Ganesh Bell, Chief Digital Officer, GE Power & Water
Ganesh Bell, Chief Digital Officer, GE Power & Water
August 08, 2014
Episode: 73
Ganesh Bell
Chief Digital Officer
GE Power & Water

Ganesh Bell is Chief Digital Officer & GM, Commercial Software & Analytics at GE working across its largest industrial business Power & Water and GE Software. In this position he leads digital innovation and transformation – responsible for the digital solutions business and digital engagement to drive business growth.

Ganesh Bell has held leadership positions in strategy, products, engineering and marketing across a rare mix of large industry leaders, startups, and fast growth companies. Recently he was EVP, GM & Chief Products Officer at ServiceSource, pivotal in its growth and successful IPO by transforming the company to a multi-solution cloud and data services provider and the leader in Recurring Revenue Management.

At SAP he was VP of Product Strategy & Management for the business intelligence & technology platform group of Business Objects and NetWeaver and earlier as VP of Portfolio Strategy in the Office of the CEO. Prior to SAP, he led platform strategy at PeopleSoft integrating J.D.Edwards product portfolio after acquisition where he served as Chief Software Architect. As an entrepreneur, he created YouCentric’s leading CRM products and led its core development to successful acquisition by J.D.Edwards. Ganesh Bell holds a B.S in Mathematics from University of Madras, India and a M.S in Computer Science from North Dakota State University.

Video Transcript: Ganesh Bell, Chief Digital Officer, GE Power & Water

Michael:         

(00:03) Hello, welcome to episode number 73 of CXOTalk. I’m Michael Krigsman and I’m here – I’m always trying to thin, you know I lie in bed at night, and I think what kind of superlatives can I say about my amazing co-ho, Vala Afshar. I think about that

Vala:   

(00:24) Thank you Michael.

Michael:         

(00:25) Vala, how are you.

Vala:   

(00:26) I’m doing great and it’s very nice to see you.

Michael:         

(00:”9) So we did a fist bump that time and it’s no longer a kind of remote fist bump because presumably there’s a camera right there now?

Vala:   

(00:37) Yeah, Wednesday we were at CIO Magazine conference and we were on stage doing a live CXO talk. I think that is the first time that we’ve had an audience see us fist bump

Michael:         

Or shake hands.

Vala:

(00:50) Or shake hands

Michael:         

(00:51) Let’s do a hand shake. So anyway, we are here with a very interesting guest, Ganesh Bell, who is the Chief Digital Officerof General Electric Power and Water as well as the General Manager in GE software and analytics group

Ganesh:          

(01:11) Hey Michael thanks for having me, hey Vala.

Vala:   

(01:13) Great to have you. We hear so much about Chief Digital Officers and it’s just wonderful to hear General Electric Power and Water. They have a CDO, so please talk a little bit about the company and then your role at GE.

Ganesh:          

(01:31) So GE as you all know is one of the leading industrial collection of companies right. We have a lot of industrial business’s and Power and Water is the largest industrial business and the simple way to describe our mission is we solve one of the most challenging and one of the most important problems in the world. Which is providing clean, sustainable, accessible power and water technologies to every single person in the world and we believe the most complex problems and the biggest opportunities access from the power and clean water. So that’s what Power and Water does. We have about six different business’s, everything from power generation, products and services to renewable energy to nuclear energy, to distributed power to water and process technologies. And at GE, we also have GE software which I’ll talk a little bit of, which powers the platform across all of these business’s and my role is Chief Digital Officer and GE software which is twofold, which is to go live through the digital transformation of all GE power and weather as well as build as well as build our digital solutions business for power and water and also to drive our digital customer engagement to our customers.

Michael:         

(02:54) So digital transformation and customer engagement.

Ganesh:          

Yes.

Vala:   

(03:02) We hear a lot about digital transformation

Michael:         

I know and it’s trying to figure out what that means.

Vala:   

No, no I can.

Michael:         

You can?

Vala:   

No, no , no we have have a guest here…

Michael:         

Well maybe you can tell us…

Vala:   

No, I’m kidding. Michael is in the dark. I know digital transformation!

Ganesh:          

(03:19) Michael, I think you should interview Vala.

Vala:   

(03:23) But no Ganesh please help, because so we have marketers that watch CXOTalk, and when we hear digital a lot of people think this is a marketing thing. Then of course we have CIO’s and CTO’s and others, but your definition of digital and then digital transformation.

Ganesh:          

(03:41) I think it’s a great question which is you know digital means so many different things for different people and I kind of go back to about four/ five years ago when I was starting to form my belief system around what is digital.

