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All Talent Development Centre posts for Canadian technology contractors relating to the economy.

Regional Job Market Update for Montreal

David O'Brien By David O’Brien,
Senior Vice President, Business Development at Eagle

Panoramic Photo Montreal city fron Mount RoyalThe COVID-19 Pandemic and associated deep recession in Canada has made market,  job and employment reports a bleak exercise indeed. As GDP has shrunk substantially in Canada and in fact globally , employers shocked with an unanticipated event reacted initially by stopping hiring then, implementing layoffs, and finally followed by a” how do we survive” — more specifically “Are we prepared to compete in a fully digital marketplace?”

Quebec, and more specifically Montreal, was hit very hard and early by the pandemic. The unemployment rate in Quebec went from a near full employment rate of 4.2% in February to 14.2 % in May. We know from previous data that the technology unemployment rate is about half the general  broader unemployment rate.  The question is where did the Montreal tech job market go? Well, we know that at the same time the pandemic was raging through employment markets and economies, there was an incredible Big Tech rally that completely defies what was happening on the street. This added hundreds of billions of dollars of wealth to companies like Apple, Amazon , Microsoft and Ottawa’s own Shopify, which recently passed RBC as Canada’s largest capitalized company  worth $164B !

Montreal is one of 3 big Tech hubs in Canada, along with Toronto and Vancouver. We certainly saw this market resilience in Montreal as it was one of  Eagle’s busiest branches relatively speaking throughout the Pandemic. The city, while also hit hard early with the Pandemic, also led Canada in restoring some sense of the new “abnormal ” as it moved first to open the economy in Canada. With diverse sectors along with Tech, for example Telco, players in Montreal moved quickly and continued to hire what now was more generally available resources in an strategic effort to amp up their digitized commerce and service offerings.

We have seen now many organizations in Montreal and elsewhere take the event as a time to evaluate their digital strength and no doubt in time refocus on projects to ensure they are able to survive and thrive in an ecommerce world. In demand roles in Montreal include PMs, Full Stack and Application Developers , QA resources along with Security and Cyber resources.

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.

Regional Job Market Update for Edmonton, Alberta (February 2020)

Cameron McCallum By Cameron McCallum,
Regional Vice President at Eagle

City of EdmontonLast time I wrote an update on the Edmonton job market, things were admittedly a bit stagnant and the Alberta economy continued to limp along. Activity in the IT sector, however, was still robust as organizations continued to push through large projects aimed at digitizing and automating their work environments. The public sector, a major contributor to the Edmonton economy, was still a large part of the IT contracting market and it felt like Edmonton, as it is inclined to do, would ride out the storm. How things have changed. Edmonton ended 2019 with the highest jobless rate in the country at 8%, almost 2 full points up from the previous December. Interestingly, Edmonton and Calgary basically swapped places with our neighbors to the south finishing the year with an unemployment rate of 7%. Other underlying numbers demonstrate the challenges the city is now facing:

  • GDP growth is at its lowest since 2015 (.5%);
  • Full time jobs have been declining, many of those positions formally in the public sector as the newly elected provincial government slashes spending as per the October budget; and,
  • If you are a young person aged 15-24, your options for employment have slipped drastically, with unemployment for that demographic at around 17% according to Stats Canada.

How does all this affect you if you are an Information Technology professional. The most obvious hit is the belt tightening going on in most government sectors. At Eagle, we’ve already witnessed the early termination of projects and the scaling back of major initiatives. And that has affected employees and contractors alike. The provincial government has also eliminated several tax incentives directly targeted at attracting technology firms in BC and other jurisdictions to relocate to Alberta. While hard to directly quantify what this means in terms of jobs and lost opportunity, it’s just one more blow to the tech sector.

What is also becoming evident is that the competition for contracts and jobs is heating up. You are not only competing with a greater number of candidates, but you can likely expect rates to become more competitive in the short term as individuals sharpen their pencil to better their chances of winning.

So, what can you do if you find yourself without a contract and panic starting to set in? First, stop panicking… there are options.

If you have saved funds for just such a purpose, how about taking that certification, course or program to skill up and make yourself as marketable as you possibly can. It can be hard to find the time, especially as a contractor, to keep up with your training, now might be a good time to do so.

