Depending on how closely you follow manufacturing ideas and trends, you may have already encountered the concept of the Digital Thread: that is, a through-line of active data that links and informs every stage in the process of designing, developing and manufacturing a product.
At root, the Digital Thread is about efficient, consistent application of information. As such the concept is completely transferable: whether you make physical products or not, your organization certainly can benefit from adopting this model as you manage and execute large-scale projects. Implemented well, a Digital Thread can be accessed and updated seamlessly, without the need to duplicate or export data to or from different sources. Why? Because everyone within the organization is working from a single source of truth based on a consistent, predictive, up-to-date information channel.
Why Do Businesses Need a Digital Thread?
Throughout the lifecycle of a contract or project, the Digital Thread provides traceability, visibility, and context. From initial RFPs to proposals, from contracts to plans to execution, more and more key project data is kept in the cloud. By leveraging cloud-based data storage, organizations and users can access real-time information that is itself connected to multiple systems or tools (IoT). This approach to IT architecture – called a System of Systems – enables an organization’s entire digital framework to be both logical and accessible from every internal vantage point.
Once you can see your data from all angles, you’re positioned to realize another effect of the Digital Thread: the opportunity to assess how data and processes flow within your organization. With that new perspective come opportunities to reduce technical debt, identify disparate systems, create resiliency within the market, and simplify processes through increased automation.
What Are the Benefits of the Digital Thread Concept?
While there are numerous reasons to connect your project planning, contracting and oversight systems across your organization, here are three big impacts that top our list:
- More accurate workflows, more consistent business processes – Closing information gaps means everyone on your team works from a single source of truth, which eliminates inaccuracies, duplicated efforts and ongoing guesswork. That’s to say nothing of how time-consuming and error-prone manually transferring data between departments can prove. Better access to benchmark information enables more data-driven decisions, leading to greater consistency across your organization and throughout the whole value chain.
- Data optimization enables comprehensive analysis and buy-in – Say you’re kicking off a new project, and need to analyze financial data across all departments involved with its planning and execution. Instead of having to translate and combine differing datasets from siloed departments which operate solely within the confines of their digital and physical walls, you can collect, analyze and crunch the numbers quickly and easily using an all-encompassing system. More importantly, with a single Digital Thread, you can communicate all relevant datapoints for your project lifecycle to vendors, customers, and stakeholders for purposes of validation, thereby keeping everyone aligned.
- Process forecasting and efficiencies – Through advanced digital systems organizations can use their connected data to create digital twins. A digital twin is a digital representation of real-world systems or services that predictive models can be created for, allowing for advanced lifecycle planning and management. Digital twins enable testing and virtual experimentation to identify optimization opportunities and improve the quality of project outcomes. This is only possible when all data that impacts the project is available via a Digital Thread. Digitally threaded data assets allow organizations to take a holistic approach to project design, future vendor selection and data-driven management and improvement.
How To Overcome Challenges
Connecting solutions across your enterprise’s information ecosystem can be a game-changer for your team, bringing both financial and non-monetary value to every part of your organization and catalyzing digital transformation along the way. However, digitization initiatives don’t come without challenges. For one, manually connecting your infrastructure can be complicated, even with an experienced IT support department. That’s because although integrating the digital and physical worlds is imperative when it comes to comprehensive shared data, most companies don’t have the expertise or necessary tools to blend these two worlds. Secondly, companies can easily lose their way in a never-ending customization loop, having to customize code or spend hundreds of thousands of dollars to try to scale.
Dassian implementation solutions support a seamless digital data thread to better manage RFP, proposal, contract and project data, creating a better communication framework for countless use cases. Dassian offers fully integrated, end-to-end standard solutions that streamline projects and contracts across your enterprise, reduce operating expenses, and keep compliance requirements well in hand. We know that no two organizations are the same, so we offer flexible solutions based on your unique needs – without the need for custom coding. Plus, our on-demand support team is here to guide you through the process every step of the way—from planning to implementation and beyond. Learn more about how you can ensure a closed-loopapproach to your business and continue to help your business thrive with a single Digital Thread.
Contact us to learn more about our data-driven initiatives and how your organization can connect your data through a Digital Thread.