GE Aviation: From Data Silos to Self-Service

GE Aviation has implemented their own version of a self-service system that serves their specific needs and requirements and that allows them to use real-time data at scale to make better and faster decisions throughout the organization.

To date, despite the hype around AI in the media, very few businesses have managed to execute on incorporating the fundamental processes that enable these data insights at scale, much less automating them to enable AI services.

GE Aviation is a company that bucks this trend and that has been able to empower the organization – not just at a high-level, but down to the individual level – to use data for day-to-day processes.

“The Digital League is the cultural piece [of the data-driven approach] – people are impressed that we have that in a 127-year-old company. It takes a lot to innovate, and The Digital League is enabling that; they are the next step in the innovation of manufacturing.”

– Somesh Saxena, Product Owner of Dataiku and Alation @ GE Aviation

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In a general sense, self-service is the system by which line-of-business professionals or analysts can access and work with data to generate insights (predictive or not) as well as data visualization with little direct support from data scientists, IT, or a larger data team (though the self-service platform itself should be supported by these personas).

GE Aviation has implemented their own version of a self-service system that serves their specific needs and requirements and that allows them to use real-time data at scale to make better and faster decisions throughout the organization:

  • Engineering is using data from these tools to redesign parts and build jet engines more efficiently.
  • Supply chain is using it to get better data insights into their shop floors and streamline supply chain processes.
  • Finance is using it to understand key metrics such as cost, cash, etc.
  • The commercial group (by leveraging data scientists) is using these tools to transform engine sensor data from customers and build analytics services for them.
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The data initiative at GE Aviation is called Self-Service Data (SSD), but in fact encompasses both self-service in the traditional sense as well as an element of operationalization (that is, the process of converting data insights into actual large-scale business and operational impact) for both business lines and IT users.

The SSD at GE Aviation is:

  • The ability for everyone (with proper access rights) to discover and use data, prepare that data, and create a data product, including developing predictive models within Dataiku.
  • The ability for data product creators to share their work with other colleagues.
  • The ability for data product creators to deploy data pipelines in production using macros developed in Dataiku

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