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Solving the CIO’s dilemma with digital twin for your IT landscape

Jennifer Marchand

So, how do you take control of IT assets and move transformation ahead at speed? Digital twins may be a major factor contributing to the answer.

In the digital era, CIOs of large enterprises face a fundamental dilemma: they must both perform – increase operational excellence, reduce costs, and make existing systems faster – and transform – move the company to digital business models, enhance the customer experience, enable always-on innovation, and become more agile. Making the shift from IT that just drives down costs to IT that also drives business value is what separates the leaders from the laggards in the digital world.

But bridging the digital divide to perform and transform at the same time can be a challenge for many organizations, particularly those with large legacy estates. In fact, enterprise CIOs may cast envious glances towards their startup neighbors; for them, systems are newer and much smaller in scope, and therefore easier to manage. Enterprise CIOs don’t have the luxury of simply starting over to remove the barriers to digital business.

So how do they get to a place where they can both perform and transform? They key lies in having an in-depth understanding of the IT landscape and application portfolio – and how it needs to evolve to meet the demands of the digital world.

The value of digital twins is to accelerate the speed of identifying risks and opportunities and reducing costs of simulating changes in the organization while understanding the impacts. Creating a model of your IT organization can help quickly refine plans to achieve frictionless business enablement by driving down costs, focusing on quality, and aligning investments to business value streams.

Mastering the current state

You cannot optimize what you do not understand. But having insight into the application portfolio can be a challenge for enterprises with a significant legacy estate. IT assets are difficult to analyze, even if you have the necessary data and decision-making assistance tools to correlate, combine, or interpret it. Several tens of thousands of data points are necessary to analyze an enterprise portfolio, including those covering CMDB (Configuration Management Database), application inventories, ticket base, list of suppliers, project portfolio, cost elements, process catalogue, and so on. Given the volume, a CIO cannot physically “see” everything unless an unrealistic amount of time is spent on attempting to do so. Even if there is good visibility into your landscape, building a roadmap for change and a business plan with expected benefits is very difficult.

Building a digital twin to understand the IT portfolio

Recognizing this challenge, we decided to take inspiration from the manufacturing and oil and gas sectors, where digital twins have been used to help organizations gain in-depth visibility into their data for effective asset lifecycle management. A digital twin is a virtual replica of a physical entity: a real-time simulation that helps monitor an asset and diagnose critical failures, analyze usage patterns, and optimize. NASA uses digital twins to test, build, and maintain vehicles, and adoption among manufacturers is growing.

Recognizing the challenges faced by our CIO clients, we realized we could extend the digital twin approach to the IT landscape with a solution called economic Application Portfolio Management (eAPM). With eAPM, complex enterprise architecture can be mapped and represented using the digital-twin technique to better plan and execute a business transformation initiative. Business elements mapped include time to market, value streams, operations criticality, rate of change, total cost of ownership, technical risk, and technical, etc. eAPM draws on historical data inputs, sensor information, and IT team expertise to create an accurate replica of the actual IT system and then run analyses against it.

See a better path forward with eAPM

By leveraging the concept of digital twins, eAPM helps organizations take a model-based approach to change. It a best-in-class portfolio management analysis tool with a graphical visualization layer that incorporates IP and best practices from more than 500 portfolio assessments to improve IT performance and make informed decisions. It combines a proven and highly visual assessment methodology and decision-making framework to analyze a broad set of data across applications, infrastructure, operations, business processes, and finance, and delivers a roadmap and business case for incremental innovation and transformation.

Bridging the digital divide with eAPM

In the “Ingest,” phase of a project with eAPM, we map your organization and create the model to uncover opportunities for application rationalization, align costs to business criticality, and build an inventory of business and technical risk. We also understand what technical and business capabilities exist to define a decision framework and concentrate on customer satisfaction and time to market.

In the “Ingest” phase of an eAPM, project, we collect data across business processes (via BPM tools) infrastructure, vulnerabilities (via connector tools), topology and flows (via discovery tools), application characteristics (via productivity tools), and technical debt (via quality tools). Then, in the “Process and Model” phase, we continuously analyze your data. This analysis then provides the insights for the “Take action” phase, where you have the information you need to make improvements in your technology and core processes.

Optimizing and transforming with eAPM

The advantages of having the in-depth insight into your application portfolio are numerous, allowing you to both optimize and transform:

  • Optimize TCO: reduce operational IT costs through cloud adoption and automation
  • Develop a roadmap to digital: create a business case and action plan for digital transformation, including where you can use microservices and DevOps to improve speed to market and agility
  • Turn IT into a value center: leverage cutting-edge tech and create new sources of revenue for the business.

By leveraging the concept of the digital twin, eAPM helps solve the CIO’s dilemma, allowing organizations to perform at their best and accelerate that transformation agenda that is required in the digital world.

For more information about how to optimize and transform your IT landscape, don’t hesitate to reach out. If you’d like to learn more, please join Capgemini at AWS re:Invent 2019, where we’ll will be on site to talk about how to leverage AWS to make digital business a reality. Capgemini will also be speaking alongside McDonald’s about how the company, together with Capgemini and AWS, has created a powerful digital e-commerce platform using Kubernetes, Lambda, etc., and how they plan to leverage this platform to deliver innovative features at great speeds.