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Collapse 2018 (48)2018 (48)
Collapse February (48)February (48)
Fospha: set to raise profile
19 Feb 2018
Fidessa, still building
19 Feb 2018
Sopra Steria FY17: UK's 'wait and see' attitude
19 Feb 2018
* NEW RESEARCH * IPPs march towards non-linearity
19 Feb 2018
Speak to UK tech leaders at the 2018 TechMarketView Evening
19 Feb 2018
Spreading the message
18 Feb 2018
'BUY Shovels'
17 Feb 2018
*NEW RESEARCH* End User Insights - Cloud ERP migration at Marine Harvest
16 Feb 2018
Google buys Xively to accelerate IoT capabilities
16 Feb 2018
GDPR helps push CyberArk FY17 revenue up 21%
16 Feb 2018
**NEW RESEARCH** Digital Marketplace Review 2017
16 Feb 2018
eTech drives to the core of CoreLogic
16 Feb 2018
Starlink to bring internet access to deepest Surrey by 2024?
16 Feb 2018
UK Virtual Reality developers get real funding
16 Feb 2018
Schneider Electric ends year on a high
15 Feb 2018
Buoyant Capgemini finds the UK tough going
15 Feb 2018
Earthport working to get back on track
15 Feb 2018
Sanderson: three year revenue target in sight
15 Feb 2018
First revenue growth for Cisco in two years
15 Feb 2018
Rezatec raises more funding to improve its image
15 Feb 2018
Adtech PowerLinks has foresight to raise £4.6m
15 Feb 2018
Transition your existing applications to the cloud with UKCloud VMware-based cloud computing
15 Feb 2018
Oracle differentiating on intelligent automation
14 Feb 2018
AudioBoom booms
14 Feb 2018
Serco confirms Carillion health contracts on reduced terms
14 Feb 2018
Ditto spots £4m for bots
14 Feb 2018
Advanced wins Norwich City Council finance and HR deal
14 Feb 2018
Discover how Sage Sessions are transforming the way businesses work.
14 Feb 2018
LBB Featurespace in payments partnership
13 Feb 2018
EMIS Group: Welsh GP framework update
13 Feb 2018
US CoreLogic snaps up ‘LBB’ eTech
13 Feb 2018
Citrix bags Cedexis to boost app delivery
13 Feb 2018
‘LBB’ Fedr8 looks to the crowd for funds
13 Feb 2018
Mimecast Q3 revenue up 36%, appoints DPO
13 Feb 2018
Edinburgh’s pureLiFi lights Bangalore’s Wipro
13 Feb 2018
Genpact's investment in digital starting to pay off
13 Feb 2018
Raise your profile at TechMarketView Evening 2018!
13 Feb 2018
The Robots Are Coming
13 Feb 2018
More evidence that Facebook's Glory Days are over
12 Feb 2018
MedaPhor to pilot ultrasound AI software
12 Feb 2018
Civica wins in East Kent
12 Feb 2018
New-look Proxama confirms progress
12 Feb 2018
* NEW RESEARCH* Cyber Security Market Trends & Forecasts 2017-2020
12 Feb 2018
Atos Codex put to work on space data
12 Feb 2018
How do you govern AI?
12 Feb 2018
Strong growth for Proactis after Perfect integration
12 Feb 2018
Computing in schools: time for industry to step up?
12 Feb 2018
POP pops £2m to put people on production
12 Feb 2018

UKHotViews©

 

Monday 19 February 2018

Fospha: set to raise profile

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

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

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

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

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

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Monday 19 February 2018

Fidessa, still building

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Monday 19 February 2018

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Monday 19 February 2018

* NEW RESEARCH * IPPs march towards non-linearity

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

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

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

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

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

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Sunday 18 February 2018

Spreading the message

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

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

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

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

Posted by Richard Holway at '17:43'

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Saturday 17 February 2018

'BUY Shovels'

SergoA few months ago we sailed through the Panama Canal with an excellent lecturer who told us the role that the canal had played in the Gold Rush in the mid-19th Century. We all joke that the people who made the real money from the gold rush were those that made and sold shovels. But maybe the lasting beneficiary was Levi Strauss & Co. who made the hard wearing blue jeans that the miners wore.

The Gold Rush of the last year has been the cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin. But mining these has created its own ‘Gold Rush’ for the makers of graphic chips (Eg Nvidia whose share price is up 150% in the last 12 months) and other ‘shovels’ used to mine the currency.

This all came back into my mind today as I read of the superb performance of Segro (once known as Slough Estates). What, you might ask, has Segro done to warrant a place on a tech newswire? Segro builds and manages big warehouses on industrial estates far away from the fashionable areas. ‘Boring?’ Sure. But we all now buy our stuff from the likes of Amazon who have an insatiable appetite for such properties - making Sergo one of the best longer-term performers in the FTSE100 with a doubling of their share price over the last 5 years.  

You can apply this to almost any area. Afterall ARM was a major beneficiary of the move to Smartphones. It was actually a better investment than Apple in those years. The largely unknown makers of cameras. motion sensors and other stuff are the major beneficiaries of the move to self-driving cars.

Posted by Richard Holway at '16:24'

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Friday 16 February 2018

*NEW RESEARCH* End User Insights - Cloud ERP migration at Marine Harvest

imageDon’t miss the latest in our End User Insights series where we delve into the thoughts and actions of the enterprises who are at the sharp end of making digital transformation a reality. In the latest Insights research ‘Marine Harvest: Digital Prep with Cloud ERP Migration’ we look at why and how seafood producer Marine Harvest is migrating its ERP workload to the cloud.

One of the largest seafood companies and the largest producer of Atlantic salmon, Marine Harvest operates in 24 countries, from its native Norway to Canada, Chile, Faroe Islands and including Scotland and Ireland, providing farmed salmon and processed seafood to over 70 markets. As an aquaculture business supplying perishable products, it requires instant access to information and rapid response times, so change was needed to bring the fragmented ERP landscape up to scratch. Running alongside this was the need for more streamlined and cost effective operations and better visibility across the supply chain. The case for cloud ERP migration was evident but the company didn’t want this to be just a ‘lift and shift’ operation - the aim was to make a foundational shift with its ERP system to prepare itself for future digital change, using Infor and Amazon Web Services as two of the key enabling suppliers.

Eligible TechMarketView subscribers can download this tale of seafood, scalability and supply chain visibility here. If you’d like details of our subscription services Deborah Seth will be happy to help.

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

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Friday 16 February 2018

Google buys Xively to accelerate IoT capabilities

gcpGoogle has said it has entered into an agreement to acquire Xively, a division of LogMeIn Inc for $50m. The purchase adds depth to Google Cloud IoT (Internet of Things) Core, including advanced device management, messaging, and dashboard capabilities.

Google Cloud IoT Core is a managed service that connects, manages and ingests data from globally dispersed devices. Bringing Xively’s capabilities together with its data analytics and machine learning expertise means Google will be able to broaden the possibilities for customers to build their own IoT solutions.

Google’s cloud business is smaller (in revenue terms) than key players such as Amazon Web Services and Microsoft Azure. Xively is an important addition not only because it brings more depth to the Google IoT offering, but also because it opens up further options for driving more data streams into the Google Cloud.

