A single source of truth: what standardized software means for designing in the digital future

By Steve Hartman

What does product design look like in the digital future? How will companies collaborate in ways that actually boost efficiency, reduce time-to-market and operate effectively in an open ecosystem?

And what are the most progressive companies doing today to stay competitive tomorrow?

In the 2022 Digital Twin Report, Lifecycle Insights touches on the progressiveness of companies based on their standardized versus centralized software technology and what it means for their ability to compete in the digital future.

Let’s take a closer look!

Choosing standard solutions

The study considered several things when assessing the maturity of a company’s digital twin efforts, including the degree to which an organization creates digital representations of products using a standardized set of tools. Standardization, or integrated solutions, refers to using the same tool to create a deliverable. As an example, for mechanical hardware design, standardization implies that every designer in the company is using the same CAD solution to create all mechanical designs.

The study showed that standardization is not constant across the board. While some domains such as IoT and mechanical hardware have higher rates of standardizing their tools, companies involved in electrical distribution systems tend to use many stand-alone, or centralized solutions from different solution providers.

Digital Twin: standard solutions and a single source of truth

Engineers use a Digital Twin to develop and test their product during various stages of development, ensuring compatibility across domains, working out many issues early in the design phase when it’s more cost-effective to fix and discovering ways to perfect their product.

The Digital Twin of a product consists of the definitions, documentation, and simulations that detail the form, fit, and function of every aspect of a product. Every system, every assembly, and every item is part of this Comprehensive Digital Twin that combines the digital and real worlds so today’s engineers can build the products of the future.

The Comprehensive Digital Twin can provide a single source of truth to digital definitions across teams, organizations, companies, and even supply chains. Standardized solutions allow for easier sharing across the entire ecosystem, better compatibility, and it’s why higher levels of integration and standardization, both in terms of creating and managing deliverables in product design, offer significant benefits.

The most progressive companies are realizing more value from their Digital Transformation efforts.

According to the report, nearly two-thirds of the most progressive companies manage all digital representations of product design documents using modern data management solutions, including PDM, PLM, or ALM systems. Fewer than one-third of the least progressive companies can say the same.

The difference between these ends of the spectrum can mean significant competitive edge as the most progressive will best be set up to collaborate across domains and throughout the ecosystem and use the Comprehensive Digital Twin to validate product performance early in the design cycle.

Adopting standard solutions

Teams, departments, or entire companies can either adopt a standard for how they execute tasks and activities in product design or may not use any standards and execute these processes using ad-hoc approaches.

More than 90 percent of the most progressive companies execute the vast majority of their design processes according to an established standard versus 52 percent of the least progressive companies.

One of the main benefits found within the report is how organizations executing common processes using standard solutions over centralized or stand-alone solutions gain efficiencies due to familiarity and repetition. They can catch issues far earlier in the development process and realize value from their adoption of progressive, digitalization practices.

Download the full 2022 Digital Twin Report to learn more.

Visit our Siemens Xcelerator webpage to learn more about this portfolio best-in-class software, services and application development platform designed to break down silos and blur the boundaries between industry domains.

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This article first appeared on the Siemens Digital Industries Software blog at