HfS announces its entry into the outsourcing advisory market

March 31, 2015 | Phil Fersht

HfS_Logo_2_OrangeHfS Research, the leading analyst firm covering outsourcing strategies, today launched HfS Advisory (abbreviated to "HfS&") and announced its exit from the research analyst business.  The firm, once lauded for disrupting the research industry by giving its research away for free, finally conceded there is actually no money to me made from a business model where there the core product does not have an associated price tag.

As part of its relaunch as HfS&, the firm announced the following new advisory service lines, designed to disrupt today's outsourcing advisory marketplace:

1) FTE-Lite .  HfS& will disrupt the traditional outsourcing transaction marketplace by offering a series of unique advisory services designed to broker the lowest-priced FTE-based outsourcing deals for enterprise clients.  HfS has contracted with a SWAT team of professional negotiators whose fees are paid by the winning service provider, allowing HfS to undercut other advisors by up to 75% on advisor fees.

2) Business Outcomes Definition Creation. HfS& has also recognized a dire need in the sourcing industry to help clients define business outcomes, so that they can be executed on, and ultimately achieved.  HfS& intends to use the latest techniques in Design Thinking to make this all happen.

3) Digital Transformation On-demand.  HfS& is also getting ahead of the curve with digital transformation, by offering leading edge digital transformation expertise to clients - again at much lower fees to clients as the providers will pay HfS& directly to get invited to the shortlist.

Charles "Hank" Sutherland, preparing to take the reins at HfS&, is spotted trading in his Prius for an F250

Charles "Hank" Sutherland, preparing to take the reins at HfS&, is spotted trading in his Prius for an F250

4) Robotic Process Automation Starter Kit.  HfS& will also move the disruptive advisory needle by offering up real, transformative solutions to help early phase clients take their first baby steps into robotic process automation in one, complete, off-the-shelf do-it-yourself RPA toolkit.  Like other advisors, HfS& has actually no clue what it is doing in RPA, but acknowledges it needs to have some semblance of a practice to appear relevant in the market.

As of today, HfS& will no longer produce research and be a fully-fledged outsourcing advisor, and has even made the steps to relocate its headquarters to Dallas, Texas under the watchful eye of Charles "Hank" Sutherland, who today was spotted trading in his Toyota Prius for an Ford F250, equipped with gun rack and complimentary enrollment to the NRA FIRST Steps Shotgun Orientation course.

Commenting on the strategic move, HfS& CEO, Phil Fersht added, "We were getting increasingly fed up giving away all our research for free and getting little appreciation for it from industry.  While we did a great job putting our competitors out of business, we found it hard to develop any for ourselves either.  So all we really achieved was putting the whole research business out of business. Hopefully, now, we can still glean a few bucks feeding off the stagnant remains of the legacy outsourcing advisory market before that also winds up on the scrap heap of putrid old-world business models."

Photos of Mr Fersht and Mr Sutherland will be available once you register here.

And of course... this was an:


Please, please don't tell me you fell for this again!  (Even though the business model might kinda work...)

And while we’re reminiscing about falling for April Fools’ gags, here is 2014's classic:

HfS and Blue Prism partner to develop automated analyst solutions 

And 2013's 

Phil Fersht steps down as HfS CEO

And 2012's

Merriam-Webster to remove the term Outsourcing for IT and Business Services

And 2011's

Painsharing exposed: HfS to reveal the worst performers in the outsourcing industry

And 2010's:

Horses for Sources to advise Obama administration on offshore outsourcing

Oh, and here’s 2009's which I really hope you didn’t fall for too (and many did):

Horses Exclusive: Obama to ban offshore outsourcing


Posted in: Absolutely Meaningless ComedyDigital TransformationHfSResearch.com Homepage

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  1. Yurmes Forles
    Posted Mar 31, 2015 03:42 PM | Permalink Reply

    Congratulations on joining the ranks of the advisors! It's a shame, however, that you missed the REAL opportunity for leverage in this space: to form an advisory firm to advise advisory firms on how to extract even more fees from service providers and clients in exchange for re-intermediating the same crappy deal that was signed in 1998 (and 2003, and 2009, and 2013…) Anyway, sorry to see you depart the analyst scene; a pity that I will no longer be able to visit your website to hear you tell us what we already know in a such delightfully cheeky way.

  2. Ed Nair
    Posted Mar 31, 2015 03:46 PM | Permalink Reply

    Phil and Company, Hey! That's a neat April Fool trick! HfS is the gold standard and a disruptor in the analyst business. And I am sure you know how to make money and I guess you are already laughing your way to the bank. Be good!

  3. Guy Kirkwood
    Posted Mar 31, 2015 04:29 PM | Permalink Reply

    Phil, parody only works if it is at least remotely believable and no advisory business would be stupid enough to run this business model, just ask the Momentum team. Oh, hang on...

  4. Pranay Juyal
    Posted Mar 31, 2015 04:46 PM | Permalink Reply

    Congratulations Phil & Team! Happy to take your proposal - its that time in my life i should get closer to HfS and leverage our rapports better! Lets get together soon and become game changers in the advisory world too ;-)

  5. Lastest Outsourcing News | Outsourcing
    Posted Mar 31, 2015 05:18 PM | Permalink Reply

    […] HfS announces its entry into the outsourcing advisory market HfS Research, the leading analyst firm covering outsourcing strategies, today launched HfS Advisory (abbreviated to “HfS&”) and announced its exit from the research analyst business. The firm, once lauded for disrupting the research industry by giving … Read more on Horses for Sources […]

  6. Bram Weerts
    Posted Mar 31, 2015 06:00 PM | Permalink Reply

    Hi Folks, you can stop calling me or leaving messages. Look at the date :-) Thank you.

