"That's what this move is all about for us: the talent," he says. The ability to attract and retain it — that's why we're going to a number of sites, not just one."
Deciding where to place the new facilities was an exhaustive process, he explains. Part of it was based on the presence of universities — he notes that institutions like Brown University played a big part in Providence's selection. But the company also studied population growth in an effort to identify up-and-coming tech centers.
"It's all about talent and being close to a space where we can influence talent," Drumgoole says.
He notes that it's not just about elite research universities like Brown. The company hopes to establish apprenticeship programs in many schools and universities.
Industrial Internet is big business
The stakes are high. According to Wikibon, spending on the Industrial Internet of Things (IoT) will reach $500 billion by 2020.
Drumgoole says a rapidly expanding ecosystem of global systems integrators, independent software vendors, telecommunications services, technology providers and developers is emerging as a result of the gold rush. At the heart of it all is the industrial IT talent that will allow organizations to transform their operations leveraging quantities of data that will make the data generated by the consumer Internet look "quaint" in comparison.
All that means the demand for "full stack" technical talent, already a hot commodity, is going to keep rising. Companies that want to thrive in the Industrial Internet space will have to compete for employees who may have expertise in an area like networking or Java coding, but also have working knowledge of the other IT domains.
"We're looking to go into new cities where we're going to be an attractive employer," Drumgoole says. "These employees are very sought after."
"We still need the network guru, but the network guru needs to understand the other technologies," he says. "The same is absolutely true of the software side. Developers need to understand infrastructure and vice versa."
The three new locations are just the beginning for GE, Drumgoole says, noting that a global company can't run its IT out of just one country.
"This is a first step for us. We're not looking at this uniquely to the U.S.," he says. "Expect to see more from us in other spaces. We started in the U.S. because that's where we have some scale for IT."
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