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  • Writer's pictureMehran Irdmousa

Bridging Reality and Virtuality: How Digital Engineering and Twins Propel Enterprise Evolution

Drawing the Digital Divide…

In the age of digital disruption, enterprises face a critical imperative: harness the power of technology to drive competitive advantage (value-driven outcome). However, siloed development practices, limited asset visibility, lack of end-to-end line of sight, and reactive decision-making pose significant challenges. As we continue our exploration of the Triangle of Value-Driven Operationalization (TVO) framework, two complementary methodologies emerge as catalysts for transformation: Digital Engineering (DE) and Digital Twins (DT).

By bridging the physical and virtual worlds, DE and DT enable organizations to optimize operations, enhance resilience, and accelerate innovation. In this article, we will delve into how these catalysts propel enterprise evolution and contribute to the realization of True Success within the TVO paradigm.

Homing in on the catalysts…

Digital Engineering (DE) is an integrated approach that leverages digital models and data to drive end-to-end lifecycle processes. It encompasses creating, managing, and utilizing digital assets to inform decision-making, optimize performance, and enhance collaboration across the enterprise.

Digital Twins (DT) are virtual replicas of physical assets, systems, or processes of today and the future (AS-Is and To-Be) that enable real-time simulation, optimization, and autonomous decision-making. By continuously ingesting data from the physical world, DTs provide a dynamic, up-to-date representation of their real-world counterparts.

In contrast to traditional engineering and asset management approaches, DE and DT offer a more holistic, data-driven, and proactive paradigm for managing complex systems throughout their lifecycles.

Converging of the Two Worlds…

DE and DTs are a potent combination for enterprise transformation. DTs serve as key artifacts within the DE methodology, providing a dynamic, data-rich representation of the physical world.

By leveraging data integration, model-based approaches, and closed-loop feedback, organizations can create a seamless flow of information between the physical and virtual worlds, unlocking new levels of efficiency, agility, and innovation.

DE Convergence
Convergence of physical and virtual worlds by way of Digital Engineering

Cementing the Digital Enterprise…

The integration of DE and DT offers a compelling value proposition for enterprises seeking to thrive in the digital age. It can streamline processes, reduce waste, and improve resource utilization, leading to faster time-to-market, lower costs, and increased profitability. DE and DT enable proactive risk mitigation and scenario planning, enhancing resilience and ensuring business continuity in the face of disruption. They also provide a platform for rapid prototyping and validation of new ideas, fostering a culture of continuous improvement and enabling the creation of new products, services, and business models.

Ultimately, the convergence of DE and DT empowers enterprises to make better decisions based on real-time data and insights, leading to improved customer satisfaction, increased market share, and sustainable competitive advantage.

Enabling the Digital Convergence…

At the highest level, there are four enabling capabilities we need to stand up to allow the digital transformation journey:

Data Integration: The foundation of successful DE and DT initiatives lies in the ability to integrate data across disparate systems and silos. By creating a single source of truth, enterprises can ensure that all stakeholders have access to accurate, up-to-date information, enabling better collaboration and decision-making.

Collaborative Digital Threads: Digital threads connect all aspects of the product lifecycle, breaking down barriers and enabling seamless information flow. They also require modeling and simulation capabilities to enhance decision-making and provide a complete line of sight into the system lifecycle, saving significant resources and money.

Scalable IT/OT Infrastructure: DE and DT require a robust, scalable infrastructure to handle the vast amounts of data generated by connected assets and systems. This includes edge computing capabilities for real-time data processing, cloud-based storage and analytics, and secure networks for data transmission.

Governance Frameworks: Enterprises need governance frameworks for digital asset security. This includes standards, policies, and best practices for data management, model development, access control, version control, change management, and audit trails for compliance and traceability.

By developing these enabling capabilities, enterprises can create a solid foundation for DE to enable line of sight in system lifecycle development before committing resources, time, and money to ensure realized value first.

Rolls-Royce turns to digital twins to improve jet engine efficiency…

Rolls-Royce has transformed its engine maintenance and support services by leveraging Digital Engineering and Digital Twins. By creating digital twins of its Trent engine family and using real-time sensor data, Rolls-Royce can predict potential issues and optimize maintenance schedules. This approach has resulted in a 50% extension in time between maintenance events, a significant reduction in inventory costs, and 22 million tons of carbon emissions saved to date. Overall, Rolls-Royce's digital twin journey showcases the transformative potential of DE and DT in driving efficiency, sustainability, and customer value in the aerospace industry.


The digital transformation journey…

By addressing these key considerations, enterprises can effectively navigate the challenges and complexities of implementing DE and DT initiatives while maximizing their value potential:

  • Organizational change management for digital transformation

  • Cross-functional collaboration and skill development

  • Data governance and security frameworks

  • Integration with existing systems and processes

  • Scalable and flexible technology infrastructure

  • Phased implementation approach balancing quick wins and long-term vision

  • Continuous improvement and adaptation to evolving needs

Implementing DE and DT initiatives is not without challenges. Enterprises may face resistance to change, as employees may be hesitant to adopt new technologies and processes. Addressing this requires effective change management strategies, including clear communication, training, and support. Another barrier is the lack of skilled personnel with expertise in DE and DT. Enterprises can overcome this by investing in training and development programs, partnering with external experts, and fostering a culture of continuous learning. Data quality and security concerns can also hinder DE and DT adoption. Establishing robust data governance frameworks, implementing secure data management practices, and ensuring compliance with relevant regulations can help mitigate these risks. Finally, integrating DE and DT with existing legacy systems can be complex and time-consuming. Enterprises should develop a phased implementation approach, prioritizing high-impact use cases and gradually scaling up their initiatives. By proactively addressing these challenges and barriers, enterprises can pave the way for successful DE and DT adoption and reap the benefits of digital transformation.


Empowering TVO with DE/DT catalyst…

DE and DTs catalyze the TVO framework, enabling enterprises to achieve value-driven operationalization. Integrating DE and DT into core TVO disciplines can unlock new levels of performance and innovation.

DE and DT improve SE by connecting all stages of the product lifecycle, support EA by creating a digital representation of the enterprise and empower F&TS by enabling predictive analytics and scenario planning.

As DE and DT continue to evolve, their integration with advanced technologies such as AI/ML, advanced analytics, and immersive experiences will further amplify their impact within the TVO framework. By leveraging these cutting-edge capabilities, enterprises can create a virtuous cycle of continuous improvement and innovation with a complete line of sight into the lifecycle, driving sustainable value creation and competitive advantage.

DE and DT connect the core elements of TVO, helping enterprises utilize their digital assets efficiently. This accelerates their journey towards success by balancing value-driven operations and strategic foresight.

Mastering the digital call…

The convergence of Digital Engineering and Digital Twins represents a transformative opportunity for enterprises to unlock new levels of performance, resilience, and innovation. By integrating these powerful catalysts into the TVO framework, organizations can accelerate their journey towards True Success, achieving the perfect balance of value-driven operationalization and strategic foresight.

The time to act is now. Embrace the power of DE and DT, and embark on a path towards a more agile, adaptive, and innovative future. Let us work together to harness the full potential of these game-changing technologies and create a new era of digital excellence.


We can show the updated TVO picture with the DE as a catalyst:

MTVO Tracer
Digital Engineering – one of the catalysts of the TVO blueprint

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