This Back Room Job Just Became a No. 1 Priority

This Back Room Job Just Became a No. 1 Priority
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Why you should care

Because the IT guys have always been superheroes.

The author, Chris Drumgoole, is the Vice President & Chief Technology Officer, GE IT.

OZY and Predix from GE — the cloud-based development platform built for industry — have partnered to bring you an inside look at the future of digital industries, where people, data and productivity meet.

No doubt, we are in the midst of a digital industrial revolution, and this means big attention — and big bucks — are being directed to the industrial Internet of Things. How much cash? A whopping $500 billion by 2020, according to analysts. The result is a rapidly expanding ecosystem, one that embraces a wealth of technological know-how, from platform operators to system integrators. Most important, it includes a global network of developers whose software and applications help industries harness the Internet of Things in order to be better, faster, stronger.

At the heart of this ecosystem is a new vanguard of IT talent — and it’s fundamentally changing the way technology is built and delivered. Remember when IT was relegated to the back office, away from sight, focused solely on keeping the infrastructure afloat and the systems running? Back then, success was measured in uptime and projects completed, not revenue generation or customer acquisition.

But now, the “geeks” in the back room are in the limelight. CIOs and technical talent are focusing on innovation, figuring out ways to drive competitive advantage in the market. Sure, they continue to keep everything humming day to day, reducing operation inefficiencies and costs. But now they’re also at the core of the business — imagining, building and deploying platforms and applications to fuel growth and produce tangible financial returns for customers. In this new digital industrial world, there’s a lot of data — the massive influx dwarfs what we’ve seen from the consumer internet. Whether it’s aviation, energy, health care or other sectors, industrial machines are churning out data at exponentially higher rates than ever before. This presents a daunting task: the rapid adoption of internet-enabled machines. So the smarty-pants in software and engineering are being called upon to solve never-before-seen technology problems. To help the digital industrial adapt and be successful, IT talents are developing new ways to optimize the performance of physical devices, reducing their operating costs and increasing their reliability.

This shift has led GE to transform our business. One example: Instead of selling single-use industrial hardware, we’re producing lighting solutions that combine solar, power production and LED technology — all analyzed and controlled by software. This opens up new ways for cloud software applications to help commercial, industrial and municipal customers leverage the power of digital to reduce energy usage, making them more reliable, efficient and profitable. The shift is also toward finding the brightest minds in IT; we’ve announced the launch of three U.S. locations focused on growing our talent base to deliver services and operations, helping our customers succeed in the industrial internet. These new sites in Atlanta and Providence, Rhode Island, combined with growth in Miami, will offer hundreds of new positions over the next several years and were strategically selected to help GE’s expanding digital operation.

With the sheer volume of data growing at a record pace, it’s no surprise that employment opportunities in the computer and IT sectors are also exploding. Between 2014 and 2024, the number of IT jobs is expected to increase 12 percent — faster than the average for all occupations, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. That could translate to 4.4 million jobs by 2024. The secret to landing one of these opportunities? Amping up those mad skills essential for the cloud. A Gartner survey of 948 IT professionals identified the cloud as the technology that will have the biggest impact on their career this year.

The time is now for IT talent to step out of the back room and into the meeting rooms. All of that nerdy knowledge about operations and infrastructure is in high demand to help businesses innovate, thrive and focus on the very bright future ahead.

Predix from GE is enabling the adoption of powerful, secure and scalable solutions built for the industrial app economy. It’s industrial-strength strength, powering the future of industry. Get Connected.

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