26/06/2019 - CareersAfter having opened up Vallourec’s data, Henri Planchon opens up about himself, his career and the behind-the-scenes aspects of his work.
Tell us about your background. How did you come to work for Vallourec?After a scientific baccalaureate, I began studying medicine, which I eventually decided wasn’t for me. I then undertook a post-baccalaureate course at Tours Business School, upon completion of which I joined the banking sector as a salesperson.
How did you evolve at Vallourec?This is already my third job here! I was initially assigned to the Reporting-Consolidation Department, for the administration of their specialized systems. I used the skills I learned at Capgemini to develop several software programs based on the Excel programming language (VBA). After my manager left, I became the manager for the whole financial system. Later, in June 2018, I joined the corporate IT section and became part of Barthélémy Longueville’s team, Vallourec’s Chief Digital Officer and Chief Information Officer. I’ve been here a year now.
What does your work involve?
My job is IT and Data Project Manager. Generally speaking, I manage projects related to data and its uses (particularly reporting) but to provide a better overview, my work is more of a means than an end! The ultimate purpose of my activities is to develop a digital culture at Vallourec.
To achieve this, I have 2 main tools at my disposal:
The ultimate purpose of my activities is to develop a digital culture at Vallourec.Henri Planchon IT & Data Project Manager
Could you tell us more about this reverse mentoring program?This program was created by a former Vallourec employee and I inherited it after she left. It’s a bit like Vallourec’s own version of Meetic, or “Adopt an Executive Board member”! What is the principal? “Geeks”, most of whom (but not all) are millennials, train older top managers in digital technology. I recruit geeks willing to give it a go by going door-to-door around the Boulogne-Billancourt site or via my network of professional contacts, which I maintain by organizing afterwork events, among other things.
What are the main challenges of your current post?Prioritizing my tasks and coming to terms with the fact that I don’t have the time to do everything! I think this is quite a frequent problem. As I mentioned before, I have a fairly extensive network of contacts and they often ask me for things. Although I’m keen to help everyone, I sometimes have to say no and focus on my core missions.
What do you like about working at Vallourec?I’ve been fortunate to have worked in friendly teams with great managers. My manager places his trust and confidence in me and leaves me plenty of freedom while also sharing his expertise and experience with me when I request this.
I feel very fulfilled in my job and I’m aware that I’m very lucky. Many of my friends are constantly complaining about their work whereas in my case I’m having a great time each day!Henri Planchon IT & Data Project Manager
Who are you outside of work?Other than my usual job, to some extent I’m also the chief happiness officer on Sundays in my circle of co-workers: I organize afterwork events roughly twice a month and group trips to give blood! I recognize the benefits of seeing your co-workers outside work. It gives you a chance to completely rediscover them and above all to convey information where usual channels don’t reach.
What is the best piece of advice you've ever received?My father is someone who’s fond of giving and not that long ago I criticized him for being too kind to people who would never repay him the favor. He replied, “kindness begets kindness”. History has shown he was right.
Happiness is a bit like knowledge, there’s a multiplier effect at work: if I give, the other person benefits without me losing, and value is generated from zero.Henri Planchon IT & Data Project Manager