Tag: UK

Home Office wants help on Amazon public cloud

parliamentThe Home Office is looking for a partner to move one of its systems to Amazon Web Services (AWS).

According to an ad posted on the Government’s Digital Marketplace, the Home Office wants three suppliers to bid for a six month contract to move its Digital Capabilities to the public cloud.

“The HO Digital Capabilities programme deals with a significant amount of data and our current hosting provider has reached its potential… Home Office has determined that the in-house Amazon Web Service platform is the most appropriate location to run these services,” the advert says.

The Home Office wants to solve its migration problems of putting all its digital services on the new platform within the period and with minimal disruption to the live service. It  wants a supplier to provide solutions architects and developers to build the new AWS environment and provide a seamless switch to the new platform.

The closing date for applications is 17 August, with the start date pencilled in for no later than 9 October. The contract can be extended for a further three months if required.

Government is expected to be a big spender looking at AWS, Azure and Google (now that the search engine outfit has announced its UK datacentres).

 

Save the Games industry

gamestop-inside-930x618TIGA, the network for games developers and digital publishers and the trade association representing the video games industry, today published its Brexit and Beyond: Priorities for the UK Video Games Industry report.

TIGA’s report sets out a policy agenda for Government, Parliament and policy makers to consider as the UK negotiates its departure from the European Union.

Dr Richard Wilson, TIGA CEO, said that TIGA’s Brexit and Beyond: Priorities for the UK Video Games Industry, sets out a cogent, coherent and constructive agenda for ensuring the UK games sector is a leading player in an industry that is predicted to be worth approximately $100 billion by 2018.

“If the UK creates a favourable tax environment with an enhanced Games Tax Relief, improves access to finance and enables studios to access talent, then the UK video games industry will both survive and thrive in a post-Brexit world.”

The UK video games industry already contributes £1.2 billion to UK GDP. This contribution will increase with the right policy environment in place.

TIGA’s Brexit: Priorities for the UK Video Games Industry, said that if the government wants to keep things working it needs to create a favourable tax environment to encourage businesses to invest in the UK.

The Government should consider increasing the rate of Video Games Tax Relief from 25 to 27.5 or 30 percent and introduce a Video Games Investment Fund to provide pound for pound match funding up to a maximum of £200,000 to enable more studios to grow.

It would also be a good idea to maintain the UK Games Fund so that start-ups can access funding for prototypes.

The report called on the government to increase the amount of money that a company can raise via SEIS investment from £150,000 to £200,000 and ensure that EU workers already working in the UK are protected so that they can continue to work in the UK with the confidence that they are not going to be asked to leave the UK in the future.

The government needs to and clarify the status of EU workers who enter the UK following the EU referendum and prior to the UK’s exit from the EU. T

Meanwhile the government needs to negotiate a trade deal with the EU that avoids quotas, tariffs and other barriers to trade to maintain free trade in video games, negotiate trade deals with growing economies, examine the potential for incentivising more businesses to export through the tax system.

The UK Government should consider introducing arrangements for the conversion or extension of a EU trademark or registered community design to cover the UK.

It also needs to adopt and adhere to the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) to ensure that companies based in the UK and doing business in the EU can continue to smoothly transfer information and data.

 

Asite gets into government G-Cloud programme

lightning-cloudAsite has announced it has been signed up to the UK’s Crown Commercial Service’s G-Cloud Programme.

Asite helps outfits manage their projects and supply chains collaboratively; the company has gotten onto the G-Cloud programme with its Adoddle which is a collaborative content management system designed to handle a wide range of content.

The content includes intelligent forms, multimedia supplier catalogues, complex BIM and product models, videos, and other various file types. The government is interested in Adoddle because it allows clients to store all of their content in one central, secure repository while enabling them to fully customise the structure of their content with highly controlled access.

The UK government launched G-Cloud 9 in May of 2017 as a means of enabling public sector bodies to buy cloud-based digital services, directly off the shelf from smaller distributors. The open framework is refreshed every three to 12 months, consistently bringing on new suppliers and services.

