How the Groundwork of the Past Year Will Pay Dividends in 2022

Professionals across industries share the projects that have them excited for the upcoming year.

Written by Jeff Kirshman
Published on Dec. 28, 2021
How the Groundwork of the Past Year Will Pay Dividends in 2022
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Katrina Tecmire isn’t just launching a new product next year. She’s also kicking off an expanded approach to teamwork. 

The senior manager of digital merchandising for Hyatt has spent the past year developing the hotel chain’s personalization engine project, an initiative that aims to revolutionize the customer experience in the hospitality industry. 

Monitoring the project’s evolution from fledgling concept to a task nearing completion has only given her a greater sense of anticipation. Normally sequestered to a team of fellow merchandising professionals, Tecmire sees the scheduled launch of the venture in 2022 as a bedrock for additional collaboration in the future. 

“What excites me about this initiative is that I’ve had the opportunity to witness this project come to life, from ideation and inception to implementation,” Tecmire said. “I’m really looking forward to a continued evolution in 2022.”

The promise of the new year can already be felt across industries and professions. With the calendar set to turn, Built In Chicago connected with four local tech companies to find out what they’re looking forward to as 2021 fades in the rearview mirror.
 

Katrina Tecmire
Senior Manager, Digital Merchandising • Hyatt

 

What’s the coolest project your team has planned for 2022? 

I am super excited about the evolution of Hyatt’s personalization engine in 2022. We’ve been hard at work this past year developing an omnichannel marketing technology solution that will allow us to further meet guests and World of Hyatt loyalty members where they are on their journey by delivering personalized content. What I find so interesting about this initiative is that through our focus on machine-driven learning and expanding our library of content, we will be able to learn about what our guests and members prefer to engage with. As a result, they feel more understood and in control of what content they see.

Working at Hyatt really is the best of both worlds for digital and tech colleagues, as we are operating like a technology-centric organization within an industry that’s focused on delivering care and connection through travel. 

 

How will this project help you develop important skills?

Being part of this project has had a very significant and positive impact on my professional career. As a merchandising professional with a background in both e-commerce and traditional retail merchandising, working in such a tech-forward digital capacity has expanded my knowledge of the product development and data science sectors, which will provide me with great long-term opportunities and benefits.

I also appreciate how this project has allowed me to collaborate with other functions I otherwise may not have had the opportunity to partner with. Because of that, I’ve forged new professional relationships and have learned from these talented colleagues, resulting in a positive impact on my individual growth.

Working in such a tech-forward digital capacity has expanded my knowledge of the product development and data science sectors.”

 

What impact will this project have on your business and customers?

The personalization engine project is going to have a tremendously positive impact on our guests, members, colleagues and digital merchandising team. We are a young group gaining exposure and experience with an innovative initiative that will provide continued opportunity and growth for the entire team.

Our marketing colleagues across the globe will be able to get their campaigns in front of customers in a fast, easy and efficient way through multiple digital channels. Most importantly, we will revolutionize the way in which we care for our guests and members as we deliver an ever-evolving personalized experience during their World of Hyatt journey.

 

 

Nina Jagannathan
Principle-Solutions Consultant • Northern Trust

 

What’s the coolest project your team has planned for 2022? 

The coolest project we have planned at Northern Trust is the Digital Metamorphosis initiative for our wealth management business. The initiative has a startup vibe, where no idea is too outlandish or out of bounds. This leads to some amazing insights from everyone, from the end users all the way to the developers and testers. We are also using agile methodology, so the entire team is involved and heavily engaged in making a minimum lovable product. Additionally, we are turning old paradigms on their ear by leveraging newer technologies, such as artificial intelligence. To say this project is exciting is an understatement.

We are turning old paradigms on their ear by leveraging newer technologies, such as artificial intelligence.”

 

How will this project help you grow professionally?

The Digital Metamorphosis project will accelerate a lot of my already existing skills. First off, as mission owner, this project will enhance my strategic acumen — and allow me to be creative — while working on the user experience. I love that I get to use both the analytic and imaginative sides of my brain.

The leadership at Northern Trust is very nurturing and helpful when it comes to building out career paths. They take you out of your comfort zone so you can grow within your skills. 

 

What impact will this project have on your business and customers?

