Analyst house, Gartner Inc., conducted an Internet of Things (IoT) survey to address the challenge of digital leadership at the upcoming Gartner CIO Leadership Forum and CEO and IT Executive Summits. The Gartner survey collected information on best practices for IoT deployments and strategies for developing IoT solutions.
What analysts found was that 48 percent of organizations that are implementing the IoT said they are already using, or plan to use digital twins in 2018. In addition, the number of participating organizations (202 respondents across China, U.S., Germany and Japan) using digital twins will triple by 2022.
Gartner defines the IoT as the network of physical objects that contain embedded technology to communicate and sense or interact with their internal states or the external environment.
Implementing the IoT can revolutionize the way businesses manage their high-priority business processes. In an article on Informationweek.com, Dr. Setrag Khoshafian, a leading expert in Business Process Management (BPM), states that the real transformation of the IoT will occur through the “end-to-end digitization of processes.” Once coordinated around humans, business partners or enterprise apps, Business Process Automation (BPA) must now factor “things” into a digital equation.
As a result of this, IT departments serving increasingly digital organizations must focus on providing a BPA platform to make all of these “Things” part of business outcomes.
Digital twins, on the other hand, refers to a digital replica of physical assets, processes and systems that can be used for various purposes. The digital representation provides both the elements and the dynamics of how an IoT device operates and lives throughout its life cycle.
Gartner predicts that, by 2020, at least 50 percent of manufacturers with annual revenues in excess of $5 billion will have at least one digital twin initiative launched for either products or assets.
“There is an increasing interest and investment in digital twins and their promise is certainly compelling, but creating and maintaining digital twins is not for the faint hearted,” said Alexander Hoeppe, research director at Gartner. “However, by structuring and executing digital twin initiatives appropriately, CIOs can address the key challenges they pose.”
In light to tackle some of the top challenges posed by digital twins, Gartner identified four best practices:
- Involve the entire product value chain: Digital twin investments should be made value chain driven to enable product and asset stakeholders to govern and manage products (or assets like industrial machinery) and facilities across their supply chain in much more structured and holistic ways.
- Establish well documented practices for constructing and modifying the models: Modeling practices increase transparency on complex digital twin designs and make it easier for multiple digital twin users to collaboratively construct and modify them.
- Include data from multiple sources: CIOs can expand the utility of digital twins by recommending that IT architects and digital twin owners define an architecture that allows access and use of data from many different sources.
- Ensure long access life cycles: CIOs can guard against vendor lock-in if they increase the viable life of digital twins by setting a goal for IT architects and digital twin owners to plan for the long-term evolution of data formats and data storage.
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