Enabling powerful customer experiences

Highland Solutions is a customer experience firm with a fierce commitment to keeping people at the center of our work. We use our skills in CX strategy, custom software development, and CRM implementation to help innovative leaders understand their customers and take smart risks.

We love working with customer-centric, mission-driven organizations who want to adopt the principles of more disruptive businesses to take their impact to the next level.

 
$25,000+
 
$150 - $199 / hr
 
10 - 49
 Founded
1999
Show all +
Chicago, IL
headquarters
  • 141 W. Jackson, Suite #2200
    Chicago, IL 60647
    United States

Portfolio

Key clients: 

Mission-Driven Organizations: Thrivent Financial, The Delta Institute, Morton Arboretum, Make-A-Wish Illinois, McGraw-Hill, World's Finest Chocolate, RefugeeOne | Business & Manufacturing: Creative Group, Dow Chemical, Materion, Greif, Alto-Shaam, Whelan Security | Healthcare: Universal Hospital Services, Harvard University Health Services

Designing Experiences that Deliver Hope & Strength

Like many nonprofit organizations, Make-A-Wish Illinois wanted to create a bigger impact for wish kids - but the 35-year-old organization felt stuck. In order to grant more life-changing wishes for critically ill children and their families, they needed to re-examine their wish-granting process. That’s why Make-A-Wish partnered with Highland Solutions to create a customer journey map that’s helping the organization take its mission to the next level.

SERVICES PROVIDED: CX Strategy, Customer Journey Mapping

 

Read the case study

 

Tackling the Student Debt Crisis with Thrivent Student Resources

Thrivent Financial is a mission-driven financial services company that encourages its members to “be wise with money.” Thrivent was aware of the massive debt burden that students often incur when making a college decision without the full knowledge of their loan and financial aid options.

Thrivent created the Thrivent Student Resources (TSR) platform to help students better understand the real cost of higher education so that they could minimize - or avoid - student loan debt. The launch of this new brand was a major priority for Thrivent, and the organization wanted to build a new consumer-facing website in just under three months.

SERVICES PROVIDED: Product Design, OutSystems Development, Custom Software

 

Read the case study

 

A Global CRM Platform for Specialty Manufacturing

Materion had a CRM problem. Only about half of its global sales team was using its out-of-date, homegrown solution. And, who could blame them? The old system sometimes took 20 minutes to connect, it took employees 60 minutes to generate a call report, and didn’t even track leads or new business orders.

Jason Maher, Vice President of Sales, quickly realized he needed a new, modern CRM that would help him increase top-line revenue and improve business efficiencies. He knew he would have to change the sales culture at Materion. He was looking for a uniform tool that brought his sales team, spread across three continents, together by breaking down geographic barriers, creating friendly competition and improving how his employees worked as a team.

On top of all that, Materion wanted to complete the global CRM rollout in six months.

SERVICES PROVIDED: Design & Strategy Consulting, Implementation Facilitation, Business Platform Integration (ERP, marketing...

Advancing Design Thinking at an Established Organization

The Dow Chemical Company is a 121-year-old organization on a mission to combine chemistry, biology, and physics to help people thrive.

Dow recently invested building out Marketplace Centers, a series of design thinking hubs around the world help frame up problems and design solutions for individual business units. At Marketplace Centers, designers work in cross-functional teams to solve business problems.

Dow asked Highland to help take the design thinking skills of their Saudi Arabia Marketplace Center team to a new level. We decided to take this challenge one step further and use the training as an opportunity to examine Dow's own customer journey in the Saudi context.

SERVICES PROVIDED: Design Sprint, Customer Journey Mapping, CX Strategy Consulting

 

Read the case study

Launching a Cutting-Edge Product with Creative Group

As a veteran of the incentives industry, Creative Group is an expert at driving behavior change through meaningful rewards and thoughtful communications.

Creative Group was ready to invest in proprietary technology that would help them expand their mission of unleashing everyone's potential for greatness. They needed a strategic partner who could help them think differently about an existing market and build a cutting-edge technology platform to power their individual performance solutions.

Creative Group wanted to use the principles of behavioral economics and social psychology to design a human-centered business application. They chose Highland Solutions as their partner based on our ability to lead them through the design thinking process, our expertise in MVP and lean development, and relentless advocacy for the user.

SERVICES PROVIDED: Custom Software Development, Product Design & Strategy, CX Strategy Consulting

 

...

