HotViews Archive

Skip Navigation Links.
Collapse 2019 (43)2019 (43)
Collapse May (43)May (43)
How your tech business can improve customer satifaction
22 May 2019
TechnologyOne secures Chelmsford partnership
21 May 2019
Finastra embraces Open Banking
21 May 2019
InterSystems: healthcare specific data platform benefits
21 May 2019
IMImobile adds to roster of telco partners
21 May 2019
US dispute with Huawei hits global tech stocks
21 May 2019
Backers advance £40m to salary advance fintech Wagestream
21 May 2019
*UKHotViewsExtra* Arvato extends at DfT
21 May 2019
HOW YOUR TECH BUSINESS CAN IMPROVE CUSTOMER SATISFACTION
21 May 2019
Cerillion blames interim loss on timing issues
20 May 2019
Digital learning emerging from HCL/Manchester United partnership
20 May 2019
CentralNic acquires down under
20 May 2019
*UKHotViewsExtra* BearingPoint challenges to succeed
20 May 2019
Partnering pays-off for Actual Experience
20 May 2019
HPE goes Cray-fishing
20 May 2019
Encouraging signs from Sage in H119
17 May 2019
Moneysupermarket backs £11m Flagstone cash injection
17 May 2019
Investors show foresight backing Glasgow's Synaptec
17 May 2019
BrandHouse raises €4m to ply Asian trade
17 May 2019
Celebrating UK LawTech
17 May 2019
Maistro to blur out AIM listing
17 May 2019
Fujitsu takes action to return UK to growth
17 May 2019
Amazon Primes Deliveroo
17 May 2019
*UKHotViewsExtra* Expleo builds on its heritage
17 May 2019
*New Research*: Digital Enablement via Low Code Platforms
16 May 2019
LTI’s Syncordis strikes strategic partnership with Temenos
16 May 2019
LawTech networking event
16 May 2019
Important 'firsts' for Xero in FY19
16 May 2019
Sophos posts double digit FY19 revenue growth
16 May 2019
Probation services to be renationalised
16 May 2019
Police ICT Company halts £500m ICT partner contract
16 May 2019
New MD for Dynama
16 May 2019
Totvs finds hardware and software don’t mix – finally
16 May 2019
NEST seeks pensions admin partner for next phase
15 May 2019
Experian boosted by growth in North America
15 May 2019
Sanderson confirms strong H1
15 May 2019
Backers authenticate Authenticate’s supply chain platform
15 May 2019
NHS 111 Online hits one million
15 May 2019
Investors improve Urban’s wellness with extra dosh
15 May 2019
Capita puts workers on the board
15 May 2019
UK a hotbed for tech innovation and scaleups
15 May 2019
Advance of the robots
15 May 2019
Considered a career in teaching?
15 May 2019

UKHotViews©

 

Tuesday 21 May 2019

TechnologyOne secures Chelmsford partnership

TechnologyOne logoTechnologyOne has secured a two-year deal with Chelmsford City Council to implement its OneCouncil platform.

TechnologyOne’s SaaS solution will replace the council’s existing on-premise technology, which has been provided by Totalmobile since 2004. The council was looking to consolidate its technology stack and simplify its back-office systems. It wanted a financial platform that would provide a mobile solution to allow its employees to work remotely and with less reliance on the accountancy department.

Chelmsford City Council joins Mid Ulster District Council (see TechnologyOne wins first Northern Ireland contract), Horsham District Council and Dover District Council (see TechnologyOne wins in Dover) in using the OneCouncil solution. The Australian Securities Exchange listed business is building momentum in the UK local government market as more councils look to make the switch to cloud-delivered back office solutions.

Posted by Dale Peters at '20:10' - Tagged: localgovernment   erp   saas   software  

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


Tuesday 21 May 2019

Finastra embraces Open Banking

FinastraGlobal financial services provider, Finastra, has revealed its latest strategic bet around Open Banking, which comes in the shape of its innovation platform FusionFabric.cloud. In recognition of the changing dynamic in banking technology, Finastra is aiming to drive innovation through collaboration, by providing access to its eleven core banking systems via the FusionFabric.cloud.

Finastra has leveraged its strategic alliance with Microsoft (which hosts the innovation platform on Azure), to build solutions utilising Power BI, PowerApps and Microsoft Dynamics. The FusionFabric.cloud platform currently provides 61 open APIs, across Finastra’s retail and corporate banking products and contains functionality for consumer lending, mortgage, payments and treasury and capital markets.

Open Banking is gaining momentum in the UK and globally and Finastra has another major partner on board to support its market push, in the shape of Accenture. Whilst there is still inertia amongst the major banks here, the benefits and appeal of the modern offerings and services that the concept has spawned are clear. In the longer term, the impact of Open Banking is likely to be just as significant on the established banking technology vendors as it will be on the banks.

Finastra has more than 8,500 clients utilising its systems and, whilst pricing models are not yet finalised, this client base should prove to be a sufficient lure to attract collaboration via its innovation platform. Meanwhile, Finastra further confirmed its collaborative, innovation credentials recently, via its R3 based, loans platform (see: Finastra’s blockchain initiative looks to transform syndicated loans). Finastra and its CEO, Simon Paris, have clearly recognised the changing market dynamics and the company is evolving its approach and business model in response.    

Posted by Jon C Davies at '09:41' - Tagged: OpenBanking  

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


Tuesday 21 May 2019

InterSystems: healthcare specific data platform benefits

logoWe’ve previously highlighted the scope for greater take-up of latter day data platforms as part of MDM scenarios, AI/ML deployments and as supporting plays in accelerated application development (see Enterprise Software Predictions 2019) but also cautioned that simple aggregation offerings would not cut the mustard. Today’s data platforms need to deal with data relevance and quality as well as aggregation and transactions, along with analytics to generate insight.

That combination points to industry specific offerings, so it was good to see data platform provider InterSystems contribute to the movement with the latest release of its unified healthcare information system, InterSystems TrakCare. The release adds a mobile interface across all clinical workflows to improve the user experience but what stands out is that it has been built on the new IRIS for Health data platform, which in turn has been specifically engineered for healthcare. As well as combining analytical and transaction processing and native interoperability for all data types, it provides healthcare-specific big data capabilities. Where data is the source of insight and value, sector specificity matters.

Posted by Angela Eager at '08:56' - Tagged: software   healthcare   datamanagement  

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


Tuesday 21 May 2019

IMImobile adds to roster of telco partners

logoA new partnership agreement with Telia Norway should add to UK HQ’d IMImobile’s upward trajectory. The agreement will see the Scandinavian telco resell IMImobile’s cPaaS (Communications Platform-as-a-Service) and other IMImobile cloud products to its enterprise clients. Telia Norway will also use the cPaaS platform itself.

The cloud based communications software and solution provider is making inroads into the telco sector and already partners with mobile operators such as EE, MTN, O2 and Vodafone so Telia Norway will fit in and benefit from IMImobile’s existing expertise. If all goes well, the agreement could extend to the wider Telia Company.

IMImobile ended its most recent financial year (to 31 March 2019) with 28% revenue growth to £142m, of which18% was organic, on several growth drivers including new channels for WhatsApp for Business and Apple Business Chat for the cPaaS product, plus commercial and technical progress with partners such as BT, KCOM, Salesforce and NICE inContact. Geographic expansion also contributed to growth. Telia Norway adds to the roster of drivers and opportunities. With products and services enabling businesses to launch and orchestrate two-way, trigger-based customer communications, across 10+ channels, for more personalised, real time interactions, IMImobile is well placed and succeeding within a growth market.  