Or, you might want to consider moving to a market that currently has demand for IT professionals. I’ve written before about moving to Winnipeg to take on contract work there. The reasons are simple. Lots of opportunity, less competition and a cost of living that makes it easier to relocate vs other urban centers such as Toronto or Vancouver. Remember, it doesn’t have to be forever, just enough time to weather the storm.

Hopefully, the storm won’t last and there might even be some good news. Edmonton gained 3100 positions in December and unemployment is expected to level off and perhaps move from its current position to the 7 – 7.5% range, according to City economists. In the meantime, stay close to your favorite recruiters and seek advice from them about how to make yourself as competitive and attractive a candidate as possible.

Regional Job Market Update for Calgary, Alberta (January 2020)

Kelly Benson By Kelly Benson,
Branch Manager at Eagle

Regional Job Market Update for Calgary, Alberta

While the employment numbers were relatively strong across the country in 2019, Calgary’s recovery remains frustratingly slow.  Our city still faces many of the same challenges with low oil prices, limited markets for our resources, low consumer spending and too high unemployment rates.  The good news in all of this is that many of our clients are now focused on looking forward with an optimistic belief that the biggest challenges are now behind us.

We are so used to hearing about all the things that are not going well, that it often puts a damper on the things that are going well.  When we look for positive narrative, we see a lot of great things happening in our city and much of the positive news is in the IT and Tech space:

Tech job activity has been steadily increasing over the past few years and a lot of that is being driven by a shift to digital.  With digital transformation, the definition of a career in IT is also shifting.  The result is that tech jobs are on the rise and we continue to see demand increasing for tech roles in non-tech companies.  Afterall, the banks no longer employ primarily bankers and energy companies employ far more than just geoscientists.

No longer do we only think of the big tech companies when we think of Data Engineers and Software Developers. More and more of our big corporate clients are developing their own internal Innovation Labs where they are experimenting with leading-edge technology including Advanced Analytics, Artificial Intelligence and Blockchain.

The biggest challenge for business in Calgary is that the demand for good tech talent is high.  Many of our largest clients are embarking on similar journeys at the same time, which is creating temporary skills shortages.  Because Calgary lagged other markets in new technology adoption, the availability of talent experienced in the newer technology is lagging and we are being forced to look for talent outside the city to get access to certain expertise more often than we would like.

At Eagle, we have seen demand for IT talent steadily increasing over the past year that is combined with a steady decrease in the number of active job seekers applying for roles.  More work available.  Less people to do that work.  Doesn’t that sound like a good problem to have?  It depends who you ask!  The talent supply and demand gap is getting wider and is a top concern for executives.

Where is the current demand in Calgary?

  • SAP S/4HANA
  • Data Analytics/Data Engineering
  • Data Science
  • Development – Java (React/Angular/Node)
  • ServiceNow
  • Cloud expertise–AWS, Azure

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

Regional Job Market Update for Montréal, Québec

David O'Brien By David O’Brien,
Senior Vice President, Business Development at Eagle

Panoramic Photo Montreal city fron Mount RoyalThe Montreal IT job market continues to be one of robust demand anchored by some foundational, more traditional industries that are focused on software development, such as Banking, Telco, Aerospace and Transportation. This is augmented now by “sexy ” new technologies and industries in electronic gaming, digital media and a thriving AI hub. In fact, since 2018, Montreal has experienced the largest economic growth in all of Canada with a nearly 6% increase in job creation between 2016 and 2018, and high tech jobs are leading the way. Montreal is now firmly a top 5 spot for tech employment in Canada and the Conference Board of Canada predicts Montreal’s economic growth of 3% will lead major metropolitan cities in Canada this year. With a lower cost of living than both Toronto and Vancouver, the two biggest tech centres in Canada, Montreal looks to be poised to continue its growth.

A recent highlight in the Montreal job market is that Amazon Canada just opened its first Quebec-based distribution warehouse in Lachine, after the city failed to win the corporate pitch contest for Amazon’s second HQ.

