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Thought Leaders In Cloud Computing: Judy Spitz, CIO Of Verizon (Part 1)

Posted on Monday, Feb 28th 2011

By Sramana Mitra and guest author Shaloo Shalini

What is a typical user’s expectation of a tolerable speed of mobile connectivity? Connectivity today spans telephony, infrastructure and service access speeds, application speeds, and perceptible performance. Having been in the business of managing ever-higher customer expectations for telecom providers, Judy Spitz, CIO of Verizon, has a witty answer to this question. She says that for a typical user, the slowest speed they are willing to tolerate is the fastest speed they have ever experienced!

This interview, part of the Thought Leaders in Cloud Computing series, is especially useful in terms of insights for entrepreneurs who are creating cloud-based solutions for large enterprises such as Verizon.

In an earlier post, Large Enterprises – To Be or Not to Be in the Clouds?, we discussed requirements that cloud-based solutions must meet. For large enterprises, the key requirement is cost structure. Judy’s words of advice to entrepreneurs on this topic are, “If you are trying to address an enterprise market place, typically the big enterprises, you’ve got to look at the cost structure they are going to take on. This cost structure needs to look beyond the first year of adopting that solution, over the long haul. Take [the] long haul as three to five years down the line. This is because large enterprises don’t bring their applications up and down that often, especially the big ones, and their cost structure is low on an ongoing basis.”

About Judy Spitz

Judy Spitz is senior vice president and CIO for Verizon Business. Prior to this, Judy held a number of positions of increasing responsibility at Verizon and its predecessor companies. Immediately before her current assignment, Judy was senior vice president of Verizon Network Operation Systems. Earlier, she worked at Bell Atlantic as executive director of the Network Operations Technologies Laboratory.

Judy began her career at NYNEX Science & Technology in 1986 as a member of technical staff in the speech technology group. She holds a bachelor’s degree from Boston University, a master’s degree from Washington University, and a Ph.D. from the City University of New York’s Graduate Center, all in speech and hearing sciences.

Judy was on CIO Magazine’s “Ones to Watch” list in 2005 and named as one of CIO Magazine’s 100 Technology Leaders and to the Women in Technology International Hall of Fame in 2006. She is a three-time recipient of Verizon’s Quality/Excellence Awards. IDG’s Computerworld magazine has recognized Judy as one of the magazine’s 2007 Premier 100 IT leaders.

Verizon is a U.S. telecommunications company and provider of fixed-line, wireless, television, and data services. Its wireless division, Verizon Wireless, is a joint venture with Vodafone and represents the largest subscriber base with 93.2 million customers and 101.1 million total connections as of the end of 3Q10. After Verizon completed its $28.1 billion acquisition of Alltel in January 2009, Verizon Wireless became the largest wireless carrier in the United States with revenues of over $25 billion. The Verizon name combines two Latin words: veritas, meaning “truth,” and horizon, taken from the Greek for “bound, limit, divide.” The company was created in 2000 when Bell Atlantic merged with General Telephone & Electronics Corporation (GTE), formerly the largest independent local-exchange telephone company in the United States. Verizon is the second-largest U.S. phone company providing local phone services, controlling one-third of all local phone lines. Verizon Wireless, a joint venture with Vodafone, is also one of the leading wireless carriers in the nation. In addition, the company – providing long-distance and Internet services – is the world’s largest producer of print and online directory information.

SM: Welcome to the Thought Leaders in Cloud Computing series, Judy. Would you tell our readers about your background and the scope of the IT operations you manage at Verizon? We’ll then get deeper into cloud computing once the context is set.

JS: OK, sure. Right now, I am the chief information officer for Verizon Business and Verizon Wholesale; both are parts of the company that deal with large enterprises. I have been with the company for 24 years. I started in research and development, advanced technology research and development, and moved over to the IT organization about eight years later. My background is rather unusual for somebody in my position, so for what it is worth I have my bachelor’s, master’s, and PhD in speech and hearing sciences. I originally came to the phone company looking at uses of advanced speech technology inside a telecommunications company. So, with that I have responsibility for all of the OSS, PSS, and product development functions that support the enterprise space for Verizon.

SM: OK.

This segment is part 1 in the series : Thought Leaders In Cloud Computing: Judy Spitz, CIO Of Verizon
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