Microsoft & Accenture Helping Embed AI Tech at Unilever

By Marcus Law & Sean Ashcroft
Unilever Digital Transformation Built on Microsoft Azure and partnership With Accenture, as Household Goods Giant Goes Digital

In today’s turbulent global economy and ever-shifting geopolitical landscape, enterprise-wide digitalisation is becoming mission critical in helping organisations anticipate, and mitigate, problems – especially in supply chain.  

In April 2023, Unilever announced that, with Accenture and Microsoft, it had completed one of the largest and most complex cloud migrations in the consumer goods industry, helping Unilever become a cloud-only enterprise.

With Azure as its primary cloud platform, the transformation means Unilever can accelerate product launches, enhance customer service and improve operational efficiency, while helping Unilever meet its sustainability commitments.

Azure Supply Chain Management is a set of cloud-based services and solutions that provide end-to-end supply chain visibility, predictive analytics, demand forecasting, inventory optimisation and supplier collaboration. 

This helps businesses gain insights, automate processes and make data-driven decisions to improve supply chain performance. 

Accenture helping Unilever drive AI at scale

Accenture’s role is to help Unilever enhance productivity, drive efficiencies and accelerate disruptive AI-powered innovations on a large scale. 

Every day, 3.4 billion people use Unilever products. The consumer goods leader has been innovating for over 100 years – from re-inventing soap in the late 19th century to pioneering sustainable living today.

Today, its experts are keeping Unilever at the forefront of innovation by applying the latest digital technologies to help create better experiences for customers. 

From using AI solutions to make the shopping experience more accessible to trialling blockchain tech to drive sustainability ambitions, we highlight how Unilever is using technology solutions in its operations.

Like many businesses globally, Unilever has been harnessing the power of AI to drive innovation. 

The company’s transformation will make it more accessible to everyone – including visually impaired people, who it now caters for after partnering with the accessibility app specialist Be My Eyes, developer of AI accessibility solutions apps.

Unilever invests in AI solutions

Unilever is working with Be My Eyes to train volunteers and provide product information and data to the Chat GPT-4 AI bot. Unilever’s customer support team will also be integrated into the Be My Eyes app experience, allowing shoppers the option to be automatically connected to the Colman’s careline team for further support if needed.

“We’re a truly data-powered organisation,” says Steve McCrystal, Unilever Chief Enterprise & Technology Officer. “We’re using advanced analytics to make better-informed decisions quicker than ever before. 

“Working with Accenture and Microsoft on this global transformation project, we can respond to ever-changing consumer needs faster, allocate our resources more effectively to focus on what drives growth, and bring services and products to the market faster.”

Accenture CEO Julie Sweet says the collaboration “builds on our relationship of more than three decades with Unilever” and that it “raises the bar as a digital powerhouse and industry leader”. 

“Accenture’s deep expertise and strong ecosystem partnerships will help Unilever scale AI and generative AI more rapidly and responsibly across its business and discover new pathways to value.” 

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