Working with Universal Hospital Services to Implement and Mature Their CRM

Nurses can lose up to a half hour or more every shift looking for hard-to-find medical equipment. Universal Hospital Services is on a mission to change that.

Universal Hospital Services (UHS) supplies hospitals with the tools they need to provide excellent care. Their goal is to help hospitals reduce wasted time and money spent ordering, maintaining, and organizing medical equipment so that healthcare professionals can spend more time with their patients.

UHS came to SugarCRM and Highland Solutions in 2013 with a challenge: they needed to introduce a robust CRM for the first time in the organization's history. This would mean mapping out the $500 million company's complex sales process, automating sales and marketing workflows, migrating 50,000+ accounts into the database, and training their national sales team to use the new tool.

After successfully designing, developing, and deploying the initial SugarCRM solution, Highland and UHS have continued to...

Reviews

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CRM Consulting for Design Firm

“They make great development partners.”

Quality: 
5.0
Schedule: 
5.0
Cost: 
4.5
Willing to refer: 
5.0
The Project
 
Confidential
 
June - Oct. 2018
Project summary: 

Highland Solutions used SugarCRM to design, develop, and implement a robust CRM. The platform focuses on sales by featuring tools that organize pipelines and track client interactions.

The Reviewer
 
51-200 Employees
 
Minnesota
Sales & Marketing Coordinator, Fabrication Company
 
Verified
The Review
Feedback summary: 

Highland Solutions delivered a polished platform that streamlines sales and management procedures. The CRM facilitates consistent productivity and efficiency. A cordial team keeps the engagement communicative and transparent. Their personable approach sets them apart from other firms.

BACKGROUND

Introduce your business and what you do there.

I’m the sales and marketing coordinator for a fabrication company. We help businesses create retail environments by designing everything from fixtures to entire stores.

OPPORTUNITY / CHALLENGE

What challenge were you trying to address with Highland Solutions?

We needed an experienced development firm to provide CRM consulting services.

SOLUTION

What was the scope of their involvement?

Highland Solutions helped program, prepare, and execute our new CRM system. Working with us for about six months exclusively, they managed to touch on all aspects of what we needed for the project. They assisted with the coding process and ensured that the platform addressed all project requirements. They were also responsible for importing data and providing user training.

When our involvement with Highland Solutions began, we weren’t utilizing a CRM. Therefore, we needed help identifying a platform that’s both cost-effective and user-friendly. Our sales team didn’t have an efficient way of tracking their sales forecasting or client interactions, so having a system that organizes everything into one place was our primary goal. Ultimately, they created our current system using SugarCRM.

What is the team composition?

They assigned a project manager and an account manager. However, most of the work was done by the developers working under the project manager.

How did you come to work with Highland Solutions?

They were chosen for this project before I joined the engagement, so I can’t attest to the consideration process.

What is the status of this engagement?

The vast majority of the prep work and coding took place from June–October 2018. We occasionally reach out to them for system support and updates.

RESULTS & FEEDBACK

What evidence can you share that demonstrates the impact of the engagement?

Their planning and knowledge of the platform helped ensure that we were getting a product that met our needs. We’re not CRM experts, so having an agency guide us as to which platform might be most effective in accomplishing our unique goals was highly beneficial. We’re still working on various levels of system adoption throughout the company, so I can’t provide detailed metrics regarding the CRM’s success.

Anecdotally speaking, some of our account managers have hundreds of concurrent projects. Using the CRM created by Highland Solutions has drastically improved their ability to stay organized and productive. Additionally, the system features a planning tool that doesn’t malfunction in the ways that Excel documents often do.

How did Highland Solutions perform from a project management standpoint?

They’re incredibly professional and friendly. We used Slack as a means of communicating with their entire team. That enabled us to see when the whole team saw our requests. That way, we knew they’d allocate the most relevant staff member to address each issue. I prefer using that software instead of having to wait for emails. They usually responded to inquires within an hour.

What did you find most impressive about them?

They’re exceedingly organized, customer-centric, and well-versed in their platform. We appreciate their excellent customer service.

Are there any areas they could improve?

I can’t think of anything they could’ve done better. They perform at a higher level than other firms I’ve contracted for similar projects.

Do you have any advice for potential customers?

Understand the project’s goals and ask them the right questions. We initially purchased the wrong solution by not understanding the system on our end, and that set us back a bit. The team at Highland Solutions gives recommendations, so consider their concerns carefully. They make great development partners.

