Despite the hype of machine learning and AI, not many businesses today have actually managed to bring transformational change through data — GE Aviation is an exception. Since March 2017, the GE Aviation Self-Service Data program has seen the creation of more than 2,000 data products, and the program has more than 1,800 users (and growing) worldwide. How did they do it?
For starters, it’s worth noting that achieving actual data transformation at a massive scale doesn’t simply mean slapping data on top of existing processes; it involves fundamental organizational change, weaving data into the very fabric of the company. And fundamental organizational change is hard. That means enabling data insights at scale, much less automating them to enable AI services, is even harder.
Most companies fail not because they choose the wrong technology — in fact, that’s kind of the easy part. No, most companies falter in their data journey largely because they lack the most important pieces of the puzzle: transformation of people and processes through education
GE Aviation transformed their business not just because they were able to leverage technology (including Dataiku), but more importantly, because they enabled at a grand scale employees’ ability to process, understand, and use data for day-to-day decisions.
The Self-Service Data (SSD) Program at GE Aviation
GE Aviation has implemented their own version of a self-service data system that serves their specific needs and requirements and that allow 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.
The SSD at GE Aviation is, in a nutshell:
- 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.