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The great data convergence – why digital continuity is critical for A&D

30 May 2023

The aerospace and defense industry operates in a highly complex and competitive environment where success hinges on constant innovation, agility, and adaptability. Organizations must optimize their processes, minimize costs, and deliver exceptional products and services by ensuring seamless information and data flow across product and project lifecycles, with a huge contribution from its Extended Enterprises.

This vision is what Capgemini aims to bring into focus at the upcoming 54th annual Paris Air Show. As leaders in aerospace and defense prepare to gather in Paris, we start by setting the stage for end-to-end transformation with digital continuity: the seamless and uninterrupted flow of information and data throughout an organization.
Ahead of the show, we want to explore digital continuity’s critical role in addressing industry-specific challenges in supply chain and system optimization. We will also look at how to foster digital continuity, not only with infrastructure but by creating a digital-first, data-driven culture.

Defining digital continuity

End-to-end digital continuity integrates all product or project stages, including ideation, engineering, manufacturing, and aftersales. Digital continuity is achieved through integrating digital technologies, effective data management, and a robust digital-first culture. It enables efficient collaboration, knowledge sharing, and decision-making by ensuring all stakeholders can access accurate, up-to-date information, regardless of their location or role within the organization.

Digital continuity enables organizations to unify data throughout the product, process, and resource lifecycle, including plants, equipment, robots, and more, including the services and support. This unified data approach allows for predictive and prescriptive services, granting organizations access to innovative and flexible business models to help them conquer new markets and stay ahead of the competition.

Digital continuity is the bedrock of an organization, connecting products, industrial systems, and services under development, executing strategic plans, and establishing systems and infrastructure ultimately playing a crucial role in delivering value to clients.

The current global market context

The global process is quite serial and partially fragmented. Industries and organizations face challenges in developing complex products, assets, and systems which require strong collaboration from different disciplines. Companies must invest in novel solutions supported by digital continuity to counterbalance the disconnectedness.

By embracing digital continuity, organizations can better position themselves for growth, resilience, and adaptability in the face of evolving industry trends and challenges. Capgemini helps clients reimagine and digitalize their development process with a business-centric, collaborative, and end-to-end approach, supporting digital continuity within their extended enterprise, including their ecosystem of partners.

As the case for digital continuity evolves – challenges remain for A&D

According to a Capgemini Research Institute survey of more than a thousand senior executives in manufacturing, 57% said they could not adequately create, capture, share, and reuse knowledge across functions. In an aerospace and defense context, this often manifests as physical clashes (of physical components) or systems malfunctioning due to a lack of integration models inside engineering & between engineering and manufacturing.

Meanwhile, the automotive industry is making exciting steps forward in highlighting the power of digital continuity. Just look at the Peugeot 9X8, created in partnership with Capgemini and dubbed the ‘automobile of tomorrow.’ This advanced hyper car uses AI and data to allow the French team to analyze the car’s behavior in real-time during LeMans 2023 in June.

With each race, the insights gathered will enhance the performance and reliability of hybrid engines by optimizing electricity and biofuel consumption. The knowledge gained from these experiences will facilitate technology transfer, improving production vehicles in the future and making them safer, more energy-efficient, and environmentally friendly.

A report from the Capgemini Research Institute examined how automotive OEMs can harness the power of software-driven transformation. In “Next Destination: Software” survey results showed that a driver of future revenue “will be OEMs’ share of new vehicles based on a unified/common software platform, which will reach 35% by 2031, up from nearly 7% currently.” In addition, “by 2026, OEMs expect to improve their productivity/efficiency by 40% and help leading OEMs garner up to 9% higher market share than their peers”.

We anticipate similar trends in A&D. Organizations are seeing the positive impact of digital collaboration and unified platforms not only in product development but in customer engagement and overall positive impact on the bottom line.

The impact of digital continuity

Digital continuity aims to establish an end-to-end process that connects data with fidelity and efficiency. For aerospace and defense, digital continuity has the most significant impact in two areas:

Supply chain and manufacturing

Ensuring product and manufacturing engineering information integrity throughout PLM
Digital continuity maintains data integrity throughout the product lifecycle, enabling better decision-making and reducing errors during development, production, and distribution.

Reducing time to market
A well-implemented digital strategy can contribute to a 30 percent reduction in lead time production, allowing businesses to stay competitive and rapidly respond to market demands.

Optimizing program execution
Digital continuity enables seamless collaboration between departments and across company boundaries, resulting in optimized program execution, increased efficiency, cost savings, and innovation.

