From home and personal care to food and drink, your cupboards probably contain at least one Unilever brand. Each day, 2.5 billion people use Unilever products to feel good, look good, and get more from life.

With more than 400 brands and 161,000 employees, Unilever is one of the world’s largest consumer packaged goods (CPG) companies — a role it takes very seriously. Whether it’s a sumptuous soup or an energy-saving laundry detergent, every Unilever brand has a purpose, from advocating nutritious cooking to tackling climate change.

“As a big corporation, we have an obligation to add value to people’s lives,” says Unilever’s Global CIO Jane Moran. “I love working for a purpose-driven organization, it makes me feel good about coming to work every day.”

Through its commitment to sustainability and diversity, Unilever is changing the world for the better. Unilever exists on a grand scale: seven out of every ten households around the world contain at least one Unilever product.

To keep developing great products and driving change, Unilever needed to empower its people with the right technologies and information. “We want to enable our people to deliver the best for our consumers and customers,” said Moran. “And that means enabling them to work as digital natives.”

By embracing everything that the digital age has to offer, Moran is helping Unilever travel further and faster than its CPG competitors. “The Fourth Industrial Revolution represents a huge opportunity for us,” said Moran. “By delivering digital insights and digital solutions to our colleagues, retail customers, and end consumers, we can drive greater growth.”

And Moran has a unique approach for connecting the digital dots across the Unilever value chain. “I want to give the power of technology away – it’s too cool to keep to myself. When you put the power of technology in the hands of the people that use it, they become much more productive,” said Moran. “With Salesforce, everyone can be a technologist and a Trailblazer.”

 
 
 
 
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By encouraging thousands of Unilever employees to play a part in Unilever's digital transformation, Moran has been able to fast-track innovation – especially when it comes to the development and deployment of apps. Unilever’s IT and business teams have created more than 50 apps on the Salesforce platform, spanning processes as diverse as developing new products and answering employee HR queries to scheduling volunteer sessions and coordinating internal marketing across a community of 12,000 users.

Unilever’s volunteer app, which helps employees create volunteering activities and invite their colleagues to join in, was developed in less than a week using the Salesforce Lightning Platform. “Agility is in Unilever’s DNA; with Salesforce, it’s on steroids,” said Moran. “We can now deploy solutions four to five times faster and it costs us less.” Moran estimates that solution deployment costs have decreased by 40% since its implementation of Salesforce.

Unilever also uses Service Cloud and Community Cloud to help its people work in smarter, faster and more agile ways. “We have a small city of around 100,000 Salesforce users – from finance and HR to marketing and R&D,” said Moran. “It provides our people with a standardized and interconnected platform.”

Evolving from a project to a platform approach was one of Moran’s first objectives when she joined Unilever as CIO in 2014. “With Salesforce, we can focus on business needs instead of technology enablers,” said Moran. “It helps us deliver digital solutions very quickly.”

Thanks to these digital solutions, Unilever can connect with its retail customers and employees like never before. For example, a new solution for retail execution helps Unilever's field reps manage accounts, place orders, and deliver other key services while visiting customer sites. Executing and planning promotional activities with retailers is also a lot easier thanks to a new trade promotions management solution.
Unilever wants to make similar connections with its millions of consumers around the world. “We are passionate about our consumers,” said Moran. “We have around 20 million contacts on a continuous basis – and we want to make these contacts more personalized.”

To personalize how it engages with consumers, Unilever wants to become more predictive. With Einstein Analytics, it can better understand consumer challenges and desires, as well as the success of trade promotions.

Unilever is also getting closer to its consumers by reinventing its channel model, with some brands now being sold direct through websites powered by Commerce Cloud.

 

I want to democratize the development of technology. With the Salesforce platform, we can give the power away to our business community.”

Jane Moran, Unilever CIO

By exploiting analytics and building more direct consumer relationships, Moran and her IT team can predict future business needs and market trends – and plan for them in advance. “The rate of change is so fast, we need to be able to test new ideas,” said Moran. “With Salesforce, we can push the limits of what technology can do for our business and inspire the next generation of people that want to innovate.”

To maximize future innovation and digitalization opportunities, Unilever needs to ensure its data is integrated and trusted. “We’ve created a library of adaptive and reusable integrations using Salesforce's Integration capabilities, which enables us to smartly connect our business applications around the globe,” explained Moran.

With operations in more than 190 countries, ensuring data visibility and integrity is essential – especially when there are 22 petabytes in circulation across the business. “With Salesforce, we can see where information flows to and from,” said Moran. “Greater visibility of the data highway enables us to unlock sharper insights and drive smarter actions.”

 

As a lifelong learner, Moran is keen to make the most of not only new data insights but also new technologies and software languages. “I taught myself Python last summer,” she said. “I also use Trailhead as I want to keep learning – and it’s fun. With Trailhead, we can create a great community of developers and inspire business stakeholders to exploit technology for their own benefit.”

Encouraging non-stop learning and innovation is key for Unilever as it continues to unlock the full potential of digitalization and to create stronger customer and consumer connections. “If you are always learning, then there will be more light bulb moments,” said Moran.

Every step of Unilever’s digital journey links to its overall goals of changing the world for the better and making sustainable living commonplace. With Einstein Analytics, Unilever employees can track their personal sustainability metrics and see how they are helping to safeguard the future of the planet.

“With Salesforce, we can keep driving innovation, agility, and digitalization – and have a little fun along the way,” said Moran. “We’re evolving together and evolving how we put customers and consumers at the heart of our business.”

 
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