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Verizon Eats Its Own Clouds

Carol Wilson
12/9/2009
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ORLANDO, Fla. -- Management World Americas -- By implementing its own internal cloud computing processes, Verizon Communications Inc. (NYSE: VZ) has been able to reduce its operating costs, while improving IT performance by 400 percent, according to Fari Ebrahimi, senior vice president and chief information officer for Verizon Services Operations.

“We had everything under the sun in our data centers,” Ebrahimi says, including hardware and software from multiple vendors. To be more efficient, Verizon consolidated hardware, operating systems, databases, middleware, and applications and took a virtual approach to enterprise resource planning.

”As a result, we saw a 400 percent improvement in performance, and we were able to reduce our costs to one-third or less of what we were spending,” he says. “We decided not to build data centers -- in fact, we are shrinking data centers.”

Through this process, Verizon has moved away from the traditional telecom approach of doing everything itself. It now uses standard operating environments and partners more, realizing more savings in the process, Ebrahimi notes. “It costs more when we do everything ourselves."

Verizon still must deliver the experience its customers expect, regardless of who is minding the server farms. Some of that has been done by letting customers feel more in control.

“Our largest call center is online through the Web,” he says, which saves considerable expense in hiring, training, and managing customer service representatives. At first, customers who entered orders online also called at every step of the process, actually driving up call center volume, according to Ebrahimi, but as the Web has proven reliable, that behavior has changed.

Ebrahimi encouraged service providers present here to also conduct their own analytics to determine where calls were falling out of the process, in order to address problems quickly as they arise, noting that Verizon used this process to improve its customer service around its FiOS installation process.

— Carol Wilson, Chief Editor, Events, Light Reading

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