How an Indian real-estate juggernaut keeps growing by harnessing the power of zero

If you’ve ever watched a James Bond film – from Dr. No to No Time to Die – you may have noticed “EON Productions” in the credits. “EON” stands for “Everything or Nothing” – a phrase that could just as well apply to the Prestige Group, one of India’s leading real estate developers.

To get a sense of just how large the company looms, just look to the skies. The next time you’re in Bangalore or Mumbai (or Hyderabad, or Calicut, or Chennai for that matter), chances are you’ll see one of their landmark buildings literally towering over the urban landscape.

But the company’s stature isn’t just a question of height. From futuristic urban malls to sedate lakeside villas to sprawling luxury resorts, Prestige’s projects cover literally hundreds of millions of square feet of Indian land – 170 million completed to date with another 170 million underway.

The sweet smell of excess

What’s more, the Prestige name isn’t just aspirational; it’s descriptive. Luxury, exclusivity, and quality are the common denominators of the conglomerate’s twenty distinct brands, which range from real estate to hospitality (hotels and resorts) to interior design to men’s fashion.

Bottom line: it all adds up to more than ~130 billion Rupees ($1.6 billion) in annual sales.

With all these huge numbers you might be tempted to think that the key to Prestige’s success is excess, but that would not be true. In fact, one of the most impressive numbers that mark this company’s remarkable track record of continuous growth and improvement is. . . zero. Yes, you read that right. Zero, as in nothing, and that means everything to them.

Let me explain.

Too much, too fast, but still too slow

So, the more it grew, the more Prestige had to struggle with a host of inefficiencies in their interactions with customers. Important communications such as sending account statements, payment reminders, and other time-sensitive notifications had to be managed manually via a variety of legacy systems including email, snail mail, and so on, usually taking two to three days to complete. For Prestige and its customers, that wasn’t good enough.

The company needed to streamline and speed up the communication cycle and to automate the many repetitive tasks involved in the real-estate sales and rental cycles, eliminating paperwork and reducing the risk of errors associated with manual processes.

Thus, to minimize delayed payments from customers, Prestige Estates automated account statements and due payment notifications, relieving their employees of the burden of having to manage multiple interactions manually.

When nothing is everything

Prestige was already running much of its business operations on SAP S/4HANA ERP platform, so it was only natural for them to turn again to SAP for a solution that could integrate seamlessly with their existing systems. And SAP delivered in the form of SAP BTP (Business Technology Platform), which brings together data and analytics, artificial intelligence, application development, automation, and integration into a single unified environment in the cloud.

The new system, implemented in a matter of months, delivered an immediate return on investment – automating repetitive tasks, improving operational efficiency and compliance – drastically reducing cycle times, and reducing the number of manual communications with customers to… you guessed it, zero!

Thanks to the new Business Technology Platform, customer communication management is entirely handled by Unattended BOT. Customer onboarding and grievance management process for all customers is completely automated through the BTP customer portal. All customer documentation and payment options are now available for Prestige customers online.

The power of zero

Customer interactions that used to take an average of two to three days now take… oh, about five minutes. In business terms, that’s more or less the speed of light. If it’s not exactly zero, it’s pretty darn close.

Last year (FY23) the company saw a year-on-year gross sales increase of 25%, achieving its highest ever Sales figures.

So clearly, the power of zero is real: it frees up time and resources for meaningful, quality interactions that add value for customers. And this, in turn, creates value for Prestige in terms of higher Sales today and higher customer satisfaction and loyalty tomorrow

Excess has been a winning formula for Prestige, but the company understands that even excess has its limits. The company had been, so to speak, saved by zero (with apologies to The Fixx.) And by embracing the power of zero, Prestige is ensuring that its opportunities for growth are virtually limitless.

For their work, the Prestige Group was selected as a winner of the 2023 SAP Innovation Awards in the Transformation Titan category. To get the full details of what they accomplished to earn this prestigious honor, see their Awards pitch deck.

Digital Transformation