computing

Civica logoIt continues to be ‘business as usual’ at Civica, which today announced another acquisition that further broadens its portfolio of business-critical applications. Civica UK has acquired Carval Computing, which provides integrated HR and payroll systems and related payroll processing services. Today’s acquisition, which is typical of the M&A strategy that Civica has always followed, comes despite rumours earlier in the year that Civica itself was to be put up for sale by Canadian backers OMERS Private Equity (see Civica to be put up for sale?).

Based in Plymouth and Newport Pagnell, Carval is a small bolt-on acquisition for Civica (which turned over nearly £270m in FY16). Carval is too small to file full accounts with Companies House and the terms of the acquisition have not been made public. It may be a small SME, but Carval’s HR systems – which include cloud-based solutions, employee self-service technology and mobile apps - are used at more than 300 sites by customers in both the public and private sectors. Clients include Middlesbrough Council, Staffordshire Housing Association, multi-academy trust E-ACT, the Royal Mint and National Express. It’s not difficult to see the appeal for Civica as Carval brings a complementary capability that fills a gap in its product portfolio and also a fresh set of customers with cross-sale potential.

As an aside, we detect a subtle change in the messaging from Civica. It seems to us that there is more emphasis on its global capabilities – it now operates in 10 countries - and less emphasis, at least in today’s press release, on its UK public sector roots. With additions like Carval, Civica is gradually increasing the work it does in the private sector but the public sector still accounted for some 95% of UK revenue last fiscal year (see also UK Public Sector SITS Supplier Landscape Report 2016/17 if you’re a PublicSectorViews subscriber).

Posted by Tola Sargeant at '09:50' - Tagged: acquisition   software   hr   payroll  

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Thursday 20 July 2017

Cloud drives SAP Q2 revenue up, profits down

LogoSAP demonstrated the ups and downs of the cloud shift again in Q217 (to June 30 2017) as revenue rose a strong 10% but operating profits plummeted 27% on the back of a rapid rise in cloud subscriptions. Cloud investment is still high on the agenda, so the cloud subscription gross margin dropped 2.2 percentage points to 62.4%.

Revenue hit €5.8bn while operating profit fell to €926m from €1.2bn. It was facing a tough year ago comparative however. In confident mood, the company raised full year total revenue outlook slightly because of rapid cloud growth but went to town on cloud guidance. If cloud revenue reaches the upper end of guidance of €3.8bn to €4.0bn (constant currency), that would represent a 34% increase.

In Q2 cloud revenue rose 29% to €932m and included €340m of new cloud bookings, representing a 33% uplift. At 16% of total revenue, cloud is still a small part of the overall business but the proportion is steadily increasing, building on a broad portfolio that stretches from S/4HANA and HCM software to the new Leonardo machine learning/AI/IoT platform and the Business Network, which still appears to be underplayed. What is reassuring is that SAP’s cloud portfolio is attracting new business.

Its traditional business is also making headway with a comforting 5% increase in software licence revenue to €1.09bn and the same percentage increase in support revenue. Much of the licence increase will be down to S/4HANA adoption as customer numbers were up 70% yoy to 6300. 500 signed up during Q2, of which 30% were new to SAP and included Google, Centrica and Mercadona. However, this time last year, the quarterly sign up tally was also 500, of which 40% were net new.

There are always questions over the speed of the cloud transition but Q2 demonstrates SAP is making steady progress as it balances the need to change against business stability. Alongside cloud progress, the ability to attract new customers against the sustained onslaught of the cloud pure plays is one of the most reassuring outcomes of the period. Looking forward, Leonardo’s progress (and positioning) will be important as SAP looks to establish its credentials in the ‘intelligence’ field. 

Posted by Angela Eager at '09:49' - Tagged: results   cloud   software  

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Thursday 20 July 2017

*NEW RESEARCH* Lemongrass migrates FrieslandCampina’s SAP to AWS

lemongrassWe’ve been closely following Lemongrass for a couple of years now, tracking its progress as an SAP specialist that has developed a focus around migrating applications to Amazon Web Services (AWS).