(03:57) I think one of your earlier guests – I don’t know how early he wrote it or somebody else wrote it was a word being bandied about and I think Dave McDonald who is at Accenture right, he talked about digitalization not digitization. Digitization is about replacing (atoms? with bits? 04:15). Right so for analog business to become a digital business.

(04:19) But when you become a digital business there’s two ways to do it right. You can either just transform what was done in a physical world, where you know books become e-books, you know, phones become portals and you know that’s simple digitization. We’ve already been through that transformation, right.

(04:39) Digitalization as a word that (Unclear 04:39) coined is about either creating value andrevenue from digital assets. And when you think about that for at the same time when I think when Marc Andreessen wrote ‘Software Eats the World’, which to me was about how every business becomes a software business and how every product becomes a software defined or software powered solution. You also had every management consulting and marketing company talk about digital transformation where it was primary about digital marketing.

(05:12) At the same time we talked about consumerization of IT, where our consumer experiences were driving what we do in our real world. So I kind of see that as connecting the thread of all those things is really the full picture of digital. So yes, it is about digital marketing, it is about digital product it’s also about how we work and so it’s a connection off all those three things.

Michael:         

(05:37) So you are really talking about the business changing – adapting new business models, changing its culture. It’s kind of re-vamping a disruption of the business by itself. Is that correct how you see it?

Ganesh:          

(05:52) That’s absolutely right and if you are thinking just marketing as a consummation then the CDO role is really about a digital marketing technologist and eventually the ( unclear 06:04) marketing.

(06:04) But when you think about a full digital transformation it is about new business models. It is about new revenue streams. It’s ultimately about creating new address of a market and it’s ultimately about providing new customer outcomes.

(06:19)  And the one way to think about it is I say that in every company we all work to create products and services that are offerings, that we market, sell, and engage with our customers. And to truly go through a digital transformation you have to transform all three. Meaning how we work has to become digital, and that’s consumerization of IT, moving to cloud, mobility and adopting collaboration – all those things that modernize how we work.

(06:45)  And in our products and services you’ve got to transform that to digital products, and in some cases you’re not just replacing you know( atoms to bits? 06:54) your augmenting, they’re digital extensions of your physical products or connected experiences or new solutions and software offerings. And in how we market, sell, and engage you still have to drive that digital engagement and most people end up focusing just on the digital marketing and not really about digital solutions and how we work internally.

And when you connect all those things Michaelas I said, you really transform the entire company with new DNA to new muscles, new skills, and driving new business models.

Vala:   

(07:23) So when you say how we have to work has to become digital, so for example if your sales person at GE on the road can pull up their smart device, access your CRM, capture analytics and collaborate on a social network is that working digital? Is that a combination of mobile, social, cloud, apps, data that makes it ‘digital?’

Ganesh:          

(07:55)  Yeah, I think you’re spot on Vala, If that’s how your workforce is distributed, they’re mobile they’re with the customers right. You’re in environments where you don’t have access to your desktop and we have a vision for field engineers that in the future where it’s really about even your field engineer out in the field wearing wearables, like Google Glass, and you can pull up information, and it’s all about delivering outcomes to the customer. You’re not carrying a thick binder of manuals to work on a turbine. All the information that you need is right there and you can phone home to an expert and have a chat while you’re out there in the field. Now that’s digital work absolutely.

Michael:         

(08:37) The way that we’re talking about it is so all encompassing and as somebody who’s in the middle of this, how do you break it down into manageable pieces so that you don’t throw the business into turmoil while you are kind of experimenting with all kinds of new ideas.

Ganesh:          

(08:59) Yeah, so what we did at GE which is and the way to think about it I kind of break it into three parts, digital work, digital solutions and digital engagement or digital customer engagement. So you actually have manageable chunks on things to focus and prioritize (separately?) into those three buckets.

(09:17) And digital work is really about our IT driving that strategy. So IT modernizes us so IT is (writing it?) and that’s where my CIO is a big part of me to go and provide that digital work transformation within the business.

(09:34) And when it comes to digital solutions yes you’re right, if you don’t plan it right you can have different teams work on competing products and solutions. So it’s really first about building a portfolio of offerings that you want to take to market. And how we started in GE with the digital solutions or products was really first responding to our customer’s right. Our customers wanted outcomes, they wanted no unplanned down time, lower offer cost and major productivity gates.

