Author: Nick Farrell

Ericsson sulks over results

ericsson-logoEricsson President and CEO Börje Ekholm had a Nordic sulk over his companies results and said he was not satisfied with the outfit’s underlying performance.

Ericsson saw continued declining sales and increasing losses in the quarter and while its brand new business strategy was gaining traction, there will need to be some costs cut.

“We will accelerate our actions to ensure that we can meet our target of doubling the 2016 operating margin beyond 2018. Actions will be taken primarily in service delivery and common costs and do not include R&D,” he said.

Sales adjusted for comparable units and currency declined by 13 percent. Based on the development in the first half of the year, Nokia’s current view of the Radio Access Network (RAN) equipment market outlook is in line with external estimates of a high single-digit percentage decline for the full year 2017.

“Considering the current market environment, the company position, and the more focused business strategy, we continue to assess risk exposure in ongoing contracts. Depending on the outcome, we see an increased risk of further market and customer project adjustments, which would have a negative impact on results, estimated to SEK 3-5  billion. for the coming 12 months, of which 30 percent is estimated to impact cash,” Ekholm said.

The decline in the Networks result in the quarter was mainly caused by lower software sales, driven by two key factors; unusually strong software sales in the second quarter last year and cautious mobile broadband investment levels. On the positive side, Ericsson did well in radio.

He said that Ericsson will improve its Networks will be generated through both the continued ramp-up of Ericsson Radio System (ERS) and cost reductions, mainly in service delivery. The ERS continues to prove its competitiveness and now represents 49 per cent  of radio unit deliveries in the quarter. During the quarter, we announced a break-through contract to support Vodafone UK to evolve its 4G network and to provide 5G radio technology. To safeguard a future leading portfolio, we have started to increase R&D investments in Networks.

“In line with our more focused strategy, we signed an agreement in the quarter to divest the power modules business.”

IT & Cloud had another challenging quarter with significant losses. The sequential increase in losses is largely explained by lower capitalization of R&D expenses. Gross margin continued to be negatively impacted by large digital transformation projects, he said.

Sales decreased by eight percent. The RAN equipment market for 2017 is estimated to show a high single-digit percentage decline compared with previous estimate of two to six percent.

Gross margin, excluding restructuring charges, was 29.8 percent. Operating income was $140 million.

 

Oracle announces 1,000 new sales jobs

oracleOracle has announced 1,000 new jobs in Europe, Middle East and Africa.

Under the ‘Change Happens Here’ banner the company is hunting for sales representatives to support its Cloud computing business.

The move comes on the back of the company recently posting record financial results with total cloud revenue up 58 percent.

Oracle claims it is the fastest growing scaled cloud company and thinks its cloud business will accelerate into hyper-growth in the current year.

Oracle wants to recruit candidates with a strong sense of personal drive and the ability to successfully sell some of the world’s most exciting  cloud technologies.

Candidates can apply immediately for a range of positions throughout EMEA, by visiting the ‘Change Happens Here’ page – oracle.com/experience. Oracle is looking for graduate level candidates who have a genuine interest in technology and the passion for the transformation cloud computing can bring to enterprises.

Tino Scholman, VP of Oracle Cloud in the EMEA region, said: “Our cloud business is growing at incredible rates, so now is the right time to bring in a new generation of talent to our company. We are looking to hire relationship focused people who are self-motivated and smart, who thrive for business transformation for our customers and love delivering great results. Diversity is one of the cornerstones of the unique Oracle culture. We want to offer 1,000 talented individuals the opportunity to change their career for the better, to access the best possible training and development, as well as the chance to accelerate their career within the fastest growing Cloud company at the centre of a generational shift to digital enablement.”

Ci Distribution signs a trio of new partnership agreements

satanic pactBasingstoke-based Ci Distribution has been doing several new deals to boost its portfolio.

Ci has signed deals with gaming memory brand Ballistix, hardware manufacturer Cooler Master, and Wi-Fi connected home devices iBaby.

