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SysGroup ticks off strategic milestones
26 Jun 2019
Zoo investing to stay out of the poo
26 Jun 2019
Down with the kids?
26 Jun 2019
Deloitte, Google & Synanetics win population health deal
26 Jun 2019
Auditors critical of failed Scottish Pensions IT project
26 Jun 2019
Matthew Gould reveals further plans for NHSX
26 Jun 2019
Keytree fuels Essar's digital transformation
26 Jun 2019
Enterprise Awards
26 Jun 2019
Motorway drives off with £11m funding round
26 Jun 2019
How to Write an Effective RFP to Evaluate Your Potential Suppliers?
26 Jun 2019
More Birthday Honours
25 Jun 2019
Civica extends NI footprint with teachers’ pension deal
25 Jun 2019
UltraSoc funding round will boost British developer teams
25 Jun 2019
BearingPoint targets UK Public Sector
25 Jun 2019
Littlefish takes 7Ps seriously at LBB Croydon
25 Jun 2019
Cerillion boosted by two major wins
25 Jun 2019
Revenue and profit down at Redcentric
25 Jun 2019
D4t4 growing in all the right places
25 Jun 2019
Capgemini spends €3.6b on Industry 4.0
25 Jun 2019
Monzo targets US, fuelled by cash injection
25 Jun 2019
NTT Data innovates!
25 Jun 2019
Great British Scaleup: Glisser
25 Jun 2019
Considered a career in teaching?
25 Jun 2019
Unily: $68m for experienced digital experience startup
24 Jun 2019
StatPro opens new market channel via J.P. Morgan
24 Jun 2019
Good start for UK/Irish tech investment
24 Jun 2019
Avoiding the advances of a huge customer..
23 Jun 2019
NPS acquires service design agency Snook
21 Jun 2019
Nice wins for Unit4
21 Jun 2019
Hoot of joy for £1m CyberOwl funding
21 Jun 2019
Accenture spies IIoT opportunity in Deja vu
21 Jun 2019
Manchester-based Matillion receives $35m Series C funding
21 Jun 2019
IFS and Acumatica: ERP coalition under EQT
21 Jun 2019
IBM and Cisco get closer on hybrid cloud
20 Jun 2019
**NEW RESEARCH** Securing the cloud: A case of shared responsibility
20 Jun 2019
McKesson UK acquires Echo to enhance digital proposition
20 Jun 2019
Oracle: stronger FY19 finish but external comparatives matter too
20 Jun 2019
GuestReady beds down Series A funding
20 Jun 2019
As Facebook launches Libra. MyTop 'It could be YOU!'
20 Jun 2019
Traveltech Duffel flashes kimono on new funding
20 Jun 2019
Summer advertising deals with TechMarketView
20 Jun 2019
Zego's cash boost highlights changing face of P&C
19 Jun 2019
Kevin Cunnington: from GDS to IGS
19 Jun 2019
HPE deepens hybrid offerings
19 Jun 2019
Blue Prism snaps up Thoughtonomy
19 Jun 2019
Cognizant acquires Irish Life Sciences IoT specialist
19 Jun 2019
NatWest's Bó picks up Loot team
19 Jun 2019

UKHotViews©

 

Wednesday 26 June 2019

SysGroup ticks off strategic milestones

sysFull year results from AIM-listed managed services provider and VAR, SysGroup, show the firm has moved forward on key strategic aims over the 12 months to teh end of March.

The acquisition of Certus IT (see SysGroup acquires again) helped push revenue up 22% to £12.7m, with adjusted EBITDA growing 41% to £1.41m. The cash position has also improved notably. The firm has moved further away from lower margin resale and has been gradually growing the monthly run-rate of recurring revenues.

SysGroup’s overarching objective is to develop its position as a Managed Services Provider via a buy-and-build strategy. As is widely known, the mid-market is hugely fragmented and there is plenty of opportunity to make acquisitions and expand in the market. Indeed, the firm made another purchase earlier this week: Hub Network Services Limited (low latency network connectivity and co-location solutions) for £1.45m in cash. The challenge is identifying the higher-quality targets and then ensuring a slick integration (remember 2e2?).

SysGroup is making steps forward and under CEO, Adam Binks – who has now led the company for a year – there certainly seems to be momentum and forward drive.

Shares were up almost 4% at time of writing.

Posted by Kate Hanaghan at '09:55' - Tagged: colocation   hosting   managedservicesprovider  

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Wednesday 26 June 2019

Zoo investing to stay out of the poo

Zoo Digital logoAfter many years of troubles, Zoo Digital turned a corner a year ago (in its FY18), impressing the market with 73% growth in revenues when it announced results in July, pushing its share price to its peak of 172p (see Zoo no longer in the poo). For the “provider of cloud-based localisation and digital distribution services for the global entertainment industry”, a shift in focus away from its legacy business (digital packaging and software licensing) towards localisation services (subtitling and dubbing) looked to be the right direction of travel for the business.

But working in this nascent market for Over-the-Top (OTT) video delivery has not been without its hurdles over the last year, illustrated by the fact the companies share price has plummeted by two-thirds over the period. Zoo’s Chairman highlights a range of challenges including disruption in the subtitling supply chain during the transition of a major OTT operator’s partner programmes, and the delay of a single, material, localisation project. Moreover, the decline in the legacy DVD and Blueray title processing business has been faster than expected; it now represents just 8% of revenues.

The good news – that has pushed the share price up >10% in early trading – is that the company still managed to push up revenues, albeit marginally, from $28.5m to $28.8m. And within that, the localisation business grew by 4% to $22.3m. Looking ahead, Zoo Digital knows that the decline in its legacy business will accelerate further. The focus now is on demonstrating the global capacity to be the localisation services vendor of choice for large media companies. Investment in technology, capacity and geographical expertise means the adjusted EBITDA margin has shrunk from 1.4% to 8.4%. Now Zoo Digital must navigate the "dynamic nature and disruption" in the OTT marketplace to make sure it sees the return on recent investments.

Posted by Georgina O'Toole at '09:52' - Tagged: results   media  

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Wednesday 26 June 2019

Down with the kids?

L plate logoMy son turned 17 today. For 16 years and 364 days he has been waiting for this occasion – I kid you not. For him, being 17and able to drive represents a much bigger coming-of-age than next year’s birthday ever will.

In the last year or two though, I’ve detected a sense of panic from him and his younger brother. How long will they be able to drive before autonomous vehicles take over? Realistically, quite a while I would have thought, although tech is becoming a bigger and more integral part of the driving experience every day (I was lucky enough to get a new car two weeks ago that purports to park itself – not yet tried; watch this space).

I love driving. I waited eagerly too. I drove on my birthday and passed my test at 17. And even now I still relish the thought of going out in the car, be it a long journey, a ‘pop-to-the-shops’ or a driving holiday in some far-flung place. I’ve never tired of it. Equally I love tech – I’ve been part of the industry all my life and I seriously couldn’t manage without it. But the thing is I don’t want tech to take over all the bits of my life that are ‘manual’ and I still enjoy. Whilst I welcome the extra safety that tech can bring, I don’t want the car to park itself, I don’t want it to drive me somewhere and I don’t want it making ‘ethical’ decisions on my behalf. Am I alone in this?

My son (and his brother) represent the typical ‘young person’ of today – if they have to do a task then it follows there must be an app that exists to make it easier. However, ask many 16-year olds if they’d like that first driving experience taken away from them and I’m sure you’d hear a resounding ‘no’. It’s humans that are driving (excuse the pun) the invention and application of tech across industries, and it’s humans that will experience the consequences, good or bad, of this tech, but will any of us humans be allowed to decide whether we want it or not? Quite frankly, when it comes to autonomous vehicles, I choose not…and I think that might put me, ‘down with the kids’.

Posted by Deborah Seth at '09:43' - Tagged: transport   automotive  

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Wednesday 26 June 2019

Deloitte, Google & Synanetics win population health deal

Yorks Humber CRYorkshire & Humber Care Record has chosen a consortium of Deloitte UKGoogle Cloud and micro SME Synanetics to support its ambitious plans for population health management in the region. The three organisations will work together to deliver the technology underpinning population health management under a contract valued at just under £4m over five years.

Population health management, with its goals of better planning of services and preventing ill health, is a key component of the NHS Long Term Plan (see NHS Long Term Plan: What does it mean for tech?). Yorkshire & Humber is one of five regions in England leading the way in population health management as an exemplar within NHS England’s Local Health and Care Record Programme. Its aim is for organisations to share data across the health and care system to help people get the right care at the right time in the right place, with safety and effectiveness. 

