A new and stronger entity: Versuni transforms its company – and technology

In September 2021, Philips Domestic Appliances became a stand-alone company called Versuni.

As part of the carve-out, Versuni made the decision to transform its entire technology landscape. It would be a formidable undertaking, given the siloed nature of the systems in place at the time.

For example, there were segregated applications for the various finance functions. The dependence on data from a variety of sources meant that planning procedures weren’t optimized and the process of monitoring items in stock was cumbersome and prone to human error, resulting in missed sales opportunities. There was little collaboration with suppliers, impeding procurement. Internally, the solutions employees used to learn new tasks were outdated and didn’t deliver a great user experience.

If those concerns weren’t serious enough, the Amsterdam-based company also needed to quickly gain an understanding of consumer tastes and markets spread across 100 countries.

To do that, Versuni would have to build what it called “a new and stronger entity,” developing a technology model built for the future.  

A one-time opportunity

Prior to becoming a standalone company, Versuni already had a global following, holding 900 patents and producing home appliances ranging from vacuum cleaners to coffee makers to air purifiers.

Despite the scale of the transformation, the company viewed the separation from Royal Philips as a onetime opportunity to create an innovation that would inspire businesses everywhere.

Versuni is proud that the project has been characterized as the “largest program of its kind – anywhere, in any industry.”

By the time it ended, 40 new networks – including more than 80 cloud applications – would be implemented, 300 data objects shifted to the new system, and 400 reports and 3,500 processes redesigned.

The goal was to truly become a digital first and insights-led organization.  In just a two-year timeframe, every part of the organization – whether it was production, accounting, home delivery or the distribution of shopping carts – would be impacted. 

Tata Consulting Services (TCS) was brought on as a partner for the transformation journey.

Since Versuni had already been working with SAP for more than 30 years, the multinational enterprise resource planning (ERP) software leader was chosen to spearhead the project.

Most of the platform would be culled from tools found on SAP’s Business Technology Platform (BTP) suite, known for analytics, artificial intelligence (AI), application development, and other resources. Utilizing a cloud-based Software as a Service (SaaS) subscription model, users would then be able to innovate and improve existing features as customer needs and marketing conditions changed.

For the first time, Versuni would have unprecedented control over its technological infrastructure – saving costs by reducing the size of its IT team – and be able to scale up or down when necessary.

From product-centric to customer-centric

The transformation was conducted in phases, starting with the development of a solution that could be expanded upon and enhanced.

The first deployments occurred in two complex and demanding markets, allowing for the kinds of conditions that would force improvements to be executed at the outset, while new locations were consistently added.

Within 12 months, core processes had been delivered in key markets. During the next six months, a future-fit platform was rolled out to the entire global organization.

With all finance business functions centralized into a single application, future expenses can be predicted and controlled. 

The integration between procurement, production and sales has been seamless, while a greater visibility of supplier inventory allows products to go to market soon, and the advanced understanding of machine downtimes have resulted in improved operational performance by maintenance teams.

What once was a product-centric organization has become a consumer-centric one, with the company not only gaining a holistic view of its customers, but the aptitude to swiftly respond to their questions and introduce new products based on their needs.

Observed Versuni CIO Corine Adams, the company is now “truly centered around lifetime engagement with our customers.” 

In this positive atmosphere, employee engagement has increased by 50 percent.

For developing what some are calling the industry model for global consumer products businesses, Versuni was celebrated as a winner at the 2023 SAP Innovation Awards, a yearly event honoring organizations using SAP tools to make a difference. You can read more about this story in in their Awards’ pitch deck.

Digital Transformation