HotViews Archive

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Collapse 2018 (51)2018 (51)
Collapse January (51)January (51)
TCS on a roll in life & pensions
16 Jan 2018
AI bests humans at reading comprehension
16 Jan 2018
Instem makes positive start to 2018
16 Jan 2018
Capita loses the Pru
16 Jan 2018
Communisis stays on track
16 Jan 2018
Trading update shows WANdisco is on form
16 Jan 2018
Anon AI secures £340k seed funding
16 Jan 2018
Hambro Perks joins The Dots with £4m funding round
16 Jan 2018
Sage has clear opportunity as Open Banking arrives
16 Jan 2018
Resurgent NCC Group grows H1 revenue 4%
16 Jan 2018
Divorce, technology style with Amicable!
16 Jan 2018
Government shared services: lacking courage or realistic?
15 Jan 2018
Tax Systems signal steady progress
15 Jan 2018
ATTRAQT CEO steps down
15 Jan 2018
Carillion's demise is ultimately bad for all Public-sector outsourcers
15 Jan 2018
Previse gets funding to go north of the border
15 Jan 2018
**NEW RESEARCH** Open Banking - It's Alive!
15 Jan 2018
Pentech pays attention to Digital Fineprint
15 Jan 2018
ARE YOU READY TO BECOME THE NEXT GREAT BRITISH SCALEUP?
15 Jan 2018
Plum Guide gets £5.7m to find you posh home lets
14 Jan 2018
Transamerica banks on TCS’ BaNCS
14 Jan 2018
Infosys holds steady as Parekh takes helm
14 Jan 2018
Disappointing end of year for SDL
12 Jan 2018
Leveling the playing field
12 Jan 2018
Azzure IT receives £2m in funding
12 Jan 2018
** NEW RESEARCH ** Cyber Security Supplier Prospects 2018
12 Jan 2018
Sparse month for UK tech M&A
12 Jan 2018
Stately progress for TCS
11 Jan 2018
Accenture extends reality with Mackevision
11 Jan 2018
Vermeg swoops in for Lombard Risk Management
11 Jan 2018
BT adds IBM to Cloud Connect Direct ecosystem
11 Jan 2018
Deloitte creates legal ructions with technology
11 Jan 2018
NOMINATIONS OPEN – GREAT BRITISH SCALEUP EVENT MARCH 2018
11 Jan 2018
BT Pension Scheme says goodbye to Accenture
10 Jan 2018
CityStasher bags $1.1m to stash your baggage
10 Jan 2018
Concentrix reaches the $2 billion mark
10 Jan 2018
Amiko uses AI to help asthma sufferers
10 Jan 2018
Ideagen expands use of Q-Pulse in NHS
10 Jan 2018
Collaboration at heart of Salesforce's Attic Labs acq
10 Jan 2018
PwC puts worker bees on drones
10 Jan 2018
**NEW RESEARCH** Financial Services Supplier Prospects 2018
10 Jan 2018
Live Love Work Prosper
09 Jan 2018
KODAKCoin - World gone mad...
09 Jan 2018
May's cabinet reshuffle: most interesting moves
09 Jan 2018
Were you responsible for the new online Passport Renewal Application?
09 Jan 2018
Northgate Public Services ready to ‘run’ with NEC
09 Jan 2018
**NEW RESEARCH** Cloud and Infrastructure Services Supplier Prospects 2018
09 Jan 2018
Endava adds Velocity to its global ambitions
09 Jan 2018
Gresham Technologies continues on a roll
09 Jan 2018
Micro Focus - The day after
09 Jan 2018
Portfolio opportunities for board-level dealmakers in technology
09 Jan 2018

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Tuesday 16 January 2018

TCS on a roll in life & pensions

TCSWe reported earlier that long-standing Capita life and pensions client Prudential was off for pastures new (Capita loses the Pru). We now know that the Prudential contract will be transferring to TCS / Diligenta as of 31st July 2018.

TCS is riding high in life and pensions, capitalising on the strength of its BaNCS platform which is proving to be extremely compelling in the market as both new first-time outsources and second-generation deals look to digitally transform. In the last six months TCS / Diligenta has won big, with Lloyds coming across in September (Lloyds moves more jobs to TCS) and Transamerica signing on just last week (Transamerica banks on TCS’ BaNCS).

The Prudential deal is a 10-year contract worth over £500m supporting some four million customer policies. At circa £50m revenue per year it is a smaller annual contract than the £80m Capita received in 2017. These planned for annual savings demonstrate the ambition of the upcoming digital transformation programme.

TCS’s digital expertise and its ability to deploy its BaNCS platform to digitise front, mid and back-office operations will have been crucial in winning this contract, which will see 1,100 roles in the UK and 700 offshore in India transfer over from Capita. In addition, TCS will also pick up some 180 roles from Prudential’s internal IT operations which will TUPE across to support the digital transformation.

TCS currently has real momentum in life and pensions just as the market kicks back into life in a big way. TechMarketView will be visiting Diligenta’s headquarters in Peterborough in a few weeks’ time and we’ll bring you more then.

Posted by Marc Hardwick at '12:45' - Tagged: lifeandpensions   Capita  

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Tuesday 16 January 2018

AI bests humans at reading comprehension

logologoThe news that Alibaba and Microsoft algorithms have both squeaked past humans on the Stanford Question Answering Dataset that tests reading comprehension is another breakthrough for machine intelligence (specifically deep neural networks). And because it relates to the difficult area of comprehension, aruguably it even goes beyond the computing power and memory fueled ‘Go’ achievement.

Although there are plenty of natural language processing AI challenges remaining and we can say the AI doesn’t comprehend in the same way a human does, the breakthrough brings the inevitable - mainstream deployment of conversational AI systems in customer facing scenarios – closer (we highlighted maintream bots in Enterprise Software Predictions 2018). Given the current level of development, we need a way to assess AI systems and the Stanford test is widely accepted but a long range question is whether we should be assessing AI on tests designed for humans, given that AI operates differently so can potentially do more things and do them differently to how a human would. Don't human-centric tests limit AI systems? (Let’s not get into the relevant but complex discussion about transparency in this HotView). 

The other significant development was that through Alibaba it was China who was the first to beat the human Stanford dataset score. There is a race to lead the machine intelligence market because of the economic, political and security spoils. 

Posted by Angela Eager at '10:01' - Tagged: software   AI   machineintelligence  

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Tuesday 16 January 2018

Instem makes positive start to 2018

Instem logoShares in Instem hit a high of almost 30% above yesterday’s close this morning (185p) after it announced a significant new contract win and confirmed a positive trading outlook.

For a number of years, the AIM-listed provider of IT solutions to the global life sciences market has been anticipating a substantial uplift in 2018 in the volume of SEND ("Standard for the Exchange of Nonclinical Data") studies required following a mandate by the US Federal Drugs Administration (FDA). This trend should benefit Instem, which has a SEND services business and SaaS-based technology platform to support it.  Today’s contract win provides welcome evidence of the anticipated uplift – the SME believes it has signed the largest ever outsourced SEND services contract, a deal with a top five global nonclinical contract research organisation worth more than £1.7m over the initial two-year period. Indeed, CEO Phil Reason confirms that Instem is already contracted to deliver five times more SEND assignments in 2018 than it completed in 2017.

This contract win is a good start to FY18 for Instem, which, according to today’s trading update, closed FY17 (to end December) “in-line with market expectations”. After a slower than expected first half (Instem H1: New COO shakes up business) when profits suffered, the second half was reportedly much stronger. Revenue increases and expense reductions (cost savings of £0.75m were achieved in the second half) delivered an increase in full-year profit. Net cash as at 31 December was £3.1m (2016: £4.2m). We’ll know more when the full year results are announced in due course.

Posted by Tola Sargeant at '09:49' - Tagged: trading   contract   pharma   lifesciences  

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Tuesday 16 January 2018

Capita loses the Pru

CapitaMore bad news from Capita this morning that long-standing life and pensions client the Prudential will be transferring to a new supplier on 31st July 2018.

This will be particularly painful for Capita as the Prudential has been a longstanding partner for over 10 years and remains one of its largest clients, contributing revenues of around £80m a year. Capita will however continue to administer Prudential's international operations.

We are seeing the life and pensions market return to activity after a few quiet years with both new first-generation deals coming to market and existing agreements return in search of greater innovation. Whilst Capita remains by far and away the largest player in the sector, it is facing increased competition from the likes of TCS / Diligenta and Atos both of which have been winning new deals over the last year or so (see Transamerica banks on TCS’ BaNCS and Atos secures £200m BPS partnership with Aegon).

