Women Leaders

Morgan Vawter, Caterpillar Inc.

Morgan Vawter

An Analytical Competitor

Editors’ Note

Morgan Vawter has held her current post since April of 2016. Before this, she was Data Management and Analytics Practice Lead for Accenture Interactive and other top analytics positions at leading firms. She’s consulted for over 40 Fortune 500 companies on Analytics. She also serves as adjunct faculty, Analytics at Columbia University. She received her Bachelor’s Degree from Oglethorpe University.

Company Brief

For 90 years, Caterpillar Inc. (caterpillar.com) has been making sustainable progress possible and driving positive change on every continent. Customers turn to Caterpillar to help them develop infrastructure, energy, and natural resource assets. With 2015 sales and revenues of $47.011 billion, Caterpillar is the world’s leading manufacturer of construction and mining equipment, diesel and natural gas engines, industrial gas turbines, and diesel-electric locomotives. The company principally operates through its three product segments – Construction Industries, Resource Industries, and Energy & Transportation – and also provides financing and related services through its Financial Products segment.

You recently joined Caterpillar. What excited you about the opportunity and made you feel Caterpillar was the right fit for you?

I wanted to work for a company that was committed to being an analytical competitor and was willing to invest in the talent, tools, and technology to become a data-driven business. I also wanted to work for a company with strong values – namely integrity, accountability, and excellence. Caterpillar embodied those factors, and that’s why I accepted the opportunity to become the Chief of Analytics.

You have broad experience in the field of digital and analytics. Would you discuss this field and how it has evolved?

The biggest evolution over the past 20 years is that digital has moved from a single delivery channel to an omni-channel experience. Digital has become a pervasive part of our lives from our communications, to our entertainment, our education, our lifestyles, and our tools. In response, a “digital first” mentality is no longer isolated to the technology companies – it’s how every company has to design their products, market to their consumers, and deliver their experiences.

Using analytics, we’ve developed more sophisticated techniques and tools to process the myriad of signals we receive from our customers, our environment, our business processes, our devices, and our machines. Because of this evolution, superior analytics and predictive optimization is no longer a “nice to have” option in business – it’s essential for winning in a highly competitive marketplace.

How critical are digital and analytics to Caterpillar’s business?

Digital is, and will continue to be, a competitive advantage for Caterpillar. We’ve developed digital platforms and tools our customers can use to optimize the performance of their machines, their fleet, and their entire operation.

We also use analytics to optimize our end-to-end business, making all of our business units – from mining and energy to transportation and construction – more effective.

Underlying our growth in both digital and analytics is our focus on building a culture and talent base that enables the success of this strategy.

What are the key priorities in your role and how will you measure the success of your efforts?

I was pleased to step into a division with strong talent that’s already on the cutting edge of many business analytics applications. My goal is to maximize the use of analytics against highest impact opportunities for the bottom line.

Quantitative factors, like dollar value delivered from analytics initiatives, will always be an important measure, but, I’m also driving a transformational effort – changing the mechanics of doing business and go-to-market strategy to a more data-driven model. In that respect, the most effective measurement is total shareholder value.