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Green shoots or false dawn for UK?, asks Opus

Is there really light at the end of the UK’s economic tunnel at last?

Yubico comments on AI in retail fraud

With the trend of fraudsters using AI tools such as large language models to produce deceptive scam emails, fake advertisements and bogus websites to target consumers during cultural shopping events, we ask Ben Eichorst, Director of Infrastructure Security, Yubico (www.yubico.com) for his views.

Semperis finds new attack variant

Research from Semperis (www.semperis.com) reveals that a new malicious variant of the attack technique used in the 2020 SolarWinds Breach can be exploited even if organizations have followed the security recommendations meant to defend against Golden SAML.

Systech manage exceptions in pharma

To address the increasing challenges facing the pharmaceutical sector relating to counterfeits, drug shortages and patient safety, Systech (www.systechone.com) announces the release of a comprehensive rework offering for managing exceptions in the pharmaceutical supply chain.

Precisely drives automation at Etam

Major fashion retailer the Etam Group is leveraging Precisely’s (www.precisely.com) Automate Studio solution across all Etam subsidiaries to transform finance function, streamline data-intensive processes, and fuel more confident business decisions.

Opus comments on early insolvency trends

Now that the Insolvency Service has released the corporate insolvency figures for January 2024, it looks like we are still on an upward trajectory after the all-time record high numbers for 2023.  We ask Nick Hood, Senior Business Adviser at the Opus Business Advisory Group (www.opusllp.com ) what lies behind these depressing statistics.

Opus comments as UK slides into recession

The Office for National Statistics confirms that the UK is officially in recession after Q4 2023 showed a 0.3% fall in GDP following Q3’s drop of 0.1%.  We ask Nick Hood, Senior Business Adviser, Opus Business Advisory Group (www.opusllp.com) what lies behind our poor growth record and what the prospects are for a swift recovery.

Invictus comments on new SME funding

With an eye-watering £32 billion in late payments owed to small businesses, more firms need greater access to the alternative asset-based funding than ever before. 

Prism acquires Inside IT

Leading Managed Service Provider (MSP) Prism Solutions (www.prism.uk.com) is expanding its IT services and support portfolio following its recent acquisition of Inside IT.

Yubico comments on online safety​
As the battle to stay safe online continues, we ask Marissa Nishimoto, Manager of Product Security, Yubico (www.yubico.comfor some key tips which both organizations and individuals will need the cybersecurity measures they adopt are to be successful.
TPP comments on market dynamics
The unprecedented twists and turns of 2023 left even the most seasoned strategists scratching their heads.
GOV UK urges tough cyber protection
We ask Nial McConachie, Regional Director (UK & Ireland), Yubico (www.yubico.com) how improving business-wide security has become a strategic imperative.
NETSCOUT comments on guidelines
We talk to Darren Anstee, Chief Technology Officer for Security, NETSCOUT (www.netscout.com) about the importance of threat intelligence and the best practices which business leader must now adopt if they are to improve their cyber resilience.
Young workers ignored in workplace
Revised ONS statistics demonstrate the importance of the younger workers’ voice, yet new research from Robert Half (www.roberthalf.co.uk) shows that more than 60% don’t feel listened to in the workplace
Data integrity key to business success
As more organizations and individuals become increasingly familiar with sophisticated technologies such as generative AI (genAI), every industry will need to develop a robust data integrity strategy. 
Almost half staff to change jobs
Employee pay continues to fuel unrest in the workplace with two-fifths (40%) reporting that they are planning to move jobs in 2024.
Opus comments on record business failures

As the Insolvency Service publishes its corporate insolvency figures for December 2023, it becomes clear that 2023 recorded an all-time high for business failures.  We ask Nick Hood, Senior Business Adviser at the Opus Business Advisory Group (www.opusllp.com) what lies behind these worrying statistics.

RH Job Confidence Index

With interest remaining on hold, the labour market is forecast to remain tight in 2024 according to the latest Job Confidence Index (JCI) (www.roberthalf.com/gb/en/insights/jobs-confidence-index) from Robert Half.

