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Wednesday 16 October 2019

CALLING ALL STARTUPS AND SCALEUPS! Do you have the right Chemistry to partner with Sopra Steria?

logoChemistry – the new accelerator programme from Sopra Steria, a European leader in digital transformation – is working with the TechMarketView Innovation Partner Programme to give start-ups and small businesses an opportunity to accelerate growth and open up new opportunities.

logoChemistry has been created to support businesses with innovative solutions that are near market ready or already established in the market and help them grow further and faster. The programme is industry-led and has been specifically designed to help companies get their products to market quickly, using a collaborative, supportive and a professional platform.

If you are an innovative company looking for accelerated access to key markets, Chemistry has been developed to help you get there.

What we’re looking for

TechMarketView is helping Sopra Steria find partners to address three Challenges of major concern to both the public and private sectors:

  • Challenge 1 – Innovating Cyber Security: Keeping enterprises safe in a world of developing threats.
  • Challenge 2 – Identity Validation and Verification: Ensuring that an individual applying for access to public services is exactly who they say they are.
  • Challenge 3 – Transforming the Inspections Process: Capturing and analysing evidence to radically improve the inspection regime for assurance regarding the fulfilment of fiduciary or statutory responsibilities.

There’s a full explanation of these Challenges here.

What Sopra Steria offers

  • Accelerated market access – Strong, and on-going business relationships with major Public and Private sector clients. We have mature existing client relationships and a reputation for business transformation and excellent service delivery.
  • European presence – You’ll have the opportunity to sell internationally with access to clients outside of the UK through our European presence.
  • Development and growth of your business and product – We will help you grow, mature, and help build your client base, while respecting that your IP is your IP.
  • Development of your people – By joining our programme, you’ll gain access to our masterclasses, expert contacts and a champion within Sopra Steria, all of which will ensure you get the experience and partnership your business needs.
  • Industry visibility – Along with a large Private sector presence, Sopra Steria is a Strategic Partner to Government and by working with us you’ll have the opportunity to raise your company’s profile and visibility across these sectors.
  • Access to Sopra Steria facilities – Sopra Steria have collaborative Digilab spaces country wide and will offer design sprints and workshops to help develop the proposition. There is also an opportunity to use office space and board rooms, if required, to grow your business.

Eligibility requirements

  • Innovative product – The product or service you have created should be on the forefront of the relevant industry.
  • Existing clients – You must have delivered services to at least one previous client, with at least a minimum viable product to help provide future clients with confidence in our services.
  • Potentially scalable solutions – Your product should have the potential to scale to be able to utilise Sopra Steria’s client network and support to deliver to a large range of customers as their requirements develop.
  • Business focused – You should have a product focused on the business benefit for the customer as well as the technical challenge.

How to apply

If you are the Founder or CEO/MD of a privately held innovative, high growth young business and feel you can meet at least one of the Challenges, please apply by completing this webform by Friday 1st November 2019. Successful applicants will be invited to attend a pitch session at Sopra Steria’s London offices week commencing 9th December 2019.

You can find more about the TechMarketView Innovation Partner Programme Chemistry event here. You can also download a flyer about the Sopra Steria Chemistry programme here. For any further information, please email tipp@techmarketview.com.

Posted by: HotViews Editor

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Tuesday 15 October 2019

Latest TechMarketView Research

TechMarketView’s expert analyst team has been as busy as ever in October. Make sure you haven't missed a must-read!

Advanced reportHighlights include the latest report from Angela Eager, TechMarketView Research Director for Emerging Tech,  Advanced: Developments and Differentiation. After the £2bn vote of confidence in Advanced by existing investor Vista Equity Partners and new investor BC Partners in August, Angela assesses the progress Advanced has made as a transforming and growing UK HQ’d company and where its opportunities lie.

And if you missed it earlier in the month, be sure to check out the UK Public Sector SITS Supplier Rankings 2019 report from our highly respected PublicSectorViews analyst team. The data-rich report provides the definitive Top 20 suppliers to the UK public sector tech market, plus Top 10 rankings for each of the subsectors we track (central government, local government, health, education, police and defence), and a snapshot of the ‘ones to watch’ from outside of the ranking tables.

You’ll also find a host of insightful UKHotViewsExtra articles hot off the presses. This week:

Marc Hardwick, who leads our BusinessProcessViews research, analyses the strategy and outlook for business process services specialist Liberata in Liberata – getting ‘match-fit for digital’.

VMWare’s plans for cloud native endpoint security specialist Carbon Black come under the spotlight in Carbon Black forms spine of new VMWare Security Business from SecureConnectViews’ Martin Courtney. The combination of the two companies looks set to propel VMWare into our Top 20 Cyber Security Players Ranking next year

And our Chief Research Officer Kate Hanaghan shares insight on thriving Great British Scaleup Altius and sister company DataSparQ in Altius: A driving force in data science.  

HVP logo

The UKHotViewsExtra articles highlighted in the section above (and some 500 others) are accessible to all our corporate subscription clients, as well as individual UKHotViews Premium subscribers. Reports are only accessible to corporate clients of the relevant research stream/s. Contact Deb Seth for corporate subscription details or sign up to UKHotViews Premium here.

Posted by: HotViews Editor

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Tuesday 15 October 2019

How Google Cloud is addressing its challenges

logoYesterday was a Google day – a full and informative day spent exploring Google Cloud’s EMEA activities and strategies, including insight into UK specifics. 

While recognised for its technical prowess Google Cloud - home to cloud infrastructure, platform and G-Suite - has struggled to attract the volume of large enterprise business resulting in it placing third among the hyperscale cloud providers after Amazon Web Services and Microsoft Azure. That is firing its determination and yesterday was an opportunity for an update on what the company is doing. 

We’ll be publishing a deeper dive before long but three things stood out. One was the focus on practical solutions. Google Cloud has been a technology-first company but technology always needs some sort of link to practical business problems. While there is no let up on the pace of technology development, there is a welcome and increasing focus on mapping technology to business problems and bringing solutions to market, backed by the a focus on six verticals. 

Recognition of the value of heritage IT was also apparent in the emphasis on hybrid and multi cloud. This was also evidenced through the recently announced Anthos offering that is geared towards building and managing hybrid applications and delivering consistency between on-premise and cloud environments; and the focus on services like Dataproc which delivers a cloud-based managed Spark and Hadoop service on the Google Cloud Platform.

The third area that stood out was the partner programme, not just the intention to scale it out but the moves to bring more structure and a more disciplined approach to how Google Cloud engages with its partners.AccentureAtos and Deloitte are its prime global partners but there is a large and growing cohort of certified, smaller, regional and specialist partners rising too. 

Google Cloud‘s European business is growing faster than any other area – and UK performance is likely to be aligned with that. Performance is partly down to the region ramping up on cloud investment it but also reflects Google Cloud’s investments to move towards the market, providing solutions and targeting industry sectors. 

Posted by: Angela Eager

Tags: cloud   hybrid   hyperscalers  

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Tuesday 15 October 2019

dotdigital delivers on three pillars

DotdigitalMarketing automation SaaS provider dotdigital’s three pillar strategy - geographic expansion, partnerships, and product development continues to help it grow, increasing full-year revenue by 19% to £51.3m (£43.1m FY18). Organic revenue growth from in the core business (excluding discontinued business units) also remained strong at 15% growing to £42.5m (£36.9m FY 18). Adjusted EBITDA from continuing operations grew 24% to £14.7m (£11.8m FY 18).

International expansion has continued to become more important with revenues from outside the UK growing by 28% and now represent 29% of all revenue.

