GE builds green data centre, scales back IT offshoring

GE, the US electrical equipment manufacturer, has revealed two significant IT initiatives in the last two weeks; a new green data centre and a strategy to employ more in-house IT staff.

The new data centre, located in Louisville Kentucky, has received Platinum certification in the LEED building efficiency standard (the US equivalent of Europe’s BREEAM).

The company says that by using "high-density servers", it has reduced the floor space of the data centre, compared to the facility it is replacing, by 50%. It has also applied "high-efficiency cooling systems", which have allowed the company to cut energy consumption by 34% compared to typical LEED-certified buildings.

GE located the data centre in an existing facility, and sourced half of the building materials locally, meaning that the construction itself was energy efficient, it says.

The company also revealed the security measures in the data center, which include optical hand scanners and three "monitored man traps".

The new facility, built to support GE’s appliances and lighting division, will boost the company’s programme to revitalise its manufacturing processes, it said. This includes a $1 billion investment in various ‘manufacturing centres of excellence’, that it claims will create 1,300 U.S. jobs by 2014.

Moving IT back onshore

Earlier this month, the company – which pioneered the use of offshore outsourcing during the 1980s – confirmed plans to hire 1,100 IT workers in the US.

In an interview with Bloomberg Business, president of business solutions and CIO Cherlene Begley said that the company was rethinking the wisdom of offshore outsourcing.

“About 50 percent of the IT work was being done by non-GE employees,” she said. “That strategy may have had its time, but there was a lot of downside. We lost a lot of the technical capabilities that we have to own.”

She also said that having in-house development resources will improve its ability to deliver user-friendly applications. "With iPads and whatever mobile devices people want to use, the need for better user experiences is essential to competitiveness,” Begley said.

The 1,100 IT workers will be located near Detroit, thanks in part to tax incentives offered by the state of Michigan. According to US-based salary comparison website, salaries in the Detroit area have fallen by 3% since the credit crunch, compared to a 1% drop in the US national average.

The average salary for an IT project manager in the Detroit area is $84,000, according to By way of a crude comparison, the Glassdoor website claims that an IT project manager working for GE in India earns an average salary of $91,000.

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Ben Rossi

Ben was Vitesse Media's editorial director, leading content creation and editorial strategy across all Vitesse products, including its market-leading B2B and consumer magazines, websites, research and...

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