This project is a game changer on so many levels. We are developing new and innovative capabilities, which in turn create synergies, efficiencies and even new product and service offerings. The end result is a streamlined, secure and extremely satisfying customer experience, one that will mirror our already superlative customer service record.  

 

 

Kevin Bartlett
Senior Product Manager • Mastery Logistics Systems

 

What’s the coolest project your team has planned for 2022? 

In the transportation industry, planning and procurement are some of the most time-consuming and challenging decisions to get right. Scheduling routes through different networks is tricky, and once shipments are ready to move, securing capacity is another challenge. At Mastery, we aim to alleviate these pain points by automating planning and procurement functions. This initiative will allow our customers to preconfigure routing, scheduling and procurement options for every lane in their network, while also being highly configurable to meet any scenario they might encounter in the real world. Our proprietary algorithms then evaluate the available options and select the optimal choice for our customer, automatically creating the necessary routes and stops, scheduling appointments and even assigning specific drivers. This type of automation has never been done before in our industry, but it has applications for both shippers and carriers.

 

How will this project help you grow professionally?

Doing something that no one has ever done before is exciting, but what I am most looking forward to is the opportunity to collaborate across functionalities to make this a reality. We’ll need to lean on the expertise of external industry business stakeholders and customers, as well as our internal product and engineering organizations, to make this a success. The excitement we’re already seeing is astonishing. This type of work shines light on some of the most challenging problems our customers are facing in logistics management. It gives our team the chance to make a meaningful impact for our customers across their numerous lines of business.

This work shines light on some of the most challenging problems our customers are facing in logistics management.”

 

What impact will this project have on your business and customers?

This initiative will provide a multitude of benefits for our customers. The automation components will free up valuable human capital to focus on exception management and activities that add value. We also expect the entire supply chain ecosystem to benefit from the cost savings, due to smarter network planning and optimization of modal choices, allowing carriers and shippers to better allocate resources.
 

 

Tyler Hill
Director of Loyalty & Rewards • PerkSpot

 

What’s the coolest project your team has planned for 2022? 

We will be releasing the next phase of our loyalty program, which is currently in its infancy. What makes this project so exciting is that we’ll be developing customer-facing technology that will reward users for engaging with our products, as well as internal infrastructure and processes that will help steer the company’s overall strategy. Typically, you join a company that has preexisting programs, infrastructure and processes, but at PerkSpot, we’re building it from the ground up — and that’s invaluable experience that not all large enterprises can deliver. There are so many components we help steer. Whether it’s selecting a software vendor, creating and scoping requirements, drafting a business plan and forecast, or hiring a new team to help deliver the program, there is always something new and challenging that stretches my skills a bit further.

We’re building it from the ground up — and that’s invaluable experience that not all large enterprises can deliver.”

 

How will this project help you grow professionally?

I’ve worked at large companies in the past, including one of the largest loyalty programs in the world, but at PerkSpot I have more ownership of my work. Specifically, I am able to steer the direction of the project, features, strategy and more. PerkSpot continuously meets internally to talk about the direction and value of key projects, so my contributions are highly visible to all internal stakeholders. I’m also easily able to source help from my colleagues when I need it, both remotely and in person. Although the broader scope and higher level of ownership entail uncertainty and new challenges, the project has made me feel more like a business owner. I’ve never set up a loyalty department from scratch. Whether it’s budgeting, project management or presenting to C-level executives, I’ve gotten better at looking at challenges from multiple perspectives and approaching solutions with the same outlook.

 

What impact will this project have on your business and customers?

Loyalty is a highly cross-functional discipline that impacts all stakeholders across our business, including our clients, merchants, members and, of course, PerkSpot. Like most loyalty programs, we hope to reduce churn and increase the engagement of our member base, ultimately leading to more interest in our offers, higher conversion rates and a higher customer lifetime value. Aside from the core benefits the loyalty program will provide, this project will have knock-on effects for our business, such as more refined processes to track purchases, new customer-centric metrics to measure company performance and a new way to communicate with our members. Loyalty isn’t transactional, so this work will allow us to form a deeper connection with our end users. By providing value back to our members when they engage with us, the loyalty department will directly support the company’s goal of helping them get the most value out of our exclusive offers. 

 

 

Responses have been edited for length and clarity. Images via listed companies and Shutterstock.

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