Despite headwinds from the retail sector, overall message volumes sent out by the platform increased by 11% to 16bn from 14.4bn in 2018, reflecting the change in demographics and increasing both recurring revenue growth and average revenue per user (ARPU). Indeed, ARPU grew by 14% from £845 to £966 per month, whilst 86% of group revenues are now recurring of which 90% is contracted, providing good future visibility.

dotdigital has now integrated the Comapi acquisition taking the decision to discontinue both the Dynmark and Donky businesses, increasing the focus in its core SaaS-based marketing platform. This will allow the Group to deliver for clients across a much broader set of channels including mobile and social media. Integration of the Comapi omni-channel capability should drive revenue opportunities off the back of personalised, timely and channel-sensitive campaigns and confirm the shift from being an email-centric to an omni-channel supplier. 

Given the experience with Comapi its perhaps no surprise that Management remains open to further acquisitions should they fit with the strategy.

Posted by: Marc Hardwick

Tags: results   marketing   automation  

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Tuesday 15 October 2019

Atos takes Cortisone 3D contract

Atos logoAtos has had an uphill battle trying to grow its business in defence. It has had a small footprint for some time, most notably as Strategic Partner on the Defence Information Infrastructure (Future) Programme. But other notable business has not been forthcoming, mainly as a result of delays in the Ministry of Defence (MoD) moving forwards with some of its major procurement programmes. However, as we highlighted in UK Public Sector SITS Supplier Landscape 2019, Atos has had some successes since the beginning of 2019, winning  a couple of multimillion pound contracts in support of the Defence-as-a-Platform model.

Bigger still is the win just announced – a contract with an estimated value of £25m, which we understand from the procurement notices will have a 3+1+1 duration. Atos has been selected, via the Tech Services 2 framework, to support digital transformation of healthcare delivery within Defence Medical Services (DMS).  Atos will be the 3D (Design, Develop and Deliver) partner on the long-awaited Cortisone programme, which aims to deliver a suite of Medical Information Services (Med IS) by exploiting Commercial Off the Shelf (COTS) products.

With MoD remaining the overall Design Authority, Atos’ role will be to “execute a sustainable, integrated, cohesive and enduring information capability” to support the delivery of evidence-based medical dental and healthcare outputs. That will involve maintaining and developing the overall solution architecture, artefacts and component integration, providing technical advice and product evaluation; setting up and maintaining environments, installing and configuring COTS products, building and evaluating interfaces and supporting data management; and offering training services and materials.

The Cortisone programme, which will replace and extend the current Defence Medical Information Capability Programme (DMICP), has been a long-time coming; the initial procurement exercise stalled at the end of 2017, when the MoD decided to rethink its approach. It was in January this year that the MoD held an Industry Day to reveal the new procurement route for both the client-side 3D partner services and the Integration Platform and Enterprise Master Patient Index.

The end goal is to optimise the fitness of the military to carry out their roles. But, as highlighted by the MoD, this is a challenging environment, with the DMS estate equivalent to 2x Clinical Commissioning Groups (CCGs) and a Community Trust, and healthcare COTS not designed for Integrated Care Services. There is also technical complexity in the MoD’s ICT estate as it seeks to modernise. We will watch Cortisone’s progress with interest.

Posted by: Georgina O'Toole

Tags: publicsector   contract   defence  

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Tuesday 15 October 2019

Rahko's targeted quantum focus earns £1.3m funding

logoIts approach to tackling the challenging ‘noise’ issue in quantum computing i.e. high error rates, has earned UCL spin-out Rahko £1.3m seed funding from European tech investor Balderton Capital

The London-based company was set up just last year with support from the UCL Challenge Innovation fund and Conception X with a proposition that puts it at the intersection of quantum computing and machine learning. Its work is focussed on 2ndgeneration quantum machine learning algorithms - parametrized quantum circuits - that the company says can be trained like deep learning models and can be highly robust to noise on today’s quantum computers. The Rahko platform is the place for testing and prototyping the algorithms. It is also a means to access available quantum computers (IBM’s quantum computers are commercially accessible for example – see Inside the dramatic world of quantum supremacy). After all, new hardware requires new tech to access it. 

While working on quantum research Rahko also has a targeted and commercial focus and is concentrating on commercially viable problems within chemical simulation. 

Rahko is one of several quantum businesses supported by the UCL Challenge Innovation fund including Quantum Motion (quantum hardware), GTN (generative tensorial networks), PhaseCraft (quantum software and algorithms), Q&I (quantum readiness and consulting). 

Posted by: Angela Eager

Tags: funding   startup   quantumcomputing  

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Tuesday 15 October 2019

TrueLayer heads to Australia to ride the Open Banking wave

TrueLayerTrueLayer, the London-based provider of APIs to the banking industry, is set to expand its global footprint with the opening of its first office in Australia. The UK FinTech provides functionality that facilitates Open Banking by enabling data flows between banks and third-party service providers (see: Open Banking momentum starts to build).

The UK FinTech recently secured an investment of $35m via Series C funding round which the company pledged to use to help support its global expansion (TrueLayer secures $35m for Open Banking push). That cash injection brought the total amount raised by TrueLayer to $47m with the company having also recently established operations in Germany, France, Italy and Spain.

This is a smart move by TrueLayer with Australia on the verge of its own Open Banking revolution. In 2020 the country is set to introduce new rules that should open up the market for third-party providers in a similar way that PSD2 has done in Europe. TrueLayer is positioning itself to capitalise on the opportunity, which should also provide a bridgehead for the lucrative APAC region, as API-enabled data flows help to transform financial services across a number of territories.

Posted by: Jon C Davies

Tags: OpenBanking  

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Monday 14 October 2019

Iyengar joins executive team at trainer QA

logoIt has been many, many years since we had cause to write about veteran training company QA, but now we have very good reason to pay much closer attention to this private equity-backed industry stalwart.

picThis is because, QA has just appointed our good friend Srikanth Iyengar to its Executive Committee reporting to, and working very closely with, CEO Paul Geddes, himself recruited into the role just last month, coming after his time as CEO of insurer Direct Line Group.

Iyengar was most recently European Group CEO at business process services company Conduent, which he joined in June 2017 after undertaking leadership positions at Capgemini, IGATE and Infosys (see New Europe head for Conduent). Conduent recently changed CEOs after some challenging results (see Conduent appoints new CEO), sparking a rethink of Conduent’s operational priorities.

I have just spoken to Iyengar, who formally starts at QA on 1st November, and can understand his enthusiasm for the new role. Once upon a time publicly owned, QA was acquired by CVC Capital Partners through a buy-out from funds managed by Bregal Capital in June 2017. QA has rapidly grown revenues over the past few years, reaching £253m in 2018, with an adjusted EBITDA margin of 24% and an IFRS operating margin of just under 9%.

We hope to meet up with Iyengar and Geddes in the next few weeks and will bring you more then. Meanwhile, our heartiest congratulations go to Iyengar on this career move.

Posted by: Anthony Miller

Tags: management   training  

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Monday 14 October 2019

Sophos on course for £3.1bn PE sale

Sophos on course for £3.1bn private equity saleReports suggesting Sophos is set to be acquired by Thoma Bravo highlights the Abingdon-headquartered company’s recent travails and the continuing attraction of cyber security companies to private equity investment firms.

Now certainly looks like a good time to buy. Despite profit warnings and the flatlining of its billings growth leading to steep declines in its share value last year, Sophos overall FY19 performance actually looked quite healthy. Revenue grew 12% in constant currency with pre-tax profits registering US$54m. The company’s latest first quarter trading update too was promising, with both revenue and billings up by 7% and 9% respectively on the previous year.

The value of Sophos’ shares rose by as much as 34% on news of the proposed deal and TechMarketView expects the cyber security market to see high single digit revenue growth over the next few years. That is an opportunity for further expansion that much of Sophos’ cloud-orientated small to medium enterprise (SME) enterprise portfolio has already been revamped to capitalise on (read more in our Cyber Security Supplier Ranking 2019 report here).

Recent merger and acquisition activity appears to reflect our expectations for the market overall. Symantec accepted a US$10.7bn offer for its troubled enterprise security business from Broadcom last August for example while VMware finalised a US$2.1bn deal for Carbon Black last week (see our HotViewsExtra report Carbon Black forms spine of new VMware Security Business).

