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Issue of February 2006 

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If you love your work, you don’t work for a single day

S B Patankar, Chief Technology Advisor of the Bombay Stock Exchange, moved the trading process at BSE from the open outcry system to one that uses advanced technology. Sneha Khanna profiles this true Mumbaika

Being a true learner at heart to being a true team leader is in the basic nature of S B Patankar. He is the man behind the current face of BSE’s IT infrastructure where uncountable transactions takes place in a day, and to manage all these is not an easy task.

Patankar is a firm believer in the fact that if you love what you do you will never have a single working day in life. According to him, one can be physically tired but not mentally if one truly enjoys his job. He is also a hard core believer that technology can change the way people live their lives. He believes that technology can truly play a significant role in making things easier and simpler for people.

Mumbai has always been the home for Patankar right from childhood. Patankar believes that from it was his shift from the earlier house in the Girgaum chawls to the Santacruz cosmopolitan area that brought about a change in his life. According to him, this shift gave him tremendous exposure and lessons in life that helped him later on.


The B.E (Electronics) from VJTI, Mumbai, counts the greatest guiding forces in his life as his father’s dedication in life and his teachers. According to Patankar, this has made the greatest impact on him as a human being and as professional.

Patankar firmly believes that his father’s attitude towards work and the personal attention from all his teachers at school have been the biggest moulding factors in his life. Patankar truly believes in the Mahabharata story of Arjun and the fish which shows that a person with a vision and a focussed approach in life can achieve anything he wants.

Secret passion: Loves watching TV
Currently watching: Monk, Kasautii Zindagi Kay
Currently reading: The World is Flat by T L Friedman
Passion: Being with nature
Fond dream: To give back to society
Secret name: Being able to fix everything, called ‘Mr Fix-it’ by friends
plans :
What is retirement?
Dream Car: BMW


Being an engineer came naturally to Patankar. Right from repairing taps in his house to handling supercomputers, technology always interested him. It was this inclination, and his father’s advice, that made Patankar opt for engineering. This is why he says that he cannot recollect being below first division or missing out on a class in his entire life.

Patankar started his career with IBM in 1974. He feels that he gained the most valuable career lessons of his life there. He says that working three years at IBM was equivalent to ten elsewhere. He cherishes IBM’s professional and focused approach towards issues and its insistence on world class quality. Being an undisputed international leader, it made its employees believe that there is always a better way of doing things. Patankar says that during this tenure as a customer engineer at IBM, he always got appreciated by his customers, due to his penchant for doing his work perfectly.

After his stint in Big Blue, Patankar joined CMC in 1977 where he worked for 19 years and got to grips with IT. Handling areas like hardware maintenance, inventory control, and system integration made him a specialist very soon.

One of the major projects that Patankar worked on during this stint was BOLT (Bombay Online Trading System) where he was the project manager and had to take care of all aspects of BSE’s functioning. He had to take care of critical applications where 99.99 percent uptime, high reliability, and scalability were required. He was responsible for successfully converting the open outcry system into a fully automated system.

However, Patankar feels that the biggest challenge was that of educating traditional brokers who had no prior knowledge of computers. After a series of exhaustive training and mock trading sessions, the brokers were ready to take on their new role.

Patankar successfully completed this challenging project within two years. Some of the other projects that he worked upon in CMC were the Online Railway Reservation Expansion Plan, Nagpur-Durg Railway SCADA, and Xth Mediterranean Games, Syria, 1987. The Mediterranean Games project was an exciting project where there was no chance of an error as India’s image was at stake.


After successfully completing this project, Patankar was appointed as Director, Information Technology at BSE where he has worked on many major projects like the Badla project, BSE Surveillance project, BSE Webex (Internet based trading system), and the online trading auction.

Today, Patankar is happy to see the BSE stock market, where the earlier T+21 day settlement system has now been replaced by a T+2 system. Today, if a person sells a share, he will get his money on the third day after the transaction as compared to the earlier timeframe of almost three weeks. This would not have been possible without seamless integration of all the systems which allows for an automated, rapid flow of data.

Currently, Patankar is working on a revamp of the BSE Webex system.

Patankar feels that in today’s dynamic and fast changing world the responsibility of a CIO has changed from just being an EDP manager who handles the systems to being a person who must have full knowledge of business and IT. This is crucial to ensure that he can connect business processes and IT’s role in it.

Rather than being a technical person, the CIO should be able to see the larger picture. This is essential since it is the use of technology that makes a successful business. If a CIO is able to achieve this, he has done justice to his role.


Patankar hates hypocrites as well as cunning, and cheating people. Honesty is something that has always melted him and it is this quality of being able to judge people that have made him a natural team leader.

He believes that being able to judge people gave him the knowledge of what can be assigned to which person in the organisation. Patankar is a truly believer in giving a total support system to team members and being there in the times when they need him.


Patankar truly believes in the fact that IT can change the way people live their lives. Apart from his role in BSE, he is also a member of the board of directors at Central Depository Services Limited (CDSL). CDSL plays a significant role in helping convert the physical form of shares into electronic form. He considers himself a change agent who uses IT to change the way people live and make things easier for people.

Patankar believes that there is no such thing called retirement from work and wants to continue working even after his retirement. He firmly believes that India has a tremendous potential which is not tapped due to reasons like corruption and will like to contribute to the society in which ever way possible.

Patankar truly believes that it is the support from his family, father and teachers that has helped him to be truly successful in all aspects in his life. Blessed with two daughters, Patankar is a content man in life.

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Indian Express - Business Publications Division

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