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Friday 10 July 2020

Information commissioners investigate Clearview AI

Clearview.AI logoThe UK Information Commissioner’s Office and Office of the Australian Commissioner have launched a joint investigation into how US HQ’d Clearview AI handles the personal data it uses for its facial recognition tool. The area under scrutiny is the use of scraped data and biometrics of individuals.

Clearview AI is used by law enforcement agencies to track down criminals and identify victims of crime. One of its features is that it uses public information garnered from the web – on its web site it states that it “does not and cannot search any private or protected info, including in your private social media accounts”.

However, the subject of the investigation is that Clearview’s facial recognition app allows users to upload a photo of an individual and match it to photos of that person collected from the Internet. It then links to where the photos appeared. According to the commissioners, it is reported that the system includes a database of more than 3bn images that Clearview claims to have taken or ‘scraped’ from various social media platforms and other websites.

Twitter, Google and YouTube have sent Clearview AI "cease and desist" letters claiming the company violates their terms of service and Facebook has told the company to stop scrapping its data.

Data privacy and facial recognition are turning into a fiery combination, and law enforcement aspects add to the heat. IBM recently pulled out of facial recognition sales, Amazon Web Services has implemented a one-year moratorium on police use of its Rekognition facial recognition technology, and Microsoft has declared it will not sell its facial recognition software to police forces “until there is strong national law grounded in human rights” (see here).

Facial recognition is an area where technology is running considerably ahead of regulation and one where the issues of individual privacy, and the boundaries between individual privacy and public good are potent. Handling data 'correctly' is the major issue but what is deemed 'correct' is highly contentious.

Posted by: Angela Eager

Tags: software   AI   investigation   machinelearning   facialrecognition  

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Friday 10 July 2020

Wazoku acquires InnoCentive for crowdsourcing expansion

Wazoku acquires InnoCentive for crowdsourcing expansionUK idea management and services firm Wazoku moved fast to acquire the assets of InnoCentive, a Massachusetts-headquartered crowdsourcing company with its EMEA offices in London. The two firms forged a partnership earlier this year, with Wazoku seeing sufficient value in the combination of its platform with InnoCentive’s network of global "problem solvers" to make the deal permanent as it scales up to meet increased demand during the Coronavirus lockdown.

Terms of the agreement were not disclosed but since being founded in 2001 InnoCentive is reported to have grown to employ roughly around 47 people across the US and UK, backed by US$30m of funding. The company’s website says it has almost 400k problem solvers from over 190 countries in its network, 60% of which are educated to Masters level or above - talent that Wazoku customers such as John Lewis & Partners, Barclays and the MoD can now access.

A former TechMarketView Little British Battler (LBB), Wazoku also announced a further £1.25m funding of its own led by Enterprise Investment Scheme (EIS) and Venture Capital Trust (VCT) specialist Calculus Capital and supported by other shareholders and the Wazoku management team. That is on top of the £2.3m secured in March 2017 from Barclays, Cambridge Angels and Fig and brings total backing just shy of £7.5m to date.

Now looks like a good time to expand in the crowdsourcing space with organisations around the world harnessing the technology to help deal with the COVID-19 pandemic. That includes the UK Department of Health and Social Care which together with the UK Bioindustry Association, the British In Vitro Diagnostics Association and the Royal College of Pathologists deployed Medallia’s Crowdicity platform to pool ideas from a community of experts to help meet a target of 100,000 coronavirus tests per day by the end of April 2020.

Wazoku too has seen increased demand for its idea management and open innovation sources, with the three months ending in June this year being its best ever in terms of new business and platform activity levels.

Posted by: Martin Courtney

Tags: acquisition   funding   crowdsourcing   ideamanagement  

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Friday 10 July 2020

Better targetting of Government support now required

TargetYesterday a businessman was arrested over an alleged £495,000 fraud of the UKGovt’s Coronaviirus job retention scheme. Source - FT.

I am not surprised. Indeed, I’d be surprised if we didn’t hear of many, many more. Those will be the hardened fraudsters. But I believe there are huge numbers of individuals that have taken handouts when they ‘morally’ really should not have done.

