• Digital Twin

Digital Twin

16 November 2022

A digital twin refers to a digital representation of physical assets, systems and devices that can include wind turbines, aircrafts, power plants and smartphones. The concept of “digital twin”, is first attributed to Michael Grieves in 2002.

In industry, this is used to plan, test and optimize systems, but also to train employees in their use. In production-related industries, this is used to plan, test and optimize systems, but also to train employees in their use. A digital twin can also be linked to real-time information for a holistic view of the system. Typical applications include asset monitoring, predictive maintenance and virtual simulations to optimize system performance by changing parameters such as temperatures, pressure or energy consumption. This concept has been applied as a Digital Twin of an Organization (DTO)

Digital Twin of an Organization (DTO)

Mark Kerremans, from Gartner, covered in his research the concept of DTO end of 2019.  Examples of Digital Twin of cities are Singapore and Antwerp.  A DTO of a county can be in the format of a Macro-Economic Model to test/simulate the effects of new/changing policies.

The term enterprise management system (EMS) is often used synonymously. The DTO is the basis for a holistic approach that allows various scenarios for change to be run through before being implemented. A DTO is central for planning successful changes on a strategic and operational level in a company.

What are the characteristics of a DTO and what is it used for?

A DTO is a software-based representation of an organization. It includes knowledge of the key interdependencies between the business assets such as products, business operations and resources, and is supplied with operational data and contextual information. The scope of a DTO can be, for example, a single business process like procurement, an entire supply chain including dependencies on suppliers and distribution partners, or the entire company, including its business ecosystem. The image/movie shows part of a nautical audit of sea ships arriving and handling throughout the port of Antwerp a project performed by BDO Digital.

The DTO/EMS concept is important for strategic transformations, business model innovation and operational optimization through business process excellence. For example, a virtual map of a supply chain can provide end-to-end transparency so that all stakeholders know exactly when and where a delivery is made, which route it has taken. When process optimizations are considered or for problem solving , the digital twin can be used to run through solution scenarios.

Process Mining and Task Mining are techniques to create DTO’s based on available factual data (transactional).  De automatic detected physical, financial and people Hand-Over flows give a factual model of the execution of the organization.  Bottleneck detection, Observation of Repetitive handling, Detection of Anomalies in Execution, Compliance Testing, Throughput Observation and ultimately in-process correction are within reach. 

Business resilience has taken on prominent importance against the backdrop of the Covid-19 pandemic. Current security and regulatory requirements can also be integrated into a DTO for regulatory compliance.

In summary, the digital twin a key concept for creating a virtual representation of business processes or a company as part of an ecosystem, to plan and run scenarios for successful transformation and operational excellence.