We are encouraged to see that the announcements from Yorkshire & Humber place data privacy and cyber security front and centre. Both issues will be critical to the success of population health management and reassuring the public that their data is secure and its use carefully controlled is paramount. According to Yorkshire & Humber, the data will remain in the hands of the NHS, will all be encrypted and stored securely in the UK, and will not be used for any other purposes beyond population health management.

Posted by Tola Sargeant at '09:32'

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Wednesday 26 June 2019

Auditors critical of failed Scottish Pensions IT project

SPPAA report out from Audit Scotland (auditors to Scotland’s central government and NHS bodies) is deeply critical of both Scotland's public sector pension body and supplier Capita over a troubled IT project which cost millions and set back planning.

CapitaCapita was awarded the contract in 2015 to integrate The Scottish Public Pensions Agency (SPPA) pension administration and payment operations, with the aim of transforming the systems and delivering long-term financial savings. SPPA runs retirement plans for over half-a-million public sector workers.

Whilst Audit Scotland is critical of Capita (more on that later) it is particularly scathing of SPPA which it criticised for not having a clear business case, setting unrealistic timelines and not being in a position to adequately scrutinise the winning tender, which was identified as “being abnormally low cost”. Changes in the leadership of SPPA and the management of the project also made it more difficult with four different senior officers having responsibility in just three years.

The findings are almost a tick list of issues addressed in the Government’s recent ‘Outsourcing Playbook’ and you can read our views on whether this will put Public Sector outsourcing back on track here.

SPPA spent £6.3m on the project and a further £2.4m extending contracts with existing suppliers when the project failed to meet the original timeline. The failure of the project means SPPA has been unable to progress strategic, business and workforce plans as originally intended.

Capita also comes in for criticism for not being able to provide a working system and not achieving project milestones. As a consequence, the firm paid SPPA £0.7m in November 2018 following legal proceedings.

Whilst it was a relatively small contract for Capita in monetary terms it will not have helped reputationally in Scotland. The outsourcer had been making significant gains North of the Border particularly within the Public Sector facilitated by its Scottish Wide Area Network (SWAN) framework contract.

All in, a bad set of outcomes for all involved.

Posted by Marc Hardwick at '09:07' - Tagged: contract   outsourcing   scotland  

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Wednesday 26 June 2019

Matthew Gould reveals further plans for NHSX

NHSX logoIn a blog post earlier this week, NHSX CEO Matthew Gould discussed the outcomes of a review of NHS technology spending, as well as the priorities for the new organisation responsible for setting national policy for NHS technology, digital and data.

In keeping with earlier messages detailed in The Future of Healthcare paper and the NHS Long Term Plan, Gould is prioritising improving interoperability and encouraging innovation in healthcare. He said NHSX will focus on standards and platforms, but that it should not build many digital services itself, only platforms that other suppliers can plug into and build upon.  

He announced the top delivery missions for NHSX, which are: 1) reducing the burden on clinicians and staff; 2) giving people the tools to access information and services; 3) ensuring clinical information can be safely accessed; 4) aiding the improvement of patient safety across the NHS; and 5) improving NHS productivity with digital technology.

Prior to the review the NHS centrally ran c.30 different digital transformation programmes. This has now been reduced to 10 major transformation projects: 1) NHS app and citizen ID; 2) digital child health and maternity; 3) integrating community providers; 4) screening; 5) booking, referrals and appointments; 6) standards; 7) primary care; 8) urgent and emergency care; 9) social care; and 10) local capability, including Local Health and Care Records Exemplars and the Global Digital Exemplar programme.

Some programmes are closing because they have delivered on objectives or because they will be integrated across other projects e.g. Widening Digital Participation. Other programmes that are being closed include: NHS Wifi (delivered in March); Access to Service Information and Digitising Community Pharmacy (both moving to live).

The Medicines Data programme, designed to improve understanding of the use, cost, safety and effectiveness of medicines, and the Integrating Pharmacy Across Care Settings programme, which is concerned with using digital solutions to ensure pharmacists can safely and securely access, record and share patient data, are also being closed. The aims of these programmes will be incorporated into NHSX’s work on interoperability.

This review was clearly a vital stage in establishing the plans and priorities for NHSX. The focus on standards and interoperability is unsurprising but of critical importance in transforming the NHS. However, the real test begins when NHSX becomes operational next week (01 July 2019) and has to start delivering.

Posted by Dale Peters at '08:58' - Tagged: nhs   strategy   healthcare   digital+transformation  

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Wednesday 26 June 2019

Keytree fuels Essar's digital transformation

KeytreeSpecialist SAP services and enterprise applications provider, Keytree, has announced an important new win. The London based design and technology consultancy has secured a contract with Essar Oil UK, which owns and operates the Stanlow Manufacturing Complex, near Ellesmere Port in Chesire. As part of the programme dubbed “Essar Stanlow 2.0” Keytree will help to drive Essar’s digital transformation, via the creation of the company’s new digital customer experience.

Stanlow is the UK’s third largest refinery and provides around one sixth of this country’s fuel requirements for road transport. Following a major overhaul at the site, Stanlow is being equipped with connected technologies to transform it from a previously static refinery. A key element of the overall transformation of Stanlow is the introduction of new digital channels, which will see Keytree’s user experience experts deliver a new Essar customer portal.

The new customer portal will be based on SAP C/4HANA technology and will also utilise SAP’s Hybris Commerce Cloud. In addition to its expertise in mobile technology and user experience, SAP Gold Partner, Keytree is a good fit for the project, in light of its previous experience delivering projects within the oil and gas industry.

This latest deal is more good news for Keytree which has been on a strong upward curve of late. Highlighting the company’s growth ambitions and its desire to broaden it business mix, Keytree recently announced the appointment of James Woodhouse as its new MD for products (see: Keytree primes the pump for products push).

Posted by Jon C Davies at '08:44' - Tagged: contract  

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Wednesday 26 June 2019

Enterprise Awards

EAGreat to see so many of our readers and clients at the Enterprise Awards last night at the Hilton, Park Lane.

OlisaJohn O’Connell and TechMarketView's very own Tola Sargeant did a great job compering. Sir Ken Olisa was questioned about, amongst other controversies, his directorship at Huawei. Not sure we learned too much but I did get to suggest to Ken afterwards that he titled his autobiography ‘Courting Controversy’ which would neatly link his ability to hit the headlines on his various business roles with his latest task looking after the Queen in his role as Her Majesty’s Lord Lieutenant of Greater London.  

But the evening was all about celebrating the fantastic companies of all sizes and stages of development that entrepreneurs have developed here in the UK. This was the 9th such award ceremony. Award winners have since gone on to raise in excess £500m - either in new funds or exiting. The largest being Darktrace and the latest being Thoughtonomy to Blue Prism.

So make a special note of last night’s winners and watch out for future successes:

Young Entrepreneur - Jack Tang - URBAN

Female Entrepreneur - Pamela Cook - INFOSHARE

Social Enterprise Entrepreneur - Alex Stephany, BEAM

Start Up Award - Niall Barton - WRISK

Public Sector Award - Jonathon Desmond, Max Smith and Michael Van Der Weg - IMMJ

Deep Tech Award - Ricky Thomas - AVORA

Emerging Business Award - Priya Lakhani - CENTURY TECH

Developing Business Award - Peter Baumann - ACTIVE NAVIGATION and Emma Bowkett - CONVERTR

Scale Up Entrepreneur Award - Vishal Marria - QUANTEXA

Enterprise Award - Marc Richer - STARLEAF

KellyEntrepreneurial Team of the Year - Neal Gandhi and Oliver Rigby -  THE PANOPLY

Judges Award - Simon Hay - FIREFLY LEARNING and Bernhard Niesner - BUSUU

Mentor of Year - Stephen Kelly

Listed Company of the Year Award - Alastair Bathgate - BLUE PRISM

As a past judge for these awards, I know how much work is involved. So a huge thanks to John O’Connell and all his team.

Posted by Richard Holway at '08:41'

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Wednesday 26 June 2019

Motorway drives off with £11m funding round

logoI haven’t seen their first TV ad but that’s where some of the £11m raised by London/Brighton-based car sales comparison platform Motorway is splashing the dosh. The Series A round was led by Marchmont Ventures with participation from LocalGlobe, both of which backed Motorway’s £2.75m seed funding round in June 2018.

