Prioritizing a Digital Twin and an Asset Management Plan: A Discussion with David Totman

Which one is more of a priority?

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February 11, 2021 | David Totman

Which one is more of a priority, a Digital Twin or an Asset Management Plan?

The answer is, they are both equally as important.

Implementing a Digital Twin (DT) is about transformative digital technology and building an Asset Management Plan (AMP) is more of a journey in business discipline. In some of my earlier blogs I explain the benefits and importance of developing an asset management plan and so now you may wonder about this interest in a Digital Twin…

The reason I am starting off 2021 with this discussion is Innovyze had a transformational undertaking of its own with the announcement of Info360. Info360 is the first solution from Innovyze that truly takes us into the infinitely scalable world of Cloud/SaaS computing. And nobody can do scale better than Amazon. What I find most intriguing about our SaaS architecture and the use of web services is that we can have the proverbial “cake and eat it too”.

Our roots in desktop

We have a rich heritage of desktop products at Innovyze, even web-based on-premise solutions that have helped customers successfully manage water infrastructure for years. One of our flagship products is InfoAsset Planner; our asset performance and risk modeling solution built on top of Esri ArcGIS. The workflow in InfoAsset Planner is driven by wizards, kind of like a TurboTax® for asset management.

Implementing our workflow gives you a reproducible digital AMP that can adapt over time. Using a desktop with limited resources, is designed to have a sequential workflow with lots of data integration moving back and forth from the desktop to enterprise datasets. Reasonably this can slow you down when pushing through lots of data.

Our future in SaaS

From what I have seen in Info360, data flows seamlessly through web services. It doesn’t seem like traditional integration with lots of imports and exports, it’s literally “on” and accessible from any workflow at any step, at any time. This is where the blending of the Digital Twin and the AMP become important.

In reality, the Digital Twin starts with an Asset Twin, i.e. an asset registry. With SaaS and web services “THE” asset registry can be blended from multiple asset registries in your GIS, your EAM, even the general ledger in your financial system. The scalability of the SaaS architecture allows us to have a data model that encompasses the full life cycle management of an asset. Other parts of the Digital Twin become components of your digital AMP.

Add in an inspection portal for condition assessment, real-time hydraulic modeling to understand the capacity and operational behavior of the system (including weather), work and event management portals, prescriptive analytics of AI/ML, our asset performance and risk modeling workflow and you now have a powerful life cycle management solution.

Data can flow per asset or an entire asset class depending upon the need. With the power of SaaS the InfoAsset Planner workflow is no longer getting slowed down with data imports and exports. Every step is “on” and interactive giving you real-time asset management for operational decisions, in addition to cumulative financial calculations used for long-term capital planning.

Smart routing

Think of the Digital Twin as your map of assets and the AMP is the route to take from point A to point B. A smart route needs to navigate the assets by using the intent or business reason of the trip to calculate the optimal path that minimizes barriers in getting to your destination. Innovyze provides that smart routing capability of how best to navigate/manage your water infrastructure. Oh, and with SaaS and an API you can let everybody know where you are within the asset life cycle, with access to Open Data portals for true transparency and accountability.

Answering the question

That being said, being a member of the US TAG to ISO 55000 I guess I can answer the opening question: the AMP is higher priority and thus comes first. Although don’t wait for the full AMP to be completed, at least craft the business definition of why your assets exist and what service they provide and that gives you the focus points of building your Digital Twin. The key is just do it, get started on your journey.

I for one am glad 2021 is here. It’s going to be a great year. If you have any questions, feel free to contact me at


Tags: asset, asset management, asset management plan, digital twin

About the Authors

David Totman

David Totman

VP of Asset Management


Having been a public servant for many years, David's passion for infrastructure is exemplified throughout his experience as the VP of Asset Management at Innovyze and advisory Past-President for the Utility Engineering & Surveying Institute in the ASCE. 

Connect with David on LinkedIn