PZ Cussons Case Study

Global Manufacturer Selects Cognizant Microsoft Business Group for Teams Transformation

PZ Cussons is a major British manufacturer of personal healthcare products and consumer goods, including well-known brands such as Imperial Leather, St.Tropez and Carex. With operations worldwide, especially in Africa and Commonwealth nations, the company is listed on the London Stock Exchange and is a constituent of the FTSE 250 Index.

As a family business, PZ Cussons pride themselves on enhancing the lives of their customers and ensuring their consumers are at the heart of everything they do. During the distressing times in recent months, PZ Cussons donated half a million Carex bottles to key workers, showing the strength in the allegiance they have with their customers.

“Our purpose is, enhancing everyday life and creating moments of delight. Our ambition is to grow a business whilst staying true to the family spirit. To focus on our consumers and local markets better than anyone else. We want to leave a legacy for the next generation that we can be proud of. Our plan is to build our competitive advantages, accelerate our growth by focusing on a few key categories, brands and geographies.”
Jan Hodges – CTO



PZ Cussons had Skype for Business on-premises, but they found it was not fit for purpose as they struggled with voice calls and it had virtually no video capability. The aging infrastructure was limiting PZ Cussons and collaboration was low due to the inability to share screens and documents. The poor user experience was felt throughout the business and the IT team found that employees and stakeholders were acquiring and self-serving on other platforms to try and tackle these issues. However, they had concerns about the security and governance weaknesses these substitute platforms pose. The IT team knew if they didn’t resolve the multi-platform use within the business then it would have been difficult to achieve their goal of a coherent enterprise solution which, in turn, could have also reflected negatively on business and the internal IT team.

“There is no way we could be working how we are now, with the technologies we had then – there just would have been no way of surviving that”
Kevin Brocklehurst – Project Manager

PZ Cussons’ original strategy intended to roll out Teams over the course of several months. However, the added pressure from the pandemic meant they had to accelerate this plan to adapt to the remote working needs of the company and to keep business running to its high standards. There was concern that the lack of face-to-face engagement would impact their employees and their tight-knit relationship with their consumers and suppliers.

“A global company not being able to communicate is really far from ideal and it was also starting to become difficult to connect with our third-party support partners.”
Paul Everett – Head of Global Project Management


Due to the time sensitivity, PZ Cussons engaged the Cognizant Microsoft Business Group (Cognizant MBG - formerly New Signature) to deploy Teams in a swift and efficient manner. The Cognizant MBG proceeded to move PZ Cussons’ staff to Skype for Business Online and from here they deployed a Teams-only mode throughout the business, before finally decommissioning Skype for Business on-premises. Managing business expectations and employee experience were key to a successful delivery, so Cognizant MBG provided business change consultancy to enable users to adopt Teams quickly.

The first company meeting to test Teams was a six-hour executive board meeting–a crunch time for the PZ Cussons’ IT team.  The stakeholders were introduced to Teams and were informed that the infrastructure they were using was deployed only five days prior. The feedback received from this meeting was glowing and PZ Cussons started to work on the wider communications around this project to ensure smooth and timely user adoption company wide.

“We went from concept to delivery in five days. It was such a proactive partnership between ourselves and the Microsoft Business Group.”
Colin Simpson – Global IT Director


After Teams was deployed to the entire company, PZ Cussons saw an incredible uptick of usage with their employees. Positive feedback was received from across the business on how PZ Cussons’ employees could be more collaborative and communicate more efficiently with each other; not only in the UK, but also across business units and regional teams.

“They were pulling this rope out of our hands as quickly as we could release it.”
Kevin Brocklehurst – Project Manager

The success of the Teams deployment for PZ Cussons has helped their IT Teams gain better credibility; they are now seen as an innovative enabler within the business, not as a blocker nor a side-line function. An additional measure of the projects success is that the wider members of the organization thought the entire deployment was effortless, meaning business disruption during this time was at an all-time low, with only seven incident tickets raised throughout the roll-out to 2,500 staff members.

The dashboard capabilities that Teams provides enabled the IT team to troubleshoot and solve user issues almost instantly, reducing employee down time and promoting the IT teams’ capabilities within the business.

This innovative project played a key role in PZ Cussons journey to meet their organizational goals:

“This project has enabled us to keep our determination to grow our business, meanwhile maintaining focus on our key brands, none of which can be done in isolation, so the communication and collaboration Cognizant Microsoft Business Group has brought is essential”
Jan Hodges – CTO


The initial Exchange project that PZ Cussons were implementing had been planned 18 months earlier and, after liaising with numerous vendors, they selected Cognizant MBG due to our fresh and rapid approach. PZ Cussons found the winning formula for their partnership with Cognizant MBG was the combined focus on technical excellence alongside careful consideration of user enablement and the wider business impact.

“It is like a breath of fresh air when you speak to Cognizant MBG, the knowledge and expertise is truly their USP”
Kevin Brocklehurst – Project Manager

Throughout the engagement, the partnership strength grew and both parties offered honest and candid feedback to ensure deadlines and commitments were met. PZ Cussons and the Cognizant Microsoft Business Group jointly facilitated workshops to specific global regions ensuring powerful communications were circulated around the business, resulting in high-impact results and an intuitive platform.

“The global teams feel closer than ever due to this project, Cognizant MBG have truly enabled and encouraged collaboration across multiple regions and countries within our business”.
Jan Hodges – CTO

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