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How Process Mining Enables the Digital Twin of an Organization (DTO)

By Michelle Mellon
4 min read

Did you know twins account for only three percent of the worldโ€™s population? Their relative rarity explains why many societies worldwide have developed mythologies around their perceived power.

In the last 40 years the incidence of twin births has risen more than 60 percent. The reasons for this are not particularly mystical, but what has piqued interest is the rise in the number of twins in an unexpected quarterโ€“the business world.

As market pressures force businesses to find new ways to maximize efficienciesโ€“while still increasing customer satisfactionโ€“many companies are exploring the idea of creating a โ€œdigital twinโ€ to help them drive improvements.

What is a Digital Twin?

A digital twin of an organization (DTO) is a replicaโ€“a virtual modelโ€“of an actual process, product or service. It enables you to analyze and optimize your product, service or process in a digital instance so you can replicate what works, or address issues before they turn into real-world problems.

The DTO concept is not new. In fact, for more than a decade digital twins have been used to diagnose the workings of engines and windmills and drive simulations in industries as diverse as aeronautics and mining. But the idea has steadily gained attention, appearing on Gartnerโ€™s Top 10 Strategic Technology Trends lists for the past three years.

And just like a real-world twin, a digital twin is no static carbon copy. Itโ€™s a dynamic representation of whatโ€™s going on, synced for real-time adaptability. This pairing of the virtual and physical worlds provides the kind of insights that prevent downtime, highlight new opportunities and can even help you plan for the future.

Doing a Double Take on Business Operations

The endless amount of data available through the Internet of things (IoT) has been a key reason digital twinning has taken the spotlight. And industry analysts are taking notice. One of the many predictions IDC has developed regarding digital twins: companies that invest in DTO technology will see a 30 percent improvement in cycle times for their critical processes.

Thatโ€™s an enticing promise for increased efficiency, with additional potential for saving resources and improving speed and customer satisfaction. And it only makes sense. If you can see whatโ€™s happening in your core processes and track your customer journey, you can make the appropriate changes for meaningful improvement. In short, your digital twin can demonstrate how you can best deliver value to your stakeholders.

You might be wondering, whatโ€™s the first step? Well, digital depends on data. In fact, the two main drivers for a digital twin are data and analytics. Along with the IoT, todayโ€™s business operations and their underlying IT systems are a prime source for data, since every step of every action in every core process, supporting process, and sub-process is tracked.

So if your own systems can provide the data, then whatโ€™s the best approach for extracting and analyzing it?

Using Process Mining as Your Mirror

Process mining technology is the core enabler for building your DTO. Because it uses the data directly from your operational systems to create a visualization of your process steps, itโ€™s fast and not subject to error or subjectivity like traditional methods, e.g., process mapping and modeling.

Process mining also provides a layer of organizational context and allows you to see beyond the โ€œwhatโ€ of process operations and helps you dive into the โ€œwhyโ€ things are happening the way they are.

An added benefit of process mining technology is its flexibility. If youโ€™re a large enterprise or have a complex process landscape you can start with a localized view of a particular end-to-end process. From there you can quickly and easily expand to build upon the insights youโ€™ve already gained, without becoming overwhelmed by the need to analyze, prioritize and optimize everything you do all at one time.

In its 2018 โ€œMarket Guide for Process Miningโ€ Gartner noted that process mining will โ€œgrow into an essential part of any business transformation initiative and certainly could help in guiding digital business initiatives by providing the data connection part of this digital twin of an organization.โ€

Gartner further predicts that by 2020, 50 percent of companies will be using digital twins. It would appear, then, thereโ€™s potential for a new mythology to build around this emerging solution. And companies seeking to take advantage can ensure their success by using process mining technology to harness the full power of pairing.

Want to learn more about digital twins and process mining? Watch our webcast with Gartner here.

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