Achieving Business Focus in a Global BI Programme at Unilever

Case study

Unilever selected Thorogood, a Business Intelligence specialist, to deliver reporting and analytical applications for its ambitious long-term, organization-wide and multi-technology global BI programme.

The Vision

The aim of the programme was to provide information capabilities across the globe in support of Unilever’s growth objectives. Value-adding applications covering 17 business capabilities would be based on a true enterprise data warehouse, replacing many existing warehouse instances. It would be a significant investment.

With large scale global operations employing over 170,000 people and with more than 400 brand names, Unilever has extensive experience of managing major programmes.

This programme would use leading technologies alongside an enterprise data warehouse that was to provide the capacity to house the capabilities being developed. In turn the business could be supported in its demands for real-time data and world-class analytics.

Unilever recognizes the value of specialist expertise. They looked for the best supplier for each aspect of the program, and a team of suppliers that could cooperate effectively with each other.

Meeting the Challenge

Unilever selected Teradata to develop the enterprise data warehouse. Programme management, warehouse load and testing would be provided by Cap Gemini. Unilever selected Thorogood to deliver their analytical and reporting applications.

Unilever recognized the need for Business Intelligence expertise for the business focused application layer. Their selected partner would be responsible for delivering highly functional, high-performance, intuitive user interfaces. Success in this very visible part of the programme would be vital to achieving widespread adoption quickly, realizing the value of their investment – one of Unilever’s main success criteria for the programme.

Unilever selected Thorogood as their analytics and reporting partner because:

  • Thorogood already had a long track record of successful delivery of Business Intelligence applications within Unilever.
  • Thorogood has many references from other blue chip companies for its globally distributed expertise and ability to deliver cost-effectively.
  • Thorogood had demonstrable expertise in integrating Business Intelligence technologies – the technologies used in the programme include Microsoft SharePoint, Excel, PerformancePoint, PowerPivot and SQL Server, and through their strong BI focus was able to deliver value through new technologies such as Tableau.
  • Thorogood has a unified and experienced executive team with an unparalleled depth of expertise in Business Intelligence that offered stability and personal commitment to success for the entire duration of the programme.
  • Thorogood has established effective recruitment, development and retention policies which over many years have enabled high levels of BI experience and specialism to be developed and retained.

Next Steps

Thorogood is engaged both in defining central architecture and design standards, and in delivering multiple project workstreams. Greg Swimer, Vice President of Unilever’s BI Centre of Excellence and overall programme lead says:

Unilever is very pleased with the trajectory of the overall programme and of the Unilever/Thorogood relationship.


Find out more

Contact Prakash Palanisamy.  Prakash is a Data & AI Consultant, and India Managing Director at Thorogood.

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