Though it remains to be seen what the new owner has in mind for Sophos, we don’t see much currently wrong and would be surprised to see any drastic change to its portfolio, strategy or direction.

Posted by: Martin Courtney

Tags: acquisition   privateequity   cybersecurity  

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Monday 14 October 2019

Rob Coupland to become new Pulsant CEO

pulsantPulsant, a provider of regional data centre services, colocation, workplace recovery and managed cloud, has said Rob Coupland will take over as CEO on the 28th October.

Coupland is a veteran of the industry, most recently in the role of MD EMEA at Digital Realty, and previously as COO and MD of Telecity. Coupland spent 10 years at Telecity in total, where he led the firm’s data centre expansion programme and was responsible for significantly growing the business. It was at Telecity that Coupland worked with Mike Tobin, who is now Pulsant’s Chairman.

Coupland is replacing Niclas Sanfridsson who has been in the role for a couple of years. During this time, Sanfridsson examined just about every aspect of the firm, including assets (e.g. property), skills, operations, delivery, and financial performance. It was a significant undertaking with the objective of increasing Pulsant’s ‘match fitness’ and accelerating the swing of revenue from colocation to hybrid cloud (read more here: Pulsant: Rejuvenating for hybrid success). 

With that work undertaken, now does not seem a bad time to bring in a new lead to drive growth. And with Coupland’s extensive experience, we think Pulsant will have some critical pieces of the puzzle in place.

We also fully expect Sanfridsson to surface somewhere else in the industry in due course.

Posted by: Kate Hanaghan

Tags: cloud   people   colocation   hosting   appoinments  

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Monday 14 October 2019

UK source of innovation and growth for Facebook

FacebookWhen Facebook UK filed its 2018 accounts last week the focus was, predictably, on the amount of tax the social media firm paid in the UK, but the results reveal a ‘good news’ story for UK plc too.

First the key figures. Strong growth from advertising led gross revenue to climb 23% to a record £1.65bn in the year to December 2018 whilst recognised revenue was up 50% at £797m (2017: £530m). And the UK accounts show that after adjustments Facebook paid £28.5m in tax 2018, up from £17.2m the prior year, as profits increased by more than 50% to £96.6m (2017: PBT £62.8m). 

Margaret Hodge, former chairperson of the Public Accounts Committee and leader of an all-party parliamentary group looking into the tax system, tweeted it was “still outrageous” that big tech firms were not paying “their fair share into society.” But as we’ve pointed out before it’s really the tax system that’s at fault. Facebook does pay the tax that is legally due and as Steve Hatch, the company's vice president for Northern Europe, said "revenue from customers supported by our UK teams is now recorded here so that any taxable profit is subject to UK corporation tax."

What we found more striking in Facebook’s latest accounts is just how quickly it is growing in the UK and how much it’s investing here. Indeed, the UK is now one of Facebook’s most important hubs for innovation. The accounts reveal that the tech giant spent £356m on R&D and engineering in the UK in 2018, up from £264m the year before. 

As a result, in 2018 Facebook employed nearly 2,000 people in the UK, 50% more people in the than it did in 2017, and some 55% of those employees were in engineering roles. According to Hatch by the end of 2019, Facebook will employ 3,000 people in the UK. That makes Facebook a significant employer in the UK tech market and the UK an important source of innovation for Facebook. 

Posted by: Tola Sargeant

Tags: tax   R&D  

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Monday 14 October 2019

Cerillion secures another major win

CerillionCerillion, the AIM listed software provider to the telecoms industry, has announced another major win for its flagship billing and CRM solution, Enterprise BSS/OSS. The latest contract, worth £2.9m, is with a mobile virtual network enabler (MVNE) in South Africa. Off the back of the initial deal there is also the potential for the contract to be extended to include support for fixed-wire telephony services.

The deal is the latest in a string of recent successes for London based Cerilllion, which in September announced a £3.7m BSS/OSS win in Asia (see: Cerillion rings up another major win). In June, the company announced a £4.8m deal with LINK Mobility, itself hot on the heels of a £5.1m win with Danish telecom and utility company, SE Group.

Earlier this year, Cerillion posted a disappointing set of interims results, reflecting a loss making period and weaker revenues. However, the company’s management remained bullish and expressed a confidence in its future pipeline that has now been proven well-founded (see: Cerillion blames loss on timing issues).

Despite its first half wobble, H2 is shaping up very nicely for Cerillion. The company’s order book remains strong and full year prospects are promising as the company continues to deliver on management’s expectations.

Posted by: Jon C Davies

Tags: contract  

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Monday 14 October 2019

Over £6K raised for GOSH!

RBC_Race for the Kids_Team celebratioWe did it!

A TechMarketView team consisting of Managing Director, Tola Sargeant, Chief Analyst, Georgina O’Toole, and Research Director, Marc Hardwick, along with our families, completed the RBC Race for the Kids 5k for Great Ormond Street Hospital (GOSH), on a very wet Saturday in Hyde Park over the weekend…

Our times ranged from a brilliant 24 minutes for the older boys – William and Josh – to a very respectable 56 minutes for Thomas, as he tackled the 5k on his first prosthetic leg. It brought home to us how much extra energy is required running on a prosthetic (apparently 60% extra!), and how much more you need to concentrate on your breathing and technique. Thomas is determined to become a Paralympian one day (he just can’t decide on which sport yet...) so he’ll be working on improving over the coming months and years!

We are overwhelmed by the support we have received from family, friends, clients, UKHotViews readers and social media followers. The generosity exhibited has been amazing. The total raised is still edging up but we have, so far, raised £6,330.21 from 108 extremely kind supporters. Thank you! An astounding amount that makes getting soaked to the skin all worthwhile!

There is still time to donate to help give other children the same wonderful care and support that Thomas has received at Great Ormond Street Hospital over the last decade. Here’s the link: https://www.justgiving.com/fundraising/techmarketview-for-thomas.

Posted by: HotViews Editor

Tags: fundraising   charity  

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Monday 14 October 2019

1Spatial books solid H1

1SpatialSix months ago, at FY results 1Spatial, the Cambridge-based geospatial software firm, mapped out its path to growth. Having raised significant sums, it took the decision to invest in French geospatial software provider Geomap-Imagis for €7m and line up an important strategic agreement with GIS player Esri.

The benefits are already being seen in this morning’s interim results where the strengthened European business contributed to revenue growth of 23% to £10.9m for H1 (£8.8m H1 18), increasing adjusted EBITDA to £1.7m up 170% on H1 18 (£0.6m).

1Spatial is coming to the end of a three-year turnaround and the last couple of results have showed decent progress – recurring revenues have increased, and the business is becoming increasingly profitable. Progress has also been made getting its European business in order and aligned with the Group.

News of a pilot earlier this month with the Greater London Authority London Underground, Asset Register (LUAR) was another positive indicator and a strategic win that illustrates the value of location and geospatial data.

Posted by: Marc Hardwick

Tags: results  

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Monday 14 October 2019

SCISYS cultivates Defra relationship with livestock contract

SCISYS logoChippenham-headquartered software, solutions and services provider SCISYS has won a contract to provide IT services, project management, integration and maintenance of software in Defra's (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs) Livestock Information Programme (LIP).

The contract is valued at £2.6m and runs until 2022, with the option to extend for a further two years. It was secured via Shearwell Data, the lead contractor on LIP, who will provide the core management database for the recording and tracing of farm livestock. The deal was included as part of SCISYS' existing market guidance (see SCISYS sets expectations for stronger H2).

LIP is Defra’s programme to replace its livestock traceability systems, it is designed to improve customer confidence in the food chain, prevent contaminants from entering the system and make the UK more responsive to animal disease. Earlier this month a new company, Livestock Information Ltd, was created to manage the development and implementation of the Livestock Information Service. The company is 51% owned by the Agriculture and Horticulture Development Board (AHDB), with Defra holding the remaining 49%.

