GE Digital forges business alliance with SAP to advance industrial Internet of Things

SAP SE and GE Digital announced Wednesday their intention to explore collaboration in the area of the Industrial Internet of Things (IoT). The announcement is driven by the fundamental shared belief in the power of the industrial IoT, and the ability for joint customers to drive further efficiency, savings and utilization from their investments into assets.

Announced at the GE’s Mind + Machines conference, customers in the oil and gas industry will be the first beneficiaries between the two companies.

SAP and GE are both members of the Industrial Internet Consortium (IIC). This international network of companies and universities is driving the implementation of the Industrial IoT in several areas, including manufacturing. Both companies plan to reinforce their ongoing activities and uncover ways to work together on standards to accelerate interoperability and convergence between IT and operational technology (OT).

Building on the respective strengths of GE Digital and SAP, the companies plan to focus their initial efforts on opportunities to strengthen the integration between GE’s Predix operating system and SAP HANA Cloud Platform. Additionally, the companies intend to collaborate in the area of asset management, including SAP Asset Intelligence Network, and to explore and design use cases to enable the “Things to Outcomes” vision for customers in the oil and gas industry.

“Enabling the owners, operators and makers of their equipment to share data and context is an essential building block towards the enablement of end-to-end processes and our ‘Things to Outcome’ vision’,” said Dr. Tanja Rueckert, executive vice president, Digital Assets & IoT, at SAP.

“The cross-collaboration between GE and SAP will allow us to create opportunities for the Industrial IoT ecosystem,” said Denzil Samuels, global head of Channels & Alliances at GE Digital. “The partnership is an ongoing effort to expand joint go-to-market capabilities and accelerate innovation in rapidly growing markets for cloud platforms.”

GE announced earlier this week new products, acquisitions and partner programs to enable further adoption of Predix, the operating system for the Industrial Internet. The platform enhancements, acquisitions and new ISV partner program further complement the Predix technology stack and make it easier for industrial companies to execute a strategic digital transformation to drive internal productivity.

In 2016, orders from GE’s portfolio of software solutions are on track to climb by over 25 percent to more than $7 billion. Demonstrating the strength of Predix within GE, digital thread productivity will exceed $600 million, accelerating into 2017.

GE unveiled the Predix System  software architecture and services designed to make any machine an intelligent asset and to bring visibility, control and analytic insights to every part of industrial infrastructure and operations. This new set of components can run on a variety of operating systems, devices and form factors – from sensors and controllers to gateways, server appliances and the cloud – making Predix a distributed system for the Industrial Internet and a complete “edge-to-cloud” offering.

This strategy reinforces GE’s approach to the edge and incorporates other GE devices, such as Field Agent, a component of GE’s Industrial Internet Control System (IICS). IICS quickly, reliably and securely connects thousands of machines to the cloud, bringing computing to the edge with 100 times the computing power of a standard control system.

GE Digital also announced it has acquired ServiceMax, a vendor of cloud-based field service management (FSM) solutions, for $915 million. This deal provides GE Digital with enhanced capabilities to advance its Industrial Internet vision, enabling customers to immediately gain more value from their assets and find greater efficiency in their field service processes.

GE has invested in the build out of digital twins for industrial assets. In addition, the company has accelerated productivity improvements through digitizing service processes.

The ServiceMax product offering was an essential element to driving GE internal productivity. With this acquisition, GE plans to add analytics and insights into the ServiceMax logistics, workforce optimization and deployment models. GE estimates there is a market-wide opportunity to improve service productivity by $25 billion through the use of analytical tools.

ServiceMax’s platform provides a full suite of applications, including inventory and parts logistics, scheduling and workforce optimization, and work order management. As a result of this transaction, customers will be able to access these offerings from a modern rapid application development cloud and field-ready mobile platform that combines the strength of GE’s deep domain expertise and advanced industrial portfolio with ServiceMax’s field service expertise.

The company plans to leverage the Predix platform to further the development of additional industrial applications focused on service delivery.


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