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Tuesday 20 October 2020

IBM Q3 results highlight the cloud imperative

IBMUS technology giant, IBM has released Q3 financials highlighting healthy growth in respect of cloud technologies, against a backdrop of declining revenues elsewhere. The results for the nine months to 30 September 2020 revealed that overall global revenue was down 3.8% to $53.3bn whilst net income fell by 26.5% to $4.2bn.

IBM’s Cloud and Cognitive Software division continued its encouraging growth and was up by 5.1% to $16.5bn with the rate of increase accelerating in the third quarter.  Now the company’s second largest segment, this line was up by 6.8% in the most recent three months. Meanwhile, IBM’s other main divisions all suffered declines on a year to date basis and during Q3. GBS revenue YTD was down 4.2% at $11.99bn, whilst IBM’s largest segment, GTS, fell by 5.8% to $19.2bn and Systems was down 1.9% at $4.48bn.

The results are the first, since IBM announced its intention to implement a major re-structuring of its global operations and highlight the prevailing trends in the technology sector (see: IBM splits into two with proposed spin-off). Whilst the coronavirus pandemic has hit a number of global revenue sources it has also accelerated the pace of change as technology is now moving even more quickly to cloud-based provision.

IBM’s Newco “divestment” looks like a smart strategic move and is borne out of the 2018 acquisition of Red Hat which has re-vitalised parts of the corporation and helped more employees to participate in disruptive innovation. Meanwhile, the company’s leadership appears to have recognised the imperative to fully embrace cloud, and to present a clearer strategy in order to capitalise on that market opportunity, whilst also effectively servicing the heritage estate.

Posted by: Jon C Davies

Tags: results  

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Tuesday 20 October 2020

Softcat robust in FY20 despite COVID

softcatSoftcat has turned in organic growth of 8.6% in FY20 taking the firm over the one billion pound threshold to £1.07bn in revenue. Services grew a staggering 36.6% to £115.3m. Gross profit increased 12% (to £235.7m) and operating profit by 11% (to £93.7m). The firm can now boast sixty consecutive quarters of growth in revenue, gross profit and operating profit.

Softcat has remained laser-focused on its strategy to sell more to its existing base and win new logos by helping them identify which technologies to adopt. Cloud and cyber security in particular have helped it further penetrate some its largest customers.

The benefit of a robust financial performance (and a bank debt-free balance sheet) means the firm can keep a clear eye on future objectives. It’s made no redundancies and is continuing to invest in skills and people.

During the closing months of the year, while the public sector business performed strongly, there was some “softening in demand” from corporate customers. Although the firm expects market conditions to be challenging for some time, it still believes it will be able to take market share from competitors.

More later after we have spoken to the management team…..

Posted by: Kate Hanaghan

Tags: results  

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Tuesday 20 October 2020

Strategic investment and rising performance prime Access Group for continued growth

Access Group logoAnother very successful year under its belt - taking it to 15 years of profitable growth - and The Access Group shows no signs of slowing down. In fact, with fresh investment from existing shareholders, Hg and TA Associates, the UK business software provider is primed to continue. 

What is particularly notable is that the latest round of ”substantial” investment comes just two and a half years after the previous one and was secured because of Access’ performance and  ambitions. CEO Chris Bayne told us that when the company presented its new 5 year plan both investors wanted to stay on board. The transaction is expected to close in the first quarter of calendar 2021 and will fuel further expansion for the acquisitive company that is also taking its first international expansion steps with the establishment of Access ANZ, currently centred on the Australian Attaché acquisition.

FY20 financials (ending June 2020) are an indicator of why its investors opted to continue. Total reported revenue rose 39% to £264m and while 9 acquisitions contributed to growth adding £33m, organic growth was still a very creditable 9%. Indeed, Access has consistently delivered organic growth across the years; it was lower than the 14% of FY19 however, primarily due to the shift to recurring revenue (now 84% of the total) plus a degree of COVID-19 effect. Pro forma revenue was £315m, a 47% increase. With adjusted EBITDA also continuing its well established upward journey - 37% growth to £92m with a 35% margin/up 48% to £109m pro forma - it is clear Access has an effective acquisition process and can does not have to sacrifice profitability. 

