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Asian Paints, India's largest color and paint company and one of the world's top 10, is intent on moving into the top five, with a focus on emerging markets. To get there, it's building alliances, which hinge on a sophisticated value chain linking suppliers, partners, retailers, and consumers to the company. Manish Choksi combines two very big roles-CIO and chief of corporate strategy.

His broad goals include delivering technology solutions that adapt to demands of the business and turning innovation into profits, with specific targets such as achieving faster ROI on IT investments and reducing IT operating expense.

Under his aegis, the company successfully deployed ER and supply chain management systems. Now, Choksi and his team are looking to leverage those. For example, Asian Paints set up a central order processing service, which takes advantage of recent improvements in emerging market telephony services. With the order processing service, Choksi is getting more value out of the company's investment in SAP, including using its CRM for an order-taking and query-handling dashboard. The company also integrated its phone system with its SAP software for advanced call handling, voice response, and predictive outbound dialing.

Choksi, who joined Asian Paints in 1992, has held positions in sales, engineering, and marketing. He is a member of Asian Paints' management board. He also led forays into new services for painting and other home improvements, and he's expected to lead more such growth opportunities in his current dual role. -InformationWeek India

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