Talent Development Centre

All posts by Kevin Dee

Canadian Job Market Update for November 2020

Kevin Dee By Kevin Dee, Co-Founder of Eagle

One of the ways Eagle adds value is to provide regular job market information.  Sometimes it is a look at Canada as a whole and other times we focus more in-depth on specific markets.  This update is a high-level look at the Canadian job market, and the factors influencing it.  In previous months we have provided market updates, specific to different markets, which you can find through the links here:

Canadian Job Market Quarterly Update Across CanadaThere are a number of indicators that I have used over the years to give an idea of how things are going.  One such indicator is the markets, and for this purpose I have focused on the TSX.  When the pandemic hit back in March, the TSX dropped to 11,350, and here in mid-November it is sitting at 16,800.  In the last five years it has rarely been above this level, except for a few months just before the pandemic hit.  Generally, the markets have performed well even during a pandemic!

The unemployment rate is an obvious indicator for the job market, and as I write this the unemployment rate is at 8.5%.  Employment is coming back with employment numbers improving on average by 2.7% every month since May.  The recovery of course is very uneven with some professions taking a real hammering.  In April there were about 5.5 million Canadians whose jobs were affected due to the pandemic, and currently that number is about 1.1 million. So improvement, but if you are unemployed, that doesn’t pay the bills.  Surprisingly, according to Statistics Canada, the professional, scientific and tech professions are in a better position today than pre-COVID.  Another indicator saw October as the first month where the self-employed numbers improved since March, which is perhaps the start of good news for our independent contractor community.  In April, Eagle experienced a 70% drop in orders from our clients but have experienced a steady recovery since then, such that order levels are about 80% of the pre-COVID demand.  This of course can change as lockdowns and outbreaks occur, but we are optimistic that we will not go back to the April levels of unemployment.

Job seekers willing to “go where the jobs are” will always fare better than those unwilling to relocate.  In Canada, the four largest provinces represent close to 90% of the jobs, with Ontario being the largest (close to 40%); Quebec (approx. 23%); BC (13.5%) and Alberta (12.5%).  So, when considering where to look for jobs, a province that employs a lot of people and has a relatively low unemployment rate is a good place to look — BC, Quebec and Ontario all fit that bill.  Alberta is still struggling because of the hit on the oil and gas sector.

One of the big factors affecting the Alberta market is the price of oil.   The price of a barrel in Canada is just under $30 and between $13 and $15 less than world prices.  One factor for this price differential is Canada’s reliance on just one client, the United States.  Unless this changes that will likely remain a factor in Alberta’s economy.   There are however still opportunities in Alberta, just not the booming demand we saw in the past.

The US is Canada’s largest trading partner and represents both opportunity and risk.  A Democratic government is not likely to be a friend to the oil and gas sector, which will continue to hurt Alberta.  Pre-COVID, the US enjoyed record levels of employment, with significant skill shortages.  There has been a significant dampening on the jobs front during the pandemic.   We have seen significant investment in Canada by large US companies like Amazon, Facebook, Google etc. all adding to their Canadian presence to tap into the talent up here, and I expect that to continue, but likely after the recovery.  Canada is also currently able to attract skilled immigrant talent easier than in the US, whose immigration laws are more prohibitive, but a change in government in the US is likely to ease that issue.  We will know more as the new administration rolls out its plans.

Tech job activity was very strong pre-COVID and while we have not recovered to the same levels yet, there is still good opportunity for in-demand skills across Canada, and that demand is increasing.  Technology has played a huge part in allowing companies to operate during the pandemic, with Digital Transformation allowing work from home strategies and websites, security and payments systems playing a significant role in the proliferation of online buying.  We typically suggest the tech unemployment rate as being about half of the general unemployment rate, but in COVID times, I would suggest an even wider gap.  The general unemployment rate of 8.5% includes the huge impact on the hospitality, travel and retail world while many tech professionals have been able to continue to work from home.  It would surprise me if the tech unemployment rate is more than 4%, which is not far off full employment.

For a more detailed look at the specific markets across Canada I suggest you read the linked writeups from Eagle’s Executive team across the country, referenced earlier.

Eagle’s focus is technology professionals and the most in demand areas/skills recently have included: Cloud, Government, Telecom, Security, Payments, CRM, Digital, Big Data, BI and AI; Agile BAs, Change Management, Quality Assurance, Architects, Solution Architects, Front & Back end developers, Full Stack developers, DevOps engineers; and even mainframe is making a comeback!

In summary, people with those in-demand tech skills and experience should have little difficulty in finding employment, either contract or perm if not immediately, then very soon!  A willingness to relocate to the bigger centers will only increase marketability.

It remains to be seen when things will return to something “more normal”, but life needs to go on and people in tech are in demand, many can work from home and that demand is only going to increase.

For employers our advice is this:

If you see great talent that will be a fit in your organization then act now, because their availability will not last long.  We will return to skills shortages sooner rather than later.

Now is a great time to refine and speed up that hiring process!  Finding, screening, hiring and onboarding can all be done remotely and efficiently, and will become an absolute necessity very soon.  We are still seeing our candidates receive multiple job offers and clients losing talent because they are too slow to make a decision, even now!

IT Industry News for October 2020

Kevin Dee By Kevin Dee, Co-Founder of Eagle

This post first appeared on the Eagle Blog on November 10th, 2020

This is my 30,000 foot look at events in the Tech industry for October 2020. What you see here is a précis of the monthly report I produce, which will be available in more detail at the News section of the Eagle website, where you will also find back issues.

A Little History of previous year’s Octobers

 Five years ago, in October 2015, Dell paid $26 billion to buy storage company EMC. Interestingly, EMC subsidiary VMWare was also out shopping, picking up a small email startup, Boxer. In another deal involving “big bucks”, Western Digital paid $19 billion for storage competitor Sandisk. IBM were also writing a big cheque, paying $2 billion in a big data/internet of things play for The Weather Network (minus the TV operations), and IBM also picked up a storage company, Cleversafe. Cisco paid $522.5 million for cybersecurity firm Lancope; LogMeIn paid $110 million for LastPass; Trend Micro paid $350 million for next generation intrusion prevention systems company HP Tippingpoint; Red Hat picked up deployment task execution and automation company Ansible; Vasco Data Security paid $85 million for solution provider Silanis; and Apple bought a speech processing startup, VocalIQ. As industries converged, it was interesting to see Securitas pay $350 million for Diebold’s US Electronic Security business.