5.0
Overall Score
  • 5.0 Scheduling
    ON TIME / DEADLINES
  • 4.5 Cost
    Value / within estimates
  • 5.0 Quality
    Service & deliverables
  • 5.0 NPS
    Willing to refer

Customer Experience Consulting for Arboretum

"They bring a tremendous amount of outside experience that we don’t have in-house."

Quality: 
5.0
Schedule: 
5.0
Cost: 
4.5
Willing to refer: 
5.0
The Project
 
$10,000 to $49,999
 
June 2017 - Ongoing
Project summary: 

Highland Solutions conducted a week-long customer experience consultation and design sprint to foster membership growth at a museum. They evaluate and test different strategies and products to build interest.

The Reviewer
 
201-500 Employees
 
Chicago Metro Area
Director of Membership, Museum
 
Verified
The Review
Feedback summary: 

Highland Solutions’ involvement and success have prompted further collaboration. The team sets itself apart with advanced listening and comprehension skills, which forms a stronger bond with clients. Similarly, an engaged leadership team speaks to a client-focused approach.

BACKGROUND

Introduce your business and what you do there.

I am the director of membership at an outdoor museum and arboretum that promotes the conservation, health, and science of trees. Our trees are grouped into collections, and guests can walk or drive through our 1,700-acre location to learn about the health and science of trees.

OPPORTUNITY / CHALLENGE

What challenge were you trying to address with Highland Solutions?

We hired Highland Solutions because we’ve been interested in further exploring the customer journey and experience.

SOLUTION

What was the scope of their involvement?

We hired Highland Solutions for a week-long design sprint to evaluate our customer experience. In one week, we were able to achieve objectives that likely would have taken 4–6 months in a more traditional design engagement.

We have an on-site sales team that reports to me and engages with prospective and current visitors to sell, renew, and upgrade membership. Highland Solutions provided consultation on what we could do to improve that experience and the experience on our grounds.

In addition to their counseling, we developed a two-sided map that is colorful and illustrated. We’ve been testing its success in the field, and we’re hoping that it helps our visitors—especially first-timers—understand that we’re more than a children’s garden, a visitor’s center, a gift store, and a restaurant. There are 1,700 acres, and there’s a lot to explore. It includes testimonials from members and a visual calendar to get people excited about our events for the year.

We had five days of intense but valuable work. We received an exceptional product derived from their team’s problem-solving abilities. We hired them again for a shorter engagement that addressed how to make our member services desk more efficient for the staff and the customer.

What is the team composition?

Our primary contacts have been Jon (President, Highland Solutions), Dave (Director, CX Practice, Highland Solutions), and Jeff (Creative Director, Highland Solutions). It was reassuring to have access to the senior members of their company.

How did you come to work with Highland Solutions?

I received a marketing email from them, which prompted me to look into some of their free workshops they were conducting to bring in new business. I attended two—one by myself and another with a colleague. I was impressed with their customer experience knowledge, their ability to share that knowledge with a variety of clients, and their ability to listen. They mainly do corporate work, but we’re a nonprofit so we knew they would have to adjust their approach for our engagement. Still, we were very confident in what they could do for us.  

How much have you invested with them?

We spent about $24,000 on the week-long design project.  

What is the status of this engagement?

We first hired them in June 2017, and we hired them again in September 2018. Both projects remain ongoing.  

RESULTS & FEEDBACK

What evidence can you share that demonstrates the impact of the engagement?

Exact metrics are hard to come by right now, but I can broadly say that we’ve seen promising results so far.

How did Highland Solutions perform from a project management standpoint?

Our first engagement featured better project management because we were working with the principals of the firm, but the rest of the team are good communicators overall as well. We’re not quite finished with the piece we started in fall 2018, and there are still elements to be tested. We may have a different impression of project management in 3–4 months.  

What did you find most impressive about them?

They back up their consulting with useful products or tests. They know their stuff, and they’re focused on building relationships. This makes Highland Solutions unique in my experience. They’ve become knowledgeable about our organization, and it helps to work with a team that understands our intricacies. They bring a tremendous amount of outside experience that we don’t have in-house.

I don’t see this relationship as a one-off engagement. I know we’ll work with them again, and we’re continuing to engage them on what we can do to improve our customer experience and retention rate.

Are there any areas they could improve?

