A digital experience agency

Highland Solutions is a digital experience agency with a fierce commitment to keeping people at the center of our work. We use our skills in product 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

Working with Universal Hospital Services to Implement and Mature Their CRM Image

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. Agiliti is on a mission to change that.

Agiliti 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.

After successfully designing, developing, and deploying the initial SugarCRM solution, Highland and Agiliti have continued to partner together. As Agiliti continues to grow, they've relied on the flexibility of SugarCRM to adapt the technology to the needs of their business.

SERVICES PROVIDED: Design & Strategy Consulting, Implementation Facilitation, Business Tool Integration (including ERP, marketing automation, etc.), Data Migration & Production Support, Staff Training, Upgrade Support

 

Read the case study

Launching a Cutting-Edge Product with Creative Group Image

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

 

Read the case study

Designing Experiences that Deliver Hope & Strength Image

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

 

Advancing Design Thinking at an Established Organization Image

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

Tackling the Student Debt Crisis with Thrivent Student Resources Image

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 Image

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 automation, etc.), Data Migration & Production Support, Staff Training, Upgrade Support

 

Read the case study

 

Reviews

Sort by

IT & Dev Partnership with Electronic Service Provider

“They care about our development and our success, and they have a vested interest in our company.”

Quality: 
4.0
Schedule: 
4.0
Cost: 
4.0
Willing to refer: 
5.0
The Project
 
$1,000,000 - $9,999,999
 
2010 - Ongoing
Project summary: 

Highland Solutions is a long-term technology partner for a state government affiliate. They developed a transactional application, which they now maintain. They fix bugs and add new functionality as needed.

The Reviewer
 
11-50 Employees
 
Chicago, Illinois
Project Manager, Electronic Service Provider
 
Verified
The Review
Feedback summary: 

There is a high degree of trust in the arrangement with Highland Solutions. They are communicative and familiar with the internal team. They are responsive, and approach tasks with a positive attitude.

A Clutch analyst personally interviewed this client over the phone. Below is an edited transcript.

BACKGROUND

Introduce your business and what you do there.

We have an application that our vendors use to process government transactions at the state level. We deal with titling and registration for cars and other vital county records. The software helps the public process transactions between financial institutions and state government offices. I'm a project manager for the company.

OPPORTUNITY / CHALLENGE

What challenge were you trying to address with Highland Solutions?

They've worked with us for as long as we've been a company. They're our technology partner and developer.

SOLUTION

What was the scope of their involvement?

They developed and maintain our application, and we're intrinsically tied with them. Initially, they did everything for us. They used to host all our data and phones, and we relied on them for a lot of our needs. We've since taken more ownership of our hosting, but they still help us develop any new products to add to the application. They fix any bugs that appear, and they have some other maintenance responsibilities within our backend. Sometimes, we create wireframes, but we let Highland create them for us if there are more technical aspects involved.

What is the team composition?

The team has evolved over time. Sometimes, we had a project manager who coordinated with developers. As the collaboration grew, we built a strong relationship with the developers and now talk with them directly. A lead developer acts as our point person for most of our interactions now.

How did you come to work with Highland Solutions?

They were hired before my time. Highland has always been our technology partner, and they housed us when we first launched. They were a longstanding partner when I joined the company ten years ago, and we've been simpatico with them since our inception.

How much have you invested with them?

I'm not sure of the exact amount, but we've certainly spent more than $1 million on the engagement.

What is the status of this engagement?

We've been in continuous development since at least 2010, possibly even earlier than that. The partnership is ongoing.

RESULTS & FEEDBACK

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

We really enjoy working with them, and they've gone through a variety of adjustments with us. They always make sure we're happy with the arrangement, and we have a good working relationship and trust between us.

How did Highland Solutions perform from a project management standpoint?

We communicate at least weekly, and sometimes daily. We discuss tasks each week, and we enter stories into the software that Highland provides. We use Jira to manage some of our processes, and we also communicate through Slack.

What did you find most impressive about them?

They're a very personal company. We know the people we work with, and we're very familiar with their team. They care about our development and our success, and they have a vested interest in our company. They have a good attitude, and they make sure we're happy with the team members they assign to our projects. They're very responsive to our needs.

