Tag: UK

UK government falling behind on Cyber Crime

Hacker typing on a laptop

Ministers are not acting with “a meaningful sense of purpose or urgency” in the face of a growing cyber threat to the UK’s critical national infrastructure (CNI), a parliamentary committee has warned.

The joint committee on national security strategy said at a time when states such as Russia were expanding their capability to mount disruptive cyber-attacks, the UK’s level of ministerial oversight was “wholly inadequate”.

It urged Theresa May to appoint a cybersecurity minister in cabinet to take charge of the efforts to build national resilience.

Brexit about to give the application development market a kicking

1046922917The application development, testing and maintenance market is about to be dusted up by Brexit, according to a report from a report from Information Services Group.

Banking, financial services, healthcare and life sciences are likely to suffer some adverse impact from Brexit as no one knows what software they are going to need.

This means that the majority of companies in the UK have not yet begun preparing for Brexit, and there are growing fears of supply-chain disruptions. As for providers, the large ones should be able to cover most situations that arise, but smaller UK-based providers may struggle with the changing market dynamics.

Many vendors hope that there will be a spike in demand after 29 March next year as customers try to get in-line with any changes quickly.

Banks had already started to move headcount out of the UK, and there was talk of some movement in the car manufacturing areas, and that would be a strain on existing systems based on the current situation, the report said.

There were also signs that aside from Brexit customers were looking for more focus on next-generation options from their application development management partners. Areas of interest included: analytics, IoT, cloud-native architecture, SaaS-based offerings, security, customer experience and mobile.

Brexit be damned! UK is still Europe’s tech leader

ukflagThe UK remains the tech capital of Europe, according to beancounters working for London and Partners.

A report into which companies have received the most VC funding shows that British tech firms have received £5 billion worth of VC funding since June 2016 – more than France (£1.55 billion), Germany (£2.15 billion) and Sweden (£644 million).

Tech firms in London pulled in £4 billion, ahead of Paris (£1.14 billion), Berlin (£814 million) and Stockholm (£542 million).

In the last year, British finetch firms such as TransferWise secured £211 million and Monzo £71 million in investment. Meanwhile, a recent £177m injection for Revolut, has made it the UK’s latest unicorn company, valued at a cool billion.

It joins the list of 13 others, helping the country maintain the mantle of Europe’s unicorn capital with 37 per cent of Europe’s total unicorn companies.

London Tech Week ambassador and angel investor Sherry Coutu CBE said: “From Artificial Intelligence to cybersecurity, EdTech and GovTech, the UK is home to companies that are leading the way in developing and implementing the latest cutting-edge technologies.”

 

PCM doing well in the UK

indexUS-based PCM’s UK divisions did very well and saw revenue hit $9.1 million in the last quarter

For the three months ending 31 December, the wider PCM business saw its revenue decline four percent to $563.4 million, but its UK division, however, continued to grow, with its revenue more than trebling from the $2.7 million it hit in the previous quarter.

The UK arm launched in April last year and has since taken on a host of ex-Misco staff and made two acquisitions.

PCM CEO Frank Khulusi said the UK business has capitalised on UK market conditions.

“Concerning our new UK segment, it continues to grow rapidly and capture the attention of vendors, customers and competitors alike in this significant market”, he said.

“We are delighted to share that January was our first month with the UK segment operating results near break-even. This significant milestone for a start-up was reached eight months from our launch date.

“We are confident in our trajectory for our UK business, and we currently expect at least a $1 million improvement from the fourth quarter in our UK bottom line in Q1, and we continue to expect full-year profit for 2018.”

The  UK segment of PCM has generated $12.2 million in sales since its launch in PCM’s Q2.

However, Khulusi was not so happy with PCM’s performance in the US where it lucked out in the US public sector.

“We experienced significantly lower than anticipated contribution during the quarter from our public sector business that drove the year-over-year decline in consolidated results.”

 

UK cyber security staff shortage loom

wargames-hackerUK companies are facing a cyber security staff shortage and companies fear they are being exposed to  hacker attacks.