The Prudential announcement is also not related to discussions with a separate life and pensions client previously disclosed in Capita’s half year results, which may lead to the continuation of the contract with amended terms or its termination.

Posted by Marc Hardwick at '09:42' - Tagged: lifeandpensions   Capita  

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Tuesday 16 January 2018

Communisis stays on track

CommunisisA trading update this morning from integrated marketing services provider Communisis, shows the company to be on track to deliver full year results in line with expectations.

The good progress shown in the first six months of the year (Communisis, managing the transition) has continued with growth seen in sales and profitability and with a further reduction in net debt to £24.3m (£30.4m in 2016).

Communisis continues to look well-positioned to provide a broader range of services under the “digital” banner and further validates CEO Andy Blundell’s strategy to focus the business on becoming a digital provider of “personalised customer communication services”.

Highlights include the resigning of one its major UK high street banking clients to a five-year digital transformation deal and the expansion of its North-East operations to meet the demand for campaign fulfilment from the UK spirits sector.

Expansion into continental Europe remains an important growth stream and trading appears to have been particularly strong in France, Spain and Poland.

Progress has also been made to reduce the deficit related to its Defined Benefit pension scheme to £38m (£55.5m in 2016).

We will report in more detail when full year results are published on 8th March.

Posted by Marc Hardwick at '09:08' - Tagged: results   communisis  

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Tuesday 16 January 2018

Trading update shows WANdisco is on form

logoFollowing the H117 of ‘Plenty of positive firsts’, WANdisco kept the growth going in H2 with bookings up 28% yoy to $12.3m, resulting in record bookings across FY17 of $22.5m, a 45% increase. Today’s trading update signals a company back on form after some dire times.

What is particularly notable is WANdisco’s ability to move with the fast changing market it operates in, first with the introduction of Wandisco Fusion ‘Active Data Replication’ some years ago and more recently making the shift from a Hadoop focus towards the provision of a general data replication platform which has usefully expanded its addressable market. It has also expanded its partner channel which is also delivering results.

The company is still a two division operation – Fusion and Source Code Management – with the latter only performing in line with expectations but this is effectively WANdisco’s legacy business because the future lies with Fusion and after a painful period it is experiencing a growth spurt.

Posted by Angela Eager at '09:05' - Tagged: software   bigdata   tradingupdate  

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Tuesday 16 January 2018

Anon AI secures £340k seed funding

Anon AI secures £340k seed fundingUK-based cyber security start-up Anon AI raised £340k in pre-seed funding from a combination of sources, including the UCL Technology Fund, the London Co-Invested Fund, AI Seed and Ascencion Ventures.

Cisco is named as an advisor, and also sponsored the Elevator Pitch Award won by Anon AI in October last year.

That is a process that could offer real advantage for companies that need to keep close control over personal information they store, process and transmit to comply with new and existing data protection regulation (including the GDPR).

London-based Privatar – which closed US$16m of Series A funding back in July – takes a similar approach, and we expect to see more security tools designed to separate personal identifiers from other data to protect privacy and aid compliance emerge over the coming year.

Anon AI will use the money to improve its prototype and build a developer tool within the UCL community.

Posted by Martin Courtney at '09:02' - Tagged: funding   startup   cybersecurity   Cisco   AnonAI  

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Tuesday 16 January 2018

Hambro Perks joins The Dots with £4m funding round

logoIt’s a bold move to try to disrupt the disruptors, but that’s what innovation – and spotting a gap in the market – is all about. The disruptee in this case is LinkedIn and the budding disruptor, London-based startup The Dots, which is building a social network-cum-recruitment portal for ‘creatives’ - the so-called ‘no-collar’ workers.

Founded in 2014, The Dots recently raised £4m in a funding round led by Hambro Perks. Founder and ex-TV marketing exec Pip Jamieson had raised seed funding of £1.5m in 2015 through advertising guru Sir John Hegarty, who became The Dots’ chairman.

Like LinkedIn, The Dots operates a ‘freemium’ business model, charging employers for recruitment ads, with clients including BBC, Warner Music, and Airbnb. I must say that its website is very well designed and much more ‘of the moment’ than LinkedIn’s tired look. Though not a ‘creative’ myself (some might disagree), it looks like it would attract the right community. No Collars rule, OK!

Posted by Anthony Miller at '09:01' - Tagged: funding   startup  

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Tuesday 16 January 2018

Sage has clear opportunity as Open Banking arrives

logoThe Open Banking revolution that is beginning to break out across the UK and Europe (see yesterday’s report, “Open Banking – it’s Alive”) is providing a huge opportunity for global accounting software provider Sage to play a substantive role in helping its SME customers manage their money and finances more efficiently.

Seamus Smith, the Sage EVP Global Payments and Banking, estimates that the value of receivables and payables passing through the company’s accounting packages is of the order of £3trillion per year. This underlines the scale of the opportunity for Sage.

The move to sell its US payments processing business last year was part of the repositioning of its Global Payments and Banking business, embracing a forward-looking strategy to take advantage of the forthcoming changes in regulation, Sage’s broader market position and its successful transition programme.

We see this opportunity to play a greater role in managing the payments and wider finances of its customers being realised in three ways. Adding links to payment service provider and acquirer partners into its software can facilitate an easier and quicker payments process for the customer. Wider liquidity management can be enabled as Sage can connect across multiple bank accounts (enabled by Open Banking) and Sage can also link with specialist providers to offer more intelligent management of payments and cash across the wider ecosystem of Sage users. In addition, Sage has access to masses of data about trading behaviour that could be used to support client on-boarding, lending decisions and liquidity management.

Sage has a clear vision as to how it can act as a digital aggregator of payments activity and an enabler of value added services into its worldwide customer base as regulations open up the banking sector. There is a substantial opportunity here.

Posted by Peter Roe at '08:43' - Tagged: payments   banking   regulation   software.  

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Tuesday 16 January 2018

Resurgent NCC Group grows H1 revenue 4%

Resurgent NCC Group grows H1 revenue 4%Cyber security specialist NCC Group saw healthy revenue growth in the first half, up 4% organically yoy to £118m, buoyed by the strong performance of its core Assurance division which now represents 84% (£99m) of the company’s turnover.

The total H118 figure does not include the £12m revenue (H117 £16m) recorded by NCC’s web performance and software testing businesses, currently up for sale as NCC narrows its focus to cyber security, risk mitigation and business continuity services.

That divestiture is just one element of a broader restructuring after a strategic review last year. New CEO Adam Palser took the helm on December 1st, and the Assurance division has been re-organised along geographic lines (UK, North America, Netherlands and Denmark). The Group’s sales structure/go-to-market approach has also been revamped to focus on professional services and specific verticals such as hardware and automotive.

NCC's net debt shrank 9% to £44m in H118, but operating profit fell 11% to £6.6m yoy. This was largely due to higher spending associated with NCC’s relocation to its new Manchester HQ (which incurred £3.7m capex) and investment in its Centre for Evolved Next Generation Threat Assurance (CENTA), a new global advisory practice and security testing centre aimed at public sector organisations and regulated industries.

Management is confident those overheads will stabilise in H218 however, with NCC also striving to improve the effectiveness and efficiency of its internal business processes to help margins.

All in all we think NCC is now making good progress after its poor performance last year (subscribers to our SecureConnectViews research stream can access our Cyber Security Supplier Prospects 2018 report here) but much will depend on how well demand for its core cyber security and business continuity services holds up over the next 12 months.

Posted by Martin Courtney at '08:34' - Tagged: results   cybersecurity   H1   NCCGroup  

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Tuesday 16 January 2018

Divorce, technology style with Amicable!

logoThere are plenty of apps to match you with your ideal partner, and now there’s one to help you untie the knot. London-based startup Amicable offers app-driven fixed price divorces for those couples that want to take the DIY approach. Founded in 2015 and launched in 2017, Amicable has raised just shy of £500k through angel investment club Qventures, its second round of funding.

Amicable’s website trumpets “an amicable divorce … from as little as £300”, based on its Basic Divorce Service (no financial or childcare arrangements) at £100 p.m. for 3 months, rising to £475 p.m. for 3 months for the full service (do all divorces only take 3 months?), though it is not clear whether this is per person or per couple. Court fees are additional, though the cost includes fees for its partner law firm that does the final paperwork. This contrasts, Amicable claims, with a typical £8k bill for a ‘traditional’ divorce.