Are there any areas they could improve?

We occasionally go over budget and over our deadlines on some of our projects, but they are communicative when that happens. They respond well to hard deadlines, and they work well under tighter requirements.

Do you have any advice for potential customers?

When working with a technology partner, define your parameters clearly and stay on top of your projects. That will help keep things on time and within your budget.

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

Web App Dev for Money Management Platform

They gradually became a strategic partner, because they had a vested interest in the long-term success of the project.”

Quality: 
5.0
Schedule: 
4.0
Cost: 
4.0
Willing to refer: 
4.0
The Project
 
$1,000,000 - $9,999,999
 
Jan. 2018 - July 2019
Project summary: 

Highland Solutions worked to create a financial management platform for a credit union. The team implemented its key function, account aggregation, and vigorously underwent user feedback processes.

The Reviewer
 
51-200 Employees
 
Minneapolis, Minnesota
CEO, Credit Union Firm
 
Verified
The Review
Feedback summary: 

While the project was forgone midway, Highland Solutions proved to be a strategic partner who challenged the client in the right ways. While the turnovers in their team caused some development delays, they were skilled at executing user testing and implementing the appropriate changes.

A Clutch analyst personally interviewed this client over the phone. Below is an edited transcript.

BACKGROUND

Introduce your business and what you do there.

I’m the president and CEO of a large financial cooperative. We serve roughly 55,000 members across the United States.

OPPORTUNITY / CHALLENGE

What challenge were you trying to address with Highland Solutions?

We were developing a mobile-friendly, web-based app to help people manage their personal finances. While there were other account-aggregation tools already out there, we wanted to create a value-driven app that empowered users to follow wise financial principles.

SOLUTION

What was the scope of their involvement?

They designed and developed a value-driven web app whose key feature was account aggregation—enabling users to categorize their money into different accounts.

The app had three components, only two of which were completed. The first was a calculator to allow people to bucket their money wisely. The second tier was account aggregation, which categorized all of your balances and transactions.

 The team adhered to an agile methodology, working in sprints. We implemented user testing and user feedback which drove the following iteration of the product. Development was never completed because we were still on a beta test when we decided to forgo the project.

What is the team composition?

Ana (Senior Product Manager, Highland Solutions) was our project lead, but we worked with several designers and developers in implementing the first two tiers.

How did you come to work with Highland Solutions?

They were recommended to us by our parent company. They happened to also be an OutSystems partner.

How much have you invested with them?

While it’s difficult to pin down how much of the investment went towards Highland Solutions, we probably spent somewhere between $1-2 million with them.

What is the status of this engagement?

We engaged highland in early 2018 and shut the project down in July 2019.

RESULTS & FEEDBACK

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

Since we never actually launched the product, we don’t have any traditional metrics pertaining to user engagement. However, throughout our numerous iteration processes, the product was endowed with promising functionalities. The developers were adept at implementing complex classifications of expenses. They were a strong partner to have.   

How did Highland Solutions perform from a project management standpoint?

They were excellent at meeting deadlines and statements of work. They were flexible in accommodating adjustments in scope. They also made very apt changes in response to user testing and feedback.

What did you find most impressive about them?

They challenged us in new ways. They gradually became a strategic partner, because they had a vested interest in the long-term success of the project. They helped us better and shape the product, instead of just doing the design and development that they were hired to do.

Are there any areas they could improve?

We had a few challenges in the continuity of the team. Since it was a value-driven project, the team needed to be invested in the motivations behind the product. Since we had a little bit of turnover with their team, having to onboarding new members caused a bit of a delay. I think that was the biggest pain point for my own project manager.

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

Custom Software Development & CRM Consulting for Security Company

“They took the time to learn our process upfront, so their input is invaluable.”

Quality: 
5.0
Schedule: 
5.0
Cost: 
5.0
Willing to refer: 
5.0
The Project
 
$200,000 to $999,999
 
Oct. 2017 - Ongoing
Project summary: 

Highland Solutions helped a security company transition to a CRM solution that would be compatible with Microsoft Outlook and their decentralized team. They used SugarCRM to revamp the antiquated system.

