GE’s Digital headquarters in San Ramon, California is where the Industrial Internet is brought to life. This global innovation hub, backed by 14,000 software professionals from across GE’s businesses, supports a broad range of applications, including asset performance management, operations optimization and brilliant manufacturing.
On September 29, a group of executives from twelve companies and four continents visited GE’s Design Center where cross-functional teams meet with their end users to co-create and test innovative solutions to how businesses, cities and infrastructure operate. GE Digital’s CEO Bill Ruh and his executive team took participants on a deep dive of digital strategy and connected infrastructure, where software and data analytics extract the most out of new and existing infrastructure assets.
Some of the key themes that emerged during discussions included:
- Digital will be the future growth driver for industrial productivity. With GDP growth having shrunk from four to one percent, a massive opportunity exists for industrial companies to turn to digital innovations to drive productivity and growth.
- Asset Performance Management is the differentiator. In a globalized world, almost all industrial products have been commoditized. Companies that learn to maximize asset efficiency and performance (through system optimization and predictive maintenance) will win. “When you figure out how to make an asset more efficient, you will become the most important person to that asset’s owner.” – Bill Ruh.
- Digital transformation of the organization is essential to realize success. The key criteria are to embrace new business model creation, adopt a cloud-based platform, and converge information technology (IT) systems with operational technology (OT) systems.
- Positive industrial outcomes require a combination of data + statistics + physics. Value creation does not come from providing statistics on terabytes of data captured. Start with a clear outcome in mind; apply a team with deep industry expertise to analyze select data; and model solutions to optimize performance. The enabler is a robust, secure cloud-based platform that can connect to devices, manage data, run analytics and facilitate modelling.
- You are your own best trial market. GE Digital has succeeded by creating products that drive productivity gains in their own businesses first. Once proven, they take it to their customers and then expand into adjacencies. This approach has allowed GE Digital to enter the market with robust products, and continue to fund innovation through savings from internal efficiency gains.
- Virtual equipment will be an important driver of industrial efficiency. The creation of a “Digital Twin” enables operators to understand the asset’s full capability, thereby giving them the insights to optimize operations of the physical asset.
- Attracting and retaining talent is essential. Digital transformation requires committed leadership, a cultural shift, and a strong talent pool. Horizontal and vertical integration of the digital strategy is essential for success.