This Is AuburnElectronic Theses and Dissertations

A Data Element Mapping and Analysis (DEMA) Approach for Implementing a Complete Digital Thread




Ledford, Allison

Type of Degree

PhD Dissertation


Industrial and Systems Engineering


In the age of digitalization and the fourth industrial revolution, the concept of the Digital Thread and the Model-Based Enterprise has captured both the attention and resources of countless establishments. However, despite the growing popularity of digitalization and a plethora of technologies being offered that promise to create the Digital Thread and the Model-Based Enterprise, their full realization remains elusive. In this research, a novel approach for the standardized capture, mapping, and analysis of data flows for digital system understanding and architecture is developed and presented. Research projects were conducted with both a prototyping organization and a verification and validation operational environment to analyze the current state of data and information flows and use that as a basis for making improvements. These efforts resulted in the creation, development, and maturation of Data Element Mapping and Analysis (DEMA)- a technology agnostic approach that allows an enterprise to move from a functional, document-centric, hierarchical view of data and information flows to a data element level view, with the data elements serving as the connectors of the Digital Thread. Once data elements are identified and categorized, they can be logically reorganized with the integration of digital technologies to create the connected Digital Thread and/or the Model- Based Enterprise in a way that reduces organizational risk, lead-time, and manpower while increasing traceability, quality, and profitability