The Reviewer
 
5,001-10,000 Wmployees
 
St. Louis, Missouri
Senior Vice President, Security Company
 
Verified
The Review
Feedback summary: 

The delivered product achieved its goal of 100% employee adoption. Individuals are using the tool in effective ways, unifying a team that’s otherwise scattered across the country. The Highland Solutions team was notably thorough in their work and communication—no detail too small to cover.

A Clutch analyst personally interviewed this client over the phone. Below is an edited transcript.

BACKGROUND

Introduce your business and what you do there.

At the time of our partnership, we were a 70-year-old, third-generation security company in the United States. I was the senior VP of sales. We were just acquired back in April by a large security company.

OPPORTUNITY / CHALLENGE

What challenge were you trying to address with Highland Solutions?

Our CRM was not being adopted and used in the field because its functionality was poor and it wasn’t scalable enough to grow with us over time. We needed an upgrade both from a sales and client perspective to better track our customer interactions.

SOLUTION

What was the scope of their involvement?

Our old CRM was particularly antiquated and no one was using it to log and track interactions. We needed a platform that would allow us to maintain over 60 years of legacy data while integrating properly with our Outlook email system and mobile platform. Originally we didn’t have a mobile app at all, though it was necessary for our very decentralized organization with field personnel throughout the United States. Highland Solutions helped us implement our current SugarCRM system, which is modern and updates in real-time.

We continually add licenses and users to the platform as our organization grows. Their team helps us make design changes to better capture data and information on the interface. Using the new CRM, we create a set of reports and dashboards for both sales and operations to ensure we were thinking properly. Their team reviewed our work and made suggestions on how we could improve.

What is the team composition?

I worked primarily with John (Principal of CRM Practice, Highland Solutions), Elizabeth (Director of CRM Practice, Highland Solutions), Patty (Senior CRM Specialist, Highland Solutions), and Shad (CRM Solutions Architect, Highland Solutions). There was a minimum of six team members on the project on a fairly consistent basis. John was my main point of contact and was responsible for engaging with personnel from SugarCRM. 

How did you come to work with Highland Solutions?

I initially did a Google search for top CRM providers. SugarCRM popped up as the number-one CRM by PC Magazine, so I decided to check them out. I was familiar with the space, but had never heard of SugarCRM before.

Their website gave me the opportunity to do a free demo, so I went for it. I was able to see the platform and its capabilities while trying it out. During that time, John reached out to me. We decided to have a meeting, which turned into multiple meetings, and I was very impressed by Highland Solutions' offerings. It wasn’t my responsibility to do this research, but after approaching my boss with this research, I was asked to move forward with them as the lead on this project.

Selecting them ended up being a very easy decision. They had a thorough process and were truly interested in partnerships. That’s how we do business—we seemed to be perfectly aligned. Price was never the deciding factor because we were able to find the best possible solution. 

How much have you invested with them?

We’ve spent about $250,000 with them, much of which can be attributed to licensing fees.

What is the status of this engagement?

We started working with them in October 2017, and they still support us now.

RESULTS & FEEDBACK

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

Our main goal with this project was to achieve a high rate of adoption in the field. After getting their help and implementing the system, 100% of employees are now engaged with the platform, using the tool as it was intended. I’m also able to track how often each user goes onto the platform. I’ve seen a consistency in the adoption and an increase in usability. It's been really nice to see a tool like this bring our decentralized organization a little closer. I’m happy that everyone has embraced the value of the tool. 

How did Highland Solutions perform from a project management standpoint?

I know if reach out to them with a problem, they’ll address the issues in an hour. It’s amazing how responsive they are. Informed and prepared, they were with us every step of the way. No detail was too small or insignificant to cover.

They were able to share best practices using their industry experience, and even put me in touch with other users working with SugarCRM in similar ways. Highland Solutions gave us all the resources we needed to transition into and use the platform. They go out of their way to make sure our partnership is successful through face-to-face meetings, WebEx conferences, and project phone calls. Their team called me ten times more than any competitor did. That told me that they were fully committed to understanding our business.

What did you find most impressive about them?

They took the time to learn our process upfront, so their input is invaluable. They’ve made phenomenal changes and recommendations. They’re incredibly responsive and supportive.  

