Light Reading

Liberty CIO: Enough With the Empty Boxes!

Ray Le Maistre

AMSTERDAM -- Big Data In Focus -- Every now and then, frustration leads a senior network operator executive to take a swipe at the vendor community that has been testing that individual's patience.

Today that executive was Dean Walters, chief information officer for Liberty Global Inc. (Nasdaq: LBTY)'s European operations, who, it seems, has had his fill of big data product pitches.

Speaking here in Amsterdam Wednesday morning, Walters noted that his exploratory big data meetings during the past few years "have often been people wheeling in very expensive empty [data storage] boxes and saying they can hold my hand for two years" while he gets up and running with a data warehouse. (See Telcos Warm to Big Data.)

That doesn't make him happy. He doesn't want expensive empty boxes, and he doesn't want "point solutions" that will perform one function. He wants business-focused solutions that sit above an enabling platform and will enable him to reach into his pool of data and perform a range of specific analytics and reporting functions on demand without having to re-invent the wheel and spend a fortune every time. "Big data doesn't provide insights… Solutions provide insights," he said.

So far, he hasn't seen what he wants. Walters believes the big data sector lacks the solutions that can make a difference and meet his needs, a problem exacerbated by the lack of skilled staff that can help build and implement a big data strategy.

"There's a lack of mature products and a lack of experienced people… There are not a lot of data scientists out there at the moment." The lack of out-of-the-box products and the current complexity of vendor propositions means it's difficult to justify any major investment, noted the CIO. "We haven't made any big investments so far. We are circling the elephant."

And while he's stalking his prey, Walters is continuing to evaluate his options and figure out "which data is relevant" to process and analyze, with the hope of gaining meaningful insights that can help the cable operator make better decisions about its network, services, and business strategies.

The CIO is obviously at the beginning of his big data journey and hoping to find what he wants, but good luck to the next vendor that enters Walters's office with a big data pitch. Whatever they do, they shouldn't take an empty box.

— Ray Le Maistre, Editor-in-Chief, Light Reading

(1)  | 
Comment  | 
Print  | 
Newest First  |  Oldest First  |  Threaded View        ADD A COMMENT
User Rank: Blogger
1/30/2014 | 9:42:41 AM
A word of warning...
A word of warning for any vendors looking to pitch budget-holders -- don't patronize them....

But to what extent is Walters seeking something he can't actually get? Does he want to see C before he's even mastered A and B?

So many different options in managing and exploiting 'big data'....
From The Founder
The comms industry is rallying to the cause of open, independent interoperability testing.
Flash Poll
Live Streaming Video
CLOUD / MANAGED SERVICES: Prepping Ethernet for the Cloud
Moderator: Ray LeMaistre Panelists: Jeremy Bye, Leonard Sheahan
LRTV Interviews
BT Updates on Plans

10|2|15   |   03:16   |   (2) comments

Peter Bell, CIO at Openreach, the access network division at UK incumbent BT, provides an update on the operator's trials and how Openreach is planning to deploy the broadband technology in its street cabinets.
Telecom Innovators Video Showcase
Sonus Shakes Up SD-WAN

10|2|15   |   7:22   |   (0) comments

Sonus CTO Kevin Riley sat down with Light Reading to discuss the trajectory of the company, its SDN ambitions and why Sonus is taking a market-disruptive approve to SD-WAN.
LRTV Interviews
CityFibre's Gigabit Vision

10|1|15   |   03:18   |   (1) comment

Mark Collins, director of Strategy & Public Affairs at competitive UK city network operator CityFibre, talks about his company's plans to help build Gigabit Cities.
Telecom Innovators Video Showcase
Automate, Scale & Create With Juniper's vCPE Solution

10|1|15   |   6:34   |   (0) comments

Join Kireeti Kompella, Juniper Networks CTO, and Steve Saunders, Light Reading Founder and CEO, as they discuss Juniper Networks' approach to NFV showcased with a turnkey vCPE solution, which demonstrates how service providers can use automation to rapidly deploy services.
LRTV Interviews
Gigabit Europe: Day 1 Takeaways

