Looking back, Jeff Coulter is not exactly certain how he landed a spot on a team tasked with designing and implementing the first-ever budgeting and reporting processes responsible for tracking Procter & Gamble’s marketing dollars on a single worldwide system.
“P&G had hundreds of disparate setups that we had to bring into one system globally,” explains Coulter, recalling the effort behind the information systems upgrade with SAP software that many at the time (the year 2000) deemed to be a historic milestone not only for the packaged goods company but also for industry at large.
Coulter had been plucked out of Procter & Gamble’s Iowa City office, where he had been working as a cost analyst for such products as Pantene and Scope. The new assignment required Coulter to relocate to Cincinnati, where for the next 2 years he became involved in multiple aspects of the implementation, including the rollout of SAP end-user training across P&G globally.Read More
“At the time, any career management at Procter & Gamble was essentially the result of a benevolent dictatorship—you were basically told where you were going to go next,” remembers Coulter, who adds that the experience and training that he gleaned along his P&G way made his time there a very worthy investment.
Still, Coulter was eager to return west. Living close to family had always been a priority for the young finance executive, and Cincinnati turned out to be not so short a stint.
Consequently, while geography is perhaps not the first reason that people give for having joined Intel Corporation, for Coulter—who would first join the chip maker’s Portland, Oregon, complex—it was certainly among his top three impetuses.
To move from a consumer products company to a technology company may seem unconventional, but Coulter tells us that his love for learning and his growth mindset helped him to adapt quickly at Intel, where he would remain for the next 6 years. He emphasizes the versatility of finance, which allows professionals to work across various industries.
Says Coulter: “I love learning business models and figuring out how they’re making money and how to optimize that.” –Jack Sweeney
Made Possible By
CFOTL: Tell us about Cognite … what does this company do, and what are its offerings today?
Coulter: Cognite was started around 2016 in Norway, which is where their major presence is today, and the idea is to continue to build out and grow and scale and expand, including into the U.S. They’ve brought on a U.S.-based CEO, Girish Rishi; a head of Revenue from PTC; a head of product from Microsoft who was the general manager of a $2 billion business in this same space; and me. The idea is to really expand out and create optionality for the company in the U.S. capital markets.
Cognite does data contextualization. Let me break this down for you from a CFO perspective.Read More
Coming into a business, there are lots of different types of data, and data is your lifeblood. Without data, you don’t have your mission control to run your company. Imagine, for example, a large industrial company or a firm in oil and gas or manufacturing, or a multinational company, and think about the different types of data that come in to them. There’s engineering data, there are schematics of their operations. They have CAD designs and so forth. With the advent of the IoT, they have sensor data, time series data, data that’s spitting off all this information. They have business data, work orders, POs invoices—even pictures and 3-D renderings. Cognite helps to make all of this clearer.Read More
I’m starting off on a huge listening campaign. As my wife reminds me, you have two ears and one mouth, so listen. I really want to understand the business and how we’re doing things, but my filter as I listen to everything will be, How can we grow and how can we be profitable as we grow?
Ideally, you become profitable through growth and as you continue to grow, and this is my priority: getting us to a place where we have optionality for the future. We’ve been through a series A, we’ve been through a series B, and now, as we continue to mature, I want to help to put us in a position where we have options on the table for continuing to do so.
Cognite | www.cognite.com | AUSTIN, Texas / OSLO, Norway