As always, with the good come the unknown and success of the recent past will undoubtedly face headwinds both economically and politically. CN Rail, itself, with labour issues, has drastically reduced the number of IT contractors it uses in Montreal, long a top draw for IT contractors. Furthermore, with a new provincial government settling in, the CAQ has changed a number of immigration policies, especially for students, which was and is often a fast track avenue to bring much needed skills in to the labour market. With fears of recession in the overall Canadian economy as growth slows, certainly many of Montreal national employers will start to feel the pinch and that will no doubt affect those represented in Montreal. The question will become how clients respond. Typically, less than positive economic factors manifest detrimentally in permanent hire while they can be a positive for contract hiring.

In demand roles and technologies for Montreal include developers, both back-end and front-end, and particularly mobile developers with Android/Kotlin experience. .Net developers, as well as Security Analysts, BI Business Analysts and Big Data resources with Hadoop skills are all also expected to have high-demand in the coming months.

IT Industry News for November 2019

Kevin Dee By Kevin Dee, Co-Founder of Eagle

This post first appeared on the Eagle Blog on December 2nd, 2019

This is my 30,000-foot look at events in the Tech industry for November 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 Novembers …

Five years ago, November 2014 was an exceptionally quiet month on the M&A front with Yahoo logothe largest deal being the merger of two semiconductor companies, Cypress Semiconductor and Spansion to form a $4 billion company; private equity company Carlyle Group paid $700 million for investment bank technology company Dealogic and Yahoo shelled out $640 million for video advertising company BrightRoll.

November 2015 saw Expedia pay $3.9 billion for HomeAway as a vehicle to better compete The apple logo and apple with a bite out of itwith Airbnb.  Zayo Holding Group became the first foreign company to own a Canadian telco after paying $465 million for Allstream.  Other smaller deals saw Apple buy Faceshift, a motion capture company whose technology was used in a Star Wars movie; and Lightspeed POS bought SEOshop, increasing its size as a competitor to Shopify.  Other deals saw Ingram Micro grow its Brazilian presence with the purchase of ACAO; PCM bought Edmonton based services firm Acrodex; Data centre company CentriLogic bought infrastructure company Advanced Knowledge Networks; solution provider Scalar Systems bought another Toronto company, professional services firm Eosensa; and Washington-based New Signature bought Toronto-based Microsoft Partner, Imason.

In November 2016, Broadcom acquired Brocade Communication Systems for $5.9 billion; Adobe purchased multi-channel programmatic video platform TubeMogul for $540 million; IT services and outsourcing provider Wipro Limited bought IT cloud consulting firm Appirio for $500 million; Oracle Corp. announced its plans to acquire DNS solution provider, Dyn Inc.; SoftwareOne acquired and integrated House of Lync; and Avnet completed an acquisition of Hackster.

Two years ago, in November 2017, the big M&A activity for the month saw investment firm Thoma Bravo pay $1.6 billion for Barracuda networks.  McAfee also made an acquisition of Skyhigh Networks and smaller deals saw Talend buy Restlet and Qualys buy Netwatcher.

Last year, November 2018 was a busy month in the M&A space, with lots of action!  The largest deal saw SAP shell out $8 billion for experience management company Qualtrics.  Not far behind was Commscope paying $7.4 billion for telecommunication equipment maker Arris.  Vista Equity partners paid $1.94 billion for cloud software company Apptio; and private equity fund CVC paid $1.8 billion for a global IT and managed services provider, ConvergeOne Holdings.  The final billion-dollar deal saw Blackerry make its largest acquisition, paying $1.4 billion for AI cybersecurity startup Cylance.  In other deals, Thoma Bravo bought security testing vendor Veracode for $950 million; LinkedIn paid $400 million for a surveying startup, Glint; power management company Eaton paid $300 million for Turkish company Ulusoy Elektrik; and Citrix shelled out $200 million for intelligent portal company Sapho.  There were plenty of big name companies out shopping with no price tag named, Accenture bought a German design agency Kolle Rebbe; Apple bought AI company Silk Labs;  HPE bought big data company Bluedata; Oracle bought Talari Networks; Cisco bought networking company Ensoft; Microsoft bought another AI company, startup XOXCO; Red Hat (recently purchased by IBM) bought storage startup NooBaa; VMware bought Kubernotes startup Heptio; Symantec bought a couple of companies, Appthirty and Javelin Networks; and DXC bought a couple of companies TESM and BusinessNow.