Amicable also aims to address many of the important issues that may arise during the process, including “Who keeps the cat? All your pet custody questions answered”.

OK, it’s easy to take the Michael, but co-founders Pip Wilson and Kate Daly believe there is a market for quickie-style, self-service ‘amicable’ divorces and so there may be. But besides the obvious question of ‘can they make money?’, what happens, I wonder, if ‘amicable’ turns ‘nasty’?

Posted by Anthony Miller at '08:22' - Tagged: funding   startup  

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Monday 15 January 2018

Government shared services: lacking courage or realistic?

Shared Services_Future Tech RoadmapWe were promised that the UK Government’ shared services strategy would be reinvigorated. And at the end of last week, the Cabinet Office launched its new agenda, setting a direction for the next ten years. The response on Twitter was far from positive; one digital government journalist (@ad_greenway) stated, “The most disappointing document the UK government has put out in at least 7 years”. His tweet was retweeted 59 times and liked 129 times.

The reason for the criticism? Mainly that there is a persistent commitment to the use of the large traditional ERP players: SAP and Oracle. The third platform to be developed will be a “cheaper alternative for smaller departments”. Unit 4’s Agresso platform, which was the original platform for the DfT shared services centre, but is now only used at DiFID, doesn’t get a mention in the forward view.

The ten-year roadmap is not bold enough for some. But if we are to be kinder, it would be to say that the strategy is, instead, realistic. Read more...

Posted by Georgina O'Toole at '09:59' - Tagged: public+sector   centralgovernment   erp   bpo   sharedservices   government  

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Monday 15 January 2018

Tax Systems signal steady progress

logoOSMO acquirer and supplier of corporation tax software and services, Tax Systems have updated the market on their trading. Full calendar year results are expected in April.

It looks as if things are progressing in line with their positive half-year statement, benefiting from a broader base of operations and improved prospects as the industry accelerates its progress towards automation and digitisation. The company also benefits from a high level of recurring revenue and a stable customer base. Although the company still has some £20m of debt in its balance sheet, there is the prospect of faster growth and some more inorganic additions to the group’s portfolio.

Posted by Peter Roe at '09:45' - Tagged: software   financialservices  

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Monday 15 January 2018

ATTRAQT CEO steps down

logoATTRAQT, the online merchandising software firm, has announced that André Brown has stepped down from his role of CEO with immediate effect. Nick Habgood, the non-exec Chairman, will stand in while a new CEO is recruited.

This move follows on from a negative trading statement at the end of October, which saw revenue guidance for the full calendar year cut by 10%. Since then, trading and order intake have been in line with the updated guidance. Full year results will be announced on March 8th which should see revenue around £13.6m, although the lower growth will depress expectations for 2018.

André Brown was one of the business’s original founders and when we met him last year was extremely enthusiastic about the company’s prospects, particularly after the bold acquisition of the significantly larger competitor Fredhopper, a year ago. Although details of the fall from grace are not forthcoming, it looks as if this deal has not worked out as well as expected – at least as far as André’s position in a much larger and more complex organisation is concerned.

Posted by Peter Roe at '09:42' - Tagged: ecommerce   retail  

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Monday 15 January 2018

Carillion's demise is ultimately bad for all Public-sector outsourcers

CarillionThe crisis at construction and outsourcing group Carillion has resulted in today’s announcement that it has entered into compulsory liquidation with immediate effect.

Carillion has issued three profit warnings in six months as it struggled with £900m of debt and a £590m pension deficit. Problems have stemmed in part from cost overruns on public-private partnerships including: the £350m Midland Metropolitan Hospital in Birmingham, the £335m Royal Liverpool University Hospital and the £745m Aberdeen bypass.

What happens to these and other key Public-sector contracts remains for now unclear but Chairman Phillip Green said this morning “We understand that HM Government will be providing the necessary funding required by the Official Receiver to maintain the public services carried on by Carillion staff, subcontractors and suppliers."

Carillion may no longer be a standalone SITS provider, having sold its IT services arm to Capita some years ago (see here), but its demise is still likely to have an impact on the wider sector.

Both ‘blue and white-collar’ Public sector outsourcing remain controversial with some, and the demise of one of its leading suppliers gives ammunition to those wishing to taint the entire sector as guilty by association. It also proves right the fundamentals, that any risk transfer to the private sector is only ultimately as safe as the strength of the provider’s balance sheet. Which begs the question as to why contracts were still being awarded to Carillion even after recent profit warnings.

The demise of Carillion is sad but perhaps predictable as it has suffered from a muddled strategy for some time. Outsourcers are ultimately judged by growth, requiring new contracts to be added on a regular basis. This in turn leads some into an increasing range of new areas taking on ever greater risks with the potential for disastrous consequences.

Posted by Marc Hardwick at '09:25' - Tagged: public+sector   publicsector   carillion  

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Monday 15 January 2018

Previse gets funding to go north of the border

logoThere are few challenges more critical to small business success (indeed survival!) than getting paid on time, and this is what London-based startup Previse aims to help with. When I wrote about Previse’s seed funding round last July I did rather get the wrong end of the stick, which the company kindly alerted me to and their comment is published in full on our website (see Fintech Previse scores £2m for buyer scorecard).

And now it’s onwards and northwards for Previse, which has just received a £800k R&D grant from Scottish Enterprise to set up a new development centre in Glasgow, creating 37 new data science jobs, and from where it plans to start rolling out its first instant-payments programme with a number of blue chip multinational buyers.

It is ironic that as a small business ourselves TechMarketView often gets paid more promptly by our SME clients than by some of the largest multinationals (no names, no pack-drill), especially when procurement and accounts payable departments reside in far-away lands. There are notable exceptions, for which we are truly grateful (Amen). But whether platforms such as Previse can alleviate what appears to be systemic payment bottlenecks in large organisations would likely depend more on corporate policy than on technology.

Posted by Anthony Miller at '08:32' - Tagged: funding   startup  

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Monday 15 January 2018

**NEW RESEARCH** Open Banking - It's Alive!

cover2018 is going to be a year when a tidal wave of regulatory change hits the banking sector, with the EU’s Payment Services Directive 2 (PSD 2)/Open Banking and the EU General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) both launching in the first half.

The first to go live was the UK’s Open Banking initiative, which came into operation this weekend, requiring the UK’s nine largest banks to open up their data and payment rails to authorised third parties. We covered the regulations in detail in our report Open Banking & PSD 2 , but the key question now is whether this is going to be a damp squib, a charter for cyber-criminals or a revolution in the way we bank?

It is important for SITS suppliers to the financial services industry to be fully briefed on the factors that are in play, so that they can anticipate the needs of their Financial Services clients and help them think through the impacts of Open Banking and how to deal with them.

Subscribers to FinancialServicesViews can access our latest FinTech report “Open Banking – It’s Alive”, here. If you don’t yet subscribe to this research stream, please contact Deb Seth on dseth@techmarketview.com

Posted by Peter Roe at '08:07' - Tagged: banking   regulation   FinTech  

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Monday 15 January 2018

Pentech pays attention to Digital Fineprint

logoYou should always pay attention to the fine print, and that is exactly what VC Pentech Ventures has done, leading a £2m funding round for London-based insuretech startup Digital Fineprint. New backer Force Over Mass also participated along with existing investors.

Spun out of Oxford University in 2016, Digital Fineprint, which has developed a social media analytics platform for lead generation in the insurance sector, raised seed funding a year ago (see Investors accept the Digital Fineprint).

Insuretech/insurtech is hot, hot, hot (see The problem with ‘insuretechs’ (or is that ‘insurtechs’?)! If you can think of a risk you want to insure against, there’s probably a startup out there working on it!

Posted by Anthony Miller at '07:56' - Tagged: funding   startup   insuretech   insurtech  

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Monday 15 January 2018

ARE YOU READY TO BECOME THE NEXT GREAT BRITISH SCALEUP?

We can help you find out – and show you how to get there!

logoThe TechMarketView Great British Scaleup programme has already helped several UK tech SMEs test their readiness to scale up further and faster using the ScaleUp Growth Index®, a proprietary scorecard which identifies areas of your business that might be an inhibitor to achieving extraordinary growth. Unlike traditional company scorecards which typically measure past financial performance, the ScaleUp Growth Index® assesses your company’s future scale-up potential.

logoYou can find out your potential too by applying to participate in the third Great British Scaleup Event (GBS3), to be held in London on Tuesday 6th and Wednesday 7th March 2018. Successful applicants will be invited to participate in a CEO-level closed-door 90-minute workshop session with TechMarketView research directors and executive advisors from ScaleUp Group, the team of successful tech entrepreneurs that have been responsible for accelerating growth and achieving over £4b in successful exits at many well-known tech companies.