Posted by Angela Eager at '08:10' - Tagged: cloud   partnership   software   customerexperience  

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


Tuesday 21 May 2019

US dispute with Huawei hits global tech stocks

HuaweiI’ve watched the Huawei dispute with great interest but from the side-lines. Without going into detail (but many of you know of what I speak) you can get into an awful lot of hot water if you dare criticise Huawei. It was a classic lesson in how not to undertake a PR exercise with one of the UK’s leading tech analysts. It only served to alienate me against them...

However, yesterday the dispute with Huawei had a direct effect on many of the companies I cover - indeed on the stocks I hold. Google announced that it couldn’t supply its Android operating system (and everything that went around it) to new Huawei smartphones and, maybe, couldn’t provide things like updates to existing users. Given that Huawei is 2nd only to Samsung in the smartphone volume market, this was a big hit. Who on earth would now buy a new Huawei?

The ‘problem’ is that we live in a very global and interconnected world. Huawei doesn’t just rely on Google. It uses chips and other components from many non-Chinese companies. So not surprising that Qualcomm (down 6%), Intel (down 3%) Dialog (down 4%) and Broadcom all suffered.

Apple not only has a big market for its products in China but manufacturers many of its products there. It fell over 3%.

Huawei vehemently believes that the current US emergency measures are far more to do with President Trump’s trade wars than with security. But the ownership of Huawei is opaque. Their management gives all the promises in the world that they would never provide backdoors for the Chinese authorities to spy on users. But would that really apply if there were hostilities between China and the US? Bit late when Huawei is embedded in the very backbone of your nation’s comms infrastructure.

Posted by Richard Holway at '07:51'

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


Tuesday 21 May 2019

Backers advance £40m to salary advance fintech Wagestream

logoI admit to getting the wrong end of the stick when I wrote about London-based Fintech Wagestream’s £4.5m raise last September (see Wagestream gets dosh for new take on pay-day loans). Indeed I published founding CEO Peter Briffet’s comment and spoke to him a few days later. Briffet was insistent that in fact Wagestream’s aim was actually to eradicate payday loans.

The way the platform works is to allow employees to get an advance on a pre-agreed proportion of their monthly salaries for a flat fee of £1.75 via an app. Originally free to employers, Wagestream was charging 50p per employee per month at the time I spoke to Briffet.

This is all in prelude to the news that Wagestream has raised a further £40m in a debt/equity Series A funding round. The equity portion, £15m, was led by Balderton and Northzone, with savings bank Shawbrook backing a £25m loan.

When I spoke to Briffet, Wagestream’s platform was then servicing some 20,000 employees, with an ambition to lift this to “hundreds of thousands” in six months. Media reports (Source: alt-fi) set the current number at ‘over 120,000’, with well known employer organisations such as David Lloyd, Rentokil, Camden Town Brewery, Slug & Lettuce and Carluccio’s.

Wagestream has pitched its tent under the ‘financial wellness’ banner, proclaiming bold mission statements: “The complete eradication of payday loans”; “Every household has £250 in savings”; and, “End overdraft fees forever”. Noble causes, but I rather think the messaging is just a bit OTT.

Let’s be clear. Wagestream is a commercial financial services business, albeit with links with social impact charities. The pitch is attractive, but somewhere along the line, like all good businesses, they will need to make money.

Posted by Anthony Miller at '07:33' - Tagged: funding   startup   FinTech  

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


Tuesday 21 May 2019

*UKHotViewsExtra* Arvato extends at DfT

Arvtato logoWhen Arvato won its shared services contract with the Department for Transport in 2013 (see Arvato confirmed as DfT share services provider), the option to extend the seven-year contract for a further three years was included. Today, Arvato have confirmed that the department has exercised that option, meaning the arrangement will run until 2023. The contract has been one of Arvato’s key business relationships in the UK since it was signed.

Under the terms of the extension, Arvato will continue to provide back office shared services (HR, procurement, payroll and finance services) to DfT and its executive agencies (Driving and Vehicle Licensing Agency (DVLA), the Maritime and Coastguard Agency (MCA), the Vehicle Certification Agency (VCA) and the Driver and Vehicle Standards Agency (DVSA).

HV Premium logoIt’s worth highlighting that the arrangement looks very different to that which was originally envisaged... Read more.

If you would like to read this UKHotViewsExtra article but are not a TechMarketView subscriber, please contact Deb Seth to find out how to access this and a whole host of other research from the TechMarketView analyst team.

Posted by Georgina O'Toole at '07:15'

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



Monday 20 May 2019

Cerillion blames interim loss on timing issues

CerillionAIM listed, billing and CRM software solutions provider, Cerillion, has announced interim results reflecting a loss making period and weaker revenues. Cerillion blamed the timing of contracts for its dip in fortunes, as financials for the six-month period, ended 31st March 2019, saw the company report a statutory pre-tax loss of £0.75m. This compared with a profit of £0.47m a year earlier and was coupled with a dip in revenue to £7m from £8.4m during the same period last year.

Cerillion was originally spun off from Logica in 1999, via a MBO of the firm’s customer care and billing product arm, led by CEO, Louis Hall. In 2006, Cerillion was named one of Britain’ fastest-growing private technology companies in the Sunday Times Microsoft Tech Track 100. Cerillion subsequently launched on the AIM in 2016 (see: IndustryViews Quoted Sector). However, progress seems to have been relatively slow and the latest numbers and the firm's vulnerability to "timing" issues, appear to reflect an over reliance on a small number of larger contracts.

Cerillion’s order book appears healthy at £15.4m and remains on par with last year. Despite the latest setback, management remains bullish about the firm's prospects and its ability to deliver on its full year targets. Cerillion highlighted the February signing of an $8.3m contract as one of its largest wins to date. Meanwhile, Cerillion's management has indicated that it expected a stronger close to the year and that the second half has already started well. 

Posted by Jon C Davies at '09:28' - Tagged: interims  

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


Monday 20 May 2019

Digital learning emerging from HCL/Manchester United partnership

logoAs we noted when HCL Technologies released full year results earlier this month, headline growth was higher than those of its larger offshore services peers, which no doubt made management smile. Its partnership with Manchester United is another reason to smile, as we observed during a recent event at the team’s training complex.

logoThe HCL/Manchester United relationship dates back to 2015 when they announced a global partnership to work together on digital initiatives to transform the experience of the club’s 659m global followers. Milestones have included revamping the club website, launching MUTV and, in August 2018, the Manchester United Official mobile app. These are all components of Manchester United’s ongoing digital transformation programme - delivered via HCL services and HCL IP including the Digital Experience Platform.

The mobile app is designed to provide a real-time, engaging, personalised, and unified experience to the fanbase but it also supports the club’s strategy to become a Digital Sports Enterprise. When it comes to content, including the important area of real time notifications during matches where the club is in competition with providers like Sky and the BBC, its ability to deliver compelling digital content in ultra-fast real time though the mobile app - enabled by the underlying platform - is key. Manchester United is much more than a football club and what stands out from the transformation programme is its cross-over into the digital media sector where it is facing new types of competitors and new opportunities - and the extent of the committment to  do so. 

As for HCL, it has been building its transformation credentials with Manchester United and several other big brand clients, providing digital foundations via cloud migrations, addressing the workplace experience, as well as positioning the Digital Experience Platform as a means of connecting people, organisations and resources in an nteractive way. Its task now is taking the platform, and what it has learnt from Manchester United in particular, and applying it across other verticals with large consumer bases and digital touchpoints. 

