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Customer Snapshot: Overview

Products from > 400 brands are used by > 200 billion people each day 


Teaming up with the Design and Co-Innovation Center from SAP (DCC), Unilever’s goal was to increase user productivity and user satisfaction, and to exert a positive influence on the employee value proposition.

Unilever plc

€49.8 billion

Number of Employees

Consumer Products

London, United Kingdom

Customer Website

Line of Business
Platform and Technology, Supply Chain

SAP Solutions
Ariba Network, SAP Customer Relationship Management (SAP CRM), SAP Environment, Health, and Safety Management (SAP EHS Management), SAP ERP, SAP ERP Financials, SAP HANA, SAP Invoice Management by OpenText, SAP Mobile Platform

Keeping ahead of the competition requires constant monitoring of efficiency across all areas of business. Because a major part of Unilever’s IT landscape is already covered by SAP products, the next logical step was to improve the user experience across all areas of the business. 

Customer Snapshot: History

Creating a Better Future from the Beginning

Unilever continues to make good progress towards meeting its Sustainable Living Plan targets. More than a third of its agricultural raw materials are sourced sustainably and more than 50% of all its factories achieved the goal of sending no waste to landfill. Unilever also reaches 224 million people through its programs to reduce diarrheal disease by hand-washing with soap, provide safe drinking water, promote oral health and improve young people's self-esteem.

Customer Snapshot: Business Model

Deep Roots and Diverse Product Spread

From face cream to ice cream, Unilever products can be found in homes around the world. These include famous brand names such as Dove, Knorr, Lipton, Omo, and Hellman’s. By combining their multinational expertise with deep roots in diverse local cultures, Unilever provides a wide range of products to suit a wealth of consumers.

Unilever operates in more than 190 countries and manufactures over 400 brands. They employ more than 6,000 scientists, engineers, chefs, and technicians in research and development centers around the globe.

Customer Snapshot: Success Strategy

Supporting a UI Center of Excellence

In order to remain competitive, companies in general have a strong ambition to continuously improve the efficiency and effectiveness of how they run their business. Unilever realized that User Experience (UX) is a competitive advantage and thus decided to make UX a priority.

Nowadays end users expect the same level of complicity and usability they experience with Google, Facebook, and Amazon from business solutions they use at work. This puts pressure on IT organizations to take user experience seriously. It requires rethinking of how they engage with their end users and how they implement or develop business solutions.

The Challenge

A Meeting of the Minds to Formulate a Plan

Unilever’s long-term relationship with SAP and integration of multiple solutions enables them to implement system-wide updates that can help the company Run Simple with greater efficiency. Unilever decided to work with the DCC to identify areas where processes and UX could be improved and collaborate with key stakeholders to discover how they could make everyday processes more effective and efficient.


With an organization as big as Unilever, simplifying core processes can be a real challenge.

The key challenge – and I do not think this is specific to Unilever – is to change the mindset and to integrate the required new activities into the standard processes and ways of working, as well as to build the skills across the organization. — Manfred Kürschner, Head of the User Interface Center of Excellence, Unilever

Enter SAP

Going Way Back Together

Unilever and SAP’s history together stretches back over 10 years, with SAP software supporting Unilever’s end-to-end business operations. During this time, the two companies worked together to consolidate almost 200 instances of ERP to 4 regional instances. At the core of this journey was Unilever’s desire to accelerate the business while simplifying and improving the user experience. Faced with massive and still growing data sets, Unilever became an early adopter of the SAP HANA platform. During a Design Thinking workshop, Unilever recognized the potential for even greater acceleration and simplification of their core processes. People across the organization started to investigate scenarios where SAP HANA could drive real value to the business in areas such as supply chain, finance, and marketing.
To improve the UX to a wider extent, Unilever approached the DCC. To initiate the collaboration, the DCC held a two-day workshop at Unilever in Hamburg, Germany, where employees from different departments gathered for the first time to discuss their common goals with UX.When Unilever was clear about what they wanted to achieve, the participants collected actionable ideas about how to actually get there. This led to questions such as how to set up a governance structure and how to measure success. The participants defined guidelines for integrating UX into the development process and conducted a SWOT analysis on how to organize UX. They also created a stakeholder map, taking into consideration the people involved, their tasks and responsibilities, and created a list of action items.

Enter SAP: The SAP Experience

Facing Reality, Focusing on Opportunity

With the support of the Design and Co-Innovation Center at SAP, Unilever has established a User Interface Center of Excellence. By working together, Unilever has reached its key objectives and turned its vision into reality. 


Besides bringing more UX thinking into the organization, Unilever also achieved very tangible results on the software level: With SAP Screen Personas, the end-to-end user workflow was reduced by 40%, and the clicks required for an action were reduced from 27 to 17.

Better Business

More Than 400 Brands Run Simple on a Single Platform

The most important change that arose from the project was the improvement in user productivity, in terms of effectiveness and efficiency. — Manfred Kürschner, Head of the User Interface Center of Excellence, Unilever

Better Business: Benefits

Setting the Stage for a More Efficient Present and Future

Unilever has successfully improved business efficiency thanks to the establishment of a UI Center of Excellence. With common UX goals defined by all key stakeholders in IT, business and marketing, the entire company can now run more efficiently and effectively. These processes and interfaces can continue to evolve with the expandability and scalability of the solutions they now have in place.

Better Business: Run Simple

Trusting One Team to Define a Unified System

The new Unilever User Interface Center of Excellence team is a small group entrusted with creating a system that works across all areas and departments, company-wide. The success of the new system can even be measured in the smallest, but still important metrics, like a significantly reduced number of clicks to complete a task. There is already global acceptance of the new interface system throughout the company, with glowing reports of user satisfaction and improved overall efficiency, with an outlook that remains bright as the company continues to grow and expand.


One team in place to put user experience at the forefront of design.

Journey Ahead

Reaching the Billion Mark!

By 2020, Unilever hopes to help more than one billion people take action to improve their health and well-being. To reach that goal, technology will be at the heart of everything they do.
Unilever and SAP will continue to collaborate to exploit all the benefits the SAP Business Suite powered by SAP HANA can offer to their core operations. And Unilever is pursuing other projects focused on user interface, mobility, and cloud solutions.

Unilever is committed to delivering benefits quickly with processes that are simpler, faster, and more agile. This can make a big difference to the business, and to consumers around the world.

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