Launched in 2017, Motorway is like a ‘compare the market’ for used car sellers. You key in your number plate and mileage and Motorway touts your vehicle to (they say) over 400 offline and online dealers and returns a list of offers. There’s a ‘Pro’ version through which dealers have 24 hours to bid for premium-listed cars; the winning bidder is then connected to the seller.

What can I say? Makes perfect sense. I’m guessing that dealers pay a subscription to get on Motorway’s platform (it’s free to consumer sellers) as it appears that the transaction is completed offline, so I don’t think Motorway gets a cut of the deal.

The only platform I have seen like Motorway is Instacarro (see Could Brazil’s Instacarro have the right model?), which was apparently modelled on the highly successful Russian online used car broker and auctioneer, CarPrice.ru. But I suppose just as there are multiple price comparison platforms for things like insurance, perhaps there’s room for more car sales aggregators like Motorway. If so, it’s probably a case of ‘first in, best dressed’!

Posted by Anthony Miller at '08:03' - Tagged: funding   startup  

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Tuesday 25 June 2019

More Birthday Honours

HonoursOn 9th June 19 I congratulated those from the UK tech sector mentioned in the Queen’s Birthday Honours 2019. I also invited you to notify me of any omissions. I’ve only had two .

LandFrank Land gets an OBE. Land was a leading member of the team that built what many consider to be the world’s first business computer - LEO - developed by and for J Lyons &Co to keep their network of teashops stocked .LEO stood for Lyons Electric Office.  It went live in 1951 and Lyons then sold the computer to other businesses. Years later it became part of English Electric Leo Marconi which in turn became part of ICT/ICL (now Fujitsu). Land (now 90) went on to become the first Professor of Information Systems at the LSE.

Roger Graham OBE Founder of Archives for IT brought this omission to my attention. You can read their Interview with Professor Frank Land Click here.

Also Dr Emma Philpott gets an MBE for her cyber security work. Philpott is CEO of IASME and Founder of the UK Cyber Security Forum.

Let's consider this news thread now closed!

Posted by Richard Holway at '15:44'

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Tuesday 25 June 2019

Civica extends NI footprint with teachers’ pension deal

Civica logoThe Department of Education Northern Ireland has chosen Civica to provide the platform to administer its Teachers’ Pension System. The contract is worth £5.9m over an initial seven-year term and has potential to extend for a further three years.

The system will utilise Civica’s Universal Pensions Management cloud software. The contract notice states the Department was looking for a strategic partner to introduce and deploy the new platform, complete data migration from the current system, and run user testing before deployment.

The new system will provide core administration, document management and payroll functionality. Civica will help the scheme move to a paperless solution and will create a front-end interface that will provide a self-service facility to the 65,000 active, deferred and retired members of the scheme. The system is scheduled to go live in April 2020.

The deal expands Civica’s footprint in Northern Ireland, which includes customers across government departments, policing, health & care, housing and public safety, and private sector organisations—this includes deals with the Police Service of Northern Ireland and Northern Ireland Fire and Rescue Service in August last year. It also builds on Civica’s pensions solutions business, which includes deals with the Pensions Protection Fund, Universities Superannuation Scheme, Superannuation Arrangements of the University of London, and the Local Government Pension Scheme.

Posted by Dale Peters at '09:56' - Tagged: contract   cloud   software   pensions   northern+ireland  

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Tuesday 25 June 2019

UltraSoc funding round will boost British developer teams

ultraFollowing the conclusion of its latest funding round, UltraSoc has announced plans to expand its worldwide operations “substantially”.

The firm has raised another £5m from backers including new investors eCAPITAL (a cybersecurity-focused VC firm) and Seraphim (a specialist investor in the space ecosystem).

UltraSoc’s semiconductor IP enables chip designers to integrate an intelligent analytics infrastructure into the core hardware of their device. The tech allows designers to create “systems on chips” (SoC) that have built-in intelligence able to respond to changing requirements for power consumption, performance and security.

The latest cash injection will enable UltraSoc to pursue opportunities in the cybersecurity, high-reliability and safety-critical systems markets.

The expansion plans include recruiting hardware and software engineers at its HQ in Cambridge and its design centre in Bristol. The firm will also open an engineering centre in Warsaw, to develop its data science and machine-learning technologies.

Posted by Kate Hanaghan at '09:49' - Tagged: funding   chips  

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Tuesday 25 June 2019

BearingPoint targets UK Public Sector

LogoAmsterdam-HQ’d BearingPoint is ramping up its focus on the UK Public Sector through the acquisition of specialist consultancy Prederi. Terms of the deal have not been disclosed.

Formed in 2012, Prederi today employs around twenty professional staff with capabilities across finance, strategy, change management, digital and learning and development. The firm’s clients include the NHS, local government, regulators and various central government departments such as the Home Office, Ministry of Defence, Ministry of Justice, and the Department of Health.

Prederi adds another string to the bow of fast-growing BearingPoint UK (see here). To date in this country the firm has concentrated on the retail, consumer products, automotive, retail banking, reg tech, insurance, utilities and defence segments. This is BearingPoint’s third acquisition in the UK following the purchases of both operational excellence specialists Trinity Horne in 2013 and retail, consumer goods and supply chain focused LCP Consulting four years later. This latest move brings the total staff complement here to over 170 personnel.

Posted by Duncan Aitchison at '09:48' - Tagged: publicsector   acquisition   consulting  

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Tuesday 25 June 2019

Littlefish takes 7Ps seriously at LBB Croydon

Littlefish logoYou’ll find a whole raft of UKHotViews articles about Managed IT Services provider Littlefish in our archive. Since participating in our Little British Battlers (LBB) programme in 2012 – see Little British Battlers Q112 – the good news has kept rolling in. Most recently, in April, the company announced significant new funding (see Littlefish targets bigger ocean with new funding). Now, it has announced a three-year, “multimillion pound” deal with the London Borough of Croydon – the largest London Borough by number of households.  Littlefish will provide Service Desk and End User Compute to 4,500 users.

Littlefish has consistently looked to define itself as a “David-style giant-slayer in a world of Goliaths” having replaced incumbents such as Computacenter and Fujitsu on several contracts. Mid-sized organisations, in particular, have been its sweet spot (see Littlefish  keeping up the momentum). In this case, we believe Capita was the previous supplier, having won a managed services deal covering desktops, voice and data networks, managed print services, mobile, support and disaster recovery and application support and training back in 2013 (see here). Littlefish has, once again, benefited from the UK public sector’s ICT services contract disaggregation agenda.

The Council states that it is looking for greater flexibility and agility in the delivery of IT services. It’s early days but, so far, the feedback from users of the service is to be commended (94% at Excellent or Good). In particular, Littlefish is keen to highlight how well it prepared for handover – gathering, digesting, querying, and learning the Council’s applications and their way of working through the onboarding process. The military adage (the 7Ps) ‘Proper Prior Planning Prevents P*ss Poor Performance’ comes to mind. Though not stated directly, there is an insinuation from Littlefish is that it takes this more seriously than its competitors. Littlefish also continues to take pride in its innovative Service Desk approach, utilising convenient tools like LiveChat.

Posted by Georgina O'Toole at '09:45' - Tagged: public+sector   contract   managedservices   servicedesk   local+government  

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Tuesday 25 June 2019

Cerillion boosted by two major wins

CerillionAIM listed, billing and CRM software solutions provider, Cerillion, has been boosted by two major new deals in the last few days. The firm has today announced a contract win worth £4.8m, with LINK Mobility, Europe's leading provider of SMS and message delivery solutions. This news follows a £5.1m contract win secured on 14 June with Danish telecom and utility company, SE Group.

In May, Cerillion revealed a disappointing set of interims results, reflecting a loss making period and weaker revenues, but hinted at better times to come (see: Cerillion blames interim loss on timing issues). The company’s management has remained bullish about prospects for the full year and this confidence appears well founded, as Cerillion’s strong pipeline now appears to be bearing fruit.

The LINK win in particular represents a prestigious new customer for Cerillion and underlines the company’s growing reputation with larger customers. In February Cerillion secured its biggest ever contract, worth $8.3m over three years. These recent wins clearly reflect an increase in the size of deals secured by Cerillion and should also offer the prospect of additional revenues over time.

Posted by Jon C Davies at '09:35'

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Tuesday 25 June 2019

Revenue and profit down at Redcentric

Revenue and profit down at RedcentricPreliminary results point to some progress at Redcentric, but not enough to prevent significant dips in its annual revenue and profits.

