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Collapse September (47)September (47)
Fairsail's Adam Hale leaves Sage People
21 Sep 2017
CORRECTION -- Degree apprenticeships
21 Sep 2017
SciSys upbeat on H1
21 Sep 2017
Digital Shadows adds US$26m to fund expansion
21 Sep 2017
Capita sets the scene for the journey ahead
21 Sep 2017
Unlock the Intelligence with TechMarketView on 5 October
21 Sep 2017
Interest in degree apprenticeships soars
21 Sep 2017
Enterprise Compute Cloud for Oracle
21 Sep 2017
‘GBS’ CloudTrade starts scale-up journey
20 Sep 2017
ATTRAQT H1 revenue jumps following Fredhopper deal
20 Sep 2017
One more thing...
20 Sep 2017
Beleaguered Watchstone still waiting for sale
20 Sep 2017
Momentum builds at eg Solutions in first half
20 Sep 2017
Accesso from over here, doing well over there
20 Sep 2017
blur enters twilight zone
20 Sep 2017
JUST TWO WEEKS LEFT TO APPLY FOR GBS2
20 Sep 2017
Building Productive Business Solutions in Microsoft SharePoint and Office 365
20 Sep 2017
Alliance powers First Derivatives into Machine Learning
19 Sep 2017
AWS introduces per second billing
19 Sep 2017
Bango accelerating
19 Sep 2017
The maturing of Eagle Eye
19 Sep 2017
** NEW RESEARCH ** No sign of relief for Indian Pure-Plays
19 Sep 2017
How to make any IT transformation project a success
19 Sep 2017
** NEW RESEARCH ** Understanding Blockchain
18 Sep 2017
Proxama clears decks for new business model
18 Sep 2017
HCL: minds and imagination at hackathon final
18 Sep 2017
Unlock the Intelligence with TechMarketView on 5 October
18 Sep 2017
Lombard Risk fuels progress with contract wins and partnership
18 Sep 2017
LTG continues to achieve impressive growth
18 Sep 2017
Another of “Sikka’s mates” leaves Infosys
18 Sep 2017
IP EXPO Europe, ExCeL London 4-5 October 2017
18 Sep 2017
Cloud pushes Oracle Q1 revenue up 7%
15 Sep 2017
Do you really need a Chief Data Officer?
15 Sep 2017
MMU chooses Unit 4 Student Management
15 Sep 2017
VMworld showcases security, cloud and networking innovation
15 Sep 2017
UK still in the doldrums at recruiter SThree
15 Sep 2017
Microsoft’s Jacky Wright named CDIO at HMRC
15 Sep 2017
Boring
14 Sep 2017
Andy Isherwood to leave HPE
14 Sep 2017
A challenging H1 for Forbidden Technologies
14 Sep 2017
Corero DDoS revenue sees 51% growth
14 Sep 2017
Goldman sees good in Neyber-ly lending
14 Sep 2017
An Evening with TechMarketView - Limited places, book now!
14 Sep 2017
Consultancy leads growth at Parity
14 Sep 2017
The spec of the iPhone X is awesome
14 Sep 2017
Bizagi - bags $48m
14 Sep 2017
CALLING UK TECH SMES – APPLY NOW FOR GBS2
14 Sep 2017

UKHotViews©

 

Thursday 21 September 2017

Fairsail's Adam Hale leaves Sage People

HaleAs many of our readers know Adam Hale, and we have featured Fairsail so many times, I’m sure you will be interested to learn that Adam has just announced that he will be leaving Sage People in October.

I’ve known Adam since the very early days of the Prince’s Trust Technology Leadership Group where he served as Chair from 2009 -2011. At that time he was with Russell Reynolds. But then made the rather bold - or in hindsight ‘inspired’ - move to head up Fairsail in Oct 2013. As my headline in March 17 screamed All Hail Adam Hale. As Sage acquires Fairsail. In those four years Adam had boosted Fairsail’s revenues from £1m to north of £10m; creating 120 new jobs in the process and garnering 140,000 users in over 20 countries. Achieving a valuation of £110m for Fairsail was certainly a crowning achievement.

I became an investor in Fairsail as Hale joined and, I quite readily admit, it was my best private company investment over any similar period of all time.

I have to be honest, I never saw Hale as a long term Sage People person. If you want to know “What Adam does next” - read his blog today. He says he will go plural. I’d have thought that he had at least one more CEO role in him. But, whatever, Adam will be in great demand as his CV now speaks for itself.

We wish him well and know that this is not the last HotViews report hailing Mr Hale!

Posted by Richard Holway at '16:23'

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Thursday 21 September 2017

CORRECTION -- Degree apprenticeships

WantAs some readers have pointed out, I quoted the wrong figure in my post - Interest in degree apprenticeships soars - earlier today. The median  salary for degree apprentices was £17,802. The £28,000 figure I used was the median salary for graduates.

The points and conclusions of the article still very much hold true though. Earning £17.8K pa for 3+ years and no tuition fees or maintenance seems a good trade off against the possibility of a £28K starting salary with £50K of debt. Anyway, the ISE didn’t give a salary figure for degree apprentices once they too had graduated. I suspect it might be a lot more than £28K

Posted by Richard Holway at '15:56'

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Thursday 21 September 2017

SciSys upbeat on H1

logoSciSys fired the engines to good effect during H1, producing revenue that was up 23% to £27.7m for the six months to June 30 2017 (6% organic growth) but it was the Annova acquisition within Media & Broadcast plus the Space division that provided the real power. In addition, Annova hit its milestone on the flagship BBC project, post period and earlier than expected, underlining the value of the acquisition.

Digging into the divisions, performance was variable. While revenue from the Space business was up 20%, Media and Broadcast grew just 1%, while Enterprise Solutions and Defence declined by 8%, which at first glance is at odds with the upbeat mood of CEO Klaus Heidrich and CFO Chris Cheetham this morning. However, as was previously signposted via new contract signings, group overall performance was strong and the team was even more upbeat about H2 and the full year because H2 has traditionally been a stronger period. Year on year comparisons are a better reflection of performance and it appears to be confidently on target. The pattern of a better H2 is well established and with a record half year order book of £64m, SciSys entered the second half with strong prospects.

While adjusted operating profit rose from £1.1m to £1.3m, the company dropped to an operating loss of £1.3m vs. a £1.1m profit. The numbers don’t tell the whole story however because a prime reason for the loss was a higher than anticipated earn out payment to Annova because its performance was better than expected, which is not a bad reason for reporting a loss.

Other positive signs include recruitment across all divisions, with the team of the opinion that they are well positioned compared to competitors to attract and retain people because they can offer interesting work e.g. space projects, the BBC.  Attracting and retaining staff with sought after skills is getting harder so suppliers have to offer more than money. 

Posted by Angela Eager at '09:27' - Tagged: results   software  

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Thursday 21 September 2017

Digital Shadows adds US$26m to fund expansion

logoIn July, we hailed the management team of UK and US-based risk management company, Digital Shadows as they were winners of the Scaling Up Award at the annual Enterprise Awards run in association with the Worshipful Company of Information Technologists.

This and many other measures of continued success have prompted investors to open their wallets again, with Octopus Ventures leading a US$26m Series C round, with support from World Innovation, Industry Venture and existing investors.

Digital Shadows is looking to invest in its SearchLight risk management platform which can be configured by users to provide a more tailored and targeted assessment of risks and mitigation strategies. It does this by combining scalable data analytics with insight from the Digital Shadows data analyst team and specific knowledge of the customer’s key risk areas.

The Digital Shadows management team has a broad range of experience across technology and the threat environment, with several members of the central team having worked at BAE Systems Detica. They also have an interesting approach to the developing problem of cyber-security, particularly as the complexity of threats increases with the rise of social media, the dark web and the sophistication of the cyber-hackers.