Paul Reynolds, North Europe Channel sales manager at Ballistix said: “By expanding its gaming offering with the inclusion of Ballistix memory into its portfolio, Ci-Distribution will help bring the proven performance and reliability of Ballistix to gamers across the UK. As a brand of Micron, Ballistic owns an inherent advantage in design, technology, and manufacturing that can’t be replicated. Ballistix memory is trusted by PC gamers and pro eSports teams around the world and is the only major brand of gaming memory that builds and tests products from start to finish. Our partnership with Ci-Distribution will help to deliver brand awareness within the gaming reseller channel by working together to create unique, personalised campaigns through our Micron Partner Program.”

Katie Pinnock, UK country manager at Cooler Master said: “Cooler Master are extremely excited to bring on CI Distribution as one of our main partners. The industry is excited to see CiD fight and win business to live up to their reputation, therefore Cooler Master feel privileged to be a part of this journey. Cooler Master are going through a very exciting time, with new releases and great products; we are definitely getting our name back to where it used to be – with CI’s help we believe we can be the best!”

Elnaz Sarraf, president at iBaby noted: “After four years of developing connected family devices, we’ve expanded our product line to include the entire home with AirSense. AirSense is the one device that will give families the peace of mind they deserve, knowing they are breathing the cleanest air possible. The air purifier and VOC sensor allow families to live happier and healthier lifestyles by eliminating unhealthy, and often undetectable impurities in the air. A partnership with Ci Distribution will greatly help us grow our market share and brand awareness in the entire UK. We are excited for the opportunity that this partnership will bring us.”

Ci Distribution business Manager Iain Gillagoley said: “The announcement of these further three new partnerships is really exciting for Ci Distribution as our vendor portfolio continues to grow from strength-to-strength. All three companies offer market leading and innovative products that we are proud to bring to our expanding UK customer base.”

 

Blockchain will transform the financial services market

531596-web-1-0Those businesses who flog Blockchain tech in the financial services market are going to clean up, according to a new market intelligence report by BIS Research.

The report with the catchy title ‘Blockchain Technology in Financial Services Market – Analysis and Forecast: 2017 to 2026’ , claims blockchain could lead to a per-year cost savings of $6-8 billion in KYC/AML, $30-40 billion in trade finance, and $50-60 billion in capital markets.

Blockchain is seen as one of the most disruptive technologies to hit a number of industries including financial sector. This is being driven mainly by the increasing need to acknowledge the inefficiencies in the existing technologies and processes in the industry and increasing mistrust of the consumers in the financial services market, post-2008 economic recession.

For those who came in late, a blockchain is a distributed digital database that records and maintains a list of all transactions taking place in real time.

Each blockchain record is time stamped and stored cryptographically, which is tamper-proof and immutable. While the use cases of this technology are largely being explored across different industries such as healthcare, real estate, media and travel, and hospitality among others, the financial institutions have been the front runners in the development of blockchain technology and have already implemented a host of successful use cases, ranging from pre-IPO trading platform released by NASDAQ to cross-border payment platform created by Ripple.

By cutting out the middlemen and increasing the efficiency, blockchain is anticipated to cut the transaction and infrastructure costs by over 50 percent for finance companies. Consequentially, leading financial institutions and banks, including Citibank, J.P. Morgan, Goldman Sachs and Barclays among others, have all taken the steps to deploy the technology.

Due to the large scale investments being poured into the blockchain technology by venture capitalists, financial institutions and private equity firms, hundreds of start-ups have emerged in this space, spanning across use cases such as cross-border payments, supply chain management, trade finance, asset management, capital market post-trade solutions, identity and authentication, insurance, and lending among others.

The potential of various benefits such as cost-cuts, the elimination of intermediaries, the increased transparency and security among others, presented by this technology have impelled the companies to explore the technology. The financial push from financial monoliths coupled with the rising support from governments and central banks across countries are the key factors driving the growth of the blockchain technology.

According to BIS Research Analyst Shazlie Khan: “The blockchain technology could save the financial institutions over $40 billion per year in infrastructure, IT, operational, third party fee, and administrative personnel costs.”

