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IT Industry News for August 2019

Kevin Dee By Kevin Dee, Chairman of the Board at Eagle

This post first appeared on the Eagle Blog on September 4th, 2019

Tech News HeaderThis is my 30,000-foot look at events in the ICT industry for August 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 August in previous years …

Five years ago, in August 2014, there were no blockbuster deals, however a number of big name companies were out with their cheque books.  Intel paid $650 million for the LSI Intel logoAxxia networking chip business; VMware bought application delivery provider CloudVolumes; IBM bought Lighthouse Security Group to bolster its cloud-based identity and access management capabilities; Google bought two startups, Emu to boost its messaging capabilities and Directr for its video advertising business; Facebook bought a security startup Privatecore, and the last BIG name saw Yahoo buying app company Zofari.

In August 2015, there were two “billion dollar” deals.  Symantec sold Veritas (which it paid $13.5 billion dollars for 10 years prior) to a group of investors for $8 billion and IBM shelled IBM logoout $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.

Three years ago, 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 The apple logo and apple with a bite out of itmillion.  A similar sized 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, in addition to their XBox division buying interactive livestreaming company Beam.

August 2017 was relatively slow on the M&A front.  Symantec sold its website security Cisco logobusiness 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 $100million for Confluence.

Last year, August 2018 saw a fair amount of M&A activity: a lot of smaller deals, a few significant moves and some recognizable names were out buying companies.   The big deal of HP logothe month saw 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.

Which brings us back to the present …

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 is paying $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 SignalFxAccenture was busy this month, announcing two acquisitions; 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.

Other companies in the news included Apple, who, responding to concerns about their Siri recordings, laid off hundreds of workers who used to work with this “data”.  Google announced it is closing its Google Hire offering and Cisco announced layoffs in California.

There were several interesting stories this month related to cyber security and various scams.  The underlying message to individuals and organizations being that training, tools and vigilance are needed to combat the “bad actors”.

Major economic indicators in the US were generally positive, although economists have started wondering when the next recession swill hit, 2020 or 2021.  Canada had mixed job numbers depending upon who you believe and job indicators across the world were generally positive, although Germany’s economy is struggling and the UK continues to deal with the Brexit debacle.

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 September 2019 industry news in just about a month’s time.

Walk Fast and Smile

Regional Job Market Update for Ottawa, Ontario (August 2019)

David O'Brien By David O’Brien,
Vice President, East Region & Government Services at Eagle

Ottawa Job MarketWhile the Canadian economy shed over 24,000 jobs in July and the national unemployment rate edged up to 5.7% from 5.5%, the disappointment was not reflected in the Ottawa market (and let’s be sure to add context — these are still historically low rates of unemployment.)

The employment story in Ottawa for the same month was one of continued robustness, with the region adding 12,300 jobs in July, dropping the unemployment rate sharply from 5.6% in July to 4.8%. The local tech market along with the Federal Government continue to drive the market as both seek to fill positions in what is rapidly becoming one of the tightest technology talent markets in Canada. In fact, Shopify recently introduced an innovative program to attract “lapsed” developers, former developers who have taken more than two years off and are out of the market. The program will train them back up on the job — surely a sign of the times in an effort to attract talent.

With a pending Fall election, there is no doubt an expected slowdown in hiring, specifically net new IT projects with the Feds. That said, however, this summer has been one of the busiest experienced with numerous large RFP’s on the street and the Feds still forecasting to create 10,000 new jobs over the next 5 years.

TD Bank recently released a study that looks at the evolving inequality in the labour market as it relates specifically to technology and cities in Canada. We have asserted for some time that while the national unemployment rate is a healthy 5.2% to 5.9 % range, the “technology” unemployment rate is likely less than half that national rate at around 2.0% to 2.5%. The reality on the ground, however, is in major cities it is in fact closer to 0 per cent! The study shows that the 5 major centres in Canada of Toronto, Montreal, Vancouver, Calgary and Ottawa make up over 70% of the entire digital services employment in Canada, backing up the near 0% technology unemployment rate. With these kind of market forces in play, in cities like Ottawa, we can verify undoubtedly the scarcity of resources. It’s no surprise that Canada experienced the fastest clip in wage growth in a decade of 4.5%, up sharply again from 3.8% in June.