Posted by Angela Eager at '09:20' - Tagged: ApplicationServices   enduser   digitaltransformation  

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


Monday 20 May 2019

CentralNic acquires down under

CentralNicLondon-based CentralNic Group, the AIM-listed provider of internet domains has agreed to acquire Sydney-based TPP Wholesale, another reseller of domain names and hosting across Australasia for $24m AUD (approx. £13m) continuing its industry consolidation strategy and expansion into key markets globally.

Last week’s FY 2018 results showed that CentralNic had doubled revenues last year to £42.7m (2017 £21.4) principally off the back of a series acquisitions as it looks to build a global business and access growth markets. 

This represents CentralNic’s third acquisition of the last twelve months, having acquired KeyDrive in July 2018, a move that doubled its customer numbers overnight, as well as Romania and Brazil-focused registrar and domain hosting provider GlobeHosting last September. 

TTP Wholesale is a carve out from ARQ Group Limited, a company listed on the Australian Securities Exchange and will give CenytralNic a significant presence in Australisia adding 14,000 reseller customers and 840,000 domains under management, some 19% of all .com.au registrations. Stand-alone revenues and adjusted EBITDA for TTP in FY 2018 were $17m AUD and $3.9m AUD respectively. The timing of this deal will also allow CentralNic to participate fully in the proposed launch of the new .au domain extension.

The acquisition is still dependent on conditional financing with CentralNic in advanced talks with debt providers hoping to be finalised by the end of June. 

Posted by Marc Hardwick at '09:17' - Tagged: acquisition   domainservices  

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


Monday 20 May 2019

*UKHotViewsExtra* BearingPoint challenges to succeed

LogoEffectively a start-up business a decade ago, the UK arm of Europe-centric management and technology consultancy BearingPoint has made significant headway over the last ten years. Today it employs more than 150 people and generates an estimated turnover of c. £21m pa. The UK & Ireland (UKI) business was a stand-out performer within the firm in FY18 achieving “far above” market growth (see here). Our most recent analysis showed that demand for UK SITS consulting services increased by 5.6% last year, suggesting that BearingPoint UKI expanded by north of 15% yoy in 2018.

We recently caught up with James Rodger, Partner and Regional Leader UKI at BearingPoint to take a closer look at this ambitious and increasingly significant UK consulting operation. TechMarketView clients, including UKHotViews Premium subscribers can learn more via, UKHotViewsExtra (see: BearingPoint challenges to succeed).

Posted by Duncan Aitchison at '09:04' - Tagged: consultancy  

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


Monday 20 May 2019

Partnering pays-off for Actual Experience

LogoBath-based Analytics-as-a-Service provider Actual Experience plc has built on the momentum generated during the latter part of FY19 (see here) to deliver a promising set of interim results for the first half of the current financial year. Revenue for the six months ended 31st March increased by 260% yoy to £953K, while the operating loss reduced to £3.46m from £3.83m in H118. Over the period, Annual Recurring Revenue (ARR) increased to £1.8m from £1.6m at the end of September 2018.

We have long held the view that Actual Experience has a good offering – technology to understand the correlation between a user's experience of a digital journey and bad behaviour amongst the businesses, technologies, networks, data centres and applications involved in the delivery of that digital journey. The switch to a channel partner-led go-to-market strategy a few years ago, which has entailed significant investment in automation and support to make it easier for partners to integrate the company’s technology into their offerings, now appears to be paying dividends. The relationships with Accenture, Verizon, Vodafone and Cisco are reported to be adding regularly to the sales pipeline with well qualified opportunities.

More good news came post period end. The company’s AaaS platform has been successfully evaluated by Vodafone to be 'built in' to Universal Customer Premises Equipment (uCPE). This equipment is typically deployed to customer sites by a service provider and will help generate recurring revenue at scale with minimal set-up costs.

Commenting on the outlook, the board of Actual experience remains confident about the future. Evidence of the company’s ability to convert its growing number of new business opportunities into material firm revenue during the second half of FY19 will be important to support this optimism.

Posted by Duncan Aitchison at '08:48' - Tagged: results   saas   analytics  

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


Monday 20 May 2019

HPE goes Cray-fishing

logologoI used to be among the supercomputing cognoscenti (not a lot of people know that, as they say). There was a time in my distant past that I was responsible for IBM’s supercomputer product marketing strategy in the Asia-Pacific region. It was a thankless task – this was very much pre-Watson, by the way. But I did get to meet a man from IBM Japan who had a supercomputer data centre in the back garden of his home in Tokyo – I kid you not!

I tell you this for two reasons.

Firstly, to explain why I was somewhat bemused when, almost five years ago to the day, Paris-based IT services giant Atos announced it was to acquire compatriot Bull in order to get its hands on its supercomputers (see Atos takes Bull by the horns). You can argue that this was actually not a rescue but a prescient move into what has become (under the covers, at least) just about the hottest thing in tech – AI and all that jazz. Bull is now part of Atos’ Big Data & Cybersecurity division, which generated revenues of €895m last year, just over 7% of Atos’ total revenues, with a 15.4% operating margin. The hardware element was not disclosed.

Secondly, to express only mild surprise at Friday’s news that HPE (Hewlett Packard Enterprise) is to acquire Cray, arguably the best-known name in the world of supercomputing. HPE is to pay $35 cash per share– a 17.4% premium – in a transaction that values Cray at some $1.3b net of cash. Cray – which has undergone many transformations over the years – had revenues of $456m last year, up 16%, though ran a net loss of $72m, just under half the prior year’s loss.

We’ll be picking the bones out of this one once we have studied the detail.

Posted by Anthony Miller at '08:01' - Tagged: acquisition  

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


Friday 17 May 2019

Encouraging signs from Sage in H119

logoSage Group CEO Steve Hare said he was “encouraged by the strong start to FY19” as the company released interim results for the six months to 31 March 2019 that delivered a 6.2% increase in organic revenue to £941m and a 10.2% increase to £779m in the important area of organic recurring revenue growth. It follows signs of improved performance in the second half of FY18. However, the share price dropped during early trading, suggesting investors wanted more.

Guidance for the year is encouraging. Previously disclosed full year total revenue growth expectations were in the 8%-9% range. Sage is expecting revenue growth to be at the top end or exceed the range. The driver seems to be recurring revenue growth resurgence. However, Software and Software Related Services (SSRS) and Processing revenue are expected to be at the lower end or below guidance of flat to mid-single digit percentage decline, which reflects the transition to SaaS and subscriptions.

With organic revenue of £197m, 4% growth, the performance of UK/Ireland lagged the group as a whole, however the troublesome area of recurring revenue showed a distinct improvement with 14% growth, largely from cloud connected products and subscriptions. The region benefitted from the Making Tax Digital deadline too, which also helped challenger Xero (see Important ‘firsts’ for Xero in FY19).

Sage is deep in its ongoing battle to make the shift to a SaaS company, via its current strategy that focusses on customers, colleagues and innovation and it was able to demonstrate execution examples during H1. In terms of the innovation play, it is working on the internationalisation of SaaS Intacct and plans releases in the UK and Australia later this year. A lot is riding on Intacct – and the SaaS experts that came with the acquisition – so Sage has to ensure it doesn’t become overly reliant on it. Investment in Sage Business Cloud, cloud native and cloud connected applications is continuing, with additions to Sage Enterprise Management, Sage Payroll cloud and Sage cloud connected accounts solutions.

