In brief

In brief

  • Companies are eager to create personalized products and as-a-service business models. But siloes and fragmented data are holding them back.
  • To lead in the Industrial Renaissance, organizations must achieve digital continuity, with a robust process and data flow that form a closed loop.
  • A digital thread can join up disparate business functions – connecting everything from product design and engineering to after-sales and marketing.
  • We’ve developed a reference architecture built on SAP solutions, to help clients achieve digital continuity.


Digital continuity is a powerful way to connect diverse business

We’re in a world of constant change. Markets are evolving. Customer demands are shifting. And a new era of consumerism is dawning.

To thrive in today’s business environment, companies must be more agile than ever before. They need to reinvent their business models to offer everything as-a-service. And they must meet consumer demands for greater product personalization.

But longstanding issues are holding them back. Some examples? Organizational siloes. Data split between disparate systems. Broken data flows. And a lack of customer centricity.

To overcome these challenges, companies must redesign their businesses, data architecture, processes, capabilities and technology. The aim is to achieve digital continuity, with a robust process and data flow that create a closed loop.

The power of digital continuity

Digital continuity can connect the entire business. What does this look like in practice? Product design is informed by IoT data from existing products, combined with deep insights into customer requirements. Engineering teams use collaborative virtual prototyping to accelerate time-to-market. Customers can virtually try out and configure products before they buy them. And maintenance evolves from a cost into a value-added service.

How is all of this possible? Through profound technology advancements.

Digital twins are powerful tools. But until recently, they’ve been limited to mirroring, monitoring and simulating discrete devices. Now, as the number of digital twins increases and more AI is layered in, organizations are building massive networks of intelligent twins that can model complex systems like products, factories and supply chains. This is creating a mirrored world that businesses can use to optimize the lifecycle of physical assets, answer “what-if” questions, and test new products without building them physically.

Making it happen

We’ve converted continuity from an ideal into a path. We’ve used sophisticated SAP solutions to develop a reference architecture. It shows how clients can build their own mirrored world to connect their diverse business functions.

We’ve verified every part of the digital thread. For instance:

  • We’ve helped companies connect their CAD modeling with their suppliers
  • We’ve developed our own assets that closely integrate PLM and ERP
  • systems. This helps foster seamless collaboration between design, engineering and production teams
  • We can help protect companies from counterfeit parts by using blockchain technology
  • And we’ve implemented automated quality controls using image recognition and cloud-based services.

Our reference architecture can support companies on their journey toward digital continuity. It can help companies shape new business models and reimagine their offerings. And it fosters business agility, to help organizations prepare for whatever the future brings.

About the Authors

Eric Mestre

Lead – SAP Business Group, Europe


Stéphanie Guimbellot

Global Lead – SAP Innovation & Sustainability, Accenture


Marco Paletti

Manufacturing Industry SAP Lead


Jean-Christophe Ledoux

Managing Director – Accenture


Daniel Gonzalez

Principal Director – Accenture SAP Business Group


Silvio Del Ninno

Principal Director – Accenture SAP Business Group

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