Using the ScaleUp Growth Index®, the workshop will measure your company’s scale-up potential in key areas including solution opportunity and competitiveness, business and financial model, and executive leadership to provide you with a baseline to grow from. You can then use the Index to track your progress as you implement your scale-up plans.

logoIn addition, every applicant, whether selected for GBS3 or not, will be entitled to an optional initial infrastructure assessment at no charge and with no obligation by managed cloud and infrastructure services firm Cogeco Peer 1, the Enterprise Cloud & Infrastructure Services Technology Partner for the Great British Scaleup programme.

There are 4 workshop slots available on each of the two days of the GBS3 event. To nominate yourself or a company you know, please fill in the Nomination Form on the TechMarketView website here by Wednesday 31st January 2018. There is no charge to participate, nor any obligation to follow through on the outcomes.

Apply now and let us help you get better prepared for the next stage of your scale-up journey

If you have any queries about the Great British Scaleup programme, please drop an email to gbs@techmarketview.com or call TechMarketView Managing Partner Anthony Miller (020 3002 8463).

Posted by HotViews Editor at '06:00'

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Sunday 14 January 2018

Plum Guide gets £5.7m to find you posh home lets

logoHyperbole worthy of Pseuds’ Corner in Private Eye abounds on the website of UK startup The Plum Guide, as it extols the artistry (I kid you not) behind its holiday home curation platform. Nonetheless, it’s a neat idea though I do wonder how a startup is able to engage what must be a huge team of ‘Home Critics’ to visit and vet “against 150 criteria” each and every property (over 1,000 so far) that is advertised on its website. The ‘shortlist’ is sourced from a scan of a couple of dozen home let websites to look for the best reviewed properties “remov(ing) anything that is in a dull neighbourhood or that has poor design aesthetics”, don’t you know.

Launched in 2016, The Plum Guide has raised £5.7m in a Series A round backed by Octopus Ventures, Local Globe, BGF Ventures and the founders of Secret Escapes, Zoopla, and Love Film. The startup had previously raised over £2m in seed funding according to CrunchBase.

I can see the attraction in a ‘Michelin Guide for holiday homes’ so long as you can rely on the recommendations. Oh, and make money too!

Posted by Anthony Miller at '19:18' - Tagged: funding   startup  

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Sunday 14 January 2018

Transamerica banks on TCS’ BaNCS

logoOutsourcing megadeals are still alive, if not kicking, witness the $2b+ multiyear contract just signed by Mumbai-based offshore services market leader TCS with US insurer Transamerica.

TCS will be migrating Transamerica’s systems to its proprietary BaNCS package, the platform supporting its UK-based policy processing subsidiary, Diligenta, marking its entrée into the US Insurance Third Party Administration marketplace. TCS will take on some 2,200 Transamerica employees who will remain located in their home cities. Transamerica is itself a subsidiary of Netherlands-headquartered insurer Aegon.

This is a landmark contract for TCS both in terms of size – its largest ever – and market potential. TechMarketView will be visiting Diligenta’s headquarters in Peterborough in the next few weeks and we’ll bring you more then.

Posted by Anthony Miller at '18:05' - Tagged: offshore   contract   megadeal  

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Sunday 14 January 2018

Infosys holds steady as Parekh takes helm

logoEx-Capgemini exec Salil Parekh officially took the helm at Bangalore-based services major, Infosys on 2nd January (see Murthy “happy” with new Infosys CEO) with the business on course to finish the FY (31st March) at prior ‘guidance’ of revenues at or around $11b.

There seemed to be no surprises in the quarter just closed (FY Q3 to 31st Dec.) with headline revenues up 8% yoy to $2.76b, 1% higher qoq, growth rates much in line with peer leader TCS (see Stately progress for TCS). Infosys’ operating margin also held steady at 24.3%, a tad up on the prior quarter and a tad down yoy.

This is about as close to ‘strong and stable’ as Parekh could hope for as he prepares to present his strategy to revitalise this offshore services 'fallen angel'.

Posted by Anthony Miller at '17:23' - Tagged: results   offshore  

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Friday 12 January 2018

Disappointing end of year for SDL

logoThe latest year end trading update from SDL shows its journey continues to be a rough one as it confirmed the deal slippage (i.e. several deals failed to close before December 31) that led it to a profits warning in December. One positive sign is that discussions with those customers are ongoing. It was also impacted by a faster than expected shift to SaaS which caused a £1m-£2m dent in revenues across the year and had costs of £3.5m, largely related to restructuring activities.

As a result, the provider of content management and language translation software and services is expecting to report Adjusted EBITDA of £22m (after R&D capitalisation of £2.5m) on revenue up 8% yoy to £285m, with net cash of £22m, which compares poorly to H1 performance.

For a company ending year two of a three year transformation plan, where 2017 was designated the year for execution after extensive restructuring and asset divestment that included returning to its roots of language translation and technology, it is disappointing. Looking for glimmers of positivity, we can see that gross margins in the Language Services division improved in the second half of 2017 so there is something to build on. Full results are due for release on March 6 2018. 

Posted by Angela Eager at '09:31' - Tagged: software   tradingupdate  

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Friday 12 January 2018

Leveling the playing field

FBRegular readers will know that, although I am a prolific user of social media and online services in general, I am dismayed at the effect it has had on other media that is dear to me. I have oft-quoted our local paper - the Farnham Herald - which has real reporters who vet both stories and ads. But they have suffered as their classified advertising has moved online.

Whatever Facebook may say it is a media outlet. Yet it seemed to think it was not subject to all the rules, regulations and moral obligations of more conventional media. Why should it have any responsibility for the items it carries as it curates none of it? Very convenient as vetting news items costs a lot of money as, even in these days of AI, it requires a lot of new hires.

So the news today that Facebook has agreed to pay compensation to a 14 year old girl whose naked photographs were posted on the site, is something of a landmark. The pictures were posted on a so-called ‘Shame page’ on Facebook in 2014 and 2016 after she was blackmailed and the photos posted as revenge. The girl sought damages for misuse of private information, negligence and breach of the DPA.

Of course, these images would never have got as far as being published in the Farnham Herald because real people would have stopped it. If they had for some reason been published, the law would have been down on the Farnham Herald like a ton of bricks. As I said before, I strongly believe that Facebook - and other social media -  should be subject to all the rules, regulations and moral obligations that apply to the ‘conventional media’. This case is an important step towards levelling the playing field.

For more on this story, see Daily Telegraph, The Times and other reports. 

Posted by Richard Holway at '09:14'

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Friday 12 January 2018

Azzure IT receives £2m in funding

AzzureAzzure IT a Sheffield based reseller of Microsoft Dynamics has received £2m in funding from NPIF – Mercia Equity Finance, part of the Northern Powerhouse Investment Fund.

Founded in 2011, by Craig (the current MD) and Sharon Such, Azzure IT targets small and medium sized businesses and not-for-profits with Microsoft Dynamics CRM and ERP solutions. The company now employs 57 people with offices in Sheffield, Reading and Newcastle.

Azzure has over 150 customers across a diverse range of sectors including manufacturing, distribution and professional services. Clients include the Labour Party, charity RNIB and Forgings the component manufacturer.

Azzure will use the funds to strengthen its management team, recruit more implementation consultants and expand its sales and marketing operations.

Posted by Marc Hardwick at '09:02' - Tagged: azzure  

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Friday 12 January 2018

** NEW RESEARCH ** Cyber Security Supplier Prospects 2018

Cyber Security Supplier Prospects 2018Out now is the “Cyber Security Supplier Prospects 2018” report, which looks at the Top Ten UK players (by revenue), and assesses what they need to do to be successful in 2018 and beyond.

A dangerous cocktail of expanding cyber threats, a shrinking skills base and new data protection regulation is putting pressure on UK enterprise IT departments which need to safeguard their systems, applications and data from theft, disruption and unauthorised access.

Many need suppliers able to give them an integrated framework of cyber security hardware and software infrastructure and associated advisory services to strengthen their defences and reduce their spiralling security management overhead.

The report analyses the challenges those UK cyber security players now face in meeting that demand whilst maintaining their position in a fast moving, competitive market. It also pinpoints the looming obstacles and opportunities that could hamper or boost their progress and profitability over the coming years.

This report should be read alongside TechMarketView’s Security Supplier Ranking 2017 and forthcoming Cyber Security Market Trends and Forecasts (2017-2020) reports.

