HotViews Archive

Skip Navigation Links.
Collapse 2018 (37)2018 (37)
Collapse February (37)February (37)
Leidos: focus shifts to growth
23 Feb 2018
A new approach and further delays for ESN
23 Feb 2018
Civica revenues up 21% in 2017
23 Feb 2018
Martech startup 3radical 'engages' £3m
23 Feb 2018
HPE closes first quarter under new CEO
23 Feb 2018
GeoSpock raises funding for 'extreme scale' analytics
23 Feb 2018
Raise your company profile in our HotViews newsletter & get in front of 16,000+ key decision makers
23 Feb 2018
Very, Very Angry Birds
22 Feb 2018
Hiding
22 Feb 2018
Beeks gets off to a good start
22 Feb 2018
It’s time to face down malicious AI
22 Feb 2018
CGI radio-activates its UK nuclear resilience involvement
22 Feb 2018
Serco continues to navigate choppy waters
22 Feb 2018
Arcontech holds margins steady in H1
22 Feb 2018
Startup BlackCurve prices in £500k seed funding
22 Feb 2018
HRtech StatusToday raises funds for 'employee spyware'
22 Feb 2018
How the Tech Market Shines in Professional Services
22 Feb 2018
Lloyds Banking Group to spend an extra £3bn on IT
21 Feb 2018
Atos 'technology leap' evident in FY17 results
21 Feb 2018
UKCloud launches UK public sector Azure Stack platform
21 Feb 2018
BaseKit gets another funding boost
21 Feb 2018
Posh rental search startup Homie locates more funds
21 Feb 2018
Temenos seals the Fidessa deal
21 Feb 2018
ScaleUp Group helps set SHE Software en route to US
21 Feb 2018
Building the experience: Valtech scoops up True Clarity
20 Feb 2018
Temenos takes a punt on Fidessa
20 Feb 2018
Atos and Jacobs in UK IoT push
20 Feb 2018
Tracsis delivers a solid H1
20 Feb 2018
Drone tracking raises Vodafone IoT profile
20 Feb 2018
re:infer: $3.5m to intelligently automate email
20 Feb 2018
The Multi-Cloud Experts
20 Feb 2018
Fospha: set to raise profile
19 Feb 2018
Fidessa, still building
19 Feb 2018
Sopra Steria FY17: UK's 'wait and see' attitude
19 Feb 2018
* NEW RESEARCH * IPPs march towards non-linearity
19 Feb 2018
Speak to UK tech leaders at the 2018 TechMarketView Evening
19 Feb 2018
Spreading the message
18 Feb 2018

UKHotViews©

 

Friday 23 February 2018

Leidos: focus shifts to growth

Leidos logoIt’s hard to glean anything about Leidos in the UK from its FY17 and Q417 results. The full year global performance was boosted significantly by the acquired Lockheed Martin IS&GS business. Total revenues increased by 44.4% to $10.17b. The IS&GS acquisition impacted all business lines: defense solutions up 29% to $4.96b; civil up 63.7% to $3.41b; and health up 61.3% to $1.8b. Operating income was also boosted by IS&GS: up from $417m to $559m. The operating margin was down from 5.9% to 5.5%.

Q4 is a better indication of organic performance: revenues down 2.3% to $2.52b. Leidos now says that, with the successful completion of most of its integration activities, focus will shift to growth in the year ahead.

In the UK, there is much potential for growth. We’ll be talking to UK management to see what the last few months have brought. However, in conversations with suppliers, we increasingly hear Leidos talked about as a competitor, indicating that it is already beginning to raise its profile. New CE, Matt Wiles (see Leidos: new UK CE has big opportunity), has an arsenal of international experience to draw on, which hasn’t been fully exploited in the UK to date. As Leidos refocuses on growth, we’re sure Leidos management will be placing high expectations on the UK business.

PublicSectorViews subscribers can read a full analysis of Leidos UK public sector business in UK Public Sector SITS Supplier Prospects 2018. If you would like to find out how you can access this research, please contact Deb Seth.

Posted by Georgina O'Toole at '09:33' - Tagged: results   health   defence   it+services   civil  

Add a comment Add a comment Twitter   Facebook   LinkedIn   Email article link


Friday 23 February 2018

A new approach and further delays for ESN

Home Office logoThe Public Accounts Committee (PAC) met on Wednesday to examine the progress the Home Office has made against its recommendations concerning the Emergency Services Network (ESN).

This was the fourth PAC meeting on the subject since the warning from the National Audit Office (NAO) in 2016 that the Home Office was underestimating the risks associated with introducing ESN (details here).

In November 2017, Philip Rutnam, Permanent Secretary at the Home Office, said that the programme would be further delayed, but that it was not possible to state by how long until a review was completed (details here). It was expected to be completed in January, hence the timing of this week's PAC meeting.

However, completion of the review has now been pushed out to July 2018. The Home Office's chief digital, data and technology officer, Joanna Davinson, is now conducting this review. Davinson, who leads the Digital, Data and Technology (DDaT) unit and reports to Rutnam, joined the Home Office from IBM in October 2017. DDaT has now been given responsibility for the Emergency Services Mobile Communications Programme (ESMCP), taking over from the Home Office Crime, Policing and Fire Group. The NAO is likely to conduct another review of ESMCP once Davinson's review is complete.

The PAC also heard that Vodafone and Motorola have reached agreement to provide the contingency needed to allow the existing Airwave system to extend beyond March 2020 and that the Home Office is looking at alternative approaches of delivery for ESN. It wants to get new capabilities into the hands of users early to help build confidence that progress is being made and to gather feedback.

Davinson has a tough task on her hands to get ESMCP under control. Reviewing each individual project in the programme and mapping their relationships to better understand critical paths is the right approach, but you have to wonder why this work hasn't been done before.

Posted by Dale Peters at '09:27' - Tagged: police   government   connectivity   bluelight   police   police   police   police  

Add a comment Add a comment Twitter   Facebook   LinkedIn   Email article link


Friday 23 February 2018

Civica revenues up 21% in 2017

Civica logoThis time last year we were highlighting how Civica's 2016 performance meant the public sector focused software and services supplier had achieved 15 years of unbroken, profitable growth. As suspected (see UK Public Sector Supplier Prospects 2018), this trend was maintained in 2017.