It is now nearly 4 months since the first job retention and support schemes were launched for employees and the self-employed. Brought in in haste, they could be forgiven for not being well targeted. Many self-employed took the money but continued working. Many companies - including IT companies - furloughed staff who were ‘sitting on the bench’ anyway. Good to see some of these paying the money back.

On Thursday Rishi Sunak announced another round of handouts. £1000 for furloughed staff provided they were retained on the payroll until Jan 21. Sounds good. But many of these would have been re-employed anyway. Even the ‘Eat out to Help out’ scheme will undoubtedly go into the hands of families who could afford to eat out anyway.

One aspect that I have never heard covered in the media is how many people are actually much better off during lockdown - whether you are furloughed, paid as normal throughout or self-employed. Certainly no pensioner has suffered financially. Anyone who commuted to work in London is saving hundreds a week - and that’s before the Costa coffees and Pret A Manger sandwiches. It’s also been nearly 4 months of minimal discretionary spend on everything from cloths, eating out, holidays etc. No wonder savings have increased massively in the period.

I do fully get that there are significant number of people in hospitality, personal services, travel etc that have been hit really hard. They are the ones deserving of the financial support. But better targeting of support is now overdue.

At TechMarketView, we have not taken advantage of any of these handout - even though offered on many occasions.

In some respects, TMV people have had a tough time. They have done all their normal work AND home schooled their children - all without the normal Grandparent support systems. Of course ultimately we will all have to pay for the Government’s largesse

Posted by: Richard Holway

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Friday 10 July 2020

Cypher raises more funds to drive further growth

cypLondon based children’s coding school, Cypher, has closed another funding round, worth £225k. The round was led by angel investors and total investment in the firm has now hit £670k. Cypher has been growing rapidly on the back of previous investment (it raised £250k last August), and continues to seek growth in the US and Middle East.

During the lockdown period, the firm had to switch to an online model, and some of the funding announced today will help to support growth in the online camps as well as face-to-face sessions.

The coding camps are for children aged 5 (or 6 for online tuition) to 14. The basic requirements to take part include a laptop, internet access and an operating system no more than five years old. However, one of the issues that has been extensively highlighted during homeschooling in lockdown is the inequality between children that have access to tech for online learning and those that do not. The price of the sessions, combined with the essential need for equipment, puts Cypher camps out of reach for underprivileged youngsters.

Posted by: Kate Hanaghan

Tags: funding   coding  

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Friday 10 July 2020

Northamptonshire chooses Graphnet for integrated care record

Graphnet logoNorthamptonshire has become the latest county to choose UK SME Graphnet Health to deliver a county-wide integrated care record. Graphnet will provide a shared care record for the 0.7 million people living in the county, supporting Northamptonshire Health and Care Partnership to join up services.

Graphnet’s CareCentric software will be used to share information between Northamptonshire’s whole care community, consisting of 69 GP practices, Northampton General Hospital NHS Trust, Kettering General Hospital NHS Foundation Trust, Northamptonshire Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust, Northamptonshire County Council Social Care, 111 and GP out-of-hours service providers, and East Midlands Ambulance Service NHS Trust. The shared record will also be integrated into existing core NHS and local government IT systems to give a more complete picture of the individual. 

This local integrated care record approach is gaining traction in England. CareCentric now holds the care records for 16m patients. In October 2019, Graphnet won a similar contract to provide a single integrated care record in Staffordshire and Stoke-on-Trent, having earlier in the year secured a £12.5m/7-year deal to provide a new region-wide shared record platform and population health system across Thames Valley and Surrey Local Health and Care Records partnership. 

Graphnet Health, which is part of an alliance with long-standing British healthcare and care systems supplier System C, looks set to grow as a result. In FY19 (to end of March), the SME reported 36% revenue growth to £8.4m; we expect that trend to continue through FY20 and FY21 given its recent contract success.

Posted by: Tola Sargeant

Tags: nhs   contract   socialcare   healthcare  

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Friday 10 July 2020

Google deal hints at a new era of data driven financial services

GCGoogle’s newly announced partnership with German banking giant, Deutsche Bank, highlights the fundamental role that the cloud is playing in the transformation of financial services. The deal also demonstrates how cloud adoption is enabling a new era of data-driven business processes. The deal goes far beyond simply modernising the German behemoth’s vast infrastructure but is set to be at the heart of how Deutsche Bank develops and provides its services going forward.

