Jeff Immelt Places Big Bets on GE’s Software Push

May 25, 2017

Jeff Immelt is determined to transform General Electric into a digital industrial company. The CEO of the legendary company, which is known for producing jet engines, locomotives, and gas turbines, predicts that GE will be a top 10 software developer by 2020.

Immelt tells Fortune’s Susie Gharib that he’s so confident about being able to pull this off over the next three years that he doesn’t have a backup plan. “In terms of being a digital industrial leader, there is no Plan B,” he says. “In other words, I think, for us to be a successful industrial company, we have to be this successful digitally. I don’t really have a Plan B.”

Over the past few years, Immelt has been shaking up GE with a complete makeover. He likes to say he’s sold $100 billion in businesses and he’s bought $100 billion worth of new businesses. The huge financial services business is gone, so is the appliance division and the NBC Universal operations. GE has been busy these days hiring hundreds of software developers as part of the company’s digital push. And GE recently broke ground on new corporate headquarters in Boston, so employees—and those new techie hires—will be exposed to the innovations coming out of universities like MIT and Harvard, as well as a thriving venture capital and start-up community.

With all those changes, it’s no wonder Immelt is a big believer in GE’s digital future. “I make it kind of a rallying cry for our team,” he says. “Not only can we do it, but we must do it. It’s what our customers expect. It’s what the world expects.”

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