At GE Minds & Machines, GE shared its "all in" strategy to become a Top 10 Software company by 2020. The approach is a combination of organic growth and acquisitions, with partnerships. The company also plans to continue building out capabilities in its cloud based IoT platform Predix and expand product lines that can take advantage of the digital thread, digital twin, and IT/OT integration Predix enables.
- GE’s primary focus is digital transformation for productivity and innovation – starting with the assets, applying the data and knowledge to impact design and engineering (with the digital twin) as well as in services delivery (with the digital thread).
GE's acquisitions this year of Bit Stew, Meridium, ServiceMax and Wise.io will provide offerings that can be built off of the Predix platform, and we expect more to come. (We've provided more detail on acquisitions in the document we've published for clients.)
Partnerships and an expanding ecosystem are critical to GE success, with many partners playing multiple roles as collaborator, customer, and reseller.
Digital Transformation, the Digital Twin, and the Digital Thread
GE Digital has been making significant investments in the company's efforts to become a world-leading software and analytics company servicing asset-intensive sectors. In fact the real star of the event was GE itself as a major technology player undergoing its own digital transformation and helping its customers do the same. GE added more detail to the technical components, including the underlying architecture and infrastructure, such as cybersecurity, cloud, and edge integration, as well as demonstrated plenty of industrial use cases for its technology on the show floor.
Much of GE's focus has been on asset performance management (APM), but at this event, the company also expanded that by positioning the Predix platform as an enabler for the digital thread and the digital twin. The idea is that Predix will help companies create a digital twin for assets and systems using data from sensors to provide visibility into an asset's performance and operating conditions. GE already has an estimated 550,000 digital twins across supply chain and plant operations, steam turbines, LEAP engines, and locomotives. The digital thread then supports other use cases, such as service delivery and asset performance management, as well as the ability to continue improving those processes.
Bringing Partners into the GE Ecosystem
Partnerships and an expanding ecosystem are critical to GE's transition and ability to serve the company's expanding market. Many GE partners participated on the big stage and on the show floor at the event, often demonstrating how they play multiple roles as collaborators, customers, and resellers.
Partners came in all sizes and shapes at the event. GE is doing a good job recognizing the importance of its partners, but over the long run, many questions remain as to what GE will ultimately develop or acquire that may end up competing with its existing partners. In addition, many of its technology partners directly compete or overlap in capabilities. To make this even more fluid, GE is expanding its ability to deliver services, including engineering services. This is a natural evolution — to see partners collaborate and compete, but for the sake of GE's customers, GE must clearly articulate what it can do and how its partners complement those offerings and capabilities.
IDC's Point of View
For those companies that are considering working with GE, you need to first recognize that GE’s capabilities are evolving quickly and you'll need to understand how GE will support your specific requirements – with GE's own technology, services, or partners. This also means that there's a good chance that you'll need to collaborate with GE. Although GE has significant IP, industrial experience, and increasing set of reusable components, many implementations require a custom approach.