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Colors are a wonderful invention of Mother Nature and the ultimate medium with which to express and differentiate ourselves. They are also said to have a subliminal effect on our mood, which is why choosing a color for a new outfit or for painting our home is typically an emotional decision. You can learn a lot about the effects of color at Asian Paints flagship store in Mumbai. Set up like a "walk-in home décor magazine," it inspires consumers by letting them experience colors in all kinds of different settings and combinations.

Driven by a strong consumer-focus and the innovative spirit of its founders, Asian Paints, India´s largest and Asia's third largest paint company, is applying mobile technologies to bring a similar experience to its rural customers.

“Mobility is all about providing delightful experiences for our customers in all the interactions we have with them,” says Deepak Bhosale, Chief Manager Systems Development at Asian Paints.

As the next big thing, the company is envisioning a color selection app that uses augmented reality. Customers can simply take a picture of a room with their mobile phone and then apply different paints to see how it will look. And thanks to integration with social media platforms, they can share their design online to get reactions from friends or family.

Analyzing feedback on products and services is key to anticipating changes in customer demand and to supporting Asian Paints’ ambitious growth plans to become one of largest paint companies in the world. Partnering with SAP, the company extended its SAP CRM application with SAP NetWeaver Gateway technology to capture market intelligence and customer feedback from social media platforms and to enable more effective marketing campaign and lead management. Sybase Unwired Platform and SAP Afaria were selected to complement the mobile vision, serving as a basis for future app development.

Equipped with Android tablets, 1,700 sales representatives now have all the information they need fingertip-ready when meeting with the almost 30,000 independent Asian Paints dealers across the country. In the past, when sales reps discussed an order with the dealer on-site, the rep had to call headquarters to check product stock before they could confirm a delivery date. Reporting and complaint management were manual too. Sales reps had to enter the data into CRM upon their return and were unable to give the dealer an estimate of when an issue would be resolved. “The mobile sales application delivers clear benefits in terms of improving the productivity of our sales force by providing real-time access to relevant data, right from the customers’ place. It’s making us more flexible and responsive to customer expectations and frees up time for business development. I think that's going to be a big thing. Reducing the time it takes to respond to customer inquiries and to resolve issues is one of the key competitive advantages Asian Paints enjoys today,” says Gopal Krishnan, Regional Sales Manager.

Faced with huge amounts of data coming in from customer interactions and the supply chain, Asian Paints also selected SAP HANA as the in-memory backbone to analyze and process data in real-time – helping to maintain service level agreements with customers. And the company does not stop there. “While the mobile sales app was the first to go live, we have a pipeline of new applications to be rolled out. The entire organization is asking for mobile apps. As a next step, we are looking at applications for manufacturing and also HR,” says Bhosale.

So in future, when customers walk into the local paint store – after deciding on their favorite color with the help of a mobile phone – they can be assured that the dealer will be well-informed on Asian Paints´ products and able to provide accurate delivery dates for an order. That’s one less thing customers will need to worry about when adding a little more color to their lives.