New Wind at Datentreiber – Interview with Managing Partner Georg Arens

Set sail & release the lines. A new wind is blowing at Datentreiber. Since 1 July 2022, there has been another managing partner alongside Martin Szugat: Georg Arens. Shortly before his departure to the USA to visit one of our customers, we meet for an interview.

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Who are you and what do you do?

I am passionate about sailing and have been helping clients navigate with data for over 30 years. Since 2015, I have focused entirely on the topic of data strategy and have worked closely with Datentreiber ever since. However, the connection with Martin Szugat has existed for a longer time. We got to know and appreciate each other more than 10 years ago. At that time, I had just started my own software company and really appreciated the exchange with Martin about Social CRM and similar topics. What can I say? The need for Social CRM was “manageable” at that time, but the need for data consulting was huge.

How did you get into the topic of data?

The topic of data has accompanied me from the very beginning. I studied computer science with a focus on database systems and then worked for many years for American software companies such as MicroStrategy or IBM in the BI, data warehouse and analytics area. Along the way, I actually filled all roles from developer to managing director. In addition, I founded companies, e.g. in the field of data engineering, and managed them successfully or with great learning effects.

I find the trend exciting that the Big Data hype is probably over and people are thinking about data modelling again instead of believing in magic in the data lake. Something similar is also happening in the field of AI and the often exaggerated expectations of statistical methods, whether predictive models or fully automated prescriptive AI, are being corrected.

The Datentreiber managing partners Martin Szugat (right) and Georg Arens (left)

What is your core competence?

Let’s put it this way: as a sailor, I can read a sea chart and know the weather forecast. I then know where the shallows are, how high the waves are likely to be and from where the wind is blowing and how strong. Translated, this means that I can really understand everyone involved through over 30 years of experience with data projects. I know the technical side well and know what a data architecture should look like, and at the same time I also understand the requirements and challenges of the business or management side. It is therefore easy for me to create a common understanding here. I am also very familiar with the processes of large corporations, as we often advise them at Datentreiber, due to my past.

What makes Datentreiber so exciting for you?

Datentreiber is the only data strategy consultancy with a method. The Data Strategy Design method sets us apart from all other consultancies. We have a structured approach to designing a data strategy. We give our clients a framework for thinking that they can use to get started. We don’t deliver PowerPoint battles that then gather dust in some drawer. Together with our customers, we develop a procedure with concrete measures that make a lasting contribution to the success of the company. The method is suitable for bringing IT, data and business together at one table and creating a common vision. Successful data projects are not made in IT/data alone, but with an interdisciplinary team.

How do you contribute to the business success of our customers?

To describe it in a figure from a study by Michael Kroker that already dates back two years: Data-driven companies increase turnover and profit by 17 percent on average. I help to raise this potential and create innovation with data. It would also be irresponsible for companies not to care about data. To put it more drastically: Either companies do it or they die.

What is your tip for companies that are on the way to becoming a data-driven company?

Do it! Do it! Do it! But don’t start with the data! Sounds illogical at first, but many people consider what data they have first in order to decide what they want to do. That’s putting the cart before the horse and the wrong view. It is important to take a step towards the user perspective. So look at the goals and only then look at what data could be useful to achieve those goals. So forget the data for now and think about what you want first.

What drives you personally?

I started owning a sailboat a few years ago. It’s currently moored in Emden on the Dutch border. I can even work remotely on board. Martin would rather go to space, to Mars or at least the moon. For me, the Mediterranean is enough.

Thank you very much Georg! We look forward to working with you in the future!

Would you also like to meet our new managing partner?

In autumn, you will have the opportunity to attend Predictive Analytics World & Deep Learning World in Berlin in person. Send us an email and we’ll be happy to send you a discount code for the conference or make a short appointment with Georg right here.

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