Recent global economic indicators have brought talk of a possible recession in the months and years ahead, as the long recovery cycle comes to an inevitable cooling off; however, it’s tough to fathom given the local technology market we see in Ottawa today.

In demand roles around the Ottawa tech job market this summer include Architects, IT Business Analysts, System Analysts, Programmers and Project Managers.

IT Industry News for July 2019

Kevin Dee By Kevin Dee, Chairman of the Board at Eagle

This post first appeared on the Eagle Blog on August 13th, 2019

Tech News HeaderThis is my 30,000-foot look at events in the ICT industry for July 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 July in previous years …

Five years ago, in July 2014, there was plenty of M&A activity but no real blockbuster deals.  BlackBerry bought encryption company Secusmart GmbH; Oracle bought cloud services Oracle logo a large software company originally noted for its databasecompany TOA Technologies; Twitter bought a startup Madbits, a company that focusing on the media space; Yahoo also bought a startup Flurry in the mobile apps space; Teradata bought a couple of smaller “big data” companies, Hadapt and Revelytix; Apple bought a couple of smaller “books & podcast” companies Booklamp and Concept.io; Qualcomm bought education company EmpoweredU; and finally Nokia continue to rebuild after selling its devices and handsets business to Microsoft, this time buying Panasonic’s 3G and LTE base station operations division.

July 2015 saw no billion-dollar deals, but there was some activity with some big names out Microsoft logoshopping.  Microsoft made two acquisitions, paying $320 million for cloud security company Adallom and also picked up customer servicing software company FieldOne Systems. IBM picked up database as a service company Compose; Cisco paid $139 million for sales automation company MaintenanceNet; HP bought a cloud development platform Stackato; Blackberry bought AtHoc, a crisis communication tool; and DropBox bought messaging company Clementine.  Other acquisitions saw Cisco as a seller, with Technicolor paying $600 million for Cisco’s set top box division; Level 3 bought security firm Black Lotus; Amadeus bought travel software company Navitaire (a subsidiary of Accenture) for $830 million; eBay sold its enterprise unit for $925 million, having paid $2.4 billion for it four years ago.  In the continued blurring of the lines between technology companies and other industries, Capital One bank acquired design, development and marketing firm Monsoon.

In July 2016 Verizon made two multi-billion-dollar acquisitions.  The big name was Yahoo who they bought for $4.83 billion, but they also paid $2.4 billion for Fleetmatics who provide fleet and mobile workforce management services.  Oracle were also out spending big dollars, paying $9.3 billion for cloud-based ERP company, Netsuite. Now if those deals were not big enough, Softbank (like Verizon they have a large telco presence – formerly Vodafone) paid a whopping $32.2 billion for chip designer ARM Holdings. Also joining the July 2016 billion dollar club was security vendor Avast, who bought AVG for $1.3 billion. Other deals saw Salesforce pay $582 million for cloud based startup Quip; Google bought video company Anvato; Terradata bought training company Big Data Partnership; and Opentext bought analytics company Recommind.

July 2017 saw Cincinnati Bell buy Hawaiian Telcom Holdco for $650 million and OnX for Mitel Logo$201 million. Mitel paid $430 million for ShoreTel and bought Toshiba’s unified communications business. In Toronto, digital signage solution provider, Dot2Dot, acquired Pixel Point Digital. PNI Canada Acuireco Corp. purchased Sandvine Corp. for $562 million, with plans to merge Sandvine with Procera Networks.

