Transform Manifesto Principle #2: Single Source of Truth

by | Mar 2, 2024 | Digital Transformation, Insights, Model-Based Enterprise

Engineering data should be connected to a single authoritative source of truth, with changes communicated to all.

This is the second in a series about the principles of the Transform Manifesto. If you want to start at the beginning, go here. When you’re ready for the next in the series, go here.

The vast volume of data that is created every day is staggering. As engineers copy/paste and manually rekey data (e.g. text, graphs, tables, equations, etc) from authoritative source material into their daily work (e.g. work instructions, supplier requirements, quality control plans, etc), they proliferate an ever-increasing number of copies of the source material but without a “living” or traceable connection back to the source material. If changes are made to the authoritative source – for example, customer-led changes, or changes to company standards, industry standards, or regulations – the copied data and the people using it downstream are entirely unaware of the changes. If different users in the product development and supply chain are using different versions of the same data, this fidelity crisis has a negative impact on quality, performance, speed to market, error rates, scrap, rework, compliance, and liability.

Compounding this challenge are the large number of enterprise applications and information silos often containing duplicate data. As changes are made across the enterprise and to external content like standards and regulations, each of those silos need to be updated independently. This task is onerous and error-prone, and often creates further inconsistencies and engineering challenges downstream. 

Every company needs a “digital thread for engineering documents”.

These documents and the critical data within should be stored in a single, authoritative source of truth, ideally in a query-capable semantic web database or knowledge graph. All stakeholders should have access to the current, complete, and authoritative information, and when they need to use this data in other applications, they can “incorporate it by reference”, displaying the full and complete information but always with a dynamic live and traceable link back to the authoritative source. Each IP owner/author should manage and control their respective data, and any changes at the source should be automatically communicated up and downstream to all relevant applications, documents, and users.

A digital thread for engineering documents may sound like fantasy but the SWISS platform enables all of these capabilities and more. As a result, authorized human and machine stakeholders have access to the current, complete, authoritative, and consistent information for use over the product development life cycle.

What do you think? Are you tired of silo-hopping to find the data you need? If you think that your organization needs a digital thread for engineering documents, let’s talk.

Ready for the next in the series? Go here.

If you want to read all seven principles of the Transform Manifesto, start here.