The technology and commercial model shift is vital of course, but so is the having the right people. To reinforce its focus on innovation and SaaS, Sage has been building up the executive committee from the ranks of its internal and ’acquired’ execs (see Sage rejigs leadership team). Now it has looked outside its walls for additional input and has announced that John Bates, CEO of AI/machine learning leaning software testing provider Eggplant, is to join the board as a NED. Bates has a background rich in tech innovation that Sage will be hoping to benefit from as its tries once more to accellerate its SaaS transition.

Posted by Angela Eager at '10:06' - Tagged: results   cloud   software   leadership  

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


Friday 17 May 2019

Moneysupermarket backs £11m Flagstone cash injection

FlagstoneUK-based Flagstone, a provider of an innovative cash deposit platform, has raised £11m in growth funding from a number of investors including Moneysupermarket.com. The cash injection was also backed by Kindred Capital and VentureFounders as well as a number of individual investors.

Flagstone was founded in 2013, by the firm’s Managing Partner, Andrew Thatcher, who previously had a 15-year career in banking and hedge funds with the likes of Merrill Lynch, Citigroup and MAN Group. Flagstone's online technology provides access to hundreds of deposit accounts from 30 banks through a single application enabling users to take advantage of the most favourable rates and terms.

Flagstone has an interesting proposition that appears to sit somewhere between the aggregators, price comparison sites and treasury management. The firm is authorized and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority and the minimum deposit required to open an account is £250k. Clients currently include wealth management firms such as, St. James’s Place, Quilter Cheviot and Tilney Group. Flagstone is looking to use the new funds to help support its growth ambitions. As well as the wealth management industry, the firm is looking to expand its presence amongst corporates, charities and wealthy individuals.

Posted by Jon C Davies at '09:33' - Tagged: funding   startups  

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


Friday 17 May 2019

Investors show foresight backing Glasgow's Synaptec

logoLondon-headquartered, infrastructure-focused private equity firm Foresight Group has been backing a number of interesting startups recently. Late last year, Foresight backed North Wales-based cabling software developer Cimteq (see Cabling software developer Cimteq connects to funding). And, keeping with the cabling theme, Foresight has recently invested £2m through the Foresight Williams Technology EIS Fund, as part of a £2.9m raise for Glasgow-based energy tech startup, Synaptec.

Other backers included the newly created Foresight Scottish Growth Fund, which invested £100k, and existing shareholders, including The Scottish Investment Bank, the investment arm of Scottish Enterprise, Equity Gap and the University of Strathclyde, from which Synaptec spun out, which invested £800k. The Foresight Williams Technology EIS Fund was formed in collaboration with Williams Advanced Engineering, the technology and engineering services business of Formula 1 racing team Williams Group.

Founded in 2015, Synaptec’s USP is that it can measure voltage, current, temperature, and vibration in a complex electricity power grid over long distances, at multiple locations, without power supplies, and using only a single standard optical fibre.

Sounds exciting.

Posted by Anthony Miller at '09:28' - Tagged: funding   startup  

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


Friday 17 May 2019

BrandHouse raises €4m to ply Asian trade

logoIt looks to me like the nominal London headquarters of ecommerce platform developer BrandHouse Holding Ltd is really just a front for a China-based international set of ‘trade-enabling’ businesses that cover the whole gamut from logistics, ecommerce and licencing.

Indeed BrandHouse’s recently announced €4m Series A funding round was led by China Renaissance Capital Investment, along with investors in China, America, Europe, Singapore and Australia and existing backers.

It’s very unclear what BrandHouse does, how it does it and who it does it with.

‘Nuff said.

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

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


Friday 17 May 2019

Celebrating UK LawTech

networkingMany thanks to everyone who attended last night’s LawTech adoption networking drinks, it was great to see so many people there from both the tech sector and the legal profession really engaged in what is an extremely vibrant area. The UK’s LawTech cluster truly is a world leader in so many areas.

ConduentTechMarketView would like to express particular appreciation to Conduent for the sponsorship of this event. Conduent has been engaged, responsive, easy to work with and truly supportive. We thank you.

Last year The Law Society commissioned TechMarketView to undertake a major review of the UK’s lawtech market, looking at barriers and drivers to adoption, the maturity of the market by legal segment and the implications for the future of the law. We ran through some of the key findings at the event. 

The output of the research was published by the Law Society back in February and its available to everyone to download in full or summary format from its website – for access to a copy please click here.

Posted by Marc Hardwick at '08:50' - Tagged: networking   event   lawtech  

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


Friday 17 May 2019

Maistro to blur out AIM listing

logoIt really does look like the end is finally drawing nigh for deeply troubled Exeter-based B2B services and product marketplace, Maistro (the erstwhile blur Group). Maistro is to delist from AIM at the end of June.

After reporting an inglorious set of numbers in March (see The worrying truth in Maistro’s numbers), Maistro was awarded the Holway Wooden Spoon for the worst performing share of the month (see Share indices for March 2019).

As we said at the time, ‘new brand, same problems’.

Posted by Anthony Miller at '08:24' - Tagged: delisting  

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


Friday 17 May 2019

Fujitsu takes action to return UK to growth

fujFujitsu’s FY18 results were recently announced, showing a 3.6% decline in headline revenue to 3,952.4bn Yen (including the impact of restructuring in the PC and mobile phone businesses). The firm’s IT services business grew well in Japan, although Fujitsu is currently forecasting this revenue performance to be flat in FY19.

Indeed, it’s the German business where Fujitsu holds its highest expectations for growth in the current year, with particular target areas including cloud services in “niche markets”.

In the UK, which is Fujitsu’s largest business outside of Japan, our initial estimates suggest Services revenue has slipped into a decline from a flat performance in FY17. An important set of activities is currently being undertaken to strengthen the footings of the business, including operational changes to significantly swing the attention of the EMEIA leadership team to the UK – see Fujitsu seeks to accelerate UK business.

In mid-April (i.e. after the close of Fujitsu’s financial year) the States of Guernsey announced Agilisys as the preferred bidder for its Future Digital Services, beating off Fujitsu in the final stages (DXC had also been involved in the bidding at an earlier stage). This would’ve been a real disappointment for the Fujitsu team, but there have been successes elsewhere in the Public Sector and wins at the Department for Education and the Northern Ireland Driver & Vehicle Agency highlight that Fujitsu remains committed to Public Sector and is finding its digital groove in the market. The company’s win at Lowell was also notable (see Fast moving Lowell signs broad-ranging deal with Fujitsu) and another demonstration that clients increasingly understand Fujitsu’s potential to initiate and drive digital change.

The firm also saw growth in strategically important areas, including cyber security where it has been increasing its capability.

We’ll be catching up with UK management in due course to understand more about plans for the current year.

Posted by Kate Hanaghan at '08:20' - Tagged: results   publicsector  

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


Friday 17 May 2019

Amazon Primes Deliveroo

logoIt has just been announced that Amazon is set to be the largest investor in UK-headquartered but very much international food delivery service Deliveroo's $575m Series G funding round. Existing investors T. Rowe Price, Fidelity Management and Research Company, and Greenoaks are also in the mix, which takes the startup’s funding to date to $1.53b. The investment is expected to complete in coming months. Amazon closed down its own London-based food delivery service, Amazon Restaurants, late last year.