Which brings us back to the present …

 November 2019 saw quite a few big dollar deals.  The biggest saw Apollo Global taking TechData private in a deal worth $5.4 billion.  eBay sold its Stubhub subsidiary to Viagogo for $4.05 billion; Xerox is selling its stake in Fuji Xerox such that Fujifilm will own the whole entity at a cost of $2.3 billion; Google paid $2.1 billion for Fitbit ; and Opentext paid $1.4 billion for security company Carbonite.  That is a lot of billion-dollar deals for one month!

DXC logoOther deals saw Proofpoint pay $225 million for threat management company ObserveIT; DXC picked up solution providers, Virtual Clarity and Bluleader; Rackspace bought professional services company Onica, and Mimecast picked up DMARC Analyzer.

One other company in the news was Cognizant, who announced it would be laying off between 10,000 and 12,00 employees.

Economic and jobs news around the world was a little mixed, with signs of things slowing in most countries.  Canada lost jobs in October, despite a big boost in public sector hiring.  The US had decent job numbers, but signs were less positive moving forward.  Of course, less positive, does not mean negative!

Some interesting reports this month, with Canada’s privacy commissioner pointing out that 28 million Canadians were affected by corporate hacks or mismanagement.  Pretty interesting for a country with a population of 37.5 million!  Two separate AI report suggest different impacts on jobs into the future; The Brookings Institute suggesting Higher paid workers will be the most impacted; and Jim Goodnight suggesting it will be the factory floor most impacted.

Eagle logoOne final piece of news and a little plug, as the Global Power 150 list of Women in Staffing was released, with Eagle’s CEO Janis Grantham on the list.

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

Walk Fast and Smile

Regional Job Market Update for British Columbia (November 2019)

Cameron McCallum By Cameron McCallum,
Regional Vice President at Eagle
Downtown Vancouver Sunset
Downtown Vancouver Sunset” by Magnus Larsson is licensed under CC BY-SA 2.0

According to Central1, the BC economy continues to be one of the strongest in Canada and a couple of key indicators were quite positive in October. Employment numbers were up 0.6% which represents 15,300 persons or nearly 2.57 million persons seasonally adjusted. Most of this uptick came from the Vancouver Metropolitan Area (28,000 persons) and the news wasn’t so positive in other parts of the province where the natural resources, goods producing and manufacturing sectors all showed weakness. Interestingly, real estate sales in the lower mainland which had showed signs of weakening after government-introduced impediments is showing signs of a rebound, and MLS sales climbed for the 7th time in the past 8th months. BC’s unemployment rate at 4.7% remains the country’s lowest followed by Quebec at 5%. Low unemployment rates suggests a tight labor market and here at Eagle, the challenge to meet our clients’ demands means we need to use all tools at our disposal to reach an often “passive” candidate pool who in turn, have the luxury of picking and choosing which opportunities to pursue.

With all this in mind, BC continues to be an exceptional place to be if you are working in the IT/IM sector. Jobs remain plentiful in the public and private sectors as organizations pursue their own brand of digital transformation in an effort to better deliver value to their customers. This might be focused internally on projects that help an enterprise better manage their data (Business Intelligence) or in how a firm manages their IS, as either on premise, cloud or a hybrid solution. And because this technology impacts so many organizational domains, it in turn fuels other initiatives needed to support the transformation and this seeds other projects.

What makes these projects so exciting is that the technologies being employed are somewhat newer and experience — or even better, expertise — with that tool immediately puts you in demand. This might involve technologies associated with the Microsoft stack and Azure and feature products like SSIS, SSRS and Power BI. Or, if the project is using open-source utilities, you might be noticing expertise is required with Hadoop, Spark, Scala, Kafka or Hortonworks.

Speaking of software companies and products, BC continues to be a hotbed of established and younger IT product and services companies, perfect for the new grad or experienced Software Engineer. In fact, in a list published November 8th, Deloitte announced the 2019 winners of its Technology Fast 50, Companies-to-Watch and Enterprise Fast 15 Programs and 10 of the top 50 were BC Tech companies (2nd only to Ontario).