No, nothing in particular needs drastic improvement. Highland Solutions succeeds because they listen to their client’s feedback and make sure they follow-up on those notes. I’ve had a positive experience with Highland Solutions in this regard.

5.0
Overall Score
  • 5.0 Scheduling
    ON TIME / DEADLINES
  • 4.5 Cost
    Value / within estimates
  • 5.0 Quality
    Service & deliverables
  • 5.0 NPS
    Willing to refer

SugarCRM Implementation & Support for Software Firm

"They made what could have been an extremely painful process into a fairly easy one."

Quality: 
5.0
Schedule: 
5.0
Cost: 
5.0
Willing to refer: 
5.0
The Project
 
Less than $10,000
 
Nov. 2018 - Jan. 2019
Project summary: 

Highland Solutions organized a SugarCRM data migration and platform training for an estate and trust software provider. They added new modules to an existing SugarCRM before importing from a FileMaker CRM.

The Reviewer
 
1-10 Employees
 
Pittsburgh, PA
Dana Dunmyre
Director of Sales & Marketing, The Lackner Group
 
Verified
The Review
Feedback summary: 

Highland Solutions’ assistance with the data transfer has resulted in more automated business processes and increased access for remote employees. Their team was thoroughly helpful and personable. They exhibit a wealth of SugarCRM knowledge to facilitate a hassle-free engagement.

BACKGROUND

Please describe your company and your position there.

I am the director of sales and marketing at The Lackner Group. We provide estate and trust administration software to law firms, CPAs, and financial institutions throughout the country. Our company has developed, sold, and supported the software since 1985.

OPPORTUNITY / CHALLENGE

For what projects/services did your company hire Highland Solutions?

We had been using a FileMaker-based customer database that had grown outdated and was not easy to use remotely. We contracted Highland Solutions to help us migrate our data to a SugarCRM.

What were your goals for this project?

We hoped to arrange the SugarCRM to meet our company’s needs. Once the transfer was complete, we needed to train our users, many of whom had been using FileMaker for decades and were cautious about switching.

SOLUTION

How did you select this vendor?

I reached out to several companies, but I selected Highland Solutions because Anthony (Account Manager, Highland Solutions) was my sales contact and did well answering my questions and following up with me without being pushy. I was impressed by the knowledge and friendliness exhibited by their staff as a whole.

Describe the project and the services they provided in detail.

We had a SugarCRM in place that I used purely for sales, but Highland Solutions made the necessary adjustments to modules and fields to make it serve as a customer database. Once I exported the data from FileMaker, their team imported them into the SugarCRM. That process took about a week. They were careful to make sure that everything remained properly organized during the transfer.

Patty (Senior CRM Specialist, Highland Solutions) trained me as an administrator of the system and also handled online training for other users at our company. Since our launch date, Anthony and Patty have been available to answer questions and test new Sugar versions.  

What was the team composition?

My main contacts were Anthony and Patty.

RESULTS & FEEDBACK

Can you share any information that demonstrates the impact that this project has had on your business?

Switching from a legacy system to the SugarCRM has been an incredible improvement for us. We are now able to automate more tasks, and our remote employees have easier access to the customer database.

How was project management arranged and how effective was it?

For migrations of this sort, Highland Solutions typically sends a team member to the customer site, but I found it more useful for me to work from their office in Chicago. When the time came to initiate the transfer, it was just Patty and I working together, which I found effective and enjoyable.

What did you find most impressive about this company?

I admire their knowledge of SugarCRM and their ability to share that insight with customers. They made what could have been an extremely painful process into a fairly easy one.

Are there any areas for improvement?

No, I have no recommendations for improvement.

5.0
Overall Score
  • 5.0 Scheduling
    ON TIME / DEADLINES
  • 5.0 Cost
    Value / within estimates
  • 5.0 Quality
    Service & deliverables
  • 5.0 NPS
    Willing to refer

CRM Development for Materion Corporation

“Highland Solutions worked with us every step of the way.”

Quality: 
4.5
Schedule: 
5.0
Cost: 
4.0
Willing to refer: 
5.0
The Project
 
$1,000,000 - $9,999,999
 
2014 - Ongoing
Project summary: 

Highland Solutions designed and developed a SugarCRM platform and provided implementation and training. They wrote customer support materials like troubleshooting guides, FAQs, and scripts. 