October 2016 did not see a lot of M&A action, but Qualcomm paid $47 billion for NXP Semiconductor. The only other sizable deal saw Wipro pay $500 million for IT cloud consulting company Appirio. Google picked up Toronto-based video marketing startup FameBit and Pivot Technology Solutions picked up Ottawa-based Teramach.

Three years ago, in October 2017, Cisco paid $1.9 billion for Broadsoft to improve Cisco’s software capabilities. The only other significant deal saw Telus beef up its service provider capability with a $250 million purchase of Xavient.

October 2018 was an interesting month, with some significant M&A activity and the sad passing of yet another tech pioneer, Paul Allen who cofounded Microsoft with Bill Gates. On the M&A front, IBM paid $34 billion for Red Hat to increase its game in the cloud systems arena. In the red-hot cybersecurity space, PE company Thoma Bravo paid $2.1 billion for Imperva. Twillio also shelled out $2 billion to acquire email company SendGrid, rounding out their API offerings. Other deals saw Honeywell bolster its IoT offerings, paying $493 million for Transnorm; Palo Alto Networks paid $173 million for security startup Redlock; Computacentre paid $70 million for FusionStorm to grow its consulting business in North America; GTT Communications paid $40 million for Access Point to add to its network; and Fortinet paid $18 million for ZoneFox to improve its threat analytics capability. There was plenty more M&A activity with big names involved. Some of them included: Google (chatbot company Onwards); Accenture (DAZ systems); DXC (agodesign); Samsung (Zhilabs); CapGemini (June 21); and NTT Data (Sierra Systems).

Last year, in October 2019, the largest deal was in the data center space, with Digital Realty paying $8.4 billion for Interxion; there was a smaller data centre deal that saw Equinix pay $175 million for 3 data centres from Axtel; and a third datacenter deal involved ServerFarm buying SNINES. Another big dollar deal saw private equity company Thoma Bravo offer $3.4 billion for security platform company Sophos. Big name companies out shopping included Intel buying Pivotal’s Edge Computing platform; Accenture bought Bow & Arrow, a company that helps its clients find new markets; Microsoft bought Mover, a company that helps clients move to the cloud; and Telus paid $700 million for ADT’s Canadian Security Services business. Some other deals included network company Cienna buying performance and analytics firm Centina; Sailpoint paid $37.5 million for two cloud security startups: Tech Data bought DLT Systems; and Trend Micro picked up security company Cloud Conformity.

Which brings us back to the present

 There was plenty of activity in October 2020. The world is still in recession but there are indicators that things are improving. Employment numbers around the world are getting better, although they still have “a ways to go”. The prospect of a vaccine brings some optimism and the US election has resulted in some positive sentiments around the world, although the US is still a divided entity and we will see what comes next.

In a pandemic it may be surprising to some, but the acquisition space has been quite active as companies continued their strategic initiatives or took advantage of struggling assets. This month there were some big deals, with AMD’s $35 billion purchase of semiconductor company Xilinx being the biggest deal of the month. Another semiconductor deal saw South Korea’s SK Hynix pay $9 billion for Intel’s NAND flash memory division; and Juniper shelled out almost half a billion dollars ($450 million) for an AI startup, 128 Technology.

Other deals saw Veeam pay $150 million for backup and security company Kasten; and Cisco paid $100 million for application security company Portshift. Accenture continued its 2020 acquisition blitz with several buys: Houston-based Myrtle Consulting Group, AWS consulting company Enimbos; old Ottawa consulting friends Avenai; and New Zealand cloud migration company Zag. Cognizant bought AWS & IoT company Bright Wolf; Ping Identity bought block-chain security startup ShoCard; and ride sharing company Via bought Fleetonomy, a fleet management software company.

That is what caught my attention in tech news for October 2020 … until next month, walk fast and smile … wash your hands and MASK UP!

IT Industry News for September 2020

Kevin Dee By Kevin Dee, Co-Founder of Eagle

This post first appeared on the Eagle Blog on October 19th, 2020

This is my 30,000 foot look at events in the ICT industry for September 2020. What you see here is a précis of the monthly report I produce, which will be available in more detail at the News section of the Eagle website, where you will also find back issues.

A Little History of September in previous years …

Five years ago, in September 2015, there was a fair bit of M&A activity but no blockbuster deals.  Microsoft was very active, closing three deals: Adxstudio which provides web-based ACCENTURE LOGOsolutions for Dynamics CRM; app developer Double Labs; and cloud security firm Adallom.  Accenture picked up the cloud services company Cloud Sherpas; IBM added cloud software startup StrongLoop; Netsuite paid $200 million for cloud-based marketing company Bronto Software; and Blackberry paid $425 million for competitor Good Technology.  Hardware company Konica Minolta bought IT Weapons; Qualcomm bought medical device and data management company Capsule Technologies; Networking and storage company Barracuda Networks bought online backup and disaster recovery company Intronis; and Compugen bought some of the assets of another Canadian company, Metafore.

September 2016 saw Tech Data pay $2.6 billion for the technology solutions group of Avnet, and HP made the biggest printer acquisition to date, paying $1.05 billion for HP logoSamsung’s printer business.  Other deals saw Google pay $625 million for Apogee, and restaurant company Subway bought online order taking software company Avanti Commerce.  One investment that caught my eye in the staffing world saw Accenture invest in crowdtesting company Applause.

Three years ago, September 2017 saw Google splash out $1.1 billion to acquire HTC’s pixel team, strengthening its own smartphone capabilities.  In an interesting move IKEA bought gig economy company TaskRabbit.  HPE bought Cloud Technology Partners, presumably to strengthen its capabilities in that area and possibly access new clients.  Finally Edmonton company F12.net bought Vancouver’s ONDeck Systems as it pursued its goal to be a National IT Service Provider.