Tony Ryan, CEO of Asite, remarked: “Our appointment to the G-Cloud framework builds on our long-standing relationships, which provide project collaboration services in the cloud to the UK government.  Together with our longstanding commitment to supporting the government’s Construction Strategy and in particular to the achievement of Level 2 BIM with our cBIM service, we are fully committed to the improvement of procurement in UK construction.”

 

HP pours cash into UK channel

PF-loadsamoney_2177214kHP has budgeted £2.5 million to spruce up its UK and Irish channel this quarter.

This number is a 25 to 30 percent increase on what the PC and printer vendor normally invests in a given quarterly period.

HP’s UK&I channel director, Neil Sawyer said that the “strategic deal funding” cash was one of several channel initiatives HP is announcing this week.

The aim is to win new-logo business, which are customers that have not typically purchased HP-branded technology before.

One of the ways that HP is doing that is investing more money into its channel partners to go out and represent HP, over and above others.

HP is typically strong in the mid-market and it is going to be focusing a lot on that sector in the coming weeks and months.

HP for Education is entering its second year. This is open to HP’s strategic education resellers.  Last year HP gave a million quid to schools and colleges that purchased its technology.

The maker of expensive printer ink has launched a device-as-a-service (DaaS) initiative with distributors Westcoast and Ingram.

 

HPE blames Brits for poor performance

article-2521076-19FD5A3C00000578-456_634x423Hewlett Packard Enterprise has singled out the UK for its weak performance in Europe after its revenue dropped in the second quarter.

HPE reported a global revenue of $7.4 billion, down 13 percent on the same period last year.

HPE CFO Tim Stonesifer said the UK was chiefly to blame for difficulties in Europe.

“Revenue in Europe continue to be weak, driven by the UK, although strong results in Germany helped the region,” he said.

HPE suffered because of a mystery tier-one customer in its server business as a major contributor to the revenue drop, as it did when it published its first quarter results earlier this year.

CEO Meg Whitman said that if this customer is taken out of the equation, HPE would have actually reported a revenue increase of one per cent for second quarter.

Whitman said that the customer was a significant enough size to dramatically affect revenue over the coming months.

Forbes speculated that the customer could be one of the big public cloud providers Microsoft, Google, or Amazon Web Services.

HPE’s server revenue declined 14 percent year on year in the quarter to just under $3 billion, but taking the tier-one customer out of the equation brings the decline to just one percent.

HPE was one of a number of vendors to hike prices in the UK specifically after the EU Referendum.

The company was surprised that jacking up the price of their products harmed the bottom line so much. Who would have thought that raising prices in a time of uncertainty would not have made more money?

Because of the difficultly regarding pricing and commodities, HPE will look to make savings of between $200 million and $300 million in the second half of this year – as it integrates Nimble and SimpliVity and adjusts for life after the spin mergers of its software and services groups.

HPE said it was taking significant steps to optimise the cost structure of the future HPE. It is also looking to trim an incremental $200 million to $300 million in cost savings in just the second half of this year, HPE said.

These savings will be a combination of tight control over spending and simplifying the organisation through de-layering and spend-control actions as it becomes a smaller, more nimble company, HPE said.

 

PCM enters the UK and is hiring

XdyfrZEwPCM has unveiled its entry into the United Kingdom and Europe through a wholly-owned subsidiary, PCM Technology Solutions UK.

For those who came in late, PCM is a big US technology solutions provider with 2016 revenues of $2.25 billion and nearly 4,000 employees.

Opening in the UK is the next major step in PCM’s global expansion following its successful entry into Canada in 2015. PCM UK will be conducting a Grand Opening celebration on 2 May and expects to begin sales operations during the second quarter.

PCM UK is driving towards considerable scale and expects to employ 90 co-workers by the end of 2017.

PCM CEO Frank Khulusi, Chairman said that the outfit’s expansion into the UK marks a major milestone for PCM.

“PCM UK will be our hub for the UK and the rest of Europe.  Many of our North American customers are increasingly global with needs for us to deliver to their European operations cutting-edge IT solutions with the same high level of service they have grown accustomed to from us in North America.”

The outfit said that there are significant potential opportunities for customers based in the UK and across the European Union.

