Digital engineering yields significant gains by reducing lead times, enabling informed decision-making, and ensuring more complete, consistent designs of engineered systems.
There is an impetus to adopt digital engineering by U.S. government agencies responsible for defense and national security, as part of the bigger digital transformation revolution. Many reports have indicated government respondents felt they were behind the private sector in use of digital technologies.
SAIC understands that moving from legacy engineering solutions to digital ones is not a simple task. There’s a gap between where an agency is and where it wants to be that we often refer to as the “digital divide.” This divide can seem difficult to cross with the disconnect between people, processes, and technologies.
That’s where SAIC’s transformation service comes in. Each bridge we build ensures an organization successfully goes from point A to point B to point C in order to take full advantage of digital engineering solutions whether they are ours, their own, or others.
“We approach this from a systems engineering mentality,” said Kimberly Nunn, systems engineer chief over organizational transformation. “This means having a big-picture view to see all the different aspects of what’s going on, not just one particular area of emphasis.”
Seeing the divisive pain points
Part of gaining that big-picture view involves the SAIC digital engineering team's early identification of pain points. Disjointed digital technologies, knowledge loss, document- and labor-intensive approaches, human error, and overly complex systems all yield significant frustrations. An organization inevitably sees unfulfilled missions because of the inefficiencies these pain points generate.
Yet, they are commonplace problems many organizations cope with as a side effect of traditional, legacy solutions. Curbing them can be difficult, as they are often cultural.
“The teams that are the easiest to work with are already really collaborative,” Nunn said. “But more often than not, we have siloed teams just tossing things over the wall, and that’s not efficient.”
Creating workplace efficiencies is an essential step in the digital engineering transformation process, so organizations that already champion the adoption of digital engineering practices and work in collaborative environments make the jobs of SAIC engineers a lot easier.
“Collaboration is key. Digital engineering means having that collaborative mentality readily available,” Nunn said. “If you want to affect one system, you need to see how all of the other elements fit into it.”
Digital engineering provides a conduit for those engagements to be highly effective and digitally accessible to all involved parties.
Building the bridge
SAIC helps organizations with aligning people, processes, and tools to shift the focus to mission outcomes. We tie the right artifacts, like modeling applications, simulations, and analytics, to the right stages of a digital engineering system as part of a strategic enterprise transformation portfolio.
“We want to do more than just provide a CAD model," Nunn said. "We want to show how that model relates to a model in a descriptive modeling tool, which relates to project requirements, which then contributes to the transformation of the whole enterprise operation."
Each customer’s portfolio is different, so our solutions are going to be unique. There is no one-size-fits-all approach to transformation, as every organization’s needs and goals are different.
The bridge we build across the digital divide may be different for each organization, but it always leads to increased effectiveness, efficiency, and improved digital engineering solution adoption and success rates.
The need to modernize
Failure to invest in digital engineering will yield less secured, protected, synergistic systems, processes, and architectures for the nation's adversaries to exploit. To overcome the complexities of modern systems and move at the speed of relevance, we implement smart, scalable methods to transform organizations.
“This isn’t something that happens overnight; it’s a journey,” Nunn said. “But the good news is it’s never too late for an organization to transform and take advantage of digital engineering solutions. You can do that whether you have been working on a project for years or are just getting started.”