Caterpillar has created a new internal division focused on fostering innovation. The new Analytics & Innovation (AI) team, led by Caterpillar vice president Greg Folley, will use data analytics to drive, develop, and execute innovative initiatives to support its customers.
One of Foley’s first tasks will be to form a broad, connected analytics ecosystem within the company, as well as managing strategic third party relationships with emerging startups and providers of next-gen tech. For example, the AI division will work with Uptake, a Chicago-based predictive analytics startup that the manufacturing company has recently invested in.
Caterpillar will send key employees to Uptake’s downtown offices to accelerate the creation of a platform that will analyze massive amounts of equipment data in order to deploy solutions that will optimize performance and prevent downtown.
“We know that technology and information are the drivers in almost every industry including ours; we have to continue pushing our company to be innovative – to imagine, create, and embrace the new and the different, and to be disruptive in our own way,” said Rob Charter, Caterpillar group president with responsibility for the Customer & Dealer Support division.
On top of its local efforts, Caterpillar has also seeded money in a Silicon Valley-based fund to invest in new technologies that will enhance its products and services.
“A huge opportunity for competitive advantage lies in the analytics and innovation space, and we have a unique opportunity to connect data from the broadest product line that cuts across multiple industries,” Charter said.
“We can transform the mountains of incoming data – from a single machine or engine, an entire job site, the supply chain, a shipping location and much more – into valuable information for our customers and suppliers more efficiently and effectively than anyone else.”
The new division officially launches May 1.