As the lines between financial services providers and fintechs become increasingly blurred, Google and Deutsche Bank plan to collaborate on the development of the next generation of technology-based client offerings. Both parties have signed a Letter of Intent and are set to finalise the multi-year partnership within the next few months. Whilst the ongoing transformation of Deutsche Bank still has a long way to go, the technology roadmap hints at an entirely new data-driven approach to the provision of banking services.

The Google deal will help Deutsche Bank to accelerate its move to the cloud, whilst the ongoing collaboration should help both parties to develop their respective expertise in the key disciplines of their cohort. Just as numerous FS providers have expressed the goal of becoming a technology company, so Google has long been keen to become deeply immersed in the provision of financial services. The technology giant is increasingly doing this by leveraging its capabilities around data, in partnership with banks and insurers (see: Brit and Google accelerate London Market Transformation).

The potential to transform business processes within financial services using technologies such as analytics, AI and machine learning is well recognised. The likes of Google and IBM have this expertise in spades and providers such as these are increasingly leveraging such capabilities alongside their cloud plays, as they help the major banks and insurers to modernise their estates. The journey to the cloud is now a given, but the added value around data that a provider can bring to bear is increasing driving the buying decision.

Posted by: Jon C Davies

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Friday 10 July 2020

TCS reveals scale of COVID impact

TCSQ1 results out yesterday from TCS for the period April to June show the impact that COVID is having on its business with a -6.3% (in constant currency) year-on-year hit to the global top line. Profit fell even further down -13.8%.

Geographically, the UK business suffered even more with an -8.5% decline in year-on-year quarterly revenue. Elsewhere, TCS’s enormous US business declined -6.1% whilst India fell -27.6% and Asia Pacific by -3.2%. Of all its major regions, only Continental Europe saw growth with +2.7% - a remarkable result given what has happened everywhere else.

When you look at the impact by sector, the standout performer is perhaps not surprisingly Life Sciences & Healthcare which saw yoy growth of 13.8%. Elsewhere, there is only red ink with Retail and Consumer Products (-12.9%), Manufacturing (-7.1%) and Banking & Financial Services (-4.9%) all suffering declines.

CEO Rajesh Gopinathan said the impact of C-19 had broadly played out how the company had expected for the quarter "The pandemic affected all verticals, with the exception of life sciences and healthcare, with varying levels of impact. We believe it has bottomed out, and we should now start tracing our path to growth”

As we saw recently with announcements from Capita and Accenture, major diversified SITS players are unlikely to escape the short to medium term impact of COVID given the nature of their client base. Whilst the longer-term trajectory towards profound digital transformation and a reconfigured workplace remains likely, the next few quarters are likely to be pretty rough going across the board.

TCS has been the standout performer in UK SITS over the last couple of years, outperforming the market by a significant margin and CEO Gopinathan certainly remains confident for the longer term “After an initial period of disruption, customers have now stabilized their operations and are now embarking on new beginnings to adapt and thrive in a post-pandemic world. We are seeing many customers focus on front-end transformation, resulting in significant traction for our products and services.”

Posted by: Marc Hardwick

Tags: results   offshore   covid-19  

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Friday 10 July 2020

Farewill gets £20m for cheap fast wills

FarewillLondon-based lawtech Farewill has raised £20m in funding for its will writing and funeral services. The round was led by Highland Europe with participation from Keen VenturesBroadhaven Ventures, and Venture Founders, which joined previous investors Augmentum FintechTaavet Hinrikus and Kindred Capital

Farewill has now raised some £30m in funding and we covered their previous round back in January 2019 (see here). The principal remains the same, Lawtech is a hot and diverse market at the moment with a range of firms targeting a very large segment of the population that is currently under/not served by traditional legal services and law firms. 

Established in 2015, Farewill is all about making will writing accessible to the majority and offers a quick and cheap way to get a will written. Farewill claims it takes 15 minutes to write a will, about 24 hours to get the document checked, and costs from £90. On the probate side, Farewill charges a single, fixed fee starting at £595 and an application takes seven days.