The managed service provider converted £2.8m of opportunities afforded by its status as a preferred supplier to the Health and Social Care Network (HSCN) and Public Services Network (PSN) and won a five year contract extension with Howdens Joinery, but was unable to stop its FY19 turnover shrinking 9% yoy to £93.3m.

Shaving £5m off operational costs in the second half helped reduce the company’s debt by £10.1m to £17.6m, but meant Redcentric still saw adjusted EBITDA fall from £18.1m to £16.7m during the period.

The company has seen consistently flat or declining sales since its FY16 accounting restatement and subsequent investigation, and will need a big effort from its restructured sales team to deliver top line growth in FY20.

Posted by Martin Courtney at '09:29' - Tagged: results   managedservices   Redcentric   FY19  

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Tuesday 25 June 2019

D4t4 growing in all the right places

D4t4Full-year results from data solutions specialist D4t4 show strong organic growth of 37% taking revenues for the year to £25.2m (£18.4m FY18). Pre-tax profits were up 91% to £6.3m (£3.3m FY18).

Last year also saw a return to normal trading phasing at D4t4 in better spreading the load throughout the year and moving the business away from the added pressure of relying on a strong second-half to deliver the numbers.

Continued focus on evolving the business into the data and analytics market space is yielding results. The shift in D4t4's product mix continues, with growth in demand for its Celebrus product set, which now represents 25% of group revenue (22% FY18), and hybrid cloud analytics services helping to increase recurring revenue at the expense of perpetual licence sales. Demand for its hybrid cloud data platform services were particularly strong in North America with customers beginning to look for a "Platform as a Service" (PaaS), recurring revenue styled service.

D4t4 looks well set up for the new financial year having closed a number of significant contracts in the second-half of the year. D4t4 is benefiting from the hard work of developing a first-class ecosystem that marries data platform partners such as Pegasystems, SAS and Dell Technologies with advertising platforms like Google and Facebook. The company’s ability to provide Machine Learning and analytics engines with the data they need puts it in a strong position given the untapped market potential of these technologies.

Posted by Marc Hardwick at '09:11' - Tagged: results   software   dataservices  

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Tuesday 25 June 2019

Capgemini spends €3.6b on Industry 4.0

LogoCapgemini is to buy Engineering and R&D services (ER&D) supplier Altran for €3.6b in cash. The merger will create a group with revenues of €17b and more than 250,000 personnel. The transaction is expected to complete by the end of 2019.

Founded in 1982, France-based Altran today employs some 47,000 staff in more than 30 countries including the UK. Last year the company generated €2.9 billion in revenue.

Targeting the fast-growing Industry 4.0 opportunity, the new entity will be the world’s top player in ER&D by size. The combination will leverage its joint capabilities in cloud, Edge computing, IoT, artificial intelligence and 5G to help drive the digital transformation across a range of vertical sectors including Aerospace, Automotive, Life Sciences and Telecommunications. Capgemini believes that the transaction, by establishing a critical mass in software engineering through centres of expertise in India and Eastern Europe, will also accelerate its development with major Internet and tech companies.

This is a bold, if not wholly unforeseeable move by Capgemini. In our predictions for 2019 we expected that the pace of acquisitions by SI’s would accelerate to bolster capabilities in both areas undergoing significant competitive and technological disruption, and emerging technologies such as AI and IoT. While the group is already active in the ERD market, these services currently account for less than 4% of overall turnover. The merger with Altran will boost this proportion to c.20% of the combined revenues.

Capgemini is by no means the first major IT services supplier to recognise the potential for the ERD market. Rivals including Accenture, IBM, HCL and Tech Mahindra all have substantial practices in this arena. The combination with Altran does, however, place the group at the forefront of this dynamic segment. It would not be surprising to see other players follow suit as the battle for market share intensifies.

Posted by Duncan Aitchison at '09:03' - Tagged: systemsintegration   acquisiiton   iot   R&D  

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Tuesday 25 June 2019

Monzo targets US, fuelled by cash injection

MonzoUK challenger bank, Monzo, has successfully raised £113m in additional capital, via a funding round led by Y Combinator’s “Continuity” growth fund. The latest cash injection values the app-based bank at £2bn. As recently as October 2018 Monzo was valued at £1bn when it successfully raised £85m (see: Monzo raises £85m at a £1bn+ valuation).

Monzo has enjoyed strong customer growth of late and has been successfully attracting new current accountholders at a rate of around 200,000 each month. The challenger has now firmly established critical mass in the UK and plans to use the funding to help it to expand its offering into the US banking marketplace.

Monzo is launching into the US via a partnership with Ohio-based, Sutton Bank, but plans to apply for its own banking license in time. The bank will be promoting a US version of the Monzo app and a connected Mastercard debit card at promotional events. The rollout will initially be limited to a few thousand US customers, whilst a waiting list will be compiled in readiness for a full scale launch at a later date.

Success in the US is not guaranteed and there are obviously commercially risks relating to rapid expansion. Monzo’s rate of growth does come at a price and in 2018 the bank’s cost of customer acquisition equated to a loss of around £15 per customer (although that figure was down significantly from £65 per customer in 2017). Monzo is however very well capitalised and its backers are increasingly buoyed by the appeal of the bank's offering in its domestic market. It will be interesting to see whether Monzo’s encouraging early growth in the UK will translate into success in the US.

Posted by Jon C Davies at '08:44' - Tagged: funding  

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Tuesday 25 June 2019

NTT Data innovates!

logoI was delighted to get an invitation from NTT Data UK CEO, Simon Williams, to attend the official opening of Epworth House, the company’s new Innovation Centre in Shoreditch, in the presence of Secretary of State for International Trade Dr. Liam Fox.

Williams used the opportunity to announce a very welcome £68m investment in NTT Data’s UK operations, creating over 350 new jobs this year. NTT Data does a pretty good job of hiding its light under a bushel, but it is actually one of the faster growing IT services suppliers in the UK (see NTT DATA: Strong double-digit growth in UK).

picAnd I would say its light shone even brighter at yesterday’s event when the company demonstrated some truly innovative technology solutions developed in partnership with prominent UK medical institutions, including a haptics-based navigation device for the Royal National Institute for the Blind, and an AR portal for Great Ormond Street Hospital, which aims to put kids at ease when they are admitted.

Indeed VR/AR was a major focus of the technology on show. I have to admit to being totally suckered in by the VR/AR platform from NTT Data partner, Jaunt, which creates 3D avatars pretty much in real time without a huge studio set-up. That’s mine in the pic but you’ll have to take my word for it that it’s 3D and can be inserted into an AR image on a mobile device!

It’s very clear that NTT Data has moved well beyond its telco roots and we hope to bring you more on NTT Data’s ‘Healthtech’ innovations in particular in due course.

Posted by Anthony Miller at '08:01'

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Tuesday 25 June 2019

Great British Scaleup: Glisser

logoLondon-based Glisser has spotted a gap in the events market and filled it with a product that is deceptively simple and widely applicable, which makes for a valuable combination and a Great British Scaleup.

Live events like conferences, webinars, meetings and training sessions invariably use technology but there is little that assesses audience engagement and scores the effectiveness of the event. That’s where Glisser steps in, with a SaaS-based tech solution to fill the ‘in-session’ data black hole.

Via an accessible web based mobile app, Glisser encourages attendee participation (e.g. audience polling, live audience/presenter information exchange), and enables instant content sharing (of slides for example, with subsequent analytics for insight into which ones the audience interacts with, for how long etc.). While the app encourages interaction, which improves attendee engagement and satisfaction, it also gathers vital audience data that can be used to measure the success of the event, providing an area of stats that has previously been missing. As well as the app, data capture, engagement analysis and scoring, Glisser can also share audience engagement tips and best practice. 

Where mobile ‘audiencetech’ solutions are available, they tend to cater for very large conferences that are a small part of the overall market. Glisser targets smaller, internal and external enterprise events - any company running a PowerPoint-driven event or training is a prospect. It even has the education sector in its sights. The overall addressable market is wide and largely untapped. With its 300-strong customer base (across the UK and the rapidly expanding US market), high growth Glisser’s approach is clearly resonating and the use cases can only expand. 

Posted by Angela Eager at '07:00' - Tagged: startup   software   customerexperience   GreatBritishScaleup  

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Monday 24 June 2019

Unily: $68m for experienced digital experience startup

logo

Eashing, Surrey-based Unily has raised an impessive $68m from investors including Silversmith Capital Partners and FarView Equity Partners to fund global expansion and development of AI/machine learning capability for its digital experience and communications platform.

