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What Went Wrong With GE Digital Transformation

GE was on the verge of dominating the industrial internet. Suddenly, it doesn’t. What happened to the GE digital transformation? 

The ambitions that entail GE digital transformation is no secret to us for years. However, there is so much negative news that surrounds GE and its grand vision these days. In other words, GE digital transformation (DT) is considered a failure. What went wrong? Before discussing that, let’s first have a little background. 

Behind the curtain 

GE’s DT initiatives began way back in 2013. GE began developing Predix, the company’s supposed-to-be software platform for the industrial internet. A year later, the company announced that it was generating more than $1 billion in revenue from productivity solutions. In 2015, GE announced the creation of GE Digital, the company’s new business unit. 

Afterward, a year later, GE reportedly had more than 1,500 employees in its office in San Ramon, California. Publicly, things were really going great for GE Digital. However, the picture was less rosy internally. Listed below are two of the many factors why. 

  1. In practice, GE Software was an internal development shop. The company has numerous business units, including Aviation, Transportation, Power, and others. However, these business units all had IT development needs. Hence, GE used the resources from GE software to implement “innovation”.

It was more like digital enablement. Moreover, GE Software’s revenue came from billing other GE business units, not external customers. 

  1. GE Digital started selling services to other industrial companies. GE was offering to help them on their own DT journeys. Thus, the company also became a consulting firm. According to reports, GE had mixed returns on these efforts. 

Indeed, GE achieved some significant improvements thanks to GE Software and GE Digital. However, there were no game-changing, multibillion-dollar innovations. The company only achieved gradual improvements and made them slightly more competitive. 

What Went Wrong 

DT isn’t just adding technology to the existing model. It is about rethinking your current business model to adapt to the digital era. However, most companies fail to do so as it is extremely difficult. Furthermore, implementing the entire DT process in-house will surely lead to failure. 

For GE Digital to have succeeded, it needed to be separate from GE. Making GE Digital its own business unit was a smart move. However, it also took the roles and responsibilities of GE software. You don’t need thousands of people to be successful in your DT initiatives. All you need is a small group of people with an innovative mindset. 

Finally, you need to start small. Most companies attempt to accomplish the entire process at once. However, attempting to do so is a recipe for disaster. GE tried to transform each and every one of its business units and look at what happened. 

Start the process with one industry and one business unit. Then, use the momentum you’ll achieve from the success of that project and spread it to other divisions. 

It is not yet too late for GE digital transformation. There’s no reason it can’t be successful. However, the company needs to structure its digital business correctly. 

Digital Transformation Explained in 500 Words

The term “digital transformation” has been taking businesses by storm. What does that term mean? This article has the term digital transformation explained. 

What is digital transformation? 

Digital transformation (DT) is the practice of integrating digital technologies to create new – or modify existing – business processes. In other words, it reimagines business in the digital age. Its main purpose is to adapt to changing business and market requirements. 

DT goes beyond the limits of traditional roles like sales, marketing, and customer service. Instead, DT has customers as the centerpiece from the beginning up to the end. Thus, it changes how businesses engage with customers. 

Moreover, DT makes your organization future-proof. Doing business in the 21st century with sticky notes and handwritten ledgers won’t really take you a long way. However, many people interchange digitization, digitalization, and digital transformation. Is there really a difference between those three? Yes. 

Digitization 

In simple words, digitization is the move from analog to digital. Not so long ago, businesses kept records on paper, like ledgers or typewritten documents. Gathering or sharing information meant dealing with physical documents, including binders, faxes, and xeroxes. 

Then, computers entered the business and quickly became popular. Most businesses began converting all of those ink-on-paper records to digital computer files. Digitization has made finding and sharing information much easier. 

Digitalization 

The use of digitized information to make work simpler and more efficient is called digitalization. Take note that this is not changing how you do business or creating new types of business. Instead, it is about keeping the same business processes but making them faster and better. 

To illustrate, digitalization has changed customer service forever. Employees can now easily and quickly retrieve customer records via computer. Gone are the days where records are trapped in a file cabinet somewhere in a dusty archive. However, the basic method of customer service didn’t change. But as mentioned, the entire process is now much more efficient. All you need is a few keystrokes on a computer screen.

