GE to Double Software Hires on Rising Big-Data Sales

General Electric Co. (GE) is hiring twice as many programmers and engineers as originally planned for its software development hub near San Francisco after sales of new data analysis services exceeded the company’s expectations.

Employment will reach 800 workers at the facility, where GE is crafting computer programs that can distill data collected from jet engines, locomotives and wind turbines, according to Bill Ruh, the executive leading the initiative. Sales of the first 10 applications designed at the center have reached $290 million this year, Ruh said.

“We’re way ahead of where we thought we’d be in terms of offerings, and we’re very happy with the revenues as well,” Ruh said yesterday in a telephone interview. “We’ve learned we can do this, and it’s turning out to be bigger than we thought.”

GE will unveil an additional 14 offerings, including five that complement its rapidly growing oil and gas business, at an event today in Chicago. The company has invested $1 billion to create big-data services that it says will increase efficiency for its industrial customers. About 600 people work at the software center, in San Ramon, California, compared with initial plans for 400 employees.

The push into software complements Chief Executive Officer Jeffrey Immelt’s focus on boosting profit at GE’s industrial businesses, which he plans to increase from 55 percent of the company’s $16.1 billion of operating earnings last year to 65 percent in 2015.

New Products

Among the products Fairfield, Connecticut-based GE will introduce today are Field360, which is designed to help oil and gas drillers monitor performance of electrical submersible pumps, and ReliabilityMax, a program that keeps tabs on oil field electrical turbines to help cut maintenance costs.

Big data refers to the vast quantity of information amassed by businesses, governments and universities that requires powerful computers for storage and analysis.

Other applications will help smooth airline operations, improve electrical grid efficiency and boost railcar utilization, GE said. It’s also announcing new partnerships with AT&T Inc. (T), Cisco Systems Inc. and Intel Corp. (INTC) for cloud-computing, network and data services.

To contact the reporter on this story: Tim Catts in New York at tcatts1@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Ed Dufner at edufner@bloomberg.net

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