Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) allows businesses to sub-navigate IT through self-service deployment of applications in the cloud, putting the role of the CIO and the IT department at risk.

John Abel, chief architect for Oracle, told attendees at Oracle's Cloud Conference in London this week that CIOs need to be smart in ensuring that their role isn't jeopardised by the cloud.

"CIOs need to make sure that they are part of the business conversation early on. For the first time, thanks to cloud computing, the business is able to sub-navigate IT," said Abel. "Project control is becoming increasingly important for CIOs, because now the business thinks that it doesn't need IT and it can go and procure its own IT capabilities with SaaS."

"Also, the business person of the future is the same person that will be used to using Facebook and Twitter. They will be used to instant access, they want IT now.

"That's the challenge that IT has with cloud, because if IT can't give the business that instant capability, they will go and get it from somewhere else".

However, Abel argues that to avoid this happening, CIOs needs to instigate early discussions with the business to understand how the IT function can align cloud computing with business strategy.

"A good CIO will use this as an opportunity, whereas CIOs that are more conservative, or more risk adverse, will see it as a threat," he said.

"The IT department can capture this problem early and initiate discussions with the business. They will work with the business to understand what direction they are moving in, to understand how the IT capability and cloud can be used to get it there," he added. "If they haven't had that conversation and captured those requirements early, they will be in trouble".

Oracle announced its public cloud offering in October last year at its OpenWorld conference in San Francisco. It will run on Oracle Engineered Systems, and provide customers with subscription based, self-service access to hosted Oracle Fusion Applications, Oracle Fusion Middleware and Oracle Database.

It is expected that the Oracle Public Cloud will be made generally available by the summer.