So now the race in the UK comes down to homegrown,and once again profitable Just Eat (see Just Eat back to black as rivals lift the stakes), heavily loss-making – but now Amazon-primed – Deliveroo (see Deliveroo's divergent top and bottom lines), and also loss-making Uber Eats (see Uber warns it might never turn a profit). Then there’s the ‘fifth-column’ entry of Uber’s ex-CEO Travis Kalanick, who acquired London-based ‘dark kitchen’ startup Foodstars early last year to extend his CloudKitchens venture into the UK (see Kalanick’s UK ‘dark kitchens’ see the light of day (and night)).

Amazon’s investment in Deliveroo has clearly lifted the stakes in the UK (and international) food delivery market. The move will surely unsettle Just Eat’s investors, with the implied threat that Amazon will literally eat their lunch.

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

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


Friday 17 May 2019

*UKHotViewsExtra* Expleo builds on its heritage

ExpleoI caught up recently with the folks at quality assurance cum transformation specialist, Expleo, and spent some time with Head of Financial Services, Ross Hignett and his team at their Moorgate offices in London.

sqsExpleo as it is now, was formed in 2018 when Assystem Technologies acquired specialist, German quality assurance provider, SQS, (Software Quality Systems AG) (see: Assystem Technologies and SQS acquisition: bridging digital and physical). The company subsequently enhanced its transformation capabilities with the acquisition of management consulting firm, Moorhouse, (see: SQS gets physical with Moorhouse).

hvpTechMarketView clients, including UKHotViews Premium subscribers can learn more via, UKHotViewsExtra (see: Expleo builds on its heritage).

Posted by Jon C Davies at '07:00'

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


Thursday 16 May 2019

*New Research*: Digital Enablement via Low Code Platforms

imageSuppliers and end user organisations looking for tools to provide practical assistance and accelerants around transformation change programmes should be exploring the low code development sector.

The TechMarketView report ‘Digital Enablement via Low Code Platforms: understanding the position, uncovering the prospects’ provides critical insight into this fast growing technology  area that will play a key part in making 2019 and beyond the age of digital activism it ought to be. The report explores the positions of leading providers like OutSystems, Mendix and Appian, UK participants like Netcall and specialist low code services providers such as Green Lemon Company, as well as the approach to low code taken by software providers, from Microsoft to Unit4.

For all the positives that stem from this declarative, model driven approach to application development – which include the ability to deal with continuous change, cope with filled-to-bursting software and process development pipelines, enablement of core system modernisation and addressing skills shortages – the low code movement also represents a threat to application services providers. As low code-using end user organisations are able to do more in terms of self-service development, to shorter timescales and with lower costs, they are using their knowledge to pressure suppliers into upping their game. Suppliers need to build low code capabilities for their own sakes as well as on behalf of clients.

Low code platforms are perceived as only being suitable for lightweight, mobile and web applications. While they aren’t the solution for every development task and should only form part of a broader development toolkit, they  can tackle sophisticated business critical application and process requirements. 

If you're interested in this report but don’t have a TechMarketView subscription, you can contact Deb Seth to find out how to access our research services.

Posted by Angela Eager at '09:51' - Tagged: cloud   software   digitaltransformation   development  

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


Thursday 16 May 2019

LTI’s Syncordis strikes strategic partnership with Temenos

SyncordisSyncordis, the Luxembourg based, banking technology consultancy, owned by Indian technology vendor, LTI, has announced a new strategic partnership with Swiss core banking specialist, Temenos. Syncordis, which was acquired by LTI in 2017, (see: LTI leaps ahead) is already an established Temenos specialist and will use the newly signed, strategic global alliance, to provide Temenos certified services to banks around the world.

Syncordis has established a reputation for delivering smooth and efficient implementations of Temenos solutions. The new alliance will boost its standing amongst Temenos clients, as a trusted partner for enhancements, platform upgrades, and end-to-end implementations.

LTI has been enhancing its financial services credentials of late. In February, the firm further strengthened its banking transformation capabilities, with the acquisition of another Temenos expert. German based, banking technology consultancy, Nielsen+Partner, for €28m, (see: LTI strengthens its banking credentials).

LTI has recognised the potential of working more closely with Temenos and the widespread transformation opportunities arising from the Swiss vendor’s installed base. LTI is also well positioned to benefit from the recent launch of Temenos’ cloud native, core banking solution T24 Transact which has established the vendor as a global leader in the space (see: Temenos addresses banking industry imperatives).

Posted by Jon C Davies at '09:45' - Tagged: partnerships   cloud+native   core+banking  

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


Thursday 16 May 2019

LawTech networking event

ConduentWe’re looking forward to welcoming our guests to our LawTech event, in London, this evening. The weather is set to be great and we’ll be taking full advantage of the venue’s beautiful garden terrace. 

NetworkingThere is a handful of spaces left for legal professionals and if you wish to be part of this networking event, please drop Deb Seth a line. We’d love to see you there.

Lawtech has seen a huge amount of start-up activity in the UK in recent years with law firms under increasing pressure to embrace new technologies but it remains less mature than other fields of digital disruption (such as Fintech) where there is more funding and regulatory alignment.

To help promote and celebrate the sector we are hosting (in conjunction with event sponsor Conduent) networking event – ‘Driving LawTech Adoption’. The event will offer fantastic networking opportunities amongst the legal/legal tech community and will be held on Tonight from 6:30pm in Central London.

Posted by Marc Hardwick at '09:28' - Tagged: networking   legaltech   lawtech  

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


Thursday 16 May 2019

Important 'firsts' for Xero in FY19

logoWith strong FY19 results that delivered some important ‘firsts’, Xero continued to live up to its position as a challenger within the SME accounting software market. Those ‘firsts’ included maiden net profit, albeit of just $1.4m and in H2 only, and at $6.4m its first positive free cash inflow (vs. the $28.5m cash outflow of the prior year).

As TechMarketView highlighted in Xero scopes the transformation opportunity, the New Zealand founded company is going from strength to strength in a market segment where regulatory changes, such as the UK’s Making Tax Digital, and demand for easier to use, cloud based software are creating opportunities for technology providers. With 36% revenue growth to $552.8m in the year to 31 March 2019, Xero is taking full advantage of the environment.

While the company saw impressive growth in all the regions it operates in, the UK continues to be a major growth market. Boosted by the April 2019 Making Tax Digital deadline, UK revenue expanded 50% yoy to $120m and added 151k subscribers (a 48% yoy increase), taking the UK total to 463k. The worldwide subscriber number hit 1.82m, a 31% increase.

Xero is still a small company compared to those it is challenging - Sage, Intuit and even re- emerging UK provider Iris Software Group - which is a contributor to those high growth levels. And it is still in growth mode so the bottom line is not as comfortable as it is for the larger competitors. Although EBITDA improved (from $48.2, to $73.2m), Xero’s net loss deepened to $27.1m from $24.9m. The challenge will be growing on that slim $1.4m H2 profit to show it was not a blip.

FY19 saw some acquisitions – Hubdoc in the data capture area, and tax filing and compliance software provider Instafile in the UK – and these present further opportunities to build top and bottom lines. As does Xero’s platform ambition; with 128% platform revenue growth in FY19 this is a revenue line that is expanding, providing services with the scope to embed Xero deeper into the operational fabric of its customers. 

Posted by Angela Eager at '09:24' - Tagged: results   saas   cloud   software  

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


Thursday 16 May 2019

Sophos posts double digit FY19 revenue growth

Sophos posts double digit FY19 revenue growthWhen looked at from the perspective of turnover and operating profit, Sophos’ FY19 performance doesn’t look half bad.