This is another good win for SCISYS and it cements its existing relationship with Defra, which includes a £2.2m call-off agreement to provide software and services as part of the Beta Transformation Earth Observation/Flood Risk/Bovine Tuberculosis project that was secured earlier this year (see SCISYS keeps winning). The award follows last month’s news that a consortium led by SCISYS alongside DCE and HFE Solutions was one of six demonstrators awarded a share of £3m from the MoD’s Defence And Security Accelerator (DASA) to develop new semi-autonomous vehicle concepts for the British Army.

Earlier this month the Competition & Markets Authority cleared CGI’s planned acquisition of the business—it is now waiting for final approval from the German Federal Ministry of Economics and Energy (see CMA green-lights CGI SCISYS takeover).

Posted by: Dale Peters

Tags: contract   government   agriculture  

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Monday 14 October 2019

Revolut seeks $1.5bn to super-charge global expansion

RevolutAccording to reports over the weekend, leading UK FinTech, Revolut, is seeking a massive $1.5bn in additional funding as it aims to establish itself as a dominant global brand in banking and payments. Sky News revealed that the Revolut has enlisted JP Morgan to help it raise $500m via an equity-based transaction and a further $1bn via a convertible loan against the company.

Founded in 2015 by CEO, Nik Storonksy, Revolut provides a range of banking services, including payment cards, currency exchange, and P2P payments. The company also supports retail purchases and cash withdrawals in 120 currencies, via its mobile app. The latest funding exercise follows news that Revolut is to take its offering to an additional 24 countries, off the back of its expanded relationship with global payments giant Visa (see: Revolut’s Visa partnership highlights reality of industry disruption).

The value of some of the most successful FinTech startups has spiralled in recent years with a number achieving “Unicorn” status with a valuation in excess of $1bn. However, the level of funding that Revolut is seeking is virtually unheard of amongst such relatively young financial services startups/scaleups. Storonsky is apparently hoping that the latest cash injection will see his company valued at between $5bn and $10bn, which would make place Revolut amongst Europe's most valuable FinTechs.

Storonsky clearly sees quickly building scale as the key to Revolut’s future prosperity, as the company pursues its programme of entering multiple new markets. Whilst the ambitions of its founder have so far seen revenues increase to £58m, pre-tax losses have more than doubled to £33m. Regardless of the risks associated with rapid expansion, on the face of it, these numbers do not appear reflective of a financial services provider with a $10bn valuation.

Posted by: Jon C Davies

Tags: funding   FinTech  

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Monday 14 October 2019

Infosys powers ahead

LogoHaving regained its mojo during the start of its current financial year (see here), off-shore services major Infosys has picked up the pace in Q220. For the three months to 30th September, constant currency revenue was up an impressive 11.4% yoy to $3.21b. Operating margin for the period more than recovered the ground lost in Q120 to come in at a very healthy 21.7%.

Pleasingly for CEO Salil Parekh, the performance during the quarter was strong in almost every facet of the business. Sales of the “new” (digital, cloud and cyber related services) increased by nearly 40% yoy and 11% qoq to £1.23b. These now represent approaching two fifths of world-wide turnover. In terms of industry verticals, only Retail failed to clock up double-digit growth in Q220. Both the Communications and Energy & Utilities sectors grew their revenues by just shy of 20% yoy.

From a regional perspective, Europe led the charge. This region, which accounts for nearly a quarter of the company’s global activity, saw Q220 sales rise by almost 15% yoy. Given that the UK generates over 30% of the European revenues, it is reasonable to assume that top line growth here was of a similar order.

The only black spot on an otherwise admirable report scorecard was staff attrition. Although the annualised rate eased down a point or so from the prior quarter, at nearly 22% it remains worryingly high in comparison to company’s peers. There is obviously still a lot of work to be done if the Infosys is to become as attractive to its people as it is to its customers.

Posted by: Duncan Aitchison

Tags: results   offshore   systemsintegration  

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Monday 14 October 2019

CALLING ALL STARTUPS AND SCALEUPS! Do you have the right Chemistry to partner with Sopra Steria?

logoChemistry – the new accelerator programme from Sopra Steria, a European leader in digital transformation – is working with the TechMarketView Innovation Partner Programme to give start-ups and small businesses an opportunity to accelerate growth and open up new opportunities.

logoChemistry has been created to support businesses with innovative solutions that are near market ready or already established in the market and help them grow further and faster. The programme is industry-led and has been specifically designed to help companies get their products to market quickly, using a collaborative, supportive and a professional platform.

If you are an innovative company looking for accelerated access to key markets, Chemistry has been developed to help you get there.

What we’re looking for

TechMarketView is helping Sopra Steria find partners to address three Challenges of major concern to both the public and private sectors:

  • Challenge 1 – Innovating Cyber Security: Keeping enterprises safe in a world of developing threats.
  • Challenge 2 – Identity Validation and Verification: Ensuring that an individual applying for access to public services is exactly who they say they are.
  • Challenge 3 – Transforming the Inspections Process: Capturing and analysing evidence to radically improve the inspection regime for assurance regarding the fulfilment of fiduciary or statutory responsibilities.

There’s a full explanation of these Challenges here.

What Sopra Steria offers

  • Accelerated market access – Strong, and on-going business relationships with major Public and Private sector clients. We have mature existing client relationships and a reputation for business transformation and excellent service delivery.
  • European presence – You’ll have the opportunity to sell internationally with access to clients outside of the UK through our European presence.
  • Development and growth of your business and product – We will help you grow, mature, and help build your client base, while respecting that your IP is your IP.
  • Development of your people – By joining our programme, you’ll gain access to our masterclasses, expert contacts and a champion within Sopra Steria, all of which will ensure you get the experience and partnership your business needs.
  • Industry visibility – Along with a large Private sector presence, Sopra Steria is a Strategic Partner to Government and by working with us you’ll have the opportunity to raise your company’s profile and visibility across these sectors.
  • Access to Sopra Steria facilities – Sopra Steria have collaborative Digilab spaces country wide and will offer design sprints and workshops to help develop the proposition. There is also an opportunity to use office space and board rooms, if required, to grow your business.

Eligibility requirements

  • Innovative product – The product or service you have created should be on the forefront of the relevant industry.
  • Existing clients – You must have delivered services to at least one previous client, with at least a minimum viable product to help provide future clients with confidence in our services.
  • Potentially scalable solutions – Your product should have the potential to scale to be able to utilise Sopra Steria’s client network and support to deliver to a large range of customers as their requirements develop.
  • Business focused – You should have a product focused on the business benefit for the customer as well as the technical challenge.

How to apply

If you are the Founder or CEO/MD of a privately held innovative, high growth young business and feel you can meet at least one of the Challenges, please apply by completing this webform by Friday 1st November 2019. Successful applicants will be invited to attend a pitch session at Sopra Steria’s London offices week commencing 9th December 2019.

You can find more about the TechMarketView Innovation Partner Programme Chemistry event here. You can also download a flyer about the Sopra Steria Chemistry programme here. For any further information, please email tipp@techmarketview.com.

Posted by: HotViews Editor

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Friday 11 October 2019

*NEW RESEARCH* Advanced: Developments and Differentiation

logoThe recent £2bn vote of confidence in Advanced by existing investor Vista Equity Partners and new investor BC Partners was the latest in a series of developments that have enabled the company to expand and grow its own confidence levels. 

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Our latest research assesses the progress Advanced has made under CEO Gordon Wilson (who was recently named by The Telegraph as one of the UK's 50 most ambitious leaders) and his team, as they transform and grow this UK HQ’d company.

 “Advanced: Developments and Differentiation is available for TechMarketView subscribers to download.

The bigger picture is that the Advanced story provides a view into the priorities and types of changes suppliers need to undertake, particularly software providers serving the mid-market: from in-house development, acquisitions and industry depth, to cloud transition and partner ecosystems. While dealing with these multiple moving parts, suppliers also need to identify what they are really good at - and have the discipline to stick with it. 