Digital transformation 

Digitization and digitalization paved the way for digital transformation. DT changes how businesses get things done, not just doing the old things faster. Moreover, it involves taking a step back and revisiting everything you do – from internal processes to customer interactions both online and in person. 

With DT, businesses of all sorts can disrupt any industry. Now we have digital transformation explained, let’s take a great example. Netflix is a great example of leveraging technology. The company started as a mail order service and disrupted the physical video rental business. 

A few years later, digital innovations popularized streaming video services. Netflix once again adapted and began offering a growing library of on-demand content at ultracompetitive prices. Furthermore, the company extracted insights from data to make better decisions. What can we learn from Netflix? Take advantage of available technologies to make better business decisions. 

Digital transformation is no longer a luxury – it is now a necessity. The COVID-19 pandemic has made that need even deeper. You only have two options – transform or go out of business. This article has digital transformation explained so bookmark this page now so you can easily access this guide!

Digital Transformation Case Studies

Are you having doubts about transforming? Are you struggling in developing a strategy? Let these digital transformation case studies help you. 

The COVID-19 pandemic has made digital transformation (DT) a means for survival for companies. We’re now living in an “automation first” era. Businesses and employees now use software robots to increase efficiency, free employees from mundane tasks and generate better revenue. Who knows – maybe every human will each have a software robot of their own. 

Implementing DT requires a change in mindset and culture. Moreover, it is a complex journey that requires careful planning. Hence, the best way to develop a DT strategy is to learn by example. This article features digital transformation case studies that highlight the benefits of transforming and the consequences of failing to do so. 

Nokia 

The company began as a paper mill in the late 1800s. In 1967, Nokia merged several jointly owned businesses to form the Nokia Corporation. The company launched the world’s first international cellular system in the early 1980s. Nokia released some of the first mobile phones. However, those phones were heavy which made mobility a little uncertain. 

Things were really going well for Nokia. By the late 1990s, they were the world’s top cell phone provider. Furthermore, Nokia achieved paramount success due to its investment in research and development (R&D). 

Moreover, they were even the first to develop a touch-screen, internet-enabled phone. In 2007, Nokia hoarded over half of all the profits in the mobile phone industry.

However, Nokia dominated not because of their smartphones. Nokia let other phones like Apple and Google surpass them. Users wanted phones with better software and improved user experience. Nokia was not able to provide that as they believe their hardware would keep users loyal. 

This shows that your success today does not guarantee your success tomorrow. You must be willing to depart from success and unafraid to take risks if it would mean innovating. Failure to do so will lead to failure, even for the biggest companies. 

Unilever

Unilever is one of the biggest companies in the consumer packaged goods (CPG) industry. However, the industry has been experiencing a steady decline since 2013. Unilever acknowledged this change and started pulling away from its declining food business. After 2010, the company moved toward health and beauty. 

Traditionally, companies buy customer data from market-research firms. However, Unilever broke the norm and built its own database. They gathered anonymized information from different sources like store loyalty cards, customer registrations, and third-party sites. As result, Unilever got over 900 million individual customer records. 

Hence, the company now has a massive amount of data to back up its DT and product development strategies. This has enabled Unilever to spend less and sell more. 

What can we learn from Unilever? Disruption won’t end. Thus, your willingness must not stop, too. Moreover, Unilever focused on efficiency and implemented new technologies. You must also be prepared to adapt continually.

These digital transformation case studies taught us that innovation will either make or break your company. 

Digital Transformation Projects to Inspire You

Digital transformation projects done right take businesses to a new level of growth. The best way to learn is by observing others that succeeded.

What Is Digital Transformation? 

Digital transformation (DT) is the integration of digital technology in all areas of a company’s operations. The process often involves big changes in how a company functions and serves customers. 

Moreover, it can massively affect the quality of the company’s products. DT enables companies to bring innovative products and services. Additionally, DT impacts how a company deals with data. 

Digital transformation projects aren’t simply to digitize information. Of course, digitization of information is a crucial element of all digital transformation projects. However, it’s only a part of the whole process.

DT often involves taking radical steps and not afraid of experimenting and failures. It might be tough to let go of traditional business processes. However, the times we live in have made digital technologies essential.

