3 key factors you should consider when establishing your digital twin implementation journey

One certain thing is, that digital twins are no longer hype but a must-have in order to drive business improvements and stay competitive. However, how do we get started? Should we develop a digital twin internally? Acquire an existing solution? Or partner with a technology company? These are the 3 key factors you should consider when embarking upon your digital twin journey.

  • Text:Miguel Valdez

As Digital Transformation initiatives are expanding across the industry, we’re hearing a lot about the options that exist for operators.  One key element is how these solutions are developed or implemented and deployed across a portfolio. There are indeed many options marketed in this space, though I should mention no two digital solutions are equal. This could be overwhelming for a business, leading to ideas that can constrain the real value that’s possible with the right technology.


Digital Twin for instance is a term that’s used a lot and while there are many descriptions of what a Digital Twin is, when it comes to the development of these types of solutions and the way they’re deployed, the options almost start to take away from their true purpose and value.

This begs the question, is there an “out of the box” solution available that fits our needs, or should we develop this internally.

There are many elements to consider when embarking upon this journey (and it is a journey!). A few of those are:

  1. What are the needs of our organization? (short term and long term) We may work in a large industry environment but we’re not like our competitors. Our needs are unique, and we want a solution tailored to our requirements.
  2. Do we centralize this initiative, or do we enable the business units to discover and deploy solutions for themselves? How does that impact the business as a whole and can we align with our strategy? Can we make everyone happy; do we seek consensus?
  3. What does it cost to develop? What does it cost to maintain? What is the expected ROI?

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Maximize and accelerate Return on Investment through scalable solutions

First, as it relates to ROI, I think the simple answer is; What brings the most value to shareholders (in alignment with your core strategy)? Ultimately, in a lot of ways, we’re all working towards delivering that kind of value. And when you consider the volatility that oil and gas has experienced in recent years I think there’s a lot to be said about taking a very close look at whether or not you need to stand up an organization for a solution that may be available from an established industry leader. Speed to ROI is also a factor. How quickly can a Digital Twin be deployed and how can it be scaled? Another element to consider is the Total Cost of Ownership and looking at the cost of running the solution and continuous development.

 

Leverage knowledge from industry peers

Second, while we may work in a large competitive industry, it’s worth noting that the industry is largely set and operated by accepted standards and regulations meaning, while we are all different, in many ways we operate the same. This allows us to leverage established domain expertise and review proven solutions that may very well have reached the level of maturity that we need. We often refer to our first iteration of new technology as a “Proof of Concept” when in reality, some of these solutions are already well proven and operating in real world environments.

 

Identifying where the business can get the most value is key

Lastly, when deploying new solutions, it should always be a diligent effort. It’s critical to ensure that the value is clear, and the use cases or applications fit the business. From the transactional and administrative processes to operations and maintenance, everyone should benefit. Once that value can be identified, it’s less about “consensus” and more about, how do we implement it.

 

Go beyond with the right digitalization partner

Our recommendation – which may not be come as a surprise – is to go for an “out of the box” solution. Kongsberg Digital and others have solved many of the problems you will face by developing an internal solution. Many of the solutions available today are built in collaboration with your industry peers and fit the needs of your industry, while being customizable to your organization’s specific needs.

In fairness, developing your own solution could provide valuable insights, but often we see that such projects result in solutions that are not deployable or able to deliver value at scale. And there is plenty of research showing that as much as 80% of digitalization projects fail. That is why organizations that aim to be among the companies who succeed should consider having a scalable digital twin solution that is connected to the business strategy and to business cases in order to fast-track results,  accelerate ROI and enable sustainable growth.

As an established provider of next-generation software and digital solutions, we’ve leveraged our experience and invested early to develop a robust Digital Twin, Kognitwin Energy. Today, Kognitwin Energy is actively deployed in Energy facilities around the world supporting our customers’ organizational goals while optimizing performance, energy consumption and across-team collaboration. Beyond being just a virtual replica, built on a Microsoft Azure foundation, Kognitwin Energy delivers a rich framework for advanced digitalization and analytics that reaches your entire business through a cloud-based SaaS platform customized to fit your needs.

Miguel Valdez is a Growth Manager in the Digital Energy team at Kongsberg Digital. Based in Houston (USA), Miguel has over 10 years experience in the Oil and Gas industry managing aftermarket services in the deepwater oil and gas sector, major subsea capital projects around the globe and strategic business development.