Undertaking a full-scale digital transformation can be challenging—especially for long-established companies not traditionally associated with software innovation. When you think of GE, for example, perhaps you picture a wind turbine, or power lines reaching all the way to horizon. After all, software didn’t really exist back in 1892 when the company was founded.

GE logoBut GE sees its digital transformation as an exciting opportunity. In fact, GE is also a $4 billion software company (GE Digital) with almost 26,000 employees working on software in one way or another. A key focus is Predix, GE’s Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT) platform designed specifically for the unique and complex challenges of industrial data.

In developing and operating products such as Predix, GE has placed great emphasis on real-time performance monitoring of the kind provided by the New Relic platform. And at FutureStack17: New York this fall, two representatives from GE offered insights into the value New Relic offers the company.

Clarity and specificity

Interviewed by New Relic’s Executive VP of Global Sales Erica Schultz as part of FutureStack: New York’s day-two keynote, GE’s Senior Director of Digital Operations CK Rao explained that one of his main transformation tasks has been to standardize monitoring procedures across GE Digital.

New Relic has been integral to that process, to the extent that thousands of GE Digital employees now use New Relic every day to ensure their applications are running smoothly. In fact, CK told keynote attendees, New Relic now detects (and helps to resolve) 62% of incidents before users submit them.

The value of New Relic, he explained, is in the clarity and specificity it provides. “If you don’t explain it well enough,” CK said, “you won’t understand it well enough.” As an example, he described how New Relic Infrastructure enabled the teams responsible for GE’s single sign-on system to achieve complete end-to-end visibility.

Proactive and predictive

CK’s enthusiasm for New Relic was echoed by GE’s Senior Director of Global Customer Support for Cloud Products Disha Gosalia. In her talk My App Has Fallen and Can’t Get Up, Disha described the efforts she and her team put into optimizing support for complex products like Predix, particularly in incident troubleshooting. She described GE’s efforts in IIoT as a $500 billion investment designed to unlock a $32 trillion opportunity connecting 20 billion machines.

The goal was to optimize availability of products ranging from jet engines to windmills to power turbines, Disha said, so, “supportability concerns are first-class concerns.” And “while investing in IIoT may be easy,” she added, “supporting and using it is certainly not,” especially at scale. “We cannot be reactive anymore,” Disha warned. “We have to be proactive and predictive.”

Embarking on an intensive six-week push to improve operational efficiency, the team set about building supportability into all of GE’s products. How? Automating processes and delivering end-to-end visibility with New Relic helped the team identify and resolve errors fast, often before they became problems.

The results were exciting: with the right data at the support team’s fingertips, GE slashed the mean time to resolve customer issues by two-thirds, cut Priority 1 defects in half, increased Priority 1 defects caught by monitoring by 40%, and reduced support’s mean time to detect (MTTD) by 70%.

Disha Gosalia presentation slide

Built-in supportability

Disha offered this takeaway for any company looking to enhance operational efficiency and improve customer experience: “Knowing your service health is half the battle,” adding that building supportability into your products and automating efficiency into your processes are also essential.

CK, meanwhile, extolls the value of end-to-end visibility in a single pane of glass for each application. “I now have visibility from start to end,” CK said, and “not just my team, we provide it to the business. And they are very happy. If they see an issue, I can show them it’s been resolved.”


B.J. Hinshaw is a freelance writer based in Northern California. View posts by .

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