Their mission is to make us successful, which is sometimes rare in a partner in the tech industry. In a space that’s ever-changing and evolving, they stay on top of everything, always letting up know when they’re adding upgrades. The team understands that driving our success helps them be successful too. That’s a really unique, valuable approach.

Highland Solutions provided a professional, structured process that guided us through the project. Even in the very first meeting, they knew our major competitors and our company’s common verbiage. Everything they worked on was geared toward us specifically.

Are there any areas they could improve?

No, they knocked it out of the park every step of the way. They’re always thinking ahead to help us succeed. That foresight is invaluable.

Do you have any advice for potential customers?

Partner with them. They do all the heavy lifting, making the partnership easy. CRM project upgrades require a lot of time and effort, but it went by quick with them because of their organization and structure. There was never any guesswork.

5.0
Overall Score I’m a raving fan.
  • 5.0 Scheduling
    ON TIME / DEADLINES
  • 5.0 Cost
    Value / within estimates
  • 5.0 Quality
    Service & deliverables
  • 5.0 NPS
    Willing to refer

Design Sprint & Prototype for Marketing Association

"It was an excellent experience. Highland Solutions approached the problem as a true partner."

Quality: 
5.0
Schedule: 
5.0
Cost: 
5.0
Willing to refer: 
5.0
The Project
 
$10,000 to $49,999
 
Feb. - Apr. 2019
Project summary: 

Highland Solutions led a design sprint for a large professional association of marketers. They created a clickable digital prototype to test new engagement models with members.

The Reviewer
 
1000+
 
Chicago, Illinois
Scott Stern
Director of Innovation and Insights, American Marketing Association
 
Verified
The Review
Feedback summary: 

Internal feedback has been overwhelmingly positive, leading to them being hired for a second project. Highland Solutions' expert team not only expedited completion and enhanced the project creatively, but also demonstrated a vested interest in long-term outcomes and customer business needs.

A Clutch analyst personally interviewed this client over the phone. Below is an edited transcript.

BACKGROUND

Introduce your business and what you do there. 

I'm the director of innovation and insights for the American Marketing Association (AMA). We’re the largest professional association for marketers in the United States and Canada. My team is responsible for collecting customer analytics in order to understand what their needs are and what new products services we should roll out.

OPPORTUNITY / CHALLENGE

What challenge were you trying to address with Highland Solutions? 

We were testing out completely new business and membership models for AMA. We needed to bring in a partner to help us jump-start the process of determining what a new membership and engagement structure might look like.

SOLUTION

What was the scope of their involvement? 

Highland Solutions led the customer experience design phase of our project. We did a design sprint with them. As part of that design sprint, their designers created a clickable digital prototype that was real enough to put in front of customers. 

What is the team composition? 

We worked with a total of four people. David (Director, CX Practice, Highland Solutions) was our main point of contact. 

How did you come to work with Highland Solutions? 

We first met them a couple of years ago when they hosted a customer journey mapping workshop here in Chicago. They happened to reach out to us right when we were looking for a facilitator for this project. We set up a call and were really impressed. Highland Solutions went beyond our initial request to facilitate a design sprint to actually focusing on the underlying questions we’re trying to solve. They suggested other things we could do that might be more valuable. So ultimately, even though they were more expensive than others we considered, we felt that they offered the most comprehensive solution. 

How much have you invested with them?

We spent around $30,000.

What is the status of this engagement? 

Work began in February 2019, and their involvement ended in April 2019.

RESULTS & FEEDBACK

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

Our team was extremely impressed with their work. Our CEO was so pleased with Highland Solutions that he hired them to do a mini design sprint for our board of directors. 

How did Highland Solutions perform from a project management standpoint? 

Their team was great. Highland Solutions gets the highest rating I can give. We primarily used email to communicate, but we did also use Slack. 

What did you find most impressive about them?

It was an excellent experience. Highland Solutions approached the problem as a true partner. One thing that stood out was their Train-the-Trainer program. They helped our internal team learn how to use the tools and how to facilitate design sprints, which will reduce our reliance on hiring them in the future. It was clear they're not out for billable hours but were dedicated to helping our organization. 