9|29|15   |   05:47   |   (5) comments

Light Reading's Ray Le Maistre and Iain Morris sup a beer and discuss some of the key takeaways from the first day of Gigabit Europe 2015.
LRTV Interviews
Gigabit in Europe

9|29|15   |   04:24   |   (0) comments

At the Gigabit Europe 2015 event in Munich, Heavy Reading's Graham Finnie talks about the availability of gigabit broadband in Europe.
Women in Comms Introduction Videos
AT&T's Band of Women

9|28|15   |   4:36   |   (0) comments

Brooks McCorcle, the president of AT&T's partner solutions divisions and a mathematician by trade, shares stats on AT&T's diversity and advice on how to create your own band of women at work.
Telecom Innovators Video Showcase
Metaswitch's New CEO Martin Lund Discusses His Role

9|25|15   |   11:36   |   (0) comments

Technology industry veteran Martin Lund joins Metaswitch Networks this week as the company's new CEO. In this interview, Lund discusses his new role and the industry's progress with Light Reading CEO Steve Saunders. Lund believes that the industry disruption caused by SDN and NFV is creating opportunities for companies like Metaswitch – network software providers ...
It's All About That App

9|23|15   |   02:15   |   (2) comments

The long-range goal of service providers is to deliver app-specific network performance and that is showing up in technical developments today.
Women in Comms Introduction Videos
Verizon's Healthy Approach to WiC

9|22|15   |   2:30   |   (2) comments

If you think there are too few women in comms, you should see the healthcare industry. Nancy Green, Verizon's healthcare global lead, shares ideas on what we can do about it.
LRTV Huawei Video Resource Center
UBBF 2015 Highlights

9|22|15   |     |   (0) comments

Drilling down deeper into the transformation process will provide network operators with a practical look at building new businesses around a digital virtualized network architecture, and lay out some of the transition steps required, particularly in the struggle to enable more dynamic and focused enterprise network services.
Telecom Innovators Video Showcase
ActiveVideo's Cloud Virtualization Technology

9|22|15   |   7:23   |   (0) comments

ActiveVideo's CMO, Murali Nemani, discusses how virtualized CPE functions can deliver applications from the cloud to various devices at home.
Upcoming Live Events
October 14-15, 2015, New Orleans Ernest N. Morial Convention Center, New Orleans, LA
November 5, 2015, Hilton Santa Clara, Santa Clara, CA
November 17, 2015, Santa Clara, California
December 1, 2015, The Westin Times Square, New York City
December 2, 2015, The Westin Times Square, New York City
All Upcoming Live Events
Communication service providers realize that an ICT transformation is critical to their long-term survival, but most haven't yet committed to making it happen.
Hot Topics
Are Sports Next for Netflix?
Mari Silbey, Senior Editor, Cable/Video, 9/28/2015
Google Gives Huawei a US Device Boost
Dan Jones, Mobile Editor, 9/29/2015
Verizon's Go90 Is Live – Will Anyone Watch?
Mari Silbey, Senior Editor, Cable/Video, 10/1/2015
Following the Bouncing Capex Ball
Carol Wilson, Editor-at-large, 9/29/2015
Good News for NFV Interoperability
Steve Saunders, CEO and founder, Light Reading, 9/29/2015
Like Us on Facebook
Twitter Feed
Webinar Archive
BETWEEN THE CEOs - Executive Interviews
With so many new and exciting communications technologies now under development, it's easy to get caught up in the industry's escalating hype cycle. That's why the ...
Last week saw a big day in the 15-year history of Light Reading when Editor-in-Chief Ray Le Maistre and I were invited to interview the Deputy Chairman and Rotating ...
Cats with Phones
Hold My Calls, Indefinitely Click Here