The market for these kinds of “democratised” legal services is huge, with a very high percentage of the population having no interaction or support from law firms. Even if Farewill’s claims on speed and cost are only half right they will still make their services much faster and cheaper than high street law firms, which are frequently still full of archaic practices and ridiculous costs.

Posted by: Marc Hardwick

Tags: funding   lawtech  

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Thursday 09 July 2020

European tech M&A deal flow hits 10-year low

chartThe downward trend in deal making accentuated in June with the total number of transactions dropping to its lowest value since August 2010, with 155 deals closed, according to data from corporate finance firm Regent Assay.

However, this drop can be seen as relative considering the aggregate deal value of $27bn, down from the previous month but more in line with its 12 month average and an indicator of the persisting appetite for deal making, driven this month by the Media & Entertainment industry. This good performance was mirrored by a strong P/EBITDA ratio, at 11.4x, while the P/Sales multiple dropped from 1.97 to 1.63x, its lowest value since December of last year.

The most significant deal in the UK during June was the divestment of Eclipse Legal Systems by Capita to Access Group (see Capita to sell two software units) for £56.5m.

There’s more to see if you search on 'acquisition' in the UKHotViews archive. You can also 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 09 July 2020

IBM acquires RPA specialist

wdgIBM has acquired Brazilian RPA provider, WDG Automation, for an undisclosed amount.

WDG's AI-infused automation capabilities help to shorten the time between identifying a business process/IT operational issue and responding to it. This capability becomes particularly important when revenue/profit or brand reputation are potentially at risk.

WDG’s technology will be wrapped into IBM’s existing capability bringing “more intelligence to the enterprise workflows that fuel adaptive and resilient businesses”. With the addition of WDG, Big Blue will be able to help clients automate more than just routine tasks within their organisation; automation of more complex tasks and processes gives back valuable time to employees so they can focus on higher value work.

The timing of the acquisition is good and will play to increasing demands from organisations that need to accelerate digital investments in light of the pandemic.

Find out where IBM places in the UK SITS Ranking 2020.

Read our analysis of IBM in: COVID-19 Vulnerability and Resilience: Top 20 SITS Suppliers.

Posted by: Kate Hanaghan

Tags: acquisition  

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Thursday 09 July 2020

Telit gets off lightly with 8% first half dip

Telit gets off lightly with 8% first half dipInternet of Things (IoT) connectivity specialist Telit appears to have got off comparatively lightly so far, with preliminary first half results for the six month period ending June 2020 estimating turnover declined almost 8% year on year to US$166.5m.

In the present circumstances an 8% dip is probably another source of good news for the AIM-listed company, which last month received formal notification from the Financial Conduct Authority confirming no enforcement action would be taken after the Oozi Cats affair back in 2017.

More encouragingly, Telit also saw revenue from its IoT connectivity and platform services division grow almost 12% yoy despite market conditions. Management also expect that adjusted H120 EBITDA will be ahead of H119 (US$16m) due to cost reduction measures implemented early in the pandemic.

We’ll have a much better idea of how the IT industry as a whole is coping with pandemic disruption in August after more companies publish their second quarter results. And if Telit is anything to go by, the damage will be mild for some but severe for others.

Posted by: Martin Courtney

Tags: iot   interims   tradingupdate  

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Thursday 09 July 2020

Atos launches Life Science Centre of Excellence

atos logoAtos continues to carve out a strong position for itself in High Performance and Quantum Computing. It’s a strength that we highlighted in our Market Readiness Index (MRI) assessment of the company.

Aligning to this strategy, is its latest announcement that in agreement with the Wellcome Genome Campus, in Cambridgeshire, it has launched the Atos’ HPC, AI & Quantum Life Sciences Centre of Excellence, complementing the existing Campus compute facilities.  It will provide organisations on Campus, as well as global genome and bio-data institutes worldwide, access to emerging HPC, AI & Quantum technologies, supported by Atos’ products, services and expertise in these sectors. The move combines Atos’ expertise with the research expertise of the genome and biological data research scientists with an eye on boosting Life Sciences discovery and innovation.