Posted by Peter Roe at '08:32' - Tagged: analytics   security   risk   cybersecurity   machinelearning  

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Thursday 21 September 2017

Capita sets the scene for the journey ahead

logoIt’s been almost a year to the day that UK business process services (indeed UK software and services) market leader Capita announced its first ever profit warning. There followed the exit of CEO Andy Parker and the loss of its coveted Holway Boring Award. Since then, Capita has also sold off its Asset Services and public sector recruitment divisions, laid off staff, changed the way it reports segmental results and, very recently, adopted the IFRS 15 accounting standard, which further depressed reported revenues and profits.

The job is far from finished.

With no news on the appointment of a new CEO (CFO Nick Greatorex is holding the fort pro tem), today’s half-time results are necessarily more about ‘the story so far’ than ‘the journey ahead’. Capita has restated H1 2016 numbers under IFRS 15, and along with the new segmental reporting structure, it’s going to require more than we can put in this post to get to the ‘meaning of life’.

For now, let’s just present the headline numbers, which, for the six months to 30th June, reflect a 1% decline in reported revenues, to £2.16b, though this becomes a 3% decline to £2.07b excluding exited businesses. Reported operating profit, at £62.6m, included some £165m of disposals and write-downs, which comes off the £228m underlying profit.

There was worrying news on some of Capita’s major contracts: The MoD DIO contract will end in 2019 with a one-off £16m boost and no further expected ‘gain share’; NHS PCSE still has ‘challenges’ and will need more cash to achieve ‘an inflection point in profitability’; and a contract with a major life and pensions client is likely to be at best amended, at worst terminated.

Whoever takes on the top job will need to be of sturdy constitution.

More soon.

Footnote - Capita shares down a massive 12% in early trading (9.20am).

Posted by Anthony Miller at '08:14' - Tagged: resullts  

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Thursday 21 September 2017

Unlock the Intelligence with TechMarketView on 5 October

TMV logoIf you have yet to book your seat at An Evening with TechMarketView on Thursday 5 October there’s no time to lose! There are only a limited number of places left and these are going quickly - book your place via the website or contact our event coordinator Tina Compton(tina.compton@tx2events.com) directly.

This year our flagship annual event is centred around our 2017 research theme, Unlocking the Intelligence. Hear from the TechMarketView analyst team about the trends, issues and suppliers shaping the UK software, IT services and business process services markets, now and into the future. Learn how the financial services and public sectors in particular are battling to ‘Unlock the Intelligence’ and take note as our Chairman Richard Holway MBE closes the show with his view of the future for the sector through to 2035 and beyond.

Run in association with Sage, the evening event commences at 6:30 pm with a welcome drinks reception. This is followed by an hour of analyst presentations in the auditorium, a pre-dinner drinks reception and then a sumptuous three-course meal. During the course of the evening there will be plenty of opportunity for you to tap the brains of the TechMarketView analyst team, as well as meeting your peers in the industry – indeed we’re told the networking is second to none.

An Evening with TechMarketView will once again be held at the magnificent premises of the Royal Institute of British Architects (RIBA) at 66 Portland Place, W1B 1AD. Tickets cost £425 for TechMarketView research subscription clients and ‘Little British Battlers’ (£525 for everyone else). It has been a sell-out for the last four years, so book now and secure your place at what so many executives tell us is the one industry event they simply can’t afford to miss!

TMVE banner

   The TechMarketView Evening 2017 is proudly sponsored by

Sage logo

Posted by HotViews Editor at '07:30' - Tagged: events  

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Thursday 21 September 2017

Interest in degree apprenticeships soars

WantAny quick search of the TMV HotViews archives will demonstrate our support for apprenticeships, and degree apprenticeships in particular., as part of our campaign for more entry-level jobs in tech. See First ever degree apprentices graduate at Capgemini.

Really pleased that our enthusiasm is shared. Degree apprenticeships grew by 50% last year according to the Institute of Student Employers. Whereas the number graduate jobs was up just 1% there was a 19% increase in apprenticeships offered and now represent 54% of all graduate jobs.

The appeal is obvious as apprentices get paid an average of £17,802 pa from the start and have no tuition fees although they usually end up with a degree from a University and a continuing job.  Whereas those that go to university in the normal way can often end up with huge debts and a scramble for a suitable job. Indeed many graduates end up doing a non-graduate job or even spending considerable time on the dole.

These figures are for all degree apprenticeships - not just tech. 

Note - Corrected since original post. 

Posted by Richard Holway at '07:26'

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Wednesday 20 September 2017

‘GBS’ CloudTrade starts scale-up journey

logopicUK e-invoicing startup, CloudTrade, has just taken the first step on its scale-up journey, engaging TechMarketView Great British Scaleup programme Advisory Sponsor ScaleUp Group to help raise growth funding (see picture, showing (centre) CloudTrade CEO, David Cocks, with (L) ScaleUp Group chairman John O’Connell and (R) TechMarketView Managing Partner Anthony Miller).

CloudTrade was among the first six UK tech  SMEs selected to participate in the inaugural Great British Scaleup programme event in June (see CloudTrade: from ‘Battler’ to Scale-Up) having previously graduated from the TechMarketView Little British Battler programme in April 2016 (see LBB CloudTrade – making e-invoicing easy!).

And don’t forget, if you are the CEO of a UK tech SME and believe you have potential to scale up, you should be sure to apply for the next Great British Scaleup event to be held in London on 7-8 November. See here for details.

Posted by HotViews Editor at '15:47' - Tagged: gbs  

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Wednesday 20 September 2017

ATTRAQT H1 revenue jumps following Fredhopper deal

ATTRAQT logoFollowing the acquisition of Fredhopper earlier this year, ATTRAQT has seen H1 revenue (six months ended 30 June 2017) climb by 224% to £5.5m (H1 FY16: £1.7m). Recurring revenue increased by 194% to £4.7m (H1 FY6: £1.6m) and its annualised H1 exit rate was up 380% to £16.5m (H1 FY16: £3.4m).

ATTRAQT acquired Fredhopper in March 2017 (see ATTRAQT goes Large with Fredhopper). The deal secured one of ATTRAQT’s key competitors, provided access to the larger enterprise retail market and has helped boost sales significantly, but it has also brought with it lower margins. ATTRAQT’s gross margin has decreased to 71% compared to 86% in H1 FY16. Losses before tax were £3.2m (H1 FY16: loss of £0.9m), but that includes £2.1m of exceptional administrative expenses related to acquisition costs and post-acquisition integration. EBITDA losses were £0.5m (H1 FY16: loss of £0.8m), which were in line with management expectations.

Consolidation in the ecommerce software market is causing some concern in the business. While ATTRAQT hasn’t been affected by this trend to date, it is taking action to mitigate the impact and management has approved an incremental spend of up to £0.5m in H2.  

As we discussed when we met the ATTRAQT management earlier in the year (see Momentum building at the transformed ATTRAQT), we have been impressed with the ambition of the business and it appears to be sustaining it momentum. The business was added 13 new logos during H1, including some big brands like Arc'teryx, Auchan, Hunter Boots, Specsavers, and The White Company (it now has over 230 clients), and at the start of H2 it signed its second largest logo to date, with an as yet unnamed sportswear manufacturer, and has a strong pipeline for remainder of the year.

Posted by Dale Peters at '09:48' - Tagged: results   e-commerce   H1  

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Wednesday 20 September 2017

One more thing...

A reminder that if you have yet to book your seat at An Evening with TechMarketView on Thursday 5 October there’s no time to lose! There are only a limited number of places left and these are going quickly - book your place via the website or contact our event coordinator Tina Compton (tina.compton@tx2events.com) directly.

More details on the event are to be found here. We look forward to seeing many of you there!

TMVE banner

   The TechMarketView Evening 2017 is proudly sponsored by

Sage logo

Posted by HotViews Editor at '09:47' - Tagged: events  

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Wednesday 20 September 2017

Beleaguered Watchstone still waiting for sale

Beleaguered Watchstone still waiting for saleAiling technology solutions provider Watchstone Group (formerly scandal hit Quindell) saw its total H117 revenue decline 6.5% to £28m as the firm continues to restructure in anticipation of a sale.