The blockchain industry witnessed a pivotal change for the future of its market in June 2017, when this technology entered into the mainstream financial services, with IBM building blockchain for seven of Europe’s biggest banks, which are Deutsche Bank, HSBC, KBC, Natixis, Rabobank, Societe Generale and Unicredit, in the area of trade finance. This agreement marks one of the first real-world use cases of blockchain technology in financial services, and will pave the way for further development and expansion of the blockchain technology market across the globe.

The report presents an in-depth analysis of the various factors governing the growth of the market in addition to the Porter’s five forces analysis, gauging the competitive attractiveness of the industry. The key strategies and developments segment has been added in the report to provide the readers with the recent strategic activities of the leading industry players in the market.

Doomed Entatech was nearly sold

indexEntatech was close to being acquired before it went bust, with a prospective sale falling through on the day it was set to complete, according to an administrator’s report.

The adminstrators, KMPG, said that the preferred bidder pulled out of the deal on the day it was set to complete (5 May).

Entatech went into administration in May, after failing to secure a buyer following a sale process. However it was a near run thing.

The Entatech received interest from 130 investors and 30 trade parties, 17 partners expressed and interest and 10 signing non-disclosure agreements.

By the 21 April offer deadline there were two bids, including one from Entatech’s management, before a third bid was made on 26 April – which went on to be the preferred bid.

KMPG said that an acceptable offer was negotiated, contracts were progressed to final draft and solicitors were in funds.

“Completion was set for Friday 5 May 2017, but unfortunately the bidder confirmed on this date that it could not complete.”

Entatech went into administration and its assets were acquired by managing director Dave Stevinson’s GNR Technology.

According to the administrator’s report preferential creditors will be paid in full, while unsecured creditors are expected to receive a dividend of an unspecified amount.

James Bond joins the security Q

james_bond_movie_poster_006GCHQ’s Cyber Accelerator programme is looking for UK-based cybersecurity start-ups who can be shaken but not stirred.

The programme will help start-ups develop security software into fully fledged commercial products and connect them with tech experts across GCHQ itself and the National Cyber Security Centre.

The spooks originally selected seven vendors for the first phase of the scheme in January, but has now extended the programme to nine months and is encouraging another wave of start-ups to apply.

The first seven vendors have raised more than £2.7 million in investment, the government said, and have won deals with tech giants including Cisco.

Matt Hancock, minister for digital, said: “We are working hard to make Britain the best place to start and grow a digital business, and the safest place to be online.

“The GCHQ Cyber Accelerator is a vital part of this work and has already helped some of the most innovative cyber security start-ups develop cutting edge new products and services. I’m pleased to announce the programme is being extended and encourage the nation’s talented entrepreneurs to apply.”

Channel invests a fortune in digital transformation

magician-portrait-290The channel is investing in technology to ensure it has a better future under the new wave of digitial transformation.

Research commissioned by Agilitas has found that innovation projects cost channel leaders on average £66,587.74 last year and that figure is expected to rise by 50 percent by 2020.

Technology innovation was the main area of spending, followed by solutions, business analytics and contracts as the channel looked to make sure it continued to be ahead of the game.

Agilitas CEO Shaun Lynn said that as the industry faces disruption, complacency doing the same thing is no longer an option.

“What has been clear over recent years is that there is demand for us to continue to adapt our offerings as the needs of the technology industry and business community evolves,” he said.

His advice was for the channel to make sure that they create environments where they can be open to encouraging, accepting and developing fresh ideas.

“As a result, creating and fostering a positive environment, where new ideas are trialed and embraced is set to be critical as we approach 2020, particularly if the current levels of uncertainty continue to be seen across the market,” he said.

The research revealed that many channel firms were hiring and around a third were prepared to invest in training that would encourage innovation and just over a quarter were happy to explore employee ideas.

“It is critical to understand that the only thing in the channel that remains constant is change. As an industry, we need to make sure that challenges are met with creative new ideas. Our research has highlighted positive movement, and I expect to see continued investment growth as we approach 2020,” Lynn said.

