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Geniuses at HMRC sack too many staff! Nope, can't do it online. FAIL

HMRC was too hasty to cut staff before expected cost savings from a shift to digital materialised – something that should act as a cautionary tale for its current "digitisation" plans, the National Audit Office has warned. Between 2010/11 and 2014/15, HMRC cut staff in its personal tax department from 26,000 to 15,000. But …
Kat Hall, 25 May 2016

Don't tell the Cabinet Office: HMRC is building its own online ID system

HMRC is pushing ahead with its own plans to build an online authentication portal following the decommissioning of the current Gateway portal in 2018, according to multiple sources. One source said the department is building its own authentication capability that will deal with businesses – something the Government Digital …
Kat Hall, 24 May 2016
Privacy image

Committees: Wait! Don't strap on the Privacy Shield yet

The revelations by rogue NSA sysadmin Edward Snowden in 2013 caused indignant EU politicians to open a dialogue with the US government to update the data transfer regime to safeguard personal data. The Privacy Shield is the culmination of those discussions. The US's hands-off approach has always differed from the EU's …
Frank Jennings, 24 May 2016
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Business dept sinks £14m into canned shared services plan

The department for Business, Innovation and Skills has sunk £14m in consolidating its legacy kit as part of a cross-government shared services plan that it later pulled out of. According to an FOI response, BIS invested £13.9m during the first phase of consolidating back office services for the department and 13 public bodies …
Kat Hall, 23 May 2016
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Shared services centres supposed to save £128m saved £0... and cost £4m

Moves to shift departments' back office servers and ERP systems into two privately owned shared services centres - which had been touted as set to save the taxpayer £128m - have failed to prove "value for money", according to a report by the National Audit Office. The shared services centres, run separately by IT provider …
Kat Hall, 20 May 2016

Remember when gov.uk said it would give big biz contracts to SMEs?

The Cabinet Office has lost its enthusiasm for prising open Whitehall's wallet and handing more cash to SMEs, according to a report by the Committee of Public Accounts today. Back in 2010, the government pledged to carve off 25 per cent of its £45bn spend in goods and services to small businesses. But today the committee said …
Kat Hall, 18 May 2016
European commission photo via Shutterstock

Microsoft and Hewlett Packard Enterprise salute EU flag, blast Brexiteers

Microsoft and Hewlett Packard Enterprise have nailed their colours to the EU mast as UK government applies pressure on firms to encourage employees, customers and channel people to support the Remain camp. UK CEO Michael Van der Bel at Microsoft has penned a note in which he stated “first and foremost” the way people decide to …
Paul Kunert, 17 May 2016
Excel on smart phone, photo via RoSonic on Shutterstock

Microsoft and SAP renew business vows in cloud

Microsoft and SAP are renewing their decades-old business intelligence and data partnership for cloud. SAP’s HANA elastic middleware will run on Microsoft’s Azure cloud with certified support. The agreement covers development, test and production workloads on SAP’s HANA and SAP S/4 HANA – the version of SAP’s enterprise suite …
Gavin Clarke, 17 May 2016
Plug, image via Shutterstock

Gov to pull plug on online ID verification portal Gateway in 2018

A date has been set to formally decommission the government's online identity Gateway portal by 2018 - a move that raises serious questions as to whether the Verify replacement will provide a fit for purpose alternative. The deal to pull the plug on Gateway - which is most importantly used for self-assessment tax users - has …
Kat Hall, 13 May 2016
image from shutterstock_148618127

IT glitch causes 'nationwide' Post Office outage

An IT glitch at the Post Office has caused a "nationwide problem" leaving thousands of customers unable to pay bills, post packages or collect benefits this morning. The Post Office apologised on Twitter for the inconvenience caused by issues with counter services at some branches this morning, saying they had now been …
Kat Hall, 09 May 2016
Sticker gun, image via Shutterstock

NetSuite CEO: 'It will be $99 forever for every user'

NetSuite has ruled out following its business-apps-as-a service peer Salesforce in hiking prices for customers. Zach Nelson, chief executive since 2002, has fixed his firm's monthly per-user pricing – currently at $99 - in stone. Business-cloud software rival Salesforce has increased its core pricing, stable and barely changed …
Gavin Clarke, 09 May 2016
Pennies in a jar. Photo via Shutterstock