Although the Unily name has only been in the market since 2018, the UK business, which was founded by UK entrepreneurs Will Saville and Richard Paterson, has been going since 2006 when it was established as a SharePoint consultancy called Brightstarr. It rebranded as Unily last year following the decision to build a configurable digital workplace product. It’s not easy to stand out in this area so the SharePoint expertise and consultancy experience will be an advantage. As will its customer base which runs from SMEs to Fortune 100 companies, across industry sectors including financial services to engineering, and includes brands such as Tottenham Hotspur and Southampton football clubs, Hershey’s and Ellie Mae in retail, Adecco in recruitment. 

As a c.13 year old company the entity that is now Unily is not the youngest of start-ups but it has established its credentials in terms of customer base and in addition to the UK HQ has offices in New York, Toronto, Australia and Hong Kong, factors that help explain the size of the investment. 

Posted by Angela Eager at '09:07' - Tagged: funding   startup   software  

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Monday 24 June 2019

StatPro opens new market channel via J.P. Morgan

logoStatPro, the provider of cloud-based, portfolio analysis and pricing tools for the investment industry, and the Data and Analytics unit of J.P. Morgan have teamed up to develop Risk and Performance Attribution capabilities for portfolio managers through J.P. Morgan's data and analytics platform. The partnership is for an initial five years and will provide J.P. Morgan clients with access to StatPro's Portfolio Analytics platform, StatPro Revolution, alongside the J.P. Morgan Fixed Income Benchmark Indices. 

This is another interesting development for StatPro, and follows its acquisition of the ESG research and index business earlier this month. For StatPro, the value of the partnership is that it represents a new channel to market, with access to J. P. Morgan’s asset management, hedge fund and pension fund clients. Clients will be able to access StatPro Revolution as a service through J.P. Morgan’s digital platform and as J.P. Morgan plans to add other third-party platform services is there is scope for StatPro to further extend market access.  

Posted by Angela Eager at '08:14' - Tagged: partnerships   software   financialservices  

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Monday 24 June 2019

Good start for UK/Irish tech investment

chartThe UK/Irish venture capital industry got off to a good start in 2019, with tech investment reaching £1.58b in Q1 2019, 25% higher than the same period in 2018, according to latest data from corporate finance firm Ascendant. The investment came from 252 deals over £500k, 9% more the 231 deals in Q1 2018. However, just over half (53%) of the deals were less than £2m.

The most prolific VCs were Seedrs, Mercia, LCIF, CrowdCube, Parkwalk, Enterprise Ireland, LocalGlobe and Octopus Ventures. Investment via crowdfunding platforms crept up to represent 12% of the total (Q1 2018: 11%) while the direct contribution from private investors fell from 34% in Q1 2018 to 28%. Internet services were the main focus of investment, accounting for almost 60% of the total.

TechMarketView Foundation Service subscription clients will be able to see our extensive summary of VC investment in the UK tech sector in Q1 2019 in the next edition of IndustryViews Venture Capital, out later this week.

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

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Sunday 23 June 2019

Avoiding the advances of a huge customer..

Three decades ago I was the Non-exec Chairman of a really successful UK distributor. Then we got an order which would represent about 60% of our revenue. We did all the due diligence. Surely it would be nuts to turn down this opportunity?

New warehouses were leased and a whole raft of new employees engaged. WOW...did we do well! Well for about 18 months until the new client was acquired and our contract terminated. Within two years of that the liquidators were appointed. It was hugely sad.

Over the intervening 30 years I have tried hard never to repeat that horrendous situation. At TechMarketView even our largest client is only 5% of our turnover.

But I do realise the ‘issues’.  Last week IQE shares crashed as a direct result of the Huawei debacle.  On Friday Apple (well, it isn’t confirmed as the culprit..) cancelled a multi-million contract with Nanoco (think next gen cameras for smartphones). This follows on the heels of Apple suddenly pulling the plug on Wolfson, Volex and Imagination.

I’m not casting aspersions here. As I said, I am guilty as charged.

Exactly how you avoid the advances of a huge, overbearing client that can alter your future prospects is really difficult.

Posted by Richard Holway at '18:45'

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Friday 21 June 2019

NPS acquires service design agency Snook

NPS logoPublic sector software and services specialist Northgate Public Services (NPS) has acquired Snook, a service design agency for an undisclosed fee. This is the fourth acquisition NPS has made since it was acquired by NEC in 2018, following the eye screening businesses of EMIS Group, APD Communications and i2N.

Snook is based in Glasgow and London and specialises in redesigning services to improve outcomes and enable people to get things done easily. Its service offerings cover research, strategy, design, delivery, events and coaching. The business was founded by current managing director Sarah Drummond and Lauren Currie (who stepped back from Snook in 2014) in 2009.

Snook logoSnook has worked on an impressive list of projects across the public, private and third sectors over the 10 years it has been in operation. Clients include a number of central government departments, including the Cabinet Office and the Department for Work and Pensions; NHS organisations including NHS24 and NHS Scotland; universities; local authorities and policing.

Snook is taking a different scaling strategy to the likes of FutureGov, which joined The Panoply last week (see The Panoply acquires FutureGov). Joining a business with the scale of NEC behind it would not have been an easy decision to make. Snook is doing well and is debt free, but the decision reflects a view that the market is changing. Sarah feels the design studio, consultancy-led model is in danger of becoming obsolete. By joining NPS she believes Snook will have the scale and technology to deliver better outcomes for citizens.

It is testament to CEO Steve Callaghan and his team that they have convinced Snook NPS is the right home for the business. Steve is not seeking to incorporate the service design agency into the parent company but wants to retain the strength that exists in the Snook brand. Snook will continue to operate under its current brand and management team, but will benefit from NPS investment to expand over the next 12 months.

The synergies between the two businesses are strong. Snook provides an opportunity for NPS to become involved at an earlier stage of project development. NPS’s engineering and technology experience provides Snook with the opportunity to follow service design through to implementation. It will also offer NPS the ability to offer existing clients a new service design and consultancy capability.

Posted by Dale Peters at '10:03' - Tagged: public+sector   acquisition   consultancy  

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Friday 21 June 2019

Nice wins for Unit4

logoOne of the challenger suppliers in the ERP market, activity levels at Unit4 have been ramping up with recent activities ranging from the strategic acquisition of talent management startup Intuo to the appointment of Mike Ettling as CEO just a few short months ago. The company is doubling down on its people-centred ERP focus, on employee engagement, accelerating Business World cloud, and servicing the Professional Services Automation (PSA) market.

Two recent customer wins demonstrate progress. Unit4 says cloud business growth is double digit and it is selling more cloud than on-premise solutions. A recent win with Midroc Automation (complex construction and engineering projects) and Midroc Electro, (electrical engineering) two of the largest businesses in the Midroc Europe group, is a case in point, being an example of Business World cloud adoption. It is also an example of the appeal of the Unit4 ‘people’ positioning and employee engagement because Unit4 and Business World was selected to fit the “flat organisational structure that promotes empowerment and teamwork” at Midroc and its “unique way of working”.

The other customer win, of global consulting firm FTI Consulting, is a valuable vote of confidence in the PSA offering. FTI Consulting has taken Business World cloud and Prevero. It plans to roll them out across its 4700-strong workforce and the 28 countries it operates in, to provide global accounting and billing. The addition of this big brand name to Unit4's existing PSA customer roll should set the scene for further large PSA opportunities in what is a vibrant market.

Posted by Angela Eager at '09:59' - Tagged: contract   cloud   software   PSA  

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Friday 21 June 2019

Hoot of joy for £1m CyberOwl funding

Hoot of joy for £1m CyberOwl fundingLondon-based threat detection and intelligence start-up CyberOwl closed £1m of funding from investment vehicles 24 Haymarket, Mercia, and the Midlands Engine Investment Fund (MEIF).

CyberOwl is one of the projects jointly incubated by Coventry University and AIM-listed supplier Crossword Cybersecurity. The extra money will be spent on hiring six additional staff in Birmingham and establishing a research and development centre in the area.

Launched last year CyberOwl’s first product – Medulla – is specifically designed to monitor connected industrial systems for suspicious activity that could indicate cyber attacks are imminent or underway. Target customers are critical national infrastructure (CNI) and smart transportation system operators, including defence, utilities and maritime companies.