If you’d like to find out more about our subscription services please reach out to Deb Seth.

Posted by: Angela Eager

Tags: cloud   software   machinelearning  

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Friday 11 October 2019

*UKHotViewsExtra* Liberata – getting “match-fit for digital”

LiberataFollowing on from Liberata’s renewal of its key contract with the London Borough of Bromley announced just a few days ago we spent some time with Chief Exec, Charlie Bruin to get a more detailed sense of what has been happening “under the bonnet” at the BPS specialist.

It’s just over three years since Liberata was acquired by Japanese BPO outfit Outsourcing Inc (OSI), with the new owner willing to take a longer-term view than the previous Private Equity owners. The Liberata acquisition has always been part of a wider OSI strategy of diversify away from the cyclical nature of the Japanese economy. As a consequence, Liberata is being given the luxury of being able to invest to future-proof its business, whilst accepting a short-term impact with a view to delivering sustainable medium to long-term UKHotViews Premiumgrowth. 

Subscribers to TechMarketView’s in-depth research streams and UKHotViews Premium service can read a detailed account of how Liberata has been getting itself “match-fit for digital” - here

Posted by: Marc Hardwick

Tags: publicsector   localgovernment   digital  

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Friday 11 October 2019

InterSystems on FHIR in Birmingham

Intersystems LogoYesterday, TechMarketView joined healthcare and technology professionals at InterSystem’s Joined-Up Health & Care conference at The Vox in Birmingham. This is the sixth year the company has run the event that seeks to improve the delivery of integrated services across the NHS, social care and the wider public sector.

The event kicked off with organisational creativity expert (or IdeasDJ) Ramon Vullings talking about the importance of cross-industry innovation in solving some of the stickiest problems in the health sector. By stepping outside of our bubble, we can all learn from other industries, combine and adapt ideas, and create elegant solutions.

Liz Jones and David Smith discussed the progress Lincolnshire Sustainability Transformation Partnership (STP) has made in developing the Lincolnshire Care Portal, a platform, built on InterSystems’ technology that provides health and care staff with a view of data held in different health and care systems. The STP should be applauded for the progress it’s made, but that hasn’t been without challenges—they highlighted the lack of capacity to progress at pace, and, more disappointingly, that some suppliers have viewed the project as a threat.

We then heard from Charles Alessi, Chief Clinical Officer at HIMSS talk about the shift from volume to value in healthcare. He highlighted the need for better prevention strategies as clinicians face an increasing risk of burnout. Prevention was also the focus of Yossi Cohen, Physician Executive at InterSystems, who discussed the problems associated with addressing inequalities of care, highlighting OECD research that shows it takes a child of a poor family in the UK five generations to reach the average income.

Ian Townend, Lead Architect at NHSx, alongside David Hancock and Steve Mallam from InterSystems, spoke about the importance of FHIR in driving interoperability in healthcare (see InterSystems makes FHIR profiles available to customers). They discussed the need to move away from applications towards platforms, services and APIs, and the need to increase the liquidity of data. We also heard from InterSystems' Alex MacLeod about the introduction of QuickML, a tool the company has added to its platforms to simplify the process of building, testing, and deploying machine learning models.

The day concluded with an inspiring presentation from mountaineer Cathy O’Dowd talking the about the importance of planning, communication and learning from your mistakes. 

Posted by: Dale Peters

Tags: AI   interoperability   data   conference   healthcare  

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Friday 11 October 2019

SAP CEO steps down after nine year tenure

SAP CEO steps down after nine year tenureDespite the sudden unexpected announcement, the departure of SAP chief executive Bill McDermott has been planned for almost a year said the company with executive Board Members Jennifer Morgan and Christian Klein appointed as co-chief executive officers with immediate effect.

The outgoing CEO told press his decision was entirely personal and he will stay on as an advisor in the short term while leaving SAP at “maximum strength” – the value of SAP shares rose 7% on the news.

McDermott was instrumental in starting the transition of SAP from a licensed on-premise software company to a major SaaS provider - no small feat and one auspiciously manifest in preliminary third quarter results that showed SAP cloud revenue up 33% year on year in constant currency.

At €1.8bn turnover from SaaS subscriptions represented 26% of the €6.8bn total in Q319 (up 10% cc), just as it did in Q318 when they netted €1.3bn. Cloud gross margin increased 5.9 percentage points to 69% demonstrating the more profitable nature of the business.

While SAP software licenses revenue declined 4% in constant currency to €930m, turnover from software support grew by 3% to €2.9bn. SAP also managed to increase its post-tax profits, up 15% yoy to €1.56bn in Q319 according to non-IFRS measures suggesting that recent consolidation could be having a positive impact despite restructure charges (see SAP restructures to protect cloud growth).

Posted by: Martin Courtney

Tags: saas   cloud   software   CEO   resignation  

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Friday 11 October 2019

Metro Bank reveals SME focused partnerships

MetroMetro Bank has agreed 3 new technology backed partnerships, as it seeks to enhance its offering to SMEs. Going forward, small businesses customers of the UK challenger bank will be able to benefit from the third-party services of Funding Options, Conance and DueDil.

Funding Options provides users with access to an alternative lending marketplace and offers financing options from more than 70 providers. Conance is a longstanding provider of specialist trade finance and offers letters of credit, documentary collections and payments to suppliers. Meanwhile from next year, Metro Bank will be utilising DueDil’s KYC & AML backed onboarding services to ensure more efficient account opening.

Earlier this year Metro Bank was awarded £120m from the fund set up to promote innovation and diversification in the UK banking industry, following the £45bn bailout of RBS (see: challengers boosted by £280m BCR injection). The bank has pledged to draw on this funding to help support the UK’s small business community and these latest partnerships will in part help to fulfil that promise.

Posted by: Jon C Davies

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Friday 11 October 2019

TCS continues its climb under new UK leadership

TCSTCS has been the star performer in the UK SITS markets of late, as seen in our most recent Supplier Rankings where last year (with the sole exception of Amazon Web Services) it banked the strongest growth in the Top 30.

Q1 results showed this to have continued with the UK and Europe continuing to be the engine rooms of the Group’s growth. Q2 now shows more of the same with headline numbers seeing Global revenue of $5.5bn (+5.8% YoY / +8.4% YoY in constant currency), with the UK (+13.3% YoY) and Europe (+16% YoY) the star performers yet again. TCS pivot to digital continues with revenue here now accounting for over 33% of the business, growing 28% YoY.

As we have covered extensively over the last couple of years, the UK business continues to benefit from the slew of mega deals landed, particularly in Banking and Financial Services where TCS continues to be busy having just expanded its relationship with Legal & General to transform its digital workspace. Other Q2 UK wins saw contracts with Jurassic Fibre, a UK-based telecoms provider to help build a new fibre optic broadband network, several wins in the UK utility market as well as being selected by an (unnamed) supermarket chain to modernise its retail applications. 

Having led the UK business so successfully over the last 8 years, TCS veteran Shankar Narayanan has taken up a new role as Global Head of the Group’s Retail, CPG, Travel & Hospitality business. Taking up the baton as UK and Ireland Head is Amit Kapur who has been running TCS’s Benelux business for the last 7 years. We wish Shankar well in his new role and look forward to catching up with Amit to hear about his plans for UK soon.

Posted by: Marc Hardwick

Tags: results   tcs  

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Friday 11 October 2019

Another day, another SaaS EHSQ acquisition for Ideagen

Another day, another SaaS EHSQ acquisition for IdeagenIdeagen’s latest acquisition of Optima Diagnostics Ltd adds another software as a service (SaaS) based health and safety compliance solution to the information management company’s portfolio.

Around 80 customers in the aerospace and defence, aviation and energy sectors currently subscribe to Optima’s cloud-hosted OSHENS software, including Airbus, Sellafield, BAE Systems and Edinburgh Airport. The deal should also add around £900k of recurring revenue to Ideagen’s turnover, generating EBITDA of £100k said management.

