John Flannery the new CEO of GE has a bit of a mess on his hands. Jeff Immelt departure came at a time when many of the companies ventures were not performing up to the standards of GE’s history.
Under Jack Welch the rule was they would sell off whatever asset was not keeping them in the role of leadership. If they were number 1 the question was how to keep that position. If they were second best, what did they need to add to make them numero uno. Everything else was probably not worth the effort and the dollars could be better spent on retaining their position in other industries.
That was the philosophy.
The problem that Immelt faced and Flannery now faces is that industry has become less fungible. Digital Transformation has created new business models and the future towards just in time sales and services that involve IoT, block chain and better analytics does not directly translate into a position.
We are seeing this with companies like Accenture, IBM, Intel and others where the term IoT creeps into everything and yet does not make for a simple single business practice.
As I talk to many people in the industry they try to break out of the pack by pointing to a specific vertical, and in some cases they are correct that they have gained prominence with a specific implementation.
On the other hand, when I talk to systems integrators, I find they have great dexterity and can implement solutions across many verticals.
So back to John Flannery’s issue. He has declared he wants to refocus the GE on Healthcare, Power and Aviation. All of these are perfect for Predix to enhance, improve and transform.
However, if Predix is a platform that is measured by itself, I am not sure it will make the mark. Sometimes assets are better hidden behind the scenes then called out for competitors to replicate.
As the company that started the Industrial Internet effort, I believe they are ahead of the rest of the industry in many ways. However, in a shuffle at the management level many times a refocus loses sight of its greatest assets.
I hope to see GE maintain it’s advantage and not it’s position in a market that is nascent.