The company has also been adapting the structure and expanding the senior leadership team to position it to take advantage of ongoing opportunities in the UK as well as supporting its international ambitions, so there is still more to come. And amongst the growth, it is heartening to see a continued emphasis on employee wellbeing as the leadership team looks at new ways of supporting its people as the country faces the second wave of COVID-19.

Posted by: Angela Eager

Tags: results   investment   software  

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Tuesday 20 October 2020

Countdown detected for e-commerce verification domination

logoAs I write, the countdown clock on its website shows 42 days, 16 hours, 48 minutes, 12 seconds and counting which, when I took a quick squizz at my calendar, takes you to 1st December 2020.

This is the expected launch date for London-based ecommerce identification verification start-up, Detected, which has just closed a £250k pre-seed angel funding round.

Founded this year, Detected has set itself the modest ambition to be involved in over 50% of all B2B transactions by 2024.

"First, catch your hare …"

Posted by: Anthony Miller

Tags: funding   startup  

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Monday 19 October 2020

UKHotViews Premium - the subscription for individuals

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Posted by: HotViews Editor

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Monday 19 October 2020

Advanced acquires again adding start-up Clear Review

Advanced logoAdvanced has announced a second acquisition in as many days – its third in 2020 and seventh in the last 18 months – further extending its HR solutions offering with the addition of performance management and employee engagement software start-up Clear Review (see also Mercia exits Clear Review with Advanced buy).

Founded in 2016 by Sony’s former International HR Director Stuart Hearn, Clear Review has built a strong reputation over the past four years for its innovative Continuous Performance Management platform. The software is now used by 300 mid-market and large customers globally, with big name clients including Virgin Money, RICOH, Café Nero and HarperCollins.

The move appears to be a particularly canny one from Advanced. Following hot on the heels of Friday’s Mitrefinch acquisition, Clear Review will further extend Advanced’s HCM capability – a priority area for the software and services player, which has the goal of becoming the number one in the UK for business software. Its Cloud HR proposition now supports the entire employee lifecycle from recruitment to retirement.

More importantly, however, Clear Review’s proposition fits neatly with the world in which we now find ourselves, a world in which remote and home working is increasingly the norm. The SaaS-based people performance management and engagement software is tailored for a remote working environment with a ‘scientifically-backed wellbeing monitor’ to engage and support workforces wherever they are based. The opportunity to cross-sell to Advanced’s existing customers, and enhance Clear Review’s prospects with access to a much bigger sales and marketing and R&D capability, will not have been lost on Advanced’s M&A team. A team which has now completed two acquisitions during a global pandemic and is, we suspect, not finished yet (see also Accelerated Cloud adoption boosts Advanced).

Posted by: Tola Sargeant

Tags: acquisition   software   hcm  

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Monday 19 October 2020

More Birthday Honours, UK gaming market and Rivet Games

MBEAfter my various posts on those from the tech sector receiving awards in the Queen’s Birthday Honours, I was (rightly) castigated by Tim Gatland of Rivet Games for excluding those from the video gaming sector.

Chris van der Kuyl  got a CBE – His Dundee-based company (4J Studios) got Minecraft working on all the consoles (it was originally PC-only). Tim says this helped make it the monster that Microsoft just had to buy.

Gina Jackson got an OBE – Norwich University of the Arts, for promoting education and diversity in the Games Industry.

RivetThe UK gaming market is currently worth about £5.4b of which £3.2b is games software. Source – Ukiepedia UK Video Games Market Report. The rest is made up mainly of dedicated gaming hardware – which has been in decline as users move to smartphones, iPads etc. But C-19 seems to have put a spur under the market. According to a report from investment bank, Liberum, the UK market is growing at c30% pa and could be worth £10b by 2023. The sector employs some 16,000 people in the UK. Interestingly over half of these are outside of London.

