Driving Cross-Functional Agency Transformation

A large U.S. state agency had embarked on a state-wide technology transformation and recognized that the people, processes, and ways of working surrounding the new technology needed to transform in parallel. In partnership with the client, North Highland helped the agency modernize its organizational structure, optimize workflow and collaboration, and standardize documented processes.

Client Situation

A public sector agency in a large U.S. state engaged North Highland to assist with a comprehensive technology transformation. Concurrent with the state-wide transition to next generation technology, the agency’s leadership recognized that it was equally critical that the people, processes, and ways of working surrounding the new technology transform as well.

To enable a holistic transformation, the agency tasked North Highland to conduct a review of organizational structure, perform an analysis of new business processes, and facilitate staff capability development.

Our Approach

First, the North Highland project team designed and conducted cross-functional interviews with the agency leadership and employees in an organizational assessment. Initially, questions were focused on structural elements like spans of control and decision rights, but based on early learnings, the project team quickly adapted questions to uncover insights related to organizational culture and collaboration. The assessment shed light on conflicts among senior leadership that encouraged functional silos, preventing junior staff from taking initiative and slowing decision-making.

To supplement the findings from the organizational assessment, the project team also reviewed job descriptions, performance evaluation processes, existing business processes, and other internal documentation. Based on this assessment, North Highland delivered a current-state evaluation that identified gaps inhibiting the agency’s ability to successfully transform.

To close the identified gaps, North Highland recommended a comprehensive, eight-part solution that addressed obstacles in not only technology, but also in people, processes, and ways of working:

  • Organizational Culture
  • Employee Operating Styles
  • Human Resource Standardization
  • Customer Engagement
  • Organization Redesign
  • Process Documentation
  • Process Automation
  • Leadership and Capability Development

To implement these solutions, North Highland brought a blended, multi-disciplinary team comprised of diverse subject matter expertise to the project.

"Many, many thanks and kudos to North Highland’s support and guidance on this effort. The firm’s expertise, insight, and consultation made these hard decisions a little bit easier to make. I am very pleased with the outcome and am looking forward to working with North Highland to roll out our new structure and work plan going forward."

Value Delivered 

North Highland’s work culminated in the design and implementation of a set of solutions that broke down organizational silos and enabled the client to tackle its transformation obstacles in a holistic, multi-disciplinary way.

We delivered:

  • A new organizational structure that provided defined deputies to support leadership development, streamlined spans of control, enhanced transparency around career ladders, and clarified job roles.
  • New processes for employee performance evaluations, individual development plans, and annual goal-setting.
  • Improvements to internal collaboration and strategic alignment by administering the Herrmann Brain Dominance Instrument (HBDI) among employees, and subsequently facilitating a culture workshop to define agency values and a refined, unifying vision.
  • Redesign and mapping of processes for HR, Commission Meetings, Contracting, State Budgeting Cycle, and Finance.