Premier 100 IT Leader: Tamara Payne

Premier 100 IT Leader: Tamara Payne

Given FedEx's focus on speed, it should come as no surprise that the company has created a way to significantly cut software-testing time.

Thanks to the package delivery company's Decoupled Testing Tools (DTT) initiative, in some cases testing time has been reduced by 52% or more, according to Tamara Payne, senior vice president of IT at FedEx Services. The full test cycle used to take three weeks, and now that can sometimes be cut to a week. "We can deploy products to market that much sooner," she explains.

With DTT, FedEx simulated its entire lineup of customer-facing products and services to certify various releases of everything from shipments to invoice creation. Once a certain level of product has been certified, it's a relatively quick and simple matter to test a new release or component without having to go back and retest the entire thing.

Another plus is that developers can leave the quality testing to DTT and not have to get "bogged down" in that process, says Payne, 53. Further, FedEx can help large corporate clients test functionalities that are specific to their configurations.

Another of Payne's recent projects was implementing a global customer relationship management system, which involved collapsing three platforms into one. The new CRM system, which includes interfaces in several languages, was deployed in about seven weeks.

Denise Wood, chief information security officer at Memphis-based FedEx and a longtime colleague, says Payne is "the best I've ever seen" at setting goals and collaborating across time and distance. "At heart she's very much a people person," adds Wood.

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