(10:04) We responded with a big billion dollar investment in software. We created GE software, which is really about first and foremost building our industrial internet platform, and that’s what everybody else would say, it’s IOT plus big data plus analytics plus cloud companies all coming together in the context of industrial software as well as connecting that to machines and communicating back to our cloud. So we responded with that investment and building out our platform.

(10:35) And on top of that platform where focused on the various businesses to go build our portfolio applications. And we set that up as a separate unit so we could actually collaborate across to different businesses, because a common thing you need in all of these is a horizontal platform. So GE software was created so it doesn’t disrupt the businesses it’s actually building out the platform. And collaboration with each and every one of the industrial businesses we’re building the various applications to take to our customer outcomes.

(11:05) And similarly in digital customer engagement we’ve got a dedicated team that’s driving the transformation of everything from web. social, mobile, revenue, marketing, so it’s setting priorities and driving a road map across digital customer engagement and digital solutions while IT actually transform how we work internally.

Vala:               

(11:28) How close did you work with your Chief Marketing Officer? You very well defined the working relationship with IT, but where does marketing come into play? Because often the perception is that the CDO has one foot in marketing and one foot in technology and IT, and the person that is essentially the glue between the different lines of business and technology. So I’m interested to know your working relationship with the marketing function.

Ganesh:          

(11:57) So you know in GE we’ve a great CMO across GE and Beth Comstockwho provides a great brand umbrella if you will and the permission to engage with our customers at so many various levels. And when you come down to the various businesses across the marketing and the communication function they are our best allies in our individual transformation, because you know even without the equation of the goal but they are going to want to get there but they need the skills and the new muscles and the talent right.

(12:27) So we’re incubating digital customer engagement for example in power and water, centrally across all the different businesses and providing this as a shared services to the various marketing and communications team within the businesses so they can actually get on the platform of digital engagement stack.

(12:43) And when I say digital engagement stack, that’s everything from, how do you connect your salesforce automation through sales productivity to revenue marketing activities to social and content management and storytelling activities.

(12:56) So we’re building that as a – I call it a stack because that evolves really fast and you’ve got to keep changing because today, Twitter to promote and LinkedIn becomes very important and then you know different medias becomes a very good place to publish content management stories, so it’s evolving that stack and keeping that fresh but helping our various businesses get on board on that stack and tell their stories.

(13:20) So marketing communications becomes a great partner and a user shared services and driving the channel of digital.

Vala:   

(13:29) In this centralized model – so IBC is projecting that in two years marketing is 50% of programs  will be technology spend, at GE does the marketing organization have program tech spend and they consult with yourself and your organization in terms of procurement and the right solutions to bolster the platform or does that sit with you.

Ganesh:          

(13:53) So it sits with me but in collaborations with the marketing and the communications organization. They are consumers of that platform and they’re providing the requirements and we have a large community of you know digital marketing people and in fact last week we just had a digital summit internally in GE for about 300 digital marketing people across GE in Manhattan.

(14:19) And I talked to the team about how we’re driving a common digital engagement stack across the various businesses. But they drive the requirements, they are consumers, but it’s also about incubating and showing, so we’ve brought a lot of vendors in externally and external speakers to kind of influence the thinking. So it’s really a journey that we’re all on across the board.

Michael:         

(14:43) I think my friend Satya Krishnaswamy from NextPrinciples was at that event; I’m an advisor for their company. So basically then in a sense of what you’re saying when you have this type of centralized model where the direction for that change is coming from a central place, so in effect what you’re doing is radiating out to a culture change throughout on a decentralized basis throughout the organization.

Ganesh:          

(15:31) Yes, I think that’s a great way to say which is radiating the culture change because we have great leaders, and you know if you look at our business across from the top Jeff Immelt our chairman to Beth Comstock to Jamie Miller to Bill (Rube) who all the GE software division for how we transform, you know building a digital business and delivering more outcomes to our customers.

(15:57) There’s a very strong believership across GE in digital technology and how digital drives the transformation. And in power and water the group CEO Steve Bolze, believed in that transformation power of digital and what it can do for the business. So he created this role centrally reporting to him.

(16:13)So my peers are all the various CEOs of the different energy businesses like nuclear distributed power and so on. But they all have big large P and L’s to go to drive and customer outcomes that delivers. My role is to create new offerings and solutions and help them deliver a new outcome. So partner with them, help them get through a better digital customer engagement with their customers, and also increase their portfolio with new digital solutions that our sales teams can take to our customers.

Vala:   

(16:44) Can you talk a little bit about your agenda for you know the next one to two years or maybe the next 12 months – who knows where we are going to be in a couple of years given the velocity of innovation. But what are some of the big digital transformations in projects that excite you and your team as you look forward?

