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21 July 2020

CIO interview: Nick Burton, chief information and digital officer, Avon International

When Nick Burton joined Avon International as vice-president of digital products and architecture in January 2019, he knew he was in for a challenge. The world-famous beauty brand was keen to embrace digitisation, but was encumbered by a reliance on legacy IT. What Burton couldn’t have predicted as he embraced the challenge in front of him, was how much the world and his company’s operations would change during 2020. “Coronavirus means we’ve shifted our focus to rapidly helping the business to navigate through this really weird period,” says Burton, neatly summarising the huge upheaval facing senior executives since the outbreak of the Covid-19 pandemic. Avon has had a particularly tough hurdle to overcome. The firm’s distance-selling model relies on representatives visiting customers door-to-door to take and deliver orders. That model has stayed consistent throughout the company’s 135-year history, but it was a practice that would be impossible to continue during lockdown. “The IT team rapidly turned its attention to the key ...

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