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Published by:
INSEAD (2017)
Revision date:
16 pages
Data source:
Published sources


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 maker, needs to be more capable in software. The narrative traces his early efforts to consolidate and coordinate software capabilities in a central unit (GE Software Center) headed by Bill Ruh in Silicon Valley. It documents the realisation of the potential for big data and analytics for customers to which GE has sold industrial equipment for decades. Opportunities related to 'predictive maintenance' seem attractive given the significant economic costs of unplanned maintenance and repair for GE customers. Equipment optimisation through analytics also has potential to increase their margins, especially for those that face increased competition and lack pricing power. As GE roars down the runway to becoming the leading player in the digitisation of industry, the question is can it reach the critical speed to break free of the tarmac and sustain flight?


Industrial Internet; Internet of Things; Smart factory; Industry 4.0; Digital transformation; Analytics; Industrial manufacturing
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