Speaker Spotlight: Pam Fisher

A conference in Northwest Arkansas would not be complete without representation from the biggest company in our backyard: Walmart.

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Walmart’s Pam Fisher and Jeff Parker (look out for his blog post tomorrow!) will be speaking about Walmart’s micro-cloud environment and technology advances. You won’t want to miss this morning session!

Bio: Pam Fisher is a Senior Manager in the Customer Technology sector at Walmart. She has 18  years experience in Retail Technology, with approximately 5 in leadership. She’s currently responsible for all Release Management for Store Technology and Customer Technology as well as Release Automation efforts.

Topic: Operating Services in a Hostile Environment

The Breakdown: The cloud offers the promise of unlimited compute and always on network, but what if your environment doesn’t guarantee those promises? This talk highlights techniques used to operate & deploy Walmart’s next generation point of sale software using micro-cloud technology at the edge. Store based micro-clouds provide exceptional availability even when faced with exceptional conditions. Learn how Walmart uses the micro-cloud environment to provide redundancy for the solution when connectivity is interrupted or non-optimal to provide a seamless, consistent checkout experience for Walmart’s customers.

Read on to learn a little more about Pam, her role at Walmart, and her love for NWA.  

What is your background in?

During my career, I’ve had the privilege to work across many areas of technology. I started working with mainframe systems that supported an airline loyalty program. When I joined Walmart, I had the opportunity to work in the big data space with data warehousing and analytics. Now I’m working on next-generation point of sale systems that leverage services and
micro services, and how we release those applications to the stores and cloud.

What kind of projects do you work on at Walmart?

At Walmart, the opportunity to participate in many exciting projects is readily available. Right now, we are working on initiatives such as cloud-powered checkout, next-generation fuel solutions, online grocery pickup, store pickup and mobile payments like Walmart Pay. All of these projects focus on delivering shopping solutions to the customer through whatever channel(s) she wishes to shop.

What is something people would be surprised to know about you?

Many people would be surprised to know that my husband and I foster parented for 2 years.  We had 22 different kids stay at our house. The stays varied from a few days to about 6 months.

Can you describe how Walmart teams plan and release features? (processes, tools, stages, metrics, etc.)

We follow a continuous integration/continuous release model. When code is merged, there is an automated build initiated. The package is then deployed to a test/QA system and both manual and automated testing are executed. Once the package has been vetted, we begin the implementation of the package. Since some of our code is legacy code, rollouts can take a little longer because we manage 10,000 endpoints globally.

What is your favorite aspect of Northwest Arkansas?

I enjoy the lakes and trails in the area. My family and I enjoy camping at the state and corp of engineer campgrounds. We also have better traffic than a lot of bigger cities and some really awesome restaurants!

Can you talk about if there are any initiatives at POSs to make checkout experience smoother, similar to technologies like Amazon Go?

Walmart is always looking for ways to provide a seamless, no friction experience for our customers throughout their shopping experience. Some of the initiatives to improve self-service, which puts the customer in control of the experience, include Scan and Go, Walmart Pay, Grocery Pickup, Pickup Today and Pharmacy Express. We’ll continue to innovate and provide products that make shopping in our stores easier and more pleasant for our customers.

What is an interesting technology you’ve been following lately?

Definitely the intersection of machine learning and analytics. How powerful is it to be able to use data points to be able to predict that something is going to happen and take steps to proactively correct the problem before it impacts your systems? Pretty cool stuff!!

Hear from Pam and other speakers from Google, Mozilla, LinkedIn, Angelhack, and more on March 15!