Written by John Baltzell

Follow These 3 Steps To Succeed in Digital Twin

Implementing new, enterprise-wide technology is no small feat. Most companies get stuck at the proof of concept or pilot stage, and over 60 percent of companies don’t have clear procedures to even evaluate if their pilot was successful. It’s no surprise that only 14 percent of organizations scale a supply chain digital initiative to a full-scale deployment.

Consider how much more challenging this is with digital twin technology. There are dozens, if not hundreds, of tools available today that all promise to propel your digital twin. It’s more important now than ever to diligently vet and test a tool before you can successfully scale.

So how can you make sure you aren’t one of the companies that gets stuck at the pilot stage? At Vertex, we’ve spoken with large-scale, global enterprises, and small-to-medium manufacturers about their digital twin initiatives. We have found that by following a clear strategy to select and vet a tool, engineering managers can:

  • Reduce product development lifecycles
  • Minimize the need for data transformation
  • Take advantage of information influx
  • Bring disparate teams together

Every company’s approach will look slightly different, but there are three general phases a manufacturer should undergo. I recommend following these three steps during your pilot test so you can successfully scale.

1) Make Your Strategy

Establish your process and workflow strategy first before considering a technology plan. Most digital twin tools will bring in significantly more data than you’re used to and you need to make sure you’re ready for it. Make sure your plan includes a platform for dashboards and views to understand your progress. Also consider ways to visualize your data across all the parties involved, such as model-based definitions. Your initial strategy should also include what is needed to scale up to more teams and use cases. Determine what metrics are most important to you and how you will measure KPI’s so you can clearly identify the success or failure of the strategy.

2) Map a Pilot Test

Although a pilot test itself is a given, too many companies overlook or downplay the importance of the upfront preparation needed. Determine which type of tool is best for you based on the promised return, start-up time, and cost. Also consider whether a tool will truly address a pain or need in your company. The more specific you can be in identifying a particular use case or problem you want to solve, the more successful the pilot will go.

3) Measure Your Results

Once the pilot test is implemented, closely monitor the progress and results. Analyze how well your results match the KPI’s you built in the first phase. Beyond quantitative metrics, check in with the affected teams to understand how the pilot test is impacting their workflows and perceived quality of work.

Start Scaling

If you’ve done a thorough job of following these steps, you will know if the pilot was successful enough to proliferate throughout your organization. Before you start scaling, I always recommend that leadership teams start clearly communicating the benefits to affected teams as soon as possible. The more transparent a leadership team is about why they are making changes and how they will impact different teams, the more willing the team is to accept changes.

Ready to get started? Download our worksheet, including targeted questions and a detailed example, to start planning your pilot test.


About John Baltzell

John Baltzell is a seasoned veteran in the engineering and PLM space with over 20 years of experience serving customers in the aerospace, medical device, high tech, and consumer markets. As Vice President of Sales at Vertex, John is responsible for the Sales organization and drives Vertex’s overall sales strategy and execution. Prior to Vertex, John served in increasingly responsible positions at Dassault Systèmes and UGS PLM Solutions.