The ongoing investigation by the UK Serious Fraud Office (SFO) and a lawsuit filed by Slater and Gordon concerning alleged accounting misstatements in the lead up to its purchase of Quindell’s legal division can hardly be helping Watchstone woo potential buyers.

In the meantime the company is working hard to shrink its cost structure, with H117 pre-tax losses cut to £2.1m from £8.1m in H116. It has already sold the loss-making Business Advisory Services Limited with two non-executive directors set to step down in September. They will be followed out of the door by chief executive Indro Mukerjee in December, to be replaced by current company secretary Stefan Borson.

Watchstone says its ptHealth and ingenie business divisions are profitable and poised for growth, while the “reshaped” Hubio telematics arm is in far better shape after a consolidation of its headcount and office space. Watchstone doesn't seem content to sell cheap though, having rejected an offer from a private equity firm last year.

Much will depend on the outcomes of the SFO inquiry and Slater and Gordon litigation however, which if they go badly could prove very expensive indeed.

Posted by Martin Courtney at '09:43' - Tagged: results   telematics   Watchstone   Quindell  

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Wednesday 20 September 2017

Momentum builds at eg Solutions in first half

eg solutions logoMomentum has continued to build at AIM-listed back office workforce optimisation software provider eg Solutions, as it contemplates a future as part of US-headquartered Verint Systems (see eg Solutions agrees to acquisition by Verint).

Results for the six months to the end of July reveal revenue of £5.13m (up 105% from H117), a gross margin of 68.7% (compared to 53.6% in H117) and a move into profit at both the EBITDA and pre-tax level. PBT was £0.3m compared to a loss of £1.51m in the comparable period.

Contract wins with new and existing customers support growth in the four-year order book – it’s currently £21.4m, up from £16.2m a year ago. eg Solutions has signed some significant contracts recently including a win through its partnership with GCI to distribute its eg operational intelligence software to the public sector; a $2.7m deal with a leading global bank; and a five-year master service agreement with an existing customer adding a minimum of £1.4m incremental revenue (see here and here).

The improving picture presented in these results may well be eg Solutions’ swansong as we wait to see whether the recommended cash offer for the business by Verint Systems is approved. Although the company’s mid-market closing share price was been higher than the offer price since 11 August, the Board sees the offer as an attractive exit price given the illiquidity of its shares, the fundamentals of the business and the valuations of comparable small technology companies. It seems likely that eg Solutions will shortly become part of the US analytics company.

Posted by Tola Sargeant at '09:39' - Tagged: results   software  

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Wednesday 20 September 2017

Accesso from over here, doing well over there

Accesso from over here, doing well over thereAIM-listed Accesso grew its H117 revenue 17% yoy to US$47m from US$39.7m a year earlier, buoyed by new contract wins in multiple geographies and the acquisition of entertainment ticketing distributor Ingresso in March.

The cost of the Ingresso buy (which involves an initial cash payment of £17.5m rising to £24m depending on performance) helped push Accesso’s pre-tax profit down 30% to US$1.6m however, with net debt almost doubling to US$24m from US$12.5m in H116. Earnings per share fell 33% to 4.96 cents.

Accesso’s is a seasonal business and its FY performance is “second half weighted”. With H1 historically representing around 40% of its total annual revenue, we estimate FY17 turnover could reach US$116.5m, which would be a 13% increase on FY16.

Accesso continues to plough a lucrative niche in the form of ticketing, point of sale (PoS), virtual queuing and guest management solutions to the leisure, entertainment and cultural sectors.

Customers using its Passport, LoQueue, Siriusware and Showare solutions represent a global mix of visitor attractions and theme parks. New clients signed in H1 include the NFL Experience in Times Square, the CNN Studio Tour in Atlanta, the Jameson Distillery in Ireland, Experiencas Xcaret in Mexico, and the Niagara Parks Commission, highlighting the considerable effort Accesso has made in expanding its international business.

The scale of that ambition is apparent in Accesso's US$80m acquisition of US customised guest experience start-up The Experience Engine (TE2) completed in July which will swell the current customer base and provide a springboard for further expansion in the Americas going forward.

Posted by Martin Courtney at '08:53' - Tagged: results   Accesso   interims   Ingresso  

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Wednesday 20 September 2017

blur enters twilight zone

logoThere must exist a parallel universe in another dimension in which a company’s revenues can decline to almost zero, yet still fully expect investors to trump up more dosh to keep the business afloat.

Who else can we be talking about but blur Group?

When the company belatedly reported its 2016 results back in August, you could have interpreted management’s commentary as  ‘crisis over, new team in place, back to business as usual’ (see Blurring the lines between fantasy and reality). Today’s first-half results, and the announcement of yet another cash call, suggest otherwise.

For the record, blur’s revenues all but dried up ($212k), and they are now left with $2.5m cash in the bank after the $2.1m fund raising in July (see blur’s believers). Hence the new placing, which intends to raise a further £1.2m “to fund growth for approximately 2 years.” The 4.0p offer price is at a small discount to last night’s close, and blur will also issue warrants (1 per two shares) at an exercise price of 6p after 12 months.

One truly does need to suspend disbelief.

Posted by Anthony Miller at '08:07' - Tagged: fundraising   resullts  

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Wednesday 20 September 2017

JUST TWO WEEKS LEFT TO APPLY FOR GBS2

logoThere's just two weeks to go before applications close for the second TechMarketView Great British Scaleup event (GBS2), to be held in London on 7-8 November.

logoIf you are a privately held, UK-owned tech SME and feel that you are ready to make a step-change in growth, then you really should apply. Yours could be one of eight companies invited to meet TechMarketView analysts and advisors from GBS programme Advisory Sponsor ScaleUp Group, the team of successful tech entrepreneurs and experienced executives that have been responsible for accelerating growth – and achieving successful exits – at many well-known tech companies.

You will spend 90-minutes in an intensive session to help you uncover the opportunities for your business to scale up, using the ScaleUp Index, the new proprietary scorecard developed by ScaleUp Group. You will come away with much greater clarity on your scale-up potential and plans, and feel much better equipped to undertake the next stage of your scale-up journey.

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

And of course, participating companies will also enjoy invaluable exposure in TechMarketView UKHotViews, along with coverage in selected TechMarketView research.

To apply to participate in GBS2, a senior member of your team will need to complete the Pre-Qualification Form on our website here by Wednesday 4th October. We will let you know by Friday 18th October whether your application has been successful.

There is absolutely no charge, so don’t miss out on the opportunity to tap into the market knowledge of the TechMarketView team, and the entrepreneurial experience of ScaleUp Group advisors, to understand what it could take to materially accelerate your company’s growth.

For further information about the TechMarketView Great British Scaleup programme, please check out our website or contact us by email at gbs@techmarketview.com.

Posted by HotViews Editor at '07:00' - Tagged: gbs  

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Tuesday 19 September 2017

Alliance powers First Derivatives into Machine Learning

logoRegular readers of UKHotViews will know that we have chronicled the rise of Northern Ireland-HQ’d First Derivatives as they invested in their high-speed database technology and expanded from their base in the financial services sector. Through a series of acquisitions and investments the company has built a strong portfolio of capabilities in data analytics and domain expertise to open up new vertical markets. See First Derivatives: Growth and Balance and work back.

The latest move by the forward-looking management team is to sign an agreement with Brainpool, a specialist machine learning consultancy, to capitalise on the substantial increase in interest in implementing Artificial Intelligence algorithms to drive improved customer experience and greater process efficiency. The 130-strong Brainpool team will be trained in FD’s core Kx database technology to link machine learning capability with the very high-speed, very big-data capabilities of the Kx engine.

