For the past several years, General Electric (GE) has been pursuing a profound digital transformation with an eye to claiming a stake at the heart of the digital industrial revolution. GE CTO Chris Drumgoole says thriving in the era of the Industrial Internet requires employees with new capabilities — technical, analytical and leadership skills that are explicitly cross-discipline.
"Like a lot of big IT shops around the world — we resemble a lot of them, I'm sure — we've been very heavily outsourced over the years," Drumgoole says. "A lot of talent went the way of outsourced partners and other businesses. All around it was about cost and efficiency rather than innovation. If we're going to be successful in the Industrial Internet, that has to change. We need hands-on-keyboard technical talent."
IT now front and center
In the past, Drumgoole says, IT has frequently been relegated to the back office, where it has focused on keeping infrastructure and systems running. But that's all changing. Now, he says, CIOs and technical talent are at the core of the business, "imagining, building and deploying platforms and applications that are fueling growth and producing tangible financial returns for customers." Today's CIOs and IT technical teams are expected to innovate to drive competitive advantage in the market, while also keeping one hand on the tiller of day-to-day IT tasks that reduce inefficiencies and costs.
To that end, GE today is launching three locations focused on delivering IT services and operations and expanding the company's digital industrial efforts:
- In Atlanta, GE will establish a Digital Operations Center to support its Global Infrastructure operations. Drumgoole notes that Atlanta will be the largest site, but won't resemble a traditional network operations center (NOC). Instead it will be a big collection of small teams working in the same building. GE plans to hire system administration, system engineering, full stack operations (DevOps), full stack engineering and service desk professionals for the Atlanta location.
- In Miami, GE will expand its existing presence to support the company's growth in Latin America by attracting up-and-coming tech talent with language skills. Drumgoole notes that there's a lot of working going into turning Miami into a tech center, and if that happens, "We want to be there first." The company will hire IT professionals with network management, software engineering for apps and end user client services skills.
- In Providence, GE will create a new site to support the development of end-user applications and high performance computing (HPC). Drumgoole notes there's a lot of UX talent in Providence, as well as talent with extensive skills in applied mathematics.
Drumgoole says the new sites will offer hundreds of new GE IT positions over the next several years, adding to its current pool of 8,000 GE IT employees.
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