Navigating the intersection of business objectives & technology

A conversation with Esri Solution Engineers

Photos of Esri's Jess Altamira, senior solution engineer, Kristen Hocutt, solution engineer team lead, and Madeline Schueren, senior solution engineer, with heading saying: Navigating the intersection of business objectives & technology

Solution Engineers bridge the gap between user challenges and, you guessed it, solutions. Think of them as technical problem solvers who understand how a company’s mission aligns with a client’s goals.

As they put these puzzle pieces together, Solution Engineers have to navigate the intersection of business objectives and technology. Collaborating across teams requires translating complex topics into digestible information, communicating extensively, and building rapport between technical and non-technical teammates.

Just ask Jess Altamira, Senior Solution Engineer, Kristen Hocutt, Solution Engineer Team Lead, and Madeline Schueren, Senior Solution Engineer at Esri, the global market leader in geographic information system software, location intelligence, and mapping. These three women have found the right balance between business savvy and technical prowess — and we asked them to share more about it during our Empower Her: Advancing Women in the Workplace and Beyond summit.

The key to cross-functional success

Inside Esri’s Global Business Development Team, soft skills carry cross-team collaboration.

“You have to establish upfront, as a team, what your goals are,” said Kristen. “And, to do that, it’s my job as a team lead to establish an environment where opinions are heard. It’s about building that internal trust and rapport. I ask myself: Is [my teammate] going to be a part of the bigger team, bring ideas, and also feel welcome?”

Madeline adds how respect is foundational to a successful collaboration.

“We have to understand that we have different working and communication styles and then learn how to work together to ensure those differences aren't going to be barriers down the road,” she explained. “In my seven years with Esri, I’ve never met anyone who does not respect me as a person.”

Sprinkle in emerging trends

To provide the most innovative technical solutions, Jess, Kristen, and Madeline all recognize the importance of staying abreast of industry trends. Together, their unique insights help the sales team to collaborate better and develop new approaches.

“If I had all day to be on LinkedIn and search updates, I still wouldn’t be fully up to date,” Jess laughed. “And I think that’s important to address. We are just three of thousands of people at Esri. There are different trends and tech that we’re all very in tune with.”

Jess relies heavily on speaking with Esri product users to understand their unique challenges and ideate potential opportunities. When attending work conferences, she seeks opportunities to chat with users at Esri’s booth, in the hallway, or even over a meal.

“Understanding what matters to them and why helps me to stay up to date,” Jess said.

“You have to be a life-long learner,” added Madeline. “This last year, I taught for the first time as an adjunct professor. Having to teach made me more aware of emerging trends. I was able to bring what I learned in the classroom back to the office.”

Collaboration in action

Soft skills combined with cutting-edge technical prowess is a recipe for innovation at Esri. Case in point: Jess guided us through a request for proposal (RFP) Esri designed for a utility company early in her career. The potential client was seeking a mobile solution for their field engineers.

“My team went ahead and created a technical demonstration that addressed every single need, but we also saw places where we thought they could benefit from an additional technical capability. We highlighted what they wanted alongside what might be on their wishlist for the future,” explained Jess.

By putting themselves in the client’s shoes, Jess and her team could balance the client’s business requirements with a technical solution and future vision.

“Fortunately, they chose Esri at the end of the RFP. A big reason was because they were able to learn about additional things they didn't originally have on their checklist… Plus, the clear communication amongst the utility company, the Esri sales team, and the Esri Solution Engineering team empowered us to build something really meaningful.”

Diversity levels up the potential

While harmonious collaboration between teams is powerful in itself, Jess, Kristen, and Madeline all point us to the cherry on top: diversity.

“Being a global mapping company, we find inspiration around the world,” said Jess. “Maps can address anything, anywhere, for anyone. And since geography knows no bounds in the digital era, we need to take that momentum and tap into the diversity of people across the globe… It’s not just women working with women, but women working with all walks of life that helps us find out where to go next, together.”

To hear the full conversation with Jess Altamira, Kristen Hocutt, and Madeline Schueren, you can watch “Business Meets Tech: How These 3 Women Found the Perfect Balance as Solution Engineers" here.

And if you’re interested in joining Esri, you can explore the career opportunities here.
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