Last year July 2018 was a busy M&A month with the biggest deal of the month, a somewhat unlikely $19 billion acquisition of CA Technologies by Broadcom.  Solution provider, Atos paid $3.45 billion for Syntel, creating a large North American presence.  Fortive paid $2 billion for physical resource management software company Accruent, and the last billion dollar deal of the month saw SS&C pay $1.45 billion for investment technology company Eze Software.  Other deals saw AT&T buy cybersecurity company Alienvault; Hitachi bought AWS integrator Rean; Intel bought specialty chip maker eAsic Corp; Accenture continued its acquisition spree with the purchase of AI company Kogentix; and Getronics re-entered the North American market with the purchase of Pomeroy.

Which brings us back to the present …

July is quite often a slower news month, and July 2019 was a little like that.  Having said Cisco logothat, there were some big deals announced.  Cisco’s $2.6 billion acquisition of Acacia Communications was the biggest deal. Apple splashed $1 billion to buy Intel’s smartphone modem business, and KKR bought Corel for $1 billion too.  There were a few more deals hit my radar with Google buying storage company Elastifile; 8X8 cloud communications company paying $100 million for Platform as a service company Wavecell; and finally Epam Systems bought educational content company Competentum.

There was another big cyber breach announced with Capital One sharing data on more than 100 million customers.  There was also a malware called “Agent Smith” that infected 25 million Android devices.  A report on how AI will impact on jobs seemed significant, but most of the respondents believe new roles will replace the lost jobs.

On the economic front the current US economic expansion is the longest on record, and there are still lots of positive indicators.  Canada lost jobs in June and continues to have struggles.  Around the world most indicators were positive, with a few notable exceptions … South Africa caught the eye with the highest jobless rate since 2003.

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 August 2019 industry news in just about a month’s time.

Walk Fast and Smile

What to Expect from the Edmonton IT Job Market in Fall 2019

Brianne Risley By Brianne Risley,
Delivery Manager at Eagle

A couple weeks ago, Cameron McCallum shared a snapshot of the Edmonton Job Market. As we all enjoy the warm Alberta summer, it’s the perfect time to look ahead at the market trends gaining momentum into Fall 2019.

In-Demand Skillsets

“In-Demand” skillsets are Eagle’s measure of job roles projected to be required by “70% of our Edmonton-based mid-to-enterprise-sized clients within the next 3 months”. It also functions as a good indicator of where we are in the software development lifecycle (SDLC).  With the popularity of PM/BA, and particularly OCM skillsets, it’s clear we are in early stages of some large-scale capital projects. The demand for Developers or Quality Assurance professionals will intensify in late Fall as these projects spin up.

In-Demand IT Skillstes in Edmonton for Fall 2019

September will be heavily focused on three “R“s – replacing, retiring, or redesigning legacy applications in favor of something cloud-enabled, consolidating existing apps, or enhancing an application for better functionality. Why the Windows Server admins? Because the legacy on-prem hardware is going through a refresh cycle, and some of it makes more sense to virtualize or migrate to the cloud to support the new systems.

Trending IT Projects

As a candidate, here are the key projects that should be highlighted on a resume to ensure you are aligned with what mid-sized to enterprise Edmonton-based companies are targeting. If you are a hiring manager with one of these projects in your care, there will be increased competition for strong candidates. Now is a good time to extend the people you have!

Trending IT Projects in Edmonton in Fall 2019

IT Employment Across Canada

Alberta continues to suffer with a high unemployment rate, but that is not the case for Information Technology. In practice, resource availability in IT within Alberta is tight with most candidates leaving “Company A” to take a role at “Company B” vs. being out of a job.

IT Employment Across Canada as of Dececember 2018 (source: e-Talent Canada)

Fun Fact: In 2017, 1 out of 20 of our Edmonton clients would accept remote workers on IT projects. Today, that number has increased to 1 out of 10.

Why? Better collaboration technology (O365/Cloud-enabled apps) is available, and companies have a need to expand beyond the local market to gain access to markets with a greater concentration of IT workers.

The market outlook in Edmonton remains strong in Fall 2019. Please connect with me if you’d like to learn more!