Precisely comments on AI model risks
​Rights groups continue to urge caution over the lack of transparency about data used to train AI-powered service models and how it poses risks to daily life, despite Parliament and Council negotiators reaching a provisional agreement on the Artificial Intelligence Act on 8 December 2023.

 
SPARK names SER a leader
The latest SPARK Matrix report names SER (www.sergroup.com) as a ‘distinguished Leader’ in content services and positions SER’s Doxis Intelligent Content Automation platform among the top three ‘Technology Leaders’ of the global Content Services Platform (CSP) market in 2023.
IDC names SER as leader
IDC names SER Group (www.sergroup.com) as a Leader in the latest IDC MarketScape: Worldwide Intelligent Document Processing (IDP) Software 2023-2024 Vendor Assessment, adding to the chorus of recent analyst evaluations and user reviews that validates SER’s bold approach to reimagining enterprise content management (ECM).
Globality predicts CFO AI by 2024
As developments in artificial intelligence (AI) continue, we ask Seth Catalli, Chief Revenue Officer at AI and autonomous sourcing leader Globality Inc (https://www.globality.com) on what CFOs can expect to see on the AI front in 2024.
Rephine and Eurofins spearhead 3PARL
The world’s leading graph database and analytics company Neo4j (www.neo4j.com) announces major new capabilities enabling cloud or self-managed customers to increase analytical queries by up to 100x faster, run both transactional and analytical processing within one database.
Faster analytics for neo4j
The world’s leading graph database and analytics company Neo4j (www.neo4j.com) announces major new capabilities enabling cloud or self-managed customers to increase analytical queries by up to 100x faster.

Tech hiring ramps up for 2024

Recruitment for technology professionals is set to increase in the coming year, but as skills shortages continue, firms face laying off staff as rising salary costs continue, reveals new research by specialist recruitment firm, Robert Half.

Finance staff want more, says report

Finance and accounting professionals want more than financial incentives, reveals Robert Half’s (https://www.roberthalf.co.uk) latest 2024 Salary Guide.

TPP comments on gilt market

As the National Institute of Economic and Social Research (NIESR) reports that the ten-year UK government bond (gilt) yield now stands at a similar rate as observed a year ago following the aftermath of the ‘mini-budget’, we ask Lane Clark, Co-Founder, The Portfolio Platform (TPP) (www.tppglobal.io) why despite its volatility the gilt market is still proving attractive to investors.

TPP comments on hedge funds
With the hedge fund industry facing significant challenges and “trend-following” strategies enduring a tough year, we ask Lane Clark, co-founder of The Portfolio Platform (TPP) (www.theportfolioplatform.com) whether hedge funds are losing their edge.
ProductLife Group acquires Strategiqual
To reinforce its position as quality and regulatory leader on the French market, ProductLife Group (PLG) (www.productlifegroup.com) acquires Strategiqual, a French consulting firm providing expert support in regulatory affairs, quality, clinical and market access for pharmaceutical products and medical devices.
Outsiders report breaches to ICO
IT leaders say almost a third of breaches reported to ICO are by outsiders according to further findings from the leading manufacturer of software-free, 256-bit AES XTS hardware-encrypted USB drives, Apricorn’s (www.apricorn.com) annual research into cyber breaches, encryption and data security.
NETSCOUT Arbor shows high ROI
The latest Forrester Consulting Total Economic Impact™ study reveals organizations are receiving 223% Return On Investment (ROI) when using NETSCOUT’s (www.netscout.com) Arbor DDos Protection Solution.

Pay inflation crisis looms

New data from recruitment specialists Robert Half (www.roberthalf.co.uk) shows certain skilled staff are commanding salary inflation of over 37% in 2024 with 63% of workers set to reject a lowball pay offer.

Staff want private healthcare

Over half of the UK workforce want private healthcare insurance at work as concerns around access to healthcare grows, with dental insurance topping the list, according to new research by Robert Half.

SynApps Solutions joins FSQS
With its deep experience in the financial services arena, enterprise content management specialists SynApps Solutions (www.synapps-solutions.com) is the latest organization to join the Financial Services Qualification System (FSQS).
 
