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Lotus F1 CIO on maintaining control of enterprise IT

Sophie Curtis | May 23, 2013
Lotus F1 CIO Graeme Hackland CIO believes having an application strategy that allows employees to find and develop their own solutions is key to maintaining control of an enterprise IT environment.

"Our strategy says that we won't replace an application just because it's got the tag 'legacy'. There's a couple of apps that we're using on Java that would have taken 200 man days to re-code in .NET, but for no additional benefit, so I'm not prepared to spend that effort on it."

Research recently conducted by Avanade reveals that 49% of enterprises do not have a formal application strategy. This can result in reduced productivity (67%), employee frustration (63%) and decreased customer satisfaction (45%).

Overall, Avanade predicts that the cost to UK businesses of not having an application strategy is £1.8 billion per annum.

"As an organisation, it's important to look at how you can open up the data in your data centres to these more modern applications," said Paul Veitch, director of application development at Avanade.

"If you look at legacy mainframes, how do you allow your end users to consume those applications and that data in a way that they can use it on the road or they can use it in a spreadsheet or they can use it in an application where they can explore it in a way that you'd never thought of.

"It's about saying, yes, you can have this data but the quid pro quo for you having that data is you connect your spreadsheet to us and we can audit what you're doing with the data and therefore we can make sure that we help you."

One of the main concerns for Lotus F1 is ensuring that the company is not breaking any software licence agreements - and also that licenses aren't being duplicated in different departments. If anyone triggers an order for software or hardware, Microsoft Dynamics will flag it up and IT will get involved in the authorisation process.

Protecting intellectual property is also a concern, and the company does not allow employees to use any internet-based FTP sites, such as Dropbox, because they are not considered to be secure enough.

Eventually Hackland hopes to gain control of the data in such a way that it does not matter where it is or what device it is on, but his experiments with digital rights management (DRM) in the past have failed to solve the problem, because the user base found it difficult to use.

However, he said that there have been huge advances in DRM technology since Lotus F1 first put its solution in, and he is starting to look at the new generation of solutions to see if there is anything that could really help.

"People will go behind your back, but at some point they're going to need your help, and what you can't be is the sulky teenager in the corner who says: you went and did that without asking me, I'm not going to help you. That's your opportunity to show them why it was important originally," said Hackland.


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