There were some big deals in September 2018.  Adobe’s $4.5 million purchase of Marketo was the big deal of the month.  Not a true tech play but Sirius XM paid $3.6 billion for Pandora, and with digital/media/tech convergence it seemed like a fit.  Digital Realty expanded its data centre footprint with the $1.8 billion purchase of Brazil’s Ascenty.  SS&C paid $1.5 billion for Intralinks.  Vonage paid $300 million for contact centre as a service company NewVoiceMedia; Microsoft added to its AI portfolio, buying Lobe; Intel bought a startup, NetSpeed to help with its IoT chips; Cognizant added to its Salesforce capabilities, buying Advanced Technology Group; Infosys also added Salesforce capability in Europe, buying Fluido; and Slack addd an AI driven email client to its portfolio with the purchase of Astro.

Last year, September 2019 was relatively busy in M&A with Qualcomm’s $3.1 billion Facebook logoacquisition of TDK’s share in a RF joint venture, the largest deal of the month.  There were some big names out shopping, with Microsoft buying cloud migration company Movere; Facebook bought Wearables company Ctrl-labs (reputedly for big dollars); HP bought endpoint security company Bromium; Western Digital bought Kazan Networks; and Github bought developer tool Semmie.  Commvault paid $225 million for cloud software company Hevig and there were a few more smaller deals.

Which brings us back to the present …

In September 2020, the world continues to deal with the pandemic, with no sign of an end as yet.  Despite these challenges (or perhaps because of them) there was still a fair amount of M&A activity this month with the biggest deal seeing Nvidia pay $40 billion for chip company ArmMicrosoft splashed out in the games world, paying $7.5 billion for Zenimax media, parent company of the maker of Doom and Fallout; and the other billion dollar deal saw Ericson pay $1.1 billion for 5G specialist Cradlepoint.

Pure Storage paid $270 million for Portworx and its Kebrnetes Data Service Platform; Progress Software paid $220 million for Devops company Chef; Crowdstrike paid $896 million for cybersecurity startup Preempt Security; and Compucenter grew its North American footprint, paying $80 million for Pivot Technology Solutions.

There were some other big names making deals, with VMware buying software automation expert SaltStack; Accenture continued its buying spree with the acquisition of B2B sales automation company N3; and Cognizant grew its Microsoft team with the acquisition of 10th Magnitude.  There were a number of other deals involving lesser known names.

Other companies in the news included HP, who paid $6 million to settle charges by the SEC; and both Amazon and UPS announced some significant hiring plans.

Economies continue to struggle and unemployment numbers around the world are ugly, but there are signs of them improving with some positive signs from the US, Canada and the OECD, although we have a long way to go yet!

That’s what caught my eye over the last month.  The full edition will be available soon on the Eagle website.  Hope this was useful and I’ll be back with the October 2020 tech news in just about a month’s time.

 Until then, Walk Fast and Smile … wear a mask and wash your hands!

IT Industry News for August 2020

Kevin Dee By Kevin Dee, Co-Founder of Eagle

This post first appeared on the Eagle Blog on September 9th, 2020

This is my 30,000 foot look at events in the Tech industry for August 2020. What you see here is a précis of the monthly report I produce, which will be available in more detail at the News section of the Eagle website, where you will also find back issues.

A Little History of August in previous years …

Five years ago in August 2015 there were two “billion-dollar” deals.  Symantec sold Veritas IBM logo(which it paid $13.5 billion dollars for 10 years prior) to a group of investors for $8 Billion and IBM shelled out $1 billion for Merge Healthcare.  Smaller deals saw Calgary-based Above Security bought by Hitachi; Transcomos bought 30% of Vietnamese daily deals site Hotdeal; Freshdesk bought live-chat company 1Click; and PLDT bought ecommerce startup Paywhere.

August 2016 saw a fair bit of M&A activity although there were no billion-dollar deals.   The largest deal saw global staffing company Randstad buy Monster for $429 million.  A similar Intel logosized deal saw Intel shell out $408 million for artificial intelligence company Nervana.  Hewlett Packard Enterprises paid $275 million for SGI (what was left of Silicon Graphics); Apple paid $200 million for artificial intelligence company, (there is a pattern here), Turi; Salesforce bought business analytics company Beyondcore for $100 million; and ScanSource paid $83.6 million for telecom cloud services company Intelisys Communications.  Other acquisitions saw Microsoft snap up two companies, artificial intelligence scheduling software company Genee, and their XBox division bought interactive livestreaming company Beam.

Three years ago, August 2017 was relatively slow on the M&A front.  Symantec sold its Cisco logowebsite security business to DigiCert for $1 billion, plus a stake in the larger entity.  Cisco paid $320 million for hyperconvergence company Springpath, CGI bought a Pittsburgh consulting company, Summa Technologies and Accenture bought a Toronto consulting company VERAX.  While not a pure tech play, the biotech world saw Aclaris pay $100 million for Confluence.

August 2018 saw a fair amount of M&A activity, a lot of smaller deals, a few significant moves and some recognizable names out buying companies.   The big deal of the month HP logosaw Cisco pay $2.35 billion for access security company Duo Security.  In other deals VMWare paid $500 million for cloud management company CloudHealth; and HP splashed out $500 million for Europe’s largest print provider, Apogee.  Apple snapped up Augmented reality startup Akonia; Accenture made two small acquisitions in the digital space, Mindtribe and Pillar Technology; Intel picked up a small AI company Vertex.Ai and Vonage paid $35 million for video company TokBox.  Apple was also in the news because it became the first public company to reach a $1 trillion valuation, and they were quickly followed by Amazon.

Last year, August 2019 was a busy month in M&A, with the big deal getting mixed reviews as Broadcom paid $10.7 billion for Symantec’s security unit.  Some saw this as old tech buying old tech, but for Broadcom it provides diversity of offering.  VMWare had a busy month paying $4.8 billion to acquire Carbon Black and Pivotal, and then announcing the acquisition of Intrinsic.  Private equity company BC Partners paid $2.1 billion to take Presidio private, and Salesforce paid $1.35 billion for ClickSoftware to improve its service capability.  The final deal in the BIG dollar leagues saw Splunk pay $1.05 billion for cloud monitoring platform SignalFx.  Accenture bought two companies; Northstream, a telecom consulting company plus engineering company, Fairways Technologies.  DXC spin-off Perspecta paid $250 million for managed services company Knight Point and there were a number of other “big name” companies making acquisitions; Amazon bought E8 Storage; Cisco bought Voicea; Microsoft bought JClarity; Twitter bought Lightwell and HPE bought the assets of MapR.

