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The digital twin organisation... shape-shifters of tomorrow

The digital twin organisation... shape-shifters of tomorrow

Global tech researchers agree that digital twin organisation (DTO) technology, while still in its infancy, has massive potential and a definite role to play in helping businesses digitally transform. The DTO, which typically uses the tech alongside other digital platforms and systems, is gaining momentum globally.

According to research by Gartner, traditional design practices dictate that software systems are directly connected to a thing and there is real-time data exchange. "A change in either the system or thing can force complicated and costly changes in the other. In some cases, multiple systems need the same data."

The digital twin is a design pattern developed to address the challenge of redundant communication systems. It serves as a means by which users can better manage channelling the same data over multiple sources and reduce associated high data management and analytics costs.

Gartner quotes Christopher Alexander, the person credited with coining the term: "Each pattern describes a problem that occurs over and over again in our environment, and then describes the core of the solution to that problem, in such a way that you can use this solution a million times over, without ever doing it the same way twice."

For the most part digital twin technology has been used with IOT to mainly to manage physical infrastructure like jet engines and wind turbines through sensors and computer modelling.

At the 2018 Gartner Symposium ITEXPO in Cape Town this week, seasoned tech analysts explained that digital twin brings its 'continuous next' digital strategy to life.

"Digital twins is so much more robust. AI has been added making them so much more sophisticated. You can now create digital twins of your organisation including non-physical things ... the interaction between systems, applications and even other people. DTOs will also be very critical as our modern business systems become more reliant upon continuous intelligence," said Helen Huntley, Research VP, Gartner.

The company predicts that by 2023, 50% of major enterprises will use digital twin of the organisation in combination with digital business platforms.

This will be driven by desire by business to secure a clear view across all processes within the operation, the insight required to optimise 'real- world' business scenarios.

"Digital twin technology has been out there in various forms, but it has not been expanded," said Huntley. "And now instead of being just tied to physical things, it can be tied to non-physical things... processes, operations, the steps someone must take to do their job. So when you start seeing this evolution of this digital twin model, you start to see how the significant changes ... how you can start using it from real-world things."

Huntley cited an example of a large grocery store chain that used a digital twin to take a deep look at their operating model. The company drove it to secure cost optimisation said Huntley and they needed the technology to gain a holistic view across their business, including marketing and financial, to analyse their operating model to create efficiency.

Gartner execs believe businesses in emerging markets have just as much opportunity to leverage this technology, but should take a step-by-step approach focusing on sections of the business first and then developing.

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