Accenture and Microsoft help Unilever with huge cloud transition

A Microsoft building.

Accenture and Microsoft help Unilever with huge cloud transition Duncan is an award-winning researcher, with 20 years experience of analysing the technology industry, specialising in cloud computing, edge computing, blockchain, cybersecurity and marketing technology.


Accenture, Microsoft and Unilever have completed one of the largest and most complex cloud migrations in the consumer goods industry. The migration has helped Unilever – whose 400+ brands are used by 3.4 billion people daily – become a cloud-only enterprise.

Accenture and Microsoft, together with their joint venture, Avanade, worked closely with Unilever to deliver the transformation in just 18 months with minimal disruption to business operations. It has not only helped ensure resilient, secure and optimized operations for Unilever but also provides a platform to drive innovation and growth.

With Azure as its primary cloud platform, Unilever will be able to accelerate product launches, enhance customer service and improve operational efficiency. Additionally, the move to Azure aligns with Unilever’s sustainability commitment by helping the company to build on the progress it’s making towards curbing carbon emissions.

The creation of an agile, high-performing digital core that delivers greater efficiency will provide Unilever with increased computing power to explore new ways of working. Unilever’s adoption of a cloud-only approach will significantly improve business resilience, strengthening security and enhancing control of the IT landscape.

Accenture, Microsoft and Unilever have set a new benchmark for cloud transformation in the consumer goods industry including: 

  • Unlocking new innovation opportunities, such as utilizing industrial metaverse technologies that use real-time data from factory digital twins to accelerate lighthouse factories of the future and build upon existing cloud data platform to power insights and predictions.
  • Accelerating the ability to identify trends and make decisions faster. By leveraging the power of the cloud, artificial intelligence and its strong data foundation, Unilever can forecast and adapt to changing market needs faster than ever before. For example, this will enable Unilever to achieve perpetual breakthroughs in research and development, allowing for new and innovative products to be developed faster and with greater efficiency.
  • Embracing the latest in AI to drive better experiences by applying Azure OpenAI Service across Unilever’s business to drive increased automation, enabling better customer and employee experiences.
  • Reducing its carbon footprint by exiting its datacenters and introducing Green Cloud Advisor, which facilitates Unilever’s transition to a more sustainable and efficient cloud environment.

Steve McCrystal, chief enterprise & technology officer, Unilever said: “Unilever is a truly data-powered organization. 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.”

Nicole van Det, senior managing director at Accenture and global account lead for Unilever, said: “The path to business resilience now and in the future is through total enterprise reinvention – which involves the transformation of every part of the business – with cloud at the core. With access to the full continuum of cloud capabilities, including generative AI, Unilever has the elasticity to drive innovation faster, accelerate growth and continue to set the pace as a digital powerhouse and leader in its industry.”

Judson Althoff, executive vice president and chief commercial officer, Microsoft, said: “Together with Accenture, we’re proud to expand our longstanding partnership with Unilever.

“With Microsoft Azure as its cloud foundation, Unilever’s end-to-end digitization will enable rapid innovation across its entire business. From embracing the industrial metaverse across its factories to reimagining how its lines of business can do more with tools like Azure OpenAI Service, Unilever’s digital-first approach will empower it to grow resiliently and exceed the industry’s pace of innovation.”

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