EP Monthly

EP Insight, May 2023 | Unilever’s Cloud Migration

Unilever, a British consumer products company with 400+ brands used by 3.4 billion people daily, and a strong commitment to sustainable business practices, recently completed a company-wide cloud migration project. Operating in 190 countries and working with 53,000 suppliers, Unilever aims to enhance the sustainability of its supply chains, product sourcing strategies, and curb its carbon emissions.

Cloud migration is the process of moving a company’s digital assets, services, databases, IT resources, and applications either partially or completely into the cloud, where a company can access its software servers and databases over the internet. The cloud migration initiative gives Unilever the potential to accelerate product launches, enhance customer service, and improve operational efficiency.

Unilever is using Microsoft’s Azure as its primary cloud platform to allow access, management, and development of applications and service through globally-distributed data centers. Unilever also uses Accenture’s Green Cloud Advisor, which helps companies design cloud solutions that reduce carbon emissions and lay a foundation for responsible innovation.

According to Accenture, the Unilever cloud migration project is intended to provide a wide variety of benefits for Unilever:

  1. A cloud platform enables ample opportunity for innovation, insight, and prediction using global real-time data and industrial metaverse technologies.
  2. It supports faster decision-making and identification of trends through Artificial Intelligence (AI), which is crucial to its research and development systems.
  3. It creates the opportunity to embrace AI services to increase automation and provide more direct support for its employees and customers.
  4. It should support reduction in carbon footprint by exiting its data centers.

Enhancing sustainability through the cloud is not completely new for Unilever. In 2020, the consumer goods giant utilized Google cloud technologies to help identify sustainable sources of palm oil, and reduce the risk of its operational deforestation.

Prior to the cloud migration project, Unilever reported that data centers, distribution centers and offices comprised 6% of their global energy usage and 1.8% of its operational greenhouse gas emissions (Note: 90% of Unilever’s energy usage is from their manufacturing sites) [1]. The project caused minimal operational disruption and was completed in a mere 18 months. Unilever and its partners believe that the decision to go cloud-only can result in significant upgrades to a company’s productivity while lowering their environmental impacts.

Read our other EP Insights here.

[1] Unilever plc – Climate Change 2022 CDP Report

Photo credit: Unilever

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