Powering Global IT Transformation

We had a target to take a billion dollars of technology costs out of our own operations. And we did it! By the end of 2017, we exceeded the billion dollars of productivity, and we figured out how to deliver three billion dollars’ worth of productivity within the same time frame. Jim Fowler
Former Group CIO, General Electric

In 2015, GE CIO Jim Fowler was given a challenge: Lead digital transformation at GE and reduce IT costs by a billion dollars. It was a daunting task, but Jim took it on and succeeded. To begin, he prioritized four key objectives: improve employee productivity, enable growth, reduce infrastructure complexity and costs, and improve the security posture for GE’s mobile users.

Fowler started GE’s transformation journey by getting agile: moving apps to the cloud and building a “reuse-not-reinvent” culture. The move to the cloud necessitated a consolidation of data centers and a transformation of the workforce. GE saw a multitude of benefits from its transformation journey including improved performance, massive cost reductions, improved security, and the creation of a better, more-agile environment for growth.


Company: General Electric
Sector: Conglomerate
Driver: Jim Fowler
Role: Former CIO
Revenue: $122 billion
Employees: 300,000
Countries: 170
Locations: 8,000
Company IT Footprint: General Electric is a global name and has been an icon of technology innovation for well over a century. At the time of writing, there were about 9,000 IT employees and another 15,000 contractors at GE. They maintained an application portfolio of around 8,000 applications, and were distributed across 45,000 compute nodes. Their IT infrastructure was spread across 300,000 employees who sat in 170 countries around the world.

Improve employee productivity

Enable growth

Reduce infrastructure complexity and costs

Improve security posture for mobile users

Get agile:

  • Move apps to the cloud
  • “Reuse-not-reinvent" culture

Consolidate data centers

Transform workforce:

  • Shift from contractors to FTEs
  • Turn project managers into product managers

Define decision-making guardrails

Create risk-tolerance metrics, models

Move from hub-and-spoke to local internet breakouts


Improved security: 340K users protected across 9 business units across 165 countries

Agility: Up to $4 return on each $1 spent on shared code, resources

Up to 75% infrastructure cost savings by country

VPN retirement

$30M annual MPLS cost savings

Up to 70% improvement in transaction times

Improved information-sharing