Rivet Games? I hadn’t heard of them either! So I asked HotViews reader Tim Gatland (Rivet’s CEO) to explain.

Rivet make train simulators for train fans (not commercial use – just people who love trains). Their products work with the leading consumer train simulators, Train Sim World 2 and Train Simulator 2020 from another British company, Dovetail Games (a trading name of RailSImulator.com Limited) who are based in Chatham. Rivet employs 20 staff (all now working from home).  Dovetail have grown to employ around 150 people over the last 12 years

A great UK success story.

Posted by: Richard Holway

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Monday 19 October 2020

DXC retains and broadens HMPPS EUC services contract

DXC DXC logohas retained and broadened its relationship with the HM Prisons & Probation Service (HMPPS). The company has been delivering End User Computing Services to the MoJ’s HMPPS since 1st January 2018 under a contract that was due to expire and where services needed upgrading to maintain supportability and avoid the risk of business disruption. As a result, a new contract has been agreed.

The new EUC Services contract has a maximum value of £48m. The initial period will run until August 2022 and there is an optional year of extension after that. As before, the arrangement covers 35K end user devices (laptops, desktops and thin clients) and the support of 50k users across HMPPS headquarters and prisons in England & Wales. The difference is that the new contract involves the modernisation of the EUC service and the migration from DXC’s Secure Cloud to Microsoft Azure Secure Cloud.

The contract was un-competed, as the MoJ determined that appointing a different supplier would involve prohibitive cost and an unacceptable level of risk. To move away from DXC would have involved MoJ building its own infrastructure and service or turning to another provide to do the same for a short-term appointment. We also understand that MoJ are happy with the DXC relationship and felt confident that the company could successfully deliver the Azure migration; DXC had already undertaken a similar exercise for the core department.

The aim over the next two to three years is to replace the EUCS Services as part of the HMPPS Prison Technology Transformation Programme (PTTP). Over the contract period, services will be transitioned via new arrangements to a different way of working. The operating model has yet to be determined but will likely include some elements provided in-house and other areas disaggregated. The expectation is that HMPPS’ spend with DXC will decline in line with a volumetric decrease in services provided. So, the contract is unlikely to be worth the maximum stated amount. Moreover, this new contract provides better value to the client than the original deal.

Posted by: Georgina O'Toole

Tags: publicsector   centralgovernment   contract   infrastructureservices  

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Monday 19 October 2020

CGI extends Scottish Borders to 2040

CGI logoHot on the heels of its extension at City of Edinburgh Council (see Edinburgh City Council places trust in CGI with smart extension), CGI has confirmed an extension with another Scottish client, Scottish Borders. The two extensions have a common theme: they both support a smart agenda for the councils in question.

CGI signed its original £92m, thirteen year, deal with Scottish Borders council in 2016 (see CGI wins with Agilisys at Scottish Borders). Under the arrangement, CGI became the council’s managed IT services provider. There was a heavy emphasis on technology to support citizen services and to streamline organisational processes. This latest extension, almost unbelievably, takes CGI’s contract through to 2040 – eleven years after the original end date. CGI states the extension is “one of the longest in CGI’s history”. It certainly stands out in the current environment in local government, which has been defined by shorter, more focused, contracts of late.

Under the partnership, Scottish Borders intends to position as “the UK’s first Smart Rural Region”. According to the council, the long-term nature of the arrangement will enable it to realise its Smart vision. The aim is to “digitally connect all Borders communities, supporting innovation, empowering a flexible workforce, advancing truly integrated partnership working, and providing solutions to allow greener, low carbon ways for a sustainable future.” CGI has developed an incremental roadmap to get it, and other clients, to that position.   