The Reviewer
Jason Maher
VP of Sales, Materion
 
Verified
The Review
Feedback summary: 

Highland Solutions delivered a CRM tool that met the full scope of requirements and expectations. It has a remarkably high 90% adoption rate. The team is flexible and diligent. They traveled internationally to help clients implement the deliverable and skillfully trained them how to use it in-house.

BACKGROUND

Introduce your business and what you do there.

I’m the VP of sales at Materion, a high technology materials company.

OPPORTUNITY / CHALLENGE

What challenge were you trying to address with Highland Solutions?

We needed a partner to help us implement a new CRM tool.

SOLUTION

What was the scope of their involvement?

Highland Solutions developed our CRM platform using Sugar. They helped us plan the entire scope for implementation. During the design phase, they made sure we had all the right personas that would use the CRM tool represented. They also assisted us with writing the scripts, FAQs, and troubleshooting guides.

As users adopt our tool internationally, we travel around the world to conduct in-house training. I firmly believe that in-person training works the best, so I personally attended all the sessions. We just finished implementing the tool for one of our divisions, and we’re still working together on enhancements. 

What is the team composition? 

We had a dedicated project manager. Other employees from Highland Solutions worked through the steps of the implementation behind the scenes. They made sure we had appropriate resources assigned to the design and implementation teams.  

How did you come to work with Highland Solutions?

I suspect that once we decided to use a SugarCRM, the platform recommended several options for implementation partners. Highland Solutions was relatively close to our area and had experience in our industry.

How much have you invested with them?

We spent between $500,000–$1 million.

What is the status of this engagement?

We’ve been working together since 2014.

RESULTS & FEEDBACK

What evidence can you share that demonstrates the impact of the engagement?

My most important metric for success in this project was to secure a very high adoption rate for the new product. I expected that we would all use it. The CRM tool Highland Solutions helped us implement has over a 90% adoption rate. 

Highland Solutions worked with us every step of the way. The team is talented at in-person training, which was undoubtedly a factor in how many people use the tool. We traveled around the world together to conduct in-house training and teach users how it works.

How did Highland Solutions perform from a project management standpoint?

Highland Solutions has very good communication skills. They’re highly responsive. If any issues come up, they address or clarify them immediately. 

Are there any areas they could improve?

After implementation, I would have liked for them to have helped us through the management process to ensure we’re leveraging the tool to its fullest extent. The utility ultimately depends on how much the client chooses to invest.

For most implementation firms, Highland Solutions can create anything the client is willing to pay for. They were flexible when our budget started getting tight and helped us find economical alternatives to costly customized solutions.

Do you have any advice for potential customers?

Maintain frequent communication and make sure you’ve created a full scope for your objectives. Consistently revisit the key metrics for success you set to assess progress.

5.0
Overall Score I continue to be a strong advocate internally for Highland Solutions.
  • 5.0 Scheduling
    ON TIME / DEADLINES
    Despite our very aggressive initial timeline, they had the product ready for training during a global sales meeting I’d scheduled.
  • 4.0 Cost
    Value / within estimates
    Their pricing was reasonable.
  • 4.5 Quality
    Service & deliverables
  • 5.0 NPS
    Willing to refer
    I’ve made three referrals for Highland Solutions.

Workshop Design for Educational Product Developer

“They were a dedicated partner from day one.”

Quality: 
5.0
Schedule: 
5.0
Cost: 
5.0
Willing to refer: 
5.0
The Project
 
$10,000 to $49,999
 
Feb. 2018 - Apr. 2018
Project summary: 

Highland Solutions designed a custom training workshop to guide staff in using a user experience mapping tool. The final six-hour session was split into introductory, example, Q&A, and practice time blocks.

The Reviewer
 
5,001-10,000 Employees
 
Chicago, Illinois
Director of UX, Learning Sciences Company
 
Verified
The Review
Feedback summary: 

Following Highland Solutions’ workshop, the team implemented the tool into their internal operations. So far, they’ve designed two different experience maps with plans for a third. Overall, the Highland Solutions team was collaborative, efficient, and committed to delivering successful results.

BACKGROUND

Please describe your company and your position there.

I’m the director of UX at a large learning sciences company based in Chicago with over 5,000 employees. My division develops products for the K–12 US education market.

OPPORTUNITY / CHALLENGE

For what projects/services did your company hire Highland Solutions?

