Leading a multi-million-dollar digital transformation effort at Caterpillar


Cat.com is Caterpillar’s flagship website, with over 1.2 million unique visitors every month. It serves the needs of multiple products, regions, and customer segments across different journey stages. To address significant challenges revealed in user research and shared by business stakeholders, the company invested several million dollars into transforming the global marketing and customer experience strategy. The objective was to develop Cat.com into an interactive customer experience that reflects the service levels customers expect in the physical world. The goals included increasing engagement, leads, and attributable sales.

Strategic Imperatives

In order to achieve these objectives, it was necessary to not only reimagine the website’s design, content, and functionality, but also to transform back-end processes, people, and structure. Specifically, the Cat.com Transformation initiative targeted the following strategic imperatives which would address long-standing customer and marketing challenges.​

1: Transform the Website

DESIGN Modernize the design. Add more flexibility. Add more interactivity.

CONTENT Develop richer content.  Organize it better. Address content gaps in the learn/shop stage.

DATA Implement personalization. Build customer data profiles. Maximize marketing automation effort

2: Transform the Technology

DESIGN Implement new designs without disrupting content, SEO, and other connected sites.

TECHNOLOGY ADDITIONS Stand up new supporting marketing technologies.

TECHNOLOGY MODIFICATIONS Implement platform upgrades. Refactor underlying code.

TECHNOLOGY INTEGRATIONS Evolve downstream systems and connected sites to ensure interoperability.


3: Transform the Business

CONTENT & DIGITAL STRATEGY Evolve the traditional approach to content development and digital strategy.

ORGANIZATIONAL DEVELOPMENT Reimagine CX organizational structure. Introduce/ modify processes (research, design, content).

EDUCATION / TRAINING Build new skills for teams (Research, Content strategy, Data).

HALO Prepare the “halo” of dealers, subsidiaries, and agencies that would be impacted by changes.

Project At-A-Glance


Increase attributable sales

Increase quote requests

Increase on-page engagement



1M + visitors / mo

110+ product families

140K+ product pages

10+ industries

24 langage/locales

30K+ products


18+ business stakeholders

10+ content creators

15+ design team members

20+ developers

4+ technology teams

4+ agency partners


I led the transformation effort, serving a dual role. Firstly, I played the role of strategist and architect, developing the overarching vision and strategy for every aspect of the initiative. Secondly, I served as a program manager, organizing the project, assembling a cross-functional team, and managing budget and resources. My work included the following key activities:

1: I developed a new Cat.com vision and strategy, rooted in research

Prior to the start of the project, I worked with my leadership team and peers to gain support and funding for the effort. Specifically, I:

  • Summarized challenges revealed in early research.
  • Developed the business case, which included a customer narrative and visualizations.
  • Outlined business, technology, and organizational risks.
  • Presented the business case to senior executives to gain buy-in and funding support.
  • Developed strategic imperatives to provide a framework for all parties involved. By providing this framework early, all parties had a shared understanding of the problem we were addressing and what the potential solution might look like.

2: I led the Cat.com Transformation program, communicating the vision, plan, and progress across the enterprise

In this capacity, I worked independently and/or with key team members to:

  1. Deliver a project plan and roadmap, which included a portfolio of 40+ independent projects.
  2. Organize and lead a cross-functional, cross-enterprise team of 50+ designers, researchers, strategists, technologists, analysts, and SMEs.
  3. Champion the com Transformation vision across multiple sponsors and stakeholders globally, creating alignment and generating support for the effort.
  4. Provide all parties with regular updates about progress, challenges, and risks.
  5. Allocate and manage the multi-million-dollar program budget.
  6. Select suppliers, negotiated SOWs and managed relationships.

3: I provided strategic guidance and direction across all discovery, design, and development activities.



While my early work provided a foundation for understanding user, business, and dealer needs, it was not nearly enough.  To further inform our approach, we conducted global research, which validated initial assumptions and provided more clarity about problems and opportunities.


  • Interviews
  • Audits
  • Usability Tests
  • Concept Tests


  • Global users/customers
  • Dealers
  • Internal business groups
  • Technology groups
  • Website authors/administrators
  • Website owners
  • Agencies


  • Findings and Insights Documents
  • Customer Journey Map(s)
  • Personas
  • Empathy Maps

Note: each of these deliverables were developed at two levels: 1) enterprise 2) product-specific

In addition to customer-facing site changes, we were also transforming back-end processes, people, and structure.