If you would like to access the report (authored by Principal Analyst Martin Courtney) and are not currently a subscriber to our SecureConnectViews research stream, please contact Deb Seth on dseth@techmarketview.com.

Posted by Martin Courtney at '09:00' - Tagged: cybersecurity   Suppliers  

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Friday 12 January 2018

Sparse month for UK tech M&A

chartAlthough there were fewer European TMT M&A transactions announced in December, there were 21 deals valued at more than $100m including 5 in excess of $1b, according to latest data from rom corporate finance firm Regent Partners. This helped lift the aggregate value to $32b in the month. Valuation multiples remain healthy with the aggregate Price/Sales ratio up from 1.3x in November to 1.4x in December but the Price/EBITDA ratio was down from 10.0x in November to 9.3x.

None of the megadeals involved UK software and IT services companies. Indeed it was a rather quiet month on the home front, with UK deals including First Derivatives’ acquisition of Spain’s Telconomics, and buy-and-build play Castleton Technology buying again, this is time Australia’s Kinetic Information Systems.

There were also a couple  of salvage deals for UK startups, with now US-owned quick-response delivery platform Henchman buying the remnants of failed Jinn (see Henchman provides tonic for flat Jinn), and Chicago-based Victory Park Capital moving from backer to owner of UK-based ‘posh e-pawnbroker’ Borro.

Subscribers to the TechMarketView Foundation Service can read our regular quarterly summaries of corporate activity in the UK software and IT services sector in IndustryViews Corporate Activity, or just search on ‘acquisition’ in the UKHotViews archive.

For further information, please contact our Client Services team at info@techmarketview.com.

Posted by HotViews Editor at '06:00' - Tagged: acquisition  

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Thursday 11 January 2018

Stately progress for TCS

logoTCS continued its stately progress towards becoming the first India-based IT services company to reach the $20b revenue milestone, although that target will likely have to wait at least another year. Headline revenues for FY Q3 (to 31st Dec.) grew 9.1% to $4.79b, though sequential growth slowed to 1%. However, TCS once again demonstrated its operating margin mastery, up 10bps qoq to 25.2%, by turning the screws tighter on SG&A spend, though this was not enough to match the year-ago level of 26.0%.

TCS had some notable successes here in the UK, with deals announced with Marks & Spencer and Rolls Royce, though terms were not disclosed. UK revenues grew by 8.2% yoy, and even if they stayed flat in Q4, TCS would comfortably cross the £2b revenue line for the FY, again the first among peers to do so (see TCS UK makes first £0.5b quarter).

Management also trumpeted its first $50m ‘digital’ deal, though no details were given. Nonetheless, this adds to the body of anecdotal evidence that ‘digital’ deals are starting to move beyond the pilot/proof of concept stage into the mainstream.

We shall see how the other Indian pure-plays have risen to the challenge as they report results over the next few weeks.

Posted by Anthony Miller at '13:29' - Tagged: results   offshore  

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Thursday 11 January 2018

Accenture extends reality with Mackevision

Accenture logoAccenture has already made waves in the augmented/extended reality space. Now, it is set to accelerate its progress, agreeing to acquire Germany-based Mackevision. Mackevision, which raised its profile as the award-winning visual effects team for Game of Thrones, offers computer-generated imagery and immersive content.

It was founded in 1994 and has >500 employees across Germany, the US, UK, China, South Korea and Japan. Its biggest success has been in the automotive industry, with clients including Audi, BMW, Hyundai and Jaguar. The use cases for its technology are wide-ranging, from online product configurators, to digital and print catalogues, to virtual showrooms, to point-of-sale kiosks, to augmented and virtual reality experiences. As well, as of course, broadcast video and feature films.

Mackevision will be taken into the Accenture Interactive fold, adding 3D visualisation, animation and visual effects capabilities to the portfolio. One of the key attractions for Accenture is Mackevision's ability to leverage engineering data to construct “digital twins” of complex physical products. Accenture sees the potential to transform product design and fuel next-gen consumer experiences.

TechMarketView’s research over the last 12-18 months has highlighted numerous use cases for VR/AR/XR, from helping customers and employees identify and pick items in store or in depot (see Tesco Labs ushering in the connected home), to service and maintenance type applications (see Apple intensifies enterprise ambitions with Accenture), to the gamification of brand marketing (see AR brand marketing app Snatch augments funding). And as highlighted in Business Services Supplier Prospects 2018, Accenture has invested in the space, recently launching its Accenture Extended Reality Practice, as well as ‘The Dock’ in Dublin, designed to be a multidisciplinary research and incubation hub for the rapid prototyping of solutions in emerging technologies such as XR. It also already has clients in this space, including BMW and Jeep. Now, not for the first time, it has chosen the acquisition route to accelerate its progress and position as a leader in the space.

Posted by Georgina O'Toole at '09:52' - Tagged: acquisition   ApplicationServices   M&A   digital   augmented reality   virtualreality   extendedreality  

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Thursday 11 January 2018

Vermeg swoops in for Lombard Risk Management

logoVacillating performance has been an issue for Lombard Risk Management. While it delivered a record year in the 12 months to April 2017 with revenue up 45% and losses reduced, performance in the first half of the current year was disappointing. Indeed it was the third time the company had a disappointing period under its current management team (October 2013March 2015). This type of performance profile buzzes the antenna of potential buyers and that seems to have been the case because financial software and services supplier Vermeg Group has appeared with a £52.1m cash offer that the Lombard board describes as “fair and reasonable”.

logoVermeg is a new name to us but has been in business since 1993 with headquarters in Amsterdam and c.150 clients across 20 countries, providing software for pensions and insurance, wealth and asset management, financial markets and securities services, and digital financial services. Currently in expansion mode, it is looking to Lombard to help grow the business via Lombard’s collateral management and regulatory reporting capability, and says that there is little product or geographic overlap. If the proposed acquistion goes ahead, the Lombard team will move to Vermeg and are seen as key to the success of the transaction. As a new name (we believe) in the UK financial services market, Vermeg will come under scrutiny from current providers and enterprises alike.

Posted by Angela Eager at '09:49' - Tagged: acquisition   software   financialservices  

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Thursday 11 January 2018

BT adds IBM to Cloud Connect Direct ecosystem

BTIBM has joined BT’s group of “Cloud Connect Direct” partners. ‘Big Blue’ joins other cloud providers, including Amazon Web Services, Microsoft Azure, Oracle, and Salesforceibm

Cloud Connect Direct is a direct network connection from the cloud provider into the enterprise. IBM’s data centres in the UK will be the first to go live with the service, with mainland Europe and the rest of the world following soon after. The benefit of a direct link can be improved availability and security versus the open internet.

The new partnership broadens the BT portfolio of offerings around cloud services while giving IBM access to a range of BT’s multinational corporation customers via BT’s network. The move reflects the desire from organisations to have access to a range of cloud services from a variety of suppliers, all of which need to operate seamlessly and securely with systems inside the enterprise.

Our recently published report, Cloud and Infrastructure Services Supplier Prospects 2018, looks at some of the key challenges facing suppliers (including BT and IBM) as we kick off a new year. Speak to Deb Seth for more information if you are not already a subscriber.

Posted by Kate Hanaghan at '09:48' - Tagged: cloud   networkservices  

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Thursday 11 January 2018

Deloitte creates legal ructions with technology

LogoIn a marked change of direction, Deloitte has announced that it is mounting a direct attack on the UK legal services market. Technology will be its key weapon as it seeks to disrupt a sector not known for its agility.

While Deloitte has operated in the UK legal sector for many years, its focus has been on supporting, rather than competing with the established practitioners. Indeed, three years ago it took a conscious decision not follow the paths PwC, KPMG and EY as they chose to take advantage of a relaxation in regulations to allow non-lawyers to offer traditional legal services through gaining an Alternative Business Structure (ABS) licence.  

This latest move by Deloitte is described as an expansion of its consulting and managed services portfolio. The initial targets are both automated document review and document management related opportunities, and the provision of advice to in-house legal teams on how to better leverage automation and technology. The fact that this is accompanied by an application for an ABS licence, however, suggests that Deloitte harbours much grander and disruptive ambitions in the legal sector.

Globally, Legal Process Outsourcing is a rapidly expanding, multi-billion dollar market. Securing a larger piece of this action would be a very attractive prospect for firms seeking new avenues for growth.

