Dialla Danfakha leads the IT Integration – External Growth and Large Scale Deployment team at VINCI Energies Information systems. Her mission is to provide IT integration for new companies and large-scale rollouts of new IT solutions and processes.
Over the last 10 months, Dialla Danfakha has been channelling her energy into the design and development of Intune, the brand-new VINCI Energies tool for managing mobile terminals. As the head if the IT Integration – External Growth and Large Scale Deployment team at VINCI Energies Information systems (VESI) explains, “In what was ultimately a very tight time frame, we built this new solution alongside our infrastructure experts and rolled it out to around 50,000 terminals worldwide, while also implementing the support policy that is instrumental to this kind of project.”
It proved a rich learning experience for this young 28-year-old manager. “As well as the tight deadlines, we had to mobilise a lot of people for the project and involve various communities, some internationally, having to adapt along the way to varying levels of resistance to change,” she adds. “The right approach to take was not necessarily the same in Europe, the United States or Asia.”
“Project Intune” is the first assignment to be handled by the new team Dialla Danfakha recently took charge of at VESI. As its name suggests, the aim of this Large Scale Deployment unit formed in January 2023 is to provide large-scale rollouts of new IT solutions and processes within VINCI Energies. Its various projects range from cybersecurity to the management of IT assets, servers and workstations.
“I really appreciate the way senior management accept you as competent in your post”
The opportunity was all the more compelling because, after five years at VESI, Dialla Danfakha was keen to “try something different” and “broaden my horizons”.
“What a lovely surprise on my return from a month’s holiday, to be asked to launch this new activity that we dubbed ‘Large Scale Deployment’ – we only noticed later that the initials were LSD,” she adds with a smile.
But Dialla Danfakha retained her previous position as head of the IT Integration – External Growth team, a post she has held since early 2021, having previously spent three years as a project lead in the same team.
She explains that “The role of the IT Integration – External Growth project leads is to oversee information systems integration for new companies acquired by VINCI Energies. They aren’t technicians, but rather are there to coordinate the IS experts and business unit managers. It’s a full-time job – VINCI Energies buys about 30 companies a year.”
Involvement and autonomy
Today, Dialla Danfakha manages eight project leads devoted to this integration work. This management task involves implementing the right teams for each new project, making initial contact with the VINCI Energies divisions affected by each acquisition, coordinating with IT managers and ensuring reporting flows between all the different parties, both internal (management, infrastructure experts, ERP project leads – Codex/BC Quartz) and external (CFO, business line and division IT Managers).
“In the first half of 2023 alone, we have already managed the integration of 37 companies, even more than in previous years, probably because a lot of acquisitions were postponed during the Covid period,” she says, emphasising that another important facet of her and her team’s role is “working to constantly improve our processes”.
A firm believer in participatory management, Dialla Danfakha particularly relishes the autonomy she is afforded. Back in 2018, this approach to work was one of the reasons she chose VINCI Energies over a major French automotive group for her final-year work placement at the end of her master’s at the Institut Mines-Télécom Business School.
“Of course, we have a framework and best practice to follow, but we are free to manage our projects however we like,” she says. “When I started at VINCI Energies, just like now, I really appreciated the way senior management accept you as competent in your post, not to mention the international scope of our operations and the fact that our projects directly impact the group.”
After a little over five years with VINCI Energies, Dialla Danfakha feels she has greatly increased her confidence, technical skills and team management ability.