Ganesh:          

(17:04) So one of the big things for us, you know I talked a lot about digital customer engagement for us that is getting all of our businesses to – our customers are becoming more digital and understanding the customer journey, mapping the customer journey and helping our sales teams to actually work with our customers and deliver outcomes. So that’s a roadmap we have for digital customer engagement, which is building out the stack engaging with our customers across social, mobile, video, storing telling and having the voice of the customer.

(17:35) So ultimately it’s about making sure that our customers are empowered and making their own decisions and we help them, right. And similarly the next equally and probably even bigger in one way from our investment perspective is our digital solutions portfolio. We have our predictivity, which is our industrial Internet platform and we’re bringing to market new solutions and offerings. And we already have many today, this is not just a vision this actually works today and our power and water business for example, we have launched several products that are powered by our predates industrial Internet platform.

(18:17) We call these solutions predictivity solutions. These are our family of applications that we take to our customers and we have two products, one we call power and LifeMax and flexEfficiency.

(18:30) We launched these products last year and we really created these products as a combination of software and hardware upgrades to kind of like rejuvenate life of an existing turbine and increase energy output as much as 10% and save fuel and increase a lower efficiency in energy emissions and so on.

(18:53) Those products have been pretty successful for us and moved on to products in our wind portfolio and it’s called power. What that allows us to do with our customers is to instead of just putting new wind turbines on the ground increase the output of the existing wind farms through software. Which is equal to putting you know 5% more wind turbines on the ground.

(19:16) So it’s about building that portfolio and for us it is a big priority, so we have new products that will be coming over the next year that if you think about it over time, we’re collecting data from all of our machines in our monitoring and diagnostic center. From that we are now able to provide conditions-based maintenance, real-time operational intelligence, asset optimization performance management solutions, as well as operations optimization.

(19:40) So for us the priority is a high level I would say is from digital solutions just to build out the portfolio of outcomes that our customers are demanding. In terms there is no unplanned downtime, lower operating costs, and productivity gains through a suite of software. And we have our minds and machines event coming up in the next couple of months, so we’ll have some in announcements there in terms of new products that we bring to market, that deliver that outcome.

(20:04) So next year is delivering on those new portfolio software launches, as well as increasing our digital customer presence and engagement.

Michael:         

(20:15) What is so fascinating to me is the General Electric is obviously a major industrial company, and here you’re using data in order to develop your products, figure out better ways to deliver the outcomes that the customers want and so forth. So, if I put the pieces together then the other side of it is this kind of retooling – not just of the products but the retooling of the way people think about the products which then leads to the culture change that you were talking about earlier.

Ganesh:          

(20:56) Yeah, and a good example of that is what is what I mentioned which is our power LifeMax and FlexEfficiency products. We created those products based on 100 million hours of operating data from gas turbines. And when you think about data I just didn’t give the context of the scale of the data that we’re talking about.

(21:20) A single life in a gas turbine can generate up to 4 GB of data for us. That’s most data than most users generate over a year on Facebook. And all of that data actually tells us something about – because we understand the deep physics of these machines, right, we built them. And from there we can actually drive – not just build the next version and the improvements and the software upgrades and the embedded control upgrades. But from there we can also figure out how our users and you know implant an asset manager or a plant manager who uses the assets and help them achieve better operation efficiency by driving new software outcomes.

(22:05) And so it’s really going from being data obsessed, data centric, and data driven to building better products, to actually using data to power new solutions and providing new offerings.

Vala:   

(22:16) So the ‘D’ in your title can easily be chief data officer, because as I’m listening to you it feels like part of your transformation strategy and roadmap is built around leveraging data to create insight to help deliver better outcomes for GE or employees in your customers

Ganesh:          

(22:40) Yeah, so we have invested a lot in software first of all and data scientists. Here in San Ramon team software we’ve got about 1000 people.

Vala:   

(22:54) a 1000 data analysts.

Ganesh:          

(22:56) A 1000 software engineers, data scientists, product managers focused on creating software right. So in one way GE is yes one of the largest industrial companies in the world. We are also one of the largest software companies in the world.

(23:10) And we’ve been using software there is 20,000 people across GE data software and analytics in various shapes to improve our products and services and also to provide new offprints to our customers. And we created GE software where we wanted that focus of building that industrial internet platform, so we built about a 1000 person team and we’re continuing to grow across everywhere from software development to architecture product and user experience and design, we’ve built a great design center, as well as invested in the data science practice across GE.

