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

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

Job Market Update Across Canada for October 2019

Kevin Dee By Kevin Dee, Co-Founder at Eagle

Here at Eagle we provide job market information on a regular basis, sometimes at a high level across the country and other times looking in more depth at 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:

There 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. For this purpose, I have focused on the TSX. When I wrote this update in March of this year the TSX was at its low of 16,000 points, and it has been as high as almost 16,900, but as I write this sits at 16,400. This is probably a decent indicator of Canada’s economy… meh! Not booming, not in the doldrums but not setting the world on fire either.

The unemployment rate is an obvious indicator for the job market and the September numbers were quite positive, adding 54,000 jobs with 41,000 of them in Ontario. This saw the unemployment rate drop to 5.5%, which is pretty close to the year’s best rate which was 5.4%.

In the new world of work, one of the factors that will favor the job seeker is a willingness to go where the jobs are. In Canada, the four largest provinces represent close to 90% of the jobs, with Ontario the largest (close to 40%); Quebec (approx. 23%); BC (13.5%) and Alberta (12.5%). BC and Quebec have the lowest unemployment rate in Canada (4.8%), with Newfoundland & Labrador the highest (11.5%); Manitoba (5%); Ontario and Saskatchewan (5.3%). 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 so their unemployment rate is 6.6%.

One of the big factors affecting the Alberta market is the price of oil. The price of a barrel in Canada is more than $10 a barrel less than on the WTI price (and more than $15 less than Brent). This is due to a number of factors, including that fact that Canada’s only client is the United States. Until there is a clear change that will likely remain a factor in Alberta’s economy. Having said that, there are still opportunities in Alberta, just not the booming demand we saw in the past.

The hot US market has created significant skills shortages and cost increases for companies with large workforces. This has created an opportunity in Canada, where large US companies like Amazon, Facebook, Google etc. are adding to their Canadian presence to tap into the talent up here. We have seen big announcements in Vancouver, Calgary, Montreal and Toronto in recent months and I expect this trend to continue. There has been particular interest in the skilled technology talent here in Canada. Canada is also able to attract skilled immigrant talent easier than the US, whose immigration laws are more prohibitive.

Tech job activity is relatively strong in most markets across Canada, even Calgary, which has not returned to pre-oil crisis levels of activity but is still seeing some demand. This makes sense if you recognize that even at a 6.6% unemployment rate, that probably represents an unemployment rate among professionals and in-demand skills of more like 3.5%.

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, Healthcare, Government, Telecom, Banking, CRM, BI and AI; Project Managers, Business Analysts, Change Management, Quality Assurance, Architects, Sys Admins, Full Stack developers, Database Admins and Dev Ops engineers.

In summary, people with tech skills and experience should have little difficulty in finding employment, either contract or perm, for the foreseeable future. A willingness to relocate to the bigger centers will only increase their marketability.

The big unknown in the world today is whether there will be a recession, and if so, how deep will it hit. The trading tensions and regional politics around the world are not helping, but generally I am seeing many indicators that 2020 will be a slower year than 2019. A recession is not in the forecast but forecasters have been wrong before! I don’t believe the election will have a negative impact on jobs, whichever party gets in.

For employers, our advice has not changed, it is a “job seekers market” so it is important to hire quickly! Establish clean hiring practices that move candidates quickly through the hiring process. We are seeing more and more multiple job offers and clients losing talent because they are too slow to make a decision.

IT Industry News for September 2019

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

This post first appeared on the Eagle Blog on October 10th, 2019

This is my 30,000-foot look at events in the ICT industry for September 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 September in previous years …

Five years ago, September 2014 saw some big deals announced, including Microsoft’s Microsoft logo$2.5 billion purchase of gaming company Minecraft, Lenovo’s $2.1 billion purchase of IBM’s x86 server business and Cognizant’s $2.7 billion purchase of healthcare company, Trizetto Corp.  Hootsuite had an injection of cash and bought two companies, social telephony company Zeetl and social media marketing platform Brightkit.  Google also made two acquisitions: biotech company Lift Labs and desktop polling company Polar. There were plenty more deals announced, including Yahoo’s $8 million purchase of cloud-based document hosting company Bookpad; Cisco’s purchase of private cloud company Metacloud; SAP’s purchase of expense software company Concur; Blackberry’s purchase of virtual identity software startup Movirtu and Red Hat’s purchase of mobile app company FeedHenry.

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 solutions for ACCENTURE LOGODynamics 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 HP logoAvnet, and HP made the biggest printer acquisition to date, paying $1.05 Billion for Samsung’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.

Two 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 pursues its goal to be a National IT Service Provider.

Last year, 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 is expanding 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 added an AI driven email client to its portfolio with the purchase of Astro.

Which brings us back to the present …

September 2019 was relatively busy in M&A with Qualcomm’s $3.1 billion acquisition of TDK’s share in a RF joint venture, the largest deal of the month.  There were some big Facebook logonames out shopping in September, 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.

Other companies in the news included YouTube who reached a $170 million settlement related to protection and privacy for children; Kik interactive shut down its messaging service; and DoorDash became the latest cyber breach casualty.

The jobs numbers were optimistic in Canada, and the US also had good jobs news although the ongoing trade war and potential impeachment have put a negative spin on some of the reports coming out.

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

Walk Fast and Smile

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