Which brings us back to the present …

August 2020 was a quiet month on the M&A front with no blockbuster deals, but still a few ACCENTURE LOGOworthy of mention.  Accenture has been on a bit of a tear in 2020, and made their 20th acquisition this year, content production company CreativeDrive.  Apple made an interesting small acquisition, Spaces, who have been bringing virtual reality to videoconferencing… Zoom meetings may never be the same!  Datacentre company Equinix increased its footprint, this time into India, paying $161 million for the Indian operations of GPX Global Systems.  Service management company Kaseya bought Graphus, a startup that helps protect against email-based threats.  NTT Data Services has also been a heavy buyer, and added ServiceNow consultancy Acorio to its offerings.

A number of companies announced layoffs this month.  These include Dell, VMware, dell logoOracle, Accenture, NetApp and Salesforce.  In contrast, there are some winners in and amongst our new reality and one of them, Amazon, announced that it was adding 3,500 new tech and corporate jobs!

Economies around the world continue to suffer and accumulate debt to help their populations cope.  As just one example, the UK had a 20.4% decline in GDP in the second quarter and has the worst recession of any G7 country.  Canada’s GDP decline was 12% which puts it middle of the pack. With a return to school happening, most countries are bracing for what that might mean, a second wave, another lockdown… or reprieve? Time will tell.

That is what caught my eye over the last month.  The full edition will be available soon on the Eagle website.  Hope this was useful and I’ll be back with the September 2020 industry news in just about a month’s time.

 Until then, Walk Fast and Smile… wear a mask and wash your hands!

IT Industry News for June 2020

Kevin Dee By Kevin Dee, Co-Founder of Eagle

This is my 30,000-foot look at events in the ICT industry for June 2020. What you see here is a précis of the monthly report I produce, which will be available in more detail at the News section of the Eagle website, where you will also find back issues.

A Little History of June in previous years … 

Five years ago, in June 2015, Intel paid $16.7 billion for semiconductor company Altera Corp. Cisco paid $635 million for security firm OpenDNS in addition to picking up OpenStack company, PistonCloud Computing. Microsoft bought 6Wunderkinder, maker of task management app Wunderlist; Ricoh Canada bought Graycon Group a professional services firm headquartered in Calgary; and finally, IBM bought OpenStack company Blue Box Group.

June 2016 saw Microsoft buy LinkedIn for a whopping $2.6 billion. There were other billion dollar deals this month too, Salesforce paid $2.8 billion for e-commerce platform maker Demandware and Amazon announced an extra $3 billion investment in its India operations. Other significant deals included Daetwyler Holdings AG paying more than $877 million for Raspberry Pi maker Premier Farnell Plc; Red Hat paid $568 million for API management software company 3Scale; and OpenText paid $315 million for HP’s Customer Communication Management products. Other noteworthy deals included an investment group’s purchase of Dell’s software arm; Microsoft bought natural language start up Wand Labs; and Samsung bought cloud computing company Joyent. Also, Google Capital announced its first investment in a public company, investing $46 million in Care.com, an online personal services marketplace platform.

Three years ago, in June 2017 Amazon bought Whole Foods for $13.7 billion. Westcon-Comstar’s American business was bought by Synnex for approximately $800 million. US fintech provider, Fiserv purchased British financial services technology firm, Monitise for $88.7 million. Microsoft purchased Israeli cloud startup, Cloudyn, for a price between $50 million and $70 million. Rackspace bought TriCore to increase Rackspace’s business from customers who want help running their critical applications.

June 2018 saw a fair bit of M&A activity, the biggest deal seeing Synnex pay $2.43 billion for call centre company Convergys and AT&T pay $1.6 billion for advertising tech company AppNexus.  Palo Alto Networks paid $300 million for Security company Evident.io; PayPal shelled out $120 million for fraud detection startup Simility; Splunk paid $120 million for incident management platform company VictorOps; Ribbon Communication paid $120 million for Edgewater Networks; and Sharp shelled out $36 million for Toshibas PC business. Other companies out shopping include Cisco who bought WiFi analytics company July Systems; IBM bought maintenance and repair company Oniqua and Shopify bought app company Return Magic.

Last year, June 2019 saw some significant M&A deals with the Salesforce acquisition of Tableau for $1.7 billion the largest deal of the month.  Infinion Technologies paid $10 billion for Cypress Semiconductor; Google paid $2.6 billion for data analytics company Looker; Capgemini shelled out $3.6 billion for engineering company Altran and in the robotics world, Blue Prism paid $100 million for Thoughtonomy.  Other companies with smaller buys included Apple picking up the assets of Drive.ai and Twitter buying machine learning startup Fabula AI.

Which brings us back to the present …

June 2020 was the fourth month into the pandemic and the fallout continues, the Canadian Federal government announced increased spending in the last 4 months that is higher than their usual annual budget, and Canadian debt passed $1 trillion … hence a recent downgrade in credit rating.  A quick look at reports around the world show unemployment levels and GDP impact that according to the OECD makes this recession the worst in nearly a century.

Companies are still making acquisitions and in June we saw IBM pick up cybersecurity vendor Spanugo; Apple bought device management company Fleetsmith: And here in Canada, Bell sold off 25 of its data centres to Equinox, to build its war chest for the upcoming Spectrum auction; VMware bought anti-malware company Lastline; and there were a couple of smaller deals that caught my eye in the full report.

Other companies in the news, include Deloitte, Accenture, DXC and At&T who are all announcing layoffs.  Dell seems to be strengthening its position as the #1 in the server business and Microsoft has decided to get out of the physical retail space, and sell its gear online only.

That’s what caught my eye over the last month, the full edition will be available soon on the Eagle website. Hope this was useful and I’ll be back with the July 2020 industry news in just about a month’s time.

Walk Fast and Smile.

IT Industry News for May 2020

Kevin Dee By Kevin Dee, Co-Founder of Eagle

This post first appeared on the Eagle Blog on June 8th, 2020

This is my 30,000-foot look at events in the Tech space for May 2020. What you see here is a précis of the monthly report I produce, which will be available in more detail at the News section of the Eagle website, where you will also find back issues.

