Unilever has built a private cloud computing setup for its key basic applications, using the new Microsoft System Center 2012 platform.

The consumer goods giant, which makes brands including PG Tips tea, Persil washing powder and Bertolli olive oil, contracted system integrator Avanade to implement the technology.

Unilever, which has in recent years taken aggressive steps to standardise systems, also plans to improve day-to-day processes and improve reliability with the System Center 2012. It was an early adopter of the system, which has been made publicly available this week.

Mike Royle, IT director at Unilever, said that the company is "betting" on the technology "as the management platform to extend our investments in virtualisation toward private cloud, to automate processes, and to ensure the reliability of our infrastructure and application services".

Unilever has a decade long, company-wide plan to double revenues while halving its impact on the environment. Royle said that the more effective cloud infrastructure would "help" with this, and Unilever is also overhauling supply chain systems with IBM as part of the green effort.

Meanwhile, the company continues to roll out standardised SAP enterprise resource planning worldwide as part of the One Unilever programme with Accenture, and is in the midst of a business intelligence upgrade with Capgemini, focused around SAP NetWeaver and Microsoft ProClarity analytics. Its other key outsourcers are BT for networks, and Unisys for IT management.

In recent years, it has also massively cut down its IT provider base, key to a saving of more than £1 billion so far from removing global system overlap.