Consulting Services

We help prepare your agency for technology and maximize success.

Northwoods is the expert in human services. We can consult with your organization in a variety of ways to help you successfully implement the right technology, manage organizational change, and meet your strategic vision for today and the future. Here are some ways we’re helping human services agencies in adult & aging, child support, child welfare, and economic assistance.

PREPARING FOR A TECHNOLOGY PROJECT IN HUMAN SERVICES

Readiness Assessment and Planning

Your organization must be ready for change to be successful. Before you roll out a technology solution, we’ll help determine your organization’s readiness in key areas:

  • Technical (analyzing operating systems, equipment, data storage)
  • Business Process (identifying successful and outdated processes, preparation for change management)
  • Culture (staff readiness for change, agency leadership, and communication)

Based on our analysis, we’ll offer specific recommendations to help you modernize your technical infrastructure and system, prepare your staff for change, and re-design your business processes to match new technology.



Upgrades

11.25 Years

Average years of experience our team
members have worked in human services


Feasibility Study

Northwoods can help answer technical, economic, and operational feasibility questions: Is the project possible with current technology? Are enough resources available? Are the benefits worth the cost? What obstacles exist (such as funding, competing priorities, buy-in, or community support)? Are there policy or legal implications? A feasibility study includes recommendations and an analysis of alternatives based on your organization’s goals.


Financial Consulting

Our team can help you identify and plan to secure funding from a variety of sources for a major technology project in human services. We’ll help you navigate state and federal reimbursement options to qualify for matching funds, secure grants or loans, take advantage of innovation funds, and think creatively about other funding sources—such as foundations, sponsorship, or for-profit partners.


Building a Business Case

Implementing new program area-specific or enterprise-wide technology is a large investment in personnel and financial resources. We can help you build a business case that demonstrates the potential return on investment (ROI) of a major technology project to stakeholders and the community. Depending on your needs, the business case includes an analysis of business challenges, time studies, ROI consulting, anticipated social ROI (such as improved staff morale), and cost/benefit analysis.


Change Management and Sustaining Change

Too often, technology training focuses solely on the features and functions of a new system and not on the process changes that go along with it. Our team can help your organization navigate those. We will analyze the current culture, then make recommendations to prepare for and manage sustainable change. We can help secure buy-in from management and staff, implement effective communication plans and standard operating procedures, identify risks and roadblocks, and facilitate staff succession planning.

ACHIEVING ORGANIZATIONAL GOALS AND MAXIMIZING SUCCESS

Maximizing Customer Success

Your workforce changes. It’s inevitable. We can consult with you to maximize your investment by ensuring staff understand how, why, and when to use your solution to best serve clients. We’ll work with your team to implement training for new users, refresher training, communication plans, and other resources to meet your organization’s long-term success goals.

“I think that we latched onto it because Northwoods understands what we do. A lot of times people who are trying to train us have no clue what we do. So it's not realistic for us. It doesn't make sense to the people who are the boots on the ground people, the people who are actually doing the work.”

Kathy Delaney, Family Preservation Social Worker, Crow Wing County Community Services


Business Process Analysis and Redesign

We can help you evaluate current business processes including: how clients and documents flow through your agency, how current technology matches business processes, and how effectively management and staff communicate. This analysis includes recommendations on how to re-design business processes and how to develop and implement standard operating procedures across the organization.


Trends in Service Delivery

Your organization must always adapt to new industry trends to best deliver services. Think about case banking, centralized mail processing, mobile technology, integration with case management systems, and data-driven decisions in human services. We can help you identify opportunities, manage change, and implement new processes and solutions to keep pace with industry trends.


Strategic Planning for the Future

Often organizations get stuck focusing on the problem of the moment without envisioning your long-term strategy to serve the community. We can help you define and plan for your organization’s strategic vision for the future. Some examples include creating a roadmap for success, developing staff succession plans, facilitating traditional or evolutionary planning, and re-designing business processes to anticipate emerging human services technologies.

“It’s been a good partnership to speak with vendors that understand what our needs are, where we want to be, and what our goals are, and they can help us get there.”

Diane Gridley, Economic Services Program Administrator,
Cabarrus County Department of Human Services