For LogMeIn’s part, the sale of Xively will see it move out of the IoT connectivity platform market to focus on unified communications (underlined by its acquisition of Jive Communications for c$340m, which was announced earlier in February).

Posted by Kate Hanaghan at '09:22' - Tagged: acquisition   cloud   analytics   machinelearning  

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Friday 16 February 2018

GDPR helps push CyberArk FY17 revenue up 21%

GDPR helps push CyberArk FY17 revenue up 21%Identity access management (IAM) specialist CyberArk saw a strong finish to its financial year, with Q4 revenue up 25% yoy to US$80m and FY17 turnover up 21% to a record US$262m.

The US$42m acquisition of DevOps security start-up Conjur last May added a small chunk to that total. FY17 net income dropped 43% yoy to US$16m as the company expanded its international operations and fought currency headwinds, with operating expenses up by US$49m, US$33m of which went on sales and marketing.

Despite sales execution challenges in the EMEA region (EMEA revenue still grew 20% to US$81m) CyberArk did a good job of growing its customer base – assisted by a network of 350 global channel partners (indirect business accounts for 60% of total revenue) and a small army of affiliated security consultants, including Rapid7 which has offices in Reading and Belfast.

Much of CyberArk’s success derives from the priority public and private sector organisations attach to protecting their applications and services against unauthorised account access - from either internal and external sources - which can lead to data theft or corruption (subscribers can read our Cyber Security Market Trends and Forecasts 2017-2020 report here).

The company also cited GDPR compliance initiatives as a “significant lifer” of its business, with the vast majority of deals signed during the year coming from “greenfield” customers. Approximately 40% of total FY17 revenue came from new clients, many in the financial services sector. The number of deals worth over US$100k increased 27%, with 92 netting over US$500k. License revenue was up 12% yoy to US$148m to represent 56% of total turnover, with maintenance and professional services (the GDPR growth engine) up 34% yoy to US$114m.

CyberArk issued guidance suggesting its FY18 revenue will jump 19-21% yoy to hit the range of US$312m-$316m. With last minute rushes to meet regulatory requirements on the cards (compliance with the GDPR becomes mandatory in May this year) we see nothing to suggest that growth target is overly ambitious.

Posted by Martin Courtney at '09:08' - Tagged: results   cybersecurity   IAM   CyberArk  

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Friday 16 February 2018

**NEW RESEARCH** Digital Marketplace Review 2017

Digital Marketplace Review imageAt the beginning of February 2018, the Government Digital Service and Crown Commercial Service released the Digital Marketplace sales figures up to December 2017. The data covers sales from the three frameworks: G-Cloud, Digital Outcomes & Specialists (DOS), and Digital Services. 

Sales since the first of these frameworks was launched (G-Cloud in 2012) now total £3.2bn, with G-Cloud responsible for 89% of that spend. Despite the total spent on these frameworks continuing to rise, the rate of increase has slowed. In 2017, across all frameworks, spend was up 35% compared to 2016, but between 2015 and 2016 the increase was 54%.

Spend through the three frameworks still represents a relatively minor proportion of total public sector software and IT services (SITS) sales. TechMarketView estimates c.11% of UK public sector SITS expenditure in 2017 went through one of these three frameworks. However, as we discuss in this report, central government remains much more likely to make use of these frameworks than other parts of the public sector.

Spend via SMEs continues to rise, but at a slower rate than with large companies. Between 2016 and 2017 spend with large companies rose by 42%, compared to 27% with SMEs. This has resulted in SMEs representing a decreasing proportion of spend--from 50% in 2015, to 49% in 2016, and 46% in 2017.

This data-driven report looks at trends in sales across these frameworks, including the success of SMEs, variations between subsectors, the biggest spenders and the top suppliers. 

If you are an existing PublicSectorViews subscriber you can read the report now. If you'd like to discuss an extension to your existing subscription or would like details of how to subscribe to TechMarketView, please email Deb Seth.

Posted by Dale Peters at '09:01' - Tagged: research   government   framework   digital   research   research   research   research  

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Friday 16 February 2018

eTech drives to the core of CoreLogic

logoThe last time we caught up with David Driver, one half of the fraternal founders of Solihull-based eTech Solutions was at the fifth TechMarketView Little British Battler event in November 2014 (see here). Some three years on, eTech was acquired by NYSE-listed property data analytics and services company CoreLogic. TechMarketView Managing Partner Anthony Miller had the chance to chat to Driver after the deal was done.  More …

Posted by HotViews Editor at '08:58' - Tagged: lbb   acquisiiton  

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Friday 16 February 2018

Starlink to bring internet access to deepest Surrey by 2024?

StarlinkYesterday I was walking in darkest Surrey using the really excellent OS Maps App on my iPhone. This gives you access to all the OS maps for Britain for just £25.99 pa. Although the App works with just a GPS signal you can’t download a new segment of the map without a mobile signal. I had just crossed from one tile of the OS map to another but couldn’t get a mobile signal. Had to revert to my paper map and compass! This is in the most populated area of the UK - not deepest Africa…

There is now something of a race to make internet ‘Not-Spots’ a thing of the past throughout the world. Google is looking at balloons. Facebook high-flying drones. Softbank and Richard Branson are backing OneWeb. Other projects include Space Norway and TelesatNow.

Now Elon Musk’s SpaceX is entering the fray with StarLink. This Saturday a SpaceX Falcon 9 will launch two StarLink test satellites as part of a possible network of 11,000 satellites by 2024 (but that’s ‘Elon Time’ so disregard) bringing 5G to every part of the Earth. Such a network is essential if self-driving cars are to become ubiquitous.

So maybe in 2024 even Holway won’t get lost in deepest Surrey anymore!

Posted by Richard Holway at '08:53'

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Friday 16 February 2018

UK Virtual Reality developers get real funding

Two UK developers at different points on the VR spectrum are attracting investor interest.

logoLondon-based Gravity Sketch has developed a VR-based 3D creation tool to let designers quickly sketch 3D models on Windows or OSX systems using pen input and VR goggles. The designs can be output to professional CAD software for further development. Gravity Sketch has raised £1.2m in a seed funding round led by Forward Partners, with backing from San Francisco-based AR/VR-focused VC, Super Ventures and Japanese graphic tablet manufacturer, Wacom. Founded in 2014, Gravity Sketch launched a £50,000 crowdfunding campaign on Kickstarter in September 2016 but pulled the campaign a month later after raising a little over £7,000 from 193 backers.

logoFar from a startup – indeed its history goes back to 1988 – Newcastle-based Luminous Group (formerly Digital Surveys) has raised £250k in funding from Mercia Fund Managers. The company, now headed by founder Peter Bennett’s sons Ben and Henry, specialises in digital surveys, digital architecture and ‘digital VR’ (is there another type?). I am a little curious about this one, as Luminous is clearly well established in its market – arguably a veteran – so you have to wonder what difference £250k in venture funding is going to make.

While tech gadget manufacturers like Apple and Google persevere in their quixotic endeavours to bring VR/AR to the masses, the reality (so to speak) still seems to point to its natural home being in industry (in its widest sense). In this respect, both Gravity Sketch and Luminous are arguably ‘right place, right time’, yet the size of the investments still seem a bit tentative to me.

