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A Year Under Pat Byrne, GE Digital is More Pragmatic, Less Theatrical

In an in-depth interview, GE Digital CEO Pat Byrne talks about his pragmatic approach: ‘If you put an overall umbrella around GE Digital, it’s really working with our customers, really enabling the transformation of how they solve their toughest challenges by putting industrial data to work.”

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How important are channel partners to GE Digital's strategy?

In our manufacturing business, it‘s essential. It is primarily a partner-driven go-to-market strategy that we use. We use partners that have expertise in deploying manufacturing systems, historian automation, manufacturing execution systems and analytics platforms leverage our [software]. We have partners that are go-to-market partners. We also have partners that provide adjacent solutions that combine with ours to create a more complete solution with customers. So it’s essential to our go-to-market.

Our go-to-market in asset performance management is largely direct, but we also have critical partners in vertical markets we ourselves are not focused on. For example, we have a metals and mining partner that goes after metals and mining. We don‘t focus on metals mining, but we have partners that focus on metals and mining. Our grid business is largely a direct business. But there’s some critical partners we work with to create solutions with our customers, but the go-to-market is a direct go-to-market. There are three or four hundred grid operators in the world, [they] dominate the electric grid. That’s where most of the market is, and so we call in those customers. Because we’re organized by business unit, we have a team on power generation, oil and gas. We have a team on manufacturing. Those general managers manage those partner networks.

I do think partners will be important in the future. Also, we have a critical development partnership with Amazon. In the future, without going into more specifics, in order to deliver enterprise value in the future, these partnerships are going to be more important, and we‘ll be expanding, because connecting to other systems is part of the industrial Internet of Things.


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