NEW YORK (TheStreet) -- Shares of General Electric (GE) - Get Report  were higher in early-afternoon trading on Thursday as Citigroup analysts said the industrial company's digital offerings could be a "game-changer."

Mining is still a "very small" component of GE's business, the firm said. However, the unit could be revolutionized if it continues to offer digital services, such as Predix, Citigroup added. 

GE's digital Predix operating system works to enhance industrial production by collecting and analyzing data. 

"We are not saying that we see Predix driving outsized near term growth for General Electric mining, but we sense a significant excitement from General Electric to form partnerships over time with other suppliers and with customers that could help drive General Electric mining to be a more relevant platform from General Electric over time," the firm said in an analyst note, according to Barron's

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Citigroup noted that Rockwell Automation (ROK) has expressed interest in exploring automation solutions, although the conversations are in their "very beginning" stages. 

Sales, earnings from GE's digital automation services are likely to "take time to ramp up," the firm added. 

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Separately, TheStreet Ratings objectively rated this stock according to its "risk-adjusted" total return prospect over a 12-month investment horizon. Not based on the news in any given day, the rating may differ from Jim Cramer's view or that of this articles's author. TheStreet Ratings has this to say about the recommendation:

TheStreet Ratings team rates GE as a Buy with a ratings score of B-. This is driven by some important positives, which it believes should have a greater impact than any weaknesses, and should give investors a better performance opportunity than most stocks it covers. The company's strengths can be seen in multiple areas, such as its revenue growth, compelling growth in net income, solid stock price performance, impressive record of earnings per share growth and notable return on equity. The team feels its strengths outweigh the fact that the company has had generally high debt management risk by most measures that it evaluated.

You can view the full analysis from the report here: GE

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