We have commented more than once in recent times on the potential for RPA and AI in the legal sector. We have also observed how new technologies are changing radically both the services being offered to clients and how more traditional services are delivered in the Professional Services arena (see here). Within this context, the push by Deloitte into the UK legal services market appears to make eminent sense

Posted by Duncan Aitchison at '09:39' - Tagged: legalservices   consultancy  

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Thursday 11 January 2018

NOMINATIONS OPEN – GREAT BRITISH SCALEUP EVENT MARCH 2018

logoWe are delighted to announce the third TechMarketView Great British Scaleup Event will be held in London on Tuesday 6th and Wednesday 7th March 2018.

The Great British Scaleup programme is already helping UK tech SMEs achieve a step-change in growth, through a closed-door, 90-minute workshop session with TechMarketView analysts and executive advisors from ScaleUp Group, the team of successful tech entrepreneurs that have been responsible for accelerating growth and achieving over £4b in successful exits at many well-known tech companies.

logoThe workshop will assess your company’s potential and scalability using the ScaleUp Growth Index®, a proprietary scorecard which identifies areas of your business that might be an inhibitor to achieving extraordinary growth. Unlike traditional company scorecards which measure past financial performance, the ScaleUp Growth Index® assesses your company’s future scale-up potential. The ScaleUp Growth Index® gets you better prepared to undertake the next stage of your scale-up journey. You can use the Index to compare yourself with peers and track your progress as you implement your plans.

logoIn addition, every applicant will be entitled to an optional initial infrastructure assessment at no charge and with no obligation by managed cloud and infrastructure services firm Cogeco Peer 1, the Enterprise Cloud & Infrastructure Services Technology Partner for the Great British Scaleup programme.

There are 4 workshop slots available on each day. To nominate yourself or a company you know, just fill in the Nomination Form on the TechMarketView website here by Wednesday 31st January 2018. There is no charge to participate, nor any obligation to follow through on the outcomes.

If you have any queries about the Great British Scaleup programme, please drop an email to gbs@techmarketview.com.

Posted by HotViews Editor at '00:00'

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Wednesday 10 January 2018

BT Pension Scheme says goodbye to Accenture

BTIt has been widely reported this week that the BT Pension Scheme is looking to pull the plug on administrator Accenture and run things in-house, just three years into an eight-year agreement.

AccentureThe £49bn BT scheme with some 300,000 members, is one UK’s largest and the decision comes amid discussions over its wider future with a near £14bn deficit to address.

Accenture has supported the BT Pension Scheme via an outsourcing contract for the past 18 years delivering services through its business centres in Chesterfield and Bangalore.

We are not yet sure of the specific reasons why BT made the decision to bring things in-house but anecdotally we are seeing an increasing amount of insourcing within the market. Insourcing tends to happen at renewal time and often ‘below the radar’, nonetheless it is a trend we believe to be on the increase.

There are multiple reasons for this but the fundamental evolution away from ‘lift and shift’ towards platforms, as-a-service delivery models and demand for intelligent automation provides greater opportunities for in-house delivery.

Increasingly BPS deals are becoming more likely to resemble other parts of the SITS market where the engagement model becomes one of ‘get in, make the transition and then get out’ leaving ongoing delivery to be undertaken largely by in-house teams. Clearly those players with strong consulting capability have an advantage here.

Whilst the option of taking things back in-house has always existed, changes in the market are adding weight to the business case for doing so. As such it’s no real surprise that we have heard from several BPS players that they are seeing a return of the ‘Captive’ to the market as a competitive threat.

Posted by Marc Hardwick at '14:28' - Tagged: bt   accenture   pensions  

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Wednesday 10 January 2018

CityStasher bags $1.1m to stash your baggage

logoWhen I read about London-based startup CityStasher I thought ‘what a great idea – I wonder why nobody has thought of it before’. But a couple of Google searches later I realised that they had!

Very simply, CityStasher (and its ilk) let you store baggage in hundreds of convenient locations such as shops and high street businesses in major capital cities at much cheaper rates than left-luggage lockers in stations and airports. The market they are really targeting are Airbnb’ers who arrive before check-in time or need to stow baggage after checkout.

Like the others, CityStasher uses secure tags to ensure luggage isn’t tampered with and offer a level of insurance cover, though this is rather low, at £750. CityStasher charges £6 per bag for up to 24 hours and £5 for extra bags. Bookings and payments are made online. Founded in 2015, CityStasher has just raised $1.1 million in seed funding in a round led by Venture Friends, with participation from Howzat Partners, Charlotte Street Capital, and angel investors including prior backer, Big Yellow Storage CEO James Gibson.

In contrast, Danish startup LuggageHero also operates internationally and charges €1 per hour plus a €2 handling fee per bag in London, including €1,700 insurance cover. Then there’s Vertoe in New York City, and Rome-based BAGBNB (neat name) in Europe …

The challenge, as ever, is how CityStasher et al can make serious money given the very low transaction fees – most of which I assume goes to the drop-off point owner – and the additional costs to provide secure luggage tags to its drop-off partners and premiums to their insurance partners. Sounds like an emerging market already ripe for consolidation and/or the launch of a Trivago-like platform to search for the best deal from baggage stowage startups.

Posted by Anthony Miller at '11:32' - Tagged: funding   startup  

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Wednesday 10 January 2018

Concentrix reaches the $2 billion mark

ConcentrixSynnex the Fortune 500 BPS player released its Q4 and FY 2017 results yesterday achieving operating profits of $509m (up 34%) on revenues of $17bn (up 21%).

SynnexSynnex is the parent company of call centre operator Concentrix, which forms the smaller of its two Divisions and has a strong position in the UK Customer Services market positioned behind only Capita and Teleperformance for market share. Concentrix has had a very strong 2017 globally with revenues reaching $2.0bn, an increase of over 25% on the previous fiscal year. Operating profit at Concentrix was also significantly up at $114.6m, compared to $63.9m in the previous fiscal year.

We ranked Concentrix as the UK’s 14th largest BPS player back in the summer when we published our BPS Supplier Ranking with estimated revenues just under £170m for the previous year. We estimated then that Concentrix’s revenues in the UK had taken a hit off the back of problems related to its tax credits contract with HMRC and pressures in the wider customer services market.

Quite a lot has changed since then with Concentrix opening a new 130,000 sq. ft. customer services centre in Northern Ireland in October and the company benefiting from the added scale of automotive specialist Minacs acquired for $420m in 2016 (see here). It will be interesting to see to what degree the UK has played a role in Concentrix’s impressive global growth for 2017 when we revisit our BPS Supplier Rankings later this year.

Synnex also took the opportunity yesterday to announce changes to its board and leadership team with CEO Kevin Murai moving upstairs to Chairman to be replaced at the helm by current COO Dennis Polk.

Posted by Marc Hardwick at '10:11' - Tagged: customerservices   customermanagement   concentrix  

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Wednesday 10 January 2018

Amiko uses AI to help asthma sufferers

Amiko LogoAs avid UKHotViews readers will know, we are always interested to hear from UK tech start-ups, particularly those that are innovative, disruptive and punching above their weight in their respective markets. That description certainly fits London-headquartered Amiko Digital Health, which is developing advanced medication sensor technologies and AI powered digital health tools to help asthma patients monitor their health in real-time. In December, the SME both closed a round of funding led by Sanner Ventures and Breed Reply, and won first place in the IBM Watson AI XPRIZE’s annual Milestone Awards – a global competition to create AI systems to solve some of the world’s biggest challenges.

Founded in 2014 and led by CEO Duilio Macchi, Amiko has an Italian flavour with R&D laboratories in Milan. It already has commercial, institutional and individual customers in Italy, Germany, France, Spain, UK and the Netherlands. The recent funding will be used to expand its respiratory disease management platform Respiro.

Respiro is a great example of how medical technology and AI can be combined to improve patient outcomes. A medical sensor fits the inhalors that patients are already using to monitor inhalation technique and frequency, capturing parameters such as inhalation flow rate, flow acceleration, inhalation volume and inspiration time. This data flows into Respiro, a platform designed to evolve with therapeutics, patient-reported, behavioural, physiological, and environmental data. The goal is to create a system that uses AI to suggest an optimal path of therapy for each patient; predict and prevent exacerbations in asthma patients; and help to simplify self-management, controlling the disease and improving the patient experience. If this can be achieved, the benefits for patients and healthcare providers should be demonstrable, making Amiko an SME worth watching in the months ahead.

For background on trends and areas of opportunity in the UK healthcare IT market, PublicSectorViews subscribers should see our recent UK Public Sector Market Trends & Forecasts report. If you’re not yet a subscriber and you’d like to know more, please contact Deborah Seth.

