Friday, January 8, 2016

Jeff Immelt: Being a platform and app company

Inside in the company, we’re about $5 billion in revenue—this is from software, analytical applications, things like that. We’ve built up a population of applications; we’re approaching $500 million of productivity a year. Now what we’re trying to do is push that back inside the company. We’re selling it, but we want to get our own internal company on the same basis, on the same platform, using the same skills—what we call the “digital thread.” We want the digital thread to go from engineering all the way through our installed base. 
We’ve made the decision that we’re going to try to be both a platform company and an application company. So we have a platform called Predix, and we’re building applications on top of that. We’re probably the only industrial company that’s actually trying to do its own. And we’re opening up our platform to our customers. We’re saying to our customers, “Look, if you want to write apps, applications on Predix, you’re free to do it.” 
I always think risk first, like most CEOs. I basically say to investors, “Look, if all we did is we got more productivity, higher service sales, applications, you guys are going to love this. If we end up having the platform that works, it’s a whole new company, you know? So you get that for free.” 
But that’s why I circle back and would say to any CEO, industrial or nonindustrial, that where we are right now is going to be the most important thing that you’re going to work on, at least in this era. And you give up your latitude at your own peril.
Reference: GE’s Jeff Immelt on digitizing in the industrial space.

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