Group revenue for the year ended 30 September 2017 was up an impressive 21% to £324.7m (2016: £267.7m) and EBITDA improved by 25% to £68.7m (2016: £55.1m). The majority of this growth was organic, but it was supported by some roll through from its acquisitions of Abritas and Carval Computing. Civica has achieved 18% CAGR over 2015-17.

UK revenue for the year stood at £247.2m, which is up 14% on the previous year (2016: £217.6m). In a year where Civica celebrated securing its biggest ever contract with the State Government of Victoria in Australia, its unsurprising that internationally growth was even stronger, up 55% to £77.5m (2016: £50.1m). Its international business represented 24% of group revenue in 2017, compared to 19% in 2016.

The public sector represents just over 90% of Civica's UK revenue, with local government (including social housing) accounting for approximately two-thirds of revenue in the sector. During 2017 it secured a number of new local government deals, including with Hull City Council and Leeds City Council. It has also seen significant (c.17%) growth in its healthcare business through its Cito platform and new solutions, including electronic prescribing. Civica Digital has performed well in central government winning business through the Digital Marketplace. The only subsector that has declined is education, where Building Schools for the Future contracts continue to unwind.

2018 has started well for Civica and we expect to see further growth this year. We will start to see the influence of Partners Group on the business, although we don't expect to see any radical departures in its strategy, which will include a mix of organic and acquisitive growth.

Posted by Dale Peters at '09:18' - Tagged: results   software   government   digital   public  

Add a comment Add a comment Twitter   Facebook   LinkedIn   Email article link


Friday 23 February 2018

Martech startup 3radical 'engages' £3m

logo3radical, a young player in the ’martech’ area, has secured £3m in funding to help grow it Voco engagement platform and continue geographic expansion. Unusually, the identity of the investors was not released.

Although 3radical was founded in South East Asia in 2014, before launching into the UK and Australia in 2015, company founders David Eldridge and Mike Talbot have UK roots as they were co-founders of Alterian. Long term HotViews readers will remember the turbulent times at Alterian from 2011 onwards as the founders exited and there was a subsequent tussle over whether to sell the company to SDL (see the HotViews archive here).

With 3radical, Eldridge and Talbot are operating in the marketing technology field they know well, providing a digital engagement platform to brands and customers such as  Zizzi, Matalan, Mothercare, DBS Bank and National Australia Bank.

Posted by Angela Eager at '09:17' - Tagged: funding   startup   software   digitalmedia  

Add a comment Add a comment Twitter   Facebook   LinkedIn   Email article link


Friday 23 February 2018

HPE closes first quarter under new CEO

hpeThe first day of February marked Antonio Neri’s first day as President and CEO of HPE – taking over from Meg Whitman, who remains on the Board.

Overall Q1 revenue (three months to end January) was up 9% (constant currency) to $7.7bn. Neri says there has been stronger execution on a number of fronts that have helped support improved growth. It is not, however, a performance that is likely to continue into the second half of the year as an improved H2 last year will make for a tougher compare (see Better than expected Q3 from HPE and HPE announces FY17 as CEO Whitman plans departure).

HPE has started the new financial year with a new reporting structure, which more accurately reflects how the business is managed internally: Hybrid IT (which includes the Pointnext services business), Intelligent Edge and Financial Services.

In the Hybrid IT business, growth was 10% and we believe HPE has built a portfolio with the breadth to capture market growth opportunities. For example, the acquisition of Cloud Technology Partners and development of the OneSphere multi-cloud management platform are important capabilities in helping customers build and manage Hybrid environments.

The Pointnext business (see HPE relaunches Consulting and Tech Services as “Pointnext”) grew 2%, and really that growth line could be stronger given market conditions. Its (recently launched) Greenlake Pay-As-You-Go offering shows potential as it can help address the clear desire for infrastructure flexibility while retaining the assurances that come with keeping data on-premise. We'll be watching to see how well this does in 2018.

Overall, HPE has the component parts to help customers develop a strategic approach to infrastructure and manage the resulting Hybrid operating environment on an ongoing basis. The current year will be about it growing the number of customers that take that full range of services and who consider HPE to be their trusted strategic Hybrid IT advisor.

Posted by Kate Hanaghan at '09:14' - Tagged: results   cloud   infrastructre  

Add a comment Add a comment Twitter   Facebook   LinkedIn   Email article link


Friday 23 February 2018

GeoSpock raises funding for 'extreme scale' analytics

logoThere's always a risk with 'build it and they will come and build with it' tools that nobody will come and build with it. In this respect Cambridge-based 'extreme scale' analytics startup GeoSpock has set its sights about as high as you could imagine, aiming to become "the de facto processing engine at the heart of next-generation infrastructure, including smart cities and Internet of Everything (IoE), as well as powering future mobility applications" with its cloud-based platform that has the ability "to analyse trillions of geospatial and temporal data points in sub-second response time". GeoSpock appears to have made a start, though, claiming customers in the mobility, smart city, ad tech, financial services, telematics, and telco sectors.

Founded in 2013, GeoSpock has raised a further $6.6m to close the second phase of a Series A funding round after raising £3.5m/$5.4m in October 2015. The round was led by Cambridge Innovation Capital with participation from existing investors Parkwalk Advisors and others.

The underlying technology is an indexing engine on top of which runs a visualisation tool and a data query tool. This is a pretty standard construct used by other 'big data' analytics suppliers. GeoSpock's angle is 'extreme scale' i.e. the ability to process very big data very quickly. I am actually more interested in the infrastructure that the platform runs on, about which there is no mention. I assume it is some sort of massively parallel processor system in someone's cloud. I am intrigued that the GeoSpock platform does not host the customer's data, so I wonder how they manage to move 'petabyte-scale' data sets to and from the cloud to provide 'sub-second data interrogation'.

Anyway, I'm sure it all works, so well done them!

Posted by Anthony Miller at '08:15' - Tagged: funding   startup   analytics  

Add a comment Add a comment Twitter   Facebook   LinkedIn   Email article link



Thursday 22 February 2018

Very, Very Angry Birds

Angry BirdsI guess because I’ve written about Angry Birds so many times on Hotviews - See Angry Birds make shareholders Angry and work backwards - the press seem to think I am an ‘expert’. I was in a meeting all day today so missed replying to the many media requests for a ‘Holway Comment’ as Rovio issued yet another profits (and revenue) warning and their shares crashed nearly 50%. Its valuation has now halved (by cEuro 450m) since its Sept 17 IPO.