 
Baker Ing and Esker join forces
Baker Ing is forming a strategic alliance with Esker (www.esker.co.uk) to help companies optimize financial operations and combat inflationary pressures using Esker Order-to-Cash (O2C) and Accounts Payable solutions.
 
Artus Air secures funding
Green innovator Artus Air (https://artusair.com) secures a multi-million-pound investment from one of the largest and most experienced investors in the UK and Ireland BGF.
Procurement urged to adopt AI
Procurement leaders are being urged to adopt gen AI after research by Globality (www.globality.com), the market leader in autonomous sourcing, and leading industry advisors, Art of Procurement reveals over 60% of procurement professionals believe their organizations need to pilot solutions using the game-changing tech by the end of the year.
 
Proservartner partners Esker
Boutique consulting firm Proservartner signs partnership deal with global cloud platform and leader in AI-driven process automation solutions for Finance, Procurement and Customer Service functions Esker (www.esker.co.uk) to resell and implement Esker’s Accounts Payable (AP) and Order-to-Cash (O2C) solutions.
World class RIM study
Leading Life Science benchmarking and advisory firm Gens & Associates (www.gens-associates.com) launches its largest World Class RIM℠ Benchmark study.
 
Sarum Life Sciences in Top 5
Pharma Tech Outlook’s annual awards names Sarum Life Sciences (www.sarumlifesciences.com) as a UK Top 5 Life Sciences PR and marketing agency.
Passwordless authentication is the key
As the Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA) launches a new awareness programme for October’s Cybersecurity Awareness Month, we ask Niall McConachie, regional director (UK & Ireland), Yubico (www.yubico.com) how organizations can improve their data security practices with passwordless authentication.
Esker transforms Lactalis Iberia
The Spanish subsidiary of the world’s leading dairy foods company Lactalis Iberia Group, is now automating and optimizing its Customer Service processes using Esker’s (www.esker.co.uk) leading AI-powered automation solutions to radically reduce the time it takes to manage customer orders.
Docker and NEO4j jumpstart GenAI
Out-of-the-box ready-to-code secure stack jumpstarts GenAI apps for developers in minutes after Docker (www.docker.com), Neo4j (www.neo4j.com), LangChain (www.langchain.com) and Ollama (www.ollama.ai) announces a new GenAI Stack solution at DockerCon.
Yubico on Nasdaq
Hardware authentication security keys leader, Yubico (www.yubico.com) announces that it is now publicly traded under the ticker symbol YUBICO on Nasdaq First North Growth Market in Stockholm.
New launches for Infinidat
Enterprise storage solutions leader Infinidat (www.infinidat.com) announces two new major enhancements to enrich and expand the company’s all-flash capabilities and capacity for enterprise storage.  
Coleman joins Arriello VP team
Integrated Regulatory Affairs, Pharmacovigilance and Auditing & QA solutions and services leader, Arriello (www.arriello.com) appoints biotech expert Kate Coleman as Vice President of Quality and Compliance.
Esker partners with Helixr
To further drive the efficiency within finance teams, Esker (www.esker.co.uk), the global cloud platform and leader in AI-driven process automation solutions for finance, procurement and customer service functions is partnering with business consultancy firm Helixr, to transform Source-to-Pay and Lead to Cash processes for businesses globally.
Esker partners with Boost Payment Solutions
In a move to revolutionize virtual card processing, Esker (www.esker.com) is partnering with Boost Payment Solutions to transform virtual card processing for accounts receivable (AR) departments.
Esker speaks at Gartner event
Global cloud and AI-driven process automation solutions for Finance, Procurement and Customer Service functions leader Esker (www.esker.com) announces it will be hosting an engaging speaking session at Gartner CFO & Finance Executive Conference        taking place 18-19 September 2023 in London.
Esker conference returns
This year marks the long-awaited return of the in-person Esker (www.esker.com) All Access Conference, following the 2021 virtual event.
New cybersecrity committee at Esker
A new cybersecurity committee to provide a bridge between Esker’s (www.esker.com) Chief Information Security Officer (CISO) and Esker’s Supervisory Board will be headed by Steve Vandenberg, a Global Black Belt with Microsoft’s Security Solutions Area, and Nicole Pelletier-Perez, a long-time IT professional.
Precisely comments on gen AI
According to a recent Gartner survey, 63% of marketing leaders are planning to invest in generative AI in the next 24 months.
 