Long term sick-note abuser Misco not losing nearly as much money

A pinkish hue has yet to return to the cheeks of sickly European reseller Misco but its latest financials indicate the patient is finally out of intensive care - the same cannot be said of its parent. Most of Misco’s vital statistics improved in calendar Q1, all but sales which slipped 5.3 per cent to $258.2m - or were down a …
Paul Kunert, 04 May 2016

EMC makes a LEAP forward with Virtustream and more

EMC World The first day of EMC World in Las Vegas caused announcement overload, with the Unity array top of the list, closely followed by a Virtustream storage cloud and more. The Virtustream Storage Cloud (VSC) is for enterprises and service providers to store data in the cloud, mission-critical data, says EMC. The data can come from …
Chris Mellor, 03 May 2016
Nerd fail photo via Shutterstock

Who you callin' stoopid? No excuses for biz intelligence's poor stats

Business Intelligence (BI) systems are designed to turn raw data into useful information, so why don’t they do the job properly? Why do most of them fail so completely to make use of the huge range of capabilities that the analytics world has to offer? Even at the most basic level, they fail catastrophically to take simple …
Mark Whitehorn, 02 May 2016
whitehall road in London. <a href="http://www.shutterstock.com/gallery-637816p1.html?cr=00&pl=edit-00">Albert Pego</a> / <a href="http://www.shutterstock.com/editorial?cr=00&pl=edit-00">Shutterstock.com</a>

Central gov spent £6.3bn on IT. Nearly half handed to just 3 suppliers

Central government splashed £6.3bn with IT suppliers for the year 2014/15 – with 42 per cent going to just three suppliers, according to government data shared with The Register. Sixty-five per cent of the total figure was hoovered up by 10 suppliers, with HP coming top at £1.2bn, followed by Capgemini at £861m, and BT at £ …
Kat Hall, 29 Apr 2016

Chomp! Barracuda gets its bite back after turning a profit again

The sum of $83.7m exceeded Barracuda’s revenue estimates for its fourth fiscal 2016 quarter, ended Feb 29, 2016. It was a 16 per cent rise year-on-year and a 4.5 per cent rise quarter-on-quarter. There was a $3.2m net profit, pleasing after five straight loss-making quarters. The full year revenue number was $320.2m, 15.4 per …
Chris Mellor, 28 Apr 2016
Carly Fiorina

Another failed merger, Carly? Ted Cruz to bring in ex-HP boss Fiorina as running mate

Republican presidential candidate Ted Cruz will announce his running mate at a campaign event on Wednesday afternoon – and the pick to revitalize his flagging campaign is Carly Fiorina. Fiorina ended her own bid for the presidency in February after a lackluster performance in which she proved herself to be factually challenged …
Iain Thomson, 27 Apr 2016
Shouting match

Blighty's SMB tech ranks bitterly divided on Brexit

Britain’s membership of the EU has small tech firms divided. A survey of owner-managed businesses by accountant Moore Stephens found 60 per cent of SME owners would vote to stay in the EU with less than one-in-five (17 per cent) supporting Brexit. Mark Lamb, a partner at the firm, said: “Owner-managed businesses are concerned …
Marcus Gibson, 27 Apr 2016

EE grows network by one-third, promises to build 750 new sites

EE has is expanding its 4G network by one-third to cover 95 per cent of the UK by 2020 – following its mega contract with the Home Office to provide emergency services coverage across the country. Under the plan the operator is building 750 new sites across the country in a bid to eradicate "notspots". It is the first major …
Kat Hall, 25 Apr 2016
Storm

Microsoft's Azure and Office 365 growth slows

Analysis Microsoft has reiterated its belief in a mythical annual income of $20bn from cloud despite growth in Azure and its apps-as-a-service business slowing. Chief executive Satya Nadella Thursday reiterated the existing belief Microsoft will hit £20bn “run rate” in cloud business for fiscal 2018. That’s the fiscal year after …
Gavin Clarke, 22 Apr 2016
K2

