A modern-day Renaissance: APIs fuel a cultural shift in businesses

A modern-day Renaissance: APIs fuel a cultural shift in businesses

A modern-day Renaissance: APIs fuel a cultural shift in businesses

Since 2000, 52 percent of the Fortune 500 have gone bankrupt, merged, been acquired or fallen off the list for not keeping up with the ever-changing technology landscape.

As software proliferates every corner of a business, IT is being crushed by project demands from business users who require applications and data to be always available and always connected. As a result, IT can no longer meet the demand by simply running faster on the hamster wheel. It’s impossible to keep up.

For example, to match the pace of business required in today’s economy, General Electric (GE) is looking to embed technology in every function — from building and maintaining infrastructure to managing internal finances. To that end, the company created GE Digital in September 2015 to grow the company’s software and analytics business from $6 billion to a top 10 software company by 2020.

GE understands that to survive in today’s world of cloud, mobile, IoT and big data, central IT needs to evolve and operate under a new model that caters to evolving business needs. The new operating model requires a two-speed approach to IT and the business, as GE Digital CEO Bill Ruh noted in an interview with The Wall Street Journal. 

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GE needs to act as a nimble startup by offering intuitive software and services yet still support traditional business units that move at a slower pace. This isn’t the traditional “we’re a startup within a large organization” slogan. GE is creating a new way of operating at the core of its business.

This new operating model requires IT to build reusable, self-service assets and infrastructure to avoid reinventing the wheel every time a project is delivered. Application programming interfaces (APIs), which are well-defined interfaces that allow diverse systems and software to talk with each other, are the key ingredient that brings everything together in an application network.

As a result, GE Digital built its cloud-based platform Predix to connect machines, data and people in real time for intelligent insights. For example, an airline company can regularly monitor machine and equipment health on the Predix platform and establish a proactive maintenance schedule to ensure safety, minimize downtime and extend asset life. By combining the physical and digital worlds, the 124-year-old GE is adapting its operating model with APIs to meet market demands and innovate more quickly than competition.

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