Interactive's Melandie De Lange speaks about working in technology, staying curious and Keanu Reeves.
August 20, 2021
ARN Women in ICT Awards [WIICTA]
The WIICTA honour incredible female talent across the industry in eight categories; Innovation, Technical, Entrepreneur, Graduate, Rising Star, Shining Star, Achievement and D&I Champion (Company and Individual) awards. We are immensely proud as three of lnteractive’s team members have been recognised.
Melandie De Lange, who is a Dynamics 365 Technical Consultant at Interactive, has been nominated in the Technical category. The awards recognises excellence in the form of technical and engineering expertise, honouring deep domain knowledge in relation to technology products, solutions, and services.
We spoke to Melandie about the award nomination, her work, staying up-to-date with tech, embracing change, and dream dinner party guests.
Interactive: Melandie, congratulations on the awards nomination, how does it feel to be recognised?
Melandie: It’s such an amazing thing. It’s humbling, but overwhelming. I very much work behind the scenes as a developer, so I’m not used to being on the front lines of business. That being said, it’s just lovely knowing the bit that I do behind the scenes is appreciated. I do what I do because I love it, and I’m just happy it meant something to Interactive and ARN.
This award is to recognise technical excellence and given your domain expertise is in Microsoft Dynamics, can you give a brief outline of what Dynamics does?
In our organisation, we use Microsoft Dynamics Customer Engagement and Microsoft Dynamics Finance and Operations
Dynamics CE is used for customer relationship management and a strong solution for managing opportunities, quotes and sales. Dynamics FO is an enterprise resource planning software that has a multitude of modules for supply chain, procurement and finances to name a few.
We have implemented a robust Quote to Cash process leveraging the best of both these systems using integration strategies provided by Microsoft.
The platform has evolved massively over the past 15 years, what things do you do to stay up to date with the changes and updates in the technology?
When I started, back in 2005, there wasn’t much out there in terms of knowledge to find. There were Yahoo! groups and some paid user groups, but mostly you up-skilled reading through Microsoft’s code provided in the solution. It was long, hard days (and sometimes nights) of debugging and trial and error.
As the market slowly started to grow for Microsoft Axapta (MS Dynamics FO back in the day), there were class based training or online training materials provided. If you were lucky, your organisation would send you to one of those class-based trainings, but mostly, if you wanted to up-skill, it was self study and an exam. When I moved to Australia, I found the Microsoft Dynamics Tech conference in Seattle and everyone was going so I joined and I just loved it.
Nowadays, you have dedicated Yammer groups and preview versions where you can see what the vision is and stay on top of where the industry is going.
I think with technology as an industry, you can't stagnate for too long. There's no room for becoming complacent. It's unfortunate for some, but it suits me and I get demotivated when I'm not challenged.
A lot of people can be quite resistant to change and new technology, while you seem to embrace it with open arms. Why are you so passionate about it?
I think with technology as an industry, you can’t stagnate for too long. There’s no room for becoming complacent. It’s unfortunate for some, but it suits me and I get demotivated when I’m not challenged. I always tell my kids that my job is like solving a puzzle every day. It doesn’t feel like work when your mind is constantly trying to find the answer to a problem.
Luckily, with Interactive being technologically focused, it’s the perfect place for someone like me to keep exploring what is out there and continuously solve puzzles.
What advice would you give those hesitant people?
Change is really hard, I get it. It’s uncomfortable, it pushes our comfort zones. I find that technology doesn’t wait for you to accept it, one day you look up and it’s just there and you have to use it.
My advice would be to embrace it, learn from it, and make it your own. The results may just surprise you.
Final question, you can invite three people to your dream dinner party, who are they, and a quick why?
Keanu Reeves – I’ve been a fan since Speed. It probably started for the wrong reasons, but his life story is just… wow. He’s just someone who lives humbly even though he doesn’t need to. I admire that. I think he’d be a lovely guest.
Christian O’ Connell – I’m a bit biased because I just finished his book. As I was reading it, it felt a lot like looking in a mirror because he also moved his family halfway around the world for a dream. His dream being radio and mine being programming. Yeah, it was totally relatable and I would love that chat.
My husband – He has been my biggest support in my career and all-round partner-in-crime in everything I’ve aspired and attempted to do and be. I’ve done a few laughable things down through the years like flooding our laundry, cleaning our bed with oven cleaner and ruining clothes ironing. He stayed calm, took my hand and said “I think you should focus on your career.” He would have to be there.