Posted by Martin Courtney at '09:40' - Tagged: funding   cybersecurity   threatintelligence   CyberOwl   threatdetection  

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Friday 21 June 2019

Accenture spies IIoT opportunity in Deja vu

Accenture spies IIoT opportunity in Deja vuAccenture’s acquisition of Deja vu Security extends the French company’s Internet of Things (IoT) capabilities by adding secure application development skills to its portfolio.

Founded in 2011, Seattle-based Deja vu helps customers assess and design their connected products, systems and applications security programs, and additionally provides managed security services to assist their integration and maintenance.

Terms of the deal were not disclosed and its not clear how many consultants Deja vu currently employs. What is certain is Accenture’s commitment to industrial IoT service provision as part of its broader Industry X.0 play (see Have the leading IT services providers adapted for digital), recently expanded by the acquisition of German smart automotive products and services firm Zielpuls.

We think demand for connected IIoT devices and services is starting to accelerate in multiple verticals – everything from automotive, manufacturing, retail, transportation, agriculture and smart cities (see our reports IoT: Network Providers Push to Supplant IT Services Players and Internet of Things: Time for IT services providers to accelerate their strategies?).

Competition will be fierce amongst suppliers that make up the different links in the value chain though, and Accenture will have to fight hard to cement any leadership position by demonstrating its expertise.

Posted by Martin Courtney at '09:19' - Tagged: IIoT   DejavuSecurity  

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Friday 21 June 2019

Manchester-based Matillion receives $35m Series C funding

MatillionManchester and Colorado-based Matillion, a provider of cloud-native data integration technology has raised $35m in Series C funding.

The round, which brought total funding to date to $60m, was led by Battery Ventures with participation from existing investors Sapphire Ventures and Scale Venture Partners. Indeed, Matillion only just raised $20m Series B round of funding led by Sapphire Ventures back in March (see here). In fact we first covered Matillion back in 2016 (see here).

Matillion’s software allows customers to extract data from a wide number of sources, load it into their cloud data warehouse and so its "analytics-ready". Its software is currently being used by more than 550 customers across 40 countries, including corporates like BoseGESiemensFox and Accenture.

The company will be looking to use the funds to build on its strong performance of late which has seen triple-digit revenue growth in 2018 for the third consecutive year. To do this successfully the company will need to expand well beyond its native-built solutions for Cloud Data Warehouses (CDW) and it now certainly has the funds to make this happen.

Posted by Marc Hardwick at '09:11' - Tagged: cloud   funding   software  

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Friday 21 June 2019

IFS and Acumatica: ERP coalition under EQT

logologoThere was an unusual development within the ERP market this week, that will see two challenger ERP providers come together but not via the usual M&A route. PE firm EQT, who already owns Swedish IFS, has agreed a deal to acquire US-based Acumatica. Rather than forcing them together, the plan is to create a coalition where they can operate autonomously but collaborate, with each able to lever the other upwards. 

It is an interesting proposition that provides maximum freedom to each supplier while enabling cross benefits such as shared IP, R&D, and channel opportunities. For instance, Acumatica (founded in 2008) is a cloud native ERP provider and its cloud experience is something IFS can benefit from as it progresses its cloud journey. IFS can also tap into Acumatica’s BI and analytics capability. IP and R&D sharing is a two-way thing however and we’ve previously had sight of some interesting explorations from the IFS R&D team around IoT, while IFS’s cloud based-WorkWave field service acquisition could provide grounds for early collaboration. Access to Acumatica’s 350-strong channel is an opportunity too. 

As for Acumatica, it stands to benefit from IFS’s global infrastructure as it expands geographically, including within the UK, and within selected vertical markets. Its UK footprint is tiny but there is scope to grow that by accessing IFS resources. Indeed, the IFS coalition could see establish Acumatica as a new player in the UK market, going up against MicrosoftSage and NetSuite in particular.

With Acumatica targeting SMEs and IFS larger enterprises, there is little overlap in terms of market, and little functional overlap either, so some of the usual potential causes of friction are not an issue. 

With the proposed deal EQT is taking a different approach to ERP consolidation. If it can keep to its stated intentions and let them operate autonomously while collaborating it stands to be a good setup for all three parties. Both ERP supplier are market challengers who can leverage each other to grow – and this is a growth move.

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

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Thursday 20 June 2019

IBM and Cisco get closer on hybrid cloud

ibmBlog posts from IBM and Cisco have outlined an extension to the firms' partnership around hybrid cloud. The aim is to help clients simplify application modernisation in a hybrid environment, and in essence means Cisco will support IBM Cloud Private on its HyperFlex and HyperFlex Edge hyperconverged infrastructure.

The firms say their joint solution can speed up the process of application modernisation by enabling developers to rapidly build, test, and deliver modern microservice applications across a hybrid cloud infrastructure. cisc

Application modernization doesn’t have to be this painful,” says Kaustubh Das (who is VP, Strategy and Product Management, Storage for Cisco’s Computing Systems Product Group).

TechMarketView clients will know our 2019 research theme is the Year of the Relationship, reflecting the need for more evolved and more innovative relationships – not least within supplier partner ecosystems. Deeper partnerships that offer more flexible, simpler and more innovative ways into the cloud are increasingly essential (e.g. see HPE deepens hybrid offerings from yesterday). Cloud is transforming the IT landscape, but still we see ‘blockages’ where customers are reluctant to spend or commit significant portions of their budget. Easing the way forward for them is a critical step for market evolution – and can often only be achieved by joining forces with other suppliers.

Posted by Kate Hanaghan at '09:56' - Tagged: partnerships   hybrid   hyperconverged  

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Thursday 20 June 2019

**NEW RESEARCH** Securing the cloud: A case of shared responsibility

The uptake of cloud has been a drawn-out process, as organisations have gradually familiarised themselves with how to make best use of the opportunities afforded by cloud platforms, including which workloads can be successfully migrated to the cloud, and which would be best kept on-premises. secur

Another factor that has slowed the adoption of cloud has been the inevitable concerns over security. Cloud computing is, after all, basically about paying to run your applications and services on systems owned by another party. This inevitably means that an organisation has less than total control over the infrastructure being used to operate their workloads. This alone makes it likely that some applications involving sensitive data, especially in highly regulated industries such as financial services, may never be migrated to a public cloud environment.

Nevertheless, there has been a relentless drift towards the cloud over the past decade, as organisations weighed up the pros and cons of moving to an “IT as a service” model and paying to use resources owned and maintained by a cloud provider rather than continuing to bear the cost of procuring and maintaining their own IT infrastructure.

In Securing the cloud: A case of shared responsibility, we examine the steps the major providers offering cloud services in the UK are taking to ensure the security of their infrastructure and by extension the customer data stored within it. Suppliers included in this report are: Amazon Web Services, Microsoft Azure, Google Cloud Platform, IBM Cloud, Oracle Cloud, Rackspace, and Alibaba Cloud.

If you are not a TechMarketView subscriber, please contact Deb Seth for more information.

Posted by HotViews Editor at '09:43' - Tagged: cloud   security   cyber   hybrid  

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Thursday 20 June 2019

McKesson UK acquires Echo to enhance digital proposition

Echo logoHealthcare start-up Echo (Metabolic Healthcare Ltd), which has developed a repeat prescription app, has been acquired by McKesson UK for an undisclosed fee.

McKesson UK, part of the US healthcare giant McKesson, rebranded from Celesio UK in November last year. It owns LloydsPharmacy, which has approximately 1,500 pharmacies in the UK as well as a number of other health and care services, and AAH, the largest pharmaceutical wholesaler in the UK.

McKesson logoEcho was co-founded by Stephen Bourke and Sai Lakshmi in 2015. Its app allows users to manage repeat prescriptions and have them delivered to their door. Echo does not charge users for using the app or for delivery, but standard prescription charges remain. It makes its money from the difference between the NHS prescription charge and the cost of purchasing medicines from wholesalers such as AAH.

It has secured approximately £9m in funding since it was established, including £1.8m in 2016 (see Investors prescribe extra funding for Echo) and £7m in Series A funding in 2017. It currently employs 85 people, working in a mix of technology, design, distribution and clinical roles. Existing investors are thought to be exiting as part of the acquisition.

The benefits to both businesses are clear. McKesson UK has been trying to accelerate the development of its digital strategy and push further into online service delivery. LloydsPharmacy already has its own online doctor platform (similar to Zava, which supplies the service used by Superdrug and recently raised $32m). Echo will be able to benefit from the established and trusted LloydsPharmacy brand and synergies with AAH.