The technology that the scientists can access is already being used worldwide. For example, the Atos Quantum Learning Machine is already assisting the research analysis capability of organisations including Bayer in Germany, the Centre of Computation  Research and Technology (CCRT) at the CEA in France, The Hartree Centre in UK and Oak Ridge National Laboratory in the US. While its BullSequana X supercomputers are being used across the globe to support the COVID-19 fight.

Atos is also able to provide compelling examples of the work that the Centre is already undertaking as it operates remotely, including providing support to researchers studying different aspects of COVD-19, and developing demos to unlock the value  of HPC and AI to model cardiovascular anomalies and to accelerate the interpretation of medical procedures. The more solid practical examples of the use of HPC and quantum computing materialise, the more exciting the potential of the technology becomes.

TechMarketView subscribers can read more of our research on Quantum Computing:

Posted by: Georgina O'Toole

Tags: lifesciences   AI   HPC   quantumcomputing  

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Thursday 09 July 2020

PQShield raises £5.5m for quantum encryption

PQShield raises £5.5m for cryptographic securityCyber security start-up PQShield emerged from stealth mode with £5.5m of funding behind it, tasked with building unhackable system on a chip (SoC) components and related SDKs that use quantum cryptography to protect embedded data.

Participants include Kindred Capital, Crane Venture Partners, Oxford Sciences Innovation (the company was incubated at Oxford University in 2018) and various angel investors, including Andre Crawford-Brunt, Deutsche Bank's former global head of equities.

PQShield staff are helping the NIST cybersecurity framework create new cryptographic standards using quantum computing techniques. It already has its first OEM customer – Bosch - interested in protecting Internet of Things (IoT) devices, with end to end encryption for messaging networks and keyless cars also target applications.

If hackers ever manage to harness the power of quantum computing, existing public key infrastructure (PKI) cryptographic standards will be easy targets. It’s therefore critical that PQShield and others working on similar technology can beef up those standards with quantum encryption of their own before they lose the race with cyber criminals.

Posted by: Martin Courtney

Tags: funding   startup   encryption   quantumcomputing   PKI   cryptography  

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Thursday 09 July 2020

COVID cuts Tracsis H2 revenues by a third

TracsisTracsis, the Leeds-based traffic data and transportation software and services provider, estimates that the impact of the coronavirus pandemic on FY20 (the twelve months to 31st July) will be a revenue reduction in the region of £10m. This anticipated downturn (see It’ll be a game of two halves for Tracsis) is severe and implies that H2 sales have fallen to c.£19.6m. The company states in its latest update, however, that since the commencement of the COVID-19 crisis trading has been better than originally predicted. Tracsis now expects to report that turnover for its last financial year has declined by around 6.5% yoy to c.£46m.

The company comprises two core businesses: Rail Technology & Services (RTS), Traffic & Data Services (TDS). These generate 45% and 55% of turnover respectively. The former, underpinned by high levels of recurring software revenue and large multi-year project engagements, performed well throughout the year. TDS division sales are, however, H2 geared and predominantly driven by demand related to large outdoor UK events. With all such gatherings either having been cancelled or postponed indefinitely as a result of the pandemic, the impacts on this segment have been and continue to be grave.

Tracsis took a series of mitigating actions in March including a reduction in casual labour costs, the redeployment of staff, reducing all discretionary spend, and taking advantage of the Government's Job Retention scheme. This has meant that the potential negative effects on FY20 profitability have been considerably lessened. With both the financial support available through furlough scheme being phased out over the next few months and no imminent prospect of a relaxation of the rules prohibiting mass gatherings, however, the company is facing a challenging FY21. Tracsis will issue a more detailed update next month once the July year end draft management accounts have been completed.

Posted by: Duncan Aitchison

Tags: results   transport   software   data  

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Thursday 09 July 2020

Hard Q2 for SAP but hints of C-19 recovery

SAP logoSAP said business activity improved as Q2 progressed, especially during June, the last month of the period. That didn’t mean it wasn’t difficult, as indicated by preliminary results showing just 2% revenue growth to €6.7bn, but any growth is an achievement in the current environment. In contrast, Oracle’s revenue fell 6% in its most recent quarter, to the end of May. 

