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Dec 15, 2020 2020-12 Student

Caterpillar’s Redzic shares insights at Hallene Lecture

On October 14, Ogi Redzic, chief digital officer and vice president of Caterpillar Inc., delivered the Fall 2020 Hallene Lecture on “Innovating for the Next 100 Years: The Power of Digital Technology to Shape the Physical World.” The lecture, which was sponsored by The Hoeft Technology & Management Program at the University of Illinois, was presented over Zoom for the first time. More than 220 people came to hear what Redzic had to share.

Redzic explained how businesses can take advantage of the digital technology embedded into so many aspects of our lives to accelerate innovation processes and find new sources of inspiration to stay ahead of change. For Caterpillar, whose products are increasingly digitally enabled, data and digital technologies keep the company at the forefront of their industry. As Redzic described it, Caterpillar’s digital strategy is propelling the 95-year-old company into the next century of growth.

When Redzic began at Caterpillar, he saw that his background and expertise in digital technologies would be put to good use – Caterpillar has been impacting the industry through innovation for nearly a century. His goal is to help Caterpillar use digital technologies to help the company better serve and “solve real problems for our customers,” Redzic said.

A key to solving those problems is using data and predictive analytics to discern where problems may lie and stop them before they occur. Almost all of Caterpillar’s new machines are connected to the cloud upon delivery. Redzic explained that there are more than one million Cat machines and vehicles around the world that are sending information to its platforms. With that data, Caterpillar can provide customers insights about their machines, operating conditions, and maintenance requirements. “Improving customer productivity is key for us,” Redzic said.

Students’ responses to the lecture were very positive. Angela Lee, a senior finance major, reflected, “Being able to hear the perspective of someone who's been in the industry for years, has seen a lot, and has experience was really insightful.” Nicole Dedes, also a senior finance major, said, “It was great to see some new professional faces outside of just my classes. I have always been passionate about innovation, and having the opportunity to listen to a professional speak on this topic was very interesting.”

There was a lively question-and-answer exchange at the end of the lecture. In response to one question, Redzic discussed how the pandemic has impacted Caterpillar. Revenues for the company were down, but Redzic is optimistic. “We have been able to react to the changing world. We exist in a changing world,” Redzic said. “Times are challenging for everybody, but I am extremely proud of how we work to provide the customer what they want.”

About Ogi Redzic
In his role as Caterpillar’s chief digital officer, Redzic has responsibility for Cat Digital. He manages key components of the company’s digital strategy including connectivity, enterprise data and e-commerce platforms, the digital platform, analytics and applications.

Prior to joining Caterpillar in 2018, he led Renault-Nissan Alliance’s connected car and mobility activities as Alliance Senior Vice President, Connected Vehicles and Mobility Services. He has more than 20 years’ experience, including additional positions at Nokia, NAVTEQ, Motorola, PCTEL and at wireless communication startup cyberPIXIE.

Redzic received his bachelor's degree in computer science from Northeastern Illinois University, a master's degree in computer science from the Illinois Institute of Technology, and an MBA the Kellogg School of Management at Northwestern University. He also serves on the Assurant, Inc. Board of Directors.

About the Hallene Lecture Series
The Hallene Lecture Series honors the memory of Alan M. Hallene (’51), former president of Montgomery Company in Moline, Illinois. He served as president of both the Alumni Association and the U of I Foundation Board of Directors. He was the recipient of two of the University’s highest honors: the Alumni Association Achievement Award and the U of I Foundation’s Presidents Award.