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Dirk Jungnickel

Senior VP Enterprise Analytics, Emirates Group

Biography

Dr Dirk Jungnickel heads up the enterprise analytics function of Emirates Group, which is responsible for the group’s BI, data science and AI capabilities.
Following an academic career in theoretical physics, with more than seven years of postdoctoral research, Dr Jungnickel has help senior executive roles at a variety of organizations in a career spanning more than 20 years.
His responsibilities have included BI and advanced analytics, data management and governance, IT architecture and implementation, project management.

Getting to know...

What advice would you give to a data or analytics leader who is struggling to get their organizations executives to be data-driven in their decision-making?

Start small. Identify business areas and executives that are most likely to listen and explore. Find business challenges they have that can be tackled with data. This can be either through a simple exploration of data and generation of business insights or a small data science initiative. Then, demonstrate the superiority of data-driven insights and decision-making over experience or gut-feel based decision-making.

Most important in this latter step will be to do this without patronizing or creating an ‘I told you so’ situation. Ideally, this is done collaboratively. Data and analytics are tools to help the business. These small steps will help to win advocates in the business that can help to spread the word and advertise data-driven decision making across the organization.

A small data and analytics newsletter with success stories including testimonies of such advocates usually goes a long way.

What are the biggest challenges you’ll be facing at Emirates in 2021?

Our biggest challenges in Emirates will be the very difficult financial and business situation across the whole travel industry. While budgets and headcount numbers have been reduced, the demand across the whole business for data and analytics support has literally exploded and this is unlikely to go away anytime soon.

This is not too surprising. In times of crisis and short resources, all business areas have to work smarter (i.e.in a way that’s data- and analytics-enabled). Also, this significantly helps to drive the adoption of data-driven decision making and a ‘data as an asset’ mindset through the organization.

However, prioritization of initiatives will continue to be very challenging, as well as keeping the right balance between ‘quick and dirty’ solutions in the name of short-term benefits and building solid data foundations (e.g. enhancing EDW scope and capabilities), which usually consumes time and significant resources.