The orthodox view of the future of business systems is a complex soup of acronyms - AI, ML, BPM, ERP, IPA, RPA and many more, not to mention Low Code and No Code. Analysts such as Gartner, Forrester et al, invent acronyms on an annual basis. Yet the orthodoxy holds no clear vision of the result, how these components come together to create a new generation of business system. Instead, we have a Frankenstein-like solution of stitching them together in the hope of providing an intelligent outcome.
Surely there must be a simple solution, an alternative to mindboggling complexity.
Think like Business
In a recent debate with a European expert in this field I was assured that a simple solution is not possible because all existing business-oriented software, termed ‘technical debt’, must be catered for, and this dictates having a complex acronym soup of technologies.
The problem for my European colleague and the IT industry in general is that they look at business systems from an IT perspective. Looking at the issue from a business perspective raises the question, ‘How does my business work?’ and the response, ‘Let me model this’.
The tool to enable this is a Digital Twin, a digital replica of what takes place in a business – an exact copy of real life, rather than the conceptual representations that IT employs.
Digital Twin is Business
The Digital Twin solves a problem that has vexed the software industry since its inception – the need for an enterprise architecture, for which, in IT land, there are an array of products that take a conceptual approach rather than reflecting the way organizations really work.
A Digital Twin offers a definition of organizational structure and activity that caters for even the most complex enterprise. Encoded in software as a semantic model the activities can be automated. But the best part is, it gives business a way to escape its technical debt. Existing software, from Excel spreadsheets to SAP ERP functions, can be attached to the appropriate places in the Digital Twin model and retained until they are functionally obsolete.
Why isn’t business picking up on the promise of Digital Twin? Answer: IT orthodoxy and its community of vested interests. There is good money to be made in technical bamboozling. A simple solution will kill a lot of consulting revenue. Complexity means money.
However, I sense a breakthrough is close at hand. Companies will decide they can no longer leave their business in the hands of IT experts. The inability of business to keep abreast of the capabilities that new technology offers will make technical debt a boardroom issue.
Imagine, as a businessperson, you can define the systems you use or want and convert them into automated systems at the push of a button. Your data is truly up to date, it is real time …as is your ability to change how your business operates.
Today, this simple solution is heterodoxy. How long can business wait for its transformative benefits and make Digital Twin the new orthodoxy.