Given the mounting interest in this technology and the wide range of industries and processes that can benefit from its introduction, there is a real and growing shortage of relevant expertise and experience. First Derivative’s move to secure this relationship with Brainpool looks like another good decision by FD’s top team.

utiYou can learn more about TechMarketView’s optimism surrounding this high-growth market sector  by looking at FintechViews – The state of UK and European Fintech and our latest BusinessProcessViews Market Trends report. We will also be talking about Machine Learning and its implications at our “Unlocking the Intelligence” event on October 5th, where we expect to host around 200 of the movers and shakers in UK IT services. If you are interested in joining us, details can be found here.

Posted by Peter Roe at '09:56' - Tagged: partnerships   analytics   big+data   machinelearning  

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Tuesday 19 September 2017

AWS introduces per second billing

awsAmazon Web Services has upped the ante by introducing per second billing for certain services. This is of course a defensive move versus other hyperscalers (who can offer per minute billing) and is bound to appeal to developers looking for even more flexibility around cost.

From 2nd October, Linux instances (that are launched in On-Demand, Reserved, and Spot form) will be billed in one-second increments. The same billing method will also apply to batch processing and EC2 instances in EMR clusters (which provide a managed Hadoop framework for processing large amounts of data). Per-second billing does not, however, apply to instances running Windows.

AWS says it expects the pricing change to encourage customers to use its services in an even more ‘elastic’ way, spinning up resource to cope with massive processing requirements and then quickly reducing this as and when needed. It’s hard to believe that it has been more than a decade since AWS launched its by-the-hour charging, which at the time was a significant step forward for cloud infrastructure flexibility.

AWS has seen its revenue growth rate slow but nevertheless we estimate that it’s still growing at 30%+ in the UK. Azure is clawing back Amazon’s early lead in the market, but still remains in second place (understand more about the supplier context here: Infrastructure Services Supplier Ranking 2017).

Posted by Kate Hanaghan at '09:39' - Tagged: cloud   PaaS   PublicCloud  

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Tuesday 19 September 2017

Bango accelerating

logoAt the full year results in March we reported that Bango, the Direct Carrier Billing (DCB) specialist, was beginning to motor and it looks as if they are making consistent progress. Over the six months to the end of June, they have added more billing routes, started providing DCB for Amazon in Japan and seen their revenues double (to £1.7m) and losses fall by 35% (to £1.7m at the after-tax level). Cash balances were maintained at around £5.6m. This acceleration looks to have been reflected in the share’s performance. It has more than doubled over the past year and is over five times the level of its low, just 18 months ago.

Brokers are confidently forecasting a move into profit in calendar 2018.

There are several clear reasons for optimism. Firstly, underlying business is very strong, with end user spend over Bango’s DCB platform doubling year on year, the growth being supplemented as new routes and operator/appstore relationships are added.

Secondly, Bango is beginning to benefit from its analytics business (“Bango Boost”). App stores and games developers can drive increases in purchases as they use insights from Bango’s behaviour analysis. Network operators are migrating to Bango’s platform rather than providing the service direct themselves. The decline in margin on end-user spend has slowed.

Finally, the link with Amazon Japan is opening up new possibilities. It is early days, but a much wider range of products is being sold over Bango’s platform and there is a greater propensity among Japanese consumers to use DCB rather than other e-commerce methods.

Costs appear under close control and the company is recruiting carefully to add skills in new geographical markets. The platform, recently further enlarged, can cope with much higher volumes without significant investment. With rising revenues, the profit outlook looks bright.

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

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Tuesday 19 September 2017

The maturing of Eagle Eye

logoA transitional year isn’t always resoundingly positive but it hasn’t been a bad thing for Eagle Eye, as reflected in the 71% increase in revenue to £11.1m for the year to June 30 2017 and performance through the year that provided the confidence to secure £5.8m in a funding round in June.

The year was one of people and partnerships as it extended the board, appointed Tim Mason as CEO, built up its international business and developed its relationship with retail loyalty marketing company TCC Global. Despite investment it was able to hold EBITDA loss to £1.8m while sending the gross margin up 9ppts to 88%.

One of the obvious changes is a shift in the marketing message from Eagle Eye as a redeemer of digital promotions to a company that “allows businesses to create a real time connection with their customers” via its digital marketing plaform, Air. It reflects a shift from a technology led message to a customer-centric one, something CEO Mason has put in place. When a youngish company make the shift from technology led positioning, it is also a sign that it is maturing into its next stage of development. This comes at a time when Eagle Eye’s target retail market needs to foster customer loyalty and real time engagement, when they need to move to digital channels, and have to be able to measure the effect of social media - objectives Eagle Eye has the capability to assist with.

Posted by Angela Eager at '08:33' - Tagged: results   software   digital  

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Tuesday 19 September 2017

** NEW RESEARCH ** No sign of relief for Indian Pure-Plays

chartGrowth and profitability of the Top 6 Indian Pure-Plays (IPPs) continued to slide in the June quarter with no sign that the trend will change any time soon.

The leading IPPs are making headway in 'breaking linearity', but not quickly enough - surely more heads must roll!

Subscribers to the TechMarketView Foundation Service can read more in the latest quarterly edition of OffshoreViews right now.

And don’t forget that everyone can read our analysis of Dr Vishal Sikka’s time as CEO of Infosys free of charge in our special OffshoreViews Extra bulletin, Infosys – The Sikka Years. Just drop an email with your name, company, and position to info@techmarketview.com putting SIKKA YEARS in the subject line.

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

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Monday 18 September 2017

** NEW RESEARCH ** Understanding Blockchain

coverThe central theme of research from TechMarketView this year has been “Unlocking the Intelligence” and what we’re seeing is a huge flood of data being created and a desire, indeed a necessity, for firms to use that data to generate more revenue and lower costs. But given all this flood of data, the disaggregation of value chains and the problem of cyber-crime, how can firms and governments be sure that they’re using the right data, that it’s correct and it’s from legitimate sources. And how can the provider of the data be sure that he is receiving his due reward for the work has put in. Central to solving these problems is the Blockchain.

Over the past couple of years, the Blockchain bandwagon has begun to roll and has gathered substantial momentum. Many observers are adamant that Blockchain and its underlying Distributed Ledger Technology can have a transformative effect on many industries, particularly within financial services, and on society at large. This report aims to put Blockchain and its potential into context, to help readers understand what is really happening within the hubbub of announcements and to identify the best way forward, for potential users and IT services suppliers.

Subscribers to FinancialServicesViews can access this important new report, here.

Posted by Peter Roe at '16:23' - Tagged: financialservices   legacy   regulation   FinTech   blockchain   data  

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Monday 18 September 2017

Proxama clears decks for new business model

logoAfter giving more details of its new business model based on the sale of location-based data, see our UKHotView from last week, the Proxama management team have announced their results for the six months to June and commented on recent trading.

The company has benefited from a £3.1m placing in July, eliminating its debt and garnering enough cash to fuel its (slimmed-down) business as it shifts focus onto Mobile Location Data. Half-year revenues had fallen to £1m with the restructuring of the Mobile Payments business, with EBITDA losses falling to £1.8m. Underlying operating expenses for the half-year were down 26% to £3m. Cost-trimming has continued, with the annualised cost-base at September standing at £4.2m, as personnel numbers were cut to 33 FTE (from 60 in January).

Proxama has added several experienced data specialists to its top team (including the Managing Director of Location Services, CTO and Chief Strategy Officer) and will be looking to these newcomers for a quick take-off of this business area. So far, they have secured a number of revenue-generating deals for their location data and are discussing several more.

They have also been successful in building their store of location data as the number of contributing consumers grows and as the number of data points (indicating a person’s location or an interaction with one of Proxama’s network of beacons) expands. Location and potential audience data are increasingly important for retailers and city managers, but Proxama will be looking to sell insight, rather than the underlying data, in order to generate sustainable value. The speed at which they can do this, and the number and value of longer-term contracts they can sign, will be the key determinants of whether this new business model proves to be a success.

