Overview

CONSULTING

IVY delivers a wide range of consulting services appropriate to the needs and complexities of our clients.

Our senior level consultants are experienced in a variety of approaches for organizational or departmental assessment. These include use of the Baldridge criteria, the creation of tailored assessments for smaller groups (e.g., team-based assessments), and the development and analysis of employee or customer surveys.

Strategy is formulated in a facilitated manner, either on or off-site, with leadership teams or with cross-functional employee groups. In addition to facilitation, IVY’s consultants further enhance client capabilities through services that include coaching, workshops, and on-going training.

Because we are experienced in a variety of techniques and tools, we do not limit ourselves to one approach or one methodology.

STRATEGIC PLANNING

Mapping a future direction that is both visionary and viable is the heart of strategic planning, and engaging in strategic thinking is the path that leads to that direction.

IVY has achieved outstanding success in this arena by facilitating a two-staged, team-based approach for clients that is highly interactive.

During the first phase, IVY and teams of managers and employees gather, analyze, and assess information relating to changes in the external environment (e.g. discontinuities in the competitive field, customer preferences and lifestyles, partnering opportunities, technology and demographics) and the internal environment of the company (e.g. core competencies, current business design). Opportunities and risks are explored and evaluated using various exercises.

During the second phase, IVY facilitates “strategic thinking sessions” with the organization’s leaders who categorize, display and synthesize the information collected in phase one and ultimately arrive at a clear direction for the future.

The result is a solid strategic blueprint that outlines vital goals and objectives over the next five to 10 years. The purpose of our participatory approach is to change the “mental models” held by organization members, gain their commitment to implement the changes proposed by the plan, and ensure that the entire organization owns the plan.

Together with business or program leaders, IVY translates this overarching plan into business action plans with measurable outcomes. This approach ensures that the strategic plan will become a reality in the organization.

PROCESS IMPROVEMENT

IVY works with clients to identify, understand, document, modify, simplify and/or redesign the processes and systems that drive the work in organizations.

Processes need to be documented and reviewed periodically to ensure that they are providing what the customer wants.

It’s especially important to document processes that cut across functional/departmental boundaries, or are partially contracted out so that smooth coordination ensures seamless service.

IVY helps managers identify steps in processes and/or whole procedures that may add little value to the customer or take an inordinate amount of time to accomplish.

IVY works with managers and employees to make both incremental and breakthrough improvements to create greater efficiency and effectiveness in delivering value to the customer.

IVY uses several approaches when working with clients on process improvement:

  • Benchmarking other organization’s processes
  • Refining measurements, using “workout programs”
  • Training teams in continuous improvement and energizing process improvement suggestions of employees, depending on the culture and needs of the organization.

IVY’s experience runs the gamut from incremental improvement to fully redesigned processes (reengineering).

TRAINING

IVY is known for its highly interactive and relevant training sessions. We have an extensive library of existing training programs and also customize programs to meet our clients’ unique needs.

Our experienced and knowledgeable speakers, trainers, and facilitators have delighted diverse audiences in classrooms, conferences, and retreats.

Our staff can provide a total solution, including comprehensive conference-management services.

RESEARCH AND ANALYSIS

IVY’s expertise in research and analysis has provided clients with the data and information required to make informed decisions in the development of strategy, changed practices, or policy.

IVY is adept at creating inclusive processes or studying and researching issues off-site.

Either way, IVY uses appropriate methodologies, effective and accurate instruments, and relevant models to support findings.

We believe that taking action is the “Achilles heel” of many organizations. Because of that, we present research findings using practical applications and step-by-step guidance for implementation.

Our experience covers a broad range of topics, including customer call centers, benchmarking key processes, competitive analysis, customer preferences and expectations, human resource systems, best practices, and diversity.

KNOWLEDGE MANAGEMENT

Rapid change, downsizing, and communication gaps have depleted institutional knowledge. IVY creates systems to capture and organization’s collective experience, wisdom, and know-how. IVY then guides the process for managing the knowledge and institutionalizing it throughout the culture and infrastructure.

PERFORMANCE MEASUREMENT

Using a system of results-oriented performance measures for each strategic business unit or program is the first step to ensuring managerial accountability.

These measures are aligned with the strategic goals and objectives of the organization’s strategic plan and the unit’s business plan.

IVY has extensive experience in both the private and public sectors in developing performance measures that are realistic, accurate, understandable to employee, and aligned with planning documents.

IVY involves managers and employees in facilitated working sessions to develop a balanced set of measures that are tied to strategic results. Emphasis is placed on both quantitative and qualitative measures relating to customer satisfaction, financial accountability, process efficiency and effectiveness, innovation/future growth, and, where appropriate, the environment.

During these sessions we help everyone understand the real “drivers of performance” and lead the group to reduce potential measures to the vital few.

We show managers and employees how tracking measurement data can help improve performance, decision-making, and the management of resources.

Where needed, IVY also can help in the development of data- collection systems that underpin accurate measurement.

CUSTOMER SERVICE

Helping clients develop a customer focus that underscores all aspects of the business is a hallmark of IVY’s services.

We educate an organization’s managers to view customer service as part of a larger framework. The framework begins with the creation of a “customer-service strategy” that defines the company’s relationship with customers. All other aspects of service flow from that strategy.

We help the organization to develop customer standards and measures based on its strategy. Once measures and standards are in place, we work with managers and employees to design data collection systems to gather customer data and information on an ongoing basis.

In designing a data-collection system, we tailor it to the customer, the product/service delivered, and the needs of the organization, so that the information will be used for interacting with customers and for making improvements.

During this process, we train and guide employees in understanding the strategy, standards and measures — and their specific responsibilities.

We also work with our clients to ensure that the structure of the organization, its technology, and its people practices are aligned with the customer-service strategy. Through this comprehensive approach, the organization can become customer-centered.