Dell looking at higher debt mountain to buy EMC

Dell is facing its EMC acquisition debt mountain growing yet higher because the Wall St bond market will need higher interest payments to fund the deal. That could highlight product overlap costs to ex-money man David Goulden who will run the new Enterprise Systems Group, covering its servers, storage, networking, converged …
Chris Mellor, 22 Apr 2016
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Whitehall waste: Cash splashed on consultants and temps up 90% in half decade

Update Taxpayers cash that government spends on consultants and temporary staff has soared by up to 90 per cent over the last five years to £1.3bn, as Whitehall struggled to build technical skills in-house, an official report confirmed. The Committee of Public Accounts probe into temp costs found departments’ overall spending had …
Kat Hall, 22 Apr 2016
Strom Clouds

Stalled cloud growth, software flatlining, hated Lumias unsold... It's all fine, says Microsoft CEO

Microsoft is putting a brave face on disappointing third-quarter earnings that saw profits fall 25 per cent year-on-year and cloud revenues failing to rise fast enough to offset losses in other areas. Earnings per share were $0.62 non-GAAP, down 23 per cent from 2015, compared to analysts' estimates of $0.64. "We had a solid …
Iain Thomson, 21 Apr 2016
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Hey, Britain! Meet Mr Maxwell, our new National Tech Advisor

The government's chief technology officer, Liam Maxwell, is escaping the Digital Services wing to take up the newly created post of National Technology Advisor. Under the promotion, the former head of IT at private school Eton will provide consultancy on Blighty's digital economy. Maxwell, who is leaving the post earlier than …
Kat Hall, 18 Apr 2016
£10 notes. Pic: Howard Lake

Ah, so that's why Adapt wasn't put in the shop window in 2015

The reason why Lyceum-backed Adapt remains Lyceum-backed is contained in their latest set of annual profit and loss accounts - company growth stalled and so a sales process was halted. The London-based outfit was expected to come onto the market last last year and tasked M&A and corporate finance advisor ARMA Partners with …
Paul Kunert, 18 Apr 2016
Shopping trolley. Pic: Mikey, Flickr

Microsoft licensing giant yanked off market after sales bid fails

The sales process for Microsoft enterprise licensing house Comparex is "ongoing", the parent company has told us, denying claims from multiple industry sources it is dead in the water. The Raiffeisen Banking Group-owned reseller hired investment banker Jefferies to manage a sales process in May and by September just two …
Paul Kunert, 15 Apr 2016

Why we should learn to stop worrying and love legacy – Fujitsu's UK head

Interview In the UK, IT Godzilla Fujitsu is perhaps best known for its unwieldy public sector contracts, being responsible for running a sizeable chunk of the government's legacy technology. Indeed most of its UK and Ireland revenue has historically come from the public sector, some 70 per cent at the beginning of the last Parliament in …
Kat Hall, 15 Apr 2016

Confirmed: Cisco did invest in SpringPath

When Cisco entered the hyperconverged product area with its SpringPath software-powered HyperFlex system, it had already invested money in SpringPath and gained board-level representation. Cisco VP for world-wide Data Center and Virtualization, Frank Palumbo, revealed this at a Data Centre partner meeting in Rome. The amount …
Chris Mellor, 13 Apr 2016
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What exactly is it that infosec miscreants get up to? A quick overview

If corporate IT infrastructures are a battlefield, then the cybercriminals are putting up a good fight. Last year saw some nasty breaches. Anthem Insurance, which lost nearly 80 million records, and the US Office of Personnel Management, which lost 21 million records after failing to encrypt its records. Cybercriminals are …
Danny Bradbury, 13 Apr 2016
Iain Duncan Smith. Pic: Foreign & Commonwealth Office

Universal Credit at high risk of cyber-attack, fraud from the outset

Documents released after a four-year legal battle reveal the extent of the UK government's blithe disregard for the risks faced by Universal Credit. This week, internal reviews of the enormous project in 2011 and 2012 were published by the Department of Work and Pensions under Freedom of Information laws. The dossiers reveal …
Kat Hall, 13 Apr 2016
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Capita not sitting on Hands: IT Enterprise Services boss splits

Capita IT Enterprise Services (ITES) overlord Peter Hands has strapped on his walking boots and strolled right out of the business for pastures news, the company has confirmed. Insiders claimed Hands had been under some pressure from the group’s joint COO Dawn Marriott-Sims, who was critical of the whole of ITES, “especially …
Paul Kunert, 11 Apr 2016
South Park's Underpants Gnomes