“We believe now is the right timing for us to pursue this additional market, and launched our UK operations accordingly. We spent a great deal of time during the quarter setting up the operation, hiring a managing director and various other leadership roles to ensure the success of this international expansion.”

PCM UK has recently appointed Donavan Hutchinson as its Managing Director. Hutchinson joined the PCM in February to help develop and create the UK operation.

Hutchinson worked for other Global IT solution providers where he was directly responsible for creating and effectively executing collaboration programs to extend service offerings from North America based clients into the UK, Europe and Asia Pacific Markets.

Hutchinson, stated, “I am excited to bring my experience and record of accomplishment of successfully growing global sales of IT solutions to the PCM family.  With a mission of delivering a very high level of service to our European clients, we have already built an incredible management team to lead the operation, and I’m confident we will be able to expand the successes of PCM to the UK and across Europe. “

Jay Miley, PCM’s President, added: “Our success in rapidly building the UK operation and preparing it for a grand launch has been one of leveraging our strong relationships with our key vendors and distribution partners who believe in our team and our strategic business plan. I would like to personally thank all of our internal stakeholders, partners, vendors and distributors who are assisting us in executing against our strategy to extend the high level of service and support that our customers currently enjoy today.”

PCM UK is now hiring for positions in sales, vendor management, purchasing, marketing, IT and finance as well as a variety of other business roles.

Amazon promises to create 5,000 UK jobs

amazonOnline retailer Amazon is set to create more than 5,000 jobs in Britain this year as the outfit boosts its UK operations.

Amazon, along with other tech giants such as Google and Apple, has increased its commitment to Britain in the last year, saying Britain’s referendum decision to leave the EU last June did not affect its investment plans.

The plans to add over 5,000 jobs in 2017 is a record for Amazon in Britain, although at least 2,000 of the jobs had been previously announced. The moves would take its permanent workforce in the country to 24,000.

Doug Gurr, UK country manager at Amazon, said the jobs would provide “even faster delivery, more selection and better value” for British customers.

Amazon’s new head office in London will have capacity for more than 5,000 people by the end of the year, the firm said. The concentration of tech expertise in London has been cited by many firms as an attraction.

 

UK government ignores start-up tech outfits

are-we-afraid-noCES organiser Gary Shapiro, of the Consumer Technology Association, said that the UK government is pants when it comes to encouraging start-up technology firms.

Shapiro said that Blighty has been slow to the game and while he has some minister from the UK coming to the show there is not a lot of activity that we’ve seen at CES.

“I think it’s a source of embarrassment,” said Shapiro.

Other countries do things much better. The French give lots of support to tech firms but the UK’s attitude of the UK government was short-sighted.

About five times as many French companies are attending the year’s biggest consumer technology trade fair as compared to British firms. Canada, China, Taiwan and South Korea are well ahead of the UK.

The UK’s Department for International Trade (DIT) said that such a statement was jolly unfair as it was providing “targeted support” to such firms. In other words, rather than support a large number of start-ups it is providing only a small number of start-ups.  It saves money and you don’t have to give money to any riff-raff who asks you for it.

According to BBC, earlier a UK Trade and Investment stand used to be present at CES, but this year there will be no stand. While British electronics retailers will be at the show, but are less likely to find anything that is created in the UK.

Small business confidence low

1-pike-schermer-quits-30sweb1Small businesses confidence has fallen to its lowest level in three years.

According to the small business index compiled by the Federation of Small Businesses (FSB) which measures firms’ prospects for the next three months gave a reading of 8.6 for the first quarter, down from 21.7 in the fourth quarter and its lowest level since the first quarter of 2013.

Small firms also saw the first decline in job creation nationwide since the second quarter of 2013, .

The FSB said the fall in confidence was partly due to fears over the strength of the UK and global economy while Government policies such as the national living wage and pensions auto-enrolment had also contributed.

It pointed out that the last time confidence was lower at the start of 2013 was “a time when there were still huge doubts over the strength of the UK economy and many were discussing the prospect of a ‘triple dip’ recession”.

FSB vice-chairman Sandra Dexter said: “Small business confidence has clearly faltered, which is why the welcome small business focus in the Budget is so important.

“We need a renewed push for growth and productivity – with policy makers delivering a sustained package of support for ambitious small firms.”