Truly living up to its status as a Little British Battler, Lemongrass beat several of the Global System Integrators (GSIs) to win the contract to migrate FrieslandCampina’s SAP estate to AWS. Lemongrass has built something of a reputation as a ‘giant layer’, having ousted various large players in enterprise accounts, taking those customers from traditional hosting to the public cloud (see: Has Lemongrass landed Europe’s largest AWS/SAP implementation?).

In this research note we examine how FrieslandCampina’s move to Amazon Web Services has highlighted the benefits of working with smaller specialist suppliers – not least Lemongrass.

Subscribers to our Foundation Service and InfrastructureViews can read the note here: FrieslandCampina: Dairy firm takes giant step to AWS.

To become a subscriber, please contact Deb Seth.

Posted by Kate Hanaghan at '09:44' - Tagged: cloud   AWS   migration  

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Thursday 20 July 2017

LBB Contego secures £3.5m funding

Contego Fraud Solutions logoIn recent FinancialServicesViews research, we highlighted RegTech – the application of technology to help meet regulatory requirements – as a big opportunity area (see RegTech – A big new opportunity). It’s a space in which Abingdon-based, Little British Battler (LBB), Contego Fraud Solutions, has found its sweet spot. We’ve watched as the supplier of automated compliance systems has made moves to grow both organically and via acquisition over the last year. Highlights have included its participation in Accenture’s FinTech Innovation Lab, the adoption of the company’s system by Modulr to simplify the payments process for its corporate customers, and the acquisition of Working Status, which launched it into the Right-to-Work compliance space.  

The company’s growth ambitions mean it continues to be on the look-out for additional acquisitions to add platform functionality and broaden its customer reach. That will be made easier now that it has secured £3.5m in funding in a round jointly led by Maven Capital Partners and NVM Private Equity. Contego already performs a wide array of screening, verification and vetting assessments, including Know Your Customer (KYC); Anti Money Laundering (AML); “Right to Work” checks; “Right to Rent” checks and Counter-Party Risk Management. As it adds to its portfolio, Contego will become increasingly attractive as a one-stop shop in this increasingly important, but complex, space.

Posted by Georgina O'Toole at '09:42' - Tagged: funding   financialservices   fraud   RegTech  

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Thursday 20 July 2017

More margin squeeze at Mindtree

logoThe pressure on profitability appears to be piling up at Bangalore-based mid-tier offshore services firm Mindtree, as operating margins continued a downwards path. Headline revenues for Q1 FY18 (to 30th June) kept just on the plus side of steady, at $200m. However, operating profit took a hammering, pushing operating margins down further, to 7.6%.

This is unlikely to be the start to the year that management had hoped for.

Posted by Anthony Miller at '09:07' - Tagged: results   offshore  

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Thursday 20 July 2017

Mastek: so far, so good

logoSome six months in from its transformative acquisition of US-based Oracle Commerce and CX consultancy, Trans American Information Systems (see Mastek does Dallas with TAIS), things seem to be going to plan at Mumbai-based mid-tier offshore services firm, Mastek.

Headline operating revenues for FY18 Q1 (to 30th June) grew by 2.9% qoq to Rs18.55b, representing 5.3% growth in constant currencies. Revenues in Mastek’s UK operations grew by 3.5% to Rs12.27b, just under 70% of the total, belying a 3% decline at IndigoBlue, the UK-based consultancy acquired in May 2015 (see Mastek UK goes ‘agile’ with IndigoBlue). TAIS revenues increased by 2.8%. Mastek’s operating margin improved by nearly 2 points to 10.6%.

This is still early days for Mastek’s ‘rebirth’ as a UK/US focused business and there will be challenges ahead (see OffshoreViews Q1 2017 Review). But broadly speaking, so far, so good!

Posted by Anthony Miller at '08:15' - Tagged: results   offshore  

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