A Little History of May in previous years …

Five years ago, in May 2015 there were some very large deals on the M&A front, with the biggest seeing Charter Communications spend $55 Billion to buy Time Warner Cable and a further $10.4 Billion to buy Bright House Networks. This created the second largest cable EMC logocompany in the US, just behind Comcast. The “Billion-dollar club” also saw French Telco Altice pay $9.1 Billion for another US cable company Suddenlink Communications. Keeping with the billion dollar deals involving telcos, Verizon paid $4.4 Billion for AOL to bolster its mobile video capabilities. Another Billion dollar deal saw HP unload 70% of its stake in its China server, storage and technology storage unit to Tsinghua Holdings for $2.3 billion. The final billion-dollar deal saw EMC pay $1.2 billion for cloud service provider Virtustream. Apple was out buying a couple of companies in May, snapping up mapping company Coherent Navigation and augmented reality company Metaio. In other deals Avaya bought cloud technology company Esna; and Cisco bought cloud programming interface company Tropo.

May 2016 saw some M&A activity with the largest deal seeing HPE merge its services arm with CSC in a $8.5 billion deal to create arguably the largest IT services company. In another large deal Vista Equity Partners was paying $1.79 billion for customer service and marketing cloud provider Marketo. There were some other big names out shopping in May 2016 too. Oracle paid $532 million for software as a service for the utilities vertical, company Opower; Google picked up interactive training platform Synergyse; Infor bought consulting services company Merit Globe AS; and ARM paid $350 million for imaging and embedded systems company Apical. Microsoft ended an unhappy period by divesting its feature phone business to FIH mobile for $350 million, and GoDaddy picked up cloud-based phone company FreedomVoice for $43 million. New Signature picked up another Microsoft solution provider, Dot Net Solutions; and Edmonton-based F12.Net bought Calgary-based professional services company XCEL.

The most significant purchase in May 2017 was the $1.86 billion sale of CenturyLink’s data centres and colocation business to a consortium led by BC Partners, Medina Capital The apple logo and apple with a bite out of itAdvisors and Longview Asset Management. Cybersecurity startup, Hexadite, was bought by Microsoft for $100 million. Goldman Sachs entered the BI space by purchasing a minority stake in Information Builders of New York City. Apple acquired Beddit, a Finnish sleep sensor product, for an undisclosed amount. Finnish cybersecurity firm, F-Secure acquired British security consultants, Digital Assurance also for an undisclosed amount.

Two years ago, May 2018 was a very active month for M&A activity, with Microsoft’s $7.5 Billion purchase of GitHub leading the pack in size.  Microsoft also bought AI company Microsoft logoSemantic Machines.  PayPal paid $2.2 Billion for European payments company iZettle; Recruit paid $2.1 Billion for Glassdoor; Investment firm KKR paid $2 Billion for BMC Software; and Office Depot paid $1 Billion for CompuCom.  Other big names out shopping saw Oracle buy collaboration platform Datascience.com; Google bought cloud migration startup Velostrata; HPE bought Plexxi; Rackspace bought RelationEdge; and Splunk bought Phantom Cyber Company.

Last year in May 2019 HPE paid $1.3 billion for supercomputer manufacturer Cray. Palo Alto Networks continued growing its cybersecurity capability with the purchase of two Amazon logocompanies, Twistlock and PureSec.  There was some M&A activity among a number of well know companies, Amazon bought mesh network company Eero; Symantec bought Luminate Security; Rogers bolstered its podcast capability with the purchase of Pacific Content; NCR added to its point of sale depth, buying Texas POS; and Foursquare bought competitor location tech company, Placed; ServiceNow picked up the assets of mobile analytics company Appsee; Comcast bought WiFi company Deep Blue Communications.

Which brings us back to the present …

In May 2020 we continue to fight the COVID-19 pandemic and things are tough everywhere.  In March and April Canada lost 3 million jobs, and in April alone the US lost more than 20 million jobs.  The IMF is calling it the worst economic downturn since the Great Depression.

IT spending worldwide is expected to fall by 8% this year … however cloud spending is up.  Cloud spending has been the silver lining of COVD-19, with the rise in WFH, companies like Zoom have taken advantage.  The home entertainment industry, Netflix et al have also benefited as people have been forced to stay home.

For all of the disruption there is still a fair bit of M&A activity.  This month Intel bought Cisco logomobility startup Moovit for $900 million; an also picked up Texas based networking company, Rivet Networks.  Apple bought Virtual Reality company NextVR; VMWare bought Kubernotes security vendor Octarine; and Microsoft is planning for its 5G offerings with the purchase of Metaswitch; Mictrosoft also picked up robotic process company Softomotive.  Cisco splashed out (possibly close to $1 billion) for network monitoring company Thousand Eyes; Zoom is working to improve security with its purchase of Keybae; and Nvidia is buying Cumulus Networks.  There were a number of lesser known deals, that include Beanfield Metro buying the WAN network from Aptum Technologies.

That is my look at the May tech industry news. The full edition will be available soon on the Eagle website. Hope this was useful and I’ll be back with the June 2020 industry news in just about a month’s time… until then, walk fast, smile and wash your hands!

IT Industry News for April 2020

Kevin Dee By Kevin Dee, Co-Founder of Eagle

This post first appeared on the Eagle Blog on May 12th, 2020

This is my 30,000-foot look at events in the Tech industry for April 2020. What you see here is a précis of the monthly report I produce, which will be available in more detail at the News section of the Eagle website, where you will also find back issues.

A Little History of April in previous years …

Five years ago, in April 2015 Nokia paid $16.5 billion for telecom company Alcatel-Lucent.  A couple of other big deals saw Capgemini pay $4 billion for services firm IGATE and LinkedIn made its largest acquisition ever, paying $1.5 billion for training portal Lynda.com.  LinkedIn also bought a predictive insights startup company, Refresh.  Netsuite paid $200 million for ERP and commerce software company Bronto Software and Blackberry reputedly shelled out $150 million for file sharing security company Watchdox.  Salesforce was also out shopping, picking up mobile two-factor authentication startup, Toopher.  In another deal involving billions, Informatica decided to follow in DELL’s footsteps and go private for a $5.3 billion price tag.

