Connecting the worlds of technology

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Do you also know this in your company? The focus of IT is often on commercial systems such as CRM, ERP and BI as well as on the automation of processes. At the same time, however, the digitization of the real world through sensors in production and machines (Industry 4.0) or in buildings (Smart Buildings) is also taking place. This digitization with sensors creates a digital image of the real world (Digital Twin). However, this image must be integrated more and more often with the commercial world, ERP and CRM systems to derive greater benefit from the Digital Twin. What does this mean for the data in these two technological worlds and the integration of these worlds?

In building their IT, many companies have created two different system worlds. The mapping of commercial processes and information in systems such as ERP, BI and CRM as well as the technical product and production processes.

When expanding the technical and commercial data, new information and data structures are required in both system worlds. One example is an automated service and energy management in buildings based on sensor data. The sensor data must be assigned to the service levels and cost structures from the service and energy management contracts. Based on this commercial information, the building control and service processes are managed as automatically as possible. At the same time, billing is initiated or at least checked. The commercial world is thus connected with the technical world.

An exercise in the DataValueThinking workshops is to look at the status of Digital Twins and the integration of its information with processes and business systems. Initial solution ideas and possible applications are also discussed. Also considered are which data areas and data sources are of strategic importance. The following observations have repeatedly come to our attention.

Interim Solutions at the interfaces

When upgrading technical and commercial systems to Digital Twin and digitizing processes, existing systems are often upgraded. Since the expansion is often done step by step, this is often a creeping process. Sometimes, however, the existing systems reach their limits. Sometimes “data bridges” or supplementary data structures, often in the form of Excel or Access databases, are “interposed”. For example, the automation of service management requires contract contents of the service levels that go beyond the pure commercial data. In the medium term, instead of linking the technical and commercial worlds, it may be more efficient and sustainable to build or use a “bridge system”. These can be data sharing systems or special systems, such as those found in building management with modern CAFM systems.

One-way direction BI

Often the Digital Twins are connected to BI evaluation systems in a first step, because the company wants (or has to) evaluate and analyse the data in order to recognize the right potential. As a first step and for permanent observation, connecting to BI systems is useful. However, in the next step, the DigitalTwin should automatically trigger processes. It should be noted that the technical ability of BI systems to initiate automatic processes is limited. Therefore, one has to think about this in the system architecture. Nevertheless, BI systems and the connection with Digital Twins make sense because the permanent analysis of the data allows continuous adjustments and decisions based on data.

Potential by moving the borders and expanding the content

Digitization is not the automation of existing procedures and processes. Digitization is about using data to change processes, make better decisions and offer new or improved services and products. It is therefore also important to shift the workflows and interfaces between the technical and business worlds. If the sensors automatically record the status and situation in the Digital Twin, how and where will the necessary documentation and invoice verification take place, for example?

Of course, it is not enough to point out topics and observations in workshops. It is also important to provide suggestions for possible solutions based on real world experience. Here we also make use of our technology partners, who in turn use the results and presentations of DataValueThinking for their own positioning. A good example is our partner KeyLogic. KeyLogic offers a system that connects the images and data of the real world with the commercial world. There focus is on data in buildings and technical facilities, but the system is also used in related areas such as contract and quality management. Based on this data KeyLogic provides more clarity for your actions.

The following video from KeyLogic shows how important it is to connect the data from the technology worlds and what potential the integrated access to the data of these worlds offers. https://www.youtube.com/watch?time_continue=10&v=J0KrhUM5AQI&feature=emb_logo

KeyLogic represents just one way to use data sensibly to increase the value of the company and streamline its operations. In addition to technical solutions and products, a prerequisite for this is to anchor the data culture in the company. Use the methodological framework and creative approaches of DataValueThinking to unlock the hidden values of the data treasure in your company. Learn more about DataValueThinking.