Posted by Peter Roe at '09:49' - Tagged: mobile   analytics   big+data   retail   data  

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Monday 18 September 2017

HCL: minds and imagination at hackathon final

logoI spent last Friday at Old Trafford, Manchester at the #UNITEDBYHCL hackathon, in company with the 40 teams who had battled through to make it to the final leg of the HCL event. With 13,500 ideas submitted at the start of the process (way above HCL’s own expectations) just three months ago, getting to the final stage was a success in itself, so it was a privilege to be invited to help judge the culmination in Manchester.

The teams responded to business challenges requiring the use of next gen technologies across Artificial Intelligence, Open Innovation, AR & VR, UI & UX, Automation and Blockchain. During the hackathon process, the teams worked with mentors to create prototypes, before flying into the UK for the final which included a last 24-hour gruelling hack and the judging.

The enthusiasm from the hackers (most in their 20’s) was infectious and their skills and stamina impressive, as they tackled real problems set by major business brands. It was good to see leading edge technologies applied to actual business problems, particularly as in our conversations with businesses, knowing what’s possible and where to start remains a big issue. An external perspective, by individuals who are not influenced by in-company cultures and operational norms, can add further value for those organisations looking for innovation. Hackathons also bring together bright people from diverse areas and the resulting meeting of minds and exchange of information is something that needs to encouraged because businesses cannot thrive by being insular.  

Posted by Angela Eager at '09:36' - Tagged: ApplicationServices   blockchain   machineintelligence  

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Monday 18 September 2017

Unlock the Intelligence with TechMarketView on 5 October

TMV logoIf you have yet to book your seat at An Evening with TechMarketView on Thursday 5 October there’s no time to lose! There are only a limited number of places left and these are going quickly - book your place via the website or contact our event coordinator Tina Compton (tina.compton@tx2events.com) directly.

This year our flagship annual event is centred around our 2017 research theme, Unlocking the Intelligence. Hear from the TechMarketView analyst team about the trends, issues and suppliers shaping the UK software, IT services and business process services markets, now and into the future. Learn how the financial services and public sectors in particular are battling to ‘Unlock the Intelligence’ and take note as our Chairman Richard Holway MBE closes the show with his view of the future for the sector through to 2035 and beyond.

Run in association with Sage, the evening event commences at 6:30 pm with a welcome drinks reception. This is followed by an hour of analyst presentations in the auditorium, a pre-dinner drinks reception and then a sumptuous three-course meal. During the course of the evening there will be plenty of opportunity for you to tap the brains of the TechMarketView analyst team, as well as meeting your peers in the industry – indeed we’re told the networking is second to none.

An Evening with TechMarketView will once again be held at the magnificent premises of the Royal Institute of British Architects (RIBA) at 66 Portland Place, W1B 1AD. Tickets cost £425 for TechMarketView research subscription clients and ‘Little British Battlers’ (£525 for everyone else). It has been a sell-out for the last four years, so book now and secure your place at what so many executives tell us is the one industry event they simply can’t afford to miss!

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   The TechMarketView Evening 2017 is proudly sponsored by

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Posted by HotViews Editor at '08:50' - Tagged: event  

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Monday 18 September 2017

Lombard Risk fuels progress with contract wins and partnership

lrmWhen we reported on Lombard Risk Management’s record year in May, see here, we signalled another year of progress as the re-positioning of this global provider of collateral management and regulatory reporting solutions nears completion.

Two recent announcements confirm our positive view of the company. Last week’s news was that three of the company’s long-standing clients had used its AgileREPORTER solution for the new US regulation to monitor the liquidity positions of complex financial institutions (FR 2052a). AgileREPORTER is one of the new generation of reporting solutions; available over the cloud, configurable to specific customer requirements, supporting a higher level of management information and enabling the management of high volumes of complex data. As institutions upgrade to meet this new regulation, we would expect this provide a useful increase to Lombard’s share of wallet across its customer base.

The growing importance of partnerships in Lombard Risk’s growth strategy is emphasised by the decision to form a strategic alliance with Global Collateral Limited, the joint venture between the US Depositary Trust and Clearing Corporation (DTCC) and Euroclear. Lombard Risk intend to integrate their COLLINE collateral management solution with Global Collateral’s Margin Transit Utility. Messages from this system will go directly into COLLINE, thereby enabling straight-through processing of collateral management functions across all asset classes. This opens up a new swathe of potential customers in both the buy- and sell-side.

At the July AGM, the company confirmed that its results would again be weighted towards the second half of the year, with a strong pipeline of business being worked through by its sales team and channel partners. The progress of AgileREPORTER and the Global Collateral partnership will give the Lombard Risk top team additional confidence that their strategy is on the right lines.

Posted by Peter Roe at '08:45' - Tagged: partnerships   banking   regulation   risk  

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Monday 18 September 2017

LTG continues to achieve impressive growth

LTG LogoAIM listed e-learning and performance management solution provider, Learning Technologies Group (LTG), is continuing to achieve impressive growth. H1 results (six months ended 30 June 2017) show revenue up 68% to £21.5m (H1 FY16: £12.8m) and recurring licence fee and support contract revenues increasing to 37% (H1 FY16: 24%).

The jump in recurring revenues is partly as a result of LTG’s acquisition of NetDimensions (see LTG makes £54m bid for rival Netdimensions), but it also reports strong organic growth of 33% to £17.6m. Adjusted EBIT grew by 41% to £4.1 million (H1 FY16: £2.9 million), although margins have fallen slightly following the NetDimensions acquisition and loss before tax at the end of H1 stood at £1.9m (H1 FY16: £0.9m). Management expect its transformation plan following the acquisition to improve margins in H2. 

The acquisition of its Hong Kong-based rival, NetDimensions, was finalised in March 2017. LTG’s plan to leverage synergies with NetDimensions and increase efficiencies in the business have been completed. Further transformation will take place during H2 and management is expecting the business to contribute strong growth over the period.

NetDimension’s Learning Management System technology is seen as the “final key” that enables LTG to offer a comprehensive learning solution to its customers. LTG’s learning technologies business, LEO, will provide the main route to market for this solution.

LTG’s Civil Service Learning contract (see here), which is being delivered in partnership with KPMG continues to progress in line with expectations. The roll-out of the core-curriculum was completed in 2016 and contract has been extended until 2019.

LTG reports a strong start to H2 with trading ahead of expectations and its order book significantly ahead of FY16. We look forward to the full year results with interest.

Posted by Dale Peters at '08:31' - Tagged: results   acquisition   learning   H1  

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Monday 18 September 2017

Another of “Sikka’s mates” leaves Infosys

logoThe fallout from the exit of Infosys CEO, Dr Vishal Sikka, continues with the news that Design & Research head, Sanjay Rajagopalan, has left the building. Rajagopalan was among the first tranche of ex-SAP execs that Sikka brought with him when he formally took over as CEO in August 2014. Rajagopalan was previously SVP, Design & Special Projects at SAP, leaving the company in July 2014, a month after Sikka’s appointment was announced. He joined Infosys along with SAP EVP Michael Reh (who subsequently left in March 2016) and SAP Success Factors chief architect, Navin Budhiraja.

Rajagopalan was not the first of Sikka’s mates to leave Infosys. Yusuf Bashir, who joined Infosys in March 2015 to head up its VC activities (Infosys Innovation Fund), left in July 2017, the month before Sikka resigned. He was previously VP, New Products at SAP, part of the Office of the CTO (Sikka’s prior job).

Also resigning from Infosys in July was Ritka Suri, then EVP, Corporate Development & Ventures, who lead the controversial acquisition of Israeli-founded software testing SaaS startup, Panaya. She was previously an SVP at SAP with responsibility for the HANA Marketplace (another part of Sikka’s prior remit).

So, four down, eleven to go?

