Veteran IT executive David Giambruno has put a name to the future of enterprise computing: He calls it "indiscriminate computing," or the ability to move compute, applications or any other IT asset anywhere in a secure environment.
His CIO vision is to turn all of IT into a service and replace clunky and cumbersome IT infrastructure with containers, APIs and microservices. It's a cloud-based approach he's been refining during stints as a CIO at Revlon, Tribune Media and, most recently, Shutterstock Inc.
By eliminating the friction in IT infrastructure, Giambruno said product and development teams will be able to move faster and capitalize on the one competitive advantage companies can't win without in a rapidly changing business environment: speed to market.
SearchCIO caught up with Giambruno at the recent MIT Sloan CIO Symposium when he was still CIO at Shutterstock. He announced this week on social media that he's since left the stock image company and is seeking a new position. The conversation provided a window into Giambruno's IT philosophy.
This Q&A has been edited for brevity and clarity.
What will the IT organization of the future look like?
David Giambruno: For me, the goal would be to have my organization be much more forward-facing, to have automated the back-end infrastructure so it operates as a service for the company, and that my team focuses on enabling the product and development teams to go faster.
In your CIO vision, do certain IT departments or job titles disappear?
Giambruno: You will always need some capability. I think we will transform into a much more data-driven IT organization -- supporting the absorption and the synthesis of data, and marrying that data to our infrastructure. So from all of our different technology investments -- from AI [artificial intelligence] to automation -- [we will use] that data to drive our user experience from the infrastructure. How is it going to shape out? I would say IT people will morph into a much more data-intensive environment.
Will that mean IT becomes more embedded in the business?
Giambruno: This is my personal belief: The relationship between my organization and business segments -- whether it is marketing or sales -- is to continuously enable them to have more capability. Again, do it faster, cheaper, better, but while enabling more and more capabilities -- figuring out how they attack markets, helping identify what applications or what needs they have, getting [those applications] in and helping the business get the most value out of those investments as fast as possible.
How important is the hybrid cloud, which aims to integrate disparate systems together so they work as one machine, to the future IT workplace?
Giambruno: Two pieces of that: One is, historically, I've always believed in this idea of indiscriminate computing -- my ability to move my compute, my apps, whatever I want to anywhere in any fashion based on either a performance or a financial set of metrics. So, if I have more users in Japan [and] we're going after that market, I should be able to make sure my user experience is great in that market, whichever cloud it is. One of the keys to that is containerization, which gives you the ability to move between clouds. That's our vision. We're probably in step one of doing that. It's going to be an iteration, but I do think that is going to be the absolute endgame.
How do containers, APIs and microservices fit together to make this CIO vision work?
Giambruno: The API tells the infrastructure what to build. The containers hold the microservices. It's that ability to destroy and create and move [services] quickly that allows you to add capacity, change capabilities on the fly based on the code. It's the ability to create that universe with a click of a mouse and a set of instructions. One of the interesting things about containers is you don't get drift, so you always know where you are. So, it's the ability with a high degree of precision to say, 'OK, we want to deploy this feature and functionality,' and to know you don't get drift in that world. And, again, to be able to blow [features and functionality] to one region, to [multiple] regions and scale up and down, as well as sideways.
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