(23:47) So there’s a lot of talent across the business in terms of how we use data, not just for operational efficiency for designing better products, but ultimately it’s about creating new analytic application software offerings to our customers.

Michael:         

(24:02) Now you have said that your division data efforts are focused on three things; digital effort, how you create product and services, and how the product and services arrive through digital engagement. Can you elaborate on that and tell us how these pieces fit together.

Ganesh:          

(24:24) Sure, so when I think about and talk about you know, we all work to create products and services that we market, sell, and engage, right. And I said that all three of them had to become digital, so for work to become digital, IT drives that with an Agile IT infrastructure.

(24:41) For products and services to become digital we had to create new apps, simply where is my app for a turbine to lower the end downtime. Where is the App to lower the operating cost. And where’s the app so I can connect to that external market data and increase profitability of our customers. So all of those are new categories of new enterprise applications.

(25:05) Very similar to IT because we’re seeing the convergence of IT with operation technology. In digital solutions we have (predicts?) Of that platform and in creating new portfolio solutions there right. So we have a digital solution of the organization, which is structured very similar to any software company that is structured, looking at market outcomes and customer outcomes and core innovating with our customers to actually bring new software power solutions to the market and how we monetize that is different in different scenarios.

(25:38) Sometimes we monetize I mentioned our wind portfolio power-up. That’s an outcome we deliver to our customers which is increased performance of a wind turbine. Our wind management software, which helps customers manage the entire windfarm operations by lowering the power output of the wind turbines up front by increasing the power output of the wind turbines for the fact that because you’re optimizing the entire platform. That’s a new suite of software but we deliver it as a new business model in terms of an outcome pay on paper performance basis. Right and building out that suite.

(26:14) And in digital engagement like I mentioned in the way we’re driving that is assembling and building out the digital engagement stack and creating new – everything from our websites to how that connects back to our sales tools to our customers being empowered with new sales enablement tools as well as stories from their peer groups so that they can get educated about the ne outcomes they can go and deliver.

Vala:   

(26:43) A couple of CXOTalk’s ago had Dr. Michael Wu, the chief data scientist for Lithium as a guest and he talked about you know, let’s look at the data scientist role and break it into competencies of infrastructure, analysis of integration and reporting. And he said we generically used a data scientist but there is a core of disciplines that era required in enterprise to deliver meaningful insight to the business. You talked a little bit about these scary large volume data that you manage. Can you talk a little bit more about that and then do you have data scientists in your organization as well as IT and marketing, or is that function centralized as well.

Ganesh:          

(27:28) Yeah sure. So I think data, you know you touched upon which is chief data officers we see that title rising in various businesses, right, and I kind of define that as that nobody in the enterprise owns the data. IT owns the infrastructure, the various businesses own the data within their various applications. But when you think of data in various intensive businesses such as ours, we’re collecting data on our machines and a performance. It’s an important asset from which we can drive that outcome for our customer.

(28:01) So we are in the process of creating those types of roles where you have somebody responsible for the data but they look at data as a strategic asset on all the different used cases, everything from engineering to product design used cases, to creating new software and analytics that extend all the way to the customer, so they get visibility, insight and action into how they run their operations.

(28:28) And also in marketing used cases. So we have data scientists and we have a data scientist center of excellence if you will in GE software. Where we have a group of data scientists who focus on creating the deep algorithms, data science frameworks for our machine base intelligence, working with our global research center.and within the business we have people who own the data for the various businesses.

(28:53) Everything from our marketing and diagnostic center data to our enterprise data connecting that as well as our customer engagement data from our website to our marketing and pooling all of that stuff together. Because data’s always going to be a chaos and somebody’s got to manage that for the different use cases. So we drive programs based on the various use cases and having data stewardship to make sure that we actually view data as a strategic asset with the how to work better outcomes for our customers.

Michael:         

(29:25) We have a really interesting question from Twitter, from Boris Ball, who asks what is the main difference between the CIO and CDO at GE?

Ganesh:          

(29:39) So the way we’ve defined it in GE is I think how most people are defining it which is the CIO focuses on like the IT infrastructure of the company and everything from ERP to CRM’s to enterprise applications to moving us to cloud and (monolizing? 29:59) our IT infrastructure to mobility to employees. It’s ultimately for productivity and business across the board right.

(30:08) And you become a business that also provides a digital solution to a market. And this is where the definition of CEO changes in different businesses, and I know Michael you asked the question is the CDO a temporary title., right. If you have a focus just on digital marketing, yes, it could be a temporary title or the new title for digital marketing, right.