HPE lets 1000 Enterprise Services staff “go”

INDUSTRY HP 1HPE is planning to tell 1,000 Enterprise Services staff to clean out their desks and pick up their P45s in the UK.

Most of the cuts are in the Infrastructure Technology Outsourcing (ITO) department where 780 people are at risk.

Staff in the UK were sent an “internal use only” memo on Friday afternoon revealing that hundreds of them could be out of work by the end of April. Of course if you send an email like that out someone is certain to leak it.

This is the second jobs warning at HPE. In January. HP told 166 ITO employees in England that they would be fired. Those at-risk workers are based in HP Enterprise’s Lytham site in Lancashire, and they provide infrastructure services for public-sector clients, including the UK government’s Department for Work & Pensions.

Today’s email to ITO staff is headlined “management update” and was written by Maurice Mattholie, ITO VP in UK and Ireland. It reads:

“I am writing to inform you of the Company’s proposal to implement a Workforce Management (WFM) programme in Q2 FY16. As announced by Meg, Hewlett Packard Enterprise needs to create a more efficient and accountable organisation to ensure a healthy long term sustainable business, with a market competitive cost structure, that will help the company transition to the new style of business.

It is important to point out that we are fully committed to continuing to use redeployment and voluntary exits to manage WFM in the UK and Ireland. It is expected that up to 780 positions within ITO will be impacted through WFM in Q2.

Whilst I appreciate that this announcement may cause concern I am committed to providing regular updates to ensure that everyone is kept informed. Thank you for your continued professionalism at this time of uncertainty.

This comes as HP Enterprise prepares to relocate all ITO roles in the UK to its offices in Cobalt, Newcastle, and Erskine in Glasgow. HPE, which employs about 240,000 people globally, has vowed to axe up to 30,000 workers worldwide over the next couple of years.”

Another  memo sent today to HPE UK staff, Jacqui Ferguson, senior VP for HP Enterprise Services in UK and Ireland, said that:

“In the UK, part of our strategy for Enterprise Services is to move more delivery services to both our Regional Delivery Centres (RDCs) in Erskine and Newcastle and to our Global Delivery Centres (GDCs). In aligning to this strategy in the UK, we have started consultation on our plan for the reduction of additional roles during Q2, with the UK trade unions and HPE employee representatives in the Enterprise Services Business Units.

We’d like to assure you that we remain committed to supporting the employability of our employees through a number of internal initiatives, including re­skilling, redeployment and support to obtain alternative employment, as appropriate.”

Needless to say that morale at HPE is gutted and the fact that the company is doing well now that it has off-loaded its profit sapping PC side means that few could understand why it is happening.

 

Government slammed over out of date broadband

tin-can-phoneThe Engineering Employers Federation (EEF) has warned that the UK could miss out on the fourth industrial revolution if the government continues to ignore business broadband.

The EFF said that UK businesses were paying inflated prices for inadequate broadband.

In a report which asked 128 companies between December 1 and December 31 about their broadband connection, more than half of all mid-sized firms were paying over £5,000 a year for their internet access. And to make matters worse nearly half of companies based in business parks were unable to access speeds above 10Mbps.

Two-thirds of manufacturers surveyed said that they planned to invest in IoT related infrastructure and services.

Lee Hopley, EEF chief economist said that manufacturers needed best in class provision if Britain was to take advantage of the next industrial revolution and government cannot afford to think it is job done.

“While the quality of networks isn’t currently an issue, companies are paying inflated sums to have proper access and are fearful they will not have competitive access five years’ down the line.”

The EEF said that the government had placed too strong an emphasis on improving home broadband services and called for a review of the business broadband marketplace, with the aim of driving prices down by the end of the current parliament.

UK VARs unhappy with US Vendors

too_good_for_grumpy_catUK VARs are less happy with their vendor partners than their counterparts in the US, according to a new survey.

The research conducted by CompTIA surveyed more than 200 British channel firms earlier this year as part of its State of the UK Channel Report 2015 and compared the results to that of the same survey it carried out in the US.

According to the results only one in five UK resellers would give their vendors the highest possible satisfaction rating. In the US 40 percent thought their vendor is the bee’s knees.