You can read our analysis of Sikka’s time as CEO of Infosys in our special OffshoreViews Extra bulletin, Infosys – The Sikka Years free of charge. Just drop an email with your name, company, and position to info@techmarketview.com and please put SIKKA YEARS in the subject line.

Posted by Anthony Miller at '08:00' - Tagged: offshore   management  

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Friday 15 September 2017

Cloud pushes Oracle Q1 revenue up 7%

Cloud pushes Oracle Q1 revenue up 7%Oracle grew its revenue 7% yoy in the financial quarter ending 31st August, with cloud services again leading the way as new sales of licensed, on-premise software continue to decline.

GAAP operating income also grew 7% yoy to US$2.8bn, with GAAP net income up 21% to US$2.2bn, leading to a 19% rise in GAAP earnings per share (52 cents).

Oracle has invested heavily in building out its IaaS/PaaS/SaaS service infrastructure over the past couple of years and the strategy is starting to consistently pay off. A recent regulatory filing suggests that the company’s executives will only receive performance options if Oracle “significantly grows its cloud business” to somewhere in the region of US$20bn.

That leaves some way to go with total cloud revenue hitting US$1.5bn in Q118, albeit up 51% on Q117 and 7% sequentially. Split that down and it is software as a service (SaaS) sales (up 62% to US$1.1bn) which are the main growth engine, though there are signs that Oracle is successfully cross-selling platform as a service (PaaS) and infrastructure as a service capacity (up 28% to US$400m) alongside its core cloud-hosted applications.

Posted by Martin Courtney at '09:54' - Tagged: results   cloud   Oracle  

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Friday 15 September 2017

Do you really need a Chief Data Officer?

I spent some time at the Tech Leaders Summit yesterday having some interesting conversations about data. We also heard from Lauren Sager Weinstein (Chief Data Officer at Transport for London) who spoke about the way the organisation has been capturing and using data (see the full list of TfL’s data feeds here).

One ofwifi the things she has overseen is the collection of data from passengers’ personal devices as they log-on to TfL’s Wi-Fi in stations. The data is de-personalised and analysed enabling TfL to more precisely understand customer movements and busy times at stations. There’s much more going on besides, like the collection of bus data to help TfL with road junction layout design. In other words, TfL is using data to help the Mayor make tangible differences in London.

Peter Jackson (Chief Data Officer at Southern Water) also shared his experiences. Peter’s fairly new into the role at the water company but a seasoned CDO. Indeed, he is Southern Water’s first CDO, so it’s interesting times as he investigates the organisation’s use of data and approach to applying it to aid decision making. One of the things he discovered early on was that staff are spending 80% of their time sorting through data but only 20% of their time applying it to actually make a decision. 

It’s clear to see how both Lauren and Peter are making important contributions to the organisations. But how easy is it to justify creating a CDO role in addition to a CIO? In our view, the benefits of having a standalone role, solely dedicated to understanding the business gains of data, are potentially huge. It might seem like a ‘nice to have’ in the first instance - or an expensive and unnecessary risk - but to not even consider it seems madness.

If data is your thing, you might want to join TechMarketView analysts at our annual dinner on October 5th….

Posted by Kate Hanaghan at '09:47' - Tagged: data   ChiefDataOfficer  

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Friday 15 September 2017

MMU chooses Unit 4 Student Management

Unit4 LogoManchester Metropolitan University (MMU) has purchased Unit 4 Student Management (U4SM) as part of its Student Journey Transformation programme.

U4SM has grown out of technology developed by Three Rivers Systems, a company that Unit4 acquired in 2015 (see Unit4 flying 'higher' in education). It has been integrated with Unit4’s Business World ERP and Research Management software to create an “end-to- end” student management suite and was fully launched in April 2016.

The platform, which is delivered in Microsoft Azure Cloud, has done well since it was launched. In the UK, it has added the Royal College of Art, Royal College of Music and University of Aberdeen to its list of customers.

MMU purchased U4SM via the G-Cloud framework, where the annual SaaS fee for the platform is based on the number of students at the university. As one of the largest universities in the UK, with more than 38,000 students and 4,500 staff, this is a significant deal for Unit4. MMU is currently using Unit4’s legacy QLS platform, so Unit4 doesn’t gain market share, but it does retain a significant customer. As procurement cycles are so slow in the sector, retaining customers is vital.

MMU’s Student Journey Transformation Programme is designed to improve the quality of service provided to students from initial enquiry to becoming a member of the alumni community. As we discussed in our Student Data and Analytics report, attracting and retaining the best university students is an increasingly competitive and global operation, particularly outside of Russell Group universities. U4SM is well placed to benefit from these market pressures.

Posted by Dale Peters at '09:42' - Tagged: contract   education   g-cloud   university   student   SMS   SIS  

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Friday 15 September 2017

VMworld showcases security, cloud and networking innovation

VMWorld showcases security, cloud and networking innovationSecurity, cloud and networking companies were well represented at VMWare's European customer and partner conference this week, with a number of innovative approaches to cyber protection, network virtualisation, and cloud service delivery, management and migration on show.

VMware's new play for data centre cyber security, dubbed AppDefense, implements application security monitoring at the hypervisor layer before applying automated threat prevention though its software-defined NSX platform.

It’s early days but AppDefense's alternative style of endpoint protection has the potential to cause major market disruption. TechMarketView will shortly be putting together a more detailed report analysing the implications for other cyber security hardware, software and service suppliers, some of which (including Check Point and Fortinet) are also VMware technology partners.

VMware's secure hyperconverged infrastructure platform is generating significant interest amongst providers delivering hybrid cloud services – IBM, AWS and also French outfit OVH which opened its first UK hosting facility in July and plans two more by the end of year (our reports Rival cloud Codes of Conduct may muddy GDPR compliance waters and The impact of data sovereignty on UK cloud service development analyse why).

A raft of smaller companies also work with VMware to address growing demand for public, private and hybrid cloud services and infrastructure, including start-up Zerto which has grown rapidly from a handful of employees in 2011 to over 800 today. The company provides enterprise disaster recovery and business continuity software and offers platform-agnostic virtual machine (VM) migration tools able to seamlessly shift workloads between different hypervisor platforms and cloud supplier infrastructure.

Virtual desktop infrastructure (VDI) has not enjoyed the growth trajectory originally predicted, with VMware itself describing the technology as too complex. That hasn’t deterred Login VSI, which provides resilience testing for large organisations like Cancer Research UK and DHL using on-premise VDI and cloud hosted desktop as a service (DaaS) platforms, and helps cloud service providers performance test the services they offer to their customers.

Posted by Martin Courtney at '09:18' - Tagged: cybersecurity   VMware   cloudintegration   VDI   Zerto   LoginVSI  

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Friday 15 September 2017

UK still in the doldrums at recruiter SThree

logoThe ‘glass half full’ view at freshly straplined UK-headquartered ‘international specialist STEM staffing business’ SThree, is that 80% of group gross profit was generated outside of the UK last quarter (Q3 to 31st August). The ‘glass half empty’ view attributes this result as much to further deterioration in its UK business as to its international growth!

Indeed, whereas non-UK GP rose by 18% yoy to £59.2m, UK GP (inc. Ireland), at £14.5m, declined by 10% yoy, though an improvement on the 14% yoy decline in H1 (see Diversification keeping SThree resilient). US was the fastest growing region, with GP up 20% to £17.3m.

GP in SThree’s core ICT recruitment activities only grew by 1%, to £31.6m, representing 43% of the Group (Q3 16: 44%). Fastest growing sector was Energy, where GP rose by 35% to £7.1m. Across the Group, GP rose by 5% yoy and qoq to £73.7m.

ICT is SThree’s strong suit in the UK, most notably through its Computer Futures brand,so it sounds like they may not have switched focus fast enough to new ‘digital’ skills, the demand for which we understand exceeds supply. Competitors are taking action – for example, UK-headquartered recruiter Harvey Nash recently snapped up a very profitable digital recruitment outfit (see Harvey Nash adds digital colour with Crimson). SThree has traditionally eschewed inorganic growth – but these are not ‘traditional’ times, at least not in the UK!