COVID-19 impact is stark but not the whole story. In the year ago quarter revenue grew 11%, followed by 13% in Q319. But the rate of growth has slowed since then with Q419 delivering 8% revenue growth and partially C-19 impacted Q120 7%. Falling licence revenue played a part and while the 18% drop in Q220 to €0.77bn was steep, SAP said it was better than expected and it was an improvement on the 31% fall of Q120. The tantalizing question is whether these higher levels of licence revenue decline will be a lasting COVID-19 outcome as organisations reassess their needs. 

Cloud revenue was up 21% to €2.04bn, compared to a 40% increase in the year ago quarter and 29% in Q120, so there wasn’t a flight to SAP SaaS and the company said cloud revenue was hit by lower PAYG transactions. 

At €1.28bn and a 55% increase, operating profit was healthy. 

All through this year SAP has been confident business activity would gradually pick up in Q3 and Q4 and was one of the small number of suppliers to continue releasing guidance. That hasn’t changed so today it reaffirmed its 2020 outlook – non-IFRS total revenue of €27.8bn- €28.5bn, up 1% to 3% cc; and non IFRS cloud revenue of €8.3bn-€8.7bn,up 18% to 24% cc; with operating profit of €8.1bn-€8.7bn cc, down 1% to up 6 % - and its 2023 ambition.

More detail will be available when full Q2 results are released on 27 July.

Posted by: Angela Eager

Tags: results   saas   cloud   software  

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Thursday 09 July 2020

Brum goes hybrid with Nutanix

Nutanix Britain’s largest local authority Birmingham City Council has appointed Nutanix to migrate its legacy hardware to a hybrid cloud infrastructure.

Birmingham completed its ICT insource from long-term provider Capita just under a year ago and becomes the latest organisation to opt for a hybrid cloud model, now becoming the target operating model of choice.

Birmingham City CouncilBirmingham have made it clear that they want to deliver their next phase of ICT and digital transformation on their own terms and chose Nutanix as “they can now implement a complete, end-to-end solution providing a single pane of management to help empower the Council to take full control of its IT infrastructure.” Another key factor selecting Nutanix appears to be the ability to split the council infrastructure across multiple datacenters, as well as replication and disaster recovery to deliver continuity of service.

Perhaps it’s no surprise that Birmingham has gone down the hybrid route. The Council have traditionally been at the forefront of ICT delivery trends within local government with ambitions to be a leader in digital transformation for the sector. Given Birmingham’s scale - a population of over 1.1 million, some 450 applications, 11,500 council employees, 12,500 devices, and 1.3 petabytes of data – it’s also a fantastic win and shop window for Nutanix.

Posted by: Marc Hardwick

Tags: localgovernment   contract   cloud   hybridcloud  

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Thursday 09 July 2020

CMA disrupts Pignataro's plans as ION/Broadway deal hits the buffers

IONThe UK's Competitions and Markets Authority (CMA) has expressed “serious concerns” over ION Group’s proposed takeover of US financial markets specialist, Broadway Technology. Following an initial investigation into the deal, the CMA has indicated that the planned takeover could have a detrimental impact on the market for electronic trading systems.

Dublin-based financial services technology provider, ION, has been highly acquisitive in recent years and appears to have made Broadway its latest target, having established a controlling interest in the company earlier this year. Somewhat under the radar, ION has become an integral part of the UK financial services ecosystem and its services underpin many of the fundamental processes of the financial markets sector, including debt, equities and derivatives. 

We recently highlighted ION as “one to watch” in our latest UK SITS Supplier Rankings analysis. The company, which now has global revenues approaching £1bn, is the brainchild of Italian billionaire, Andrea Pignataro, who has discreetly built a significant footprint across global financial markets technology. ION has bought more than 20 companies since 2005. Recent acquisitions include the £1.5bn purchase of treasury specialist, Fidessa, in 2018 and last year’s £1.4bn deal for a majority stake in data services provider, Acuris.