The Abingdon-headquartered cyber security supplier grew its revenue 12% yoy in constant currency to US$711m and adjusted operating profit was up 87% to US$109m. Pre-tax profits too were healthy, reversing a US$41m loss a year ago into a US$54m gain this time around.

What Sophos isn’t too happy about is the flatlining of its billings growth, down 1% yoy to US$760m. The 35k net increase in Sophos’ SME customer numbers (the total client base now counts 382k) saw fewer larger deals signed while weaker network hardware billings were a result of extended refresh cycles. The company has now broken with the tradition of previous years by de-emphasising billings as a metric.

Billings calculates the value of products and services invoiced to customers following a purchase order, for which there is no right to a refund – nominally the guarantee of revenue not yet received. Sophos is gradually moving more of its products into cloud-hosted “as a service” subscriptions and adopting the role of managed security service provider (MSSP) for its customers. That transition - coupled with short term variations in renewal rates and the timing of product releases - renders billings “less indicative of the medium-term growth in our business” said management.

The alternative view of the its financial performance certainly makes for better reading from an investor perspective. Although any impact on the value of its shares was minimal at the time of writing – good news compared to the steep decline following publication of Sophos Q3 results.

We agree with Sophos that demand for cyber security solutions remains robust (read our Cyber Security Market Trends and Forecasts to 2021 here). The healthy FY19 revenue growth already seen from competitive suppliers including Fortinet, FireEye, Check Point and Palo Alto Networks (though not Symantec) appears to confirm that trend.

Competition is strong but with a strong portfolio of subscription security products now established backed by an army of resellers, Sophos has a good chance of gaining even more traction in the SME market in FY20.

Posted by Martin Courtney at '09:22' - Tagged: results   cybersecurity   Sophos  

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


Thursday 16 May 2019

Probation services to be renationalised

MoJToday’s announcement that the supervision of low and medium-risk offenders will return to the public sector was not unexpected (see here) and brings to an end one of the most ambitious examples of private sector public service delivery.

Private sector delivery of probation services was probably the highest risk outsourcing of government services undertaken by the coalition government. Realistically, with the benefit of 20:20 hindsight it probably required all the ‘stars to be aligned’ if it was ever going to deliver the financial benefits, drive down reoffending rates whilst at the same time maintaining public trust in what is a highly complex and stretched service.

It was also a complete commercial failure, where payment-by-results (outcome measures) yet again failed to deliver the financial returns once the theory was tested in the ‘real world’. This was yet another example of how HMG had been transferring too much risk to the private sector. Bringing the service back in house will of course be expensive, not only will staff have to be TUPE’d across but the MoJ will now likely have to invest in more staff and facilities.

There will still be a future (smaller) role for the private and voluntary sectors where they will be able to compete for work in services such as training, preparing offenders for work, and alcohol and drug treatment.

This contract is a good indicator and to some degree bellweather for how the public services market has changed over the last few years. However, it shouldn’t be forgotten that whilst the service has always been controversial and a ‘poster-boy’ for those who hate outsourcing, it intentions were good, being designed to assist the 40,000 offenders serving 12 months or less that prior to the reforms were being released with no supervision at all.

Posted by Marc Hardwick at '09:18' - Tagged: outsourcing   insourcing  

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


Thursday 16 May 2019

Police ICT Company halts £500m ICT partner contract

Police ICT Company logoMuch has changed at the Police ICT Company since Ian Bell took the reins at the start of last year (see Ian Bell appointed new CEO of Police ICT Company). Further changes are now taking place, which has resulted in the organisation deciding to discontinue the procurement process for a Police ICT Partner.

The organisation was founded to “create a bridge between the policing, technological and commercial worlds”. In the past, whilst most suppliers thought the aims of the Company were sound, they had serious doubts about whether they were achievable. Things have certainly changed for the better over the last 18 months.

Bell, who was already known to police forces and suppliers through his role as Programme Director for the National Enabling Programmes, embarked on a re-set of the Company among its policing and supplier partners and the Government. The three pillars of the Company are now: 1) Helping set the direction for how policing and its partners can use technology; 2) Negotiating and managing contracts, achieving efficiencies and value for money; and 3) Assuring the delivery of the major national policing technology programmes.

It published its contract notice for a Police ICT Partner in November 2018. The intention was to appoint a supplier to establish, operate and manage a network of resellers, manufacturers and software vendors for policing. The contract was worth up to £500m and was set to run for 10 years. However, the Company published an update earlier this week to say that it was discontinuing the procurement process.

Speaking to TechMarketView, the Company said it had determined further work is needed to reflect on the large volume of change happening in policing and positive changes within the Company itself. It has now begun developing an alternative model, together with its policing and national partners.

Halting the procurement programme will obviously be a disappointment to interested suppliers, but it sounds like the new approach is being implemented for the right reasons and in a way that will allow policing to procure technology more efficiently.

Posted by Dale Peters at '09:07' - Tagged: contract   police   police   police   police   police  

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


Thursday 16 May 2019

New MD for Dynama

Dynama logoAllocate Software Group company Dynama has appointed Andrew Lloyd as Managing Director. The company provides workforce and resource management solutions primarily for the defence and maritime industries.

Andrew joins Dynama from Corero Network Security where he was President and Executive Vice President Sales and Marketing. Prior to that he was Chief Customer Officer for Workplace Systems and held senior positions at CA Technologies and Oracle. He replaces Andrew Carwardine at Dynama, who left the business in January this year.

Despite contributing a relatively small proportion of Allocate Software Group’s revenues compared its healthcare business, Dynama remains an important part of the Group. It has a loyal customer base in the defence and maritime industries and good potential for growth. Andrew is a solid addition to the business, bringing experience of leading companies in the workforce management sector.

Posted by Dale Peters at '08:28' - Tagged: software   appointment   workforce  

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


Thursday 16 May 2019

Totvs finds hardware and software don’t mix – finally

logoBrazilian ERP market leader Totvs (pronounce the ‘v’ as ‘u’) has finally backtracked on what has been labelled in the Brazilian media (with thanks to Angelica Mari at Brazil Tech) as “one of the wors(t) deals ever seen in the Brazilian IT sector”, selling off its retail industry POS hardware business Bematech for just R$25m (c.USD6.2m). Founding CEO Laércio Cosentino announced the acquisition of Bematech in August 2015 for R$550m (see Major POS acquisition for Brazilian Totvs).

I had always been extremely sceptical (moi?) about this deal (see Acquisitions Brazilian style) mainly on the basis that it’s hard to find a successful acquisition of a hardware player by a software firm anywhere in the world (you know the address to write to if you find one). I was also concerned about the distraction this would cause to both businesses and indeed my worries came to pass pretty much straight away when Bematech’s profits crashed (see Totvs: the cost of buying market share), followed a few months later by Totvs’ (see Bematech drags Totvs).

Current CEO Dennis Herszkowicz was philosophical about the decision to ditch Bematach: “We have a long history of successful M&As, with a lot of value created over the years, but clearly we did not get it right in 100% of the occasions – and the purchase of Bematech hardware was one such case.” Herszkowicz joined Totvs in November 2018 in a second attempt by Cosetino (now chairman) to hand over the reins of the business.

