Don’t begin your journey without knowing your starting point – Discover your current situation

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Would you start a journey without knowing your destination? Most of us are familiar with the scene from Alice in Wonderland where Alice asked “Which road do I take?” to which the Cheshire Cat responded “Where do you want to go?” When Alice answered “I don’t know”, the cat advised “Then it doesn’t matter”.

Most transformation projects attempt to clarify the expected outcomes of an initiative, yet they do not necessarily have a good understanding of the current situation. Would you commence a journey without knowing where your starting point? How could you possibly know the correct path to the destination unless you know where you are now? There needs to be much greater clarity on what your current situation is to undertake an effective transformation.

Organizations waste huge amounts of money on building a digital representation of their current state. One customer estimated that they spend about $50 million a year on capturing a representation of their current state operations. This, like in most organizations, is undertaken on a project basis. Often, this is just capturing enough information to provide some definition for the project to proceed. What happens to this knowledge after the project completion? Usually, this is not maintained as it is treated as a project artefact and then this work needs to be repeated for the next project.

Worse still, how accurate is the information that has been gathered? How was this gathered? We often run workshops where it is difficult to gain agreement on what people do and how they perform processes. When these have been captured, is this tested against actual business operations? Quite often, if this is just to establish the starting point for a transformation journey, it is not verified against the actual business operations. Hence, we are off on the wrong journey.

The Digital Twin of an Organization is designed to have the digital model reflect the actual business operations. Techniques are now available to check what is actually happening in the real world to capture an accurate representation in the model. Having an accurate starting point dramatically increases the likelihood of success in the project. Process Mining removes the subjectivity by investigating real world systems event logs and providing evidence of what is actually occurring. This can then be reverse engineered to provide the design of business operations.

There is much more to the transformation journey, whether digital or not. Providing a reliable model for analysis of change and simulation of future operations is a great way to commence the journey. Future blogs will describe how the Digital Twin of an Organization may be used to design changes to the business operations and deliver sustainable improvements more reliably to improve customer satisfaction, efficiency and compliance.