By our calculations the acquisition is Ideagen’s 5th in the last 18 months reflecting the company’s voracious expansion strategy and the vitality of the market for environmental health safety and quality (EHSQ) software driven by the need to meet increasingly stringent regulations in the UK and elsewhere.

Previous purchases of audit management specialist Morgan Kai, quality inspection software supplier InspectionXpert and environmental health, safety and quality platform provider Scannell Solutions attest to Ideagen’s laser like SaaS EHSQ focus, and we expect the sum total of its acquisitions will continue to drive the revenue expansion which swelled its turnover 30% yoy to £47m in FY19 in the current financial year.

Posted by: Martin Courtney

Tags: acquisition   saas   EHSQ  

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Friday 11 October 2019

Advent of Lloyd's chairman boosts Cuvva

CuvvaUK InsurTech, Cuvva, has announced that another high-profile appointee is joining the company. The innovative startup has revealed that Bruce Carnegie-Brown, the current Chairman of Lloyd's of London is to replace Nick Parker in a similar role at the company. Carnegie-Brown is an influential figure within UK financial services and has over 30 years’ experience across insurance, banking and asset management. Carnegie-Brown will also retain his post at the 300 year old insurance marketplace.

Cuvva, is one of a growing band of InsurTechs such as Zego, Wrisk and Lemonade that are disrupting the traditional approach to P&C cover (see: Insurance disruptor Inshur fuels up). The company provides temporary personal lines, motor insurance via its app. Cuvva’s co-founder, James Billingham, was just 19 when he helped set up the company, having started coding and building websites whilst still in school. Since its launch in 2014, Cuvva has sold more than 1m insurance policies with terms varying from 1 to 28 days.

Cuvva’s latest appointment follows the recent advent of Serge Corel, previously CEO of Allianz Partners, as partnerships director and Svetlana Novikova, formerly of Zego and Revolut, as finance director. Carnegie-Brown’s industry expertise and sphere of influence should be a great asset to Cuvva as it seeks to scale its business. Having also served as chairman of MoneySuperMarket until recently, he will also bring with him valuable experience from a leading industry disruptor.

Posted by: Jon C Davies

Tags: appointments  

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Thursday 10 October 2019

Sales multiples rise again for European tech M&A

chartDeal makers seemed reluctant to spend this month after a lavish summer, according to latest data from corporate finance firm Regent Assay. The aggregate deal value within the European TMT M&A landscape dropped by $10bn in September to reach $21.4bn, the lowest figure since May. However, the increasing number of deals (316, up by 18%) made up for the drop in total value and sustained a somewhat healthy market.

Valuation multiples diverged once again, with the aggregate P/EBITDA ratio losing ground at 9.1x, down from 9.8x, while the aggregate P/SALES ratio recorded its 4th month of consecutive growth, up from 1.5x to 1.8x.

In the UK, aggressively acquisitive portfolio technology group ClearCourse Partnership snapped up yet another deal, acquiring Lancashire-based specialist CRM SaaS provider BrightOffice, making it ClearCourse’s 14th acquisition in the past 12 months. Also not known for letting the grass grow under its feet, Hg-powered buy-and-build accountancy software provider Iris Software Group made two acquisitions in September (see here and here).

Going in the other direction, so to speak, Watchstone Group, born from the still-smouldering ashes of the late and unlamented Quindell, has disposed of its Canadian healthcare businesses as part of its ongoing restructuring programme.

There’s more besides if you search on 'acquisition' in the UKHotViews archive, and you can keep in touch with the broader picture of M&A activity in the UK software & IT services sector in our quarterly report series, IndustryViews Corporate Activity.

Posted by: HotViews Editor

Tags: acquisition  

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Thursday 10 October 2019

Castleton H1 behind expectations

Castleton logoFollowing a storming year last year – see Castleton Technology cross-selling drives strong FY performance – FY20 has not got off to as good a start for the provider of software and managed services to the public and not-for-profit sectors. Castleton has warned that, in the six months to end September, performance has been “behind expectations”. The trading update states that revenue will be “not less than £11.6m” and adjusted EBITDA will be “not less than £2.9m”. Looking back (see Castleton: increasing cross-selling potential), that would translate into a c10% drop in revenues and a c3% drop in adjusted EBITDA. Better news is that cash generation – at 79% of EBITDA – will facilitate a continued reduction in the company’s net debt.

Castleton has not managed to replicate the strong performance in professional services that it managed in the comparable period last year; during that period the company achieved 44% growth in professional services revenues (to £2.65m), helping achieve a 20% overall growth in revenues. While in this trading update period, the company has continued to increase its recurring revenues (65% of the total), that has not been enough to offset the reduction in one-off revenues.

It is not entirely clear why Castleton believes last year was particularly good for its professional services business, or where it lays the blame this time around – Economic environment? Distraction due to other corporate activity? Increased focus on delivering larger software and managed services deals? However, the announcement does point to the fact that embedding its streamlined sales and delivery function has taken longer than anticipated. It’s also, though, not clear whether a reduction in professional services work will have a knock-on effect on lead generation for other business in the coming months. However, the company states it is confident that revenue, EBITDA and cash generation will show a material improvement in H2. And we continue to believe that the management team has done a good job merging the company’s software and managed services divisions to drive larger deals in the longer-term. The company’s H1 results are due 5th November – we hope to catch up with the management team to find out more of the story behind the numbers.

Posted by: Georgina O'Toole

Tags: trading   software   managedservices   housing  

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Thursday 10 October 2019

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Posted by: HotViews Editor

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Thursday 10 October 2019

Sweepr sweeps up $9m funding

SweeprIrish start up Sweepr has raised $9m in series A funding, in a round led by London-headquartered, pan-European tech investor Draper Esprit

Draper EspritSweepr’s proposition is to provide a voice activated digital assistant for the connected home – Think an Alexa that helps you deal with issues you are having with connected devices. So, for example if Netflix is failing to load or the latest edition of Fortnite won’t download or your internet enabled kettle is failing to boil (if they even exist), instead of getting in a right tiz and screaming, you can calmly ask Sweepr to tell you what the issue is and how to fix it. 

Hopefully, the answer isn’t always “please reboot the broadband”. In all seriousness, this is a smart place to be investing as homes get ever more connected and more complex there is a whole swathe of people who need the sort of help and support that has been available at work for decades. It’s might not be practical to have IT support in a domestic environment in the same way but Sweepr offers a proposition that could go some way to bridging this obvious gap.

Indeed, anything that prevents me spending hours on the phone to some sort of customer support line has got to be a good thing.

The new investment builds on a €2.5m seed funding round last year led by Frontline.vc and will enable them to grow their footprint in Europe and North America, expanding to a team of 75.

Posted by: Marc Hardwick

Tags: funding   connectivity  

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Thursday 10 October 2019

Robo-advisor Rosecut boosted by cash injection

RosecutUK startup, Rosecut Technologies, has secured £5m in funding following its launch in July this year. The investment has been led by QVentures, which describes itself as a “private members club for investors” and will be used to support the wealth management specialist as it seeks to expand its operations and broaden its footprint.

London based, Rosecut, utilises AI to provide bespoke strategies and portfolio guidance to retail investors. Rosecut’s co-founders are Qiaojia Li and Gustavo Silva. CEO, Li, previously worked on the Asia desk at Coutts Bank, whilst CTO Silva is seasoned tech entrepreneur, having previously founded healthcare startups, Kimeo and Nutrisoft Brazil.

The company’s platform and robo-advisor technology are targeted at the affluent middle market, consisting of clients with liquid assets of between £100k and £3m. This group of investors is estimated to be worth in excess of £3tn, however, the rising cost of regulatory compliance has made it less attractive to some traditional wealth managers.

Rosecut’s technology backed approach to wealth management is the latest in a line of similar offerings, with robo-advisor technology increasingly becoming ubiquitous. Technology from providers such as Aixigo and Unblu is now widely established within European financial services and beyond (see: The new generation of FinTech providers is here).