Posted by Anthony Miller at '08:30' - Tagged: funding   startup  

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Thursday 15 February 2018

Schneider Electric ends year on a high

logologoThe transaction that will bind the UK’s Aveva Group and French HQ’d Schneider Electric is expected to close this month (see here for the background). The release today of Schneider Electric’s financial results provides a glimpse into the state of affairs at Aveva’s new home and it looks attractive as the French industrial group reported record performance across some metrics.

The bare bones are that for the year (FY17) organic revenue was up a modest 3.2% to €24.7bn but net income reached an all time high of €2.15bn which was a 23% increase. At €3.65bn (up 9%), adjusted EBITA also hit a record high. There are challenges of course - the company was hit by €351m currency headwinds and the FY18 impact is expected to be closer to €1bn. FY18 revenue guidance is 3%-5% organic growth.

Chairman and CEO Jean-Pascal Tricoire highlighted the potential over the coming year with scope to accelerate sales following the delivery of complete solutions, a portfolio focused on Energy Management and Industrial Automation and the launch of new products and digital services - and the combination with Aveva. It underlines Schneider Electric’s need to modernise and the power of software to enable that. GE has famously taken this route and it also worth noting that Koch Industries took a stake in ERP software provider Infor not too long ago, for what looks like a similar reason.

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

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Thursday 15 February 2018

Buoyant Capgemini finds the UK tough going

LogoCapgemini, as ever the first major SI to publish full calendar year results, presented an up-beat view of the business following a healthy 2017 performance. Global revenue grew by 4.0% yoy at constant currency to €12.8bn and by over 6% in Q4. Operating margin was also up by 20bps to a very respectable 11.7%.

The turnaround in North America, the Group’s largest geography where sales jumped by 12% yoy in Q4, and the continuing rapid growth of its digital & cloud revenue (up 24% yoy to nearly €5bn) were the major contributors to the improved 2017 position. Managed Infrastructure Services again declined, while Consulting Services surged ahead by 14% yoy and by some 19% in Q4. The latter bodes well for fresh downstream transformation programme revenues in 2018. Following on from its purchase this month of US customer experience specialist Liquid Hub, Capgemini is also reserving half of its free cash flow, some €500m, for further acquisitions in the digital arena during the coming year.

In the UK & Ireland, conversely, the position deteriorated as the year progressed. 2017 revenue was down by 9.6% yoy and by nearly 16% in Q4. The impact of the transition of HMRC Aspire contract (see here) played a significant part in this and will continue its drag on the top line through the first six months of this year. Capgemini, however, also noted a softening in the overall business since last summer. Longer client decision cycles were cited as one of the major reasons for the H2 slowdown, as was weakening demand in the Consumer Products & Retail sector.

A more recent strengthening in the sales pipeline, particularly in the Energy & Utilities sector, is offering some cause for optimism, although a return to growth in this region is not expected until the second half of 2018 at the earliest. The wider domestic political and economic uncertainties coupled with intensely competitive market conditions, however, are likely to make recovery here an arduous process.

A number of Capgemini’s competitors will be posting their 2017 results over the next few weeks. It will be interesting to see if they paint a similar picture of the UK SI market.

Posted by Duncan Aitchison at '09:48' - Tagged: results   systemsintegration  

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Thursday 15 February 2018

Earthport working to get back on track

earthportPayment network specialist Earthport this morning provided an update on its progress in H1 2018 (six months to 31st December 2017).  

The last time Earthport updated the market just before Christmas (see Earthport stumbles) it saw its share price fall by some 30% as it announced revenues would be 10-15% below market expectations for FY 2018. A shortfall partially explained by contract and implementation delays. As a consequence, it postponed its plan to breakeven cash wise until FY2019 and reshuffled the board and management team.

Earthport has clearly had a challenging six months but today’s update was less dramatic than last time and now expects to see revenues up 8% to £15.4m for H1 2018 (H1 FY 2017: £14.3 m). Gross margins will have fallen back to 64% compared to 70% in H1 FY 2017, due to increased network delivery costs and the mix of business. It expects to make an increased EBITDA loss for H1 2018 of £3.2 million (H1 FY 2017: £1.5 million).

On the bright side Earthport has built a decent pipeline of new banking relationships whilst transactions from existing customers are growing year-on-year in excess of 10%. There are plans to grow the global sales function, invest in the product and technology and reduce operational costs through automation. It anticipates FY 2018 revenues to be in line with revised forecasts and to deliver cash flow break even in FY 2019.

Earthport is also putting faith in the emerging importance of distributed ledger where it believes it has a role to play facilitating cross-border payments. The first initiative in distributed ledger is expected to go live with a global bank in H2 2018.

Earthport’s shares were up around 5% this morning.

Posted by Marc Hardwick at '09:29' - Tagged: payments   blockchain   distributed+ledger   earthport  

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Thursday 15 February 2018

Sanderson: three year revenue target in sight

logoAs part of a three year plan Sanderson Group set itself the target of taking annual revenue to £30m and pre-tax profits to £4m-5m (see Sanderson still going strong). Currently in year three of the plan and the company has the revenue target in sight.

£30m revenue has looked like a stretch but the acquisition last November of ERP provider Anisa Group, with its revenue of £10m, PBT of £73K and impressive nett assets of £6.54m, in a cash and shares transaction valued at £12m, is helping bring that target closer. It looks like Anisa will complement the supplier of digital retail technology and enterprise software to the manufacturing, wholesale distribution and logistics sectors in several ways.

According to Sanderson’s AGM statement today, the impact of the acquisition is expected to take FY revenue (to September 30 2018) up to £30m+ (with a gross margin in the region of 80%). This builds on the £21.6m revenue at the end of the most recent full year.  At we pointed out at the time of the acquisition, Sanderson is a UK company taking determined steps to scale up.

After a tight FY17, the current year started well. Four months in and total revenues were one third ahead of the year ago period. The like-for-like figure was 5% and not as good as this time last year, but the operating profit was 10% ahead and the order book 20% ahead.

Achieving the revenue (and profitability) target is not a done deal and management rightly remains cautious as sales cycles remain long in the Digital Retail business and “protracted” in the Enterprise business. However, with Anisa’s 800 customer base, Digital Retail showing double digit revenue and operating profit growth rates, a new digital platform within the Enterprise section for the wholesale distribution market (support for sub-verticals is so important now) and recurring revenue at 55% of total revenue, Sanderson does have the assets to work with.

Posted by Angela Eager at '09:01' - Tagged: software   tradingstatement  

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Thursday 15 February 2018

First revenue growth for Cisco in two years

First revenue growth for Cisco in two yearsCisco reversed two years of revenue decline with positive second quarter results, up 3% yoy to US$11.9bn. The networking company’s share price jumped almost 7% during after hours trading with the news well received by investors following the announcement of a quarterly dividend of 33 cents per common share, up 14% on Q217.

The new financial reporting model introduced in Q118 might be said to flatter Cisco, but it performed better than either TechMarketView or financial analysts expected this quarter. Q318 guidance is similarly buoyant, with 3-5% yoy growth (partially driven by the Broadsoft acquisition) being predicted. A net Q2 loss of US$8.8bn (compared to a profit of US$2.3bn in Q217) reflected a one-off US$11.1bn charge in line with recent US tax reforms, with non-GAAP net income up 7% yoy to US$3.1bn.

