As an industry leader in the AECO sector, you are always looking for ways to drive innovation and improve efficiency in your organisation. One technology that is gaining traction and making a real impact is the Digital Twin (DT). This blog post will explore the business case for implementing a Digital Twin, including the benefits it can bring to your organisation. A Digital Twin can majorly impact your operations by improving decision-making and reducing costs. If you are interested in learning more about how your company can benefit from this powerful technology, read on!
A Business Case is a document that outlines the rationale and potential benefits of a proposed project or action. It persuades stakeholders to invest in the project and supports its implementation.
A Digital Twin is a realistic digital representation of assets, processes, or systems in the built or natural environment used in various industries, such as manufacturing, healthcare, transportation etc.
A Digital twin offers immense opportunities. It allows for exploring different scenarios and testing proposed technological, process, or strategy changes. Digital twins can also be used to streamline business operations and simulate prototypes, cutting down on wasted time, money, and effort. However, effective business planning is important for gaining support and raising capital for Digital Twin initiatives. Writing a business case provides an opportunity to justify and evaluate the need for a Digital Twin.
In order to effectively justify the need for developing a business case for a digital twin, its important to understand its purpose and the use it is being developed for. This Use Case Framework presents three distinct high level use case areas; Strategy and Planning, Managing Assets and Assurance.
Digital Twins can inform a government policy, an organisation’s strategy, or a plan to construct new assets. For example, a local authority might use a Digital Twin of a region to inform decisions on new housing developments and infrastructure. Private companies may also use Digital Twins to inform decisions, such as when considering a merger. These Digital Twins support multi-criteria decision-making, allowing for exploring trade-offs and optimal choices.
Digital Twins can be used to improve the performance, availability, and safety of assets, processes, and enterprises. These Digital Twins consider how assets are used and degraded over their lifespan, supporting maintenance, repair, and overhaul decisions. They can also be used to support ‘capital versus operating’ expenditure decisions, balancing cost, and future revenue.
Digital Twins can be used to provide assurance for the safety and resilience of assets, processes, and systems. These Digital Twins often rely on physical models and probabilistic methods to forecast behaviour with high certainty. The forecasting window can be months, years, or decades, with certainty decreasing over time. This use case is important in periods of significant technological, social, and environmental change and when seeking life extension for high-value assets used in critical applications.
The HM Treasury Green Book provides guidance on developing an effective business case for a project. This guidance is considered good practice for all projects but is mandatory in certain situations, such as the introduction of new public assets or services, significant changes to existing assets or services, or a need to re-evaluate the delivery model of an existing asset or service. The guidance covers five key elements: the strategic case, economic case, commercial case, financial case, and management case. These elements support the development of a holistic and compelling business case and help the owner to systematically consider and present the impact of new technology.
In addition to this model, the “desirability, feasibility, viability” approach can be used to frame the need for a Digital Twin and quantify the value for money when justifying its investment, where desirability covers the use cases and reasons for change, feasibility covers financial, and management considerations and viability covers socio-economic and commercial factors.
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