The cloud has been in the consumer mainstream now for many years. But large enterprises, in particular, have been reluctant to transition from in-house software to the cloud. However, that appears to be changing as evidenced by the fact that traditional industries are now embracing the cloud like never before.
Take the case of General Electric. It’s hard to find a more mainstream old school business than GE. It was a pioneer of the electric generation industry and today is immersed in the business of manufacturing heavy equipment for use in the power, oil & gas and general industrial sectors. Despite its equipment and hardware-intensive nature, the company’s Chairman and CEO Jeff Immelt is leading the charge into the application development and cloud arenas.
“If you went to bed last night as an industrial company, you are going to wake up in the morning as a software company,” said Immelt at a recent conference.
But he isn’t just talking about it. His goal is to have 20,000 developers on the payroll by the end of this year. This is being driven by the fact that GE’s software revenues have doubled since 2011 and are expected to double again by 2020. That equates to $5 billion last year with a target of $6 billion in 2016.
What’s particularly interesting, though, is that this is not some new line that is divorced from core operations. GE is developing software to make its own machines and cloud apps for its customers in order to make more efficient pumps, turbines and compressors that are capable of achieving far more production.
Within GE itself, 16 “Brilliant Factory” projects have been launched to showcase virtual manufacturing, sensor-enabled automaton, digitalisation and integration of all manufacturing systems. Its turbomachinery factory in Florence, Italy, for example, developed the NovaLT16 gas turbine in less than two years as opposed to the norm of up to ten years for a new machine.
GE’s vision is that an App Store will evolve in the industrial sector similar to the consumer App Store. However, it is running into the fact that many of its customers and partners lack experience in development. Outsourced development is picking up the slack.
With big companies like GE committing to large-scale cloud and software development, a domino effect is taking place where entire partners, vendors and customers within its vast supply chain ecosystem are marching to the same beat. Each organisation is coming to the realisation that the rapid creation of software needs to either become part of its repertoire of essential skillsets, or the function has to be outsourced to a trusted partner.
But heavy industry is only one example of this trend. Sectors such as finance, healthcare, government, retail, telecom and many others are being forced to up their game on the development side. Some have already invested heavily in software resources. But the likelihood is that the speed of app creation and the accelerated pace of cloud adoption are going to outstrip the internal capabilities of most companies. Hence software outsourcing is expected to continue to expand like never before.
With the cloud becoming embracive, companies large and small are adopting it more than ever before. To remain competitive, therefore, it is vital to have the development resources to hand that can provide the apps you need as fast as you need them.
Development and support of cloud-based software is core to Ballard Chalmers’ business and has been since 1998 with the move to browser based software systems. Our pioneering work included online enterprise business systems developed for the likes of GE, Hitachi, Hewlett-Packard, and many more. This expertise continues today with a focus on the Microsoft Cloud and supporting all aspects of migrating enterprise business systems to the cloud. Our specialisation is the design, development and integration of custom enterprise software systems and we have done this for hundreds of companies. Contact us for more information.
By Drew Robb, Contributor
Drew Robb is a freelance editor and writer, specialising in the Information Technology sector.