General Electric (GE) made an investment of over $1 billion to build a software “Center of Excellence” in California, USA in order to cope with the exponential data explosion from intelligent machines. CEO Jeff Immelt declared that GE needed to become a software as well as an analytics company or the organization could risk seeing its own hardware products become commodities as competitors moved in. CEO Jeff Immelt says: “On our current trajectory, GE is on track to be a top 10 software company.” And the astonishing fact is that GE has been a manufacturing company for the past 124 years.
This is what is being termed as the software revolution by many industry pundits. No matter what the vertical, all companies are defining themselves in terms of software, both at the customer end as well as in terms of business processes. Marco Annunziata, Chief Economist at GE, said in a media interview: “We’re no longer selling customers just a jet engine, a locomotive, or a wind turbine; we’re bringing data and actionable solutions along with the hardware to reduce costs and improve performance.”
On the other hand, a legacy company such as Walmart is struggling to keep up with the changing times and particularly the online market. They are also forced to pull up their socks and get into the race. Of late, they have tried to turn around things for themselves by working around innovation and partnering with software giants like Microsoft and taking their ecommerce platform to the market.
The reason why Walmart and all such companies are getting into the race is because otherwise they risk becoming redundant. As global leaders set the pace, people are upping their expectations. They wouldn’t settle for anything inferior. Typically, the younger generation expects high speed, agility, and new functionalities as a given. The tolerance level of such customers is very low and they move their feet very quickly.
“According to our survey, 80 per cent of consumers will move from one product to another if they were not satisfied with their experience within a window of three months,” says Steve Jobson, VP, Dynatrace LLC.
That is the real problem. Organizations spend huge amounts of money on customer acquisition and they could risk losing it. It has gone to a point where customers demand everything to work perfectly at all times. They don’t expect failures at all. There was a time when a down time with technology was tolerated in good humor but not anymore.
According to Jobson, it is not just about the application now; it is much more than that. It is the device, the connectivity, the whole experience, with everything being software driven and that a lot of companies are under pressure to perform at this pace and with high quality.
As technology grows by leaps and bounds, companies need to look at software functionalities and differentiation if they have to stay relevant. They have to deliver innovation faster to meet customer expectation and lead to a satisfactory consumer experience. With companies and enterprises joining this race, the software revolution is well and truly on.
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