At the heart of CGI’s Smart Cities & Connected Communities offering is its Emerging Technology Practice (ETP). Scottish Borders makes clear that it will need to implement “advancing cutting edge digital systems and processes” across social care, health, education, employment, environment, and sustainability. CGI’s ETP exists to contextualise IP for the company’s target markets by focusing on neat value propositions and enabling innovation based on local client priorities. The approach has already seen CGI build ‘smart’ case studies across Europe, e.g. in Turku, Finland, where CGI support its client’s strategic plan to promote citizen well-being and city competitiveness with advanced analytics , and in Helsinki, Norway, where CGI is supporting the city on its journey to becoming a smart and sustainable city.

The extension sees Scottish Borders place a huge amount of trust in CGI. The partnership has strengthened over the last few months as CGI has supported the council’s Fit for 2024 transformation programme and been by its side through the COVID-19 pandemic. For example, it accelerated the rollout of technology to enable a blended learning approach for the region’s educational establishments (e.g. Scottish Borders leads the way in new blended learning approach). Now, as part of the new arrangement, CGI will further strengthen its links to the region by opening a new office in Tweedbank in 2021; it will be a centre of excellence  and through the partnership establish an international reference site in connected communities.

Posted by: Georgina O'Toole

Tags: publicsector   localgovernment   contract   iot   smartcities  

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Monday 19 October 2020

Mercia exits Clear Review with Advanced buy

logologoI first wrote about London-headquartered employee performance management platform start-up Clear Review back in May 2018 when Mercia Fund Managers first backed the business (see Mercia appraises Clear Review with £0.5m funding).

Mercia followed on in Clear Review’s Series A funding round in July 2019 taking a £0.5m direct (i.e. plc balance sheet) stake in the business as one of its ‘rising stars’ (see Positive appraisal for Clear Review’s performance and Clear Review: Simple but not simplistic).

Today Mercia announced it has sold its 4% direct stake for £1m cash as part of a deal that saw Advanced Business Software and Solutions buy Clear Review for up to £26m cash. This is Advanced’s second acquisition in the past few days (see more elsewhere in UKHotViews). The rest of the consideration went to management / founders, Mercia’s EIS funds, and Clear Review’s VCT investor.

A very pleasing result all round.

Posted by: Anthony Miller

Tags: acquisition   startup   exit  

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Monday 19 October 2020

Advanced boosts HR offering with Mitrefinch acquisition

Advanced logoAdvanced has been busy on the M&A front again. The UK-headquartered software and services provider announced the purchase of workforce management software provider Mitrefinch after UKHotViews went to press on Friday, and is poised to confirm another small acquisition later today.

With the backing of both BC Partners and Vista Equity Partners, Advanced CEO Gordon Wilson has made no secret of his ambition to deliver double-digit growth in FY21 supported by acquisitions (see Accelerated Cloud adoption boosts Advanced). Mitrefinch is Advanced’s second acquisition of 2020 following the addition of Tikit in March, and the third since it received an investment to accelerate growth in August 2019. 

The deal also marks an exit for mid-market private equity investor LDC, which first backed Mitrefinch in 2016. Although the terms were not disclosed, the acquisition is a reasonable sized bolt-on for Advanced - Mitrefinch Holdings had a turnover of £16.3m in its last reported fiscal year (to end November 2018), with an EBITDA of £5m. 

Established in 1979, Mitrefinch is a natural addition to Advanced’s Cloud HR offering, boosting its market share in Human Capital Management (HCM). The move is also designed to support Advanced’s ambition to become ‘the number one provider of business software solutions in the UK’ and broaden its global reach, with Mitrefinch adding some 4,400 customers in over 80 countries.

Mitrefinch’s solutions will integrate with Advanced’s Financial Management Systems as well as the full suite of HCM software, with the aim of enabling businesses to accelerate tech adoption. The timing of the investments could not be better with demand for cloud-based HR solutions rising as Covid-19 changes the future of workforce management.

