At a Glance
"Real responsibility and rewards for good work"
Good variety of work
"Still has a small-firm feel with a young atmosphere"
"Very few big, fixed-price projects to get your teeth into"
"Not well known, and perceived as small-timers still"
Insufficient training for graduates
"Has grown too quickly for its own good"
"Excellent technology player in government work"
About BAE Systems
UK-based business and technology consultancy Detica is a top choice of government agencies when it comes to counter-terrorism, fighting organized crime, identity management, and immigration and border control, and stands at the forefront of national security services and fraud and data protection. In fact, over 60 per cent of Detica’s revenue comes from such government work, and its clients include agencies within the intelligence and defence sectors, as well as departments in the Home Office, the Department for Transport, the Metropolitan Police and HM Revenue & Customs. The consultancy also provides a dizzying array of technology services, such as systems development and integration, operational support, hardware product engineering and development services, data warehousing and communications monitoring, to name but a few. Within the private sector, which mainly covers the commercial, financial and telecommunications sectors, the firm counts among its clients such heavyweights as Arqiva, Barclays, BT, Centrica, HBOS, HSBC, Microsoft, Roche, Sony, T-Mobile and Vodafone.
The consultancy has been around in some form since 1971, when it was known by the less snazzy name of Smith Associates, and carried out defence research for the UK government. In the two decades that followed, the firm grew steadily at home, and also internationally, opening offices across Europe and broadening its scope by venturing into non-defence areas, such as the public sector. It went public on the London Stock Exchange in 2002, the same year it was renamed Detica, from the Greek word eidetic, meaning clear vision. This new vision resulted in five years of growth as the consultancy moved into the US market and busily acquired a string of companies to expand its range of services.
Eyeing the New World...
Following the opening of its first US office in Columbia, Maryland, in 2003, Detica has been keen to solidify and bulk up its presence across the pond. This dream came to fruition in early 2007, when the firm shelled out €22.5 million for DFI International, a Washington, DC-based defence, homeland security and intelligence consultancy. The result was the creation of Detica Federal that has broadened Detica’s client base in the US.
...and being eyed
The consultancy's impressive rise evidently didn't go unnoticed, and caused it to become something of an acquisition target itself. It was little surprise, then, when BAE Systems, Europe's biggest defence contractor, coughed up some €531 million for the firm in July 2008. While it may have changed ownership and vanished from the FTSE 250 Index, Detica hasn't disappeared altogether; it continues to operate as a separate entity within BAE Systems, which relies upon Detica's expertise within the US homeland security market. That market is evidently one where the BAE feels there is room for growth, having tasked Detica with uncovering growth opportunities within the security and resilience market.
In addition to its direct work with clients, Detica is also well known for its range of software applications and products designed to protect against fraud and criminal and terrorist activity, whilst at the same time providing cyber security. These include Detica NetReveal, a fraud detection technology, and Streamshield, a suite of products used by internet service providers to filter internet content. In 2008, the consultancy also launched TxtReveal, an application aimed specifically at government bodies that allows analysts to uncover "digital footprints" from disparate pieces of data in the fight against crime and terrorism.
THE LATEST ON DETICA
Detica launched a collaborative partnership with the UK's Child Exploitation Online Protection Centre to develop new ways of identifying and taking down online child abuse networks. Under the partnership, Detica will provide pro bono expertise in information intelligence to assist the CEOP in tracking down and prosecuting those who carry out, and facilitate, child abuse via the internet.
Stepping up surveillance
The firm successfully developed a state-of-the-art market surveillance system for Turquoise, the new multilateral trading facility that serves as an alternative to the London Stock Exchange. The new technology is aimed at weeding out illegal trading and irregularities by providing an instant bird’s-eye view of the market.
Working for the taxmen
Keeping up appearances with its home government, Detica was awarded a sizeable software agreement with Her Majesty’s Revenue & Customs. The UK agency purchased an enterprise-wide license for Detica NetReveal, the firm’s counter-fraud and intelligence product.
Aimed specifically at government bodies, Detica launched TxtReveal, its latest crime and terrorism-fighting software. The firm boasts that the application allows analysts to explore unstructured data, such as documents, emails, telephone calls, web browsing and financial transactions, to almost instantly discover "digital footprints" left behind by sophisticated criminals and terrorists.
Ripe for the picking
Europe’s largest defence contractor, BAE Systems PLC, purchased Detica in a deal valued at €531 million. While the consultancy continues to work as a separate business unit within BAE, it was removed from the FTSE 250 Index in October of the same year. The defence contractor snagged the firm primarily for its expertise within the US homeland security market, and it has tasked Detica with uncovering growth opportunities within the security and resilience market. The takeover, which was accepted at 440 pence per share, provided Detica's Chief Executive Tom Black, who has been with the firm since 1984 and owns 4.79 per cent of it, with a rather nice cash windfall of €24.5 million.
Detica signed an agreement with the world’s leading specialist insurance market, Lloyds, to help upgrade its capital modelling infrastructure. Under the terms of the deal, Detica delivered improved data integration, data warehousing, and information management processes and technology.
The big picture
Detica picked up a contract worth €2.3 million from the Ministry of Defence to provide business consulting, information assurance and enterprise architecture design services to the Ministry’s CIPHER programme. The €200 million programme will provide new cryptographic equipment and secure information exchange services across the UK military. The award came hot on the heels of another deal with a UK government branch, the Highways Agency, which awarded the firm a contract to advance its closed-circuit television operations. As part of the contract, Detica provided technical, business and management consultancy services to help operate one of the world’s largest and most geographically dispersed closed-circuit television networks.