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Xceed Group: Big change doesn’t have to mean big pain

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xceed-logo

xceed-logoNature of the business: IT and business change professional services firm

Markets: US and UK

Contact information/Offices:
Offices in London, Edinburgh, New York

London: 1 Alie Street, London E1 8DE
eMail: [email protected]
Phone: +44 (0) 20 7480 0030
Fax: +44 (0) 20 998 9885

New York: 100 Church Street, 8th Floor New York NY10007
eMail: [email protected]
Phone: +1-212-504-2964
Fax: +917-398-1486

Edinburgh: 10 Lochside Place, Edinburgh EH12 9RG
eMail: [email protected]
Phone: +44 (0) 131 230 0104
Fax: +44 (0) 131 230 0105

http://www.xceedgroup.com

History:
Xceed Group was formed in 2003, bringing together experienced IT professionals who share the vision to build long term client relationships through the consistent and reliable delivery of professional IT services.

Xceed’s inception was triggered by the Board’s deep-seated belief that companies could be getting better value for their investment in professional services than they had previously seen during their careers in tier-one consultancy firms.

Xceed’s industry background is in financial services, telecommunications, media and energy, and core skills have developed from pure technology through to IT infrastructure and application integration and business change. Strong project and programme management remains at the core of the business.

In over 10 years of operating with a range of FTSE 100 and Fortune 500 clients, many with challenging IT programmes and architectures, Xceed Group has enjoyed consistent growth driven by recommendation and referral.

Products/Services Offered:

  1. Integration & Separation
  2. Business & Organisational Change
  3. Portfolio & Programme Assurance
  4. Testing Strategy & Execution
  5. Implementation Management
  6. Service Management Transformation
  7. Data Network Optimisation
  8. Data Centre Optimisation
  9. Data Migration
  10. Data Management & Maturity
  11. Market Data Optimisation
  12. End User Computing
  13. Outsourcing Advisory Services
  14. Interim Management

Company ethos:
At Xceed we understand the importance of working in partnership with our clients; the best results are achieved when we can accurately align our aims and goals with those of the customer.

Xceed consultants are highly experienced at working in heavily regulated environments and are practised at introducing and maintaining high levels of governance and reporting. However, when required and appropriate they also have the practicality to adopt pragmatic short cuts to hit tight deadlines or recover flagging programmes.

There are three core beliefs which are instilled in Xceed consultants and which differentiate our approach:

We integrate with the in-house team and share as much knowledge and expertise as possible by active mentoring and regular knowledge sharing. We aim to leave a legacy.

We act as though we are shareholders in our client’s business, treat their money as our own and take actions on the basis of what’s in the best interests of the client.

Our attitude is as important as our competency and means that it’s not just what we do but how we do it that makes the difference. We’re completely committed to delivering high-quality, low-risk change.

Our client induction process, the Xceed Way and People Framework combine with substantial support, training and development to ensure that we deliver to a consistently high standard, whatever the challenge.

We make it our business to fully understand our client’s business and deliver change that works now and for the future.

Key executives:
Xceed Group is owned and run by three board directors: Gary Stewart, John Casserly and John Turner.

Gary Stewart
Gary founded Xceed in 2003 and has over 25 years experience of running large-scale IT programmes, including a successful stint at a tier-one consulting firm. Gary works predominantly in the financial services, telecoms and professional services industry and has delivered complex global programmes in highly challenging environments. He has a wide range of technical expertise encompassing infrastructure delivery, application development and deployment as well as network operations. He is especially strong on data centre design, build, management and consolidation.

Gary operates in both IT and business-facing roles and delivers through strong influencing and negotiation. As well as working with clients, Gary is Finance Director for the Group and his focus area is strategic planning, budgeting, financial tracking and reporting.

John Casserly
John has over 30 years experience in the IT industry, including three years at a tier-one consulting firm. He is a specialist in data centres and service management and has deep experience in IT outsourcing, having led the technology programme that resulted in outsourcing the entire IT infrastructure for Deutsche Bank in continental Europe. John has served in a number of senior management positions across varied industries including investment and retail banking, insurance, telecommunications, media, manufacturing and the public sector. John served as Chairman and was a leading member of an industry forum for investment banks that focused on CIO level issues in and around the data centre.

An accomplished Board-level operator, John is an excellent communicator and is one of those people who not only “gets it” but can translate so that everyone else “gets it” as well. As well as working with clients, John is Sales and Marketing Director for the Group and his focus area is strategic planning, proposition development and major bid proposals.