Ardent Partners ranks Esker as leader
Ardent Partners’ 2023 ePayables Technology Advisor research report names Esker (www.esker.com) as a Market Leader for the
third consecutive time highlights the scope and depth of Esker’s Accounts Payable solution within its Source-to-Pay suite.
US patent for Esker ML
Global cloud platform and leader in AI driven process automation solutions provider Esker (www.esker.com) announces the issuance of U.S. Patent No. 11631265 by the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) for Esker’s machine learning technology.
ChatGPT enhances b2b CX
Customer service functions are set to get a boost as global cloud platform and leader in AI-driven process automation solutions provider Esker (www.esker.com) now incorporates ChatGPT into Esker Synergy AI technology.
ABF gigafactory selects Honeywell
The American Battery Factory (ABF) is selecting Honeywell’s (www.honeywell.com) Manufacturing Excellence Platform (MXP), Experion® Batch, Li-ion Tamer®, and Integrated Remote Operations (IOC/ROC) solutions in its new gigafactory located in Tucson, Ariz as part ABF’s optimization of its manufacturing process and workflow.
Three Cs top list for C-suite
Research form specialist recruitment firm, Robert Half (www.roberthalf.co.uk) reveals emerging crises, economic challenges and unpredictability in business is driving changes in leadership requirements with c-suite leaders increasing now being required to demonstrate the ‘Three Cs’; crisis management, creativity and communication.
Honeywell partners Arbin Instruments
Lithium-ion battery manufacturers and gigafactories are set to get a boost as Honeywell (www.honeywell.com) teams up with Arbin Instruments to revolutionize large scale lithium-ion battery manufacturing.
Data theft a big concern for IT heads
Ransomware fears are taking a backseat to data theft and keeping IT leaders awake at night.
 
Firms lack leader succession plans
Over 80% of businesses overall, and 51% of European firms admit they do not have a succession plan in place for leadership teams despite recognizing the need for such a strategy to ensure business continuity, according to the latest research from specialist recruitment firm, Robert Half (www.roberthalf.co.uk).
Avatrade comments on oil prices
As oil prices rise to over $90 a barrel for the first time in 2023 due to the two largest oil exporters, Saudi Arabia and Russia, continuing to cut their supplies until the end of the year, concern over rising inflation pressures globally is climbing. 
Xalient makes Global Top 100
The first ever Global Top 100 Inspiring Workplaces is ranking secure network and digital identity transformation specialist, Xalient (www.xalient.com) alongside companies such as Anheuser-Busch, Concentrix, Experian, Federal Reserve Bank of NY, Gartner, and Rackspace Technology, for creating the most inspiring workplace.
WSO2 for startups
Digital transformation leader, WSO2 (www.wso2.com) launches ‘WSO2 for Startups’ a global startup accelerator programme that will give startup candidates free access to WSO2 cloud services for 12 months.
Sutara talks AI at Big Data LDN
Keynote speakers continue to line up for Big Data London (https://bigdataldn.com), with Robin Sutara, CIO at Databricks set to address the AI revolution and how Gen AI is creating a ‘Game of Thrones’ by disrupting hierarchies.
Logpoint appoints Haldbo as CFO
Experienced financial executive Michael Haldbo joins Logpoint (www.logpoint.com) as Chief Financial Officer (CFO). 
 
Diversity in the boardroom
Businesses need to first take a ‘look in the mirror’ and implement real change before attempting to improve diversity on the board through external hires, according to the latest Boardroom Navigator 2023 report from Robert Half (www.roberthalf.co.uk).
VIRTUS in megacampus project
Innovation into green data centres is set to get a boost as leading data centre provider, VIRTUS Data Centres (www.virtusdatacentres.com) unveils a €3 billion, 300MW Wustermark megacampus project in Brandenburg, Germany.
WSO2 names first tech fellow
Digital transformation leader, WSO2 (www.wso2.com) awards Professor Dr Frank Leymann as its first WSO2 Technology Fellow – the highest technical ranking in the company.
Strong 1H for Infinidat

Enterprise storage solutions provider, Infinidat (www.infinidat.com) announces the company is continuing its momentum of strong growth and execution with 29% year-over-year growth in bookings for January.