BC remains a strong market for IT professionals and the myriad selection of projects that require top resources does not seem to be abating, especially in the lower mainland. The extra work for IT professionals is the never-ending onus to upgrade and keep your skills and experience relevant and that can be a challenge.

IT Industry News for October 2019

Kevin Dee By Kevin Dee, Co-Founder of Eagle

This post first appeared on the Eagle Blog on November 6th, 2019

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

Five years ago, in October 2014, we saw a new trend, with two public companies both choosing to split into smaller entities.  HP announced it was creating a business service-HP logofocused Hewlett-Packard Enterprise and personal computing & printer company HP Inc.  Symantec also chose to split into two independent public companies, one focused on business and consumer security products, the other on its information management portfolio.  Other interesting news saw IBM pay $1.5 billion to GlobalFoundries so it would take away its money losing semiconductor manufacturing business.  NEST bought competitor Revolv; EMC bought three cloud companies: The Cloudscaling Group, Maginatics and Spanning Cloud Apps; and in Korea, Kakao and Daum merged to form a $2.9 billion internet entity.

October 2015 brought some big deals with the biggest seeing Dell offer $26 billion to buy storage company EMC.  Interestingly an EMC subsidiary, VMWare, was also out shopping, picking up a small email startup, Boxer.  In another deal involving “big bucks”, Western dell logoDigital 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 converge it was interesting to see Securitas pay $350 million for Diebold’s US Electronic Security business.

Three years ago, in October 2016, there was not 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.

Cisco logoIn 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.

Last year, October 2018 was an interesting month, with some significant M&A activity and the sad passing of yet another tech pioneer, Paul Allen, who co-founded Microsoft with Bill IBM logoGates.  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 is paying $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).

Which brings us back to the present …

There was plenty of activity in October 2019The economy, while slowing down some, is still quite robust in the US and employment figures around the world are generally positive.  Reports continue to suggest things will weaken in 2020 but the threat of a recession seems reduced, always bearing in mind that the ongoing trade wars are not helping.

There were numerous reports of the skills shortage, in the US and elsewhere in the world.  Couple that with a report suggesting that tech jobs are going to become even more in demand there is a need to guide more students towards tech.

On the M&A side, activity was brisk with the largest deal happening in the robust data Intel logocenter space, Digital Realty paying $8.4 billion for Interxion.  There was also a smaller data centre deal that saw Equinix pay $175 million for 3 data centres from Axtel; and another datacenter deal involving ServerFarm buying SNINES.  Another big dollar deal saw private equity company Thoma Bravo offer $3.4billion 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 is paying $700 million for ADT’s Canadian Security Services business.  Some other deals included network company Cienna buying performance and analytics form Centina; Sailpoint paying $37.5 million for two cloud security startups; Tech Data buying DLT Systems; and Trend Micro buying security company Cloud Conformity.

Microsoft logoOther companies making news include Microsoft, who are grappling with an activist employee base contesting their government work; HP Inc. who announced significant layoffs; and Oracle who are going to be on a hiring binge.

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

Walk Fast and Smile

How AI Will Transform Our Economy by 2030

As artificial intelligence (AI) continues to take the world by storm and blow our minds every day with new innovations, analysts and experts continue to wrap their minds around where our world will be by the end of the next decade. Combined, there are no doubt thousands of books, articles, TED Talks and videos committed to making those predictions.

Noodle.ai is an Enterprise AI company focusing on supply chain and manufacturing. They recently created an infographic bringing together a number of sources, including McKinsey, PWC, Bloomberg and more to summarize experts’ opinions about artificial intelligence by 2030.

The findings are exciting and not surprising. They show that by 2030, AI could bring $13 trillion to the global economy, with 70% of companies taking advantage of it. To answer the question on most people’s minds — will AI steal all of our jobs — the infographic does say that current occupations will be automated and possibly eliminated, but it also believes that 250 to 280 million jobs could be created! Repetitive jobs opportunities will likely decrease and non-repetitive jobs with high digital skills are predicted to rise by 10%. Those who choose to learn the new skills are those who will succeed the most.

Check out all the details, including three steps to ensure your (or your client’s) business is ready to capitalize on AI in the next 10 years.

How AI Will Transform Our Economy by 2030