Regional Job Market Update for Edmonton, Alberta (July 2019)

Cameron McCallum By Cameron McCallum,
Regional Vice President at Eagle

City of EdmontonBy all accounts, Alberta’s recovery has been long, slow and a bit tortuous. Kind of like the last 10+ seasons of the Edmonton Oilers. According to economists, rising incomes, combined with continuing population growth, helped to buttress retail and other components of both the region’s and the city’s economies so far this year, but growth has been disappointing in the 1.3% range.

Previous risks identified are expected to continue and will likely offset gains in other areas. For Edmonton these include:

  1. Oil prices falling again and/or an increase in the price differential between West Texas Intermediate and Western Canadian Select. While the previous government was able to reduce this gap, increased supply (Americans fracking activity and Donald Trump’s aggressive energy policy) could signal lower prices.
  2. Continued challenges getting our oil to current and potential new markets either by rail or pipeline. I don’t think I need to expand on this although there has been some progress in the Transmountain debate!
  3. Stricter controls on carbon emissions and political and public opposition to energy projects continues to constrain longer term growth in the energy sector. Not sure it matters what side of the political coin you are on but I have no doubt that it is the continued legislative uncertainty and political rhetoric that is giving industry nightmares. Nobody likes uncertainty!
  4. And the continuing international trade conflicts or threatened conflicts continue to rock the markets and serve to depress the global economy. The US seems intent on winning concessions and the various posturing of nation leaders has hit close to home as China has banned Canadian pork and canola, directly impacting Alberta farmers.

But what has this meant for the Edmonton IT sector?  While economic growth in 2019 has been marginal, the IT sector continues to thrive. Looking back at internal numbers from this time last year would suggest little has changed. Our clients continue to seek talent for key projects and they continue to ask Eagle to provide them with that talent to move initiatives forward. Edmonton’s diversity is again its best defense.

Perhaps the only blip on the radar has been the fallout from the election of a new provincial government. As is often the case in these scenarios, the new government has decided that it is best to freeze hiring on projects and according to our sources, existing contracts are being allowed to end naturally and extensions are not being offered. A significant uptick in applications to our Eagle website is evidence that there has been a recent surge in available resources. This could mean greater competition for jobs and contracts. Typically these are short lived interruptions but with the province in debt, and a government that campaigned on getting the debt under control, it might be too early to predict with certainty that hiring will begin again soon. The provincial government is a massive user of contract IT resources so this will have to be monitored.

So what is hot in the market. We saw the following “Hot Skills” in the first half of 2019 and all indications are that these skillsets will be in demand for the rest of the year. There are a couple of more that we’ve added to the list:

  • Microsoft Stack Expertise (C#, HTML, CSS etc.)
  • Cloud Consultants
  • Infrastructure Specialists (VMWare)
  • Change Managers
  • Network Analysts (for cloud preparation)
  • Agile Project Managers

IT Industry News for June 2019

Kevin Dee By Kevin Dee, Chairman of the Board at Eagle

Tech News HeaderThis is my 30,000-foot look at events in the ICT industry for June 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 June in previous years 

Five years ago, in June 2014, Oracle paid $5 billion for Micros Systems; Sandisk paid $1.1 Oracle logo a large software company originally noted for its databasebillion for solid state storage company Fusion-io. Google continued its push into home automation, witnessed by its subsidiary Nest paying $550 million for cloud-based home monitoring service Dropcam. Google itself paid $500 million for Skybox Imaging, a satellite maker to enhance the Google Maps capability. Twitter paid $100 million for mobile marketing platform Tap Commerce and Red Hat paid $95 million for eNovance.

In June 2015, Intel paid $16.7 billion for semiconductor company Altera Corp. Cisco paid Intel logo$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.

Three years ago, June 2016 saw Microsoft buy LinkedIn for a whopping $2.6 billion. There were other billion dollar deals that month too: Salesforce paid $2.8 billion for e-commerce Microsoft logoplatform 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.