There have been warnings to the channel that it needs to invest in digital transformation to make sure it can convince customers that the skills and knowledge is there to help them.

 

Nadella joins the chorus singing the Channel’s praises

satya-nadella_650x400_81496331285Software King of the Solar System with exclusivity on the rings of Uranus, Satya Nadella, has been praising Microsoft’s channel to the skies.

Talking to the assembled throngs at the Inspire conference, Nadella thanked Microsoft partners for their commitment and underlined a world of opportunities that they can exploit thanks to digital transformation

Nadella talked about a ‘paradigm shift’ that is being driven by digital transformation. Apparently these rogue paradigms are not the enemy of humanity which need to be defeated by a new female Dr Who but are opportunities for the channel.

The Microsoft CEO told 17,000 partners that Microsoft had an ethos of being partner-led and it will be there in everything it did.

“We see a real rapid shift to a new paradigm that we describe as the intelligent cloud and the intelligent edge,” which he said would be defined by three characteristics: everything will be multi-device and multi-sense, be infused with AI and the need for more application development and management.

“With increasing digitisation where every part of our economy is being transformed by digitisation the opportunity is greater than it ever was before,” he said.

He added that Microsoft had always been at the forefront of industry developments being there to democratise the PC, then mobile, the cloud and now the intelligent cloud era. “Being in this industry and being in this ecosystem the opportunity is tremendous.”

He said that it had taken the lessons of the last couple of years and had used that to change how it built its products and developed its go-to-market and partner experiences.

Infosys first quarter revenues grew 3.2 percent

infosysudacityOutsourcing King Infosys saw its first quarter revenues grow sequentially by 3.2 percent with a six percent improvement on last year.

The outfit announced that its revenues were $2,651 million for the quarter ended June 30, 2017 and its operating profit was $638 million for the quarter ended June 30, 2017.

Infosys CEO Dr. Vishal Sikka said that the company’s focus in Q1 is reflected in broad-based performance on multiple fronts- revenue growth, resilient margins despite multiple headwinds, healthy cash generation and overall business results.

“I am encouraged by the uptick in revenue per employee for six quarters in a row, and the strong momentum in our new high growth services and software, as we accelerate our focus on innovation-led growth. The widespread adoption of our grassroots innovation and education initiatives continue to fuel our transformation, and I am proud to see Infoscions embrace and drive Infosys towards becoming a next-generation services company.”

The company saw broad-based growth across geographical and industry segments and the bottom line was helped by new services and software offerings.

Company Revenues are expected to grow 6.5 percent to 8.5 percent and the moves towards automation and innovation such as Cloud Ecosystem, Big Data and Analytics, API and Micro Services, Data and Mainframe Modernisation, Cyber Security and IoT Engineering Services will grow.

Infosys is also expecting good things from its next-generation AI Platform Nia which was launched in April.

UK FinTech founder sees sixth year of growth

rmg-Location_The-City_1-hrOne of the founders of UK Fintech, Cashplus, has announced a sixth consecutive year of profitable growth.

With a 28 percent uplift in revenues and 36 percent increase in profit, the company has reported £5.6 million EBITDA profit for the year ended March 2017.

With turnover increasing threefold in the past six years, the latest set of full year results to year ended March 2017 Cashplus has become one of the few Fintech businesses with fully developed payments and technology expertise.

The company says that it consistently demonstrates it is ahead of the Fintech curve, not only in generating healthy profits in an emerging industry, but earlier this year, the company announced the launch of its API, well ahead of the PSD2 deadline.

Set up over a decade ago to break down inherent barriers in banking, Cashplus provides simple, secure, straightforward and efficient services to customers who continue to be overlooked by the high street banks- Cashplus has now attracted over 1.6 million UK customers to its accounts.

The company continues to see a huge demand for its services with a 93 percent year-on-year growth in demand for capital from SME businesses alone since October 2015.

