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On November 14th of this year, GE Digital acquired ServiceMax for 915 million dollars. The acquisition of the Field Service Management Solution provider shows GE’s continued push to generate new digital revenue by expanding service options and performance, and capitalizing on the massive amounts of data coming from connected devices. This has been done with a heavy emphasis on the continued improvement and development of their Predix platform which GE hope will become the leading platform for Industrial IoT across the industries they serve. With the purchase GE Digital has been provided with a market leading and innovative Field Services platform which incorporates part and inventory coordination, deployment models, schedule and workforce optimization, and work order management capabilities. Utilizing this will allow GE to deliver on the advanced data planned and predicted maintenance capabilities of their Predix service platform, providing actionable advice and information based on the data gathered by physical and digital sensors and input from service technicians.
The features provided will prove crucial for GE, addressing some of the major pressures driving future investment into field service solutions, according to VDC’s research. The three most significant drivers of future investment field service solutions is the desire for more timely responses to unexpected issues, better communication and collaboration among service technicians, and customer demand for better performance.
Almost immediately following their ServiceMax acquisition annoucement, GE Digital reached agreements to purchase Wise.io Inc. a developer of learning algorithms for smart automation, and Bit Stew a provider of data integration, analysis and predictive automation platforms. These acquisitions look to help GE improve upon the general machine learning and data ingestion capabilities of Predix. This helps support the platform as it provides predictive analysis based on deployment models and learned maintenance patterns and efficiencies, collects data for analysis in its area of deployment.
As a whole these recent acquisitions by GE Digital are indicative of their desire to expand and improve their software offerings and abilities in an effort to drive new digital revenue. They plan to do this by continuing to push the Predix platform for Industrial IoT and by creating value from the data and analytics that Predix and GE’s other offerings collect and create. This value GE and their partners seek to utilize the data collected over the lifecycle of the product to gain insight into equipment use, maintenance needs, service patterns and efficiencies. This information is used to primarily improve the customer experience by providing predictive analysis to elevate the efficiency of service and keeping operations running smoothly. This has taken on an increasing important role as GE manages great deal of their equipment over its full product and service lifecycle and ensuring a positive customer experience is key in keeping partners satisfied, receiving contract renewals and generating new revenue streams.
Looking forward, there is also the immense potential value that the data and analytics received over the lifecycle of their equipment and services further integrating the product and service lifecycles of their products and solutions. This real time view into asset performance and use in the field, if properly integrated, can have tremendous value for upstream design and development disciplines, creating a more agile and responsive approach to product and service development. With the continued shift towards more data-driven industrial organizations, this represents a massive opportunity for GE and its partners, anticipating that their Digital Business will hit $6 billion in revenues this year, and reach $15 billion by 2020.
For further insight into GE please reference Roy Murdock’s blog GE Minds and Machines 2016: Checking in on GE’s Progress Towards “Digital Industrial.”