11:11 Systems expands AWS access

To provide customers with more choices, including new global access to 11:11 Services and the ability to standardize data protection across hybrid environments, 11:11 systems (www.1111systems.com) is expanding its relationship with Amazon Web Services (AWS).

Protegrity and Exasol extend alliance

Organizations hampered by concerns over managing data security and compliance requirements in their analytics workflows are set to get a boost as data security leader, Protegrity (www.protegrity.com) extends its partnership with Exasol, the no-compromise analytics database.

Netwrix reports on MSP priorities

Seven in ten Managed Service Providers (MSPs) name data and network security as their top IT priorities for 2023 because they are so integral to their clients’ IT operations, according to the latest report by cybersecurity vendor, Netwrix (www.netwrix.com).

 
AvaTrade comments on earnings season

As the earnings season for Q2 2023 begins, we ask Kate Leaman, Chief Market Analyst, AvaTrade (www.avatrade.com), to share her thoughts on which sectors are emerging as winners and losers during the current earnings season.

PLG acquires RNI
Global provider of regulatory and compliance services for the life sciences industry, ProductLife Group is strengthening its regulatory expertise in borderline products with the acquisition of RNI.
Synapps joins NHS framework
The Countess of Chester Hospital NHS Foundation Trust’s Commercial Procurement Services names enterprise content management specialist SynApps Solutions (www.synapps-solutions.com) as one of six suppliers to the £150 million contract
New team for SER Turkiye
Europe’s leading vendor of intelligent content automation solutions, SER Group (www.sergroup.com) is continuing its global expansion with a new team in Turkey to meet the region’s increasing demand for digital transformation solutions.  
Menlo warns of risky AI generated ads
One in three UK consumers are unaware of the risk of malvertising when clicking on AI-generated ads online according to research by cloud security leader Menlo Security.
Sunday Times 100 ranks Xalient
The Sunday Times Hundred 2023 (www.thetimes.co.uk/sunday-times-100-fast-growth) ranks the secure network transformation specialist, Xalient (www.xalient.com) for the second year as a fast growth leader after the firm achieved sales of £37.6 million and growth of 52.9%.
Honeywell Ionic launches BESS
The latest scalable end-to-end modular battery energy storage system (BESS) and energy management tool from Honeywell (www.honeywell.com), the Honeywell Ionic is a single, complete solution.
Lack of IT budget challenges firms
The biggest security challenge facing small business is lack of IT budget, says one in two small companies, according to additional findings from a Netwrix (www.netwrix.com) survey conducted in February 2023 amongst security and IT professionals from 106 countries.
VIRTUS expands into Europe
Award-winning pure-play data centre owner-operator and part of the ST Telemedia Global Data Centres Group, VIRTUS data centres (www.virtusdatacentres.com) announces plans to expand into continental Europe with the construction of its first data centre campus outside of the UK.
BMC launches AMI cloud
Organizations looking to unlock their mission-critical data across hybrid IT infrastructures to increase business intelligence for better decision making, are now able to take advantage of the power of on-premises mainframe computing for large-scale, business-critical transactions while gaining the benefits of the cloud.
Honeywell boosts oil & gas sector
Production efficiency and asset reliability in the oil and gas sector have been given a boost after Honeywell (www.honeywell.com) launches its Upstream Production Performance Suite (UPP Suite).
VIRTUS strikes Gold
The Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents (RoSPA) recognizes leading data centre provider, VIRTUS (www.virtusdatacentres.com) with a Gold award for its internal management of Health & Safety Practices, Policies and Standards.
FEBE names Xalient for fast growth
FEBE (For Entrepreneurs By Entrepreneurs) (www.febe.com) names secure network transformation specialist, Xalient (www.xalient.com) as the fastest growing founder-led private company in the FEBE Growth 100 listing for the second year.
Cohesity awards 11:11 Systems
Data security and management leader, Cohesity (www.cohesity.com) awards 11:11 Systems (www.1111systems.com) Global Service Provider Partner of the Year for global growth, innovation and expertise in data protection including 11:11 Managed Backup for Cohesity.
HPE honours 11:11 Systems
Hewlett Packard Enterprise (HPE) names managed infrastructure solutions provider, 11:11 Systems as HPE Partner of the Year Award for showing outstanding customer excellence and innovation.
EMail Security risk report
Phishing emails continue to be a major threat to organizations with almost 100% of cybersecurity leaders saying that inbound and outbound email security incidents are causing them the greatest stress according to the latest Email Security Risk Report 2023 from cybersecurity experts, Egress (www.egress.com).
Breach containment top at Infosec
Breach containment is tipped to be the key talking point on the show floor at this week’s Infosecurity Europe (www.infosecurityeurope.com/en-gb.html) as headline speakers and exhibitors line up to provide insight and advice to attendees on response, recovery and resilience, and to educate and evoke behavioural changes in tackling security threats.
Infosec talks retaining cyber talent
Major Andrew McGrane, Interim CISO, Global Operations, Ministry of Defence (MoD) will join a panel of senior cybersecurity and business executives to discuss ‘The Achilles' Heel of the Cybersecurity Industry — Cyber Talent Management and Focusing on the Human Deal’ at this week’s Infosecurity Europe (www.infosecurityeurope.com/en-gb.html).
Poor data hampers business agility
The 2023 Data Integrity Trends and Insights Report from Precisely (www.precisely.com) and the Centre for Business Analytics at Drexel University’s LeBow College of Business (LeBow) reveals top concern for enterprises seeking to drive agility.
Employees to blame for data breaches
UK security leaders believe that their organization’s employees are continually exposing sensitive data to the risk of a breach, yet are neglecting to take the necessary steps to control the risks.
Productivity soars with SER Doxis
Research by Forrester Consulting reveals that SEW-EURODRIVE achieves 336% return on investment (ROI) and savings totaling more than €17 million over three years by automating document management and processes with SER’s (www.sergroup.com) AI-powered platform, Doxis.
BMC launches ESG report
Global leader in software solutions for the Autonomous Digital Enterprise, BMC (www.bmc.com) launches its annual Corporate Citizenship and ESG Impact Report and highlights the company’s continued commitment to reduce its carbon footprint, support DEI, sustainability and social causes.
Globality adds generative AI to GLO
Market leader in AI-powered autonomous sourcing, Globality (www.globality.com) enhances its next-generation bot, GLO with generative AI functionality to help companies to achieve up to 20% in cost savings and 70% in efficiency gains.
 