June 2017 saw Amazon’s purchase of Whole Foods for $13.7 billion. Westcon-Comstar’s Amazon logoAmerican business 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 in an effort to increase Rackspace’s business from customers who want help running their critical applications.

Last year, 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 IBM logocompany 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 Toshiba’s PC business. Other companies out shopping included Cisco, who bought WiFi analytics company July Systems; IBM bought maintenance and repair company Oniqua and Shopify bought app company Return Magic.

Which brings us back to the present

June 2019 saw some significant M&A deals with the Salesforce acquisition of Tableau for Salesforce logo$15.7 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.

The Canadian Federal Government invested $5 million into an innovation centre in Markham, which is a trend we are seeing more often. There was also more news about CyberSecurity breaches, with suggestions of state sponsored hackers focusing on telecommunication companies.

canadian flagIn Canada, the job numbers are interesting, with Statistics Canada suggesting May was a bumper month, and ADP suggesting we actually lost jobs. The methods of data gathering differ so it will be interesting see how it works out over time.

The US had some mixed reports regarding the economy but overall the story is still positive, with some reports focusing on the growth being not as great as it was… still growth! Generally, indicators in the US economy are positive. Likewise, indicators on jobs and employment around the world are also positive.

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 2019 industry news in just about a month’s time.

Walk Fast and Smile

IT Industry News for May 2019

Kevin Dee By Kevin Dee, Chairman of the Board at Eagle

This is my 30,000-foot look at events in the Tech space for May 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 May in previous years

Tech NewsFive years ago, in May 2014, AT&T paid $50 billion for DirectTV and Apple paid $3 billion for Beats. Google continued to invest in its Android strategy, this time with a strategy company, Divide. Other acquisitions saw Seagate pay $450 million for some flash capability from Avago (the LSI divisions); GE bought cyber security firm Wurdtech; EMC bought a flash start-up DSSD; Time Warner bought YouTube video network FullScreen; and SAP bought behavioral target marketing company SeeWhy.

May 2015 saw 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 company 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 2015, 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 paid $1.79 billion for customer service and marketing cloud provider Marketo. There were some other big names out shopping in May 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 Advisors 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.

Last year, 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 Semantic 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.

Which brings us back to the present

The big deal in May 2019 saw HPE pay $1.3 billion for supercomputer manufacturer Cray. Palo Alto Networks continued growing its cybersecurity capability with the purchase of two companies, Twistlock and PureSec. Plus, there was some M&A activity among a number of other well-known 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; Foursquare bought competitor location tech company, Placed; ServiceNow picked up the assets of mobile analytics company Appsee; and Comcast bought WiFi company Deep Blue Communications.

Cybersecurity continues to be topical, with an Accenture report highlighting the increasing cost to companies for cybercrime; a Proofpoint report also highlighted the sheer volume of attacks on Canadian businesses.

Other news saw some Canadian cities receiving Federal taxpayer money to improve their SmartCity initiative, with Montreal winning the big money, $50 million. There has been a lot of news on 5G, particularly concerns around Chinese company Huawei, but china is rolling out the first national 5G network — perhaps their answer to supporting that company?

A look around the world at employment numbers and economic indicators suggests that generally employment numbers are improving, with a few exceptions. Brexit continues to plague the UK and inhibit business. It was also interesting see that Germany unemployment numbers worsened in May, for the first time in 5 years, albeit a tiny change from 4.9% unemployment to 5%. The US added 275,000 jobs in April and their GDP grew at an annual rate of 3.1%, continuing their strong economic growth, the longest expansion in US history. Canada showed an increase of 106,500 jobs in April (61,000 if you prefer the ADP numbers) which is excellent growth. GDP growth however remains anemic at an annual rate of 0.4%.

