Digital tech: Luxury’s new area of expertise

Data scientists, data analysts, machine learning engineers: job profiles that didn't exist just a few years ago have become essential in the Luxury sector – and particularly for Kering, where strategic decisions rely increasingly on data. What are their roles? How do they support transformation within the Group and its Houses? How are they recruited? Imen El Karoui, Kering’s Data Intelligence Director, provides the answers.

Imen El Karoui
Data Intelligence Director

New skills for a changing market

Bringing together three areas of expertise – business intelligence, data analytics and artificial intelligence – Kering’s Data Intelligence department addresses a major challenge. “The aim is to make much greater use of data in the Group’s decision-making,” explains Imen El Karoui, Data Intelligence Director of the Client and Digital department. “It will transform the way decisions are made.” Such expertise is supported by close collaboration with the Group’s IT teams – which are also evolving considerably and recruiting new kinds of profiles. In an environment where sources of information are ever more numerous and varied, data management and controlling for quality are becoming strategically important. Whether projects concern the value chain or client engagement “the combination of data and expertise provide a new perspective on challenges for the luxury industry,” she adds. For example, by analyzing and comparing data, the Group can adjust sales forecasts with increasing accuracy. Thanks to that information, Kering can then optimize operations and the use of resources, produce exact quantities, better meet customer needs, and limit its environmental impact.

The interface between business and tech

To lead these new projects, Kering has been recruiting new profiles for several years. Their roles might involve transforming data into an easily manageable format for end users (business intelligence), comparing large data sets to establish an exhaustive overview (analytics), or developing models for machine learning in order to semi-automate decisions and cross-reference information that a single person could not (AI). What they share is an expertise in both data and business. “And that’s what makes these people hard to find,” says Imen El Karoui. In fact, at the root of all her team projects is a business issue that must be solved using data management, which “requires not only leading-edge expertise in technology, but also a very good understanding of the business,” she points out.

Attracting and retaining talent

Finding candidates with both skills guides Kering’s recruitment program for its Data Intelligence department, which today employs nearly 50 people. Kering made the decision to recruit people with complementary profiles, to create a strong sense of team spirit, and to invest in training young hires. These are all essential elements for continuing to attract and retain talented people – a growing number of whom are interested in the role of data in the Luxury sector in general and at Kering in particular.