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L'Oréal builds Talend-based data lake in Microsoft Azure to accelerate product R&D

Cosmetics giant L'Oréal reveals details of how it is combining Microsoft cloud technologies with Talend's data integration tools to speed up product development within its organisation

Cosmetics giant L’Oréal has created a data lake within a private Microsoft Azure infrastructure-as-a-service (IaaS) environment to accelerate its research and development efforts.

The data lake portion of the deployment is underpinned by Talend’s data management and integration software, and is set up to enable L’Oréal’s global research and innovation (R&I) team to analyse the scientific and marketing information used to shape its product lines more efficiently. 

“Every year, [L’Oréal’s] development teams introduce several thousand formulas. These continuous advancements are the result of an ongoing dialogue between science and marketing,” said the company, in a statement.

“To bring new products to market, R&I must be able to compile all data related to the characterisation and physicochemical definition of formulas and raw materials, and the perceived performance of products by consumers in real conditions and in real-time.”

To achieve this, the company deployed the Talend Data Fabric platform so it can pull in different types of information, including robotic, laboratory and image-based data, from a variety of sources and apply intelligent algorithm-based application programmable interfaces (APIs) to it.

The resulting data lake is then on hand to provide the company’s R&I team with a consolidated and pre-prepared pool of information that its researchers can use to analyse with the end goal of bringing new products to market.

According to L’Oréal, 50 million pieces of data are already being processed per day within this setup, with the content of the data lake subject to updates several times a day to ensure its research teams always have access to the most up-to-date information to base their product development work on.

“In the globalised beauty industry, L’Oréal must innovate ever faster to meet the desires and needs of customers looking for new products and services that respect their bodies and the environment. Our vision is to deliver services to our businesses that they have not yet considered,” said Philippe Benivay, head of data at L’Oréal Research.

“Data and artificial intelligence allow us to move faster to create cosmetic products that meet the infinite diversity of beauty needs and desires of consumers around the world.

“Talend, in our private cloud environment on Microsoft Azure, helps us transform R&I into a value-added service that can leverage all research data to deliver the best in cosmetic innovation in terms of quality, efficiency and safety,” he added.

Since embarking on the deployment and setting it live, the company said a number of new use cases for it have emerged across the company, where it was first put to use to assist the finance department manage the costs associated with its research activities with much greater ease.  

As such, it is now being used to quickly process all of the image data accrued by the company during its consumer product evaluations, during which videos of its products being tested are recorded and analysed to gauge their effectiveness.

Ciaran Dynes, senior vice-president of products at Talend, said the setup is benefiting L’Oréal’s research teams and other line of business units, by ensuring they have have real-time access to the data they need to do their jobs.

“L’Oréal’s R&I team uses data and artificial intelligence not only to help them develop new and increasingly innovative products, but also to inform other departments throughout the company. At Talend, we are proud to be able to participate in the innovation of the world leader in beauty,” Dynes added.

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