Posted by Anthony Miller at '08:24' - Tagged: trading   recruitment  

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Friday 15 September 2017

Microsoft’s Jacky Wright named CDIO at HMRC

Jacky Wright - source: https://assets.publishing.service.gov.ukJacky Wright, corporate vice president for Core Services Engineering with Microsoft, has been appointed Chief Digital and Information Office (CDIO) at HMRC. She will start her new role on 16 October 2017.

Mark Dearnley stepped down as CDIO in September last year to become CIO at Premium Credit, but it wasn’t until April this year that HMRC started advertising for his replacement. The CDIO role, which includes responsibility for 2,200 people in the CDIO department and a budget of £800m, offered a salary of up to £180,000. Mike Potter, who became interim CDIO after Dearnley’s departure, will take up a new role as Director for Future Borders.

Wright joined Microsoft as vice president for IT Strategic Services in 2011 and has been in her current role since the end of 2016. Prior to joining Microsoft, she was CIO/VP at BP, and CIO at Momentive Performance Materials and GE. And she will certainly need that wealth of industry experience in her new role.

HMRC has a hugely complex IT landscape. It finally closed Aspire, its long running IT outsourcing contract, at the end of June (see HMRC begins Aspire megadeal breakup). Although HMRC is re-engineering its IT estate, and where appropriate adopting cloud services, it still relies on legacy mainframe operating systems.

Its Making Tax Digital programme—a key component in the government’s plan to make HMRC one of the most digitally advanced tax administration in the world—faced much criticism from MPs and business about the pace of the change, which resulted in the timetable for delivery being reassessed (see 'Making Tax Digital' delayed). Wright is certainly not going to short of work in her new role.

Posted by Dale Peters at '08:05' - Tagged: appointment   government   legacy   transformation   central   hmrc   tax  

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Thursday 14 September 2017

Boring

BoringI’ve had an involvement with Archives for IT - founded by Roger Graham - for some years. It aims to record recollections of the pioneers of UK tech before they die or can’t recall them anymore. You can read or listen to the many interviews Click here. Indeed I am one of them.

I was then asked to contribute a history of the Holway Boring Awards which I have done. Again, you can read it Click here.

If you don’t know about the Holway Boring Awards then the article will give you the history. A company had to be quoted on the LSE and have at least 10 years of uninterrupted EPS growth. Seven companies since 1992 have received it. But none retains it anymore.

The two longest holders were Capita and Sage - both lost it in the last couple of years after 25+ years of uninterrupted EPS fgrowth - quite a record.

My article for Archives for IT ends with the characteristics of a ‘Boring’ company. They are as true today as they were in 1992 when we instigated the Awards.

Characteristics of a ‘Boring Company’?

1 - They ‘Stick to the knitting’. They concentrate their efforts on one thing and do it well. Capita for UK Business Process Outsourcing. Sage for accounting for SMEs

2 - Strong brand identification. Everyone knows what they do.

3 - They only expand geographically in their own market area. In other words, if you are good at doing ‘A’ in the UK, you might stand a chance of being able to do well at ‘A’ in France or the US. You will undoubtedly fail if you try something new in a new geography.

4 - Strong and Stable management. Before Teresa May devalued that phrase, it really did mean something. All Boring Award holders were run for decades by the same top managers - most often their founders.

5 - They avoid Acquisition Indigestion. Sure, Boring companies do lots of acquisitions - Sage and Capita acquired many companies every year. But firstly they tended to be in areas or geographies they knew well. And also they tended to be relatively small - never > 10% of their then market cap. As your doctor will tell you, to avoid indigestion, eat small means regularly. Big blow outs can sometimes be fatal!  

Boring

Posted by Richard Holway at '14:27'

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Thursday 14 September 2017

Andy Isherwood to leave HPE

IsherwoodAndy Isherwood will be leaving Hewlett Packard Enterprise (HPE) in early 2018. He was leading the company’s Europe Middle East and Africa region. This results from the current HPE restructuring after it carried out three spin-off/spin-mergers in the last three years. The latest was completed September 1st and saw UK software provider Micro Focus become the largest UK technology provider on the LSE with a market capitalisation of c£10b.  HPE is now focused on hybrid IT, Intelligent edge/IoT and its Pointnext services.

When I had lunch with Andy earlier this week, I hadn’t realised that he’s been with HP for nearly 30 years - joining as a graduate. In today’s job environment in the tech sector, that really is unusual. As Andy told me, when he joined HP it was generating $4bn in revenue. It had reached a peak of $110bn before the recent  disposals. In the process, Andy has had many roles from the UK to EMEA to Global and worked in many sectors. Andy was also keen to tell me that his EMEA region grew at 5% yoy in its last reported quarterly earnings.

Our paths also crossed as Andy (and HPE) is a great supporter of the Prince’s Trust – having served as Vice Chair on the TLG. The HPE charity balls that Andy was so keen to make happen, raised c£300K each year. Fantastic!

At ‘only’ 52, we have no doubt Andy Isherwood won’t stay idle for long. I’ll be intrigued to learn where he ends up next…

Posted by Richard Holway at '12:14'

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Thursday 14 September 2017

A challenging H1 for Forbidden Technologies

Forbidden Technologies LogoIt’s been a challenging start to the year for Forbidden Technologies, with revenue for the six months ended 30 June 2017 down 3% to £316k (H1 FY16: £327k), and invoiced sales falling 20% to £355k (H1 FY16: £445k). However, pre-tax losses for the AIM-listed cloud video platform provider narrowed slightly to £1.2m from £1.3m at the same point last year.

Forbidden has been prioritising live sports broadcasting, adding the licensing of its Forscene platform as a core component of its business and building international growth (see Transitional year for Forbidden Technologies in FY16). It is picking up longer-term and higher value contracts, including with Deltatre and Gfinitiy (see Forbidden Technologies takes first step into eSports), but these type of deals take longer to convert and have had an impact on invoiced sales. Forbidden starts the second half of the year with contracted orders including deferred revenue of £587k up from £351k in H1 FY16.

The resignation of CEO Aziz Musa in February 2017 had an impact on its commercial capacity during the first half of the year, but Forbidden has now appointed his successor. Ian McDonough joined as CEO at the beginning of September. He was Senior Vice President and Managing Director for Turner Northern Europe. Prior to that McDonough was Executive Vice President for the CEMA region at BBC Worldwide, a role that included television channels, content sales, consumer products, production, digital and home video. Forbidden also appointed a new sales director in July 2017.

There are opportunities out there for Forbidden to build growth in both broadcasting and over-the-top content, particularly in the rapidly expanding e-sports sector. However, there are still plenty of challenges for Forbidden to overcome and McDonough will look to make his mark in H2. 

Posted by Dale Peters at '09:55' - Tagged: results   video   H1   broadcasting  

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Thursday 14 September 2017

Corero DDoS revenue sees 51% growth

Corero SmartWall DdoS revenue sees 51% H1 growth

AIM-listed cyber security supplier Corero saw its overall H117 revenue flat at US$4.8m but sales of the company's flagship SmartWall Threat Defense System grew 51% yoy to US$4.4m.

That just about offset a US$1.5m decline in deferred revenue from legacy, discontinued intruder prevention system (IPS) products (worth US$400k in H1) which will finally run dry in H217.

As of FY18 Corero revenue will depend entirely on SmartWall and its associated SmartWatch managed Distributed Denial of Service (DDoS) proposition, which by our estimates should start to make the company's yoy growth look very strong indeed.

Corero continues to win new customers for SmartWall, 13 during the period end 30th June. Seven of those opted for 'as a service' recurring revenue deals with a minimum one year term and the remainder perpetual licenses that pay up front for the hardware and software then on a yearly basis for ongoing support.

