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Interview with DATA festival committee member Walid Mehanna

Walid Mehanna, Group Data Officer at Merck KGaA Germany is not only an expert in his field, but is also part of the DATA festival Committee. DATA festival co-founder Alexander Thamm asked him in an interview why he chose this position and what currently drives him.

“I appreciate the diversity and different industry insights at the DATA festival.”

What Walid particularly loves about the DATA festival events is the pleasant atmosphere within a diverse group from different industries. This makes networking offline and online particularly easy.
“I worked 13 years in the field of consulting, because I was very curious to learn how the world works in different industries and corporations. So it is a continuation of my passion here.”

He frequently receives questions about the data strategy at Merck, which is why he gave a presentation on the 3 key pillars at one of the last DATA festival events.

He advocates that the translation between data scientists and the business unit needs to improve to create an understanding of data maintenance among all employees.

“Challenges are opportunities for growth.”

When it comes to the current crises and challenges in data, Walid notes one thing: “Topics are still the same as 20 years ago. (…) We have many challenges because the world is so dynamic.” Permanent topics include metadata management, data architecture, data quality, data catalogs, AI, automation and more.

For him, it’s clear that it’s a lifelong journey and there is no one way to implement data culture in a company overnight. Instead it should be scalable, efficient, effective.

What about a data catalog?

Many companies are currently talking about the topic of the data catalog and how to deal with it. Walid also talks about this in the interview and emphasizes: “A data catalog is just a tool. In the end it is about identifying the gold nuggets in the mud.”

Watch the full interview here and learn more about the data strategy at Merck:


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