Goodbye Top Ten and Hello HFS Horizons!

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The world of enterprise innovation has changed dramatically since pre-pandemic days, and we – at HFS – have redefined how we evaluate service providers and tech suppliers to reflect the value ambitious enterprises are demanding in today’s business environment.

Today, we’re officially launching “HFS Horizons’ to align the performance of today’s service providers and tech suppliers with the outcomes they help their clients define, the great experiences their clients enjoy, and the synergies their clients are developing across their ecosystem partners to create new sources of value:

So why is it time to phase out the HFS Top 10?

When we introduced the famous HFS Top 10 over four years ago, the whole purpose was for our analysts to put a stake in the ground and produce something relevant to support enterprise decision-making.  We wanted to differentiate HFS from our competitors by producing a relevant decision-making support tool for enterprise leaders, not marketing fodder for vendor press releases.

Fast-forward four years, and the analyst industry hasn’t changed a bit – we are still subjected to Magic Quadrants, Waves, and Peaks developed solely for the paid inclusion in supplier sales decks and press releases. While some are pretty decent, there are so many that miss key suppliers, lack the integrity of customer references (if they do any at all), and are scored largely on how well the vendor wows them in a briefing and at their fancy conferences.

Moreover, by lumping so many suppliers into the top right of their charts, the analyst has essentially made many of them “winners” to make it easier to sell more licenses to eager marketers.   As a result, the HFS Top Ten has become hugely popular as the one decision tool that enterprise buyers really trust to access deep profiles of suppliers across many dimensions of innovation, execution, voice of the customer, and OneOffice alignment.

However, like all good things, we need to evolve with the times, and while we want to build on the integrity and depth of the Top Ten research, we strongly feel it is time to align supplier performance across the three horizons of innovation:  Outcomes, Experiences and Synergy:

While the rest of the analyst industry persists in looking in the rearview mirror at the world, we’re determined to keep looking forward

We need to stay true to our reputation of being unafraid to challenge and disrupt ourselves and keep looking forward. The best time to retire a product is when it is successful!

So how will Horizons reports work?

HFS Horizons reports will be completely aligned with our vision for enterprise innovation and will paint the supplier landscape across:

  • Horizon 1: Outcomes (based on functional digital transformation)
  • Horizon 2: Experiences (based on a OneOffice mindset)
  • Horizon 3: Synergy (based on a OneEcosystem approach)

Instead of ranking based on execution, innovation, and customer satisfaction; we will be evaluating suppliers based on the “Why, What, How, and So What” of enterprise innovation:

  • Why? – The value proposition
  • What? – The solutions and capabilities
  • How? – The Go-to-Market strategy and investments
  • So What? – The market impact in terms of mindshare and wallet share

While customer feedback will continue to be a critical ingredient for Horizonsassessment, we will also expand our data sources to understand employee experience and partner experience. HFS will invest and rely on its own proprietary data sources more heavily versus supplier-provided information

  • Beyond supplier-provided client references, we will survey relevant clients in our own network leveraging HFS Pulse
  • We will also reach out to employees directly (and anonymously) to understand their perceptions on their employers
  • In addition to client references, we will also ask for partner references

The HFS Horizons reports will be governed by an agile research process:

  • No laborious RFI responses. The value is in conversations. Essential data requirements will be shared as an appendix to the briefings
  • Customer references are recommended but not mandatory. We have in-depth network of clients who are willing to talk to us to provide unvarnished feedback
  • There is no opt-out. Sharing information and briefings with analysts is helpful and recommended, but we will leverage our network to assess suppliers.

HFS Horizons report will also allow us to be more inclusive where there are 20+ suppliers in a market

If you have questions on the new HFS Horizons reports and how you can get included, please email [email protected]

Posted in : Automation, Business Process Outsourcing (BPO), Buyers' Sourcing Best Practices, Consulting, Customer Experience, Employee Experience, HFS Horizons, IT Outsourcing / IT Services, OneEcosystem, OneOffice



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  1. Really interesting to tie a vendor ranking to a maturity model.
    How will you incorporate different use cases for clients who are not all on the same page?

    1. @Ludo – we perform our own quant study (Pulse) that covers the performances across 600 major enterprises, in addition to conducting our own analyst reference calls. We also invest in our enterprise summits and roundtables where our analysts get up close and personal with many enterprise decision makers

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