(30:35) If you go deeper and look at when your business has to provide a digital solution andoffering, you need a CDO because that’s more of a GM of a software, which another title that I have is to run the software business. And that is more of a General Manager role than a typical CIO role. It’s not a system integration role. It’s actually building software just like any other software company and taking that software and bundling it along with our hardware and services offerings to our customers.

(31:06) So it’s a whole solution of software, hardware and services to our customers. And that’s where probably the biggest distinction happens in a CDO is in  business that has digital offerings. And you can think of fully transformational business where you can see in Netflix where there’s no need for a CDO.

(31:25) The entire business is digital. But if you want to maintain a physical business and have a digital business the CDO is I believe is the role where you run that as a business with a new business model and it’s really building a software company in a way.

Vala:   

(31:45) You know as you’re going through this transformation which you know I suspect is not a destination but a journey because it is so complex, so integrated, so volatile in terms of new technologies, whether it’s as you mentioned wearable and internet of things and big data, and who knows a couple of years and perhaps we’ll be taking about something else that’s not on most of our radars. You know, what metrics do you look at along the way to make sure you’re not drifting away from your goal of building better products, better services, and actually delivering incremental value to your customers.

Ganesh:          

(32:22)Yes, so like I mentioned before in our world right it’s we always really start this journey with customer outcomes, and our customer outcomes are very very clear, which is we call it you know things I mentioned repeatedly no unplanned downtime, lowering operating costs, increasing productivity for our customers.

(32:41) And that’s always been done. In the past we did it just through hardware engineering and long cycles and then through services business. Now we’re able to provide those outcomes with a combination of software right.

(32:56) So staying true to those customer outcomes and understanding, you know, we build a great design center where we actually bring in our customers and co-innovate with them and identify new opportunities. So we’re actually building software with our customers, so it’s no different than how a typical software company goes through a piolet, gets through o the first two customers up and running and staying focused on those outcomes, versus us trying to create a dashboard for them where they can create any actions from that, right.

(33:27) So it’s really about creating – you know, if you stay focused on the outcomes of the portfolio products, you’ve got to create and rationalize themselves. They’ve become small, they’ve become simple and they’ve become consumable.

Michael:         

(33:38) So on this question of metrics, we have another on this topic of metrics we actually have another question from Twitter from Arsalan Khan, who says data is a strategic asset and so how do you value it in financial terms so that the CFO gets it.

Ganesh:          

(34:02) Yeah, I think the way the CFO gets it is you know like I said we – you need proof points in what you did with the data for customers, right. And like I mentioned our example on one of our previous products, which is the Power LifeMax product which we designed used 100 million hours of operating data from our gas turbines.

(32:29) We actually delivered real outcomes which is 10% of energy output, saving $600 million in fuel, right, and boosting revenue of 1 billion. That’s the potential of the data, so it’s in like an aggressive market right, and we have a simple math that our chairman talks about the power of 1%. Which is if we just save 1% of fuel across our entire gas turbines that’s you know $65 billion of 15 years. Those are huge numbers.

(35:04) And the only way that you can get to those outcomes is through understanding the operational data. So if you think  (1) there’s a metrics on the potential with what you can do with data in terms of you know, outcome and value that you can generate for customers.

(35:19) And the second is with that data what are the new solutions that we can create, which becomes  addressable market and revenue for us. And also driving how we take the various machines or assets that are connected to our platform through the volume of data that’s connected to our platform in creating a portfolio of applications.

(35:42) So for our CFO and our finance, it’s really understanding that we’ve actually -  GE has been data obsessed as a culture for a long long time. And except that we’ve been focused on machine data and how we build better machines.

(35:59) In the last five years we’re driving that data to how we drive better customer outcomes and that creates new opportunities for us and we’re able to quantify that with real customer value that we’re generating in terms of fuel savings, and we can actually calculate what does an uptime mean, when you release the unplanned downtime, what is the value of that to a particular customer. You can easily articulate it and define working with our customers.

(36:25)  Eventually when you connect the data to external market data, we can actually help our customers make more money.

Vala:   

(36:31) As you go through the transformational journey, anytime you are introducing any level of change based on my personal experience, the success factors, you know it’s always culture and people process and lastly technology.so what are some of the impediments as you’re making this  you know again these transformational changes across an incredibly large and diverse organization such as GE.

Ganesh:          

(37:00) Yeah, so first you need leaders who believe right. You need leader who believe in this transformation and the power in transformation, and leaders who have vision for, so we have that with the great leadership at GE. And we also have a great culture which you know embraces those ideas. This company has a history of reinventing itself.

