Google’s General Manager of Enterprise Business, Dave Girouard, recently said a “crisis” in IT is preventing enterprises from pursuing the type of innovations that allow businesses to grow.

The “insane complexity” of technology is leading companies to spend 75 to 80 percent of IT budgets simply maintaining the systems they have already, he said at the recent annual meeting of the Mass. Technology Leadership Council in Boston. Besides a shortage of money, he notes that CIOs face strict regulations and an impending brain drain, with many IT officials approaching retirement.

“CIOs in particular are really in a difficult situation, and innovation isn’t something they can spend the majority of their waking hours talking about. The information technology business as it pertains to large businesses has become a lot of maintenance,” said Girouard.

He promoted the software-as-a-service model, saying companies should join this growing trend of outsourcing IT tasks, even if it means trusting third parties with sensitive information.

“A lot of things that people think of as core IT functions need to disappear into the ether so that the IT organization can properly focus on the value-added [activities],” he said. “Information security, as critical as it is, needs to be taken care of by organizations who live and die by it… Why should every company in the world have to build up their own expertise and have to maintain servers and provide security?”