Posted by Tola Sargeant at '09:52' - Tagged: funding   startup   healthcare   digital  

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Wednesday 10 January 2018

Ideagen expands use of Q-Pulse in NHS

Ideagen logoKing’s Interventional Facilities Management (IFM) is working with AIM-listed Ideagen to deploy its Q-Pulse quality, compliance safety and operational risk management platform. King’s IFM is a Limited Liability Partnership controlled by the King’s College Hospital NHS Foundation Trust. It provides fully managed services across all sites within the Trust, including King’s College Hospital, Princess Royal University Hospital and Orpington Hospital.

King’s IFM aims to use Q-Pulse to centralise and standardise document control giving staff access to policies and Standard Operating Procedures from a single location. King’s College Hospital is already using Q-Pulse in areas such as Haematology and Cancer Services to help ensure compliance with ISO 9001 quality management standards. In the future, it also plans to use Q-Pulse to support the reduction of risk and adverse incidents.

Things appear to be progressing well for the Ideagen; it’s H1 trading update in November revealed that revenue and adjusted EBITDA were expected to be significantly ahead of H1 FY16, and underlying organic revenue was up c.12%. UK healthcare remains a significant part of its business, where, across all products and services, it currently supplies 75% of NHS Trusts. Budgets remain under tremendous pressure in the NHS as the population ages and demands on the service increase, but the need for greater efficiency in the sector will create further opportunities for Ideagen. 

Posted by Dale Peters at '09:47' - Tagged: nhs   software   healthcare  

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Wednesday 10 January 2018

Collaboration at heart of Salesforce's Attic Labs acq

logoSalesforce has quietly made its first acquisition of the year, scooping up startup Attic Labs (founded in 2016, c.$8m funding to date), the provider of an open source decentralised database called Noms. The intention is to slot it into Salesforce’s document collaboration Quip group (acquired in 2016) to further develop collaborative capabilities, specifically extending Quip’s ability to connect live data sources.

Noms is similar to the Git version control system which is frequently used in software development in that it enables multiple users can work on a project. Data is replicated, can be edited offline on multiple machines, then synced, while versioning keeps track of changes. Where it differs from Git, is that Noms stores structured data.

The acquisition is a tuck in purchase and does not represent a new direction for Salesforce but it will enable it to broaden its collaborative services - a commitment to convergence and collaboration is one of the themes picked out in our 2018 Breaking the Boundaries themed Enterprise Software Predictions report. 

Posted by Angela Eager at '09:47' - Tagged: acquisition   cloud   software   collaboration  

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Wednesday 10 January 2018

PwC puts worker bees on drones

LogoAccountancy & advisory firm PwC has launched a specialist unit for commercial drone operations in the UK. The move follows the successful setup of the Drone Powered Solutions centre in Poland last year.

Targeting the global market for drone-enabled business services that it has valued at over $127bn, PwC has set up a small UK team of specialists to expand its reach in the industry. The initial investment is, however, modest and will start with six dedicated full-time employees. In addition, there are specialists embedded in each of PwC’s main business areas - assurance, tax, deals and consulting - as well as in particular sectors, such as power and utilities, national security and construction.

To begin with, PwC will focus its consultancy services on how drones can be used in asset maintenance and monitoring, capital projects and construction where they can help capture information from a different angle, gathering data quickly from hard-to-reach places with accuracy down to a few centimetres. It will seek to deliver new insights to clients by applying data analytics and machine learning techniques to the raw data collected by drones. Longer- term, however, it believes that the use of drone data will become business as usual within the next decade.

New technologies – particularly data analytics and AI -  are disrupting the professional services world. They are changing radically both the services being offered to clients and how more traditional services are delivered. All of the major players are making significant investments their own digital transformations as we have highlighted in our recent coverage of Deloitte, EY and KPMG. PwC is doing a good job of demonstrating the application of digital technology in their own business (see here) and the move into drone-enabled business services is another logical step along this path. Time will tell, however, whether demand of the scale it envisages in this area ever fully materialises.

Posted by Duncan Aitchison at '08:59' - Tagged: consultancy  

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Wednesday 10 January 2018

**NEW RESEARCH** Financial Services Supplier Prospects 2018

logoPublished today is the new Financial Services Supplier Prospects 2018 report.

In this report we look at the Top Ten leading players (by revenue) in the UK Financial Services market, and assess what they will need to do to be successful this year and beyond. We also provide our view on the potential challenges that suppliers will face as they endeavour to realise their potential in the short and mid-term.

As the market gets to grips with another raft of new regulations and the uncertainty surrounding Brexit, the major suppliers need to reinforce their relationships with their key customers, continue to build their domain expertise and develop deep understanding of the strategic imperatives of their customers. In addition, they will be called upon to deliver a wider range of technologies and skills and at the same time set new standards in terms of cost levels, commercial models and partnerships, with both customers and suppliers.

The sector as a whole has moved onto the front foot in terms of the pursuit of growth and many established financial services providers are re-assessing how they deal with their legacy IT estate. It will be an interesting year for the largest suppliers of Software and IT Services into this dynamic market sector.

This report should be read alongside the FinancialServicesViews Supplier Ranking report for 2017 and our Financial Services Predictions 2018 report.

If you would like to access the report (which is authored by our Financial Services Research Director, Peter Roe) and are not currently a subscriber to our FinancialServicesViews research stream, please contact Deb Seth on dseth@techmarketview.com.

Posted by HotViews Editor at '08:15' - Tagged: cloud   partnerships   financialservices   legacy   banking   regulation   FinTech  

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Tuesday 09 January 2018

Live Love Work Prosper

TobinTonight I attended the launch of Mike Tobin’s new book - Live Love Work Prosper. I’ve known Mike for many years both as a client when he was CEO of TeleCity and as a fellow supporter of the Prince’s Trust. Indeed I reviewed Mike’s first book Forget Strategy. Get Results in March 2014.

Mike is a pretty amazing person. Quite how he now holds down a dozen or more directorships - including LBB Ultrahaptics - is beyond me. He admits that he needs very little sleep - unlike mere mortals like me who can’t function without at least 7 hours kip. In my opinion, he became even more amazing when he took up the challenge to run 40 marathons in 40 days for the Prince’s Trust 

Tobin40th Anniversary. I told him at the time that he was bonkers but he went ahead anyway and raised c£100,000 for the Trust in the process.  

Live Love Work Prosper is Mike’s take on how everything we do in our business and personal life should be integrated and how technology makes that possible. Using many really interesting anecdotes, I have little doubt that Mike practices what he preaches.

If the purpose of books is to make you think - then Mike’s book will do just that. I did find myself disagreeing with quite a lot of it. Indeed, my own wife would probably cite many of Mike’s proposals as reasons to divorce me. I don’t agree with his views of the benefits of kids multitasking when they are meant to be doing their homework. But that is a reason for reading it.

Perhaps only Mike Tobin can actually live the life that this book proposes. But if you can put down your smartphone for a few hours, forget work and concentrate on reading it, I do think you will enjoy it!

Live Love Work Prosper is available for £7.70 in Paperback from Amazon. Click here

Posted by Richard Holway at '22:37'

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Tuesday 09 January 2018

KODAKCoin - World gone mad...

KodakI’ve written about the madness surrounding cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin on many occasions before. I thought I’d reached the zenith of craziness when the spoof currency Dogecoin hit a $1b valuation - See Remember FreeJellyBeanz.com? How about Dogecoin?

But today the world really has gone mad. Kodak (remember them from the glorious Kodachrome 35mm film days?) announced that it was launching a cryptocurrency to create a blockchain digital ledger of ownership rights for photographers. Not a bad idea, as such. BUT, when KODAKCoin was announced, look what happened to Kodak’s share price! An immediate leap of 44% before ending the day up an incredible 120%.

Perhaps my ‘joke’ of changing TechMarketView’s name to include something Blockchain related should be taken more seriously. A TMVCoin for users to buy our research and for us to track its use or misuse? Not a bad idea…. 

Posted by Richard Holway at '22:12'

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Tuesday 09 January 2018

May's cabinet reshuffle: most interesting moves

Theresa May photoIt’s fair to say that Prime Minister Theresa May’s cabinet reshuffle didn’t exactly go to plan yesterday. In the end it wasn’t so much a fresh start as a tweaking. Many Cabinet Minsters remained in position. Others ended up in different roles to those May had intended. We can but second guess – as many media outlets have – the conversations that went on behind closed doors.