In May this year Investec closed down its own robo-advisor service, Click and Invest, having lost in excess of £30m on the venture. It will be interesting to see whether Rosecut is able to differentiate itself at this difficult point in the economic cycle and succeed where others have failed. Afterall, to use the most oft-quoted phrase in relation to investing “timing is everything”! 

Posted by: Jon C Davies

Tags: funding   automation  

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Thursday 10 October 2019

Infosys BPO acquires Gaelic charm

LogoOffshore major Infosys has acquired Waterford-HQ’d contact centre specialistsLogo Eishtec for an undisclosed sum. Through the deal, 1,400 employees will transfer to the Bangalore-based services company.

Founded in 2011, Eishtec has established a strong position in the fast-expanding Irish contact centre market. Targeting primarily the telco, tech and healthcare industry sectors, the firm’s clients include EE, T-Mobile and Orange. It has operations in Waterford, Wexford, Tipperary and Craigavon, Northern Ireland.

Successful though Eishtec demonstrably is, its purchase appeal to Infosys is somewhat less obvious. The two companies already service some common clients so there will be some potential for account position consolidation. There is also room for expansion in Irish BPO arena which has been enjoying double digit growth of late. This market, however, currently employs only around 8000 people and lacks the scale to be able to add significantly to Infosys’s $3b top line in Europe.

It is possible that Infosys sees opportunities to enhance its largely back office centric BPO offerings though leveraging Eishtec’s predominantly front-end focused capabilities. The level of impact that, absent material proprietary IP, less than fifteen hundred people in Ireland can have on their new employer, which has a worldwide contingent of 230K personnel, is likely to be somewhat limited. Hopefully we will be able to learn more in the coming weeks about both the rationale behind and aspirations for this acquisition.

Posted by: Duncan Aitchison

Tags: offshore   acquisition   contactcentre   BusinessProcessProviders  

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Thursday 10 October 2019

Streets of Tokyo

Last week I was in San Francisco where I was shocked by the number of homeless on the streets. See – Streets of San Francisco. Indeed, thankyou for the many readers who emailed with their comments. The article clearly ‘hit a nerve’.

This week I am in Tokyo, Japan and the contrast could not be more stark. I haven’t seen a single homeless person on the streets or beggars. On top of that there is no litter anywhere. Tokyo is said to be the safest city in the world. I can’t argue.

The statistics make the point. San Francisco has c8000 homeless, and RISING, out of a population of 900,000. One homeless person for every 112 of the population. Tokyo has 1697 homeless (and FALLING) out of a population of over 14 million. One homeless person for every 8250 of the population

Japanese culture places a high importance on self-reliance and there is great stigma in being homeless. Families are meant to support less fortunate members – particularly those with mental health problems. An Act in 2002 guaranteed Govt assistance to the homeless seeking employment with housing and access to health and medical facilities. Although health services are paid for by insurance, nobody, however poor, is denied access.

FujitsuBegging is illegal in Japan

On top of that Japan has some of the harshest drug laws in the developed world. Being in possession of cannabis for private use carries a 5 year jail sentence and over 99% of cases are followed through to prosecution.

The most over used drug in Japan is the stimulant methamphetamine (which was invented in Japan). Long hours are worked and hence both the use of stimulants and actually not having the time or opportunity to use any other drugs which might adversely affect your work performance.

There is also a huge anti drug culture. Those even suspected of drug use are banned from their companies, appearing on TV etc.

Of course, living in a highly regulated state is not to everyone’s taste. But neither is visiting a civilised city where people live - and defecate-  on the streets.

Footnote – I used a photo of Salesforce Tower in San Francisco in my previous article. This time I use a photo of the Fujitsu HQ in Tokyo. Fujitsu is TechMarketView’s ‘oldest’ long-standing client.

Posted by: Richard Holway

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Wednesday 09 October 2019

*UKHotViewsExtra* Carbon Black forms spine of new VMware Security Business

*UKHotViewsExtra* Carbon Black forms spine of new VMware Security BusinessWith regulators having approved VMware’s offer for cloud native endpoint security specialist Carbon Black, the US$2.1bn acquisition is set to close in January next year in time for the end of the buyer’s financial year.

The combination of the two companies looks likely to propel VMware into our Top 20 Cyber Security Suppliers Ranking in 2020, which means a new source of powerful competition for rivals targetting the same MSSP and enterprise markets.

So we thought it was worth taking a more detailed look at what VMware intends to do with Carbon Black in terms of integrating their respective portfolios, embarking on joint product/service innovation and devising a fresh go to market strategy, both here in the UK and elsewhere.*UKHotViewsExtra* Carbon Black forms spine of new VMware Security Business

Subscribers to TechMarketView’s in-depth research streams and UKHotViews Premium service can read a detailed breakdown of VMware's cyber security business plans in our UKHotViewsExtra article - Carbon Black forms spine of new VMware Security Business – here.

Posted by: Martin Courtney

Tags: acquisition   cloud   restructure   analytics   threatintelligence   firewall   containers   Kubernetes   endpointprotection   cybersecurity  

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Wednesday 09 October 2019

Channel partnerships drive growth at PCI-Pal

PCI logoAIM-listed payments specialist PCI-Pal made good progress in FY19 (to end June) reporting significant sales growth as channel partnerships deliver. The SME, which provides secure payment solutions for contact centres and businesses taking Cardholder Not Present (CNP) payments, saw revenue increase by 40% to £2.82m, signed annual contract value increase by 290% to £1.91m and total contract value increase by 223% to £5.66m over the period. Gross margins also climbed to just over 60% (up from c43% in FY18) reflecting its transition to AWS for service delivery. 

As expected, losses deepened though as the SaaS business invested significantly in the North American market. PCI-Pal’s loss before tax for FY19 came in at £4.5m, up from a £3.78m loss in FY18, and cash balances dipped to £1.5m (FY18: £3.75m). Note also that PCI-Pal entered into a new £2.75m debt facility this month to provide additional working capital to support continued growth. 

FY19 was the first year for new CEO James Barham (PCI-PAL progressing under new CEO) and overall it bodes well for future growth. Sales momentum is growing and revenue visibility is strong with total contracted annual revenue already providing 80% visibility for FY20 revenue expectations at the end of June 2019. PCI-Pal’s partner-first strategy is key to this success and scalability. 84% of all new business sold last year was via partners, compared to 40% in 2018, and PCI-Pal is developing tight-knit, integrated product partnerships with several of the world’s leading Cloud Contact Centre-as-a-Service (CCaaS) vendors and other leading technology companies. 

In the UK, where the business is most mature and the market more advanced in its adoption of security solutions for payments, PCI-Pal has been focusing on its relationships with existing channel partners –including CivicaCapita Pay 3608x8 and Vonage - to drive new customer acquisition. This strategy appears to be working as the UK-based EMEA business reported a 180% increase in TCV sales bookings for the year at £3.92m, giving confidence for the FY20 performance.

Posted by: Tola Sargeant

Tags: partnerships   payments  

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Wednesday 09 October 2019

IBM lands MoD Land AI deal

IBM logoThe words of Vladimir Putin about AI, from September 2017, are now widely quoted: “Artificial intelligence is the future, not only for Russia, but for humankind. It comes with colossal opportunities, but also threats that are difficult to predict. Whoever becomes the leader in in this sphere will become the rule of the world” (see The creepy side of AI).

For many his statement conjured up images of killer robots fighting wars. But for defence, AI has many potential applications, ranging from logistics to surveillance to healthcare, through to frontline warfare. All of which have the potential to make the department carry out its operations with more precision and more efficiency. Indeed, the MoD Doctrines and Concepts Development Centre has highlighted AI as having “significant potential impact”. And, of late, we have seen an increasing focus across the MoD and, in particular, across the Single Services.