With London regarded as a world-renowned Fintech hub, CEO Rich Wagner said: “We pride ourselves on leading the field in Fintech capabilities, and as a pathfinder in the sector, the Cashplus proposition remains simple: ‘speed and ease of use for customers’. We anticipate that Cashplus, particularly in the SME space, with our customer-centric approach will see further growth in the coming 12 months.”

Asite scores Cambridge University challenge

GUTTENPLAN2_1605556cThe University of Cambridge has chosen Asite to make the Adoddle platform their Project Information Management tool of choice for their BIM Level 2 project portfolio.

The Estate Management Division at the University of Cambridge is a multi-disciplinary organisation responsible for the development, management and maintenance of the University estate.

Adoddle is a cloud-based collaboration platform . Together, this relationship will establish Adoddle as the pivotal Common Data Environment for the University of Cambridge and allow project teams to realise a global connection with the most up-to-date information in real-time, directly from the Adoddle Cloud Model Server.

Chris Hinton, Technology and Innovation Lead, Estate Management, University of Cambridge said: “Our challenge within a diverse estate is to structure data and define assets to clear and industry recognised standards. The procurement of Adoddle as our Common Data Environment is the foundation for this and our vision of a digitally enabled estate.”

The non-residential estate is valued at £2.7 billion (Insurance Replacement Cost) and its broad and complex nature presents many demanding challenges. Some buildings are 800 years old, Grade I Listed and protected by English Heritage, whilst others are new with highly sustainable building fabrics and buildings management systems.

The capital development pipeline is £4.7 billion. The current building programme has committed funding of £640 million and provides a rich mix of activities that utilise best practice ‘risk-averse’ methods of planning, design, development and construction.

Microsoft admits partners are more cloud savvy

Ominous Clouds over Dublin CityMicrosoft has admitted that it has not kept pace with the speed that its partners have moved to the cloud.

The software king of the world has revealed more details of its newly formed One Commercial Partner business, which brings together all partner-facing teams across the organisation.

One Commercial Partner was first announced in January, as Microsoft revealed plans to bring together its enterprise and SMB teams, and more details have now been announced.

Ron Huddleston commercial vice president of One Commercial Partner, said the new business will incorporate Microsoft’s offerings in technical, marketing, business development and programmes. He declared that the new team is “not just partner led, it’s partner first”.

Microsoft is appointing dedicated channel managers for the first time, which Huddleston claimed will help to fit the right customer with the right partner.

“We’re investing $250 million in connecting partners to customers,” he said. “We’re starting with one new role, globally – the channel manager who specialises in connecting partners to customers. This will feel very different. This is not a partner account manager, they’re focused on customer success.”

Gavriella Schuster, Volish corporate vice president, said that Microsoft has in the past been guilty of asking its partners to ready themselves for digital transformation but, from a sales point of view, had not done so itself.

Schuster realised Microsoft was falling behind its partners and had innovated its engineering, services and business models, but had lagged in the innovation in our sales model and it shows.

She realised that partners had changed and Microsoft had not kept up, and now we were getting in their way.

Microsoft has committed to giving its internal sales teams 10 per cent commission on an Azure solutions that are co-sold with partners. Microsoft account teams will also, for the first time, be aligned by industry – to develop specialisations in specific fields.

Global IT spending will grow to $3.5 trillion this year

consultoracleOracles at Gartner have been shuffling their tarot cards and claim that new disruptive technology like the Internet of Things (IoT) will mean that worldwide IT spending is projected to total $3.5 billion in 2017.

The projection is a 2.4 percent increase from 2016. After consulting the liver of a particularly fat ram, Big G predicted that the declining US dollar for the growth rate is up from the previous quarter’s forecast of 1.4 percent.

Gartner vice president and analyst at John-David Lovelock said that digital business is having a profound effect on the way business is done and how it is supported.

“The impact of digital business is giving rise to new categories. For example, the convergence of ‘software plus services plus intellectual property.”

Lovelock said impactful industry-specific disruptive technologies include IoT in manufacturing, blockchain in financial services and other industries, and smart machines in retail.

The worldwide enterprise software market is forecast to grow 7.6 percent in 2017, up from 5.3 percent growth in 2016.