(37:27) So being there and having done that several decades of that this company has that DNA built in, so that is a big big help. But also it takes people and you need to think about it holistically. It’s not just about as I said, it’s not just about digital marketing and it’s not just about building software and analytics and providing a dashboard for our customers or transforming. You got to be able to connect all of these digital preps together.

(37:54) But when you think about and what we have done, we did make certain decision’s like building software for example have been investing in software in the past, we’ve been doing – GE has been building software for a long time but they have been embedded in control space for example, right. So when we think about new types of software that’s customer facing software that requires new skillsets, new muscles and I suppose new technologies that don’t exist.

(38:24) So we created GE software, we created an ecosystem of partners, we created the industrial internet consortium of leaders in industry to come and work with us and shape that outcome. So it takes a holistic thinking where it’s not just internal but you start thinking form market and customer building outcomes, and then creating an ecosystem, creating a platform and we’ve been doing that.

(38:46) So I think it takes any company that embarks on this journey has to think that. has to think of the ecosystem, the software vendors you’ve got to work with. And the other hardware vendors you have to work with and when it comes internal, you have got to create the mandate and you have to have a culture of going towards a lean start-up, agile mindset. And one of the things that we’ve been in GE with the software and it’s spreading across all of our hardware thinking it is in this notion we call FastWorks on how we get multidisciplinary people to come together in a small one piece or two piece of team like how everybody else talks about in Silicon Valley  come and innovate on new solutions and go and action them.

Vala:   

(39:29) Is it a hackathon. I heard quite a bit of that at the CIO summit this week.

Ganesh:          

(39:39) Yeah we do hackathon in our software team but we are also taking the same you know, practices that have proven successful in software in Silicon Valley and applying it to hardware design.

(39:51)  And when you think about it and you know, smart manufacturing, 3D printing, now you can actually prototype parts very quickly. You can actually build you know molds and parts and design and test things with the customers and in machines physically faster than you could before.

(40:11) So all the things that we could apply in the world of software are applicable to hardware with the invent of smart manufacturing, £D printing and infact we broke ground in power and water with the advance manufacturing facility in Green row which will prototype all of these technologies.

Michael:         

(40:27) We have a question from Twitter and I’ll ask you to answer it quickly because we’re almost out of time and actually there’s a lot we need to cover yet. We can go another couple of hours but we have  about five minutes left

Vala:   

(40:42) That’s what happens when you have a fascinating guest on the show.

Michael:         

(40:45) So Zachary Genes asks, does GE have an internal process for developing new ideas, products and so forth like an internal kickstart. Very much connected to what you were just talking about.

Ganesh:          

(40:59) Yes we have two ideas; one we call CANEX internally and another one we call FastWorks and you know these are ideas borrowed from you know the lean start-up by Jefferies and ideas in how we assemble small quick teams and look at ideas and potentials that deliver CANEX to value. So that’s where the CANEX program comes from and GE software our CMO incubated that idea and spread that across GE and also FastWorks is another methodology that we use internally.

(41:41) So we have, first incubated the methodology we showed some proof points and now it’s spreading across the entire business where the adoption has been great where teams across – it doesn’t matter if they are HR or in finance or in supply chain, these methodology techniques apply coming up with new ideas. It may not be a customer based offering, but it could be an internal process efficiency or an internal productivity.

(42:08) And when talking about a large company like GE those small things add up to huge meaningful outcomes values as well as delivery for our customers.

Vala:   

(42:17) Ganesh give us advice the CIO, CMO’s watching the show, who are starting there digital transformational journey or they are in the middle of, what advice do you have for these business leaders to ensure some level of success?

Ganesh:          

(43:30) Sure so first thing is that if you are actually working in software, you’re a developer, you’re a Gm, a product marketing person – whatever, you happen to be in the business of software, your next big opportunity is not in a software company or not a traditional software company. It’s in companies like GE which are transforming industries and business’s through use of software where we call digitalization.

(42:57)  Right and I believe that’s the next big trend and in 20 years for across every industry for across every business. So think transforming an industry and think digitalization, which is creating more new value and more new outcomes from digital assets as opposed to just digitization, which is replacing atoms with bits.

(43:19) And when you think about digital then go deeper. It’s not just about digital marketing is absolutely important if the spearhead touch and interact with your customer. So digital customer engagement is very important but don’t stop there. That’s just being veneer, go deeper. Look at opportunities to create digital solutions, digital software, or where is your app that accompanies your analog or physical product. Think about those digital offerings.