According to a recent survey of recruitment agencies, 81 percent  expect a rise in demand for digital security staff, but only 16 percent were meeing the demand.

A number of high profile cyber attacks in 2017 have fuelled demand for professionals. In March, the mobile phone company Three suffered a serious breach that compromised 200,000 customers’ data. In April, the payday loan company Wonga had 250,000 customer records stolen including bank account details, phone numbers, and email addresses. A third of NHS trusts werei nfected by ransomware this year.

Adam Thilthorpe, the director of external affairs at BCS, the Chartered Institute for IT, warned that  there is going to be a shortage of skilled IT professionals.

He called for an integrated strategy across government and business from education, apprenticeships and diversity initiatives.

“We should recruit more women, ethnic minorities and [retrain] older workers to unfilled posts.”

 

Brexit harms PC prices shock horror

are-we-afraid-noUK PC prices have suffered from the UK’s stand against foreigners coming over here and doing all the jobs we don’t want to do at reasonable rates.

Britain might be great again and have full employment, rule the waves etc since it stood up to Brussels, but Brexit has caused a spike in the price of various goods, ranging from computers to coffee and wine, with the channel having to pass on the bad news to customers.

According to Which? magazine,  the consumer watchdog asks questions about the impact of Brexit and details the range of price increases that have hit customers.

Apple MacBooks, which in some cases have increased by just shy of 20 percent, along with Microsoft Surface models that have gone up between 11-15 percent. But those are not the only two vendors that have been forced to increase retail prices. Ever since the referendum result slightly more than a year ago there have been movements in the prices of goods because of the slump in sterling.

Which? tech expert Jack Turner reckoned that some vendors had been quicker than others to pass the price rises on but exchange rates had caused a huge impact across the sector.

Nearly all of the major hardware vendors have been forced to bow to currency pressure and put up prices. So far since the Brexit vote the likes of HP, Dell, Lenovo along with Apple and Microsoft have raised hardware prices between 10-15 percent and software prices by 20 percent.

Context, which monitors the ASPs being offered through distribution, has seen rises over the course of the last year, which have continued into Q3.

Distributor ASPs for PCs were up 17 percent year-on-year across Western Europe, from €486 in July and August 2016 to €567 in early Q3 this year.

Currency fluctuations have been driving PC ASP increases since Q3 2016 but Context has also noted a move towards more high end gaming systems in the consumer segment, which has had an influence on prices.

Still at least the lot of the common man is better since Brexit… oh

Monoprice is over here now

220px-The_Yanks_Are_Coming_FilmPosterThe US electronics and accessories retailer Monoprice is setting up shop in Europe.

The move is part of an aggressive growth into the European consumer market through the launch of localized versions of its e-commerce platform.

The Monoprice site will be available first in the United Kingdom, followed by Germany, Italy, Spain and Switzerland, where its growing global consumer base will have access to hundreds of the brand’s offerings.

The company’s new sites will provide European consumers direct access to a diverse selection of premium products at a fraction of marketplace prices.

Monoprice CEO Bernard Luthi said that global adoption of consumer electronics is evolving rapidly but the higher costs of products available in the market pose a challenge to continued growth.

“We see that international consumers experience similar frustrations as those shopping for affordable electronics in America. With Monoprice’s expansion into key markets abroad, we are thrilled to bring our brand guarantee of simplicity, fair pricing and confidence to consumers and businesses throughout Europe.”

Each website will be tailored to the country’s language and currency for localised, intuitive use. Monoprice’s product managers and experts will curate a seamless online shopping experience, offering a variety of high-quality solutions across multiple product categories. Initial products will include 3D printers, headphones, small appliances, wall mounts, and AV/IT, personal and commercial products.

Monoprice currently leads the US 3D Printer market and sees this expansion as a significant opportunity to drive category growth globally.

Monoprice’s expansion is part of a multi-angle approach which includes in-country logistics and relationships with large marketplace partners. This approach signifies a strong commitment to European consumers and ensures orders have inexpensive shipping and faster delivery directly to customers’ doors.

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.