Silvia Piai
Silvia Piai (Research Director, Health Insights)
Stefanie Naujoks
Stefanie Naujoks (Research Director, Manufacturing Insights Europe)

In today’s rapidly evolving digital landscape, one concept is consistently making waves across all sectors: digital twins. Digital twins serve as virtual replicas of physical entities, systems, processes, organizations, or ecosystems, offering real-time insights into their operations.

Unlike static representations, digital twins dynamically mirror in real time the life of their physical counterparts. Twins empower organizations to optimize performance, predict issues, and uncover valuable insights previously out of reach.

Previously mostly confined to sectors like manufacturing and energy, digital twins now span diverse industries. Evolving from specialized solutions, they’ve become versatile tools for enhancing operations and guiding decision-making processes.

Digital twins facilitate ongoing operational improvements by dynamically adjusting to evolving operational parameters, environmental factors, and human input. This synergy of digital capabilities and human expertise fosters a culture of continuous operational excellence and refinement.

But with this rapid expansion comes the challenge of defining, implementing, and maximizing the true value of digital twins.

Industry Transformation: Innovative Applications of Digital Twins

In today’s ecosystem-driven world, digital twins are key to industry transformation. Inherently flexible, digital twins scale from entity representations to encompass entire interconnected enterprises and ecosystems, offering a comprehensive view of assets, operations, and partners. They enable organizations to model, monitor, and predict the behavior of the various components of the ecosystem to facilitate adaptation as conditions change and to drive innovation.

Our research shows how, quite consistently, organizations across different sectors are harnessing digital twins to innovate products and services within their ecosystems.

Future Enterprise Resiliency
Source: Future Enterprise Resiliency & Spending Survey Wave 6, IDC, July 2023 (890 resp)

Healthcare Innovation through Digital Twins

In healthcare, optimizing care and clinical outcomes requires a deep understanding of the broader ecosystem in which patients live and how they access services, adhere to prevention initiatives and treatment plans, and what resources they need. To innovate care services, healthcare organizations need to collaborate with various stakeholders across multiple processes.

The European Commission’s VHT Initiative promotes digital twin technology in healthcare through research and deployment activity. This includes funding for computational models, infrastructures, and projects like the European Virtual Human Twin (EDITH), which among its objectives aims to create a federated cloud-based repository for cataloging resources and designing a simulation platform that provides users with a one-stop shop to design, develop, test, and validate digital twins for healthcare.

Transforming Supply Chains: The Case of Catena-X

New use cases are emerging, particularly in complex areas like supply chains. Digital twins can, for example, be used in vehicles and their components to map the entire value chain from creation to disposal and to improve parts traceability.

Catena-X, an open data ecosystem for the automotive industry, has been designed to ensure secure data exchange and data sovereignty among all stakeholders in a supply chain.

Based on the Catena-X framework, digital twins of vehicle components (e.g., battery modules/packs) can be utilized to facilitate the digital flow of information from battery manufacturers to vehicle OEMs and back.

The important thing here is that when data is exchanged between two parties, access is managed in a way that only reference information is shared. Part-specific data remains with the manufacturer.

IDC’s Cross-Industry Digital Twin Framework

As adoption rates rise and new use cases emerge, organizations must navigate the rapidly evolving landscape with strategic clarity. IDC offers a comprehensive framework to support industry-specific digital twin strategies.

The framework provides guidance on defining entities, systems, and processes eligible for digital twinning. We analyze market drivers, challenges, and benefits, and identify and analyze key industry use cases and examples of best practices.

Through tailored industry reports, IDC delves deep into digital twins across sectors like financial services, healthcare, and transportation (to mention just a few), providing insights and recommendations for transformative impact. For end users, the framework offers ready-to-use templates to assist strategy definition and market analysis. Tech providers can gain industry-specific insights to tailor offerings and drive adoption.


Download eBook: IDC’s Cross-Industry Digital Twin Framework: Where Innovation Meets Strategy


As the digital twin revolution unfolds, organizations must seize the opportunity to unlock the full potential of twins. Industry stakeholders must confidently navigate the complexities of digital twins to foster innovation, collaboration, and resilience within their organizations and across industry ecosystems.

Whether you’re just starting or are refining your approach, IDC Insights teams are eager to discuss your experiences and plans regarding digital twins across industries.

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