: The digital thread promises unbroken traceability from first expression of need through design, production, acceptance, operation, and upgrade. Viewed from one perspective, this provides confidence that the needs expressed have been satisfied. Viewed from another perspective, the thread establishes provenance for each aspect of a product or system. Done right, this is all captured in an authoritative source of truth supporting the engineering enterprise during development and the greater enterprise throughout the product lifecycle.
But how do we move from promise to practice and realized potential? There are countless stakeholders operating across the engineering lifecycle, each with specific insights, perspectives, and concerns. If implemented correctly, the digital thread enables every individual to see the information they need to see when they need to see it to elicit their unique insights and make informed decisions. Done poorly, the digital thread becomes an overwhelming tangle of interconnected bits of data dispersed across distributed repositories with lightweight traceability but little coherence and even less insight.
: David Long has spent over 30 years helping organizations increase their systems engineering proficiency while simultaneously working to advance the state of the art. David was the founder and president of Vitech where he led development of innovative, industry-leading methods and software to engineer next-generation systems. He co-authored A Primer for Model-Based Systems Engineering
and frequently delivers keynotes, tutorials, and workshops around the world. An INCOSE Fellow and Expert Systems Engineering Professional, David was the 2014/2015 president of INCOSE.
David holds a bachelor’s degree in Engineering Science and Mechanics, as well as a master’s degree in Systems Engineering from Virginia Tech.