Into 2021 public services around the world have maintained a tremendous effort in challenging circumstances. We have continued to respond while supporting all our employees, and we remain committed to doing all we can to assist our customers through our innovative software and digital capabilities.
During the six months to 31 March we made very good progress across our markets, with strong organic growth ahead of the prior year and accelerating momentum. We built on the Group’s resilient performance in 2020 and our growth track record across two decades with sustained investment in our people and our products. Our investment in a cloud-first approach for our products has provided a strong foundation which is now supporting customers who are accelerating their adoption of cloud software.
Developments during the period included:
- Growing our team to more than 5,300 people globally with further expansion in Vadodara, India, to almost 700 employees to support our global business with software expertise as well as back office services
- Continued focus on employee wellbeing and keeping our people informed and connected. Excellent employee ratings globally continue to support our position as an employer of choice with a Group Net Promoter score of +50
- Further investment in the Group’s software capability through our M&A strategy, strengthening our position in growth markets and expanding future opportunities. Extending our long-term track record of M&A we acquired 7 complementary businesses, adding market depth and further cross-sector capabilities in digital engagement, human capital management and asset management
- With the integration of recent acquisitions, we extended our workforce solutions product suite which now spans the recruitment, engagement, development, remuneration and wellbeing of employees
- Sustained focus on diversity and inclusion, named as #73 in Europe in the 2021 FT Diversity Leaders list
- Building social value through our employee, customer and community activities
During 2020 cloud software and digital tools played a crucial role for organisations in sustaining vital services. Combined with the long-term challenges facing the public sector this has led to the increasing adoption of cloud-based solutions together with the acceleration of digitisation and automation trends.
Into 2021 we continued to expand the use of our software to support customer priorities and to provide a stronger digital foundation. Supported by the Civica NorthStar innovation lab, we also continued our progress and the application of emerging technologies in our products focused around digital enablement, automation and data analytics. Highlights included:
- Growing our position as a cloud leader, with more than 4,000 customers using cloud-based solutions globally and accounting for approximately 80% of major new sales in the period
- Continued investment in new product development together with increased penetration of products across multiple international markets under our ‘Endeavour’ programme
- Recognition for our products and services such as Best Cloud Finance Solution at the Computing Cloud Excellence Awards and Australian Business Awards for mobile innovation
- Focusing innovation with Civica NorthStar to harness new ideas and technologies for customers, such as Aurum, our AI-based analytics solution for healthcare costing
- A new academic partnership including a PHD programme with the University of Bath’s Centre for Doctoral Training in Accountable, Responsible and Transparent AI
- Ongoing focus on continuous improvement through our Centum operational excellence programme underpinned by our unified operating platform
The Group delivered a strong trading performance, supported by excellent cash conversion. Building on our leadership position we grew the number of new contract wins with existing and new customers, securing record sales for the period with the value of major orders increasing 23% on the same period last year:
- Strong order intake across our markets including from, among others, Liverpool City Council, London Borough of Redbridge, City of Whittlesea, Stockport Homes, Police Scotland and the Local Pensions Partnership Administration
- Excellent momentum in health & care driven by our patient record, prescribing and costing solutions, securing major contracts including with Singapore’s Integrated Health Information Systems and Greater Manchester Mental Health NHS Foundation Trust in the UK
- Strong cross-border business momentum; for example, new wins for our Cx Housing software internationally, including Mission Australia and Otautahi Community Housing Trust
- New programmes for our Central Government division, including with the Foreign, Commonwealth & Development Office, Ministry of Defence and HM Treasury
- Ongoing high level of customer focus and retention underpinned by remote delivery of major projects and with an increased customer Net Promoter score for the Group of +47
Following the rise in Coronavirus cases in India, we increased our assistance in the region, including support for BAPS Shri Swaminarayan Mandir which has established a dedicated, 500-bed hospital to provide medical assistance to the people of Vadodara. We raised funds to support the set-up of an intensive care unit to ensure patient access to ventilators, oxygen, food and medicines, while directly funding the purchase of patient monitors. Through Partners Group we were also able to make available a number of oxygen concentrators at our Vadodara facility for colleagues and family members in urgent need.
On a very strong operational and financial foundation, we remain focused on helping our customers to advance new, stronger and more efficient ways of working, enabled by greater digitisation and automation to ensure better outcomes for the communities which rely on their services.