After years of steady transition the numbers suggest the company has turned the corner in rebalancing the focus of its portfolio whilst expanding its presence in growth areas of the market such as cloud, cyber security, collaboration and the Internet of Things (IoT).

The 2% yoy jump in recurring revenue was the Q2 highlight – a third of Cisco's turnover now comes from subscription-orientated software and services rather than one-off license fees and hardware sales. Revenue from applications (US$1.2bn) and security (US$558m) were both up 6% yoy in Q218, with infrastructure platforms (US6.7bn) up by a more modest 2%.

The last time Cisco saw growth was in Q116, when revenue increased 4% yoy to US$12.7bn - at the time worth US$800m more than in Q218. Since then performance was hobbled by an unprofitable service provider video business (largely jettisoned), and declining sales of routers and switches - ongoing, but now offset by increasing software and service turnover.

It has been a long road for Cisco, but the company never panicked and its restructuring finally looks to have established a solid platform for future growth.

Posted by Martin Courtney at '08:49' - Tagged: results   Cisco   networkinfrastructure  

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Thursday 15 February 2018

Rezatec raises more funding to improve its image

logoI like it when the strapline on a company website ‘does what it says on the tin’. Harwell-based geospatial analytics startup Rezatec’s message is succinctly put: ‘Satellite-derived landscape intelligence’. Rezatec’s focus is on the Infrastructure, Forestry and Agribusiness sectors, and the analytic ‘smarts’ uses satellite imagery to predict things like crop yield and pipeline network leakage.

Founded in 2012, Rezatec has completed the second phase of a £2m funding round led by Caphaven Partners, along with existing investor Run Capital and new backer Newable Private Investing. Run Capital led a £1m+ seed round in Rezatec back in April 2016, along with Harvard Business School Alumni Angels and existing shareholders.

Of course this is a commercial proposition but one hopes also for the greater good of the planet.

Posted by Anthony Miller at '08:30' - Tagged: funding   startup  

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Thursday 15 February 2018

Adtech PowerLinks has foresight to raise £4.6m

logoPersonalised marketing is perhaps the ultimate quest for the advertising industry, and ‘adtech’ startups are springing up aplenty, each with a slightly different angle on how to achieve it (e.g. see Adtech Spirable gets more personal).

Another such is London-based PowerLinks Media, which has developed a tech platform for the programmatic buying and selling of “personally relevant and user-friendly ‘native’ advertising.” Founded in 2012, PowerLinks recently closed a £4.6m Series A funding round led by Foresight Group with additional participation from angel investors and PowerLinks management. 

As this has all but exhausted my limited knowledge of the adtech industry I can’t really take a view as to whether PowerLinks is the bees knees in this space – but they do have a very attractive infographic on their website.

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

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Wednesday 14 February 2018

Oracle differentiating on intelligent automation

logoYou’d expect headline grabbing cloud news at Oracle’s own CloudWorld event and that is what it provided but with an intelligent automation theme Oracle added another page to a cloud story that is already packed with infrastructure, platforms, data and applications.

OpenWorld last autumn saw the announcement of Oracle’s machine intelligence driven autonomous cloud database (18C), CloudWorld this week saw it joined by autonomous PaaS in the form of Oracle Autonomous Cloud Platform. Like 18C it promises to reduce day to day drudgery by tackling the time and costs commitments of launching, running and maintaining cloud services. It will start rolling over the Spring.

While the autonomous services encourage enterprises to invest in Oracle cloud from top to tail there is no getting away from the reality that it does have a powerful cloud stack and strong cloud story that is moving on at pace (even though it is still a small contributor to overall revenue). The advances make for an increasingly compelling proposition for existing Oracle customers but it is still a major decision for non-Oracle houses.

Add in the twelve new data centres Oracle is planning (including 2 more in Europe – Amsterdam and Switzerland) and the cloud proposition deepens alongside its desire to be seen as a competitor to Amazon Web Services, Microsoft and Google. It has some way to go before it will be on terms with AWS and Microsoft is particular regarding data centre assets and cloud market share however.

By developing the cloud intelligent automation theme Oracle is starting to carve out a point of go-to-market differentiation which CEO Mark Hurd sought to develop with predictions that over half of enterprise data could be automated by 2020 and that 90% of enterprise applications would feature ‘integrated AI’. That would be a huge change in such a short period of time but there’s nothing wrong with the direction of travel. However, by focusing on intelligent automation in the enterprise application space Oracle is tackling the ‘how’ of digital change at scale which is one of the biggest hurdles so it could be a very smart decision.

Posted by Angela Eager at '09:48' - Tagged: cloud   software   PaaS   AI   IntelligentAutomation   machinelearning   machineintelligence  

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Wednesday 14 February 2018

AudioBoom booms

ABUK-HQed and AIM-listed AudioBoom (podcasting) is to be ‘merged’ with its US counterpart - Triton Digital - in a deal valued at £134m. Looks like Triton - which is backed by VC Vector Capital - and its top management will be in control of the enlarged group.

AudioBoom is a kind of NetFlix for audio. It started as a platform for people to load audio - like interviews and amateur recordings etc. But now it offers its own professional programming via subscriptions, paid-for content as well as running ads.  Triton is much more involved in radio advertising - now big business! It was reported that 67m people in the US listen to at least one podcast per month. I see podcasts as an expanding market particularly as these become more readily available via in-car entertainment systems. Americans spend a lot of time in their cars. So the two fit together in a complimentary manner.

Audioboom also announced that its trading was ahead of expectations with advertising impressions up 40% yoy at 422m in Dec 17/Jan 18.

Posted by Richard Holway at '09:16'

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Wednesday 14 February 2018

Serco confirms Carillion health contracts on reduced terms

SercoSerco confirmed this morning that it has entered into a revised agreement with Carillion’s liquidators to acquire the outsourcer’s UK health facilities management contracts for £29.7m. The portfolio covers FM support services to over 50 NHS sites, including five acute hospital trusts.

Serco had originally signed heads of terms to acquire the contracts back in October (Serco to acquire Carillion’s healthcare contracts for £50m) but Carillion’s rapid demise rendered the agreement no longer legally valid. The liquidators PwC could have looked to sell the contracts elsewhere but opted to deal with Serco, albeit on reduced terms.

The new contracts will definitely help strengthen Serco in the health sector which accounted for approximately 10% (£355m) of annual revenues in FY16. However, H1 FY17 results (see here) highlighted a decline in its healthcare revenues following changes to two procurement services contracts, which were only partially offset by the start of its £600m hospital FM services contract with Barts Health NHS Trust (see here).

As we have highlighted in our new report UK Public Sector Supplier Prospects 2018 Serco has c.£500m worth of contracts (across all sectors) that could potentially expire in 2018. To return to a growth path in 2018 it needs new business to make up for any attrition and the Carillion contracts will definitely help. 

