Helping Unilever to keep it simple and stay ahead

Creating a stronger and more flexible plan to work around the world.

Company
Unilever
Industry
Retail
Employees
more than 100,000
Location
Global

Overview

How do you create a workplace that encourages innovation when you’ve got one of the biggest global outsourcing tasks in the world? That was the question facing Unilever IT Director for Europe, Damian Zannelli. 

Since 2002 we’ve been simplifying processes and finding efficiencies to give Unilever the framework they need to innovate and stay a step ahead of the game. 

The challenge

When we signed the BT and Unilever global outsourcing agreement in 2002 it was a big deal for both of us. In fact, it was one of the biggest deals of its kind. We’ve achieved a lot since then. And we’ve seen our working relationship grow stronger by the day. 

Over time, though, a few key challenges started holding us back. Challenges that were key to giving Unilever the flexibility they needed. For example, how could we overcome the problem of service renewals coming up at different rates around world? And how could we manage the differences in governance and reporting across the regions? Not to mention finding better ways to measure performance and keep service consistent. 

Time was on our side. With a negotiation to extend our contract in the pipeline, it was the perfect opportunity to tackle these challenges head on. So, we put an agreement in place that extended our involvement with Unilever to fully manage their voice, data, and security services across 1000 sites. In more than 100 countries. Using a follow-the-sun model, we put in place services centres in San Paolo in Brazil and Gurgaon in India that worked together as one.

The solution

The contract renewal gave us and Unilever the chance to re-look at our processes and come up with a more flexible approach. One that allowed us to make the most of changes in technology. And one that means we could keep improving when it comes to service levels and competitiveness. 

We started by looking at what the people at Unilever actually need, that way we could come up with a more relevant service plan to look after them. Then we put together a new account team and service personnel to make sure we could deliver. 

Those two teams now work towards the same goal and have become part of the fabric of Unilever. They look for new and better ways to give them the competitive edge. Like using the power of our network to manage their supply chain better. 

But that’s just the start. The new contract has opened up new opportunity for standardisation and cost cutting. For example, a new single sign-on now helps people to work in more places than before. Making it easier for everyone to get things done. It’s simple ideas like these that can make a big difference in big business. 

“With the new contract, we have the right framework. So now is the time to for us to focus on innovation and take it from network services team (that’s Unilever and BT) down to the business functions.”
Damian Zannelli
IT Director – Europe, Unilever.

The result

The new contract has completely modernised the old agreement. Unilever now has more flexibility than ever before. And we get to deliver our services more consistently and to a higher standard. 

“One of the most important triggers for us to re-sign this engagement with BT was savings,” says Damian Zannelli, “We have agreed a reduction in our running costs of 10 per cent in the first year and 15 per cent in year two.” 

Putting new technology in place, creating economies of scale and negotiating better deals with third party suppliers has all helped. But the way we manage it all has a big impact, too. We’ve simplified things. Making governance processes the same across the globe. Contract management now costs less because we can run the same set of reports for each region. It’s so much quicker. And much easier for Unilever to see exactly how we’re performing, too.  

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