Did you know that twins represent only three per cent of the world's population? Their relative rarity explains why many societies around the world have developed mythologies around their perceived power.
In the last 40 years, the incidence of twin births has increased by more than 60%. The reasons are not particularly mystical, but what has sparked interest is the increase in the number of twins in an unexpected area: the business world.
As market pressures force companies to find new ways to maximise efficiency - while still increasing customer satisfaction - many companies are exploring the idea of creating a "digital twin" to help drive improvements.
What is a digital twin?
A digital twin of an organization (DTO) is a replica - a virtual model - of a real process, product or service. It allows you to analyse and optimise your product, service or process in a digital instance so you can replicate what works, or address issues before they become real-world problems.
The concept of DTO is not new. In fact, digital twins have been used for more than a decade to diagnose the performance of engines and windmills and to run simulations in industries as diverse as aerospace and mining. But the idea has been gaining attention, appearing on Gartner's Top 10 Strategic Technology Trends lists for the past three years.
And like a real-world twin, a digital twin is not a static copy. It is a dynamic representation of what is happening, synchronised to adapt in real time. This combination of the virtual and physical worlds provides the kind of information that prevents downtime, highlights new opportunities and can even help you plan for the future.
Making a double reading of the company's operations
The endless amount of data available through the Internet of Things (IoT) has been one of the main reasons why digital twinning has come to the fore. And industry analysts are taking note. One of the many predictions IDC has developed in relation to digital twinning: companies that invest in DTO technology will see a 30% improvement in the cycle times of their critical processes.
It's a tantalising promise of increased efficiency, with additional potential for resource savings and improved speed and customer satisfaction. And it stands to reason, if you can see what is happening in your core processes and track the customer journey, you can make the right changes to achieve significant improvement. In short, your digital twin can demonstrate how you can deliver the best value to your stakeholders.
You may be wondering what the first step is. Well, digital depends on data. In fact, the two main drivers of a digital twin are data and analytics. Along with IoT, today's business operations and their underlying IT systems are a primary source of data, tracking every step of every action in every core process, supporting process and sub-process.
So if your own systems can provide the data, what is the best approach to extract and analyse it?
Using process mining as a mirror
Process mining technology is the central element in building your DTO. Because it uses data directly from your operational systems to create a visualisation of your process steps, it is fast and not subject to error or subjectivity like traditional methods, e.g. process mapping and modelling.
Process mining also provides a layer of organizational context and allows you to look beyond the "what" of process operations and helps you dive into the "why" things are happening the way they are.
An additional benefit of process mining technology is its flexibility. If you are a large enterprise or have a complex process landscape, you can start with a localised end-to-end view of a particular process. From there, you can quickly and easily scale up to build on the insights you've already gained, without being overwhelmed by the need to analyse, prioritise and optimise everything you do all at once.
In its 2018 "Market Guide for Process Mining", Gartner noted that process mining "will become an essential part of any business transformation initiative and could certainly help guide digital business initiatives by providing the data connection part of this digital twin of an organization ." https://www.gartner.com/en/documents/3870291/market-guide-for-process-mining0
Gartner further predicts that by 2020, 50% of companies will use digital twins. That's because there is potential to build a new mythology around this emerging solution. And companies that want to take advantage of it can ensure their success by using process mining technology to harness the full power of pairing.