Posted by Marc Hardwick at '09:08' - Tagged: health   FM  

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Wednesday 14 February 2018

Ditto spots £4m for bots

logoIt is spiritually uplifting to learn that Manchester-based startup, Ditto AIvery much embrace(s) the brave new world … but (is) also mindful of the consequences and determined things should always be transparent”. But there is precious little on its website that actually gives any transparency on its AI engine. However, a trawl around the ‘net reveals that the Ditto platform is used to create software advisor bots, which are apparently already deployed in environmental, health and safety (EHS) applications.

Nonetheless, wise heads ‘get it’, as Ditto AI has just completed a £4m funding round led by IP Group and Parkwalk Advisors. If I have followed the trail at Companies House correctly, Ditto AI is the new  (2017) name for Empiricom Technologies, which was established in 1997 by Ditto AI founder Rick Turner. There are also references to IP Group’s prior involvement under its former brand, IP2IPO.

Anyway, it all sounds very exciting – but very opaque.

TechMarketView subscription service clients can read our views on the brave new world of bots in Breaking the Boundaries – Predictions Compendium 2018.

Posted by Anthony Miller at '08:14' - Tagged: funding   startup  

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Wednesday 14 February 2018

Advanced wins Norwich City Council finance and HR deal

Advanced logoAdvanced has secured a five-year contract (with optional two-year extension) with Norwich City Council to help transform the local authority's financial and HR operations.

Norwich City Council signed the contract with Advanced back in June last year, but it has only just been announced. The Datchet headquartered software and IT services business will supply an on-premise solution comprising MHR's iTrent HR management solution and its own e5 web-based finance software as part of the agreement. We understand that iTrent will be replacing FMP Global HR Workforce and e5 will replace Oracle E-Business Suite.

The financial management modules, which will go live in 2019, will initially be used by 25 key finance employees, as well as 50 budget holders and up to 200 purchasing users on a self-service basis. The HR modules, which also include self-service functionality, will go live later this year.

The solution will be managed via the council's shared service partnership agreement with LGSS. However, Advanced will provide training on the new solution for the council as well as helpdesk support. Norwich City Council was worked with LGSS since 2012 and last year renewed its partnership for another five years starting April 2017.

The contract forms part of the council's digital by default approach, which aims to increase efficiency across the organisation and improve the service offered to 137,000 residents in the region. 

Posted by Dale Peters at '08:14' - Tagged: contract   software   government   local  

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Tuesday 13 February 2018

LBB Featurespace in payments partnership

logoWe’re always delighted to hear about the progress of the up and coming companies who are part of our Little British Battler programme and today’s news that one of our early LBBs, Featurespace, is in partnership with payments processor TSYS to launch the Foresight Score AI fraud solution was another validation of Featurespace and its capabilities.

Regular readers will know TechMarketView has carried out substantial research into the frantically changing payments market so clearly Featurespace is making the right alliances while broadening its route to market.

Subscribers should download Understanding the UK payments market for insight into this fast moving area.

Posted by Angela Eager at '09:46' - Tagged: partnership   software   lbb   payments   AI  

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Tuesday 13 February 2018

EMIS Group: Welsh GP framework update

EMIS Group LogoAt the end of January, it was reported that EMIS Group had not been selected as a preferred vendor for the next primary care framework agreement in Wales, meaning all EMIS users in the country will be transitioned to a new provider. Now that the statutory 10-day standstill period has passed, NHS Wales Informatics Service (NWIS) has released further details about why that decision was made.

NWIS stated that the tender submitted by EMIS fell short in eight of the 20 sections of requirements. In a letter sent to the 195 practices currently using EMIS systems, NWIS said," there were too many areas where EMIS Health Ltd only partially met the requirements or made too many changes to the contract drafting, which had a detrimental effect on, or increased the risk position of, NHS Wales."

EMIS has not released any further information since the announcement, except to say that it respects the decision and to reassure customers that service and support levels will be maintained during the transition period (January 2019 to July 2020).

Clearly EMIS believes that the commercial risks of signing up to the requirements of NWIS outweighed the benefits of retaining its position in Wales. When you consider the existing framework delivers a margin significantly below the Group average and represents less than 4% of GP practices using EMIS Health across the whole of the UK, you can see why it might not be prepared to make any significant concessions to NWIS.

The decision is obviously good news for EMIS's competitors. Vision (InPractice Systems) and Microtest secured a place on the new framework contract, which is effective for a four-year period from January 2019, with the option to extend for up to a further two years. It will put Vision, which already holds 241 GP practices in Wales, in a very strong position and give Microtest, a new entrant in Wales, an excellent opportunity to build its business. 

Posted by Dale Peters at '09:44' - Tagged: contract   software   healthcare  

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Tuesday 13 February 2018

US CoreLogic snaps up ‘LBB’ eTech

logoNews just in that another of our Little British Battler companies has gone on to greater things! Solihull-based ‘proptech’ software company eTech Solutions has been acquired by NYSE-listed property data-as-a-service provider CoreLogic. Terms were not disclosed. Founded in 2005, eTech participated in the 5th TechMarketView Little British Battler event in November 2014 (see LBB eTech energetically pursing growth in mortgage valuations).

Congratulations to co-founders Jim and David Driver and their team.

Posted by Anthony Miller at '09:34' - Tagged: acquisition   lbb  

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Tuesday 13 February 2018

Citrix bags Cedexis to boost app delivery

logoThe latest acquisition by Citrix Systems is not the answer to the commotion that has been apparent within the business over the past year (post restructuring impact, GoTo spin out, CEO switch, mixed FY results) but it may provide a pointer to where its attention will be focussed.

The acquired company is Portland, US-based Cedexis, a company founded in 2009 that media reports indicate has raised $36.7m in funding. It offers a data-driven service that dynamically optimises the flow of traffic across public clouds, data centres, content delivery networks and ISPs. In essence, it uses crowdsourced data to determine performance so it can automatically route traffic around slow pieces of the public internet.

It will slot into the NetScaler and application delivery area of Citrix, playing to broader market requirements for performance and business continuity, and visibility. It might open up a new customer base for Citrix because Cedexis targets commercial organisations like SaaS and CDN providers delivering high bandwidth content to end users but we’ll have to wait to see how this pans out. 

Posted by Angela Eager at '09:21' - Tagged: acquisition   startup   software  

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Tuesday 13 February 2018

‘LBB’ Fedr8 looks to the crowd for funds

logo‘Little British Battler’ application discovery startup Fedr8 has launched a fundraising campaign on crowdfunding site crowdcube. The company aims to raise £400k for 4.8% equity, valuing the business at almost £8m pre-money. Launched in 2012, Fedr8 has raised over £1.3m since 2014, including £500k from its directors (and see Sentient sews seeds in Fedr8 cloud). Fedr8 was one of the participants in the 9th TechMarketView Little British Battler event held in November 2016 (see LBB Fedr8 – Accelerating Cloud Adoption). As at time of writing, Fedr8 has raised nearly £153k of its crowdfunding target from 32 investors, of which £110k came from a single investment. £410 has been raised in the last week.

As we have written many times before, crowdfunding can turn out to be a two-edged sword, both for investors and investee companies. It behoves potential investors to scrutinise the investee company’s business plan in detail – and some do not show great detail – and take a view on the valuation. On the other hand, investee companies need to think through the implications of potentially having tens, even hundreds of shareholders, which may make subsequent corporate activity a challenge. Nonetheless, crowdfunding can be a valuable source of funding for startups, with some high-potential campaigns attracting institutional investors too.

