Giving direction to business transformation

North Hertfordshire Homes


People in a meeting with a remote person on a screen

Staff had developed their own “shadow systems” or work-arounds to get their jobs done

North Hertfordshire Homes (NHH, now called Settle)  asked dxw to work with them as they embarked on a wholesale transformation of the way they do business


We produced a set of recommendations for the team that ensured they started their transformation with visible, tangible improvements that would be felt by staff and residents.

We wanted to work with dxw because they weren’t selling off the shelf products. Their approach is based on getting us to think about our customers and what adds value for them. Any solution needs to be based on gaining that insight and designing against it – that’s where true innovation comes from. We found that their approach and philosophy was really aligned with what we are trying to achieve and that made it a great partnership.

Gavin Cansfield, CEO North Hertfordshire Homes

What we did

Defining goals and capabilities

Working with the senior team at NHH, we facilitated strategy workshops where members of the team described their goals for the organisation. Taking these goals in turn, we then supported them in defining the capabilities they would need to be successful.

Understanding the user needs of staff

We then set about mapping the landscape within NHH. We interviewed NHH staff from each area of the business to understand their user needs and the context they were operating in. This enabled us get a comprehensive view of what systems existed within NHH, what user needs they met, and what could be improved.

Mapping official and unofficial systems

Taking what we learnt, we then created a map of the different systems within NHH and how data passed between them. We found that staff had developed their own “shadow systems” or work-arounds to get their jobs done, instead of using the official NHH systems.

Seeing where people had found their own way of doing things to make their lives easier, helped us form a better understanding of the user needs that were going unmet by the organisation’s official systems.

From the results of our research and analysis, we were able to produce recommendations on the way forward for the NHH team. Leaving them with a clear path ahead for their transformation work.