Winner of the ARN Women in ICT Awards (WIICTA) Technical (Partner - National) award in 2021, Melandie De Lange is Interactive’s go-to lead integration architect and, as such, is tasked with some of the company’s most complex integration issues, a factor that saw her spearhead a major uplift program to implement a single ERP system in a project that involved the transition of tens of thousands of customer locations from one system to another, all delivered during the depths of the pandemic.
How did you get your break in the IT industry and what prompted you to specialise in your field?
After graduating, I initially worked as a web developer. I interviewed for an internal web master role at a courier company. Noting my computer science major, they asked if I’d also be interested in learning and supporting their internal ERP system. I’m a perpetual yes person, so of course, I said yes.
The company’s internal ERP system was Axapta 3.0 – a fairly new Microsoft ERP product at the time, whose market share and footprint would grow significantly worldwide in the years to come. As Microsoft kept investing and growing its product, so did my product knowledge and access to opportunities.
That one moment of stepping up to the challenge set me on my career path.
What are some of your proudest achievements or projects?
The last two years delivering Interactive’s internal QTC (quote to cash) project has been one of my greatest achievements. The impact of the solution we delivered was immense. We unified several systems into one platform, streamlining our business processes even more and allowing us to access high value data to support business growth.
And for me, this is even more impressive considering the external factors we were all dealing with. Most of our project team is Melbourne based where we had one of the longest lockdowns in the world. Many of us were juggling home schooling over and above work. Despite this, we still made the project a success.
To top it off, the go-live was on my 40th birthday. Even though I wasn’t allowed a birthday party because of COVID restrictions, seeing this project come to fruition was a celebration and a great start to the next decade of my career. Of course, winning this award is the highlight of my career and I don’t think anything else can compare or come close.
What are some of your professional ambitions in the months ahead?
We have some exciting internal projects in our pipeline in which I will be getting involved, all the while continually improving our systems to support our business and its growth.
I’m also on the cusp of completing the Women Rising course supported by Microsoft. Interactive has amazing development opportunities and a strong focus on our career growth. The company encouraged and supported me to enroll in this program. It has been an incredible journey. I’ve gained so much confidence, learned how to trust myself and to rely on my strengths as a woman in the ICT industry. I’ve seen the benefits of these learnings in my work already.
Also, on the back of winning my WIICTA award, I’ve been working with my manager on a plan to pay it forward. I would like to give back to the technology community, share knowledge, insights and ideas with my peers in an engaging way. I’m hoping to encourage more diversity in the industry by being more visible as a female programmer.
What is the most surprising or profound thing you've learned or discovered while working in the IT industry?
- Among many things, my top four are:
- Have a growth mindset; it’s not a mistake, it’s a lesson learned.
- You can’t know everything, but you can learn anything.
- Your team makes you stronger – my WIICTA award would never have happened without my team.
- ‘Turning it off and on again’ really is sometimes the answer
Who or what has influenced you professionally?
My parents instilled in me a sense of pride and gratitude to be able to work professionally. They encouraged me to be an equal as well. This, combined with hard work, perseverance and passion helped me achieve many of my professional goals.
Other than that, the nature of my job is to solve business problems with technology. As technology evolves, so too do the methodology and strategies I use to do this work. It’s intellectually rewarding I genuinely enjoy it.
Access to new technology, combined with working with a high-performing group of individuals influences and challenges me to keep giving my best, always.
Finally, what can make a big difference in a person’s career, and what has made a big difference in mine, is being surrounded by the right people in the right company. Interactive’s culture and focus on career growth has helped me and many others progress in their career. It’s so important to have this, especially as a woman in ICT.