As ever, caveat investor – and investee.

Posted by Anthony Miller at '09:11' - Tagged: funding   startup   lbb  

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Tuesday 13 February 2018

Mimecast Q3 revenue up 36%, appoints DPO

Mimecast Q3 revenue up 36%, appoints DPOThe addition of 1100 new customers pushed Mimecast’s Q318 revenue up 36% yoy in constant currency to US$67.3m, as the company’s mix of secure SaaS-hosted email, message archiving, backup and targeted threat protection continues to enjoy strong traction amongst enterprise buyers.

The company posted a GAAP net loss of US$2.6m, or 5 cents per diluted share (non-GAAP net income recorded a profit of US$1.6m), an improvement on the GAAP net loss of US$3.4m in Q317 whilst adjusted EBITDA rose 81% yoy to US$6.7m.

As in previous quarters, some of that profit was diluted by operational expenditure that grew 33% yoy to US$51m. Research and development costs alone were up US$4.1m to US$10m as like other suppliers Mimecast continually strengthens and revamps its portfolio to meet combat the latest cyber threats.

Mimecast now counts 29,000 organisations as customers, up from 27,300 in Q118 and 24,900 in Q317. For good or bad (and undoubtedly good at the moment) its success is being tied ever closer to Office 365. Almost a third (29%) of its customers now using Mimecast services in conjunction with Microsoft’s SaaS-hosted business messaging and application suite (up from 19% in Q317).

Mimecast also recruited a number of new executives in 2018, notably Marc French as Chief Trust Officer and Data Protection Officer (DPO). We think that appointment is intended to demonstrate that Mimecast itself is meeting the requirements of the EU’s forthcoming General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), whilst simultaneously reassuring customers their data is being stored and processed in line with the new legislation when hosted with Mimecast.

That's a smart move given the still inconsistent nature of GDPR compliance amongst UK organisations ahead of the May deadline which could bring more customers onto Mimecast's platform, and we expect to see the company continue its current growth trajectory over the course of the year.

Posted by Martin Courtney at '08:55' - Tagged: results   cybersecurity   Mimecast   backup   archiving   email   threatprotection  

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Tuesday 13 February 2018

Edinburgh’s pureLiFi lights Bangalore’s Wipro

logologoWith so much attention paid to Bangalore-based Wipro’s IT services activities, it is easy to forget that this is only part of a diversified business empire which started life manufacturing vegetable oils just after the Second World War. One of Wipro’s subsidiaries, Wipro Lighting, is a leading manufacturer of lighting products, which formed a partnership late last year with Edinburgh-based startup, pureLiFi, a spin-out from the University of Edinburgh developing technology to transmit data with LED lighting products such as would be used in the home or office.

pureLiFi was one of the exhibitors at Wipro Lighting’s ‘light show’ events held in Chennai and Bangalore last week, focused on what Wipro has tagged (and indeed registered!) as the Internet of Lighting (IoL). Also part of the IoL ‘alliance’ is Cisco. Founded with seed funding in 2012 (as pureVLC), pureLifi has raised over $25m in several subsequent rounds, the last of which (according to Crunchbase) was a £7m Series B round in July 2016 led by Singapore’s Temasek Holdings.

There are many applications for pureLiFi’s technology, for example in environments such as hospitals and petrochemical plants where traditional radio frequency communications may not be suitable. While one may instinctively think that pureLiFi is ‘a solution looking for a problem’, my sense is that it is more than this. Wipro Lighting has had the foresight to see this too, and has an opportunity to ‘join the dots’ with its IT Services sibling to bring pureLiFi’s technology if not into the mainstream, at least to a wider market.

Posted by Anthony Miller at '08:24' - Tagged: offshore   startup  

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Tuesday 13 February 2018

Genpact's investment in digital starting to pay off

GenpactGenpact announced its full year results for 2017 yesterday with total revenue up year-on-year 6% to $2.74bn.  Operating profit was also up 8% year-on-year to $429.6m with a corresponding margin of 15.7%.

Genpact is a business changing on a number of fronts and 2017 has seen it become much less reliant on former parent GE (Genpact grows away from GE). Indeed, BPO revenue for the year from GE was down 32% to $176m whilst GE IT Services was down 6% to $94m.

Shrinking GE revenues were more than compensated for by growing with clients elsewhere. Sales were strong with new bookings up 5% to $2.8bn. The Global Clients (i.e. non-GE) BPO business grew by 15% delivering for clients in the insurance, consumer goods, banking, manufacturing, life sciences and tech sectors. Revenues from IT services declined by 3% last year.

The real change is in the nature of the work that Genpact is winning. As we have covered previously Genpact has been investing in digital for some time (Genpact driving out legacy with digital) which is starting to deliver. Transformational services were up 25% during the year driven by demand for digitally-led solutions and operations.

Digital and intelligent operations are underpinned by the Genpact Cora platform which brings together a thread of different technologies in a modular fashion, along with a governance layer designed to integrate automation, analytics and AI in one place.

Genpact is a BPO business moving in the right direction making the necessary changes. Management at Genpact is looking to see more of the same in 2018 expecting revenues to be between $2.93bn to $3.0bn with the non-GE part of the business growing between 9% and 11% with similar margins overall to last year.

Posted by Marc Hardwick at '08:03' - Tagged: genpact  

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Tuesday 13 February 2018

Raise your profile at TechMarketView Evening 2018!

The TechMarketView Evening 2018 will be held on the 13 September, once again at the magnificent Royal Institute of British Architects (RIBA) in Portland Place, London.

Our sixth annual TechMarketView Presentation and Dinner promises to be another enjoyable evening of analyst insight and quality networking over drinks and dinner with some 250 leaders from the world of UK tech expected to attend.

As in prior years, there are a limited number of sponsorship opportunities associated with the event. The most sought-after sponsorship is the Diamond partner package, which includes a 5-minute speaking slot during the evening.  However, we have a range of sponsorship packages available this year with some tailored to SMEs.

TMVE 17 dinner

All of the packages offer tremendous benefits including: 

  • Thought leadership at the highest levels – our events attract CXOs from across the UK tech sector, including many of our Little British Battlers & Great British Scaleups
  • Increased brand awareness across the sector – our events are promoted widely on UKHotViews & Twitter reaching more than 20,000 UK tech leaders in the months before the event
  • Lead & partnership generation opportunities – we’re told the networking at our events is second to none.

If you would be interested in sponsoring the event or learning more about the packages available, please contact Tola Sargeant or Sarah Robinson for further details.

If you are an ‘early bird’ and would like tickets to the evening please email our event management partners tx2 Events to reserve your place and be notified when tickets go on sale.

Posted by HotViews Editor at '08:00' - Tagged: event   sponsorship  

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Monday 12 February 2018

More evidence that Facebook's Glory Days are over

FBGood to see my unsubstantiated views that Facebook’s Glory Days are Over are now backed by some real research. eMarketer has just come out with research showing how the ‘young’ (ie those between 12 and 17) are abandoning Facebook. Some are going to Instagram (also owned by Facebook) but more are off to SnapChat. Even more are just not bothering with mainstream social media channels.