April 2016 saw some big deals, the biggest was Bell’s $3.8 billion bid for Manitoba Bell logoTelephone System, which closed in 2017.  Other large deal saw a Chinese conglomerate bid $3.6 billion for Lexmark; and Plantronics shell out $2 billion for Polycom.  Oracle paid $663 million for cloud-based construction software company Textura.  Nokia, who were also in the news announcing layoffs, and continued to evolve their business model, this time into the wearable tech arena with the $192 million purchase of Withings.  Other deals saw Autodesk acquire 3D animation software company Solid Angle; and Dimension Data bought Toronto based cloud services company Ceryx.

Three years ago, in April 2017 Microsoft bought Israeli cloud-monitoring and analytics ACCENTURE LOGOstartup, Cloudyn. Flipkart, one of India’s larger ecommerce companies, acquired the Indian division of eBay (eBay.in) as part of eBay’s $500 million investment in Flipkart. VMware’s vCloud Air unit was acquired by OVH, a French hosting and cloud company. Global professional services provider, Accenture, purchased the UK-based automation services provider, Genfour. Toronto-based startup, Turnstyle Analytics, was acquired by Yelp for $20 million. California-based Coupa Software purchased Swedish software company, Trade Extensions for $45 million. Montreal-based financial technology provider, Alithya acquired big data solution provider, Systemware Innovation Corporation.

April 2018 was not super busy on the M&A front although there were a few deals, including Mitel Logoa $2 billion purchase of Ottawa based Mitel by Searchlight Partners, who will take the company private.  Mobile payments company Square paid $365 million for website company Weebly; iconic photo site Flickr has been bought by SmugMug; Adobe acquired AI startup Uru; Indeed bought Canadian jobs site Workopolis; and HPE Pointnext bought Redpixie.

Last year April 2019 was an extremely slow M&A month with just two deals hitting my Intel logoradar.  Intel bought Omnitek, a company that produces programmable chips for the video space.   This comes as Intel announced it was exiting the 5G modem space for smartphones, suggesting it was not a profitable business for them.  The other deal saw the merger of two large US based MSPs, as Corsica bought EDTS to bring the level of scale.

Which brings us back to the present …

April 2020 continues to be dominated by COVID-19, with global efforts to fight the pandemic causing the economy to retract worldwide.  The focus is on social distancing and flattening the curve … and the world is anxious to get back to work, and yet anxious about what that means.  A strange time indeed.

Talking about the impact of the pandemic, IDC released projections on Canadian IT Spending and it wasn’t pretty.  They suggest Canada’s annual spending will drop to minus eight percent for the remainder of 2020 … negative spending can’t be good!

There was some M&A activity in April.  Apple picked up an AI voice company, Voysis that is The apple logo and apple with a bite out of itexpected to improve on Siri; Accenture beefed up its security practice with the acquisition of Revolutionary Security; and Cisco picked up Fluidmesh Networks to assist in their IoT strategy.  Other deals included security company Zscaler buying cloud security startup Cloudneeti; mobile security company MobileIron bought Incapptic Connect, to assist in software releases; and Scopely scooped up another gaming company, this time PierPlay make of Scrabble Go.

Cognizant was in the news as it was hit by the Maze ransomware, affecting both it and its client’s systems.  In other cyber security news, it appears that targeted attacks, such as spear-Phishing, now accounts for the 60% of cyber attacks.

That’s it for my look at what was happening in the technology space over the last month, compared to the same month in previous years. I’ll be back at the beginning of June, until then – don’t forget to wash your hands and social distance!

IT Industry News for February 2020

Kevin Dee By Kevin Dee, Co-Founder of Eagle

This post first appeared on the Eagle Blog on March 5th, 2020

This is my 30,000-foot look at events in the Tech industry for February 2020. What you see here is a précis of the monthly report I produce, which will be available in more detail at the News section of the Eagle website, where you will also find back issues.

A Little History of previous year’s Februarys …

Five years ago, in February 2015, we saw the $6.3 billion merger of Staples with Office Depot and the $1.6 billion purchase of Orbitz by Expedia.  There was a big buy in the communications and IT space with Harris paying $4.75 billion for Excelis to establish a 23,000 person company.  There was a big data center play with UK-Microsoft logobased Telecity Group paying $2.2 billion for Interxion Holdings.  Microsoft made a couple of acquisitions, paying $200 million for pen-tech maker N-Trig and $100 million for mobile calendar company Sunrise.  Samsung bought a mobile payment company (competing with Apple pay), LoopPay.  Also out buying was Twitter, which picked up Niche, a network of social media creators.  There were a number of interesting deals in Asia, including Sapdeal buying luxury fashion estore Exclusively; Foodpanda made six acquisitions of online meal delivery services to establish itself as a powerhouse in that space.  Australian job board OneShift bought Adage, which is a job board serving people over 45.

In February 2016, the biggest deal saw HNA Group of China pay $6 billion for Ingram Micro.  Ingram Micro logoTwo other billion dollar deals included Cisco paying $1.4 billion for IoT company Jasper Technologies and a consortium of Chinese internet firms making a $1.2 billion bid for Opera. Microsoft was busy with a couple of acquisitions, Xamarin a cross platform mobile application development company, and Swiftkey which produces predictive keyboard technology.  Another busy company was Alibaba Group which was investing in a bunch of companies, including a $100 million investment in Groupon, and smaller investments in microblogging site Weibo; software company Momo; augmented reality startup Magic Leap; Chinese retail chain Suning; and Singapore telco SingPost.  Other companies of note out buying included IBM who bought digital agency Aperto and Blackberry acquired cybersecurity company Encription.

The apple logo and apple with a bite out of itThree years ago, in February 2017, there was very little M&A action.  Nokia paid $371 million for Finnish telecom software company Comptel, as it reinvented itself, and Apple picked up an AI startup company RealFace.

February 2018 was a very active month in M&A.  There was more consolidation in the telco space with US-based GTT paying $2.3 billion for London headquartered Interroute, thus expanding its global footprint.  Security companies were a theme this month and you will spot several in the following list.  Cybersecurity firm Phishme was bought with $400 million of private equity money; Splunk paid $350 million for Phantom Cyber Corp; and Proofpoint paid $225 million for Wombat Security Technologies.  Other deals saw LogMeIn pay $342 million for Jive Communications; Carbonite pay $146 million for Mozy; and Red Hat pay $250 million for Core OS.  Some of the household names that were also out making deals included Oracle, Google, Opentext, Avaya and Citrix.