Are there any areas they could improve? 

I told them this already, but we could’ve used additional help in preparing our team for what to expect during a design sprint. I had some experience, but the rest of our staff did not. It would've been helpful to have something to share with them before work began. That's a pretty minor quibble. Otherwise, they did a great job.

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 Implementation for Manufacturing Firm

"They were very accessible and willing to train us until we got comfortable with our CRM."

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

Highland Solutions helped implement SugarCRM and trained the in-house team to use the admin tools within the CRM. They also assisted with launching a web-to-lead platform.

The Reviewer
 
11-50 Employees
 
Chicago Metro Area
Sales Administrative Assistant, Hospitality Firm
 
Verified
The Review
Feedback summary: 

The in-house team can use the CRM to develop new sales strategies and track leads. Proactive and knowledgeable, Highland Solutions guided the entire process, while their excellent communication skills made them easy to work with.

A Clutch analyst personally interviewed this client over the phone. Below is an edited transcript.

BACKGROUND

Introduce your business and what you do there.

I'm a sales administrative assistant at a hospitality company.

OPPORTUNITY / CHALLENGE

What challenge were you trying to address with Highland Solutions?

We didn't have a CRM and we knew it wasn't sustainable to rely on Excel, so we started looking for a vendor to help us with CRM implementation.

SOLUTION

What was the scope of their involvement?

First, we met with Highland Solutions and discussed our needs. We wanted to develop a solution for information sharing and the data repository that could be a tool for our inside and outside sales teams. Highland Solutions helped us choose the right solution, making sure SugarCRM was the best fit for us. Then, they did hands-on training with our team and taught us how to use SugarCRM and migrate all of our data from Google sheets and Excel. They also helped us launch a new web-to-lead platform, where the leads that come from our website go directly into Sugar. They continue to offer ongoing support and update our CRM.

What is the team composition?

We've worked with our account manager and 3–4 other members of their team.

How did you come to work with Highland Solutions?

They seemed very professional and were able to explain the process to us, so we chose them.

How much have you invested with them?

We've spent between $10,000–$15,000.

What is the status of this engagement?

We started working with them in September 2017 and the relationship is ongoing.

RESULTS & FEEDBACK

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

Because we now have a CRM, we've been able to develop new sales strategies and identify some trends when it comes to tracking our leads.

How did Highland Solutions perform from a project management standpoint?

They're great communicators and we have regular phone calls where we discuss the progress.

What did you find most impressive about them?

They were very accessible and willing to train us until we got comfortable with our CRM. We didn't have a lot of technical knowledge, but they answered all of our questions and taught us how to use the admin tools within Sugar.

Are there any areas they could improve?

No. We've had a very positive experience.

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

Sugar CRM Implementation for Packaging Enterprise

“They add a personal touch to their service, going out of their way to ask for ways to improve.”

Quality: 
4.5
Schedule: 
4.0
Cost: 
4.0
Willing to refer: 
5.0
The Project
 
$200,000 to $999,999
 
Mar. 2017 - Ongoing
Project summary: 

Highland Solutions implemented SugarCRM, collaborating with the internal team to determine system needs and review best practices. They also provided training, testing, and modifications.

The Reviewer
 
10,001+ Employees
 
Ohio
Marketing & Communications, Packaging Company
 
Verified
The Review
Feedback summary: 

Highland Solutions delivered a CRM that currently manages 20,000 contacts and 6,000 accounts. The deliverable streamlined global sales efforts. Communicative and organized, they’re a reliable partner. They've meshed smoothly with the clients’ company culture. 

A Clutch analyst personally interviewed this client over the phone. Below is an edited transcript.

BACKGROUND

Introduce your business and what you do there.

I’m in charge of marketing and business communications for the North American branch of an industrial packaging supplier. I manage the rigid business, which is large steel or plastic drums for bulk packaging. I also oversee training of all our North American sales representatives.

OPPORTUNITY / CHALLENGE

What challenge were you trying to address with Highland Solutions?

We wanted to implement SugarCRM for our global rigid business, and needed a partner to help us onboard.

SOLUTION

What was the scope of their involvement?

