Horizon Scanning is a form of market research and engagement with the aim of discovering and building awareness of new technologies, solutions, and suppliers. Unlike traditional market engagement, which is usually prompted by a defined need, horizon scanning is an open-ended intelligence gathering activity with the purpose of understanding the current state of play and trends in technology markets, and anticipating future opportunities. Horizon scanning refers both to actively soliciting engagement from suppliers and systematically documenting unsolicited introductions and proposals for future use.
Digital and IT Teams Digital and IT teams should continuously engage with the market to understand new technological developments and discover innovative suppliers, regardless of whether there is a defined technology need.
CIO / CDO The CIO / CDO is ultimately responsible for ensuring that digital and IT teams are conducting horizon scanning activities, aware of new technological developments, and informed as to how these could contribute to the digital transformation roadmap.
Service Teams Digital & IT teams should consult service teams to understand their process flows, user needs and pain points with their current technology systems. This awareness will contextualise horizon scanning activities. Digital & IT teams should feedback to service teams to make them aware of the 'art of the possible'.
Horizon scanning should be a continuous process that informs strategic planning and decision making around procurement. As such, the sooner you get started, the better. You should make an effort to ensure that active horizon scanning is a regular activity, with dedicated time set aside to manage inbound supplier engagement and plan recurring outreach events.
Here are a few key practices to adopt to effectively stay abreast of innovative suppliers and solutions, capture information systematically and consistently, and build constructive and rewarding relationships with the market.