Unilever today announced that it has awarded an outsourcing contract to Accenture to manage parts of its European IT operation. This follows the announcement in December on outsourcing its financial transactional services to IBM.
The outsourcing programme is part of the company’s 'One Unilever' initiatives to increase leverage of its scale, improve its marketplace competitiveness, deliver functional excellence, and create a more competitive cost-structure allowing it to focus on its consumers and customers.
Under the IT contract, Unilever will outsource to Accenture, the development, implementation and support of its European regional applications. The intention is to start the programme from 1st July 2006.
Unilever intends to minimise the impact of people by transferring staff to Accenture, early retirement, re-training through the Accenture Academy, exploring alternatives roles, natural attrition and through voluntary programmes.
Unilever has a great deal of experience of managing change issues and, as well as dealing with people issues sensitively and professionally, it is committed to working closely with the relevant employee representatives and works councils.
Neil Cameron, Unilever's chief information officer, said: "This outsourcing deal represents a major strategic choice for Unilever. With a significant business change agenda ahead of us, we believe that partnering with a world class provider such as Accenture gives us greater flexibility and more certainty on delivery of the key enabling IT system platforms."
"This deal allows us to create a simpler, more agile European IT function to better support Unilever's growth agenda."
"This contract should help provide Unilever with a higher degree of certainty around the cost and timing necessary to create its new European business IT platform, which is expected to drive improved business results including increased efficiencies, reduced costs and greater standardization," said John Zealley, managing partner of Accenture's Consumer Goods & Services Practice in Europe.
"Accenture's experience in delivering cross border IT programs should enable us to deliver consistently in Unilever's key markets, providing Unilever with the flexibility it needs to meet its goal of becoming ever more competitive and high-performing."
Notes to editors
The IT contract takes the form of a 'master services agreement' under which local contracts will be drawn up subject to successful consultation.
Accenture is a global management consulting, technology services and outsourcing company. Committed to delivering innovation, Accenture collaborates with its clients to help them become high-performance businesses and governments. With deep industry and business process expertise, broad global resources and a proven track record, Accenture can mobilize the right people, skills and technologies to help clients improve their performance. With more than 129 000 people in 48 countries, the company generated net revenues of US$ 15.55 billion for the fiscal year ended Aug. 31, 2005. Its home page is www.accenture.com.