In a way, I am getting a little tired of spinning the same message. It really is very difficult for games makers to be anything other than ‘One Hit Wonders’. Rovio hoped that movies, theme parks and soft toys would lead it to be another Disney. But just like King with Candy Crush and Zynga with Farmville, that is extremely difficult.

On top of that, I am really not a fan of kids playing such games. In particular games that involve ‘In App’ purchases. They say it is not ‘gambling’ but the addiction it creates can be really damaging for youngsters and can lead to real gambling addiction later on.

Posted by Richard Holway at '21:17'

Add a comment Add a comment Twitter   Facebook   LinkedIn   Email article link


Thursday 22 February 2018

Hiding

CHI suspect that many HotViews readers are also company directors. As a director, your home address, date of birth etc is readily available to anyone at Companies House/via its website. I admit to using it (very successfully) to alert directors to bad service, outstanding debt etc. Nothing so effective as a letter sent to your home address.

But company directors (like you and me) are twice as likely to be victims of fraud. Our wealth/earnings are likely to be above average and all our personal details are readily available. As the FT reported ‘It’s the equivalent of wanting to burgle a big house rather than a small one’.

New laws are being passed that will allow company directors to withhold their personal details from documents readily available at Companies House. That’s probably a good thing.

But I, for one, will miss the opportunity to validly admonish those that give me bad service.

Posted by Richard Holway at '18:28'

Add a comment Add a comment Twitter   Facebook   LinkedIn   Email article link


Thursday 22 February 2018

Beeks gets off to a good start

BeeksAIM new boy Beeks Financial Cloud Group (Beeks Financial Cloud joins AIM) has got off to a good start as a listed company with today’s interim results showing revenue up by 40% to £2.57m (H1 2017: £1.83m) and underlying EBITDA up by 92% to £0.63m (H1 2017: £0.33m).

Beeks IPO’d on AIM last November raising some £4.5m and provides cloud computing and specialist connectivity into the niche market of automated trading for financial institutions and retail investors.

Beeks has invested in a new cloud hosting site in the US, bringing the total number of sites to nine and by the end of December had increased its institutional client base to 170 (31 December 2016: 113). It has also invested in technical support and delivery and in improved sales channels with the launch of a self-service portal and by joining the Equinix Cloud Exchange marketplace.

Beeks is an interesting business and a good addition to AIM with clear potential for growth with so many potential institutional clients to go after at a time when cost pressures are increasing. 

Posted by Marc Hardwick at '09:59' - Tagged: trading   cloud  

Add a comment Add a comment Twitter   Facebook   LinkedIn   Email article link


Thursday 22 February 2018

It’s time to face down malicious AI

imageIt doesn’t set out to provide answers to the many potential threats from the misuse of AI but the Malicious use of Artificial Intelligence report certainly raises the questions and provides a steer on what we should be thinking about – and acting on.

Written by 26 authors from 14 institutions, spanning academia, civil society, and industry, including the Universities of Oxford and Cambridge, the Future for Humanity Institute and the OpenAI non-profit research company, the report concentrates on three types of security threats we could face – not in the distant future but over a 5-10 year timeframe.

Broadly these cover Digital security (cyberattacks and automated hacking), Physical security (automated attacks using drones or subversion of autonomous vehicles) and Political Security (automated mass surveillance, persuasion and deception). More...

Posted by Angela Eager at '09:57' - Tagged: AI   machinelearning   machineintelligence  

Add a comment Add a comment Twitter   Facebook   LinkedIn   Email article link


Thursday 22 February 2018

CGI radio-activates its UK nuclear resilience involvement

CGI logoCGI this week announced a new win which sees its continued involvement with UK Government around nuclear resilience. It has won the Nuclear Emergency Radiological Information and Monitoring Network (NERIMET) contract supporting a project delivered by the Department for Business, Energy, Innovation and Skills (BEIS) and the Ministry of Defence (MoD).

NERIMET is designed to support the UK’s radioactive incident monitoring and response capabilities. CGI, along with its partners Ultra Electronics Nuclear Control Systems, Envitia and APD (Advanced Product Delivery), will be replacing the two legacy systems that currently manage responses to defence and civilian radioactive incidents respectively. The project ticks all the ‘digital’ boxes – user-centric design, cloud-based, open source technology, low cost of ownership, as well as flexibility and scalability.

With this win, CGI demonstrates an ability to take its long-term involvement and experience and combine with its investment in digital to take new business. If you read CGI glows on RIMNET news, you’ll see that, as far back as 1990, Logica (now part of CGI) was involved on a consultancy basis with the production of the Scottish aspects of the national response plan. Ultra Electronics Nuclear Control Systems also has a long history in the space. Meanwhile, CGI’s other two partners – Envitia, a geospatial technology and solutions specialist, and APD, a scrum and agile development consultancy – are both part of CGI’s SME Accelerate programme. It is always good to see SMEs involved in these programmes become part of key wins.  

Posted by Georgina O'Toole at '09:37' - Tagged: centralgovernment   contract   defence   cloud   open+source   digitalservices   nuclear  

Add a comment Add a comment Twitter   Facebook   LinkedIn   Email article link


Thursday 22 February 2018

Serco continues to navigate choppy waters

SercoSerco’s year end results give us another opportunity to check in on where it sits on its transformation journey.

Group revenues for HY 2017 were down 2% to £2,958m (FY 2016 £3,048), comprising a 6% organic decline from contract attrition that is partially offset by a 4% currency benefit. Underlying operating profit was also down 19% to £69.8m for FY 17 (£82.1m FY 16) but was at the top end of the guidance given at the start of the year. Net debt within the group is also lower than expected and crucially the pension scheme remains fully funded.