Many research methods, especial user research and usability testing, were not a part of the team’s core competency. To help build research capabilities, we:

    • Established operational process for use for ad-hoc and ongoing research.
    • Provided a central location for research artifacts (journey maps, personas, etc.) so all teams could build on them in the future.


After the initial research stage, we worked to translate research into strategy into design. In some cases, this involved minor or major modifications to existing aspects of the site, removing what no longer worked and replacing with what did.  In other cases, this involved developing new features and functionality to address opportunities that were revealed in the research.

In each of these areas, we developed:

  • Strategic Vision Maps
  • User Flows
  • Wireframes and/or Conceptual Designs
  • Business, functional, technical, and data requirements and/or user stories

Our strategic ideas required a reimagining of our marketing technologies. We developed the following to accompany our strategy work:

    • As is and to-be technology architecture diagrams
    • Technology capability maps
    • Technology platform evaluation

Across the board, the following strategic considerations were at the forefront:

    • Brand integration, messaging alignment
    • Business / product alignment – common goals, slight variations
    • Cross-cultural variations
    • Localization and language variations
    • Content variations based on customer data and personalization
    • Flexibility vs. standardization

In addition to customer-facing site changes, we were also transforming back-end processes, people, and structure.

Many design thinking methods and UX processes were not a part of the team’s core competency. As we were establishing new designs, we were also developing design ops processes and implementing tools. This included:

  • Design system
  • Design standard best practices
  • Design / prototyping tools
  • Concept testing protocol
  • Design reviews / internal feedback sessions

We also worked to establish dual track agile processes that better integrated design and development teams.

And, we worked with business to provide training on new strategic approach and how to decompose strategy, design into content.


The development activities were implemented incrementally, following the team’s pre-established agile process. The technical work can be generally divided into three categories: site enhancements, technology refactoring, and implementation of new technology.

As we transitioned from design to development, the following considerations were top of mind:

    • Implementing a new front-end HTML design library that mirrored the new design system
    • Upgrading technology platform (s) and code frameworks, which were several versions behind
    • Minimizing disruption to other sites which shared the same codebase and/ or underlying supporting technologies
    • Implementing more rigorous testing because of the far-reaching impacts of changes

In addition to customer-facing site changes, we were also transforming back-end processes, people, and structure.

In parallel with the launch of our new strategy and design:

  • Our internal business partners and agency partners had to reimagine the design and content on their pages
  • Our internal and external agency partners had to get trained on how to implement content and pages within the new framework

To assist with we developed training which would help them understand the change and organize their efforts.


My work has not only driven customer-facing evolutions of the company’s digital experiences, but has also built digital competencies and capabilities across the enterprise.

Delivering website enhancements

The site enhancements were implemented in December 2019, and additional design iterations continued throughout 2020. Results to date include:

  • A refreshed design and improved functionality for critical areas of the site, resulting in increased engagement, leads, and attributable sales.
  • A healthier technology stack, with refactored code and new supporting technologies.

Built new digital capabilities

As a result of these efforts, Caterpillar has improved its digital capabilities and is better positioned to address the competitive pressures it faces in markets around the globe.

The following improvements have been made:

  • Modernized design operational processes and tools that enable teams to apply design thinking principles more effectively.
  • Increased design-to-development velocity.
  • Improved trust, enthusiasm, and excitement within key business units.


Fun Fact

Prior to the Transformation effort, I served as a key leader in the marketing and technology space. First, I worked as a strategist for business partners within a marketing agency. Second, I was a full-time employee responsible for the vision and strategy of Cat.com. Through firsthand experience using the site to build digital strategies for multiple industry and product groups, I gained “insider insight” into the challenges of the platform. This insight helped me lay a strong foundation for the Transformation effort because I:

  • Saw the problem from multiple angles
  • Understood the challenges that business teams faced
  • Had knowledge of the technology and its constraints
  • Had a general point of view about possible solutions

Furthermore, I had strong relationships with all parties involved. This was critical because the ultimate strategy needed to account for everyone’s business and marketing needs.


This is the situation.


This is the action.


And here is the result.

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