Every company is becoming a technology company, even the beauty product makers, and CIO leadership changes are furthering the transformations. Estée Lauder announced the appointment of Michael Smith as CIO in September. Smith, who served as an IT decision-maker for companies like Nike, Mylan NV and Boma Technologies, will focus on analytics applications for the company, among other technology solutions.
Fellow beauty competitor L'Oréal USA saw a C-suite change of its own and announced the hire of Michael Kingston, former CIO of Neiman Marcus Group, Coach Inc., Louis Vuitton LVMH and Ann Inc., on Wednesday. Kingston brings a wealth of technical expertise in enterprise digital transformation to the company's CIO position.
- L'Oréal has made headlines for its wide-ranging application of modern tech — including machine learning, mobile tech, artificial intelligence and augmented reality — through the L'Oréal Technology Incubator, according to a company announcement.
Advanced technologies like AI, machine learning and AR/VR may seem better suited to traditional tech companies like Google, AWS and Microsoft, but case studies such as Estée Lauder and L'Oréal demonstrate applications belong in any industry with at least one computer. The two companies are certainly not the only cosmetics giants to capitalize on modern tech capabilities — Sephora is considered a leader in innovative technologies, especially AR.
Sephora uses AI and augmented reality based ancillary applications in its e-commerce, which help the company tailor its products to individual customers. Olay taps AI and deep learning in its Skin Advisor platform, which similarly offers customers personalized product recommendations.
One need only look at the NHL, Kraft Heinz, Toyota or the Department of Veterans Affairs to see universal and similar applications of modern technologies. The reality today is any organization concerned with cost cutting, process optimization or long-term investment needs to reevaluate their technology strategy in the hopes of remaining competitive and relevant in the long-term.