Last year, February 2019 was a relatively busy month in M&A but there were no blockbuster, billion dollar deals.  The biggest deal I saw was Carbonite’s $618 million Spotify logoacquisition of internet security company Webroot.  Palo Alto Networks seemed to be on a buying spree, closing two deals this month, $560 million for analytics company Demisto and $170 million for cloud security startup, RedLock.  The money guys were out shopping too, with Thoma Bravo paying $270 million+ for MSP platform company Connectwise and Trive Capital paid $330 million for Windstream’s Earthlink telephone service provider assets.  Spotify announced its podcast intentions with a couple of acquisitions, Gimlet Media and Anchor, and Witricity strengthened its hand in the wireless charging space with the acquisition of Qualcomm’s Halo business unit.  There were some big names out shopping too, including Microsoft who picked up Datasense in the education space; Amazon picked up eero in the home automation world; DXC picked up EG A/S a services company in Europe; and Semantec bought cybersecurity startup Luminate Security.

Which brings us back to the present …

February 2020 was a relatively quiet in the number of M&A deals, however there were dell logosome big dollars and some big names involved.  Dell announced that it is selling RSA, its cybersecurity arm to a group of investors for $2.075 billion.  Internet of Things company, Forescout went public about two and a half years ago, but was bought by private equity for $1.9 billion this month.  Another big deal saw SAIC pay $1.2 billion for Unisys subsidiary, Unisys Federal.  Infosys improved its Salesforce capability and US presence, paying $250 million for Simplus, a Salt Lake City based consulting company.  Other, smaller deals saw HPE buy cloud security company Scytale and Square bought Toronto based AI startup Dessa (formerly DeepLearni.ng).

Other news was somewhat dominated by the coronavirus outbreak and what that might mean for our industry.  Conferences have been cancelled, travel curtailed and one interesting bye-product was an increase in hiring of temp workers in China, to service the many people who cannot leave their homes.  Related, but not solely because of coronavirus the Chinese government announced it would be “seizing control” of HNA Group Co, which happens to be the parent company of Ingram Micro.  Cisco was also among the first companies to announce impending layoffs due in part of potential coronavirus impacts.

The jobs news around the world was generally upbeat and the US economy continues to perform strongly.  In Canada the job numbers were not too bad, but there are lots of clouds on the horizon with blockades affecting infrastructure projects and resulting regional unrest.

That is it for my monthly look at what was happening in the technology space over the last month, compared to the same month in previous years.  I’ll be back in about a month’s time, until then … walk fast and smile!

IT Industry News for January 2020

Kevin Dee By Kevin Dee, Co-Founder of Eagle

This post first appeared on the Eagle Blog on February 4th, 2020

This is my 30,000-foot look at events in the Tech industry for January 2020. What you see here is a précis of the monthly report I produce, which will be available in more detail at the News section of the Eagle website, where you will also find back issues.

A Little History of previous year’s Januarys …

Five years ago, in January 2015, the biggest deal saw Yahoo looking like it might be remaking itself, spinning off its $40 billion stake in Alibaba to become smaller, leaner and either buy or be bought!  Other M&A activity involving a “B” was Telco equipment company Yahoo logoCommscope offering $3 billion for TE Connectivity’s network business.  There were also a number of very well-known companies out buying, and in no particular order: Amazon paid something like $300 million (approximate) for chip designer Annapurna Labs; Expedia bought its online travel competitor Travelocity for $200 million; Samsung paid $100 million for Brazil’s largest print company Simpress; Google paid about $100 million for mobile payments company Softcard; Facebook bought Wit.ai a company that has a Siri like solution that can be embedded in other products; Dropbox bought CloudOn a document editing and productivity tools company; Twitter paid somewhere between $30 million and $40 million for Zipdial, an Indian company that does some funky marketing thing with phone hang ups; and finally, Microsoft made two acquisitions, startup text analytics company Equivo and, in a departure from its history, it bought open software company Revolution Analytics.

Four years ago, in January 2016, there was plenty of activity with some of the household IBM logonames out shopping.  IBM bought video service provider Ustream; Microsoft bought MinecraftEdu; Apple bought “emotion recognition” company Emotient; and Oracle bought media web tracking firm AddThis.  Toshiba bought an ERP solutions company Ignify, and a number of smaller deals included Juniper Networks buying BTISystems Inc.; FireEye bought iSight partners; Acceo Solutions bought Groupe Techna and SmartPrint bought LaserCorp’s Toronto-based managed print services business.

In January 2017, the multi-billion-dollar deal of the month was Cisco’s purchase of app performance management company, AppDynamics for $3.7 billion. HP Enterprise Cisco logopurchased data center hardware provider, SimpliVity for $650 million. Microsoft acquired Montreal-based deep learning start-up Maluuba for an undisclosed sum. Google announced plans to purchase Twitter’s mobile developer platform Fabric. Trello, the startup behind a leading task-management app was purchased by Atlassian for $425 million. CRM giant, Salesforce bought Unity&Variety to enhance its productivity app service Quip. Managed Service Provider of data and database administration, Datavail, acquired Canadian IT channel leader Navantis.

Amazon Web ServicesTwo years ago, in January 2018,the big deal saw investment management software company SS&C pay $5.4 billion for financial services software company DST Systems.  Amazon Web Services increased its cybersecurity protection capabilities through the purchase of Sqrrl.  ADP bought gig economy tool WorkMarket and TD Bank bought a Canadian AI company Layer 6.

January 2019 was another fairly busy M&A month.  The biggest deal saw DXC pay $2 billion for digital consultancy Luxoft; DXC also bought another European services company EG A/S. Amazon Web Services made a couple of acquisitions, Israeli data migration company CloudEndure and Vancouver startup TSO Logic, a cloud migration company.  Accenture was another high-profile company making multiple acquisitions in January: Houston-based consulting company Enaxis Consulting, and Orbium a company providing services in the banking sector.  Dropbox splashed $230 million to buy electronic signature company HelloSign; Google bought DORA, a research firm; Microsoft bought database startup Citus; AT Kearney bought consulting company Cervello; and Zix paid $275 million for email security company AppRiver.

