Unilever’s Cultural Transformation Underpins the Success of Digital Transformation

By Sharada Prahladrao

Technology Trends

ARC Advisory Group has been tracking the digital transformation initiatives of companies by conducting surveys and analyses for the last 5-7 years. All this information has been collated, and the Top 25 global industrial digital transformation leaders, across multiple industries and geographies, have been identified. ARC’s Industrial Digital Transformation Top 25 report highlights companies that are successfully integrating digital technology into all areas of business, fundamentally changing the way they operate and deliver value to their customers. They share a common thread of leveraging digital technologies to transform business capabilities and outcomes, giving them a competitive advantage during challenging global circumstances. Unilever’s cultural transformation underpins the success of digital transformation and gives it a place in the Top 25.    

The global business landscape has gone through immense turbulence and uncertainty in the last two years. The pandemic catalyzed companies to accelerate their digital transformation initiatives and adapt to the constantly changing demands with agility. It is evident that only companies that deployed digital transformation initiatives were able to thrive and survive. Today, digital transformation has emerged as the focal point of all business-related conversations and is expediting the ability for physical and organizational boundaries to be broken to engage a real-time workforce, connect teams, and drive collaboration. While some shifted their digital transformation efforts during the pandemic, all had some level of prior preparation and have an eye toward the future.

For this research, digital transformation has been defined as: “The integration of digital technology into all areas of business, fundamentally changing the way companies operate and deliver value to customers. The organization is typically charged to innovate and improve across multiple dimensions such as: digital/disruptive technologies, culture and leadership, operational agility, workforce engagement, customer experience, environmental, social and governance, and competitive performance.”

This is the 24th in a series of blogs on the leaders in the digital transformation space.

Unilever’s Cultural Transformation Underpins the Success of Digital Transformation

Unilever actively digitizes all aspects of their business to leverage data and increase digital capability in everything they do. Cultural TransformationFor example, artificial intelligence is used to predict demand, co-create new brands with consumers, and to target customers precisely with the specific products they want. The company has also invested in IoT, robotics and augmented reality. Unilever views digital transformation as a necessity, not an option, to overcome the market challenges faced by consumer goods companies. Unilever uses big data to bring the “right” products to market faster. A cultural transformation underpins the success of digital transformation, and Unilever invests in a skills transformation program across the entire organization.

Next Step

ARC will continue its research in all areas related to digital transformation to learn more about what is working – and what isn’t – as companies pursue their unique digital transformation activities. The Industrial Digital Transformation Top 25 report will be published annually. With this being the first issue, your feedback is very important to investigate new approaches and measures to adjust our methodology, identify successful digital transformation initiatives, and help the industry as a whole digitally transform. This report is the fruition of an idea that matured over several years, spurred on by the many experiences with end users, their challenges, and research by ARC team members. To download the final report, please click here.



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