We didn’t have a CRM to start with, so Highland Solutions led a three-day brainstorming process to review best practices and determine what we wanted in ours. Once we outlined the necessary components, they began building, testing, and modifying the CRM.

Much of the platform is custom designed, rather than being a generic templated solution. Once the CRM was finished, they kicked off the training, leading the first session for each region before turning it over to me. They currently support, add to, and modify the system as necessary.

What is the team composition? 

We mainly interact with about six people from their team.

How did you come to work with Highland Solutions?

Our procurement department narrowed down a list to three companies. We thought Highland Solutions fit our company the best. They have extensive expertise and seemed easy to do business with. We felt like they valued our business relationship, so we hired them.

How much have you invested with them?

We’ve spent between $500,000–$1 million.

What is the status of this engagement?

We partnered together in March 2017 and have work that's ongoing.

RESULTS & FEEDBACK

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

At this point, we’ve already uploaded around 20,000 contacts and 6,000 accounts to the CRM. We’re still adjusting to the new system.

Highland Solutions listens to our needs and provides honest feedback and suggestions. They’ve helped us standardize expectations and management for our global sales force, which makes everything much more cohesive.

How did Highland Solutions perform from a project management standpoint?

Using Jira and other digital tools for project management makes it easy to track progress and see how much specific tasks will cost. We hold weekly stand-up calls and follow an Agile methodology.

What did you find most impressive about them?

Highland Solutions adds a personal touch to their service. They go out of their way to ask us for ways they can improve. Rather than just another partner, they feel like an extension of our company.

Are there any areas they could improve?

It’d be nice if they offered templated designs before building customized solutions, which cost more. 

4.5
Overall Score
  • 4.0 Scheduling
    ON TIME / DEADLINES
    Their estimates have always accurate.
  • 4.0 Cost
    Value / within estimates
    Not everything needs to be custom developed.
  • 4.5 Quality
    Service & deliverables
  • 5.0 NPS
    Willing to refer

Innovation Consulting for Financial Services Organization

“They communicate well and have high-quality deliverables.”

Quality: 
4.5
Schedule: 
5.0
Cost: 
4.5
Willing to refer: 
5.0
The Project
 
Confidential
 
Aug. 2016 - Ongoing
Project summary: 

Highland Solutions collaborates closely with the in-house team and other third-party partners. They’ve worked on over 30 different projects, helping develop test frames and business ideas.

The Reviewer
 
5,001-10,000 Employees
 
Minneapolis Metro Area
Entrepreneur in Residence, Finance Organization
 
Verified
The Review
Feedback summary: 

Highland Solutions adjusts to project needs and expectations, providing clear and transparent processes. They do good work and are essential to project outcomes. They could do better at scaling and providing a more unique value proposition, but they’re still a good partner.

A Clutch analyst personally interviewed this client over the phone. Below is an edited transcript.

BACKGROUND

Introduce your business and what you do there.

I’m an entrepreneur in residence for a Fortune 300 financial services nonprofit. I help drive and create new businesses.

OPPORTUNITY / CHALLENGE

What challenge were you trying to address with Highland Solutions?

We needed a partner to help with our innovation work.

SOLUTION

What was the scope of their involvement?

We’re doing a lot of early-stage innovation work, and Highland Solutions helps us frame some of the tests and develop business ideas. We’ve worked on over 30 different projects with them, and they collaborate closely with our internal team and other third-party partners.

What is the team composition? 

They provide about seven people, each a different subject matter expert. They usually serve as a lead or co-lead on the projects.

How did you come to work with Highland Solutions?

We met at a conference. They had experience with OutSystems, which is the software dev platform we use. They seemed like a good fit, so we hired them.

What is the status of this engagement?

We partnered in August 2016, and the work is ongoing.

RESULTS & FEEDBACK

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

They not only complete projects, but they also train team members in best practices for innovation management and development. They’re influential in how we orchestrate and conduct our work.

How did Highland Solutions perform from a project management standpoint?

They follow a lean design thinking process that aligns with our own innovation thinking. Their team works well with ours, complementing one another nicely. They communicate well and have high-quality deliverables.

What did you find most impressive about them?

They fit well with our mission and culture, aligning to our practices.

Are there any areas they could improve?

