How would you like a digital twin of your organisation?

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Helen Huntley, Gartner (Photo: Frank Ellis)
Helen Huntley, Gartner (Photo: Frank Ellis)

The concept of the digital twin has been around for decades. It refers to a digital representation of a physical object - an aircraft engine, or a spacecraft, for instance - and engineering teams can then run simulations to predict, for example, maintenance, or when a component needs to be replaced.

But what if you put a different spin on this old concept, and use it to map the entire complex ecosystem of an organisation - its internal processes, supply chains, and interactions with customers?

This, according to Gartner, is now being carried out.

Presenting this new idea at the Gartner Symposium/ITxpo in Cape Town this week, Helen Huntley, a VP in technology and service provider research, said a global grocery store had recently used a digital twin of its organisation to take a deeper look at its business model, with the eventual aim of cost optimisation.

"We can presently get siloes of information from different business units. In sales and marketing you've got financial models and the operational side has KPIs for merchandising, but they didn't have a clear view across all those business units," she explained.

Management is now able to get a view of all the interlocking parts of the organisation and see how they can create efficiencies. "The digital twin of an organisation gives them insights they've actually never had before, and it's insight based on continuous intelligence."

Huntley said many jobs involved an employee interfacing with an application, and then the application moved onto another desk, and another employee, and so on. With the digital twin model, this path could be tracked for the first time.

"It's exciting. And clients are very open to the idea of using something based on technology that's evolved from the IOT digital twin, and can now gain insights into situational awareness. They can see interaction points and can look deep into the processes.

"And we've never had visibility of that before."

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