GDS has no real strategy for £450m budget pot, internal plan reveals

Exclusive Concerns are mounting that the Government Digital Service has no real plan for spending its £450m budget - following a leaked strategy document obtained by The Register. In November GDS was awarded the additional funding in the Spending Review to digitally transform Whitehall over this Parliament. Its previous annual budget …
Kat Hall, 08 Apr 2016

Fake CEOs pilfer $2.3bn from US biz pockets in three years – Feds

Scammers have bilked American companies out of $2.3bn from 17,642 victims since 2013, the FBI has warned, and the problem is going to get worse before it gets better. Basically, the hustle works like this: miscreants pretending to be top bosses send emails to employees, particularly those handling sensitive financial …
Iain Thomson, 07 Apr 2016
Doctor Who – The Zygon Invasion. Pic credit: BBC

The BBC flashes £560m ICT deal at hungry tech suppliers

The BBC has once again opened its wallet and is enticing suppliers to bid for a £560m ICT and hosting contract – part of its plans to replace its mega £2bn Atos contract. Over the next eight years it expects to splash between £400m and £560m on the deal, via a "single contracting entity" for end user compute services, hosting …
Kat Hall, 05 Apr 2016

Brocade stirs up a Ruckus, swallows wireless kit maker for $1.5bn

Brocade is buying Ruckus Wireless for cash and shares, valuing Ruckus at around $1.5bn, and giving it entry to the growing enterprise wireless networking market. The deal has been approved by both companies’ boards of directors. Ruckus stockholders will get $6.45 in cash and 0.75 shares of Brocade common stock for each share …
Chris Mellor, 04 Apr 2016
IRS

Carving up the IT contract behind £500bn of annual tax collection is a very risky move

Analysis The thankless nature of IT service provision is often demonstrated by the fact users only tend to notice it when it goes wrong: if there's no screaming, then it's working fine. In that respect, at least, HM Revenue and Customs' £10bn IT contract with Capgemini and Fujitsu has been a success. Particularly if one considers the …
Kat Hall, 04 Apr 2016
single pain of glass

One pane of glass to rule them all? Vanity – thy name is cloud management

Is it possible to achieve a single view of the cloud? The more cloud services that a company uses, the more complex it would seem to get. Maybe you use a bit of AWS here, some Azure there, and some Rackspace somewhere else. That might be complex enough, but add in your own on-premise cloud solutions and it gets even muddier. …
Danny Bradbury, 28 Mar 2016
Dispatchers are vital to co-ordinating on the ground activities

Ello ello ello: Bungling Met cops blew £100m on failing tech wheezes

Exclusive The Met Police has admitted to having spent more than £100m on 37 technology projects that have been either stopped or need to be "corrected" as part of its "project cull" strategy. Of 147 live technology projects at the Met, 20 projects worth £24m have been stopped and 17 more, worth £83m, have been identified as needing " …
Kat Hall, 24 Mar 2016

Police create mega crime database to rule them all. Is your numberplate in it? Could be

The police are to consolidate a number of their large databases into a single "platform" in order to "protect victims and spot potential links to other crimes." The plans for a "National Law Enforcement Data Programme" were announced by the Home Office today and will bring together data from the Police National Computer, …
Kat Hall, 23 Mar 2016
Europe outline map

UK.gov kicks long awaited digi strategy into long grass, blames EU referendum

The government's digital strategy will not be released until after the EU membership referendum, culture secretary Ed Vaizey has admitted. Speaking in front of a Parliamentaryselect committee yesterday, Vaizey said he wants to the UK to become a "gigabit Britain" over the next ten years. "The strategy has been drafted and is …
Kat Hall, 23 Mar 2016

PC World's cloudy backup failed when exposed to ransomware

The shortcomings of consumer-grade backup services in protecting against the scourge of ransomware have been exposed by the experiences of a UK businesswoman. Amy W, who runs a small business in the Newbury, Berkshire area, was convinced that the KnowHow cloud was the only backup technology she'd ever need1 when she bought a …
John Leyden, 22 Mar 2016
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Gov to take axe to big IT contracts soon, will hand chunks to SMEs

