Unilever is a global company selling over 400 brands in more than 190 countries. Its products include food, personal care and household care, from ice cream and tea bags to luxury shampoo and laundry powder. Unilever employs more than 174,000 people, and its turnover was €53 billion in 2015.
Unilever uses microbial genetic data as part of its consumer R&D strategy, understanding how microbes interact with the human body and applying this insight to products. This research combines in-house data with publicly available data. Gaining valuable knowledge from microbiome data not only requires intelligent exploration and evaluation techniques, but also the capacity for storage and computing power to run the analysis. Because Unilever’s existing data analysis software could only handle one analysis at a time, the company’s systems were reaching a point at which they would soon not be able to keep up with the ever-increasing levels of genomic data.
Unilever wanted a scalable solution that would enable data-driven product development and provide parallel computing capabilities to keep up with the demands of R&D.
The solution needed to transform Unilever’s biological research activities to bring innovative products to customers faster.