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Digital transformation need not cost the earth

Digital transformation need not cost the earth

Peter Doherty is a Senior Consultant at CTO Group. Contact him directly or through his LinkedIn account.

Digital transformation is the hot topic of the IT industry in 2016. It’s the subject of a million articles and a million boardroom discussions.

And digital transformation budgets also usually run into the millions.

But they don’t always have to. Sometimes innovation doesn’t need to come at a cost that can often seem unaffordable at first gasp.

Did you know, for example, that the global open source community has been enthusiastically embracing and developing the emerging Internet of Things (IoT) paradigm?

A full IoT deployment will usually cost most organisations a great deal. But there are now enough free and open source tools available that organisations can allow their staff to begin experimenting with in-house IoT deployments for a negligible cost.

Good examples are IoT variants of popular Linux distributions such as Debian and Ubuntu, or platforms such as Particle, SiteWhere or ThingSpeak.

These platforms may not match the full functionality offered by commercial IoT products.

But as initial testbed environments for in-house experimentation on IoT platforms, they don’t have to. They can be used to trial ideas and explore business outcomes in a low-risk and low-cost manner.

If they don’t pan out, then little has been risked. And if they lead to a solid business case for an IoT deployment, so much the better.

There may be many out there who are still somewhat cautious about using open source tools, but you are likely to be already either using a range of such offerings or perhaps using commercial products that leverage OS components “under the hood”.

One certainly should conduct due diligence over the viability and support model for OS tools – but this need not be any more detailed than the same level of governance over the selection of commercial products.

And you may find that there is much to gain by having them in your toolkit.

Got any tips for how digital transformation can be trialled on the side? Post your thoughts below, or drop me a line at CTO Group for an informal catch-up to discuss your situation.