The latest move has been the letting of a £3.8m, one-year, contract to IBM called Provision of Land Artificial Intelligence. Let in the middle of September, but only just announced, the MoD states the contract will “enable the rapid exploitation of AI and other evolving technologies to aid maturation and gain operational advantage over our adversaries.” According the contract announcement, IBM will provide a standalone Proof of Concept (PoC) capability based upon existing commercial data sources linked to a large computer processor with associated large storage capacity capable of interacting with and supporting Artificial Intelligence (AI) algorithms. The prototype capability, which will be built in a way that can be cloud-hosted, will provide a platform for a series of experimental AI/advanced analytics components to be assessed.

One of the challenges the MoD has faced is trying to implement emerging technologies in an historically slow-moving environment. It is why much of the AI activity to date has been limited to research labs or lengthy and complicated pilots or trials. In letting a one-year contract to IBM, it would appear that the MoD is attempting to “try, fail, learn, succeed” in a short period of time, and have something ready so that it can move onto larger scale projects or procurements. The risk remains that this project is being undertaken in isolation and being treated as a technological challenge. We would like to see more evidence that the MoD is putting in place a co-ordinated approach across the department (for example it is not clear whether this is part of the MoD’s Autonomy programme, which is exploring autonomous technologies that can be used within all defence environments) and is also considering the cultural challenges it will face in trying to implement the tech. The measue of sucess will be whether the MoD starts to become more ambitious in using AI to transform its major defence programmes.

Posted by: Georgina O'Toole

Tags: publicsector   contract   defence   analytics   AI  

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Wednesday 09 October 2019

This time Oracle is hiring cloud skills

logoNews of Oracle’s decision to hire 2000 people to expand its cloud computing services and increase the number of cloud regions is circulating widely. It is of course a move to accelerate the cloud business and improve its competitive position against Amazon Web Services (AWS) and Microsoft. Yet, the hiring comes just 7 months after Oracle laid off hundreds of people, including from Oracle Cloud Infrastructure (OCI) and IaaS areas (see Layoffs at Oracle as it rejigs cloud skills) in a move that was described at the time as “reevaluating its product focus and skill set gaps”. 

The new hires will be deployed within development hubs in Seattle, San Francisco and India and also to support cloud region expansion in emerging markets such as Chile, Japan, South Africa and the United Arab Emirates. The number of cloud regions is expected to accelerate from the current 16 to 36 by the end of the year. 

Despite serious Generation 2 cloud investment Oracle has struggled to get its cloud infrastructure business moving at the pace it needs. Recent moves aimed at upping the pace include its partnership with Microsoft whereby customers can migrate and run workloads across Microsoft Azure and Oracle Cloud. But it is Oracle’s autonomous activities that could create a much needed growth inducing point of differentiation. The push started with the autonomous database but the recent OpenWorld conference witnessed several cloud infrastructure-level autonomous announcements as it builds towards an autonomous cloud platform. It has to both deliver the services and meet the high expectations it has set, but they could move the Oracle cloud proposition forward. 

Posted by: Angela Eager

Tags: cloud   iaas  

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Wednesday 09 October 2019

NHS LPP launches health and social care app DPS

NHS LPP logoNHS London Procurement Partnership (NHS LPP) has published a contract notice for the supply of health and social care applications.

NHS LPP develops and manages collaborative procurement projects on behalf of its members including acute, community and mental health trusts, clinical commission groups (CCGs), and other healthcare organisations; it currently has 79 members. This contract notice follows the £3bn Information Management and Technology framework published by NHS LPP in June (see NHS LPP launches £3bn framework).

The dynamic purchasing system (DPS), which is similar to a framework agreement but where new suppliers can join at any time, has a total value of £15bn split into five categories valued at £3bn each. The DPS is for an initial two-year term with the option to extend on a one-year rolling basis. It will be open to all public sector and charitable organisations in the UK, as well as healthcare providers in the Channel Islands, however, in reality only a small proportion of the contract value is likely to be achieved.

The five initial categories of apps are:

  • Category 1: Child Health;
  • Category 2: Diabetes and Hormones;
  • Category 3: Heart/Blood Vessels;
  • Category 4: Mental Health;
  • Category 5: Pregnancy.

These have been split further into sub-categories, with up to 15 per category, providing a fine level of granularity for purchasing organisations to choose from. All suppliers that apply for the DPS will need to have their apps assessed by the Organisation for the Review of Health and Care Apps (ORCHA)—this process will inform the selection decision made by NHS LPP. Daresbury-based ORCHA is part of NHS England’s NHS Innovation Accelerator programme and works with NHS Digital, CCGs, NHS Trusts and local authorities to evaluate health apps—it has reviewed nearly 6,000 apps to date.

As the number of health and social care apps continues to grow it is increasingly challenging for service providers to keep track of the available options. They need to be sure they can trust the technology, including that apps are safe and effective, and that they meet interoperability and security standards. By using ORCHA as part of the application process NHS LPP should provide organisations that buy via the DPS, and their patients, with greater confidence in terms of app suitability, effectiveness and performance.

Posted by: Dale Peters

Tags: contract   socialcare   health   applications   framework   opportunity   DPS  

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Wednesday 09 October 2019

Government gets more serious about automation

Cabinet OfficeSigns coming out of Government over recent days signal that it is getting much more serious and ambitious as to what can be achieved through automation.

Right at the end of September, we saw the Cabinet Office release a PIN notice for a new £80m contract for the provision of automation services with a broad scope covering Robotic Process Automation (RPA), intelligent automation, business optimisation and strategy.

BEISThe scale and scope of the contract is much larger than its previous £6m deal signed with Capgemini back in 2017 (see here) that is scheduled to expire next year.

The new tender is all about accelerating automation uptake across the wider public sector making services available not just to gov depts but also devolved administrations, NHS, Police, Local authorities and even the third sector. The contract is expected to be awarded by May 2020 and should attract a very strong field.

Separately the House of Commons Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS) Committee published its report into ‘Automation and the future of work’. Notably, the cross-party group of MPs was very bullish to the potential value of automation concluding…

“The problem for the UK labour market and our economy is not that we have too many robots in the workplace, but that we have too few…..The UK missed its chance to lead on developing industrial automation. Where we have a new chance to lead and succeed is with service robotics and in AI, but only if we are supporting British businesses and researchers to innovate.”

Yes, the report was also cautious about how the benefits of automation are shared (and taxed!) but it struck a very different tone to previous reports of this type. Indeed, the focus was much more on automation as “an opportunity to incentivise businesses and employees towards more rewarding and less exploitative work.”

This will of course all be music to the ears of the automation industry as it ramps up its robot for every person vision.

Posted by: Marc Hardwick

Tags: centralgovernment   contract   automation  

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Wednesday 09 October 2019

Liberata bags £120m Bromley deal

LiberataLong-term Liberata client, the London Borough of Bromley has provided a £120m vote of confidence in the Business Process Services (BPS) specialist, in a renewal of its exchequer services contract.

Bromley CouncilLiberata’s new contract will see it continue to deliver revenues and benefits, customer services, social care admin, financial services, HR, payroll and pensions services all on behalf of the Council. The initial renewal is for eight years starting next April, with an option to extend for a further four years meaning the deal could be worth up to £120m.

Given where the local government market is at the moment this was a must-win deal for Liberata and a real endorsement of the changes and investment that the company is making at the moment.

Liberata’s starting point has been to acknowledge that the market for outsourced government services has changed irreversibly. Clients want something very different, increasingly looking beyond the standard delivery of in-scope services towards additional capability and innovation that can be transferred into their retained services. Alongside this, Liberata is being encouraged by its Japanese owners Outsourcing Inc (OSI) to invest in the business now as a platform for future growth. This is seeing some £12m invested over the next few years to help shift the business towards a digital service for clients - encompassing automation, digital transformation and analytics.

We spent some time recently with Liberata Chief Exec, Charlie Bruin, and will be publishing a much more detailed look at what is happening “under the bonnet” in the next few days.

Posted by: Marc Hardwick

Tags: localgovernment   contract  

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