Less than 12 percent of UK resellers were not satisfied with their vendor partners.

CompTIA’s senior vice president for industry relations Nancy Hammervik said it is “not surprising” the Brits were less enthusiastic than their US counterparts.

She thinks channel conflict could be partly to blame although geography does not help. The UK is not a primary indirect target for many US-based vendors. She said that UK partners may feel less satisfied due to vendors assigning less resources, communication, marketing support to regions compared to the US.

More than 40 percent of respondents said channel conflict with vendors has gone up in the last year.

“There are more vendors can do to ensure their channel partners are 100 per cent satisfied and happy selling their products,” Hammervik said.

“If a reseller knows that their supplier is reliable and offers a product that their customers will want, they will have the confidence to retain and expand the relationship, meaning more business and income for the vendor.”

Schools demand refund from Apple and its partner

Teachers-apple-on-a-desk-007The Los Angeles Unified School District wants a refund from Apple over a bungled $1.3 billion deal to supply students with iPads.

In 2013, the schools were to equip each of its roughly 650,000 students with an iPad in one of the largest educational technology projects of its kind in the United States.

The entire deal was constructed by John Deasy, a Superintendent at the nation’s second-largest school district. He resigned in October amid criticism that he “favoured” Apple and Pearson for the project over better and cheaper technology.

A KPCC investigation found Deasy and his deputies communicated with Pearson employees over pricing, teacher training and technical support — specifications that later resembled the district’s request for proposals from vendors. Pearson and Apple emerged as the winning bidders and were awarded the now-abandoned contract in June 2013.

The FBI is investigating the project, and agents in December seized 20 boxes of documents relating to the program’s purchasing process from the district’s headquarters.

The problem was that the technology was not up to the job and the built-in curriculum was often incomplete.

The Los Angeles Times said the LAUSD’s Board of Education in a closed-door meeting on Tuesday authorized its attorneys to consider potential legal action against Apple and its channel partner Pearson.

“As you are aware, LAUSD is extremely dissatisfied with the work of Pearson,” the district’s general counsel, David Holmquist, said in a letter to Apple on Monday. “While Apple and Pearson promised a state-of-the-art technological solutio… they have yet to deliver it.”

Holmquist added that the district was severing ties with both companies for future services on the project, according to the Los Angeles Times.

However Pearson said that it was proud of its long history working with LAUSD and our significant investment in this ground-breaking initiative.

UK teams up with Israel over security

Screen Shot 2015-03-24 at 14.56.43Francis Maude, minister for the Cabinet Office in matters of cyber security, said that the UK and Israel have established three collaboration ventures to get government funding for cyber security.

The governments will contribute £1.2 million of funding to create a bilateral cyber research programme, he said.

The Universities of Bristol and University College London will team up with Bar Ilan University, while the University of Kent will tie up with the Israeli Ministry of Science and Technology.

The groups will work on six topics including identity management; governance; privacy assirance; mobile and cloud security; human aspects of security; and cryptography.

Maude said he wants the UK to be one of the safest places to do business online. “Cyber security is a shared global threat and I’m pleased that we are deepening our research relationship.”

The UK is a founding member of a global network called D5 – founding members also include South Korea, Estonia, Israel and New Zealand.

 

Hutchison Whampoa to buy 02

oxygen_maskHutchison Whampoa is expected to finalise a deal to buy Telefonica British mobile unit O2 for $15.70 billion today.

The companies did not face any major issues during the two months of due diligence, which could allow the deal to be announced on Tuesday.

The deal could be announced as early as this morning, but there is some possibility that it might be delayed.

Hutchison is chatting with wealth funds including China Investment Corporation, Singapore’s Temasek and GIC, and one of Qatar’s big government-sponsored outfits to provide the cash.

The company has plans to sell stake worth about 3 billion pounds, which makes about 30 percent of the group to outside investors, the newspaper reported.

Hutchison Whampoa is owned by Asia’s richest man, Li Ka-shing, and there might be those in the British government who are not that keen to have a British asset like O2 in the paws of the Chinese. However since no one minded when an Armada of Spanish financiers took the outfit out of British ownership, it is too late to bang Drake’s drum now.