Digitization of an Industrial Giant: GE Takes on Industrial Analytics

Case Solution

J. Stewart Black, Anne-Marie Carrick

The case describes General Electric’s transformation from an industrial manufacturer to an industrial analytics giant. It opens in 2009 when CEO Jeff Immelt decides that GE, a hardware manufacturer, needs to be more software capable. The narrative tracks his early efforts to consolidate and coordinate software capabilities in a central unit (GE Software Center) under the leadership of Bill Ruh in Silicon Valley. It documents the realization of the potential of big data and analytics for customers to whom GE has sold industrial plants for decades. Given the significant financial cost of maintenance and unplanned repairs to GE customers, “predictive maintenance” opportunities seem attractive. Device optimization through analytics also has the potential to increase your margins, especially for those who face increased competition and lack pricing power. As GE becomes the leader in digitizing the industry on the runway, the question is: can you reach the critical speed to break free from the runway and maintain flight?

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