From a ICT market perspective, there were, though, some interesting changes... read more. If you are not yet a subscriber to TechMarketView's research services, please contact Deb Seth to find out more.

Posted by Georgina O'Toole at '16:23' - Tagged: public+sector  

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Tuesday 09 January 2018

Were you responsible for the new online Passport Renewal Application?

PassportI got a large number of emails similarly praising the new online Passport renewal process - currently still in beta. See - Passport Office - Praise where praise is due.  

I would like to namecheck the organisation who wrote that bit of the system. If it is you, please drop me an email - rholway@techmarketview.com. 

Posted by Richard Holway at '14:36'

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Tuesday 09 January 2018

Northgate Public Services ready to ‘run’ with NEC

NPS logoWhen we spoke to Northgate Public Services’ (NPS) CEO Steve Callaghan in October, he had been in position for just over a year. He talked about the company’s ‘crawl’ phase of 2017, a period in which he concentrated on strengthening the business both financially and operationally. He also talked about moving into the ‘walk’ phase in 2018 (see Northgate Public Services ‘walks’ into 2018).

This morning, he can, instead, talk about the company moving into its ‘run’ phase. This, after announcing that the company is being acquired by Japanese, and Tokyo Stock Exchange-listed, NEC, providing an opportunity to accelerate growth on a number of fronts.

NEC, “leader in the integration of IT and network technologies that benefit businesses”, has achieved near maximum penetration in Japan. It was looking to expand its business internationally. It is buying NPS from private equity fund, Cinven, for a total consideration of £475m. With NPS’ insight of and access to the UK & Australian public sector markets, NEC has spotted a compelling growth opportunity.

Meanwhile, NPS – which will maintain its name, as well as its leadership team, under its new owner – has the opportunity to integrate some of NEC’s technologies – in biometric scanning and facial recognition – into its own software platforms. It will also gain access to expertise in citizen access and smart cities. And will be able to accelerate its international growth plans – in North America and Asia Pacific, in particular – by accessing NEC’s global network.

The acquisition is expected to complete by 31st January. There are no plans for any redundancies – this is an acquisition focused on revenue growth rather than cost synergies. It was at the end of 2014 that Cinven purchased NPS; though the sum paid was not disclosed, it was mooted to be around £350m (see IndustryViews Corporate Activity – 2014 Review). It is testament to the work of Callaghan and his management team in strengthening the business (and boosting its profitability) that, despite a reduction in revenues since that time (down from £180m per annum to c£164m), Cinven has been able to command a higher price.

Posted by Georgina O'Toole at '09:52' - Tagged: public+sector   localgovernment   acquisition   software   M&A   smartcities   biometrics  

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Tuesday 09 January 2018

**NEW RESEARCH** Cloud and Infrastructure Services Supplier Prospects 2018

Out now is the new Cloud and Infrastructure Services Supplier Prospects 2018 report.supplier prospects

The report looks at the Top Ten largest suppliers of Infrastructure Services in the UK market, examining the challenges they face and the strengths they bring.

Many of them are living through a period of substantial change: evolution of the portfolio, restructuring of the business, and mergers, for example. Consideration is being given to the types of contracts pursued, new operating models and workforce rebalancing in an effort to optimise performance. 


All of the leading players in the market still need to increase the balance of revenue from higher growth ‘digital’ areas. This is not just about developing the right offerings in the portfolio, it is about creating confidence amongst buyers and having effective processes and methodologies to migrate them from the ‘old’ to the ‘new’. 


The report should be read alongside Infrastructure Services Supplier Ranking 2017 and Infrastructure Services Market Trends and Forecasts (2017-2020).

If you would like to access the report (which is authored by Chief Research Officer, Kate Hanaghan) and are not currently a subscriber to our Infrastructure Services research, please contact Deb Seth.

Posted by HotViews Editor at '09:49'

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Tuesday 09 January 2018

Endava adds Velocity to its global ambitions

LogoLondon-HQ’d ‘nearshore’ IT services firm Endava is to merge with Velocity Partners, a Seattle-based nearshore software development company with a strong presence in Latin America. It is estimated that the move will more than double Endava’s footprint in the Americas.

Joining forces with Velocity Partners brings over 500 employees located in offices in North America and delivery centres located in Argentina, Uruguay, Colombia and Venezuela to Endava. The latter will complement the firm’s existing delivery capability from centres across Romania, Moldova, Bulgaria, Serbia, Macedonia, and Colombia. No material changes to Endava's current management team are expected as a result of the merger.

Endava has already demonstrated its ability to execute successfully an acquisition-led international expansion strategy, most recently through the purchase of Netherlands-based ISDC. It also has an impressive track record of delivering rapid, predominantly organic-based growth (an average 36% for each of the last three years), while reducing its dependence on the UK market. Revenues here now account for less than 50% of revenues, down from nearly two thirds just twelve months ago (see here). 

The merger with Velocity Partners marks another significant step towards Endava’s aspiration of becoming a truly global IT player. While the Americas region has often proved a tough nut for European services firms to crack, history suggests that it is likely to prove a far happier hunting ground for Endava.

Posted by Duncan Aitchison at '09:26' - Tagged: acquisiiton  

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Tuesday 09 January 2018

Gresham Technologies continues on a roll

logoGresham Technologies, the specialist provider of real-time transaction control and enterprise data integrity solutions, has just closed another strong year. The management expect to report revenues up 24% to £21.3m and adjusted EBITDA ahead by 32% to £5m. They will announce their results formally on 13th March.

Again, the Clareti Transaction Control solution takes centre stage, with associated revenues up 48% and just shy of half the Group total, with the key Clareti software revenues advancing by 74%. 15 new Clareti clients were added in the year, predominantly in the targeted financial services sector with the North American market providing 40% of new Clareti revenues.

At the half-year results, see Gresham Technologies on growth track, we highlighted the fact that the company has succeeded in broadening its portfolio, with the acquisition of C24 Technologies, now fully integrated, the building of an Analytics solution and the launch of a cloud-delivered Clareti solution. The fact that the Group has sustained the rate of growth in Clareti sales and accelerated its overall growth while remaining debt-free is a clear endorsement of its strategy. Non-Clareti revenues, the legacy side of the business, continue to perform in line with expectations.

The underlying demand for Gresham’s Clareti-based solutions looks set to grow as the need for real-time transaction monitoring and faster regulatory reporting continues to increase. Gresham’s client list includes some top financial sector names, now buying multiple products and extending the deployment of Clareti across the wider enterprise. Gradual development of other sectors and building additional channel partnerships will be on the agenda over the next couple of years to further broaden the solid foundations for continued growth.

Posted by Peter Roe at '09:20' - Tagged: cloud   software   analytics   big+data  

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Tuesday 09 January 2018

Micro Focus - The day after

MFMicro Focus was one of the biggest fallers on the FTSE100 yesterday - down 17%. As you will read in Angela Eager’s post - Micro Focus interims greeted with nervousness - the concerns, both in recent performance and outlook, centred on the lack of revenue growth. For many companies, revenue growth is one of, if not THE, most important KPI. But I would caution readers that this is NOT the KPI that Micro Focus - and in particular its Chairman Kevin Loosemore and, until today, CFO Mike Phillips - consider as the #1 priority.

Indeed, if you read yesterday’s interim announcement, revenue growth is NOT mentioned as an objective. The objectives stated are ‘increase operational efficiency’, ‘deliver effective product management’ and ‘improve sales productivity’ with the overarching objective of delivering ‘consistent shareholder returns in the range of 15% to 20% pa’.

Micro Focus is all about profits. In particular by driving up operating margin. Here, as Angela’s post made clear, Micro Focus had made progress with ‘a significant improvement in HPE Software adjusted EBITDA over the year’. In addition Micro Focus announced a 16% dividend increase which could get a further boost from the cut in US corporation taxes.

The bit that worries me more is that Mike Phillips, who I have great respect for from the time I worked closely with him on the board of Microgen, is to step down from the Micro Focus board at the end of the month as he hands over the CFO mantle to ex-EasyJet CFO, Chris Kennedy. Mike is taking up a new role i/c of M&A. If Micro Focus is to avoid the dreaded Acquisition Indigestion, I suggest it allows the last big meal - HPE Software - to settle before it embarks on another binge.

The  #1 task in hand now is to achieve the same margins from HPE Software as it gets from the existing Micro Focus business. If it does that - even with meagre revenue growth - Micro Focus and its investors should get their just rewards.

Note - Richard Holway is a long-term shareholder in Micro Focus.

Posted by Richard Holway at '08:01'

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