Modeling business with a Digital Twin

A true Digital Twin is a rare thing but its impact on business is transformative

We didn’t set out to create a new category of software; we set out to solve a problem we saw with businesses that acquired new enterprise software. The pain and disruption from implementing the software meant people didn’t want to change it once it was finally running. Being unable to keep up with today’s level of market change or to deliver innovation is a death sentence for business.

Our answer was to create an enterprise solution that could be changed quickly and without risk of failure. We coined the phrase "same today, different tomorrow" to represent the fact that our product can be quickly configured to reflect the systems that people currently use, making it easy for them to switch, at which point the new system can be incrementally improved – daily if desired.

The key to its success is that our model of business reflects the real-world. It describes business the way people in business think of it themselves and it used language they are familiar with.

At the time we were developing our product the folks at NASA had arrived at the same conclusion. They termed the pairing of a software model with its real world equivalent, Digital Twinning. We had created a Digital Twin for business. Today, we are the only true Digital Twin software product for helping manage business operations.

At the same time NASA was defining the Digital Twin the software industry was promoting Business Process Management as the vehicle for improving business efficiency, including the introduction of standards for the development of business process management solutions (BPMS). Rather than use a real world model, BPMS uses a software development paradigm. The results are underwhelming.

One crucial difference between us and BPMS is the way we describe how people work. We split this into two elements, the way work flows between people in a business to achieve an outcome and the tasks that people do at each stage in the flow. In BPMS there is no distinction between workflow and task flow, making the end-to-end description of a sales transaction from quote to cash too long to be useful. By separating out the two functions we provide an overview of a transaction end-to-end, exposing duplication, redundancies and other inefficiencies that can be simplified before filling in the task details for each stage of the transaction.

There are two reasons that make separating workflow from tasks hugely important:

  1. A critical element in defining business activity is creating a model of the whole business so that people can see how all its activities interact and see their inter-dependencies. Doing this at the workflow level provides an overview of the whole business in a relatively short time …and the resulting views can be understood.
  2. Business is moving to automate its activity. The biggest return from automation lies in managing the flow of work, shortening processing times, eliminating errors, handling exceptions. Tasks can be automated selectively and progressively.

Our effectiveness at modelling complete business and automating it has been at odds with the concepts behind the BPMS software category in which it was assumed we belonged. Today we can state clearly that AptumX is a true Digital Twin – a model of the real world structure and activities of business. We say ‘true’ because AptumX enables the real-time movement of data between the Digital Twin model and its real world equivalent - the NASA definition - to distinguish from software that creates 3D engineering models and simulation models that do not interact with the real world..

To define a business’s activity with the accuracy required to automate its systems requires a true Digital Twin model. Today AptumX leads this field.