Keep in mind that customers already know what DT is. Technology is a well-known part of everyday life. Thus, it’s time to take the leap and start transforming. 

Successful Digital Transformation Projects 

Thanks to DT, companies have the opportunity to optimize operating costs as well as increase process efficiency. Additionally, DT increases the ability of the companies to predict the market situation. As result, it allows them to better meet customers’ needs

However, 70% of digital transformation fail. Sounds scary? These digital transformation projects will give you the motivation to take a step forward. If they did it, you can, too!

Audi 

It’s hard to think of the automotive industry going digital. Yet, Audi decided to enter the digital world with its new services. They became one of the most successful DT examples. 

Their initiatives began in 2012 when they introduced Audi City. It is an innovative showroom concept having users acquainted with all Audi’s car models in micro-showrooms in city centers. 

Moreover, these spaces make your experience enjoyable and accessible. That is by allowing you to discover and buy cars while wandering around the city center stores. 

Audi has also made advanced car configuration possible by installing interactive screens in stores. Furthermore, you can use your own tablet to look inside the car.

These solutions have resulted in Audi only exhibiting 4 cars. Audi has gained more savings and their sales increased by 60% compared to traditional showrooms.

LEGO

LEGO’s digital transformation began way back in 1997 when it entered the video game market. Since then, they have mainly used games to promote their brand. These games are largely free so it has increased the promotional effect of the products. 

Most companies are afraid of 3D printing options because it allows customers to create products themselves. However, LEGO broke the norm and has filed a patent application for this type of printing to enable clients to use innovative solutions. 

Furthermore, LEGO has created a website collecting customer ideas for block sets. This will stimulate the creativity of brand fans and instill customer loyalty. 

Moreover, the company has made its toys become more modern. For instance, LEGO sometimes equips blocks with advanced solutions such as sensors.

Digital Adoption Case Study: What You Can Learn

Knowing a digital adoption case study can help you learn a lot. Especially if you are planning to do a digital adoption within your company.

Remember, many trying but only a few are winning their digital transformation (Dx). And one of the reasons is that companies tend to undermine adoption.

Of course, you don’t want that, right? So, you need to learn from some case studies. What are these?

Keep on reading to know more.

Digital Adoption Case Study: Why Important

Digital tools are not the sole answer to modernization. Yes, it is an enabler. But there are many other things you need to do.

Like digital adoption. What is this? The state wherein you or your workers can use your digital use to their full capacity. And because of this, you can give out better results. Like:

  • successful Dx
  • more efficient employee onboarding and training
  • easier website navigation
  • heightened productivity
  • better software use
  • excellent customer care

As as you can see, in whatever you want to do, do not forget about digital adoption. Doing so can help you succeed.

But there is no foolproof plan for everyone. You will need to make your own. Of course, you can learn from some case studies. With this, you can have a pattern for your strategy.

Digital Adoption Case Study: Samples

Help Digital Transformation

Dx is on every CEO and CIO’s checklist. Everyone is doing or planning to do it. But this is a journey, a process.

Also, it has the potential to be disruptive. Why? Because culture change is crucial to its success. Everyone in your company needs to have a new mindset. From the traditional to a digital mindset.

So, how will your Dx succeed? Focus on digital adoption at the same time. Remember, there is no use in buying new techs if no one can use them to their full extent.

Efficient Employee Training

As you already know, training is crucial and should be done once in a while. But it can be hard to do traditional training from time to time.

So, how to make this easier and more efficient? Digital adoption. This can help your employees adapt to new tools faster. So, your training sessions can go smoother.

Especially if you are using a Digital Adoption Platform (DAP) like Walkme. It is immersive. Also, it is easier to make effective walkthroughs of apps and more.

Easier Website Navigation

Today, it is almost hard to find someone that is not using the internet. Almost every one of us now goes to a website or an app daily. But as you noticed, we tend to leave if the user experience is not seamless.

That is also true for your customers. So, you also need to ensure digital adoption among them. Make all your digital channels easy to use.

Also, provide something that can help your users use all its features. May it be a training video or with the help of a DAP. With this, you can get more sales conversions. As well as more loyal customers.