I should reiterate that you don’t actually have to LEAVE Facebook - you just stop posting to it. So my grandchildren can still see what older people - ie ME - are doing - but they don’t get involved. They don’t need to ‘defriend’ their GrandDad. But they certainly don’t need - or want -  to share their experiences with oldies like me! As that was one of the attractions for me - ultimately it will be its downfall for us oldies too.

eMarketer reckon that, in 2018, 700,000 fewer 18-24 year olds in the UK will use Facebook regularly. The over 55s will become the 2nd biggest Facebook users.  Indeed every age group >45 will see increased users and every age group <45 will be flat or reducing. Not a good outlook…

Posted by Richard Holway at '14:27'

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Monday 12 February 2018

MedaPhor to pilot ultrasound AI software

MedaPhor LogoAIM-listed MedaPhor Group plc has announced that the Fetal Medicine Department of St George's University Hospitals NHS Trust in London will pilot ScanNav, its AI-driven ultrasound image analysis software.

MedaPhor, a Cardiff University spinout, completed the £3.6m acquisition of Intelligent Ultrasound Ltd (IUL), a University of Oxford spin-out, in October 2017. IUL was founded by Professor Alison Noble, and had developed deep learning based ultrasound image analysis software called ScanNav.

A trading update from MedaPhor last month said that the integration of IUL had progressed well and that ScanNav had entered limited first release at a major UK hospital; today's announcement confirms the identity of the Trust involved in the pilot.

ScanNav is initially targeted at the UK's 20-week screening programme where it will be used to carry out automated, real-time "peer review" of obstetric ultrasound images as the patient is scanned. It evaluates over 50 individual criteria to confirm that the images conform to protocol. ScanNav has learnt these protocols from over 350,000 images that were assessed by a panel of sonographers.

The news follows confirmation that MedaPhor has secured a £466k grant from Innovate UK's Digital Health Technology Catalyst competition to develop its NeedleGuide product. The augmented reality ultrasound-guided needling system  will combine technology developed by MedaPhor and expertise from IUL.

As discussed in UK Public Sector SITS Market Trends & Forecasts, NHS budgets remain under tremendous pressure and the future of the service can only be sustained through digitally-enabled transformation. We expect interest in the use of machine intelligence in healthcare to build over 2018 and we will be taking an in-depth look at the subject later this year. 

Posted by Dale Peters at '09:51' - Tagged: healthcare   AI   machineintelligence  

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Monday 12 February 2018

Civica wins in East Kent

civicaCivica announced today that it has been appointed by East Kent Services (EKS) partners Canterbury City Council, Dover District Council and Thanet District Council to operate its citizen facing and business services in a move designed to save up to £5.3 million.

Civica’s services are built on a platform-based model with East Kent shared services already running its Local Government software suite. The seven-year agreement includes the transfer of more than 230 employees to Civica and deals with collection, admin and enforcement of council tax and business rates, payment and admin of housing benefit and council tax support and query handling.

There is also the potential to generate new income by turning this into a hub for the South East and look to win additional work from other public-sector bodies.

Civica had a strong 2017 and has started the new year with a number of significant contract wins (Civica Digital makes good start to 2018). Civica’s platform-based approach is resonating with Local Authorities still looking for savings and service quality but also looking to safeguard jobs locally.

TMV is spending tomorrow with Civica at its South Worcestershire partnership where we will no doubt learn more.

Posted by Marc Hardwick at '09:43' - Tagged: platformbased+bps   Civica   revs&bens  

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Monday 12 February 2018

New-look Proxama confirms progress

LogoAIM-listed Proxama ended an eventful 2017 in a stronger position. Revenues for last year jumped by 75% yoy to £472k, while costs from continuing operations have been slashed and are expected to be down by 50% in 2018. Debt has been cleared. And its shift to a singular focus on the sale of location intelligence products and services was completed with the disposal of its digital payments business last November. Profitability, however, remains a significant challenge, albeit that full year operating losses decreased by nearly 10% yoy to c.£3.7m.

Now under the leadership of a substantially refreshed management team led by Mark Slade, who was promoted to CEO last October, Proxama will soon rebrand as Location Sciences PLC. It believes that its sharper market focus - summed up by its new name -  is already paying dividends. 2017 saw the total number of consumers who have a mobile phone with apps embedded with Proxama's location technology increase by 46% to 7m - ahead of indications given in December (see here). Moreover, the number of data points these produce rose by 180% to 14bn.

As we noted last July, Proxama should be congratulated as it shifts the business away from the model which required a cash-consuming network roll-out and the growth of transactions volume (at wafer-thin commissions). Much still needs to be done, however, in terms of building a portfolio of insight products and refining the necessary algorithms and AI platform. It will also face stiff competition from some much bigger (and richer) data providers. The next twelve months will tell us much about the viability of the new strategy.

Posted by Duncan Aitchison at '09:39' - Tagged: ecommerce   marketing   mobile   analytics   retail   bigdata  

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Monday 12 February 2018

* NEW RESEARCH* Cyber Security Market Trends & Forecasts 2017-2020

* NEW RESEARCH* Cyber Security Market Trends & Forecasts 2017-2020Our updated Market Trends & Forecasts research for Cyber Security is live and ready for download.

TechMarketView’s research theme for 2018 is Breaking the Boundaries. In security, this refers to the increased integration of hardware, software and services to build a tighter mesh of cyber defences spanning multiple on- and off-premise systems, devices and applications to strengthen existing enterprise data security systems and infrastructure.

The Cyber Security Market Trends & Forecasts 2017-2020 report explains key developments in cyber security technology and business models and changes in the way IT departments provision and consume security infrastructure and services, along with detailed forecast information to the end of 2020.

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

Posted by Martin Courtney at '09:30' - Tagged: market+trends   forecasts   cybersecurity  

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Monday 12 February 2018

Atos Codex put to work on space data

Atos logoAtos has signed a fascinating deal with the European Space Agency (ESA). It will deliver and operate Copernicus Data and Information Access Services (DIAS): “DIAS will combine real-time geo data from Copernicus, the world’s largest single Earth Observation program, with data from multiple sources and turn it into information products for companies in sectors such as manufacturing, insurance, utilities, agriculture, forestry, urbanism and emergency services”.

Atos will be leading a newly created consortium including DLR, e-Geos, EOX, GAF, Sinergise, Spacemetric, Thales Alenia Space and T-Systems.

There has been a lot of commentary around Elon Musk’s endeavours over the weekend. Readers can be in no doubt about Richard Holway’s excitement over the Falcon Heavy launch – see here. But, for many others, social media highlights that it has been hard to see past the showmanship to the potential for human advancement. Projects like this one, involving Atos, serve as a useful reminder of the benefits of space science – to help understand the impact of climate change, to help manage urban management, to help farmers better manage crops and yield…

Atos will be responsible for integrating, delivering and operating the Cloud platform, which will integrate specialised data sources. Atos, with its partners, will also build and commercialise new business services based on the satellite data. The Atos Codex portfolio of data service will provide the necessary analytics and cognitive capabilities.

The platform will be available to customers worldwide in June 2018.

Posted by Georgina O'Toole at '09:24' - Tagged: contract   analytics   big+data   space   data  

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Monday 12 February 2018

How do you govern AI?