Which brings us back to the present…

The big M&A deal in January 2020 saw Insight Partners pay $5 billion for cloud data management company Veeam; Insight Partners also bought IoT security startup Armis.  In other deals, another investment company, Mapletree, paid $557 million for 10 of Digital Realty’s datacentersServiceNow was busy, buying two AI companies, Loom Systems and Passage AI; Xerox (rumored to be chasing HP) bought UK solution provider Arena Group; VMWare bought network analytics company Nyansa; and Hitachi Vantara bought intelligent data cataloguing company Waterline Data.  Other deals saw Fireye buy security startup Cloudvisory; Ahead bought its third solution provider in the last six months, Platform Consulting Group; AWS partner Effectual bought JHC Technologies; and Park Place Technologies bought Intellinet’s network operations center.

VMWare was also in the news for confirming its annual “workforce rebalancing” initiative which may involve hundreds of layoffs.  Gartner tells us that 2020 IT spending is likely to increase by a healthy 3.4%.  The world’s CEOs are a little concerned about a potential slowdown or even recession in 2020.  The World Economic Forum announced the “Reskilling Revolution” with a plan to reskill a billion people around the globe by 2030.

In economic and employment news, both the EU and the OECD had positive employment numbers which were reflected in most of the stats from around the world.  The US added 202,000 non-farm jobs in November which was the largest gain since last April.  Even where the reports were less than positive, the underlying message was that the economy is doing OK.

That’s what caught my eye over the last month.  The full edition will be available soon on the Eagle website.  Hope this was useful and I’ll be back with the February 2020 industry news in just about a month’s time.

Walk Fast and Smile

IT Industry News for December 2019

Kevin Dee By Kevin Dee, Co-Founder of Eagle

This post first appeared on the Eagle Blog on January 9th, 2020

Tech News HeaderThis is my 30,000-foot look at events in the Tech industry for December 2019. What you see here is a précis of the monthly report I produce, which will be available in more detail at the News section of the Eagle website, where you will also find back issues.

A Little History of previous year’s Decembers …

Five years ago, December 2014 had the political and technical ramifications of “the Sony hack” causing uproar, some very positive economic indicators out of the US and some big names making acquisitions, albeit not huge deals.  Microsoft made two acquisitions, the $200 million purchase of mobile email app startup Acompli and mobile development company HockeyApp (which has nothing to do with hockey).  SAP bought travel and expense management company Concur; Intel bought a Montreal-based identity management company PasswordBox; Oracle bought digital marketing company Datalogix; Teradata bought data archiving company Rainstor; and MongoDB bought high-scale storage engine company WiredTiger.

In December 2015 M&A was quiet but there was some interesting activity.  The big deal saw Canadian telco Shaw make a big play into the cellular space with its proposed acquisition (subsequently approved) of Wind for $1.6 billion.  Meanwhile Rogers was also out shopping and growing its Maritimes presence through the acquisition of Internetworking Atlantic Inc.  Other deals in December were not large but did feature some of the big players.  Oracle bought Stackhouse a cloud company with a specialization in “containers”; IBM boosted its video in the cloud capabilities with the purchase of Clearleap; and Microsoft picked up a mobile communications company, Talko.  Other deals saw Ingram Micro buy the Odin Service Automation business from Parallels and in the storage world Carbonite bought Evault from Seagate.

Three years ago in December 2016 Adecco sold its majority stake in Beeline VMS to GTRC, Uber logoa private equity firm, for $100 million in cash plus a $30 million note; CRN solution provider SS&C purchased asset service firm Conifer for $88.5 million; solution provider QRX Technology Group acquired IT equipment provider Kerr Norton; networking solution provider, Juniper Networks acquired cloud operations management provider AppFormix; Uber bought start-up Geometric Intelligence Inc.; and Shopify acquired Tiny Hearts, a Toronto-based mobile product development studio.

December 2017 saw Atos enhance the footprint of their IT Services firm by paying $5 The apple logo and apple with a bite out of itbillion for Gemalto.  Apple were busy, paying $400 million for music recognition app Shazam, plus they invested $390 million into optical communications components company Finisar.  Finally, in a relatively quiet M&A month Ingram Micro increased its data protection capability through the purchase of Cloud Harmonics.

Last year December 2018 saw IBM sell off a portion of their software portfolio to HCL for IBM logo$1.8 billion.  Cisco paid $660 million for optical chip company, Luxtera; and OpenText paid $310 million for data management company Liaison Technologies.  In other deals, Google bought “where is my train” app company, Sigmoid Labs; Corel bought desktop virtualization company Parallels; Trello bought Butler, whose product is a popular addition for Trello users; Kaseya bought IT documentation company IT Glue; and GE continued its restructuring efforts by spinning out its IoT subsidiary and selling its interest in Pivotal.  Finally the end of December was the beginning of Dell’s return as a public company.

Which brings us back to the present …

December 2019 saw some big dollar deals in the M&A world with the biggest seeing Intel logoLogMeIn sold to private equity for $4.3 billion.  Intel shelled out $2 billion for AI chip company Habana Labs; and F5 Networks paid $1 billion for Shape Security.  In other deals Solarwinds paid $175 million for VividCortex; NTT picked up AWS company Flux7; Fortinet bought Cybersponse; CheckPoint Software bought security company Protego; Acronis bought security company 5nine and Opswat bought cyber security company Impulse.

There have been warnings that cyberattacks will increase in 2020 and 2019 ended with a couple of significant attacks coming to light … LifeLabs announcing a significant breach of patient data and Wawa also announcing a major breach.

Here in Canada we lost 70,000 jobs in November as the US was adding 266,000 non-farm jobs!  The US economy continues to do well, although sentiment is trending down, with concerns that 2020 will see slower growth and the potential for a recession.  Around the world jobs data is positive other than the obvious spots like the UK, as it continues to wrestle with Brexit.

That’s what caught my eye over the last month.  The full edition will be available soon on the Eagle website.  Hope this was useful and I’ll be back with the January 2020 industry news in just about a month’s time.

Walk Fast and Smile