Chief executive of the civil service, John Manzoni, has promised the government will start chopping up its big IT contracts in the next year and kick its dependency on just a handful of suppliers. Amyas Morse, auditor general at the National Audit Office, told the Public Accounts Committee yesterday that 51 per cent of …
Kat Hall, 22 Mar 2016
Iain Duncan Smith. Pic: Foreign & Commonwealth Office

Iain Duncan Smith's Universal Credit: A timeline

Universal credit, the proposed one online benefits system to rule them all, has always been Iain Duncan Smith's brainchild – but with his shock departure from the Department for Work and Pensions, will the government finally put a bullet in the troubled project? Announced with great fanfare in 2011, the programme intended to …
Kat Hall, 21 Mar 2016
IBM PC 5150

IBM buys CRM SaaS firm – no, not Salesforce

IBM has snapped up an as-a-service CRM expert and, no, it has nothing to do with Salesfore. The giant has bought Microsoft Dynamics systems integrator partner Optevia for an undisclosed sum in a deal announced Friday morning. UK-based Optevia will be folded into IBM Global Business Services, which is seeing staff axed as part …
Gavin Clarke, 18 Mar 2016
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UK.gov's Major Projects Authority ain't saving us any money, say MPs

MPs have said they are disappointed in the lack of evidence that the Major Projects Authority has reduced UK.gov's poor track record in delivering big programmes, according to a report released today. The MPA oversees 149 projects, which have a combined lifetime cost of £511bn – many of which include a large element of IT such …
Kat Hall, 18 Mar 2016
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Former Hewlett Packard Enterprise chief slips into OCSL

A couple of months after Hewlett Packard Enterprise veteran sales chief Martin Hess quit, he’s rocked up as chairman at OCSL – one of his former employer’s nearest and dearest in the channel. London-based OCSL partners only with HPE on hardware, there are not many tech suppliers in the channel that do this, and coupled with …
Paul Kunert, 17 Mar 2016

UK tech supplier Softcat shows off fuller figures

Mid-market reselling monster Softcat is still piling on the pounds after adding hundreds of new punters and squeezing more out of existing ones. But the tech supplier agrees with Chancellor Osborne - storm clouds are gathering over the UK economy. At the half-way stage of fiscal ’16 ended 31 January, turnover at the Marlow- …
Paul Kunert, 17 Mar 2016
Game of Thrones

She's coming... the Chief Data Officer

The chief data officer is on the rise. The number of CDOs appointed by major organisations rose from 400 in 2014 to 1,000 in 2015, according to Gartner. By 2019, 90 per cent will have a CDO, the analyst says. Their rapid emergence raises important questions about the role and position of the CDO in organisations. More …
Mark Samuels, 17 Mar 2016
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Microsoft throws $$$$s at resellers who snare shiny new cloudy punters

Microsoft is again chucking wads of cash at channel types that convince entirely new customers - those not familiar with outages - to sign up to SKUs of Office 365 and CRM Online Pro. Money talks - financial encouragement is a proven method to shape the behaviour of third party sellers - and under the Sprint to the Finish …
Paul Kunert, 16 Mar 2016

Met Police cancels £90m 999 call command-and-control gig

The Met Police has canned its £90m command-and-control system responsible for handling 999 calls with Northrop Grumman following major delays to the contract. In January it emerged that a three-year delay to the 17-year contract awarded in 2014 would result in an extra £25m being tacked on to the cost. The Met's current system …
Kat Hall, 16 Mar 2016

Opinion

Privacy image

Frank Jennings

Two working parties, ministers galore... but data transfer law remains in limbo
EMC_Unity_bezel

Chris Evans

It does simplify the hardware setup, whatever it is
A microscopic view of the biometric shark skin. Pic: James Weaver

Chris Mellor

Do something and stop faffing about in the bush league

Kat Hall

International system in general needs greater transparency

Features

Nerd fail photo via Shutterstock
Shouting match
Single market vs. rest of the world
hacker
Mostly it's financial crime. Here's what all the cool kids' terms mean in English
Apple logo. Pic: Blake Patterson
Plenty of bumps in the 40-year road for Mac makers