Cosetino’s first attempt was just months before the ill-fated Bematech acquisition, when he hired ex-IBM Brazil CEO Rodrigo Kede Lima as President and CEO-in-waiting (see New man at Totvs looks to upset Sage’s LatAm plans). Barely six months later Lima returned to IBM (see Kede goes back to Blue) where he is now General Manager - IBM Global Technology Services - North America (and some would say, destined for greater things). I had always assumed his impromptu departure from Totvs was on account of differences of opinion with Cosetino over the Bematech deal. Whether or not the case, this was clearly the wrong deal.

Posted by Anthony Miller at '07:58' - Tagged: disposal   brazil  

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


Wednesday 15 May 2019

NEST seeks pensions admin partner for next phase

NEST logoThere’s a big opportunity on the horizon for providers of pensions administration services. The National Employment Savings Trust (NEST), the national administrator for auto-enrolment processes, has issued a contract notice seeking a provider to step into the role currently undertaken by Tata Consultancy Services (TCS).

The initial contract is for a ten-year period. However, if all extension options are exercised, the contract could last as long as 18 years and be worth up to £1.5b.

TCS signed its outsourcing contract back in March 2010 and auto enrolment commenced in 2012. Following extension, TCS’ contract is due to end in 2023.

Any new provider will be expected to provide the full gamut of outsourced administration services: enrolments, pension contribution collection, account management, savings access provision, employer participation support and the passing of funds to the administrator. It is a large undertaking; NEST now has 8m members, 730K employees and £6b of assets under management.

What is clear is that NEST wants further digital enhancement of the service, allowing it to be a primarily digitally-delivered service; any provider will need to prove that it will keep pace with changes to the savings sector, to technology and to customer expectations by drawing on emerging technologies in areas like deep data analytics.

Anyone hoping to step into TCS’ shoes would do well to read TechMarketView’s report published last year: Life & Pensions BPS Strategies for Success. You will find an in-depth look at TCS’ approach to the contract and the achievements to date. What is clear is that it will be tough to take the delivery to the next level.

Over the last ten or so years, TCS, building on its BaNCs platform, has established an already incredibly lean operation. It has also already digitised many processes, with digital levers implemented across all channels. Understanding the long-term potential of NEST to expand its remit, TCS has taken a long-term view which has allowed NEST to invest ahead of the digital adoption curve.

 Naturally, NEST is looking to achieve value for money as it shapes its administration for the next decade or more; with the low-hanging fruit picked, bidders will need to think carefully about how easy it will be to implement more advanced digital tech for future success.

Posted by Georgina O'Toole at '10:05' - Tagged: public+sector   contract   bpo   pensions   administration   digitalservices   digital+transformation   financial+services  

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


Wednesday 15 May 2019

Experian boosted by growth in North America

ExperianDublin based, credit scoring and information services provider, Experian, has published preliminary full year results, underpinned by the company’s performance in North America. Total revenue for the period ending 31st March 2019 was $4.8bn, up 6% on the previous fiscal. Growth was strongest in North America, where full year revenues were up by 10% year on year. Meanwhile Experian’s UK and Ireland revenues increased by 4.3% to $819m. Global pre-tax profits for the year were $957m, up by 0.7%

Experian has made a number of recent investments in technology and innovation and the success of its big data platform, Ascend, has been a contributing factor to strong performance in the US. Meanwhile, in the UK and Ireland, where growth has been slowest, prospects appears to be steadily improving after recent declines at the company’s consumer service operations (see: Experian stabilises UK consumer services).

Experian’s operating margins are good and whilst profit growth was rather modest, the business is enjoying growth across all its major territories. Growth in the UK and Ireland appears to be more challenging than elsewhere and is not helped by obstacles to the company’s inorganic ambitions. Experian’s proposed acquisition of rival, UK credit rating agency, Clearscore (see: Experian to acquire UK FinTech Clearscore) was abandoned earlier this year, in the face of  opposition by the Competition and Markets Authority (CMA). However, the economic climate remains favourable to Experian’s business model and the company is continuing to perform well overall.

Posted by Jon C Davies at '09:47'

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


Wednesday 15 May 2019

Sanderson confirms strong H1

logoSanderson Group confirmed the bright H1 performance indicated in its most recent trading update when releasing results for the six months to 31 March 2019: an 18% revenue increase to £17.2m (16% on a comparable basis, excluding  IFRS 15 impact), with operating profit rising 34% to £2.8m (20%+ excluding IFRS 15 impact).

The Digital Retail division contributed £5.98m revenue (vs. £5.91m pre IFRS 15 and £5.37m in 2018) and operating profit of £1.22m (£1.10 m pre IFRS 15 and £0.94m in 2018). This compares to Enterprise division revenue of £11.20m (pre IFRS 15 revenue of £11m) and £1.57m operating profit (£1.44m pre IFRS 15 and £1.14m in 2018); the division benefitted from contribution from the Anisa acquisition.

The important metrics of recurring revenue, cash generation and order intake are strong with both existing customers investing further (Richer Sounds, Office Holdings, NHS Blood and Transplant, Centrica), and new customers coming on board (Hawes & Curtis, Rhodes Freight Services).

The rate of revenue growth declined from the acquisition fueled 34% of the year ago period but with 11% organic growth in the previous year, the most recent growth rate appears to be closer. Looking forward, there is a lot to build on, including the launch of the "Lean Retailer" initiative. This is aimed at continually improving operational efficiency within retailers and Sanderson says it is generating a good level of early interest. These sorts of supplier initiatives, that help organisations with the ‘how’ of transformation, are important value offerings demonstrating the ability to think beyond the technology.

Elsewhere, the company continues to invest, particularly in mobile and ecommerce solutions and business intelligence across the retail, wholesale and supply chain logistics sector domains. Food and Drink processing is an up and coming sector for Sanderson and one where it is looking to further build its presence. It also sees opportunities to expand subscription, cloud and managed services revenue. With its retail division plus three segments within the Enterprise division, the company has several levers it can work to impact performance and balance risk and due to the growth within Digital Retail, is a better balanced business than it was a few years ago.

Posted by Angela Eager at '09:42' - Tagged: results   software  

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


Wednesday 15 May 2019

Backers authenticate Authenticate’s supply chain platform

logoThere are at least a couple things I like to know when I buy food at the supermarket: what it contains, and where it comes from. Harrogate-based foodtech startup Authenticate Information Systems aims mainly to answer the second question, with its supply chain mapping software that allows food businesses to track ingredients to source and ensure they meet required standards.

Founded in 2013, Authenticate has secured a new funding round of £2.3m, which includes £1.5 million from the Northern Powerhouse Investment Fund and the remainder from existing shareholders including Summit Alpha.

Authenticate is already in use at the Coop and a large number of hospitality and food businesses. This all seems very sensible to me.

Posted by Anthony Miller at '09:21' - Tagged: funding   startup   foodtech  

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


Wednesday 15 May 2019

NHS 111 Online hits one million

NHS Digital logoAccording to data released by NHS Digital, NHS 111 Online has been used more than one million times since it was launched in December 2017.

The system, which is now available across England online and through the NHS App, completed its one millionth triage on 10 May 2019. It uses the NHS Pathways symptom checker to provide users with information about when and where to get help based on answers to a series of questions about their main symptom. A nurse will call the user for further information if required.

Pilots for possible solutions for the NHS 111 Online service were conducted across four areas in 2017. The NHS’s own Pathways-based solution was trialled in Leeds; Advanced and Sensely’s Ask NHS app in the West Midlands (see Advanced Health & Care: Opportunities and Potential for further information); Expert 24 in Suffolk; and Babylon in London.