System optimization

Enhancing product design with simulation and optimization
Digital continuity allows accurate simulations and multi-domain optimizations, identifying potential issues early and optimizing performance across domains like aerodynamics and structural integrity.

Streamlining complex product design
Implementing digital continuity accelerates complex product design while maintaining security. Seamless data flow and collaboration enable faster iteration and adherence to strict security protocols.

Reducing cost and risks in engineering
Digital continuity reduces cost, lead time, and risks during engineering by ensuring data integrity and seamless collaboration, preventing costly rework, and minimizing risks associated with design flaws.

At the core, if you have a refined process surrounding digital continuity, it’s easier to optimize your solution.

Manufacturing execution optimization
Digital Continuity allows the Manufacturing Engineering to use all the knowledge and constraints of the product to deliver optimized and up-to-date Standard Operation Instruction. Combined with Digital Twin, this can also allow simulation of the stations, plant and even the industrial supply chain.

Services and logistics
In A&D, the product in operation must be synchronized with multiple data sources which have to be accessed quickly (maintenances and connected services). This part of the process will be highly anticipated during the design, not only of the plane, but also during the interactions design between the product and the facilities.

Digital twins as a digital continuity catalyst

Digital twins are transforming the aerospace and defense industry by revolutionizing how physical assets and systems are monitored, analyzed, and optimized. Organizations can gather data in service, simulate scenarios, and make informed decisions throughout the product lifecycle by creating virtual replicas.

Digital twins are often a catalyst for digital continuity. They help break down silos because you need to think about the complete lifecycle of the object from the beginning and share data across disciplines and teams efficiently to succeed.

With digital continuity, organizations can also create digital twins more efficiently and cost-effectively, leveraging existing assets, designs, and simulations to reduce time-to-market. Digital continuity also allows for effective maintenance, updates, and upgrades throughout the lifespan, ensuring the digital twin remains accurate and up to date.

The journey towards digital continuity

In the beginning, it’s important to remember digital continuity is not only how, but also why.

You need a culture of collaboration and data-sharing; everyone needs to be on board. It’s not a question of IT initially (although that’s another conversation we could have on everything from 5G to ERP). It’s a question of process on a business level and the people and decision-makers across a product lifecycle. Because digital continuity requires collaboration, end-to-end digital continuity enables the seamless integration of all processes throughout product development. However, it’s important to remember people are at the heart of those processes. The data that flows throughout the organization is used in all facets of the organization to enable informed and efficient decision-making. So, while discussing the technologies needed for digital continuity, it’s important to remember that people drive the processes and allow for collaboration.

Key takeaways and The Paris Air Show

The journey toward digital continuity requires a strategic and systematic approach. It involves breaking down silos, fostering cross-functional collaboration, and aligning digital continuity efforts with business processes. Organizations should continuously evaluate and improve their digital continuity initiatives, embracing change and learning from experiences to drive innovation and efficiency. Capgemini has a variety of solutions in this area, and we continue to watch exciting developments across our industry.

Throughout our presence at the Paris Air Show, we will shed light on the transformative power of digital continuity and its ability to revolutionize processes, improve decision-making, and enable organizations to navigate the dynamic landscape with clarity and foresight. We’ll be at the Paris Air Show in ChaletN.323 so stop by and visit, as we welcome learning how your organization embraces digital continuity.

Capgemini at Paris Air Show 2023

Bring your vision into focus


Jacques Bacry

Executive Vice President – Digital Continuity & Convergence Group Offer Leader
Jacques is Digital Continuity Group Offer Leader, with an objective to define and execute the strategy in this dynamic domain including PLM and Digital twin. His work is focused on unleashing the promise of end-to-end digital continuity across the entire product lifecycle, by seamlessly integrating ideation, engineering, manufacturing, and aftersales into one unified digital collaboration. He is a champion of PLM as an enabler for Industry 4.0 because it integrates the development of products, production, and services.

Antoine Scotto d'Apollonia

VP, Digital Continuity Advisor, Capgemini Invent
Antoine has more than 25 years in civil aerospace leading Engineering transformation and PLM implementation for new programs. He is driven by the ability to develop new Digital Design-Manufacturing-Service platforms and deploy global Business Transformation for his clients. He manages Aerospace transformation best practices for Capgemini Invent and leads Digital Continuity insights across multiple industries. Antoine believes that development principles and digital enablers for the Aerospace industry are foundational for Intelligent Industry, the next era of digital transformation defined by the convergence of product, software, data, and services across all industries.