Precisely data saves lives
Data integrity leader Precisely (www.precisely.com) is helping to save lives by providing San Bernardino County with pro bono access to its Wildfire Risk solution to offer a detailed assessment of wildfire severity and probability in the region.
 
Macquarie Asset Management backs VIRTUS
Leading data centre provider VIRTUS Data Centres (www.virtusdatacentres.com) is set to see rapid expansion after ST Telemedia Global Data Centres (ST Telemedia) reaches an agreement for Macquarie Asset Management, via Macquarie European Infrastructure Fund 7, to acquire a significant minority stake in leading VIRTUS.
Pharma D&S joins PLG
Global provider of regulatory and compliance services for the life sciences industry, ProductLife Group (PLG) (www.productlifegroup.com) is expanding its Italian footprint with the merger of Pharma D&S.
Firms not prepared for DR, says Apricorn
Research finds 75% of organizations are unnecessarily putting customer data at risk due to inconsistent protection practices and negligent backup policies.
Gartner names Esker as leader
Gartner names Esker (www.esker.co.uk), a global cloud platform and leader in AI-driven process automation solutions for Finance, Procurement and Customer Service functions, as a Leader in the 2023 Gartner Magic Quadrant for Integrated Invoice-to-Cash Applications (I2C).
Government evades FOI requests
Leading manufacturer of software-free, 256-bit AES XTS hardware-encrypted USB drives, Apricorn (www.apricorn.com) reveals many government departments are evading their responsibilities to fulfil Freedom of Information (FoI) requests.

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