Contract attrition during the year has certainly impacted both revenue and profit but the big plus is that sales have held up in a tough market. Serco signed new contracts with a total value of £3.4bn during the year (2016: £2.5bn). The largest new contract signed was to operate the New Grafton Correctional Centre in New South Wales (see Serco signs largest ever contract worth £1.5bn), which when completed, will be the largest correctional facility in Australia. Subscription service clients can read more …

Posted by Marc Hardwick at '09:26' - Tagged: public+sector   bps  

Add a comment Add a comment Twitter   Facebook   LinkedIn   Email article link


Thursday 22 February 2018

Arcontech holds margins steady in H1

arcArcontech, a provider of products and services for real-time financial market data processing and trading, held its H1 (six months to end December 2017) operating margins steady at 19%. Both operating profits and revenue grew 9% (turnover to £1.2m) – meaning the firm has slightly increased the top line growth rate achieved in its last full year (7.8%).

At that point, we highlighted the importance of the firm gaining grown with its new desktop product (see Arcontech looking for growth), and there are positive signs here. During H1 the company secured another client for the solution, now giving it presence in two large global financial institutions. Importantly, there appears to be potential to expand usage of the product inside this client further.

However, the nature of the markets in which Arcontech operates means that sales cycles will continue to be long and unpredictable – a situation that is likely to be made even more tricky by the need for organisations to address MiFID II and GDPR requirements. Arcontech believes it can counter that to an extent by continuing to invest in product development, and through its high level of recurring revenues and sturdy balance sheet. Indeed, the Board continues to expect results for the full year to be in line with expectations.

Posted by Kate Hanaghan at '09:25' - Tagged: results   dataprocessing  

Add a comment Add a comment Twitter   Facebook   LinkedIn   Email article link


Thursday 22 February 2018

Startup BlackCurve prices in £500k seed funding

logoIt's a simple proposition but I would say all the better for being so. London-based startup BlackCurve develops software to help companies optimise product pricing across multiple sales channels. A 'close-knit family startup', BlackCurve was launched in 2016 and has just raised £500k in a seed funding round backed by Mercia Fund Managers and prolific tech entrepreneur (and TechMarketView Great British Scaleup programme partner, ScaleUp Group advisor) Nick Kingsbury. Time will tell if 'the price is right'!

Posted by Anthony Miller at '08:53' - Tagged: funding   startup  

Add a comment Add a comment Twitter   Facebook   LinkedIn   Email article link


Thursday 22 February 2018

HRtech StatusToday raises funds for 'employee spyware'

logoThere is an emerging sector of the 'HRTech' market which I would label 'employee spyware' as it gets down and dirty into enterprise IT systems to analyse and report on how staff are using – or indeed abusing – enterprise software and data. All for the greater good, of course.

And here's another, in the shape and form of London-based startup StatusToday, which links in to enterprise productivity software (Google or Microsoft) through APIs and starts sniffing around.

Founded in 2015, StatusToday has raised $3.91m in a seed funding round led by LocalGlobe, along with a herd of other VCs including Notion Capital and Firstminute Capital.

StatusToday is not just a tool for management, they say. "StatusToday can add transparency for employees, too, redefining the meaning of work in a way that is transparent, rather than hierarchical and subjective. Employees are empowered to set personal benchmarks, given the ability to compare themselves across different roles and industry standards and see when they are the most productive in the day." Well that's all right then.

Posted by Anthony Miller at '07:52' - Tagged: funding   startup   hrtech  

Add a comment Add a comment Twitter   Facebook   LinkedIn   Email article link



Wednesday 21 February 2018

Lloyds Banking Group to spend an extra £3bn on IT

logoIs this throwing good money after bad? Who knows?

Who knows how many billions of pounds have already been spent on IT within the bank over the past ten years? Probably even the accountants within this major bank could only guess as to the total.

How much money has been spent on projects which were never completed or have now resulted in systems which are obsolescent or not fit for purpose?

Recent decisions around the Lloyds IT estate has included a shifting of jobs and operations to both TCS and IBM, but it is clear that there is still much to be done.

But going forward, how can shareholders be confident that this extra £3bn, an increase of 40% on the spend allocated in the previous three-year plan and intended to enable the bank's digital transformation, will be spent well and arm the bank for the competitive battles ahead? Successive annual reports have given hardly any information about the technology underlying the bank and its operations. And when all said and done, a bank is basically an extremely large computer that pays out and receives cash. Its success, even its continued existence, crucially depend upon the quality and reliability of its computer systems.

While this additional spend is obviously good news for the IT services industry and therefore to be welcomed, the shareholders of Lloyds Banking Group (and all other large banks) deserve and should demand better disclosure and governance as to how technology is used, and how their money is spent.

We can but hope that the Lloyds Banking Group management will henceforth set new standards, not only in the quality of IT investment decisions they make, but also in how they communicate them to their shareholders.

Posted by Peter Roe at '18:30' - Tagged: banking   digital  

Add a comment Add a comment Twitter   Facebook   LinkedIn   Email article link


Wednesday 21 February 2018

Atos 'technology leap' evident in FY17 results

Atos logoReading Atos’ FY17 results you are presented with a sea of positivity. At the Group level, a year into the company’s three-year plan, everything is heading in the right direction. Revenues were up 10% at constant exchange rates and 2.3% organically (to €12.7b). The operating margin increased from 8.9% to 10.2%, thanks to an increasing hybrid and private cloud business, synergies with Equens and Unify, and the transformation programme (TOP). And things are looking commercially solid with positive news in terms of order entry and the book-to-bill. 75% of Atos’ revenues are based on multi-year contracts.

One of Atos’ key objectives has been to create a “technology leap” in the business. And there appears to have been a substantial acceleration in growth from Atos’ Digital Transformation Factory (DTF) offerings. Followers of Atos will remember that the DTF consists of four pillars - Cloud (Atos Canopy Orchestrated Hybrid Cloud); Digital Workplace; SAP HANA by Atos; and Cognitive Solutions with Atos Codex (“transforming data into business value”) – see Atos: 2019 stakes in the ground. In FY17, Atos DTF represented 23% of revenues vs. 13% in 2016 – that's an 81% y-o-y increase to €2,198m. Impressively, that has allowed Atos to make up for run-off in legacy business. Recent deals with Jacobs (see Atos and Jacobs in UK IoT push) and the European Space Agency (see Atos Codex put to work on space data) add to an increasing list of ‘digital’ reference sites.

