Even the most groundbreaking tech innovation can’t get to market on its own. Internal teams and founders partner with professional services firms to refine and market their new products and services. The Innovation Service Partner of the Year recognizes those who pioneer transformative technology solutions or provide other professional innovation services that demonstrate excellence, creativity, and impact for clients or the industry at large.

The summaries below of each contending service partner’s performance just skim the surface of what led to their nominations but will give you a glimpse into why their entries were elevated to nomination status. Only one of the 11 contenders can win the 2024 Innovation Service Partner of the Year Award. The nominees are:

Allegion, Carmel: Allegion’s Artificial Intelligence (AI) team was formed in 2023, to harness the power of AI to unlock cost and time efficiencies, increase productivity, new levels of creativity and better customer experiences. Engaging internal stakeholders early and often, the team generated companywide excitement and buy-in and by breaking projects into small, deliverable pieces, often taking as little as three weeks from concept to implementation. For example, the team partnered with Legal and Cybersecurity teams to establish a global corporate generative AI policy; developed “AlleGPT,” an internal generative AI chatbot; implemented a comprehensive generative AI education campaign for employees; trained engineers and empowered them to effectively use AI tools and technologies; and partnered with Human Resources (HR) to create “Benny,” a healthcare benefits chatbot that supports U.S.-based open enrollment using a retrieval augmented generation model based on Allegion’s open enrollment documentation. Global operations were also streamlined, including the development of a purchase order digitization global platform and an AI-powered product cross-reference system for purchase order entry automation.

CSpring, Indianapolis: CSpring worked with the Indiana Family and Social Services Administration’s (FSSA) Data Science and Engineering (DSE) team to addresse data product delivery, talent acquisition and professional development challenges. The partnership enabled the agency to accelerated product delivery, overcome its talent shortage and cultivate a pipeline of skilled data professionals.  CSpring recruited Orr Fellows to feed the data talent pipeline. Since 2022, the partners have used Orr Fellow data consultants, who contribute to project delivery and to the professional development and growth of recent graduates. The partnership has been renewed three times, and FSSA leaders actively participate in Orr Fellowship’s “Finalist Day” selection activities, ensuring a holistic evaluation for both technical and cultural fit. The Orr Fellow data consultants have established a robust professional foundation; contributed to impactful projects like the Returning Citizens Taskforce and Dual Eligible Special Needs Plans 30-day readmission initiatives; and nurtured skill development through comprehensive training in Data Science and Azure certifications. The effort has helped stabilize Indiana’s 211 data pipelines, developed public-facing dashboards and supported legislative initiatives.

FullStack, Indianapolis: Full Stack acknowledge the pain of the assistance it provided its clients during tech layoffs in late 2022 and 2023 correctly citing that it is in hard and dark times when companies most need a trusted partner in the trenches.  FullStack’s tech clients laid off 200 employees between October 2022 and January 2023. As a Human Relations partner, FullStack helped its clients navigate those layoffs delicately and diligently, often providing advice and support before job actions were taken and as they were carried out. FullStack weathered its own internal layoff due to client reduction in spend of approximately $1.5 million as a result of their layoffs.  FullStack increasingly partners with client companies led by underrepresented founders, doubling the number of clients led by underrepresented founders and CEOs from 20 to 40, representing a third of the company’s client base.  FullStack advocates for these companies to get equal access to venture funding and assists them in attracting diverse employees to relocate to Indiana.  

Glassboard LLC, Indianapolis: Glassboard’s clients range from solo-entrepreneurs to venture studios to Fortune 500 organizations in categories that include medical devices, consumer electronics and clean energy. For each, Glassboard gets them from a vision to a successfully launched product by providing the strategy and the execution necessary to get innovations to market. One company, for example, created an industry-leading cycling computer that would be attached to handlebars to helps elite athletes and other cyclists achieve ultimate riding experiences. Creating the “finest cycling computer ever built” was no small feat as a startup going up against industry titans like Garmin. Their competitors had massive budgets and bigger teams, but the company had Glassboard, which leveraged generative design to create a host of editable design options and used a multidisciplinary process that enabled swift iteration and testing and created a symbiotic development trajectory between the partners’ teams. The product will launch later this year.

Innovatemap, Indianapolis: Innovatemap helps founders go from a napkin sketch to market in a process that solves real problems for users and partners with established brands to renovate and scale their companies. In 2023, the organization partnered with 60 companies to go to market with compelling stories and brands and helped them take their digital products to new heights through thoughtfully designed features and user experiences. In Indiana, Innovatemap has helped to enable more than 20 successfully exit. Because of its outcome-based partnerships that focus on tackling the right problems, Innovatemap helps its clients find success, faster and plays an essential role in maintaining the flywheel to elevate the entire Indiana tech community. In one instance, Innovatemap helped a company completely rebrand and transform its processes. Tools like an explainer video helped clients, in under 90 seconds, understand the company’s value and product With Innovatemap handling brand and product marketing, the company was able to focus on a vital fundraising effort, drive sales and conducted impactful conversations, ultimately maximizing outreach and influence.