John Turner
John chairs the main Board and operational meetings. With over 30 years experience in IT and business change management, John has an outstanding track record of delivering massive step-change across major organisations in the financial services industry. This includes running some of the largest integration programmes in the UK. He has personal experience of shaping and leading global programmes with budgets in excess of £300m and over 3,000 staff, involving both application and infrastructure change. John works with Xceed’s clients at CEO/CIO level to determine investment strategy, business vision and change programmes and is a renowned trouble-shooter. As well as working with clients, John is Operations Director for the Group and his focus area is strategic planning, central operational functions and Human Resources.

Major projects to note:
Xceed Group helped global payments processing firm WorldPay to construct the full technical infrastructure for its business following its acquisition by two private equity houses in 2010. WorldPay was previously part of RBS Group and thus faced the challenge of building its UK operations and constructing the physical and technical infrastructure it needed for its business from scratch.

While 149 skilled workers joined WorldPay from RBS Group, none had experience of building and managing large scale infrastructure, creating a knowledge gap that Xceed was engaged to bridge. Xceed helped to write a number of complex RFIs and drafted detailed RFPs covering everything from choosing a facility to every bit of kit in the building. After four months, the complete physical data centre infrastructure was delivered in record time.

Following the tremendous success of the initial implementation, WorldPay expanded its relationship beyond infrastructure and continues to work with Xceed Group today.

 

 

 

 

Business

Euro zone business activity shrank in January as lockdowns hit services

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Euro zone business activity shrank in January as lockdowns hit services 1

By Jonathan Cable

LONDON (Reuters) – Economic activity in the euro zone shrank markedly in January as lockdown restrictions to contain the coronavirus pandemic hit the bloc’s dominant service industry hard, a survey showed.

With hospitality and entertainment venues forced to remain closed across much of the continent the survey highlighted a sharp contraction in the services industry but also showed manufacturing remained strong as factories largely remained open.

IHS Markit’s flash composite PMI, seen as a good guide to economic health, fell further below the 50 mark separating growth from contraction to 47.5 in January from December’s 49.1. A Reuters poll had predicted a fall to 47.6.

“A double-dip recession for the euro zone economy is looking increasingly inevitable as tighter COVID-19 restrictions took a further toll on businesses in January,” said Chris Williamson, chief business economist at IHS Markit.

“Some encouragement comes from the downturn being less severe than in the spring of last year, reflecting the ongoing relative resilience of manufacturing, rising demand for exported goods and the lockdown measures having been less stringent on average than last year.”

The bloc’s economy was expected to grow 0.6% this quarter, a Reuters poll showed earlier this week, and will return to its pre-COVID-19 level within two years on hopes the rollout of vaccines will allow a return to some form of normality. [ECILT/EU]

A PMI covering the bloc’s dominant service industry dropped to 45.0 from 46.4, exceeding expectations in a Reuters poll that had predicted a steeper fall to 44.5 and still a long way from historic lows at the start of the pandemic.

With activity still in decline and restrictions likely to be in place for some time yet, services firms were forced to chop their charges. The output price index fell to 46.9 from 48.4, its lowest reading since June.

That will be disappointing for policymakers at the European Central Bank – who on Thursday left policy unchanged – as uncomfortably low inflation has been a thorn in the ECB’s side for years.

Factory activity remained strong and the manufacturing PMI held well above breakeven at 54.7, albeit weaker than December’s 55.2. The Reuters poll had predicted a drop to 54.5.

An index measuring output which feeds into the composite PMI fell to 54.5 from 56.3.

But despite strong demand factories again cut headcount, as they have every month since May 2019. The employment index fell to 48.9 from 49.2.

As immunisation programmes are being ramped up after a slow start in Europe optimism about the coming year remained strong. The composite future output index dipped to 63.6 from December’s near three-year high of 64.5.

“The roll out of vaccines has meanwhile helped sustain a strong degree of confidence about prospects for the year ahead, though the recent rise in virus case numbers has caused some pull-back in optimism,” Williamson said.

(Reporting by Jonathan Cable; Editing by Toby Chopra)

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Business

Volkswagen’s profit halves, but deliveries recovering

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Volkswagen's profit halves, but deliveries recovering 2

BERLIN (Reuters) – Volkswagen reported a nearly 50% drop in its 2020 adjusted operating profit on Friday but said car deliveries had recovered strongly in the fourth quarter, lifting its shares.

The world’s largest carmaker said full-year operating profit, excluding costs related to its diesel emissions scandal, came in at 10 billion euros ($12.2 billion), compared with 19.3 billion in 2019.

Net cash flow at its automotive division was around 6 billion euros and car deliveries picked up towards the end of the year, the German group said in a statement.