In the UK, 1.2% organic growth to €1,715m is, indeed, put down to new business in Atos DTF and in big data & cybersecurity sales. In addition, in infrastructure and data management, financial services is highlighted as having benefited from a ramp up of new large contracts, while manufacturing, retail and transformation benefited from increased volumes at Royal Mail. The one blot on the results is the UK’s decline in operating margin from 13.0% to 10.6%. That is explained by the re-insourcing of parts of the BBC contract; something which is likely to also explain the organic 1.1% decline in Q4 revenues in the UK, and the 11.4% decline in Q4 telco & media revenues globally. However, it’s noteworthy that a key big data & cybersecurity win was also with the BBC, highlighting the importance of being able to rework long-term relationships with clients. The decline in headcount over the year – from 100,096 to 97,267 – highlights Atos’ determination to adapt its hiring to take account of the need for more automaton and a greater focus on digital skills.

Posted by Georgina O'Toole at '09:56' - Tagged: results   outsourcing   SI   digital  

Add a comment Add a comment Twitter   Facebook   LinkedIn   Email article link


Wednesday 21 February 2018

UKCloud launches UK public sector Azure Stack platform

UKCloud logoCloud services company, UKCloud, has launched a Microsoft Azure hybrid offering to help accelerate the adoption of cloud services in the UK public sector.

UKCloud will combine Microsoft's Azure Stack hybrid cloud service with its own Cisco-powered infrastructure. It will operate its UK Public Sector Azure Stack platform with security cleared UK nationals and UK sovereign facilities as part of its new multi-cloud portfolio, which is being rolled out this year.

The adoption of cloud in the UK public sector has been sluggish, with many organisations citing concerns about data sovereignty and security. This collaboration between UKCloud, Microsoft and Cisco should help address these fears.  

In recent months we have seen some of the barriers to cloud adoption being removed, including the National Police Information Risk Management Team completing its physical security assessment of Microsoft's and AWS's UK infrastructure to provide assurance that data will be hosted in Police Approved Secure Facilities, and new guidance from NHS Digital, which gave the green light to use cloud services and data offshoring to store patient data (see New guidance to speed health and care move to cloud).

The combination of this official reassurance and tailored services such as UKCloud's Azure Stack platform will help accelerate cloud adoption in the UK public sector during 2018.

Posted by Dale Peters at '09:53' - Tagged: cloud   government   hybrid  

Add a comment Add a comment Twitter   Facebook   LinkedIn   Email article link


Wednesday 21 February 2018

BaseKit gets another funding boost

logoI'm pleased to see that they took heed of my dig at their website when I wrote about Bristol-based SaaS website design software company BaseKit back in February 2014 (see BaseKit touches base with another £4.5m) as it now looks fit for purpose. A few months later they raised a further $7m (according to CrunchBase) and now BaseKit has secured £2.5m from debt finance company Boost&Co, who, it must be said, has a very decorative website.

Founded in 2008, BaseKit's tool kit is white-labelled by hosting, telco and internet companies for their customers to build their own websites with functionality such as mobile, e-commerce and social media capabilities.

BaseKit has raised over $25m in multiple equity funding rounds, so it's interesting to see that they have switched to debt finance for this round, I assume to avoid further equity dilution. It will be even more interesting to see, then, what the next step is.

Posted by Anthony Miller at '09:41' - Tagged: funding   startup  

Add a comment Add a comment Twitter   Facebook   LinkedIn   Email article link


Wednesday 21 February 2018

Posh rental search startup Homie locates more funds

logoThe answer to the FAQ on its website " Are you an estate agency or relocation service?" is " No. We are a property technology business". Errr – not quite. Homie (that's the London-based startup, not the US-based online real estate agency of the same name) is in fact a rental property search business, which uses real people to help punters find a flat in London. Oh, and there's an app for them to engage with Homie to start the search.

The Homie team has set its sights on the premium rental markets in London, including Fitzrovia, Mayfair, Notting Hill and Chelsea, as well as trendy 'tech' suburbs in and around the City. The basic service (search by app only) is free, but for a one-off payment of £88 you get a real person (a 'Homie' – did they really do their research on this?) who, if I read this right, schleps around London with you dispensing advice on the properties viewed.

Anyway, founded in 2016, Homie (the London one) has just raised a further $4m in a seed funding round led by Connect Ventures along with Seedcamp, Venture Friends and The Family. This brings the total raised so far to $6m.

According to a TechCrunch interview with founder Alex Eid, Homie (the London one) generates revenues from introductory commissions from real estate agents when they place a tenant. Typical customers include "first time renters who don’t understand the real estate market … and need to find a solution that best fits their limited budget". In which case they probably shouldn't be looking in Mayfair or Fitzrovia or …

As a property rental aggregator, Homie competes with Primelocation, OpenRent among many others, and of course Airbnb. Tough market to make a living in.

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

Add a comment Add a comment Twitter   Facebook   LinkedIn   Email article link


Wednesday 21 February 2018

Temenos seals the Fidessa deal

l1l2As we predicted yesterday when Temenos’s bid for Fidessa was announced, see Temenos takes a punt on Fidessa, the Fidessa management have now recommended the offer which provides a near 40% premium to the recent share price. The offer also values Fidessa at 4.3x revenue.

The enlarged group will have revenues of over US$1.2bn, an EBITDA margin of 32% and a good geographical spread, 42% in Europe, 29% in the Americas, 20% in Asia Pac and 9% in MEA.

The management is looking for US$60m of annual cost synergies. They also see substantial opportunity for cross-selling. Temenos will come to the capital markets at an early opportunity to reduce the Group debt.

Temenos will be keen to ensure that Fidessa’s core team of developers and domain experts are fully on-board with plans, but will transition them to the Swiss way of doing things. The Group expects job losses will be less than 5% across the organisation, mainly within the Finance, HR and IT departments. The Group HQ will be in Switzerland but the management of the Group’s capital markets division will largely remain here. The UK listing will be cancelled.

It’s 20 years since Fidessa was listed in the UK at £1.70 a share. Since then it has been the standard-bearer of many advances in capital markets, particularly enabling smaller players to compete with the big beasts on equal terms as far as technology is concerned. Recent years have been beset by “headwinds” as traders cut costs or closed after the 2008 Financial Crash, but Fidessa can still boast of a 15% CAGR. It looks as if the business will retain significant autonomy and should benefit from the scale, expertise and collective R&D of the Tenemos organisation. It is just such a pity that the London markets again lose a tech champion.

