Unilever

120 years of innovation moves to the Cloud with Vantage on Azure.

Every day, over 2.5 billion people use Unilever products to feel good, look good and get more out of life.

Unilever is one of the world’s leading suppliers of Beauty & Personal Care, Home Care, and Foods & Refreshment products. From iconic global brands like Dove, Magnum and Knorr, to brands such as Love Beauty & Planet, Hourglass and The Vegetarian Butcher, Unilever has a unique opportunity to make sustainable living commonplace.

“Back in 1883, Sunlight Soap was launched in the UK by our founder – it was pioneering, it was innovative, and it had a purpose: to popularise cleanliness and bring it within reach of ordinary people. That was sustainable living, even then. We now have over 400 brands, and we are still driven by purpose,” said Andy Hill, global vice president, data & analytics.

Unilever par les chiffres

€50.7 billion

Total revenue in 2020

400

Brands in homes all over the world

2.5 billion

People use their products every day

190

Countries where products are sold

A €51B business puts data at the center

Unilever’s vision is to be the global leader in sustainable business and to demonstrate how its purpose-led, future-fit business model drives superior performance. They have a long tradition of being a progressive, responsible business. It goes back to the days of their founder William Lever, who launched the world’s first purposeful brand, Sunlight Soap, more than 100 years ago, and it’s at the heart of how they run the company today.

The Unilever Compass

The Unilever Compass, their sustainable business strategy, is set out to help deliver superior performance and drive sustainable and responsible growth, while:

  • Improving the health of the planet
  • Improving people's health, confidence and wellbeing
  • Contributing to a fairer and more socially inclusive world

“Our data strategy is a key enabler for our corporate strategy. When you think about our growth – so, how we build stronger brands, how we engage more successfully with our customers and consumers, how we improve our business operations – data and analytics are at the heart of each and every one,” explained Hill.

Andy Hill, Global Vice President, Data & Analytics

Competing globally and accelerating growth in core, emerging and high growth markets means Unilever must move beyond descriptive analytics that rely on historical insights to more predictive analytics.

Changes in consumer purchasing behaviours through omnichannel, direct-to-consumer and recent product trends (e.g., plant-based and organic products) demand making better use of data and advanced analytics to truly meet the needs of our consumers.

Hill continued, “One of our fundamental aims is to make Unilever data intelligent, where we use data to support all business decisions. As tools and technologies mature we want to support this decision-making with more and more advanced analytics, becoming more predictive and prescriptive in our use of analytics and AI throughout the business.”

Achieving Unilever’s goal of becoming more predictive and prescriptive requires a modern cloud architecture capable of integrating disparate data sources with varying data types.

“We need to ensure that data is available everywhere to unlock faster and better decision making, leveraging both internal and external data, structured and unstructured data to support human decisions with machine learning and prescriptive analytics capabilities,” Hill shared.

Internal data includes sales, forecasting, and supply chain information. External data is integrated from partners such as retailers, wholesalers, and distributors to help provide a better picture of sales, demand, and inventory to better predict future manufacturing needs.

Teradata Vantage on Azure, the connected, multi-cloud data platform for enterprise analytics.

Unilever turned to Teradata Vantage™ on Azure to connect data in marketing, sales, supply chain, HR and other lines of business.

“Unilever runs 27 business services on our Teradata Vantage platform leveraging over 230TB of data supporting finance, sales, supply chain and HR. This enables approximately thousands of users to run hundreds of reports thousands of times each month to make the business decisions needed to run our organisation effectively,” shared Hill.

Unilever’s cloud modernisation has realised multiple benefits. New-found agility allows Unilever to scale up and down to support the demands from its users.

“Cloud offers a level of flexibility which is very difficult to achieve with an on-premises estate. It allows us to scale up and down our infrastructure at the touch of a button, without the need of going through the rigmarole of procuring, installing and maintaining hardware,” said Hill.

Hill also shared a common cloud sentiment, stating “[the Cloud] also enables us to avoid up front capital infrastructure expenditure which we can instead put towards more value-added activities.”

Cloud migrations of Unilever’s scale are complex.

Whether migrating from on-premises into the Cloud or from one cloud provider to another, cloud migrations are more than moving data. Organisations with complex data analytic ecosystems have a multitude of systems, servers, applications, and tools that feed or rely on the data platform. All of which must be considered when migrating to the Cloud.

“Given the size and importance of our environment this migration was a very complex activity which took approximately nine months end to end. It involved migrating not only Teradata but over 80 other servers which are critical to the operation of the platform,” explained Hill.

Unilever’s successful cloud migration to Vantage on Azure involved forefront planning to identify connections and dependencies, ensuring the platform continued to operate post-migration and with business users seeing no difference.

“The main challenge we faced was simply the scale of the migration; the logistics of migrating such a complex platform to cloud, all the necessary testing and then ensuring that the production cutover could be done within an acceptable time window for the business was an immense effort,” Hill said.

120 years of innovation. Now in the Cloud.

From its founding in 1883 with Sunlight soap, to today’s 400 brands in 190 countries, innovation has been central to the Unilever purpose. The Cloud represents the next generation of innovation for years to come at Unilever. “We’ve been pioneers, innovators and future-makers for over 120 years. We plan to continue doing that, and we plan to do it sustainably. This is how we will grow our business,” Hill concluded.

Autres témoignages clients