Overall, our goal is to become more user-centered in our product development process. We previously collected market data, but in our transition to user data points, we realized our teams needed additional support in processing the new type of information. We decided to bring in an outside group to lead a workshop on experience mapping so that our staff could practice working with the data in a controlled environment.

What were your goals for this project?

We wanted to make sure the design leaders across our organization were properly trained in using our experience mapping tool, and we needed them to feel confident enough to introduce the tool across their cross-functional teams.

SOLUTION

How did you select this vendor?

I’d previously attended a customer experience mapping workshop that Highland Solutions facilitated. They introduced the tool, provided examples of it in action, then showed the audience how to leverage it. I was confident that my team would benefit from something similar, but tailored to our specific users. I reached out to Highland Solutions and asked them to work with us to design a custom workshop.

Describe the project in detail.

We started with a series of high-level meetings where we discussed what we wanted to accomplish at the end of the workshop. I provided sufficient background information about our organization and product development process; then we identified who would participate in the workshop. We agreed on a date and other logistical terms like travel accommodations and scheduling.

From there, we went straight into designing the workshop. We collaborated closely to finalize specific details and organize the content into introductory, example, question, and practice time blocks. We concluded with a full six-hour itinerary customized to best suit our company’s specific products and target users.

What was the team composition?

We first met with the president and the creative director to discuss the project. From that point on, I collaborated with the creative director to solidify the details. Then, they both joined me in facilitating the workshop.

RESULTS & FEEDBACK

Can you share any outcomes from the project that demonstrate progress or success?

We guided 25 of our design leaders through the workshop, so now we’ve added “experience mapping” to our arsenal of tools. Since the session, we’ve created two different experience maps and plan to finish one more before year end. Our product development partners have shared positive feedback.

How effective was the workflow between your team and theirs?

The collaboration was smooth and highly effective. We communicated openly and frequently. As we developed the workshop, I built a strong rapport with the team.

What did you find most impressive about this company?

They were a dedicated partner from day one. They quickly formed an understanding of our market and target audience to help us design an impactful experience. We’ll definitely partner with them again in the future. From now on, we’ll go to them for assistance with any user experience or digital product development problems.

Are there any areas for improvement?

No, they were truly a great partner.

5.0
Overall Score
  • 5.0 Scheduling
    ON TIME / DEADLINES
  • 5.0 Cost
    Value / within estimates
  • 5.0 Quality
    Service & deliverables
  • 5.0 NPS
    Willing to refer

Dev Partnership with Financial Services Firm

"The applications they’ve delivered are efficient and convenient for everybody to use."

Quality: 
4.0
Schedule: 
4.5
Cost: 
4.0
Willing to refer: 
5.0
The Project
 
Confidential
 
June 2017 - Ongoing
Project summary: 

Using OutSystems' IDEs on a Microsoft stack, Highland Solutions is developing several mobile applications. They developed a time tracker app to make it easier to record employee's work hours.

The Reviewer
 
501-1,000 Employees
 
New York Metro Area
Tech Lead, Financial Services Firm
 
Verified
The Review
Feedback summary: 

The time to market for mobile apps has decreased markedly since Highland Solutions was first engaged. Their consistent communication, responsiveness, and ability to work within strict parameters justify the investment and make them a valuable partner.

BACKGROUND

Introduce your business and what you do there.

I’m a tech lead and I run a team that is primarily focused on rapid application development. The company is an alternative investment firm in the financial industry.

OPPORTUNITY / CHALLENGE

What challenge were you trying to address with Highland Solutions?

We were looking to get into mobile. We chose OutSystems’ low code platform to do both mobile and web development. We needed somebody that could consult with us as a development partner, as well as get a couple of applications out the door.

SOLUTION

What was the scope of their involvement?

Highland Solutions helps us lay down a solid foundation for the future by working on projects that interface with our entitlements and notification services. We analyzed our applications to identify which ones we needed to improve from an operational and efficiency standpoint.

They worked on the time tracker app, which allows users to track down staff and make sure that they submit their works hours on a regular basis. It’s a business critical app that users can access even when they're not sitting in front of a work computer. They use OutSystems IDEs that sit on our Microsoft stack. They also use SQL Server and basic Windows on developer machines. They keep in mind the foundation that we’re trying to build for any future application that we want to make omnichannel.

What is the team composition?

Our main contact is a project manager that also serves as a design resource and a business analyst. Depending on the project, there’s anywhere from 2–4 developers doing the work.