Posted by Peter Roe at '08:02' - Tagged: trading   acquisition   software   M&A   banking  

Add a comment Add a comment Twitter   Facebook   LinkedIn   Email article link


Wednesday 21 February 2018

ScaleUp Group helps set SHE Software en route to US

logoA great result for TechMarketView Great British Scaleup (GBS) programme Advisory Partner, ScaleUp Group, which was engaged by East Kilbride-based health and safety software firm SHE Software to raise funding for international expansion. ScaleUp Group has helped SHE close a £3m funding round, which was led by NVM Private Equity and also included participation by management and various ScaleUp Group entrepreneurs.

Founded in 1995, SHE already has offices in New Zealand and has set its sights on the US market where it will open a new office to employ 15 staff. SHE is also on track to double its 60-strong headcount at its Scotland HQ.

By the way, there will be eight more UK tech SMEs going through the third Great British Scaleup  programme next month – we will let you know more about them later. We will be scheduling the fourth GBS event for June, so if you think your company has scale-up potential, do drop a line to gbs@techmarketview.com and we will send you further information. Applications will open in April.

Posted by Anthony Miller at '08:00' - Tagged: funding  

Add a comment Add a comment Twitter   Facebook   LinkedIn   Email article link


Tuesday 20 February 2018

Building the experience: Valtech scoops up True Clarity

logoEcommerce, customer experience and Sitecore expertise came together when London-based but global digital agency Valtech acquired fellow UK digital agency True Clarity. The move underlines the on-going rise of digital agencies and their role in enabling digital transformation. True Clarity was advised on the transaction by M&A advisory firm Clarity. Terms of the deal were not disclosed.

With tech majors like Accenture investing significantly in this area, digital specialists are wise to band together to expand the skills base and create critical mass. With True Clarity in house Valtech, whose expertise includes data science and design thinking, adds brand names from retail and transport such as EasyJet, Dyson and ASOS to its portfolio.

As the sector evolves, the emphasis is shifting from ‘digital agency’ to ‘experience’ provision, reflecting the complex business problems that need to be addressed and the requirement for deeper back end capabilities, and that requires larger, multi skilled teams.

Posted by Angela Eager at '09:43' - Tagged: acquisition   digitalservices  

Add a comment Add a comment Twitter   Facebook   LinkedIn   Email article link


Tuesday 20 February 2018

Temenos takes a punt on Fidessa

logologo2Temenos, the Swiss-based banking and finance software provider, is considering a bid for Fidessa, the UK-quoted financial markets company. The proposed terms of £35.67 per share value Fidessa at c.£1.4bn, a 36% premium to the share’s recent level.

In its results, Fidessa highlighted the progress of its service-based platform and deepening customer relationships, anticipating some major new contracts and hinting at faster growth in 2019. Temenos management has recognised the value of their (complementary?) portfolio and market position and that a Fidessa deal presents an opportunity to build in financial markets and accelerate Temenos’s penetration of the US market.

In 2017 Temenos had revenues of US$737m (c.1.5x those of Fidessa) and EBIT of US$224m (2.5x Fidessa). The company is a leader in the digital transformation of banks, particularly smaller ones, with a broad platform-based portfolio and had emphasised its “razor-sharp” focus on this area. It is building in the larger banks via a growing partner ecosystem.

The Fidessa deal is a major change of strategy for Temenos.

Firstly, Temenos has little experience of the financial markets sell-side (although it provides wealth management products). Second, this move is far removed from Temenos’ historic (step-by-step) approach to M&A. The deal value also substantially exceeds the US$1bn they said was available for M&A. Finally, without significant cross-selling, it is hard to see Fidessa delivering Temenos’s 10-15% targeted revenue growth over the next few years.

Temenos has pitched its approach high enough to convince the Fidessa management to recommend the bid. Other companies and PE funds will run their slide rules over Fidessa, but we would not expect a serious counter-offer. So, although the Temenos management is taking on a major challenge, it would seem that the UK stockmarket is about to lose another tech giant.

Posted by Peter Roe at '09:37' - Tagged: trading   acquisition   software   M&A   banking  

Add a comment Add a comment Twitter   Facebook   LinkedIn   Email article link


Tuesday 20 February 2018

Atos and Jacobs in UK IoT push

LogoAtos is joining forces with Dallas-based technical, professional and construction services provider Jacobs Engineering Group to target the UK IoT market. Focused on predictive maintenance solutions, the non-exclusive collaboration seeks to harness Jacob’s industry knowledge with the IoT capabilities of Atos and their combined digital prowess to create opportunities in the energy, utilities, transportation and construction sectors.

The two organisations already have some experience of working together at Atomic Weapons Establishment (AWE), but more as client and provider (see here). The go-to-market partnership, however, marks a significant deepening of their relationship. It will aim to leverage parts of the Atos Codex portfolio of data & analytics services, together with Jacobs Connected Enterprise suite of offerings.

The move appears to make eminent sense in a space where technical strength alone is insufficient. In our recent report IoT: Time For IT Services Players To Accelerate Their Strategies we highlighted both the significance of the Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT) opportunity and the criticality of deep industry understanding as a key source of differentiation in this nascent, if busy and complex competitive arena.

Atos is by no means the first major service provider to strike industrial alliances to support its IIoT ambitions. Last year, for example, BT announced its partnership with OT/IT integration specialist Hitachi Vantara for the same purpose. Establishing the right ecosystem, however, will be a major determinant of success for those who choose to play in this rapidly evolving market.

Posted by Duncan Aitchison at '09:35' - Tagged: iot  

Add a comment Add a comment Twitter   Facebook   LinkedIn   Email article link


Tuesday 20 February 2018

Tracsis delivers a solid H1

Tracsis logoTraffic and transport data services provider Tracsis plc has had a strong start to FY18 (six months ended 31 January 2018) in line with management expectations.

Today's update reveals that revenue in H1 will be in excess of £18m, which means an improvement of at least 15% on the same period last year (H1 2017: £15.6m). It is also predicting an EBITDA of over £4.3m, up c.23% on H1 2017 (£3.5m).

At this point last year, the company's share price fell sharply after it revealed that increased price competition was having an impact on its Traffic & Data Services division and its gross margin (see Pricing pressure news hits Tracsis shares). Since then, the business has invested in a series of technology and process improvements.

