Unilever, the consumer goods giant, has strengthened its enterprise resource planning (ERP) commitment by signing a Global Enterprise Agreement with SAP.

The manufacturer has been a long-tern customer of SAP, but the agreement will allow the company broader access to SAP’s portfolio, enabling business agility and growth as it evolves its global IT landscape towards an enterprise service oriented architecture (SOA). Unilever is the first consumer packaged goods company to sign up for such a deal with SAP.

Unilever is currently engaged in the “One Unilever” business transformation programme to streamline and standardise business processes across the companies’ three operating regions – Asia/AMET (Africa, Middle East and Turkey), Europe and the Americas – to drive revenue growth and increase operational excellence.

In addition to collaboration on enhancements and recommendations for SAP’s product portfolio, teams at SAP and Unilever will collaborate regionally and globally to identify best practices within the current SAP implementation with a goal to extend these for Unilever’s organisation globally.

“This agreement enables us not only to accelerate business transformation, but also drive significant IT simplification as we move toward our destination IT architecture,” said Neil Cameron, Unilever CIO. “Critically, as we move to fewer, more strategic IT partners it also gives us the influence over the SAP portfolio planning process and enhances our ability to work side-by-side with SAP on state-of-the-art industry solutions that we need from them to enable and further strengthen our global market presence.”

Although the company signed the agreement last December the official announcement was made this week at SAP’s international customer conference in Vienna.