How did you come to work with Highland Solutions?

We asked OutSystems for a suggestion and they referred us to Highland Solutions. We thought they were very professional and organized. They had a good approach to the documentation we’d put together. They analyzed everything and gave us a concise breakdown of exactly where they would spend their time and how much it would cost.

What is the status of this engagement?

We started working together in June 2017 and the relationship is ongoing.

RESULTS & FEEDBACK

What evidence can you share that demonstrates the impact of the engagement?

Our team is now excited to utilize mobile. There wasn't a lot of interest when I first brought up mobile solution as a viable product for our business. When Highland Solutions came onboard, they made it so that people could actually look at these applications and use them for tasks like time tracking. They've helped the firm from an operational standpoint as we start to realize the potential of mobile solutions.

We have 10–12 products out in the market now, and at least that many in the backlog. The applications they’ve delivered are efficient and convenient for everybody to use. From a product standpoint, our time to market is essentially 1/10 of what it used to be, which is obviously a significant improvement.

How did Highland Solutions perform from a project management standpoint?

They involve us with daily standups, which is really helpful. They do a great job analyzing every detail before we get into the actual development so that we're not surprised on timelines and deliverables. Their project managers have become professional friends of mine. They're extremely nice and intelligent people. My experience with them has been very positive.

What did you find most impressive about them?

They work regular U.S. hours, which is rare in their field. It’s great to have the ability to work with them throughout the day. They have a very personal touch that shows they care about their clients. They’ve gone through training with some of my business users. If there’s a bug, they to make sure that they get it back to their developers and fix it. They care about what they do, and they take pride in their work.

Are there any areas they could improve?

Not really. It would be nice to have them implement a 24-hour development cycle. However, I'm not sure that’s possible for their business model.

Do you have any advice for potential customers?

Make sure to attend the daily standup meeting and listen to everything. Details matter. The more you pay attention, the more specific the product's going to be to your business. Take advantage of tools like Confluence, Slack, and other feedback channels to have an ongoing discussion. For any project, the more that you're involved the better it's going to be.

4.5
Overall Score
  • 4.5 Scheduling
    ON TIME / DEADLINES
  • 4.0 Cost
    Value / within estimates
  • 4.0 Quality
    Service & deliverables
  • 5.0 NPS
    Willing to refer

Dev for Travel Incentives Platform

“Compared to similar platforms on the market, Highland Solutions built a fast, competitive version...”

Quality: 
5.0
Schedule: 
4.5
Cost: 
5.0
Willing to refer: 
5.0
The Project
 
$1,000,000 - $9,999,999
 
Jan. 2017 - Ongoing
Project summary: 

Highland Solutions developed a web-based MVP platform from scratch, incorporating some design work and laying out the scope of work in the process.

The Reviewer
 
201-500 Employees
 
Schaumburg, Illinois
Janet Traphagen
President, Creative Group
 
Verified
The Review
Feedback summary: 

Highland Solutions delivered a high-quality web-based platform critical to company's overall growth strategy. In addition to delivering on time and bringing a lot of creativity into the process, their team is very easy to work with, transparent, and organized in their approach to project management.

BACKGROUND

Introduce your business and what you do there.

I'm the president of the Creative Group, a company that specializes in performance improvement strategies through the lens of meetings, events, and incentive programs.

OPPORTUNITY / CHALLENGE

What challenge were you trying to address with Highland Solutions?

We reached out to Highland Solutions to help us develop a new platform for our incentives program.

SOLUTION

What was the scope of their involvement?

Highland Solutions is developing our proprietary platform to track users, allowing them to collect rewards for traveling. They conducted a client journey mapping process, developing a strategy and scope of work before going into development. Our team provided much of the design and creative elements, but they've done some additional design work as well. They finished an MVP, and continue to provide ongoing support and development as needed.

What is the team composition?

We work with a project manager very closely, who meets with us in the office once or twice a week. We also work with about 4–5 developers, and the president of Highland Solutions has been more broadly involved to ensure we're happy with their services as the project progresses.

How did you come to work with Highland Solutions?

They had previously worked with us on a completely different project, so we already had an established, comfortable relationship with their team. They were also able to use some of that previous code, which helped save on costs for the new platform.

How much have you invested with them?

We've invested over $1 million.

What is the status of this engagement?