Its Traffic & Data Services division has traded well in the first half of FY18. In H2 it will begin the adoption of its 'Felicity' software to support its video analytics work--this will further develop Tracsis' relationship with Vivacity Labs. In April last year Tracsis took a stake in Vivacity to help it tap into the potential of machine intelligence and sensor technology (see Tracsis takes stake in data player Vivacity). The technology should help Tracsis enhance efficiencies and improve margins in this part of the business.

During H1 Tracsis' other division, Rail Technology & Services, commenced delivery of its TRACS software for a major UK Train Operating Company, secured additional business for its Remote Condition Monitoring technology in the USA, and its OnTrac business won a number of bespoke railway software development deals.  

It's been a solid start to the year and with the integration of recent acquisitions, Travel Compensation Services and Delay Repay Sniper (see Tracsis invests in Delay Repay potential), going well, we can expect further progress in H2.

Posted by Dale Peters at '09:23' - Tagged: tradingupdate   resullts   H1   rail  

Add a comment Add a comment Twitter   Facebook   LinkedIn   Email article link


Tuesday 20 February 2018

Drone tracking raises Vodafone IoT profile

Vodafone pushes higher up the IoT stackVodafone’s trial of an air traffic control system for drones over its 4G network reaches new heights in the operator’s Internet of Things (IoT) strategy.

The aim is to track civilian drones too small to be picked up by radar which run the risk of collision with commercial aircraft and can be used for various types of criminal activity, such as narcotics distribution or even terrorist attacks. Predictions from the Single European Sky Air Traffic Management Research (SESAR) project indicate a growing problem, with these types of drone forecast to log more than 250m flying hours over the EU by 2050. Elsewhere PwC values the commercial market for business services using drones at over US$127bn.

Vodafone will work with the European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) to meet rigorous safety and regulatory requirements. In order to be tracked, registered drones will have to be fitted with 4G modems and SIM cards that show up on Vodafone’s radio positioning system (accurate within 50m). They will not require line of sight communications and air traffic controllers will have a way of overriding them to land or alter their flight path.

The 4G system will be tested in Spain and Germany this year. It won’t become a commercial reality until 2019 at the earliest - and let’s face it, the potential complications around airspace restrictions, signal interference and cyber threats suggest anything could happen in the meantime.

But if successful the trial could open a door to new revenue streams in transport IoT infrastructure for Vodafone (see our IoT: Network Providers Push to Supplant IT Services Players report) – not only in aviation, but other applications (luggage and bicycle tracking for example) which could benefit from cheaper, more efficient alternatives to GPS using networks run by terrestrial operators.

Posted by Martin Courtney at '09:09' - Tagged: aviation   Vodafone   drones  

Add a comment Add a comment Twitter   Facebook   LinkedIn   Email article link


Tuesday 20 February 2018

re:infer: $3.5m to intelligently automate email

logoEmails are part bane, part the oil of business communications and they’re not about to disappear so finding better ways to manage what are still largely manual comms processes has real appeal - $3.5m in fact. This is the amount Touchstone Innovations (part of IP Group) is putting into London start-up and UCL AI Lab spin out re:infer, in a funding round that also includes Crane Ventures and existing investors Seedcamp and AI expert Dr. Jason Kingdon.

re:infer’s speciality is using deep learning to automate interpretation and response to the unstructured content  within emails. The management team talks of cognitive automation and bringing perceptual capability to infrastructure, which sounds like the enterprise application of sentiment analysis combined with the ability to respond automatically. The value for business is being able to respond to emails in real time, at scale, driving up efficiency and (assuming it’s done correctly) customer satisfaction. Beyond that, the ability to aggregate and spot patterns within the treasure trove of email data (while ignoring the worthless) opens up further opportunities for businesses who want to understand their customers. Given that deep learning needs even more data than other machine learning techniques and some organisations are struggling to provide the necessary volume, it may be that email stores can come up trumps and provide an accessible use case for the application of deep learning.

Posted by Angela Eager at '09:06' - Tagged: funding   startup   software   AI   machinelearning   machineintelligence  

Add a comment Add a comment Twitter   Facebook   LinkedIn   Email article link



Monday 19 February 2018

Fospha: set to raise profile

Fospha logoIf you’ve heard of Blenheim Chalcot, it’s most likely as the parent company of Agilisys – see UKHotViews archive. However, the “venture builder”, which specialises in “building digital businesses that transform industries”, has numerous other companies under its wing. One of those is Fospha, a provider of marketing attribution and optimisation software.

Fospha has two bits of news. Firstly, in funding led by Blenheim Chalcot, it has raised £5.3m. Secondly, it has a new board member: Dan Cobley, former Google MD of UK & IE and a managing partner at Blenheim Chalcot.

Fospha states that “the new funding will be used for acceleration of product innovation and expansion of the company’s Customer Success, Sales & Marketing functions”. Fospha is not the only company focusing on analytics to optimise marketing endeavours. Indeed, just last week, we wrote about AdTech (see Adtech PowerLinks has foresight to raise £46m), which has developed a tech platform for the programmatic buying and selling of personally relevant and user-friendly native advertising.

Foshpa has its heritage in iJento, which was launched in 2000, offering a customer intelligence platform. iJento was merged with Fospha under Blenheim Chalcot a couple of years ago. But it now appears to be focusing in on its “multi-touch attribution solution”, which “analyses millions of rows of stitched customer data to assign and understand the partial value of every touchpoint in every step of every customer journey”. With much competition in the market, now is the right time to raise Fospha’s profile, and continue to invest in the machine learning technology embedded in its offering, in order to get ahead of the game. Fospha is also clear that the challenges facing marketers due to the introduction of GDPR will play into its hands – it is highlighting the company’s history of compliance in enterprise customer data engineering.

Posted by Georgina O'Toole at '09:43' - Tagged: funding   investment   marketing   management   analytics   machinelearning  

Add a comment Add a comment Twitter   Facebook   LinkedIn   Email article link


Monday 19 February 2018

Fidessa, still building

logoFidessa’s full-year figures disappointed somewhat after a solid half-year, see “Steady as she goes….”. Interims had been flattered by favourable currency movements and were accompanied by a more optimistic tone regarding new business opportunities. The full-year figures, published today, however reflect recent adverse currency movements. Reported revenue increased by 7% (up 12% at H1). The constant currency increase of 3% however shows progress, with underlying growth of 5% in the US business (Fidessa’s largest) and 2% in Asia (now c.20% of the total). UK and European revenue was flat. Profits were down 2% (cc) after the costs of moving the US HQ.

