In an industry that’s all about product, PVH CIO Eileen Mahoney is using technology to transform the fashion merchandise lifecycle — whether that’s design, assortment or increasing speed to market.
As leader of the global technology and process group and a PVH corporate officer, Mahoney develops the strategic direction for the company’s technology and platform solutions, business process and transformation, as well as portfolio management. She’s been with the company since 2008 and took the CIO helm in 2014.
RIS recently recognized Mahoney’s contribution to retail by naming her to the “Top Women in Retail Tech 2020” list. What follows is a Q&A learning more about the work she's most proud of.
Q&A: Eileen Mahoney, CIO, PVH
RIS: What new and emerging technology have you and your team recently deployed that helps set your organization apart?
Eileen Mahoney: In the fashion industry, it is all about product — design, assortment and speed to market. Over the last three years, partnering with the business, we have developed a 3D product creation and go-to-market strategy and roadmap.
Using 3D design for product creation, digital assortment planning and selling tools has allowed our product creation process to completely be digitized, reducing samples and time to design seasonal lines. It’s also provided new ways to digitally sell products to our wholesale customers.
RIS: What were the strategic objectives of this technology? How has the deployment performed against objectives?
Mahoney: The technology and process objectives were to digitize the full product creation lifecycle, integrating product design with the tech packs provided to our supply chain vendors, to decrease time to market. This allows designs and decisions to be made closer to seasonal markets.
With our initial pilot, our Heritage sportswear team digitally designed a spring capsule collection in four days and digitally sold styles to a wholesale customer without producing any project samples. Those same design images were given to our wholesale partner for them to use on their e-commerce site.
RIS: What project have you led that you are most proud of?
Mahoney: In 2010, PVH acquired the Tommy Hilfiger brand which had over 200 stores in North America. Over a nine-month period, I led the integration of the North American retail division onto the PVH Retail technology platform.
This technology integration/transformation provided our new business partners with an enterprise planning and allocation solution, complete retail ERP system and new POS platform, as well as a data warehouse platform allowing for real-time reporting and analytics.
RIS: Can you discuss any new technology that you currently developing?
Mahoney: We are on a multi-year journey to implement SAP S4/Hana Fashion platform globally. Working in close partnership with the business, we have built a global model/platform that will allow all businesses by brand and region to operate on a global solution for all our business channels — wholesale, retail and e-commerce. We are one of the first apparel companies to implement S4/Fashion, and have already successfully deployed in two markets with complete global rollout completed in 2022.
RIS: How has women’s role in the industry evolved over your career?
Mahoney: I have been working in the retail technology space for over 30 years. In those 30 years, women have evolved into more leadership roles within the technology space, but we still have work to do in this area. We need to continue to provide encouragement and opportunities for women to excel in what is still a very male-dominated discipline.
RIS: What are your long-term goals for your career? What would you like to accomplish before you retire?
Mahoney: Goals that are currently top of mind: continue to simplify our enterprise architecture, finish digitizing the application portfolio and provide end-to-end solutions to our business partners. Once I complete that, I can happily retire.
RIS: With the retail industry in a state of uncertainty thanks to COVID-19, what technology is having the greatest impact now as retailers adjust to the new normal? And where should retailers be investing once a level of normalcy returns?
Mahoney: Video and collaboration platforms such as Cisco’s Jabber, WebEx and Microsoft Teams, as well as remote access/VPN solutions, have become the go-to tools in our portfolio to allow our teams to effectively work remotely. These aren’t always the tools most retail folks want to invest in, but they have truly showed their value over the last couple of months.
From a retail perspective, we need to continue to expand our investments in our unified commerce and consumer engagement solutions to provide platforms for consumers to engage more with our brands and provide them various options for purchase — providing them seamless and frictionless consumer experiences with our online and store channels.