We started working on this project in January 2017 and launched the MVP by January 2018. They continue to provide ongoing support as needed, following the completion of the first phase of the platform.

RESULTS & FEEDBACK

What evidence can you share that demonstrates the impact of the engagement?

The product Highland Solutions built is a critical part of our growth strategy. Working with their team has elevated the creative process of our own internal teams, pushing us in a more strategic direction. We've received lots of positive feedback thus far, and were very impressed by how quickly they were able to deliver the MVP. Compared to similar platforms on the market, Highland Solutions built a fast, competitive version that will help give us an upper hand.

How did Highland Solutions perform from a project management standpoint?

They have a solid approach to managing projects, guiding their clients through the entire process seamlessly. They're very transparent and organized, utilizing the latest project management software to keep us updated through each phase.

What did you find most impressive about them?

They offer values-driven leadership and manage client projects and expectations extremely well.

Are there any areas they could improve?

No. I can't think of anything.

Do you have any advice for potential customers?

Be open to their feedback and suggestions, and take advantage of the project mapping process in the beginning before going into development. It helped inform our design and led to a better end product.

5.0
Overall Score
  • 4.5 Scheduling
    ON TIME / DEADLINES
  • 5.0 Cost
    Value / within estimates
  • 5.0 Quality
    Service & deliverables
  • 5.0 NPS
    Willing to refer

Market Testing & Prototype Design for Startup

"Though they are a small firm, they have a diverse, talented group of people with skills that are hard to find in other agencies."

Quality: 
5.0
Schedule: 
4.0
Cost: 
4.0
Willing to refer: 
5.0
The Project
 
Confidential
 
Jan. - Oct. 2018
Project summary: 

Highland Solutions provided design and market testing assistance for various products and services. They contributed from the ideation stage through to developing a prototype based on market research.

The Reviewer
 
1,001-5,000 Employees
 
Minneapolis, Minnesota
VP of Business Solutions, Non-Profit Financial Solutions Startup
 
Verified
The Review
Feedback summary: 

The testing and development assistance resulted in a stronger understanding of the product’s direction. The Highland Solutions’ team supplied a skilled team of workers to support the project. Their team was crucial in the prototype stage, and they juggled multiple tasks simultaneously.

BACKGROUND

Please describe your company and your position there.

I’m the VP of business solutions at a non-profit financial solutions startup, connected to our larger parent company. We are in the process of trying new strategies to grow within our market.

OPPORTUNITY / CHALLENGE

For what projects/services did your company hire Highland Solutions?

We hired Highland Solutions to assist us with in-market testing for our new business strategies.

What were your goals for this project?

We wanted to determine our to-do list for potential partners and affinity organizations by testing our strategies. We also wanted them to help with facilitating the planning and execution of our ideas, coming up with solutions and prototypes, and building the final products.

SOLUTION

How did you select this vendor?

Our development platform, OutSystems, recommended Highland Solutions.

Describe the project in detail.

Their team helped us with the ideation stage and designing the sprints needed for accomplishing the project. They contributed to creating product ideas and testing methods, as well as prototyping potential solutions. They performed market tests for each product we came up with. Additionally, they implemented UI/UX design into the prototypes.

What was the team composition?

Highland Solution’s provided their team, and we contributed a mix of our own members and our strategic partner’s team.

RESULTS & FEEDBACK

Can you share any outcomes from the project that demonstrate progress or success?

We captured key learnings to carry forward in our process. Highland Solutions were critical in finding these results and we now better understand how to continue with our ideas for our products and services.

How effective was the workflow between your team and theirs?

The workflow with Highland Solutions was better than we initially expected. Their team took some of the development to an offshore third party and we were concerned about not having local people, but it would out well.

What did you find most impressive about this company?

Though they are a small firm, they have a diverse, talented group of people with skills that are hard to find in other agencies.

Are there any areas for improvement?

It could be beneficial to have more local development engineers to ensure they can handle additional work in busy seasons.

4.5
Overall Score We will continue to use Highland Solution for multiple projects.
  • 4.0 Scheduling
    ON TIME / DEADLINES
    Some of their under-capacity issues resulted in scheduling challenges.
  • 4.0 Cost
    Value / within estimates
    Their cost is comparable to other agencies of their expertise.
  • 5.0 Quality
    Service & deliverables
    Their products are high quality and solid.
  • 5.0 NPS
    Willing to refer
    I've already referred Highland Solutions to multiple potential customers.