A digital twin is an exact replica of a physical entity. They are put to use in a range of scenarios, including streamlining operations, training, new product or process testing and predictive planning. They are also used to support data-driven decision-making in the workplace.
When it comes to making business-critical decisions, or even everyday commercial decisions, the data-driven route far outstrips guesswork. For the organisation with growth ambitions, the improved efficiency, increased accountability and transparency that stem from data-driven decision-making are hugely advantageous. A proactive and predictive approach also helps align everyone on organisation-wide goals.
Let’s take a closer look at the case for data-driven decision-making in the workplace and how the digital twin can effectively support it.
What is data-driven decision-making (DDDM)?
Data-driven decision-making (DDDM) involves making use of facts, metrics and data to guide strategic business decisions that align with an organisation’s goals.
In a nutshell, with the help of business intelligence and smart reporting tools, DDDM takes data based on organisational key performance indicators (KPIs) from a range of sources, and transforms it into actionable insights.
Why is DDDM important, and what are its benefits?
An organisation that realises the full value of its data is one that’s empowered to make better-informed decisions.
When you are able to view real-time insights into strategy performance and take advantage of tangible predictions, you can quickly begin to stand apart competitively by rationalising operations, boosting productivity, and keeping your bottom line in check.
Here are some of the most notable benefits of adopting a data-driven decision-making approach:
1. Better accountability – Being able to see which individuals, teams and strategies are performing best and which are not meeting KPIs can help increase accountability. With everyone able to see how their individual decisions influence a strategy or goal, there is often a trend towards greater ownership of tasks and objectives.
2. Improved efficiency – Success comes faster to those organisations whose leaders can see exactly where systems are failing and where others are delivering results. When you leave the guesswork behind and study the actual facts, what lies before you will often be surprising. And without that data-driven approach, you may never have anticipated where the failures were emanating from.
3. Greater alignment to organisation-wide objectives – When everyone can see data, it becomes a leading light. With everyone focused on the same datasets, it is possible to connect the smallest, most seemingly insignificant day-to-day decisions with the more influential strategies. In other words, everyone gets to view the bigger picture and can clearly see how they can play a role in and contribute to various goals.
How to make Data Driven decisions?
So now we’re clear on the benefits of data-driven decision-making. Let’s take a look at how organisations can adopt such an approach.
1. Ascertain organisational objectives – Setting down your business-wide goals is a crucial step. Whether it’s increasing leads or sales, improving customer loyalty or boosting brand awareness, being clear on your objectives will help you nail your key performance indicators, which are critical when it comes to choosing which datasets you will analyse and which questions you will ask of them.
2. Find key sources of data – It’s vital to get inputs from everyone organisation-wide in order to understand the types of data they can supply. Once you’re clear on this, you can take steps to check the integrity of that data by looking at how it is collected and its level of quality and accuracy.
3. Collect and prepare your data – If your organisation is built around an array of disconnected data sources, this step may prove challenging. It’s vital that you are clear on the breadth of data sources business-wide so that nothing is missed. Once you know your sources, you can start calling in your data. The best place to start is with the sources that have the widest audiences. This way you’ll make a greater impact a whole lot faster.
4. Visualise your data – This has to be one of the most vital steps in the DDDM process. By setting out insights in a visually appealing way, such as with the use of charts, graphs and infographics, you’ll be better equipped to understand them and will also have a greater chance of influencing decision-making, input and task purchase across the business.
5. Glean and share insights – This is the step where you ask questions of your data, gleaning insights that you can share with fellow decision-makers and strategists to help you identify risks, solve problems, make predictions and instigate change where necessary. Once you’ve gleaned your key insights, you can then share them across the organisation so that everyone is able to make better-informed decisions day to day for the benefit of the business as a whole.
How can a digital twin benefit the business decision-making process?
As we’ve said, a digital twin is an exact replica of a physical entity. It uses Internet of Things (IoT) sensors to gather data from the physical world, feeding it into machines and reconstructing the physical entity on a digital plain.
It is important not to confuse the digital twin with a digital model or simulation. Whilst these things have the digital part, they lack physical embodiment. The digital twin works differently in that it mirrors its physical clone in every way, including when the physical entity changes over time. This it does courtesy of a continuous data stream that is as close to real-time as you can get.
With certain digital twin technologies, it is possible to analyse data, behaviours and workflows in deep-dive fashion. This means instant action can be taken where needed to enhance performance and to circumvent what could potentially be costly issues.
As a 3D version of its real-life counterpart, the digital twin provides a safe testing environment.
So, rather than investing time and expertise into analysing complex data, which can be prone to human misinterpretation, and then implementing live changes where the risk of failure is a reality, the digital twin takes that data and replicates it into an easily gauged model.
Potential scenarios can be introduced, and changes trialled and monitored to ensure success before going live.
How does the digital twin work with smart building technology?
Smart building technology – i.e. IoT-powered sensors, meters and monitors – provides insights that can be used to enhance a building’s operational aspects and improve its indoor environment. And when a digital twin is added into the equation, the benefits increase considerably.
A digital twin makes it possible to see how a building’s individual systems interact with each other and the building in general. Not only is the replica privy to a raft of information funnelled in from the various IoT sensors, it also incorporates two-way interactions from outside in the real world.
There are numerous benefits of using a digital twin in the smart building environment to make data-driven decisions.
Monitoring the effects of how things like smart HVAC and lighting will react to a variety of changing conditions, to seeing how indoor air quality changes in line with fluctuating levels of outdoor pollution and building occupancy are all significant contributors to the decision-making process.
The Smart Spaces Digital Twin – the sophisticated smart building technology that takes data-driven decision-making to the next level
Digital twins offer numerous benefits. But the Smart Spaces Digital Twin 2.0 ramps these benefits up even further.
The difference with Smart Spaces Digital Twin 2.0 is that it creates a live replica of the building which doesn’t only read the data but also lets the user write it too. This makes it an active digital twin rather than a static representation of a single point in time, allowing instant changes to be made in real-time.
With the Smart Spaces digital twin, property and facilities managers are empowered to make better-judged decisions by monitoring proposed changes in a risk-free environment.
To learn more about how the Smart Spaces Digital Twin can benefit your business, you are welcome to request a free demo or get in touch.