Digital transformation brings many promises to engineering, product development, manufacturing, and more. However, many organizations are failing to experience a significant increase in performance and profitability. So, what’s the problem? One thing is clear of the organizations that have seen digital transformation success: They’ve enabled a digital thread architecture to harness and organize their product data.

Organizations that have made progress with their digital transformation initiatives all have one thing in common: an established digital thread architecture.

Digital Thread Architecture Overview

What is a digital thread architecture?

Building a digital thread architecture defines how an organization integrates all of its data and pulls value from that data. This data includes information on products and processes spanning the entire product lifecycle.

Leveraging a digital thread architecture makes it possible to optimize processes, automate tasks, and improve overall efficiency, driving cost savings and streamlined operations.

Why do you need a digital thread architecture?

Creating a digital thread architecture is the first step for many digital transformation initiatives. It provides a comprehensive approach to managing complex processes, products, and data. Ultimately, it’s a crucial strategy for companies looking to stay competitive in today’s fast-paced market.

The primary objective of a digital thread architecture is to ensure everyone, from internal teams to external contributors, has access to the same accurate and up-to-date data. It connects information in a way that provides additional context and helps ensure everyone is on the same page when making critical decisions.

A digital thread architecture helps organizations gain value from previously inaccessible and underutilized data.

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4 Steps to Building a Digital Thread Architecture

Determining you need to build a digital thread architecture is a great start—but actually implementing this strategy can be daunting. Here are the first steps to prepare your organization to execute a digital thread architecture.

1.      Prioritize Use Cases That Drive the Most Value

A digital thread architecture has the potential to revolutionize operations, but initially focusing on use cases that drive the most business value is key. The use cases that will work best for you and your team will largely depend on your industry and organization-specific goals. For most organizations, focusing on use cases around strategic planning and driving customer value tends to be the most beneficial place to start.

2.      Identify What Matters

Like the use cases, the data and processes that matter most and see the most improvement from implementing a digital thread architecture will depend on your unique organization and specific industry. To determine your priorities, your team should conduct an internal digital audit to uncover what digital practices, processes, and systems are already in place. This will help you figure out what data is available, usable, interoperable, and impactful.

3.      Determine How to Measure Success

For each of the selected priority use cases, you have to determine what success will look like, including identifying KPIs. Once these have been selected, you’ll need to evaluate the current metrics and set goals for each KPI. Showing even incremental progress through metrics will help maintain momentum for the initiative.

4.      Organize Operations

Once you have a solid base and plan for your digital thread architecture, including the priority use cases and measurement for success, you’ll have to organize and enable the data management to make it happen. The identified data and metrics will need to be collected, managed, and governed to allow for the goals associated with the quality and consistency that a digital thread architecture provides. It’s essential to take your time in building this digital foundation, as it’s this foundation that creates visibility and alignment within your operations.

Get Started with Your Digital Thread Architecture

Building a digital thread architecture isn’t going to happen overnight—but you have to start somewhere. By prioritizing impactful use cases, identifying what matters, measuring that success, and creating a solid foundation, you’re well on your way to creating a digital thread architecture that supports your larger digital transformation initiatives. If you’re still feeling a little overwhelmed, don’t worry—we can help. We offer a range of software solutions and a team of experts that can help you build your digital thread architecture.

Ready to get started?