“The deliveries to customers of the Volkswagen Group continued to recover strongly in the fourth quarter and even exceeded the deliveries of the third quarter 2020,” it said.

Volkswagen’s shares, which had been down as much as 2%, turned positive and were up 1.5% at 164.32 euros by 1158 GMT.

Sales at the automaker rose 1.7% in December, at a time when new car registrations in Europe dropped nearly 4%, data from the European Automobile Manufacturers’ Association showed.

Like its rivals, Volkswagen is facing several challenges due to the coronavirus pandemic as well as a global shortage of chips needed for production.

It also sees tough competition in developing electrified and self-driving cars. The merger of Fiat Chrysler and Peugeot-owner PSA to create the world’s fourth-biggest automaker Stellantis adds to the pressure.

Volkswagen said on Thursday it missed EU targets on carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions from its passenger car fleet last year and faces a fine of more than 100 million euros.

The group is expected to release detailed 2020 figures on March 16.

($1 = 0.8215 euros)

(Reporting by Kirsti Knolle; Editing by Maria Sheahan and Mark Potter)

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Global chip shortage hits China’s bitcoin mining sector

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Global chip shortage hits China's bitcoin mining sector 3

By Samuel Shen and Alun John

SHANGHAI/HONG KONG (Reuters) – A global chip shortage is choking the production of machines used to “mine” bitcoin, a sector dominated by China, sending prices of the computer equipment soaring as a surge in the cryptocurrency drives demand.

The scramble is pricing out smaller miners and accelerating an industry consolidation that could see deep-pocketed players, many outside China, profit from the bitcoin bull run.

Bitcoin mining is closely watched by traders and users of the world’s largest cryptocurrency, as the amount of bitcoin they make and sell into the market affects its supply and price.

Trading around $32,000 on Friday, bitcoin is down 20% from the record highs it struck two weeks ago but still up some 700% from its March low of $3,850.

“There are not enough chips to support the production of mining rigs,” said Alex Ao, vice president of Innosilicon, a chip designer and major provider of mining equipment.

Bitcoin miners use increasingly powerful, specially-designed computer equipment, or rigs, to verify bitcoin transactions in a process which produces newly minted bitcoins.

Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co and Samsung Electronics Co, the main producers of specially designed chips used in mining rigs, would also prioritise supplies to sectors such as consumer electronics, whose chip demand is seen as more stable, Ao said.

The global chip shortage is disrupting production across a global array of products, including automobiles, laptops and mobile phones. [L1N2JP2MY]

Mining’s profitability depends on bitcoin’s price, the cost of the electricity used to power the rig, the rig’s efficiency, and how much computing power is needed to mine a bitcoin.

Demand for rigs has boomed as bitcoin prices soared, said Gordon Chen, co-founder of cryptocurrency asset manager and miner GMR.

“When gold prices jump, you need more shovels. When milk prices rise, you want more cows.”

CONSOLIDATION

Lei Tong, managing director of financial services at Babel Finance, which lends to miners, said that “almost all major miners are scouring the market for rigs, and they are willing to pay high prices for second-hand machines.”

“Purchase volumes from North America have been huge, squeezing supply in China,” he said, adding that many miners are placing orders for products that can only be delivered in August and September.

Most of the products of Bitmain, one of the biggest rig makers in China, are sold out, according the company’s website.

A sales manager at Jiangsu Haifanxin Technology, a rig merchant, said prices on the second-hand market have jumped 50% to 60% over the past year, while prices of new equipment more than doubled. High-end, second-hand mining machines were quoted around $5,000.

“It’s natural if you look at how much bitcoin has risen,” said the manager, who identified himself on by his surname Li.

The cryptocurrency surge is affecting who is able to mine.

The increasing cost of investment is eliminating smaller players, said Raymond Yuan, founder of Atlas Mining, which owns one of China’s biggest mining business.

“Institutional investors benefit from both large scale and proficiency in management whereas retail investors who couldn’t keep up will be weeded out,” said Yuan, whose company has invested over $500 million in cryptocurrency mining and plans to keep investing heavily.

Many of the larger players growing their mining operations are based outside of China, often in North America and the Middle East, said Wayne Zhao, chief operating officer of crypto research company TokenInsight.

“China used to have low electricity costs as one core advantage, but as the bitcoin price rises now, that has gone,” he said.

Zhao said that while previously bitcoin mining in China used to account for as much as 80% of the world’s total, it now accounted for around 50%.

(Reporting by Samuel Shen and Alun John; Editing by Vidya Ranganathan and William Mallard)

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