Bert Craven, enterprise architect at easyJet, has said that IT departments should loosen their controls and let business users buy and deploy software-as-a-service (Saas) applications in order to drive innovation.
He believes that IT should always secure and ring-fence core systems that are vital to the business' operations, but it shouldn't block tech-savvy business employees trying to deliver value through the public cloud.
"There have been secret PCs under people's desks as long as there have been PCs - stuff that IT didn't know about. IT has to decide the level of control that it really needs, not the level of control that it wants," Craven told Computerworld UK.
"Lots of IT departments want to control everything, but we should be asking ourselves: what is the bare minimum of control and governance that we need to exert to make sure that nobody gets fired?"
He added: "You can only control so much and ultimately there are very determined people that will find a way around you, because it's getting easier to buy stuff in the cloud. If you give everybody a little bit of freedom it's far more beneficial."
Craven's comments come off the back of a Forrester and Microsoft report that has been released this week that finds that there are an increasing number of cloud projects coming out of businesses that are not driven out of the IT function. The report describes the business people driving these innovative projects as 'change agents', who are finding value for their company independently of IT, in the cloud.
Computerworld UK also spoke to Rob Fraser, CTO of cloud services at Microsoft, who said that these public cloud projects are almost always focused on applications and are important for companies if they want to drive business value.
"We have been finding ourselves engaging with a broader range of characters within the organisation, whether that be CMOs, product designers or heads of business lines," said Fraser.
"Change agents are having an important impact in terms of being able to deliver business transformation and real value in the cloud. SaaS is being used as an important and effective tool in fostering innovation and business transformation in the company."
He added: "These projects are exclusively focused on applications, which reinforces the idea that the business doesn't really care about infrastructure, what they care about is functionality."
easyJet's Craven urged other businesses to consider developing a set of APIs that that allowed 'change agents' to go off and buy SaaS that can be easily integrated into the company's core systems.
"At easyJet there are things that are the absolute crown jewels of the business that are for very good reason completely ring-fenced - for example, our engineering system, our aircraft information management system, our reservation system. These are systems where hours of downtime mean our organisation grinds to a halt," he said.
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