GE’s Big Bet on Data and Analytics

Seeking opportunities in the Internet of Things, GE expands into industrial analytics.

by: Laura Winig

If software experts truly knew what Jeff Immelt and GE Digital were doing, there’s no other software company on the planet where they would rather be. –Bill Ruh, CEO of GE Digital and CDO for GE

In September 2015, multinational conglomerate General Electric (GE) launched an ad campaign featuring a recent college graduate, Owen, excitedly breaking the news to his parents and friends that he has just landed a computer programming job — with GE. Owen tries to tell them that he will be writing code to help machines communicate, but they’re puzzled; after all, GE isn’t exactly known for its software. In one ad, his friends feign excitement, while in another, his father implies Owen may not be macho enough to work at the storied industrial manufacturing company.

The campaign was designed to recruit Millennials to join GE as Industrial Internet developers and remind them — using GE’s new watchwords, “The digital company. That’s also an industrial company.” — of GE’s massive digital transformation effort. GE has bet big on the Industrial Internet — the convergence of industrial machines, data, and the Internet (also referred to as the Internet of Things) — committing $1 billion to put sensors on gas turbines, jet engines, and other machines; connect them to the cloud; and analyze the resulting flow of data to identify ways to improve machine productivity and reliability. “GE has made significant investment in the Industrial Internet,” says Matthias Heilmann, Chief Digital Officer of GE Oil & Gas Digital Solutions. “It signals this is real, this is our future.”

While many software companies like SAP, Oracle, and Microsoft have traditionally been focused on providing technology for the back office, GE is leading the development of a new breed of operational technology (OT) that literally sits on top of industrial machinery.

About the Research


1. Predix is a trademark of General Electric Company.

2. M. LaWell, “Building the Industrial Internet With GE,” IndustryWeek, October 5, 2015.

3. D. Floyer, “Defining and Sizing the Industrial Internet,” June 27, 2013,

i. S. Higginbotham, “BP Teams Up With GE to Make Its Oil Wells Smart,” Fortune, July 8, 2015.

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Comment (1)
Jack Ring
Excellent overview. It will be interesting to see whether GE does any better in software quality than the other software companies have done. The focus on how Predix can minimize the financial loss of production equipment failure does not acknowledge the cost of Predix encountering an internal fault or bug in its own code. So far GE has said nothing about its intent regarding Zero-defects in its software code let alone its ability to foster Zero-defects in the user systems it facilitates.