My IT Indy, Plainfield; My IT Indy was nominated for this award in 2023 based on its premise of making IT support “not suck.” The company turned that premise up to 11 in the past year. Revenue rose 81 percent over 2022 and the company’s sales pipeline is full of eager prospects.  My IT works tirelessly to remove the barriers for IT support for its clients. Customer satisfaction scores are through the roof and clients are referring their friends to My IT. The company has also expanded to better accommodate larger clients, bringing customer software to the table and hiring outside of the U.S. for extended hours support for clients that enjoy working on weekends and evenings. The company is better equipped to help larger small businesses with their platform integrations and to help them better utilize their technology stacks to increase revenue. In 2023, My IT began offering “at cost” IT services for non-profits as well. Beyond that, My IT is donating 10 laptops, a network, and installation to a local nonprofit.

Recruit Rooster, Indianapolis: Recruit Rooster is dedicated to developing innovative and tailored solutions for its clients. The company has set new standards and consistently imparted profound impacts on its clients. Recruit Rooster empowers its talent teams to navigate the complexities of recruitment marketing and talent acquisition with unprecedented ease and efficiency. The company seamlessly integrates transformative technology into its service offerings, elevating the recruitment experience for its clients and fundamentally changing the way they connect with top-tier talent.  Recruit Rooster’s success is measured in technological advancements as well as the tangible outcomes experienced by its clients. Its solutions have streamlined the recruitment processes, enhanced candidate experiences and ultimately contributed to the success of its clients In securing the best talent in their respective industries. The past year at Recruit Rooster has been a story of creativity, excellence, and impact. It’s a tale of a company that goes beyond conventional service provision, consistently pushing the boundaries of innovation to empower clients and redefine the landscape of recruitment technology.

Republic Airways Information Technology Department, Carmel: The Republic Airways’ Information Technology department is a critical player in the company’s ability to safely and reliably fly tens of millions of passengers across North America and beyond. But the planes are just part of the equation. In fact, Republic, which has 5,750 employees, three customers and millions of passengers relying on its technology, prefers to be known as a tech company that flies commercial airplanes. Republic has led its industry in adopting new technologies, never more so than in recent years. Connectivity, the rise of the Internet of Things and the proliferation of portable devices have changed every aspect of the business. In response, Republic has revamped every aspect of it operations from how it recruits and trains its aviators to how it schedules and communicates with flight crews and shares critical information with team members worldwide. Responsibility for success falls to the IT department whether it is supporting flight crews at 30,000 feet, helping flight crews reach the right gate for their next flight, providing real-time flight status information to its systems operations center managing nearly 1,000 flights a day or managing one of the most complex supply chains on the planet.

SEP, Westfield: SEP’s 35-year journey as a custom software development provider has been a relentless pursuit of excellence and innovation. In 2023, amid economic uncertainty, the company celebrated a year of exceptional service, adaptation and innovation with its clients and teams. The team created new service offerings, product strategy and innovation, and AI enablement that were game changers in various industries. SEP also streamlined cross-platform services within its walls to deliver for its clients. As one of the few Employee Stock Ownership Plan (ESOP) companies in Indiana, each SEP team member is committed to client success in very real ways. Studies show ESOPs have higher productivity and are 6 times more likely to retain talent than other firms. When SEP clients succeed, each of its employee/owners succeed, which makes SEP rare in the Indiana tech ecosystem. SEP defines innovation translating innovative ideas into practical solutions and excellence as making those creative ideas work and sticking around to help with the next system upgrade, functionality improvement and bug fix.

Six Feet Up, Fishers: For 25 years, Six Feet Up has driven innovation and used software to make a positive impact across the Midwest and the world. This focus is measured by Six Feet Up’s goal to complete 10 IMPACTFUL Projects™ by 2025. The company has completed nine such projects ranging from space exploration to lightning strike predictions, forest fire management, genetic engineering and battery energy storage. Nearly at goal, it has already set a new target: to complete 100 IMPACTFUL Projects™ by 2033. Among its other 2023 work, the company has revolutionized agricultural technology with the development of ChatPFR, an AI-powered interface that transforms half a century of agricultural research data into an easily accessible and searchable format that paves the way to significantly enhance crop yields. Six Feet Up also transformed healthcare data management by creating a new digital infrastructure and world-class big data pipeline for Indiana’s largest healthcare institution. The company has also trademarked its BEST™ Framework which helps improve software development practices industry-wide.  The company’s dedication to pioneering technology solutions has garnered widespread recognition.

The Engineered Innovation Group (EIG), Indianapolis: Jake Miller put his extensive experience as a visionary product and engineering leader and founder to work when launching EIG hoping to build a business based on helping technical and non-technical founders get their products to market more quickly without the need to hire a Chief Product Officer or a product team. Over time, EIG evolved from advising to building minimum viable products to helping companies launch their own software teams. EIG is now revolutionizing how software products and teams are built with an engineered approach to co-creation that accelerates ideas to insights to implementation. Since 2021, EIG has realized double digit revenue growth year-over-year and earned national recognition for its work. EIG has also partnered with High Alpha to drive breakthroughs in emerging and startup creation. The company expects the partnership will bolster its momentum in the marketplace and accelerate the integration of emerging technologies, such as AI within High Alpha’s portfolio of software companies.  EIG also continues to invest in emerging technologies and is poised to bring an AI-based product to market in early 2024 with one strategic client already under contract.

Award winners will be announced at the 25th annual TechPoint Mira Awards gala Friday, April 26, 2024, at the Old National Centre in Indianapolis. The event is presented by the Indiana Economic Development Corporation, Salesforce and a host of the state’s most innovative companies, universities and organizations.   See that growing list, learn more and get your tickets here.