Posted by: Tola Sargeant

Tags: acquisition   software   hcm  

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Monday 19 October 2020

TechMarketView team completes 250km for GOSH!

TechMarketView team Race for the Kids photo collage

I’m feeling a little overwhelmed this morning. It’s been absolutely amazing how the TechMarketView team has thrown themselves into the virtual RBC Race for the Kids over the weekend. It’s a cause very close to the O’Toole family’s hearts: Great Ormond Street Hospital Children’s Charity (GOSH CC). Our youngest son, Thomas, has been cared for by the hospital for over a decade. For the whole team to come together to raise money so that other children can benefit from the same wonderful staff and facilities is incredible.

This morning I gathered some Race reports! And a quick back of the envelope calculation suggests that the team and our families covered around 250km between us – well over the 100km promised to our sponsors. I must give a special shout-out to Helen McTeer, who covered a phenomenal 55km participating in the Jurassic Coast Ultra. Unsurprisingly, Helen says she could now sleep for a week! Across the rest of the team:

  • Duncan completed a 10.2km stroll through the Surrey Hills on Saturday and followed that up with a 54km cycle on Sunday.
  • Angela dodged the trees and kicked through the leaves of Guildford, as she ran 5km.
  • Becci and the Johnson girls took on a 5km run around the streets of Farnham, while hubby Andrew walked a quieter 15km route through the Tilford countryside.
  • Martin finished a 10km run along the River Cam.
  • Tola and her two boys completed a 5km run on a very hilly cross country route in West Sussex.
  • Belinda hopped on her bike and headed on a 19km route to the pub in Teddington for breakfast with a friend (sounds like she had the right idea!).
  • Paula completed a 7.2km loop of Virginia Water Lake with her two young boys – “a combination of walking fast and jogging as it was a little too far or the boys”. They enjoyed the lovely day and the autumn colours.
  • Kate ran, while her twins scooted, around the streets of Godalming, apparently picking up children as they went along!
  • Dale ran 10km in the Forest of Dean (in 52.30), “brilliantly supported by Ted on his bike”. And it seems that Ted still had plenty of energy left, as he went on to claim 2nd place on the U8s race at the Heart of England cyclocross event on Sunday.
  • Marc completed a 5km circuit around the valley within which Bourton-on-the-Water sits: “A couple of farmers were out ploughing some of the fields that the footpath ran through so we had to take a couple of impromptu detours. It was great fun although I had to drag my son off the play station. Definitely want to do more of this”.
  • Holly ended up, with a friend, doing a 20km mainly off road bike ride around the beautiful Surrey countryside, while both kids were out at football and netball matches.
  • Emily and her family took on a 10km walking route.
  • And Richard took his new puppy on a 5km walk around Frensham Little Ponds.

Finally, Thomas and I took on a 5km route around Alice Holt Forest. This time last year, it was 4 months after Thomas’ amputation and just 2 months after receiving his first prosthetic leg, and we took part in the same Race for the Kids at Hyde Park (alongside Tola and Marc and their families). He really struggled – not being used to running (or remembering to breathe!) he suffered a major stitch, nausea, and a headache on the first corner. We ended up walking for 80% of the time and completed the course in 59 minutes. This weekend we proved what a difference a year – and a running blade – can make. He was determined to beat his previous time and he smashed it. We finished the 5km with a running time of just under 37 minutes. It was quite emotional considering there have been times in his life when we thought he might not walk. I am struggling with stairs today - while, apparently, Thomas is feeling zero after effects (even after also completing a 9-hole golf bonanza in the afternoon)!

Fundraising totalSo, a big thank you to the whole team. We were lucky with the weather and it’s been great to see everyone’s photographic evidence. If you would like to sponsor, the page is still live: ttps://www.rbcraceforthekids.com/fundraisers/techmarketviewforthomas.

With Gift Aid included, we have, so far, raised £3,900! Thank you to everyone – HotViews readers, clients, friends, and family -  that have sponsored us.

