Digital twin implementations are already showing a 76% cost reduction and a 68% increase in customer retention. And adoption of digital twins is projected to increase by 36% over the next five years. However, only 13% of companies have developed comprehensive digital twin strategies.
These are the results of a recent Capgemini survey on digital twin adoption. The systems integration consultancy launched the survey to find out why so many companies were struggling with the technology, despite the huge gains made by early adopters.
Some of the biggest challenges in bridging this gap include developing a long-term roadmap, nurturing the right skills, and building the right partnerships. The reward for getting these right is immense. Leading companies see a 15 percent increase in revenue, turnaround time and operational efficiency, and a 25 percent improvement in system performance.
Why digital twins?
Capgemini previously focused on AI, edge computing, IoT and analytics, all of which are critical to digital transformation. Brian Bronson, President of Americas and APAC at Capgemini Engineering, told VentureBeat that they recognize that digital twins are also central to smart industry trends, such as:
A major driver is increasing concerns about sustainability. Capgemini found that leading digital twin companies achieved an average 16% improvement in sustainability thanks to digital twins. According to Bronson, digital twins improve scalability and promote integration of products and services.
The sustainability benefits range from process efficiency, reduction of emissions to the ability to test the viability of new, sustainable materials.
“We see many applications in industries such as urban planning, infrastructure, energy and utilities, automotive, aerospace, consumer goods and healthcare,” Bronson said.
Closing the gap
Despite the huge potential, many companies are struggling to get digital twin projects off the ground.
“We found that while 55% of organizations view digital twins as strategic for digital transformation, 42% have no vision for how they can be deployed,” Bronson said.
A mismatch between long-term vision and operational governance leads to various delays. For example, inefficient program management and poor governance can derail digital twin adoption.
New skills required
Digital twins are created across multiple interconnected disciplines, requiring a unique set of skills that are not yet common. Jiani Zhang, chief software officer at Capgemini Engineering, told VentureBeat that companies need to hire or cultivate experts in data analytics, IoT, design and industry.
“Industry professionals must be skilled at reinventing how people interact with digital versions of what they know well,” Zhang said.
Designers need to understand and then express the value of the data collected and have a thorough understanding of the user and the tasks. IoT architects should consider the future needs and growth of the systems they build and represent these requirements in the form of business models to the customer. Data scientists need to experiment, strategize, and collaborate with business experts, designers, and engineers.
“While we can certainly attract people with the potential for this work, it is very difficult to develop the kind of talent that is both strongly focused in their areas and broad enough to work well under the demands of digital twin applications to work.” Zhang said.