Digital Transformation at GE: What Went Wrong?
(9 pages of text)
Case (Pub Mat)
As recently as 2017, General Electric (GE) had been touted as an example of how established companies could pre-emptively transform their businesses digitally, without waiting to be forced to do so by their competition. But in 2018, the wheels appeared to fall off GE's transformation, amid a crisis that included leadership changes, dividend cuts, credit downgrades, and a stock price crash. The company announced that it would sell GE Digital, the newly built-up organization at the heart of its celebrated transformation. This case examines the digital transformation that GE had been attempting and the challenges it encountered. Students will develop ideas about what happened and what GE’s experience means for digital transformation initiatives within other established firms.
This case is suitable for a graduate-level course on information technology management, innovation, and business strategy. After working through the case, students will understand
- why established companies might attempt digital transformation;
- what outcomes firms aim to achieve through digital transformation; and
- the difficulties and risks inherent in such ambitious change programs.
United States, Large, 2019
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