Regional Job Market Update for Calgary, Alberta (June 2019)

Kelly Benson By Kelly Benson,
Branch Manager at Eagle

Regional Job Market Update for Calgary, AlbertaCautious optimism has been the name of the game in Calgary this past year. However, recent developments have many dropping the word “optimism” from that phrase. Our city is still plagued with uncertainty related to low oil prices, no ability to get our resources to new markets and heightened government regulations. This has led economists to take a good hard look at our province and the reports are concerning:

However, in the spring, Albertans elected a new government who won (in part) due to an obsession with job creation. This new government has brought confidence to some (and panic to others!). Corporate Calgary appears to be feeling positive about this change and is watching closely to see if these new initiatives will help. Only time will tell!

BUT… IT has a Better Story to Tell

While the general unemployment rate in Calgary is hovering around 7%, the good news is that Calgary’s ICT unemployment rate is 4.1%, which most economists would agree is “supply constrained”.

Every day, we are seeing our clients exploring different ways to use technology and, as a result, demand for IT professionals is increasing. Leveraging technology has become the “new” way of doing business and businesses are embracing it. However, at low unemployment levels, it is simply more difficult to attract and retain staff, which can make it difficult for businesses to leverage these new technologies to achieve growth.

Year-over-Year Growth

Here at Eagle, we have seen a consistent improvement in our business over the past year. Comparing year-over-year data, our volume of job orders is up 40% and we have also seen a 20% reduction in applicants to our job postings. The need for resources is steadily increasing and the number of candidates looking for work has decreased.

Where is the Demand?

In a city that has too few jobs, there are absolutely some positions that are hurting for talent. We continue to see demand (and low supply) in the following areas:

  • Development: full stack developers, front-end developers, BI developers
  • IT Business Analysts with technical depth
  • Project Managers
  • Solution Architects
  • SAP Consultants

Project-based activity has been picking up across most industries that we support. The majority of the project and programs are falling into one of these categories:

  • Digital Transformation
  • BI/Big Data
  • Application Modernization
  • ERP

Demand in these areas is expected to continue as our clients continue to initiate multi-year initiatives. Given that we are already somewhat constrained by the availability of qualified resources, we expect demand to outpace supply in these areas in the very near future.

IT Industry News for April 2019

Kevin Dee By Kevin Dee, Chairman of the Board at Eagle

This post first appeared on the Eagle Blog on May 3rd, 2019

This is my 30,000 foot look at events in the Tech industry for April 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 Aprils …

The apple logo and apple with a bite out of itFive years ago, in April 2014 Microsoft officially entered the handset business with the completion of the $7.5 billion purchase of Nokia’s devices business.  Zebra Technologies paid $3.5 billion for Motorola’s unit that makes mobile devices for business which is a move in the ever-expanding Internet of Things space. Apple paid $479 million purchase of the LCD chip development unit of Renesas Electronics.  IBM snapped up marketing automation software company Silverpop Systems and open source software company Red Hat paid $175 million for storage company Inktank.

In April 2015 Nokia was the biggest story, paying $16.5 billion for telecom company Alcatel-Lucent, but there was also a $4 billion deal that saw Capgemini buy 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.

Bell logoApril 2016 saw some big deals, the biggest was Bell’s $3.8 billion bid for Manitoba Telephone 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.

ACCENTURE LOGOTwo years ago in April 2017 Microsoft bought Israeli cloud-monitoring and analytics startup, 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.

Mitel LogoLast year April 2018 was not super busy on the M&A front although there were a few deals, including a $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. 

Which brings us back to the present …

Intel logoApril 2019 was an extremely slow M&A month with just two deals hitting my radar.  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 compete at the next level.

Microsoft logoAnother company in the press this month was Microsoft, who reached that magic valuation point of $1 trillion, becoming the third company to hit hat milestone after Apple and Amazon.

The general economic news was positive with the US continuing to soar with very low unemployment, rising wage rates, an annualised GDP growth rate of 3.2% in the first quarter all suggesting the US boom will continue for a while yet.  Canada continus its anemic growth rate, projected at 1.2% this year.  Around the world unemployment is generally down except for pockets like the UK where the Brexit situation continues to be a mill stone around their necks.