The introduction of MiFID II generated a lot of activity throughout 2017 as companies rushed to meet the January initial deadline, bringing greater transparency and placing onerous best-execution obligations onto sell-side players. Here, Fidessa looks to be playing a longer-term game, building its relationships with customers by absorbing transformation costs and only charging additional fees for new services. As Fidessa builds acceptance (and the network effect) of its service-based platform it anticipates being able to sell additional functionality in areas such as electronic execution and automation, particularly in derivatives trading. Management hold out the prospects of significant contracts in 2018 which should drive revenue, and margin, in 2019.

Fidessa should also increase the momentum of its platform-based solutions within the smaller sell-side players that have neither the scale nor technical resources to compete across a wide range of investment instruments. Progress in the buy-side community remains sluggish, but the underlying attractions of Fidessa’s approach continue to grow.

As financial markets become more competitive, more regulated and more complex, Fidessa should be in a strong position. We would expect similar levels of growth in 2018 but, like the company’s management, we are positive about medium-term progress.

Note: Subscribers to TechMarketView can read our 2017 HotViewsExtra on Fidessa’s strategy and also our report on “Building Utilities in Financial Markets”.

Posted by Peter Roe at '09:35' - Tagged: trading   platformbasedBPO   marketdata   regulation  

Add a comment Add a comment Twitter   Facebook   LinkedIn   Email article link


Monday 19 February 2018

Sopra Steria FY17: UK's 'wait and see' attitude

Sopra Steria logoSopra Steria has mirrored Capgemini’s commentary on market conditions in the UK. Like Capgemini – see Buoyant Capgemini finds the UK tough going – the UK business points to a lengthening in client decision making cycles in H117 due to a “wait and see” attitude. Brexit isn’t mentioned – but we can draw our own conclusions. However, that’s not the only factor that impacted UK performance in FY18 (to end December). As we have previously highlighted, one of Sopra Steria UK’s significant JVs – Shared Services Connect Limited (SSCL) – remains in a transition phase (a phase that is continuing in H118). The JV will face further challenges as UK Government embarks on its new shared services agenda – see Government Shared Services: Lacking courage or realistic?

The result in the UK was an organic decline in revenues of 7.7% to €801.7m. Exchange rate fluctuations pushed the decline further, to -13.6%. The UK operating margin was 6.6% vs. 8.0% in 2016. As well as lower volumes, the deterioration in margin was explained by a one-year migration postponement for an SSCL client.

It’s a case of ‘watch this space’ for the UK business – there is work to be done. The “repositioning plan”, launched last year, aims to refocus the model on “services with higher added value that also take greater advantage of digital opportunities”. Investment in consulting and sales teams is a big part of that. The aim is also for the business to be more balanced between the public and private sectors. This shift in emphasis will be undertaken alongside a cost-cutting exercise to generate savings of c€20m per year. The biggest challenge is going to be cultural – the UK business is learning to operate in a very different way compared to its historic ‘modus operandi', which was aimed at large multi-year outsourcing deals.

Meanwhile, the story for the Group as a whole is more positive. Sopra Steria set three-year targets in March 2015. And now, it is heralding the successful completion of the first phase in the construction of its post-merger model. FY17 revenue of €3.8b (up 3.5% organically) is within the target range of €3.8 to €4.0 billion. And the operating margin of 8.6% is within the 8.0%-9.0% range. The turnaround of underperforming segments (Germany and IT infrastructure management) and stronger contributions from ‘consulting’ and ‘software’ have helped the cause.

Posted by Georgina O'Toole at '09:01' - Tagged: results   shared+services   SI   digitaltransformation  

Add a comment Add a comment Twitter   Facebook   LinkedIn   Email article link


Monday 19 February 2018

* NEW RESEARCH * IPPs march towards non-linearity

chartThe leading Indian pure-plays (IPPs) are making steady if stately progress on the march towards 'non-linearity', with aggregate revenues rising faster than headcount for each of the past four quarters. In fact, some players ended the year with fewer employees than they had at the start - almost unheard of for offshore services companies.

This has of course resulted in a rise in employee productivity, though there remains a massive gap between the most productive IPP and the least. Meanwhile, operating margins continue their downward trend for the seventh successive quarter.

Most IPPs are quick to point out that their 'digital' services drive higher productivity and margin – but the bulk of their business remains increasingly commoditised services supporting clients' legacy applications and infrastructure.

TechMarketView Foundation Service subscribers can see the names and the numbers, as well as snapshots and summaries of the top-tier and mid-tier players, in the latest edition of OffshoreViews, out now.

Posted by HotViews Editor at '08:43' - Tagged: offshore  

Add a comment Add a comment Twitter   Facebook   LinkedIn   Email article link



Sunday 18 February 2018

Spreading the message

St AndrewsHeavens Above, it’s rare we get a press release from DDCMS embargoed until 00.01 Sunday 18th Feb 18. But this one was about church spires being used to boost digital connectivity in rural areas. Clearly they were waiting so that it could be delivered from pulpits across the land at Sunday matins.

The scheme has advantages for both congregation and churches alike. Particularly those parishes that struggle with the cost of maintenance. The Church of England has 16,000 church buildings - 65% in rural communities. Currently just 120 are being used to relay broadband or mobile service - so the potential is huge.

Actually, I think the idea is great. A Godsend - one might say. Indeed it would be heresy to say otherwise. The answer to the prayers of many and a blessing for many remote communities. I’m certainly happy to sing from Matt Hancock’s hymn sheet. Anything that can boost internet reception in deepest, darkest Surrey is to be praised. See my Friday 16th Feb 18 post - Starlink to bring internet access to deepest Surrey by 2024.

Footnote - Gives me the opportunity to use a photo I took of Farnham’s Parish Church -St Andrews - taken as we went into the Carol Service before Christmas.

Posted by Richard Holway at '17:43'

Add a comment Add a comment Twitter   Facebook   LinkedIn   Email article link




© TechMarketView LLP 2007-2018: Unauthorised reproduction prohibited see full Terms and Conditions.