Gartner has identified 55 companies that it expects to make a big impact over the coming year.
The analyst firm's Cool Vendors 2010 list includes organisations that offer "impactful and innovative" products and services, including business processes, data, software infrastructure, security, risk management, applications, consulting, outsourcing, green IT and telecoms operations management.
Gartner believes that the companies could alter established "competitive dynamics" in industries ranging from utilities to healthcare and retail.
"Increasingly, it is not the economic factors that drive the innovation of the 'cool' vendor. Instead, we are seeing a marked shift in the fundamental workings of relationships, people, and their use of technology that are changing in the 21st century," said Daryl Plummer, a managing vice president and Gartner fellow.
Businesses that deliver engaging and social software or services will win the most favour this year, according to Gartner, as more customers make this part of their own internal agendas.
"The smart investor or technology user will seek out companies that drive the support of this change," said Michele Cantara, a research vice president at Gartner.
"No longer can we spend time looking only at the needs of the organisation, nor can we limit our efforts to product purchases as opposed to services. The future of the Cool Vendor is the same as the future of business and consumer use of technology in the world."
Rob Lovell, chief executive at ThinkGrid, which was named on the list, explained that Gartner had recognised the impact of cloud computing on the infrastructure space, and the "irreversible" trend towards the industrialisation of IT infrastructure services.
"There is so much innovation going on in this space to make sure customers are realising all the cost and management savings, and maintaining and increasing flexibility and control of IT services," he said.
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