Gartner explained that as software applications allow more firms to grab revenue from digital business channels, there will be a stronger need to automate and release applications.

The increased adoption of SaaS-based enterprise applications, will see an increase in acceptance of IT operations management tools that are also delivered from the cloud, Lovelock predicted.

“These cloud-based tools allow infrastructure and operations organisations to more rapidly add functionality and adopt newer technologies to help them manage faster application release cycles.”

Gartner found worldwide spending on devices — PCs, tablets, ultramobiles and mobile phones — is projected to grow 3.8 per cent in 2017, to reach $654bn.

4K telly market booms

television-exploding-biz-2015-billboard-650The global 4K TV market is expected to reach $380.9 billion by 2025, according to a new report by Grand View Research.

The beancounters claimed that the evolving nature of the consumer electronic industry, advancements in graphic engines of televisions, increased pressure on manufacturers to reduce prices, and popularity of the ultra-high definition technology and its advantages have fueled the demand for UHD televisions in the past few years.

Latest graphic processors permit advanced technical image formats and have improved the content quality significantly hence, they are widely used in production and distribution of UHD content. Customers are getting accustomed to using such contents, which is further anticipated to spur the market growth.

The 52-65 inches’ segment dominated the global 4K TV market in 2016 since this segment has a wide range of product offering at different price points. Moreover, the adoption of novel technologies, such as Quantum dot LEDs (QLEDs) and Super UHD (SUHD) and decreasing prices of 4K TVs are expected to catapult the segment demand over the forecast period.

Televisions belonging to this range have high penetration rates as compared to the others. However, the above 62 inches’ screen size segment is expected to witness the highest growth over the forecast period owing to the declining price trend of 4K TVs coupled with increasing disposable incomes of individuals globally.

The global UHD TV market is expected to witness a CAGR exceeding 20 percent  from 2017 to 2025 owing to the changing consumer preference from HD to UHD technology along with increasing demand for high-end home products

Moreover, increasing penetration of ultra-high-speed internet, particularly in developed regions including metropolitan cities are expected to favorably impact the 4K TV market growth over the coming years.

The 52 – 65 inches’ segment accounted for the largest share in 2016, which is accredited to increasing penetration of 4K TVs in the higher economic class; however, with decline in TV prices the above 65-inch screen size segment pose high growth opportunities

The Asia Pacific region accounted over 40 percent  of the overall revenue share in 2016 and is also expected to dominate over the forecast period owing to the huge adoption along with declining prices of 4K televisions

A few key players who captured a significant market share in 2016 were Samsung, LG Electronics, Sony, Hisense, and Sharp.

 

Microsoft claims hybrid cloud infrastructure is the winner

grandpa_simpson_yelling_at_cloudSoftware King of the World, Microsoft’s Satya Nadella has been insisting that the private versus public cloud debate is over and hybrid infrastructure is the ultimate winner.

Nadella said that the battle between private cloud and public cloud has ended with neither emerging victorious.

Talking to the assembled throngs at the Microsoft Inspire partner conference in Washington, Nadella said that the hybrid infrastructure was the only winner in the private versus public cloud duel.

Vole announced more details of its Azure stack – with integrated systems on hardware from Dell EMC, Hewlett Packard Enterprise and Lenovo set to start shipping from September.

Nadella said: “It’s clear as day that what is needed is more distributed computing infrastructure – that true hybrid computing fabric – so that you can manage your smart city, smart factory, smart car as well as take advantage of the public cloud.”

Nadella said that Microsoft will reshape everything it does into four solution areas: modern workplace, business applications, applications and infrastructure, and data and artificial intelligence.

He also opened up on the partner benefits of Microsoft 365, which rolls up Office 365 with Windows 10 and other enterprise products.

“When it comes to partner opportunity, it’s tremendous for you to be able to really serve the needs of these customers across the entire depth and breadth of the employee base, and hopefully you even caught that it’s not just about the knowledge worker, it’s even about these first-line workers in retail and other industries,” he said.