(43:46) And also more importantly, think about the culture of change you want in the business in terms of adopting agile, fast, lean methodologies in creating new outcomes, which transforms of how you work internally

Michael:

(44:01) So in one because that’s about what we have left

Vala:   

(44:05) Make it two minutes because I have a very important question I left for the end. Very important.

Michael:         

(44:09) Well then in 15 seconds, so that Vala has time for his final question, what about that CIO’s, CMO’s, company executives.

Vala:   

(44:28) This is that a 15 second as soon as you asking I’m like, great. Can we have a Tweetable answer Ganesh to this complex question Michael’s about to ask.

Michael:         

(44:53) So the challenge for many people that want to undertake this, this is not about technology. It is about the organization and process and so forth. Any advice on that aspect of it for people who want to undertake the journey.

Ganesh:          

(45:06) Yeah, so who are taking the journey first and foremost you need to have a believership about how digital can make you a new business. And a simple question to ask is how do you become – you know you can have lots of interesting debates internally in your company about digital revenue enabler or about operational efficiency or is it about marketing or is about creating new products. Is that all of those interesting questions have a discussion, ask one question which is, how do you become the most strategic partner to your customers?

(45:44) If you ask that question, then you immediately transcend results of hey, to become the strategic partner is to drive out and to take care about. I need to provide a combination of products, services, hardware and software as a complete solution.

(46:02) When you think about that then it helps understand that you have got the journey  to undertake, and build a belief system around how you use digital and software. So it is not replacing -many businesses in GE, software need a turbine, it doesn’t need a wind turbine, but software makes them smarter. It makes them brilliant, and our industrial Internet drives new outcomes that machines can’t simply drive themselves cannot, right.

(46:29) So for the first time in history we’ve felt( like intelligent beings?) Spread from not just from humans to humans but from humans to machines and not from machines to machines and back to humans. So when you think about becoming the more strategic partner for your customers, it helps set that priority for you.

Vala:   

(46:45) My final comment and question, we research our extraordinary guests such as yourself when we prepare for the show. I read about your digital thought leadership data and analytics and your background success, even at previous companies before you joined GE, and the most impressive thing that I saw during my research was that you with a go pro camera on a bike going at about 200 miles per hour like sideways, what is that all about?

Ganesh:          

(47:17) If my wife is watching. So it’s really slow.

Vala:   

(47:21) Okay sorry, it was about 150 miles an hour. That’s pretty awesome. It looks way more than just a hobby, you were gunning down the race track. I’m sorry Mrs.

Ganesh:          

(47:42) so the way I talk about it is motorcycling is one of my passions and I have several motorcycles and I ride them on a racetrack as a track date. I’m not racing. If my wife is watching, I’m not racing. I’m just practicing good techniques and I’m practicing them in a safe environment which is a race track. There is no opposite traffic coming. There is lots of run off areas, and crashing is guaranteed  because somebody went and swept the entire track, so I’m there practicing my you know body positioning and turning technique and riding around.

(48:15) It’s one of the most funnest things that I get to do. And again it is an example of how it’s gotten safer with software of the last 10 years. A mere mortal like me couldn’t ride a superbike, so I ride an Emporio, which is one of the fastest superbikes on the planet.

(48:30)Now even to twist the throttle because software manages lots of things and makes me look really really smart.

Vala:   

(48:38) You looked awesome. You looked like James Bond. I think after 73 show I may have a guest in trouble based on the question I asked.

Ganesh:          

(48:51) well thank you Vala I really appreciate it.

Vala:   

(48:53) That’s the last time we’ll have Ganesh on the show!

Michael:         

(48:58) Well this has been a fascinating discussion. We have to thank our guest today, Ganesh Bell, who’s the Chief Digital Officer of General Electric Power and Water, as well as the general manager of GE software and analytics.

Vala:   

(49:16) Thank you very much Ganesh for a fantastic show.

Ganesh:          

(49:18) Thank you Vala thank you Michael thank you for having me.

Michael          

(49:22) Thank you very much and I hope you’ll tune in next week. We have a really interesting show next week. We have  Charles Philips who is the CEO for Inforce software together with his chief Design Officer and that’s not the right title, but they’re going to talk about software design and good user experience and the importance of that to the business result and the customer outcomes that as Ganesh was talking about in enterprise software. So join us next week and hope everybody has a great week. Thanks bye bye.

Companies mentioned in this episode 

General Electric Power and Water
www.gepower.com

NextPrinciples:
www.nextprinciples.com

Accenture:
www.accenture.com

Lithium:
www.lithium.com

Netflix:
www.netflix.com