I’m Looking at the Man in the Mirror: How Your Digital Twin Is the Key to Continuous Process Optimization


In a time of great disruption, comes the chance to capture opportunity. It may not feel like this given organizations are grappling with the challenges of remote working, economic uncertainty and operational and risk resilience. However, one very profound truth has come out of all of this and that is we did not properly transform and digitize our business to be agile and nimble to change in our previous attempts.

The continuous practice of improving operational procedures to minimize costs, maximize efficiency and improve business outcomes – is a multi-dimensional quandary of the business world. The aim of process optimization is not merely the design and implementation of small, incremental organizational improvements, but also about digital innovation and identifying opportunities for deep change that tie directly to your strategic goals.

How can a Digital Twin deliver continuous process optimization?

The concept of building the Digital Twin of your organization – both in operations and product – is not a new concept. Global Industry Analysts have been preaching about the need to consider this strategy well before it was considered the new buzz word. According to Marc Kerremans from Gartner: “Optimizing business costs touches many areas, including business process management and business process outsourcing, supply chain optimization, information management, and the Internet of Things (IoT). This may lead to increased digitalization of business processes, streamlined information delivery and the creation of new business models. Linked closely to the overall profitability — and, ultimately, the viability — of the business, business cost optimization is a discipline worth investing in.”

To illustrate the power of digital twins, let us look at an analogy of something that we are all familiar with.

Consider the possibilities that medical science has embarked on to replicate a person, their DNA and biological processes. With that data, scientists can experiment and assess potential treatment outcomes before administering a single medication. Surgeons can understand which procedure has the highest potential for success before you enter an operating room. Primary care physicians can help you understand the impact of lifestyle choices. These advances have opened endless, powerful possibilities to improve life expectancy and quality of life.

The creation of a digital twin of your organization has exactly the same potential.

A digital twin of your organization is a digital replica of your operations, processes, products and/or assets. It’s made possible by taking data from your business operations and reconstructing it in a virtual environment.

By creating a digital twin, your organization can discover insights into operational inefficiencies and potential improvements, detect and eliminate risk and problem-solve issues that have not even arisen yet.

Businesses are constantly under pressure to become more agile, to be able to respond to changing business environments, and to do it using minimal resources at maximum speed. The potential for a digital twin to provide the impetus to achieve those objectives is so great that the practice is increasing rapidly.

Process optimization is not only about metrics but should be a way of life

Achieving continuous process optimization is about creating a mindset shift that views outcomes as steps on a never-ending journey rather than end results. Optimization should be an unachievable goal, or rather a continually achieving one: Instead of considering a process optimized, the thinking should be “great improvement – what’s next?”

With a continuous flow of data driving your digital twin, this will mean that outcomes from process changes are fed back and ready to use in your next cycle of optimization – this flow is where the potential for true continuous optimization lies.

Using Process Mining to achieve a mindset of continuous optimization

To achieve this mindset of continuous process optimization, your organization needs the right tools and approach to drive change – not just once, but continuously in line with business changes and the need to meet customer needs.

On the tooling, process mining can play an important role. Process mining can map all workflows, processes, and departments to generate a virtual copy of your organization – your digital twin. In doing so, you can identify strengths, weaknesses, limitations, bottlenecks, critical failure points and interdependencies, highlighting opportunities for improvement.

With your digital twin live you can start to run experiments to determine the potential ramifications and outcomes of process change in a consequence-free environment.

In order to effectively utilize your digital twin, it’s essential you have not only the capability to mine processes for operational insights but also that you have the ability to model different scenarios and simulate these to test the potential impact of any changes to forecast outcomes.

Outputs from your simulations can then be implemented with better knowledge of their impact.

A holistic approach to Business Process Optimization

As part of our Business Process Transformation suite, BusinessOptix not only offers the essential process mining functionality that will allow you to create your digital twin, we also provide scenario modeling and simulation tools that predict and measure the impact of alternative operational changes before they are implemented in your live environment.

By removing the need for manual forecasting, the BusinessOptix suite can speed-up and reduce the risks associated with guessing where to make changes.

In addition, once you have created and experimented on your digital twin, our documentation and work instructions enable you to effectively communicate and rollout change within your organization.

With the capability to create a digital twin and then simulate various scenarios and translate process change into work instructions and documentation, the BusinessOptix suite can help you to transform your business process management function from a linear process with a beginning and an end, to a cyclical one where the goal is continuous improvement.

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