AIThe World Government Summit, an annual event held in Dubai, this weekend brought together leaders in government to debate governmental process and policies. The Summit has a particular focus on the issues of futurism and technology, so it should be no surprise that Artificial Intelligence (AI) had top billing.

world government summitAI poses a huge challenge for governments that they have been slow to grasp. How do you incentivise and facilitate R&D to ensure you get the most out of the upside of AI, whilst at the same time minimising the fallout from a reshaped workforce? Not to mention how do you deal with ethical issues posed by algorithms with built-in biases strengthened through machine learning?

The AI event in Dubai was organized by the Harvard Kennedy School of Government and the UAE’s Minister for AI and really illustrates how difficult this is going to be. Attendees discussed the most immediate ways that AI can improves lives, who should govern AI, and how to navigate the difficult road ahead.

There was recognition that governments will find it impossible to stop technological and scientific progress and that over-regulation just moves the problem from one place to another. A potential solution was mooted for governments to incentivise research in areas providing the most benefit and least risk to society. Secondly that they must invest heavily in AI research to keep pace with the private sector and thus be better placed to deal with potential problems as and when they arise.

AI has the potential to reshape so many aspects of our lives and governments have been slow to get to grips with the potential consequences. Whilst predictably there were no concrete actions coming out of the Summit, recognition that governments are going to have to come together and that things will have to happen quickly should at least be seen as a step in the right direction.

Posted by Marc Hardwick at '09:03' - Tagged: government   AI  

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Monday 12 February 2018

Strong growth for Proactis after Perfect integration

Proactis logoLondon-headquartered spend control and eProcurement solution provider Proactis has made good progress in the six months since its transformational reverse takeover of US rival Perfect. According to today’s trading update, Proactis has delivered significant revenue and EBITDA growth during the period (to 31 Jan) and is on track to meet expectations for the full year on a constant currency basis.

Proactis expects to report a 123% increase in first half revenues to £26.3m (H117: £11.8m) and a 183% increase in adjusted EBITDA to £8.5m (£3m). The strong growth follows the acquisition of Perfect, which completed in August last year. Perfect contributed approximately £13.5m of revenue and £3.7m of adjusted EBITDA in the first half, suggesting an organic growth rate for Proactis of c8.5%. Note though that since the majority of the group’s revenue is denominated in either the US dollar or euro, the strengthening of sterling will impact the trading performance as currencies are translated.

The integration of the two businesses appears to be going well and the Board confirms it’s on track to deliver the targeted £5m of cost savings by the end of July. It is also encouraging to hear that the rate and value of new customer wins and cross-selling activity has been strong compared to the prior year, with a healthy contribution of new customer wins from Perfect. This bodes well for future growth, suggesting that the enlarged group is being seen as a credible and successful sector consolidator as customers look for scale-advantage, reach and financial stability in their supply chain partners. 

Posted by Tola Sargeant at '08:54' - Tagged: trading   ecommerce   payments  

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Monday 12 February 2018

Computing in schools: time for industry to step up?

Empty Classroom phtoIf one off the highest-ranking state secondary schools in the country is struggling to recruit computing teachers, what hope is there for other schools? I ask following a conversation with a friend over the weekend. Her son’s school had sent home a letter to parents advising that, though having advertised extensively, they had not been able find a replacement computing teacher for after half-term.

This really is a very worrying position. It is, of course, not the first time that we have heard of the difficulties in recruiting suitably qualified teachers. And there have been steps taken to try and turn the tide. Perhaps it is just too early to be seeing results from recent attempts to attract more computing teachers into the profession. But the concern is that little is helping…

Back in January last year, the Home Office Migration Advisory Committee (MAC) acknowledged the national shortage in computer science teachers (as well as general science and Mandarin) by stating that employers (schools) could bring in workers from outside the European Economic Area (EAA). However, the same was done for maths, physics and chemistry eight years ago, and it didn’t seem to help. To blame? The pay differentials between teaching and other professions. And at a time when we have a significant digital skills shortage, that pay differential will be even higher in computer science.

Then, in the Budget 2017 (see Autumn Budget 2017: Tackling productivity with technology), skills was high on the agenda, with Government pointing to the need to improve STEM skills to protect the country’s future productivity. One commitment was a £100m National Centre for Computing to train 8K new computer science teachers. But, this is no guarantee that it will attract the numbers needed. A previous £3m scheme to recruit 400 “master teachers” in computer science failed to meet its target (with the target subsequently scaled back to 300). There was also a programme to attract qualified teachers to return to teaching in the sciences, including computing. But of 428 teachers that returned, just 27 were in computer science.

In the interim, we are seeing schools looking to retrain teachers in computer science. But there’s a problem here too. Teachers who previously taught “ICT”, are struggling with the new computing curriculum. Anecdotal evidence from a few friends with secondary school children suggests that the result is “boring” lessons. Pupils are left to copy code from a paper sheet onto a computer to create a website. The lessons are uninspiring and unexciting. The result? One pupil, who had achieved the highest grade possible in his report (a 9 in ‘new currency’ – and higher than an A*), is now choosing his GCSE options and has no interest in taking Computing. Perhaps it’s no wonder that, last year, just 67,800 computer science GCSEs were taken – that’s 11% of Key Stage 4 pupils. And only 1 in 5 of those was female. It also doesn’t help that, according to the Royal Society, just 54% of English schools offer computer science GCSE; that means 30% of GCSE pupils in England do not have access to the topic.

In line with our 2018 research theme – Breaking the Boundaries – schools are having to think more laterally about how to fill these vacancies. The school that prompted this piece is working with both universities and agencies to find a solution. But it’s a recommendation from the Royal Society that I like the most: the idea that “industry and academia should support and encourage ‘braided’ careers for staff who want to teach as well as work in another setting”. This idea has the potential to get over multiple issues. Firstly, it would get over the problem in pay disparity. Secondly, it would help ensure the computing curriculum meets the needs of industry. But also, I remember my most inspiring teacher (in economics) being the one that had worked for decades in industry. Today’s pupils need excitement brought back into their lessons or we risk losing their interest in a subject that is set to infiltrate every aspect of their future lives. I’m sure there are plenty of ICT industry employees who would like to ‘give something back’?

Posted by Georgina O'Toole at '08:34' - Tagged: education   skills   computing  

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Monday 12 February 2018

POP pops £2m to put people on production

logoThere seems to be no shortage of casting agencies in the visual media industry, but London-based filmtech startup We Got POP is taking a more holistic and technological approach to sourcing and managing ‘People On Production’ (geddit?).

Launched in 2014, POP is a human resource management (HRM) platform for the film industry to book, manage and pay production staff, film crew and background artists (i.e. ‘extras’). POP has just raised a further £2m in a funding round led by Octopus Ventures, along with Allbright and others. In early 2016, POP had raised around £0.5m in a seed round which was supported by Pinewood Studios.

I am becoming aware of other startups that are also focusing on highly subcontracted subsectors of the HRM market traditionally dependent on the passing of paperwork between multiple parties. Each subsector has its own HRM nuances dependent on the work practices within that industry, so I think there is plenty of room for niche players like POP to make a living, especially when the industry is large enough and, in POP’s case, rich enough! Watch this space for more.

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

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