They could do better at scaling to our needs and creating a niche value proposition.

Do you have any advice for future clients of theirs?

Understand the business strategy and project goals. Make sure everyone is on the same page with core objectives and stages.

4.5
Overall Score
  • 5.0 Scheduling
    ON TIME / DEADLINES
    We've consistently met deadlines.
  • 4.5 Cost
    Value / within estimates
    They’re accurate with estimates, but they are a bit expensive.
  • 4.5 Quality
    Service & deliverables
  • 5.0 NPS
    Willing to refer
    I've already referred them.

Customer Experience Consulting for Nonprofit

"They were an ideal partner for our organization."

Quality: 
5.0
Schedule: 
5.0
Cost: 
5.0
Willing to refer: 
5.0
The Project
 
Confidential
 
June - Aug. 2017
Project summary: 

Highland Solutions provided customer experience consulting and research. The team created experience maps for two different kinds of journeys while offering training assistance.

The Reviewer
 
11-50 Employees
 
Chicago, Illinois
COO, Make-a-Wish Illinois
 
Verified
The Review
Feedback summary: 

Highland Solutions’ practical approach and valuable insight ensured a seamless experience. The engagement resulted in a strategic internal overhaul and resource reallocation. This change made services more effective and impactful for external stakeholders.

A Clutch analyst personally interviewed this client over the phone. Below is an edited transcript.

BACKGROUND

Please describe your company and your position there.

I’m the COO of Make-A-Wish Illinois. I’m responsible for directing the central operations for the organization, including information technology, talent management and development, legal, office operations, finance and accounting, and managing strategic and financial planning.

OPPORTUNITY / CHALLENGE

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

In 2017, we decided to modify our wish granting process so we could meet the needs of every eligible child with the highest impact possible. We hired Highland Solutions to help us understand the experience and perspective of our primary customers—wish children and their families.

What were your goals for this project?

We wanted to continue providing high impact experiences—those that establish meaningful connections and strengthen the child’s support system.

SOLUTION

 How did you select this vendor?

A volunteer on our strategic planning committee recommended Highland Solutions after a series of internal conversations about our needs.

Describe the project in detail.

Highland Solutions worked alongside our team to develop tailored research and conducted an experience mapping process. They also trained our staff in guided storytelling and experiencing mapping methodologies, so that we can engage in this work with other constituent types within our Foundation.

What was the team composition?

We primarily worked with Jon (President, Highland Solutions) and David (Director, CX Practice, Highland Solutions).

RESULTS & FEEDBACK

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

We created a "Wish Journey map." Based on stakeholder discussions and data analysis, we saw a distinction between "high impact" wishes and "lower impact" wishes. We then developed two versions of the map to account for the difference. This contrast highlighted the key touchpoints that make a difference with our wish children and their families. With this insight, we revamped our wish granting process to better ensure consistent delivery of those key touchpoints. This included a redesign of our staff and volunteer workforce responsible for wish granting.

We’ve also identified new materials for our children and families to guide them through the journey. Already, we’ve received great feedback that demonstrates our wish children are connecting to the wish experience at the early point of wish discovery, which bodes well for realizing a high impact wish experience.

 How effective was the workflow between your team and theirs?

The partnership was seamless. The team developed a keen insight into our business that made the conversation and workflow very fluid.

What did you find most impressive about this company?

Highland Solutions learned our mission and goals quickly. They helped us structure and breakdown wish family stories, feedback, and analogies, into behaviors, actions, and feelings. This approach was logical and practical; it also enabled us to convert insight into action.

Are there any areas for improvement?

No, I can’t think of anything.

5.0
Overall Score They were an ideal partner for our organization.
  • 5.0 Scheduling
    ON TIME / DEADLINES
    They were accessible and cognizant of our other business priorities.
  • 5.0 Cost
    Value / within estimates
  • 5.0 Quality
    Service & deliverables
    The team was great to work with because they brought a practical and effective approach to the engagement.
  • 5.0 NPS
    Willing to refer

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.

A Clutch analyst personally interviewed this client over the phone. Below is an edited transcript.

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.

A Clutch analyst personally interviewed this client over the phone. Below is an edited transcript.

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