The Data Chief | Episode 69

Why Online Retailer Zalando Was First to Embrace the Data Mesh

Dr. Alexander Borek

Director of Data Analytics


Current EpisodeEP69: Why Online Retailer Zalando Was First to Embrace the Data Mesh

Episode Overview

Most data professionals aspire to be leaders within a single industry. It’s rare to see professionals establish and re-establish themselves as powerful influencers across multiple verticals. But this is precisely what Dr. Alexander Borek has done, helping some of the world’s most recognizable brands scale tangible value from data, analytics, and AI. In this episode, he covers a wide range of topics, including his personal career journey, creating cultures of innovation, centralized vs. decentralized data products, and the imminent impact of generative AI.  

Key Moments: 

  • Background on Zalando (2:15)
  • HDr. Borek’s The Ultimate Data and AI Guide (5:32)
  • Becoming a data leader in multiple industries (7:02)
  • Germany’s growing data culture (14:30)
  • The need for a greater sense of urgency in data understanding (17:07)
  • The origins of the data bash (19:33)
  • The benefits of cross-team collaboration (24:44)
  • Data mash vs. data fabric (31:30)
  • Using data for insight and action (37:28)
  • The rapid expansion of generative technologies (40:10)


Key Quotes

There is a certain tendency to avoid risks in particular when it comes to data protection and security…I think people are skeptical first until they get it. And, and once we get it, they run fast.

I think what a lot of people misjudge is that data mesh is an architecture paradigm and it is not a architecture paradigm. It is a ways of working with data in an organization for scaling.

We are not at the stage of generative AI where it creates everything for you in the perfect way…for the next seven years it’s really about humans working with machines really side by side. Those companies that do that will really succeed.




Dr. Alexander Borek is a data leader, author and keynoter and supports tech and established companies on their data and AI journeys, in particular, with regards to strategy, roadmap, product management, architecture and scaling tech and talent. He brings a lot of experience in successfully establishing global platforms and scaling software products. As the co-leader of the Zalando Data Foundation, he manages the central data analytics teams for business intelligence, data engineering, machine learning, curated sales/customer/product/partner data, master data management and business process mining and automation. He is driving the data mesh transformation across all business units in the Zalando Group.

Get even more insights from data and analytics leaders like Dr. Borek on The Data Chief.