  7. Jamie Liddell
    Posted Mar 31, 2015 06:07 PM | Permalink Reply

    "Like other advisors, HfS& has actually no clue what it is doing in RPA, but acknowledges it needs to have some semblance of a practice to appear relevant in the market" - where comedy becomes genius. Bravo.

  8. Paul singer
    Posted Mar 31, 2015 07:19 PM | Permalink Reply

    Great move and solid offerings. Suggest you also offer a PMO in-a-box (or RV) service to compete with SaaS.

  9. Charles Bess
    Posted Mar 31, 2015 07:32 PM | Permalink Reply

    I was intrigued but then I realized what day this was.

  10. Andy Chambers
    Posted Mar 31, 2015 07:53 PM | Permalink Reply

    Great move HfS! Am sure HfS& will be as wildly successful as HfS Research!

    Andy Chambers

  11. Phil Fersht
    Posted Mar 31, 2015 08:03 PM | Permalink Reply

    @Andy - thanks - glad you and so many others are reinforcing the potential of this move!


  12. Brad Everett
    Posted Mar 31, 2015 08:30 PM | Permalink Reply


    I wish you and your team, every success.....

  13. Martin Fahy
    Posted Mar 31, 2015 09:36 PM | Permalink Reply

    Just in time for the spaghetti harvest......!

  14. Mark Stelzner
    Posted Mar 31, 2015 10:02 PM | Permalink Reply

    It seems like every April 1st you make a new "strategic move", Phil. :) Nice one....

  15. Amit
    Posted Mar 31, 2015 10:05 PM | Permalink Reply

    Timely announcement on a very auspicious Day April 1st :)

  16. Tony
    Posted Mar 31, 2015 10:14 PM | Permalink Reply

    it is a complete relief that there will no longer be any free research. I was sick of free insight that was better than paid-for alternatives (double meaning intended). I think your supplier-paid advisory model is disruptive because even if they just bury your fees in the buyers' costs anyway, we buyers wont need to explain/justify the millions of advisory dollars to our executive teams.

  17. Robbie Brillhart
    Posted Mar 31, 2015 10:19 PM | Permalink Reply

    Phase 2 should include the virtual virtualization kit (Including the command center watch app).

    Keep the disruptive innovation going gentlemen.

  18. sundar
    Posted Mar 31, 2015 10:21 PM | Permalink Reply

    Good joke on April 1st. Phil are you serious that HfS is getting into outsourcing advisory business? If so just like other "sincere" wishes, "best of luck from me too". But seriously.....HfS guys should be gunning for setting up a true blue consulting firm......you guys are top guns.

  19. Posted Mar 31, 2015 10:26 PM | Permalink Reply

    happy april fools

  20. sundar
    Posted Mar 31, 2015 10:31 PM | Permalink Reply

    I like the areas that yoy guys have picked up Phil, but the service providers paying model will not work. They will start treating you as mere lead generation engine or channel. They really don't care much about consultative selling and all that (with all due respects to their sales force)...

    Turn the model on its head. Get the end users pay you on an annuity mode and you can charge a % of savings from your partner selection exercise. Never take money from sell side, it will increase your credibility and also the service providers will be dying to spend money on you. You could still get some funding from Service providers to fund your research.

    My 2 cents

  21. Phil Fersht
    Posted Mar 31, 2015 10:43 PM | Permalink Reply

    @Tony - exactly our approach. Free advisory - get the providers to pay for it =)


  22. Mrinal Singh
    Posted Mar 31, 2015 10:55 PM | Permalink Reply

    From your interview with Tiger at Genpact to article on gamification I am someone who has been a great admirer of HFS, and this comes as a surprise........But I am sure we are seeing an emergence of one of the leading outsourcing advisory firms which is going to transform the outsourcing domain.

    All the best!


  23. Phil Fersht
    Posted Mar 31, 2015 10:57 PM | Permalink Reply

    @Mrinal - if the margins are good, we'll be there =)


  24. Rahul Gujral
    Posted Mar 31, 2015 11:36 PM | Permalink Reply

    Phil, if you could destroy the traditional outsourcing advisory market as well, that would be what we refer to in Texas as a "Twofer" ... and quite an accomplishment for just a few years in business! In the words of the Stooges..."Search and Destroy"

  25. Charles Sutherland
    Posted Apr 01, 2015 12:03 AM | Permalink Reply


    Did you have to really use that photo? Hardly the way to win over new clients to our revolutionary advisory business!


  26. Phil Fersht
    Posted Apr 01, 2015 12:16 AM | Permalink Reply

    @Hank - it's as Texan as we can get you...


  27. Cathy Hyatt
    Posted Apr 01, 2015 12:50 AM | Permalink Reply

    How exciting Phil! Best of luck.

  28. Cathy Hyatt
    Posted Apr 01, 2015 12:52 AM | Permalink Reply

    haha! Good one!

  29. Alex Kozlov
    Posted Apr 01, 2015 01:59 AM | Permalink Reply

    Phil -- keep messin' with Texas and you're gonna find yourself in a heap of trouble. Well done as always!

  30. Phil Fersht
    Posted Apr 01, 2015 05:25 AM | Permalink Reply

    @alex - better get myself some kevlar for my next visit =)


  31. HfS officially exits the sourcing advisor business (even though we were never in it in the first place)
    Posted Apr 04, 2015 11:24 PM | Permalink Reply

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    Posted Apr 02, 2016 01:16 AM | Permalink Reply

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