Posted by Dale Peters at '09:31' - Tagged: nhs   acquisition   startup   healthcare   app  

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Thursday 20 June 2019

Oracle: stronger FY19 finish but external comparatives matter too

logoOracle delivered a strong finish to the year by its standards and one that kept investors happy as the bottom line improved due to the company dialing down its poor hardware division and improving margins on its cloud offerings. But the FY19 top line was essentially flat yoy at $39.5bn and up just 1% in Q419.

During Q4 (to 31 May 2019) revenue rose 1% to $11.1bn, generating operating income up 2% to $4.3bn. Bright spots included net income up 14% to $3.7bn and the operating margin reaching 47%, its highest in five years. Much of this was due to dialing down hardware, but cloud applications also contributed, particularly NetSuite, Fusion ERP and HCM. Fusion ERP and HCM revenue grew 32%, with NetSuite showing something similar. 5000 trials for the much-vaunted Autonomous Database trials were kicked off; they didn’t deliver revenue but do represent opportunity. Cloud licences and on-premise licence sector growth was a welcome 12% although it only totaled $2.5bn, compared to the $6.8bn of Cloud Services and Licence Support which was flat yoy. The BYOL initiative which allows portability between on-premise, cloud and hybrid situations is credited with customer appeal.

Full year revenue was $39.5bn with operating income up 2% to $13.54bn and net income of $11.1bn. Fluctuating segment performance evened out over the year resulting in Cloud Services and Licence Support revenue increasing 2% and Cloud Licence and On-premise Licences increasing 1% (despite the 12% growth in Q4). The year saw a restructuring programme, including layoffs, as the company worked on making itself cloud fit. FY19 results compare to 6% revenue increase in FY18 and  a net income drop of 59% to $3.8bn due to a one-time tax charge as cash was repatriated; but operating income was up 8% to $13.7bn.

It’s not just Oracle’s own comparative performance that matters of course, it’s performance relative to competitors SAP (who is also restructuring) and Microsoft as well as cloud pure plays Salesforceand Workday, and that still leaves much to be desired. The cloud market is harsh and customers are becoming more sophisticated, something the recent Oracle/Microsoft partnership, whereby customers can migrate and run workloads across Microsoft Azure and Oracle Cloud, is testament to. The partnership extends service scope and provides choice but also highlights the need for competitors to collaborate as customers explore both multiple and multi cloud operations. 

Posted by Angela Eager at '09:29' - Tagged: results   cloud   software  

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Thursday 20 June 2019

GuestReady beds down Series A funding

logoI must admit I’ve lost track of all the host management services startups that have sprung up around Airbnb and similar online letting agencies.

Probably the best known over here are Hostmaker and Airsorted, both of which have undertaken multiple funding rounds, though there are many other such as Nestify, Hello Guest and most recently, Your Airhost, which launched at the end of last year. Of these, as far as I can see only Nestify has yet raised funding, being a £350k seed round in October 2018 (Source: CrunchBase).

Then there’s GuestReady Group, which operates under different brands in other countries. I first spotted them back in 2016 when (as plain GuestReady) they raised their first external funding (see GuestReady beds down with angels). This was followed a year later with a further funding round to support the acquisition of a competitor (see GuestReady beds down Easy Rental Services).

GuestReady has now moved up the funding ladder, raising a further $6m in a Series A round co-led by prior backers Impulse VC, and VentureSouq, with participation from Boost Heroes, Aria Group, 808 Tech Ventures and new investors Dr. Cornelius Boersch and the European Investment Fund (EIF).

It seems that more M&A is on the cards for GuestReady – and necessarily so, I would say, as this adolescent market is ripening for consolidation. However, it’s Hostmaker that has raised most funding so far among the peer group (nearly $30m according to CrunchBase). But given that Roman Abramovich is the man behind Impulse, and that VentureSouq is Dubai-based, one would imagine that GuestReady should find no shortage of further backing.

Posted by Anthony Miller at '08:55' - Tagged: funding   startup  

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Thursday 20 June 2019

As Facebook launches Libra. MyTop 'It could be YOU!'

MyTopLibraIf you are old enough to have followed Olde Holway’s Musings on HotViews for 12 years you will remember my open letter, dated 11th Sept 2007,  Dear Mr Zuckerberg - MyTop -It could be you. For those  younger readers, I made the point then that the future belonged to the company that developed an App that did everything so you had no need to leave it. So, for example, if your friend recommended a product on Facebook you wouldn’t need to go off to do a Google search, land on the product’s website, then go to your bank’s website to pay for the product etc.

I’ve written about MyTop many times since as a trawl through the HotViews archives will show. Indeed on 7th Jan 2019 I wrote MyTop kills Apple . WeChat has come closer to MyTop than anything todate. But it is basically only used in China where users do everything on their smartphones via this one App. It is killing Apple because WeChat works just as well on a very cheap Huawei, Oppo, Vivo or Xiaomi smartphone as it does on a really expensive iPhone.

Then on 10th Mar 2019 I reviewed Mark Zuckerberg’s 3000 word blog on the future he envisaged for Facebook where he clearly hinted that he intended Facebook to become a platform where people could do ‘payments and commerce’.

So it wasn’t any great surprise when Facebook this week announced the launch of Libra. There have been many articles on Libra which I will assume you have read. But basically, it is a blockchain inspired currency which Facebook users can use to pay for stuff or send payments to other Facebook users. Crucially the user doesn’t need to have a conventional bank account so is particularly valuable to the ‘unbanked’. Unlike Bitcoin or other cryptocurrencies, it will be backed by a basket of currencies - Dollar, Euro, Yen etc. So the wild fluctuations in cryptocurrency values should be tamed.

What did surprise me is how many major organisations were on board at Day One. Visa, Mastercharge, Paypal, Uber etc. Interesting for their absence were any banks or, indeed, players like Apple.

In the last few decades we have seen almost every sector of the economy being disrupted. All except one - the big banks. Libra could pose a huge threat to their very existence. It will certainly make foreign exchange transactions - a very lucrative area for banks -  much easier and cheaper. Here think of all those ‘unbanked’ foreign workers sending their hard earned wages back to their families.

But Libra faces huge problems too. Already we have seen the regulators muscling in on the act. But, perhaps more importantly, Facebook faces a huge ‘trust’ issue. It garners too much information on our lives already - and doesn’t seem to care greatly about who it shares it with. How much more power will they get if they control our finances as well?

But,this is the most significant move yet towards Facebook becoming MyTop. Remember my words of 2007 ‘the future belongs to the company that develops an App that does everything so you have no need to leave it’.

Facebook - It could be YOU!

Posted by Richard Holway at '08:29'

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Thursday 20 June 2019

Traveltech Duffel flashes kimono on new funding

logoWell, I’m not sure we’re much the wiser about London-based traveltech startup Duffel, even though it’s piling up the funding.

Duffel briefly flashed open the kimono last September with news of a seed funding round (see Mysterious traveltech Duffel cloaks itself in funding) but did not reveal what it actually does, other than a teasing “creating the future of travel”.

Founded in 2017, Duffel has just raised a further $21.5m in a Series A funding round led by Benchmark, with participation from prior backers Blossom Capital and Index Ventures.

The received wisdom is that Duffel is yet another booking system for the travel industry, which rather raises the question, ‘what’s the point’? Still, it’s reasonably serious dosh and apparently we'll see the 'full monty' later this year.

My breath is definitely not bated.

Posted by Anthony Miller at '08:04' - Tagged: funding   startup   traveltech  

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Thursday 20 June 2019

Summer advertising deals with TechMarketView

Be notices rain or shine advertising campaign

Posted by HotViews Editor at '00:00'

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Wednesday 19 June 2019

Zego's cash boost highlights changing face of P&C

zegoUK-based InsurTech, Zego, has successfully raised $42m in Series B funding. The cash injection was led by Target Global and, amongst others, was supported by Taavet Hinrikus, the founder of TransferWise. As a result of the investment, Hinrikus has joined the board of Zego, along with Ben Kaminski, a partner at Target Global.

Zego, which was founded in 2016, provides flexible insurance for mobility service providers such as ride hailing, ride sharing, car rental and scooter sharing. The company has so far raised more than $50m and intends to use the additional funding to fuel its expansion and enhance its technology platform.  Zego hopes to double the size of its workforce to 150 and grow its presence in Europe. The company currently has operations in the UK, Ireland and Spain.

Zego started as a provider of flexible insurance for the gig economy and has since evolved to focus on the growing market of mobility services. The company offers a range of flexible policy options, from by the minute insurance and usage-based pricing, as well as more traditional annual contracts, the company has so far provided cover for more than 34,000 vehicles.

