In brief

In brief

  • To respond to digital disruption, companies must reinvent their products and services and establish Digital Twins of their market offerings.
  • Some inadvertently create Digital Impostors—fragmented or incomplete Digital Twins that limit value, inhibit scale, hinder transformation, adding cost.
  • A unified product model and a multi-disciplinary approach to innovation will bar a Digital Impostor from crashing the digital transformation journey.


Companies across all industries understand all too well the pressure to embrace the New. Full-scale disruption has arrived and it’s not only impacting how companies operate today but also causing a shift in product value creation. By harnessing the power of software and digital, companies can create new services and hyper-personalized experiences while driving improvements in efficiency as well as reduced time to market.

However, if not careful, companies can be inadvertently creating Digital Impostors that require significant investment, effort and disruption without providing the long-term benefits of a true Digital Twin.

Beware of the Digital Impostor

Digital Twins and the capabilities they enable are only as powerful as the underlying data made available by an interconnected Digital Thread of technology and business process. If a company’s digital journey does not have a complete vision or cross-functional sponsorship, they risk ending up with a patchwork of partial or fragmented Digital Impostors that will have limited ability to adapt or scale with the ever-changing technology landscape and market trends.

Getting back on track will require additional investment—potentially the need to restart the initiative from the beginning. That means even more delays, disruption and lost opportunities.

Between 2016 and 2018, companies spent over $100 billion on scaling digital innovations, and only 22 percent achieved a return on their digital investments that exceeded expectations.

Spot the impostor

So how can companies detect whether what they are developing is a true Digital Twin or its impostor? There are some critical warning signs:

  • FEELING stuck in an endless "pilot mode" with digital technology.
  • REALIZING disappointing returns on digital investments are not meeting stakeholder expectations.
  • IN-FIGHTING between business functions on a frequent basis.

The path to success

Companies need to forge their path to reinvention and value creation by understanding where and how they will operate in the new digital-first economy.

A unified Digital Twin

A unified product model that can capture and continuously gather the digitized information of all elements of the living product throughout its journey.

End-to-End Digital Thread

Establish a seamless flow of data to support digital innovation and reinvention to tap into new data sources and create new experiences.

Multi-disciplinary Approach

The cross-functional leadership must take responsibility for the journey and they need to be aligned to a shared future-state vision before embarking.

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Remain vigilant

The threat of the Digital Impostor is ever-present. Maintaining a unified product model for a comprehensive Digital Twin, connecting innovation, supply chain, manufacturing and aftersales capabilities seamlessly in a Digital Thread and forming a multi-disciplinary coalition—will bar a Digital Impostor from crashing the digital transformation journey.

Digital Thread & Digital Twin Strategies

Accenture’s end-to-end Digital Thread & Digital Twin strategies outline a path to greater growth and cost efficiency through digital connections. See more.

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Horst Groesser

Managing Director – Strategy & Consulting

Lisa Jackson

Global Offering Development Lead – Industry X


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