NHS Digital took the decision in March 2018 to proceed with a phased rollout of its own NHS 111 Online system across the whole of England. Regions using the other services were given until the end of December 2018 to connect their 111 services to the national Pathways product.

There has been a strong drive towards online triage services to reduce the pressure on the NHS 111 telephone service and provide a more efficient route to the most effective treatment. Data published by NHS Digital shows 13% of all NHS 111 online journeys end with self-care advice, 48% direct users to primary care, and 25% to ring 999 or attend A&E.

As we have discussed previously (see here and here), we are seeing a rapid proliferation of digital triage tools in the NHS, largely targeting primary care settings, which is likely to lead to a more complex and fragmented ecosystem of healthcare tools.

Posted by Dale Peters at '09:03' - Tagged: nhs   healthcare   app  

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


Wednesday 15 May 2019

Investors improve Urban’s wellness with extra dosh

logoAs it happens, I had a dreadful night’s sleep last night as I was shifting some boxes around the house yesterday and must have twisted a muscle. Typically I’d go to my local physio; they charge £48 for a 30-minute pummelling and usually fix me up after a couple of sessions.

Or I could tap, tap, tap on my mobile and summon a therapist from London-headquartered but Lithuania-based ‘wellness’ startup Urban and only pay £49 for an hour. Actually, I’ll do neither as I’m a brave soldier (read ‘cheapskate’) and see how I go.

Founded in 2014 in a flat in Ealing (hi, neighbour!), Urban (then called Urban Massage – see Urban Massage de-stresses with $12m valuation) has just raised $10m in a Series B funding round led by Accelerated Digital Ventures. The raise includes $4.5m from a crowdfunding round, and prior backers Passion Capital and Felix Capital also joined in. The funds will be used to build out Urban’s R&D team in Vilnius and expand the scope of its ‘wellness’ services.

Home-based physio services are not a new idea (for example, there’s PhysioComesToYou, which does what it says on the tin). But it must be said that the Urban website looks sassier (I haven’t downloaded the app) and they aim to become the proverbial ‘one stop shop’ for ‘wellness’ services, which now include beauty treatments (too late for me).

The business model will likely look attractive to therapists working for a bricks-and-mortar therapy practices who may only get around 20% of the fee paid, whereas I would imagine they would only pay a similar level of commission if they get a gig from Urban and keep the 80%.  

Urban has significantly dropped its prices since the 2015 raise. Like most ‘on-demand’ services, success will really come down to marketing and of course getting the right price point.

Posted by Anthony Miller at '08:43' - Tagged: funding   startup  

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


Wednesday 15 May 2019

Capita puts workers on the board

CapitaCapita yesterday delivered on its promise to promote rank-and-file workers to its board, with the announcement that Lyndsay Browne and Joseph Murphy will join the board as employee directors from the 1st July. 

Browne has been with Capita since 2003 and currently works as a finance manager in Capita Insurance Services whilst Murphy joined in 2015 and is a project manager in the Real Estate and Infrastructure business. The pair beat competition from about 400 other internal candidates and will serve an initial appointment period of three and two years, respectively.

The appointments were a key commitment of CEO Jon Lewis and represent a shift in company culture towards a more people-centric business. The non-exec roles are designed to provide an employee’s perspective into strategic decision-making with the same level of authority as other directors.

Capita joins a select group of companies in putting workers on the board including the likes of First Group, the train and bus company, Sports Direct, the retailer and Mears Group, the outsourced council services provider.

The appointment should also act to soften Capita’s brand, once known for being ‘all about the numbers’. How it then goes on to impact levels of employee engagement within the business and associated Net Promoter Score (NPS) (now a key metric for the business) will be very interesting to watch.

Posted by Marc Hardwick at '08:41' - Tagged: Capita   boardchanges  

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


Wednesday 15 May 2019

UK a hotbed for tech innovation and scaleups

pic“The truth is in the numbers”, as I always say. And the numbers just published in the latest report “UK Tech on the Global Stage” from Tech Nation, the UK network for tech entrepreneurs part funded by the Department for Digital, Culture, Media & Sport, demonstrate that tech innovation is alive and well and thriving in the UK.

Here’s just a taster:

  • Total venture capital investment in UK tech in 2018 reached £6.3bn, more than any other European country, of which 80% went into high-value scaleups.
  • The recent growth rate for London tech scaleups at 56% makes the cluster first in the world for scaleup growth.
  • With £5bn of scaleup investment, the UK ranks fourth in the world, after the US, China and India.
  • Scaleup tech investment was 2.5x higher than expected based on the relative size of the UK economy.
  • 35% of Europe and Israel's 169 unicorn tech companies have been created in the UK.
  • Investment in AI grew almost six-fold from 2014 to 2018.

TechMarketView has been a long-time supporter of UK tech SMEs, from startups through scaleups to mature success stories. Next week we will be hosting six more high-potential SMEs at our sixth Great British Scaleup Programme with our partners ScaleUp Group, the network of successful tech entrepreneurs responsible for over £4bn of exits. Our new Innovation Partner Programme takes this initiative one step further, partnering innovative UK tech SMEs with enterprise tech companies to help them scale up even quicker.

You can read the Tech Nation report here. The UK has much to be proud of.

Posted by Anthony Miller at '07:57' - Tagged: funding   scaleup  

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


Wednesday 15 May 2019

Advance of the robots

I’ve long been intrigued by how automation changes the job market. Agriculture is a particular area of interest as so much more food can now be produced per person than a generation ago. See Automation in agriculture.  Last week I watched as cows walked themselves, when they liked, into an unmanned milking parlour, got milked, had  a snack and returned to the field. Yesterday, Anthony Miller wrote about the Karakuri fast food robot designed to produce customised meas at high volume. I’ve recently seen (albeit prototype) machines picking soft fruit - a task that was thought impossible only a few years ago. See Automating picking soft fruit. My neighbour’s grass is cut by six robot mowers which even return themselves to their charging points as required. See Say 'Goodbye' to mowing the lawn.

Amazon boxToday I read in The Times (they quoted their source as Reuters) about Amazon rolling out robots that can pack boxes. Amazon’s existing 100,000+ robots are mainly used to pick and transport stock - leaving the fiddly task of packing them into boxes to humans. Let’s face it this must be one of the most boring, repetitive jobs on earth. Amazon has addressed the issue by getting the robots to assess the item and then build a bespoke box to fit it. Amazon says these robots (built by Italian firm CMC Sri)  can pack 700 boxes an hour - at least 5x the rate of a human. The robots cost $1m each and are already in use in Manchester, Frankfurt and Milan with plans for another 55 Amazon sites. Amazon’s ultimate aim is ‘Lights Out’ warehouses.

One can have an interesting debate on whether this is ‘good’. Packing 2 or 3 boxes per minute must be one of the most boring, mindless jobs. But it is a job. Robots tend to create jobs for highly skilled people to both build and maintain them. Just think of the skills you need to be a BMW car mechanic nowadays.

There again, the more automation, the cheaper the product, the more people can afford to buy etc. Automation in the car industry didn’t destroy jobs overall as it created huge demand, for example, people working in filling stations.

Then, of course, with the current wave of concern about our planet, one might wish to reduce consumer demand - not increase it by making such items even more affordable.

Posted by Richard Holway at '07:34'

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





© TechMarketView LLP 2007-2019: Unauthorised reproduction prohibited see full Terms and Conditions.