Technology is bringing significant change to traditional insurance business models. In April, Lemonade, the poster child of InsurTech innovation, continued its seemingly inexorable rise (see: Lemonade raises $300m to fund European expansion). In respect of P&C in particular, the disruptive impact of IoT and advanced analytics will in time change the sector beyond all recognition.

Posted by Jon C Davies at '09:59'

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Wednesday 19 June 2019

Kevin Cunnington: from GDS to IGS

Kevon Cunnington photoWe suspect Kevin Cunnington was sowing the seeds for his departure when he alluded to a new phase of GDS’ existence at the end of April – see Government Digital Service enters a new phase. He will be keen to communicate that it is the right time to hand over the reins as he departs to be the inaugural director general of a new UK Government organisation: the International Government Service (IGS).

Cunnington joined GDS as Director General in September 2016 and took the organisation through its second phase: the building of capabilities and platforms. In his new role he will, according to the Cabinet Office, take on responsibility for “promoting the work of UK government services, including the digital sector, across the world”. The aim will be to promote the work of UK government and explore how the UK can provide government-to-government services on the global stage.

In the meantime, what does it mean for GDS? In the interim, Alison Pritchard, GDS’ director for EU exit and transformation will take over from Cunnington. She takes on the reins following the publication of the Government Technology Innovation Strategy just over a week ago. Cunnington had already sought to shape GDS’ next phase by describing a series of ‘core values’ (“to show what good looks like; to do the hardest things; to reflect the society we serve; and to help Government transform”). The Innovation Strategy aims, via improved coordination and a more joined up approach, to put in place stronger foundations to enable public sector organisations to realise the potential of emerging technologies.

In our view, the most important characteristic of Cunnington’s successor will be the ability to get the right balance between carrot and stick when it comes to “cajoling” (in Cunnington’s words) departments and agencies into the adoption of emerging technologies; it won’t be an easy task at a time when uncertainty, caution, budget constraints, and distractions (mainly of the Brexit kind) abound.

Posted by Georgina O'Toole at '09:45' - Tagged: public+sector   centralgovernment   people   appointment   digital  

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Wednesday 19 June 2019

HPE deepens hybrid offerings

hpeYesterday Hewlett Packard Enterprise (HPE) announced several enhancements to its portfolio of hybrid products and services, which are set to hit the market later in summer. The updates aim to increase automation and bring more choice and consistency to services that span on-premise and cloud.

Amongst the announcements, HPE said ProLiant DL server customers will soon be able to use its Composable Cloud solution to deploy and scale workloads across their choice of cloud, virtualised, or container stacks. HPE composable infrastructure can provide a consistent operating model for virtualised, containerised, and bare-metal apps so customers can manage their compute fluidly. Going forward, the composable portfolio can be used with HPE SimpliVity (a system that provides compute, storage, networking, virtualisation, and data services inside a single node) to enable customers to deploy pools of HCI infrastructure alongside other storage. HPE’s InfoSight AI capabilities will be integrated into HPE SimpliVity to simplify virtual machine management and reduce the burden on IT staff.

HPE is also enhancing its existing partnerships with Google and Equinix to support its hybrid drive. HPE and Google will work together to deliver hybrid cloud for containers, with HPE also providing the enabling advisory and professional services. Additionally, HPE Cloud Volumes (enterprise-grade multi-cloud storage based on AWS and Azure) will now be available on the Equinix Marketplace.

HPE’s evolving portfolio plays to market demands for more choice and greater efficiency in the delivery of infrastructure. Migrating into a hybrid IT world can be highly complex, but it is the critical foundation upon which new digital services can be delivered.

Posted by Kate Hanaghan at '09:42' - Tagged: AI   hybrid  

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Wednesday 19 June 2019

Blue Prism snaps up Thoughtonomy

Blue PrismAlongside the release of its H1 results UK RPA player Blue Prism has announced the acquisition of LBB and GBS Thoughtonomy.

ThoughtonomyFirstly, looking at the results, Blue Prism continues to book impressive revenue growth up 82% to £41.6m (H1 18 £22.9m) driven in part by strong demand in its US operation where it also made a number of senior hires. The company has also continued to look east for growth opening up a Middle Eastern operation for the first time. Ramping up Sales and Marketing headcount (up 178%) contributed to EBITDA losses expanding to £(34)m (H1 18 £(4.2)m).

However it’s the Thoughtonomy acquisition, scheduled to complete in July, that really catches the eye and we now know how at least some of the £100m Blue Prism raised earlier this year will be spent. 

Blue Prism has agreed to pay £80m in cash and shares for Thoughtonomy, a SaaS business employing 52 people with reported revenues of £9.8m and an adjusted operating loss of £(3.6)m. 

The fit between the two businesses is a good one – Thoughtonomy has taken Blue Prism RPA and put it in Microsoft Azzure cloud, added some Machine Learning and Natural Language Processing (NLP) capabilities and then successfully targeted the mid-market.  

The direction of travel in Intelligent Automation is robots-on-demand and Blue Prism has previously primarily targeted the enterprise market on-premise. It’s not clear yet how Thoughtonomy will be integrated into Blue Prism as a proposition or as a brand but the logic behind the deal makes sense. 

For Thoughtonomy and its founder Terry Walby, £80m looks like an excellent price at a time when much better funded rivals such as UiPath and Automation Anywhere are increasingly looking to move into the cloud automation market.

Posted by Marc Hardwick at '09:32' - Tagged: results   acquisition   saas   cloud   automation   RPA  

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Wednesday 19 June 2019

Cognizant acquires Irish Life Sciences IoT specialist

LogoNew Jersey-based Indian pure play Cognizant has agreed to acquire Cork-headquartered Zenith Technologies, a privately-held life sciences manufacturing technology services company. The transaction, CEO Brian Humphries’ first since taking over the reins in April, is expected to close in the third quarter of 2019. Financial details were not disclosed. 

Founded in 1998, Zenith Technologies specialises in implementing digital technologies to manage, control and optimise drug and medical device production for operational efficiency and regulatory compliance. Its clients include nine of the world's 10 largest biopharmaceutical manufacturers. The company, which employs some 800 people in 16 locations across five continents, will become part of Cognizant's Life Sciences business unit.

Cognizant works with all of the world's top 30 life sciences companies. It believes that interconnected "smart factories" have become a strategic priority for this vertical.  The intent is for the combined Cognizant-Zenith Technologies expertise to focus on life science industry 4.0 solutions. These will involve the tighter integration of manufacturing processes and systems, the harnessing of information and analytics across the manufacturing value chain, and the adoption of IoT technologies.

With over 25bn devices now connected to the internet and the projected size of the IoT market often measured in the trillions of dollars, the appeal of this arena to systems integrators is obvious. Indeed, Cognizant, through its earlier acquisitions of both Brilliant in 2017 and Softvision last year, has been ramping up its IoT capabilities to which Zenith Technologies will now add. The rate of adoption among businesses of these technologies, however, continues to lag behind the pace of their development. Building IoT into tightly focused, more impactful industry-led value propositions will do much to help unlock its potential.

Posted by Duncan Aitchison at '09:23' - Tagged: acquisition   offshoreviews   lifesciences   iot  

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Wednesday 19 June 2019

NatWest's Bó picks up Loot team

rbsFollowing the recent sad demise of UK FinTech Loot (see: Loot runs out of cash) it appears that there may be some good news to end the saga. According to reports, the talented team from Loot, including its impressive founder and CEO, Ollie Purdue, now have a new home with , the digital banking startup arm of RBS/NatWest. Online news site TechCrunch has revealed that Ollie will join Bó as its Chief Product Officer, along with 17 of the team from Loot.

Loot’s innovative proposition, aimed at Millenials, coupled with its tightly defined approach to its chosen segment, had made it an intriguing proposition (see: Loot - the FinTech only your kids have heard of). However, in May this year the venture experienced funding difficulties and ultimately ran out of cash, whilst it was in the throes of negotiating a potential sale to RBS.

Going forward, Ollie and his team will be the driving force behind innovation and go to market at , reporting into the bank’s CEO, Mark Baillie. Whilst the Loot story highlights some of the challenges and pitfalls of the startup world, hopefully the new relationship will work for all concerned. From a market perspective, I think it also demonstrates that, whilst the FinTechs are definitely disrupting the banking landscape, they’re not guaranteed to replace the incumbent players - banks have deep pockets!

Posted by Jon C Davies at '08:33'

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