Regional Job Market Update for British Columbia (April 2019)

Cameron McCallum By Cameron McCallum,
Regional Vice President at Eagle

Current economic forecasts for BC are a bit of a mixed bag. Most economists are predicting an economic slowdown over the next three years, according to a report released Thursday by credit union Central 1. The report specifically references the housing market downturn impacting GDP growth in BC.

Vancouver SkylineIt is expected that the resultant drop in demand and prices will trigger a sharp contraction in housing construction and reduced condominium pre-sale activity which will result in “the most pronounced drop in broader residential development since 2009.”

At the same time, another credit rating agency, the Domestic Bond Rating Service (DBRS Ltd.), confirmed the provinc’s long-term debt rating at AA (high) and the short-term debt rating R-1 (high). DBRS Ltd. stated in a news release “The ratings remain well supported by the province’s diverse and growing economy, positive outlook, ample fiscal capacity and low debt burden.”

DBRS’s rating comes after the international credit rating agency Moody’s confirmed in January its AAA rating of B.C., making it the only province in Canada to be rated triple A by all three international credit rating agencies (Moody’s, Standard and Poor and Fitch).

Another bright spot is an expected uptick in capital investment, including LNG projects which should drive associated construction and infrastructure projects. Is a pipeline in the future? With a new government in Alberta, expect that conversation to heat up quickly. And with the aforementioned triple A rating, the cost to borrow remains attractive which should continue investment in BCs infrastructure and public services.

So what does that mean for you as an IT professional?

It should mean that things will not change all that much. The very low unemployment rates in the province and even lower rates for information technology should be considered positive factors for opportunity. BC remains an attractive location for business and a cooling, more reasonable housing sector should, in theory, correct one of the structural impediments to attracting talent. Public sector spending shows no sign of weakening as municipal and provincial governments respond to demand from their constituents for new and better servicing. In fact, the healthcare sector in particular is experiencing massive transformation and this is driving a need for project specialists.

If you have specific experience with Cerner or other large Electronic Health Records packages, you’ve probably noticed that you are in demand and you’re probably shutting down LinkedIn in an effort to get away from recruiters and headhunters who are trying to connect with you.

But it’s not just specialist skills that are in demand. These projects are large and touch so many aspects of an organization that we are seeing requirements for all skillsets including the pillars of any initiative, Project Managers, Business Analysts, Architects, Developers and Testers. And as with any transformative work, we’ve seen a large uptick in the demand for Change Managers and Organizational Change Managers.

The one downside to these opportunities is often the mandatory requirement that candidates have previous clinical or healthcare experience. The question our recruiters are most often asked by clearly frustrated candidates is “How do I get experience in healthcare, if they won’t hire me because I lack healthcare experience?” The first step is to get an understanding of the types of technologies and software used throughout the industry (ex. Cerner), and determine if your current skills or toolset are transferable. If not, you may need further training or experience. But in the meantime, you can certainly use that knowledge to craft your selling message to recruiters and hiring managers.

What’s hot besides healthcare?

Large scale infrastructure projects continue to need resources for anything from basic, but urgent, Windows upgrades to very large deployments of hardware and software. And on the application development side, it depends on what you are programming for. Microsoft still controls a large portion of our corporate client’s landscape and we continue to see a need for .Net programmers. But full stack, mobile and web developers who have worked with Java or JavaScript related tools such as Node.js, Angular or React will also find a pretty healthy demand for their skills.

And the cloud continues to drive demand for infrastructure specialists and integration experts who can get “on premise” and cloud systems talking to each other.

As I’ve mentioned before, if any of this is familiar to you and your area of expertise, you should feel pretty good about your employment or engagement opportunities in BC. The public sector and crown corporations are robust. Work, especially in the health sector, has exploded and there is no reason to believe it will slow down. The private sector has a good mix of large, traditional corporations delivering products and services along with a steady influx of startup and app centric software shops. All in all, BC currently offers lots of opportunity but as always in Information Technology, having a bit of a specialization will help open doors.