They included a US$1m contract with an enterprise cloud service provider, a US$500k renewal with a US hosting company and a US$400k deal with a US federal government department. The latest contract, announced today, involves an initial US$200k order from a “leading digital enterprise” expected to grow into a global deployment and US$1.5m over the next few quarters.

The focus on managed DDoS services is a prime example of how more savvy suppliers are changing their traditional on-premise approach to cyber security and helping customers outsource responsibility for ongoing protection to third parties, both transitions that inevitably take time (and often money).

Corero's EBITDA loss widened to US$3.4m from US$2.5m a year earlier, impacted by a US$600k rise in operating expenses attributed to currency fluctuations and an intercompany loan of US$300k to its US subsdiary. Management are confident that those losses will be brought under control over the next few quarters however, and say Corero is still on track to be EBITDA positive by Q417.

Posted by Martin Courtney at '09:50' - Tagged: resullts   cybersecurity   Corero   DDoS  

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Thursday 14 September 2017

Goldman sees good in Neyber-ly lending

logoI do get rattled when a money lender describes itself as ‘financial wellbeing platform’ as borrowing money is not always conducive to your good financial health! But London-based startup, Neyber, gets full marks for marketing and entrepreneurialism, having raised a shedload of dosh to the tune of £115m in debt and equity financing, of which £100m was backed by Goldman Sachs, the ‘alma mater’ of Neyber’s founders. This followed a £21m Series C round a month ago, led by Wadhawan Global Capital and a £7.5m Series B round in April.

I think the FT described Neyber well, calling it a sort of ‘digital credit union’, as it provides its platform to companies of offer employees access to salary-deducted loans along with some whizzy money management tools. Founded in 2014, Neyber’s anchor client is the Police Mutual, and it has since enlisted a number of other marquee clients including BUPA and Anglian Water.

So, other than the Wonga-like marketing spiel, well done them!

Posted by Anthony Miller at '09:43' - Tagged: funding   startup  

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Thursday 14 September 2017

Consultancy leads growth at Parity

logoConsultancy Services led profit and revenue growth in H1 at UK IT staffing and consulting firm, Parity, much as presaged in its July trading update (see Parity progresses rebalancing of business). This was an important counterbalance to continuing pressure on Parity’s core staffing division (Professional Services) in part inflicted by the effects of changes to IR35 tax legislation.

As a result, staffing revenues declined by 10% to £39.0m but a 2% rise in segment profit lifted margins from 2.6% to 2.9%. In contrast, increased investment in Consultancy Services saw revenues soar by nearly 50% to £3.9m, with a 17% uplift in segment profit to £546k, though margins eased from 17.5% to a still respectable 13.9%. Net net, Parity’s headline revenues for the six months to 30th June fell by 7% to £42.9m, with ongoing operating margins in better shape at 2.1% (H1 2016: 1.7%).

Parity CEO Alan Rommel expects more of the same in H2, finishing the year ‘in line’ with a better balanced business.

Posted by Anthony Miller at '08:54' - Tagged: recruitment   resullts  

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Thursday 14 September 2017

The spec of the iPhone X is awesome

iphone XI’ve been thinking a lot about the Apple iPhone X since its launch on the 12th Sept. I watched for the whole two hours and the impression you got - from the time spent - was that this was a smartphone for animojis (they did spend a lot of time on this) and gaming (there were two long game demonstrations). Indeed, almost all the time was spent on what I will refer to as ‘consumer fripperies’.

And that’s what worried me because the spec of the new iPhone is, and I use this word deliberately, awesome. This ‘beast’ comes with A11 Bionic chip with 64-bit architecture, Neural engine and an Embedded M11 motion coprocessor. The iPhone X comes with an array of cameras and sensors packed into a tiny area at the top of the screen. The TrueDepth array, as Apple calls it, projects infrared dots onto your face to map it, captures that image, then uses a dedicated processor to interpret the face data. This array at the front of the iPhone X packs an Infrared camera, Flood illuminator, Proximity sensor, Ambient light sensor, Dot projector, front camera…and a speaker. I could go on about the ‘awesome’ spec. But the point is that this iPhone X has huge potential for both Apple - and third party developers - to produce some pretty serious applications. If you add the extra sensors in the Apple Watch Series 3, the opportunities in healthcare alone could represent a major step forward.

Installing a neural processor will allow machine learning. Coupled with facial recognition, the opportunities are either major or scary - depending.

The other point to make is that almost all this new, awesome stuff is Apple proprietary. As an aside, many of Apple's suppliers saw their share price decline yesterday. Eg IQE fell over 7%. Not just because of the delivery delays for the iPhone X but also because Apple is going to take so much 'inhouse' in the future.

I think Apple undersold all this on Tuesday. Certainly I wasn’t the only one that got annoyed at the fripperies - the animoji really got on my nerves. But now I really do think I - and others - underestimated the major step forward in hand-held computing that the iPhone X represents.

Posted by Richard Holway at '08:52' - 1 comment

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Thursday 14 September 2017

Bizagi - bags $48m

logoNot robotic process automation, but digital process automation (DPA) - that’s what US PE firm Invus is investing in by putting a substantial $48m into UK firm Bizagi.

DPA is designed to solve complex business process challenges, and as the ‘digital’ moniker indicates, to do so at speed, enabling rapid creation and changes to process applications. More than BPM on steroids, key aspects of DPA include a low or no code development environment and the use of machine intelligence to support complexity despite dynamically changing business situations.

Founded in 1989, Bizagi has gathered a respectable portfolio of customers including adidas, Aon plc, Old Mutual and Kaiser Permanente. It plans to use the funds to accelerate growth in the US and Europe where it will be up against a diverse group of competitors, from Pegasystems and Appian to IBM, Oracle and Tibco. The level and rate of change the business process market is undergoing is creating opportunities for a whole range of up and coming suppliers and driving radical change among traditional providers – for the latest insight download the UK BPS Market Trends and Forecasts 2017 report. 

Posted by Angela Eager at '08:32' - Tagged: funding   startup   software   bpm   bpa  

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Thursday 14 September 2017

CALLING UK TECH SMES – APPLY NOW FOR GBS2

logoIf you are a fast growing, privately held, UK-owned tech SME and feel that you are ready to take a step-change in growth, then you really should apply for the second TechMarketView Great British Scaleup event (GBS2), to be held in London on 7-8 November.

logoYours could be one of eight companies invited to meet TechMarketView analysts and advisors from GBS programme Advisory Sponsor ScaleUp Group, the team of successful tech entrepreneurs and experienced executives that have been responsible for accelerating growth – and achieving successful exits – at many well-known tech companies. You will spend 90-minutes in an intensive session to help you uncover the opportunities and potential for your business to scale up, using the ScaleUp Index, the new proprietary scorecard developed by ScaleUp Group.

logoIn addition, every applicant will be entitled to an optional initial infrastructure assessment at no charge by managed cloud and infrastructure services firm Cogeco Peer 1, the Enterprise Cloud & Infrastructure Services Technology Partner for the Great British Scaleup programme.  And of course, participating companies will also enjoy invaluable exposure in TechMarketView UKHotViews, along with coverage in selected TechMarketView research.

To apply to participate in GBS2, a senior member of your team will need to complete the Pre-Qualification Form on our website here by Wednesday 4th October. You will be advised by Friday 18th October whether your application has been successful.

We are confident that you will come away with much greater clarity on your scale-up potential and plans, and feel much better equipped to undertake the next stage of your scale-up journey.

There is absolutely no charge, so don’t miss out on the opportunity to tap into the market knowledge of the TechMarketView team, and the entrepreneurial experience of ScaleUp Group advisors, to understand what it could take to materially accelerate your company’s growth.

For further information about the TechMarketView Great British Scaleup programme, please check out our website or contact us by email at gbs@techmarketview.com.

Posted by HotViews Editor at '07:51' - Tagged: gbs  

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