Building a Digital Twin of your Business
Fill The Gap sat down with Neil Calvert, CEO LINQ Ltd to understand how to effectively create a digital twin of your business to inform successful transformation
70% of IT Transformation projects fail or are abandoned within 3 years. We asked Neil Calvert, LINQ CEO to explain what’s required to deliver successful change programs that are almost guaranteed to deliver the outcomes expected. Here’s what he said:
“Until recently there hasn’t been a language for business. We have languages for process, finance, data modelling and architecture for example, but prior to us creating the LINQ Language, there was no language for simply capturing what goes on in a business that eventually results in the achievement (or not) of strategic outcomes. In solving this, we’re enabling decision makers and their consultants that are loosing sleep over making decisions where they don’t have enough information, to confidently make evidence based decisions.
Our language is really simple.
We say that all a business is, is work that goes on – or actions. These might be a business process, or a single transaction; they could be performed by a person, or automated by a system. When these actions take place – content is created in the form of data and information, and that data and information is required to enable the next action to take place.
The flow of this content through the business is accelerated through work and ultimately creates information assets that allow us to deliver a business outcome.
Think of your own organisation and the type of content you access on a daily basis that helps you deliver your work. It could be things like specifications for applications you want to build, or outcomes of discovery sessions where you’re building the requirements for your customer. Internally there’ll be things like your process for on-boarding and off-boarding staff; perhaps your CRM that manages the customer accounts so you know who your customer is, where they are, how often they’ve been in touch, etc. This information might connect through to your support processes, and then the output from support will contribute to your knowledge base and so on.
In every organisation, there’s a phenomenal amount of data and information that really drives the way the business works. How this information flows through the business determines how effectively we’re able to complete our work, and deliver business value.
We also need to consider the enabler of information collection and production – people and systems.
People do work. They perform actions, and when they do that they will use a tool, a system. We specifically use systems and not technology because paper (for example) is a system, but it’s not a technology. Whether your reading this online, or have printed it, both mediums can be labelled as a system. Technology does not account for the many systems we use in our lives like whiteboards, notebooks, memory and gut-feel or conversations; we need to be able to factor those types of systems into the model so that we can understand how we might remove paper from organisation if we are looking into digital transformation as an outcome.
The information I needed to put this article together was knowledge about digital twins; putting it into context for you, and the information that’s created as a result is now knowledge with you about the value that LINQ can deliver.
And then there are actions that are performed automatically by systems. Systems supply information and systems automate actions, for example, an app that’s been built specifically to consume a data feed, do some analysis and pump out a report.
This is all an organisation is – Information, Actions, Systems and People.
This is an ontology created by LINQ, which allows a business to then apply their own vocabulary over the top of this in order to describe themselves.
However, some instances of each deliver more value to the organisation than others. Knowing where to send your invoice for example, might be less valuable than knowing what to put in it.
So, over the top of this construct, we add value. Information that is created that enables business outcomes must have a value to the organisation. If we can determine what that value is, it provides us with a lens to understand the value of everything that enables that asset to be created.
If we say on a scale of zero to 10 this information has a high value, we put that value on everything that enables it to be created. You can imagine as we find reuse of content or actions that create more than one output, we can aggregate that value, and in that way we begin to really understand the most critical people, systems, actions and information inputs that allow our business to operate.
Then we can put thinking behind that – are we protecting those assets well enough, are we appropriately reusing information? Do we believe that it’s accurate and up to date and accessible, believable and easily interpreted by the people that need to use it? This provides us with a different, and defendable perspective on the business.
We also need to account for systems having a cost, and therefore the actions that they perform having a cost. People are the same; by accounting for the cost of the work that people do, we now know what it costs to create each information asset that we rely on to deliver this business value .
Then are we able to see that cost against this value lens. This allows us to deliver insights around high value / low cost, or low cost / high value etc., make really good decisions based on this new knowledge, and can ask ourselves whether we’re happy with the way we work. Is there an opportunity to do things differently? What if we were to use an alternative source of information? Have we duplicated content? Do we have a system of record? Are our people doing the right work?
By creating a digital twin using this language, all of these questions about how we conduct out business are made obvious, and we can rapidly gain insight into areas where change is most likely to produce the desired result.
More about Fill The Gap and LINQ
At Fill The Gap, we understand that there is no silver bullet for phenomenal success (if that’s what you’re looking for, there’s plenty of advice on Facebook).
That’s why we start with talking to you about your business, before suggesting what’s required to get your growth curve trending upwards.
We have a team of experienced consultants ready to talk about what’s blocking your growth, and a number of tools and services at our disposal to create an improvement plan specifically tailored for you.