As Pignataro pursues his latest expansion, the CMA has highlighted that ION is by far the largest technology provider in the fixed income trading space and Broadway is one of the company’s only real competitors. The other is Bloomberg, (who’s founder, like Pignataro, is also ex-Salomon Brothers and is the man rumoured to be the inspiration for the Italian’s own personal financial markets technology empire).

If the planned acquisition of Broadway goes ahead, it would give ION a very significant share of the fixed income and currency markets, where trillions of pounds changes hands every day. The investment banks are understandably rather nervous of the potential impact on fees and the threat of effectively being held to ransom. ION has 5 days to respond to the CMA's concerns, if it is to see-off the unwelcome prospect of a far more in-depth investigation into the proposed deal. Watch this space…

Posted by: Jon C Davies

Tags: M&A   financialmarkets  

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Thursday 09 July 2020

Manchester University selects cloud computing partners

University of Manchester logoThe University of Manchester has announced the names of the five suppliers appointed to its £50m Cloud Computing Services framework.

The higher education institution published the contract notice for the opportunity in October 2019. It was seeking to establish a framework to allow procurement of cloud-enabled IT services including, but not limited to, cloud hosting; cloud compute; cloud network and storage services; marketplaces for PaaS and SaaS; and cloud-related consulting, training, professional services and managed services.

The framework is divided into five lots, with the first three focusing on the global cloud service providers: Microsoft, AWS and Google. The University already has a number of current projects that are built around Azure, AWS and Google Cloud Platform. The fourth lot is intended to allow the University to access other cloud computing services for projects that are not yet defined, and the fifth lot will be used for any new call-offs associated with future business and projects.

The contract attracted 27 tenders, with the successful suppliers and potential contract values as follows:

  • Lot 1 - Azure: ANS Group - £15m
  • Lot 2 - AWS: Tech Mahindra - £15m
  • Lot 3 - Google: Cloudreach - £10m
  • Lot 4 - Others: HCL and UKCloud - £5m
  • Lot 5: All suppliers from Lots 1 to 4 - £5m

The duration of the framework is 48 months with the total value expected to be in the range of £20m to £50m.

Cloud adoption in higher education is more advanced than other parts of the public sector in the UK and has been growing steadily as universities seek to enhance the scalability and agility of their operations. However, the rapid shift towards online learning and remote working driven by the pandemic will accelerate demand for cloud services—the University of Manchester's procurement plans have been well timed in that respect.

Posted by: Dale Peters

Tags: contract   education   framework   university  

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Thursday 09 July 2020

Tech Goodness: Bytes for Heroes seeks tech firm support for NHS

NHS Free Takeaway photoIn the early days of the COVD-19 pandemic, we were bombarded with ‘Tech Goodness’ stories, all of which can still be found in the UKHotViews archive. At that time, we were alerted to the work of a new tech charity initiative – Bytes for Heroes – that had been set up by technology entrepreneur Peter Rossi to feed as many NHS workers as possible during the coronavirus outbreak.

In a reminder that ‘Tech Goodness’ is continuing, and that help is still required even as lockdown eases, we received an update from the charity. So far, the initiative has raised over £40k and provided 10,000 hot meals to NHS frontline staff.

But they aren’t done yet. Bytes for Heroes is now launching a program through July and August called “The Lift Shift”, which will see catering teams across London, Liverpool, Manchester and Newcastle provide £10k worth of Deliveroo vouchers to enable NHS workers to get a ‘lift after their shift’ with a snack or takeaway. The scheme will support staff at specialist cancer hospitals, including The Royal Marsden in London, which have acted quickly to work with NHS England, local networks and the private sector to create COVID-protected Cancer Hubs. These hubs are now bracing themselves for peaks in demand as referrals for cancer treatment increase post-lockdown.

Bytes for Heroes is now looking for donations from local and national tech firms across the UK to donate by supporting #LiftShift or by straight donations to fund supporting local caterers and keyworkers at hospitals. The charity states: “donations can be across the UK or specific to local hospitals close to company offices or which have a particular importance. It is also on the lookout for more caterers across the region to work with us to ensure this can see us through the next few and undoubtedly challenging weeks.” A great way for tech firms to support the NHS.

Posted by: Georgina O'Toole

Tags: nhs   charity   covid-19   coronavirus  

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