Posted by: Georgina O'Toole

Tags: csr   fundraising   charity  

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Monday 19 October 2020

ICO fines lenient on hard hit airlines

ICO fines lenient on hard hit airlinesThe £20m fine imposed on British Airways for a breach of the generation data protection regulation (GDPR) reported back on 2018 is a long way short of the £183m penalty originally proposed last year, and shows the Information Commissioners Office (ICO) is willing to be lenient according to an organisation’s ability to pay up.

That will be welcome news for EasyJet, another airline hard-hit by COVID-19 in trouble after the personal details of up to 9m customers were hacked in 2019 (including around 2,200 people’s credit card details). EasyJet is additionally the subject of a class action lawsuit, the cost of which could reach £18bn if all the customers involved receive compensation. The case may not succeed however - a similar claim filed by 9,000 employes at Morrisons was dismissed by the Supreme Court in favour of the supermarket last April.

Both BA and EasyJet were criticised for poor security processes which failed to prevent attacks that went unnoticed for months, while EasyJet also delayed reporting the incident. In a press release detailing its findings the ICO said that BA had failed to apply zero trust cyber security measures for example, undertake rigorous testing on its systems, or implement multi-factor authentication (MFA) on employee and third party accounts. Those were all standard forms of cyber security protection and did not require any significant investment on BA’s behalf.

Despite being trimmed BA’s £20m fine is still the largest ever served in the UK for a data protection breach and is intended as a warning from the ICO to others. But it also provides a blueprint for the timescale involved in investigating and ruling on GDPR misdemeanours, and an indication of what will be judged as acceptable cyber security provision to protect citizen's private data and what will not.

Posted by: Martin Courtney

Tags: GDPR   breach   fine  

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Monday 19 October 2020

Valuations on the rise in European tech M&A

chartTotal deal value skyrocketed this month across the European TMT M&A industry, reaching an estimated value of $56.4bn, according to latest data from corporate finance firm Regent Assay. This was largely driven by the acquisition of ARM by Nvidia (see Sad day as Nvidia set to acquire ARM), making it the highest figure since April 2018.

 However, this is amid a stagnant environment for deal makers, as total transactions fell by a further 24 to reach 141 this month, down from 185 in September, which means the 300 deal threshold hasn’t been broken since January. Sellers may find some reassurance in strong valuation multiples, with the P/EBITDA ratio at 10.8x and the P/SALES at 1 6x, up from 9x and 1.2x respectively.

There were rather few acquisitions involving UK software and IT services companies during the month that we commented on, including Edtech investor Sandbox & Co’s acquisition of teaching resource provider Teachit, and Canadian healthcare technology company Vitalhub’s of UK SME Transforming Systems.

You can find more deals by searching 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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Monday 19 October 2020

Jo Johnson joins board at Tech Nation

Tech NationIt’s been a really busy time on the recruitment front at Tech Nation with new appointments to the board of:

  • Annette Wilson, Global Adviser & Chair Europe, Antler VC
  • Eric Collins, CEO & Founder Member, Impact X Capital Partners
  • Hussein Kanji, Partner, Hoxton Ventures
  • Trecilla Lobo, SVP People, BenevolentAI

JoOver the weekend came news that Jo Johnson – Boris’ brother – will make up the 5th appointment in as many weeks. Jo Johnson was Universities Minister but fell out with the PM over his BREXIT policies (join the club…) He is also Chairman at education software group, Tes Global and training operation, Access Creative.

Stephen Kelly, Chairman of Tech Nation (See my May 20 post Stephen Kelly appointed to Chair Tech Nation), told me over the weekend that this means the board is now at ‘full strength’. “Jo’s experience and passion for skills, education, science and innovation are key to the Tech Nation mission.  Our ambition at this critical time for the UK - to unlock the growth potential of 1,000 scaling tech companies which will generate thousands of jobs and billions for the economy and regions. The UK’s tech scaleups are key to the productivity, exports and prosperity for the UK in the digital age”.

An ambition that we at TechMarketView fully support!

Posted by: Richard Holway

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Monday 19 October 2020

Are you looking for innovative partners in Ireland?

VTIPP IrelandTechMarketView and TechIreland can help!

We are delighted to announce that we will be teaming up with TechIreland to bring the TechMarketView Innovation Partner Programme to Ireland.

TechIreland is an independent, not-for-profit organisation with a mission to promote Irish and Ireland-based innovation. TechIreland tracks over 2,500 Irish start-ups and scale-ups (both north and south of the border) with innovative technology products and services.

The TechMarketView Innovation Partner Programme has successfully found innovative UK tech start-ups and scale-ups to partner with leading enterprise tech companies such as Capita, Civica, Sopra Steria and CGI. In association with TechIreland we can now extend our partner search to the Republic of Ireland as well as to the UK.

To find out more about the TechMarketView Innovation Partner Programme, please check out our website or, email TechMarketView Managing Partner Anthony Miller  or call on +44 20 3002 8463 / +44 7796 958 859.

Posted by: HotViews Editor

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Friday 16 October 2020

Capita to help North Wales Fire & Rescue Service get ESN ready

CapitaCapita has secured a contract to deliver an integrated communication control system for North Wales Fire & Rescue Service. The five-year deal is worth £788,000 and is intended to help the fire and rescue service transition to the new Emergency Services Network (ESN).

North Wales Fire & Rescue Service will use Capita’s DS3000 software solution, allowing its control room operations to maintain connectivity to both the current Airwave emergency network and forthcoming ESN. Capita will support the platform with a fully managed support service.

DS3000 provides single touchscreen control to subsystems, such as digital and analogue radio networks, call handling systems, telephony, CCTV, voice recorders, intercom systems, door locks and alarms. The DSX range of solutions dates back to the early 90s when DS1000 was first introduced and there are now over 130 DSX systems in use with UK bluelight, military and government bodies.

North Wales Fire & Rescue Service, which also just announced that it is upgrading its finance systems (see North Wales Fire & Rescue Service moves to TechnologyOne), is transitioning its control room operations to help improve services and operational effectiveness, as well as helping to future-proof operations for ESN.

The ESN programme has faced significant criticism (see ESN: further delays and cost increases seem inevitable and work back). Speaking to the Public Accounts Committee last month, Matthew Rycroft, Home Office Permanent Secretary, admitted ESN has been a "troubled programme in the past" and that it is "over time and, indeed, over budget", but he said, "it has turned a corner; it has had a reset". However, COVID-19 has meant the business case for the programme, which was expected in 2019, has been delayed again—it's now expected in March 2021. It now looks unlikely that the existing Airwave network will be turned off until 2024 at the earliest. Each year past the previously planned date for switch-off (December 2022) is likely to cost an additional £550m.

Capita will have a key role to play in trying to accelerate the implementation of ESN having secured contracts with the Home Office and Transport for London earlier this year. 

Posted by: Dale Peters

Tags: contract   bluelight   mobile   networks   frs   esn  

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Friday 16 October 2020

Record failures for UK start-ups

logoRather depressing statistics from our friends at company tracker Beauhurst and innovation hub Plexal, whose latest numbers show just over 1,000 UK start-ups went out of business during the lockdown (23rd March – 12th October, to be precise). September was the worst month, with 273 failures, the highest monthly figure in 10 years.

While there is still funding available for start-ups and scale-ups, as regular readers will see in UKHotViews almost every day, investors are becoming more circumspect about which ideas they back. Some might take the ‘glass half full’ view that this is actually good news for the industry because more funding should then be available for the more viable businesses.

Don’t forget, TechMarketView subscription service clients and subscribers to UKHotViews Premium can read our quarterly analysis of UK VC tech funding in IndustryViews Venture Capital (see COVID correction for Tech VC deals).

Posted by: HotViews Editor

Tags: startup  

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