The challenge seeker
considers every challenge as an opportunity to bring in innovation and align
the goals of a business with IT. Vinita Gupta traces the career graph
of Ravikiran S Mankikar, DGM (Credit and IT) of The Shamrao Vithal Co-operative
In the co-operative banking sector, usage of IT is not extensive. This is where
men like Ravikiran S Mankikar, DGM (Credit and IT) of The Shamrao Vithal Co-operative
(SVC) Bank make a difference by introducing information technology into a business.
The biggest challenge faced by any CIO is to align technology with business
needs. Mankikar has been successful in this direction since he put in place
a dedicated IT team, consisting of officials handpicked from within the bank.
This initiative was started when SVC bank took the decision to develop in-house
software. The objective behind this move was to reduce dependence on vendors
for servicing and business needs. In 1997, the team developed a roadmap to follow,
and embarked on a journey to prove that self-help is indeed the best help.
This is but an example of the unique initiatives that Mankikar has undertaken.
Join us as we explore the journey of the man, his achievements and what drives
The Quest For Innovation
Mankikars initiation to IT started in the early 1980s
when he joined his family business, a stationery trading company. There he planned
to use software which would help the business grow.
It was during this stint that he got interested in IT and chose it as a career.
He says, I found IT more appealing than business where nothing is innovative.
In business you only buy and sell. In IT, you can be more creative and innovative.
Mankikar has a penchant for innovation and this has helped his initiatives succeed.
In the intensely competitive banking industry, it is necessary that a bank sets
itself apart with capabilities that others lack. A good example of his innovative
initiatives is the Real Time Gross Settlement (RTGS) used by SVC Bank. Mankikar
says that this was first of its kind, since no other co-operative bank has carried
out RTGS on a Straight Through Processing (STP) mode.
Being a cooperative bank, SVC has many senior citizens as
its customers. This age group is usually wary of using ATMs due to security
issues and will make excuses such as forgot pincode to avoid using
them. SVC Bank came up with an innovative idea to allay such fears. We
gave them an ATM card and convinced them that the card is a substitute to the
token which is taken to the cashier to withdraw cash. All that is required is
to insert the card in the ATM machine to withdraw money in a simple and efficient
manner. We addressed their fear of using ATMs. In this way we helped senior
citizens and our ATM usage increased as well, says Mankikar.
Grooming Self For IT
He completed his graduation in commerce from Dahanukar College,
Mumbai. This was followed by courses like Diploma in System Analysis, BS7799
Lead Auditor, CISA (Certified Information Systems Auditor), QMS Lead Auditor
training, and an IS security course from the Centre for IS and Assurance Technologies
(CISAT). This is why Mankikar says that the first 10 years after his graduation
until the first job was the period when he acquired new skills. These were the
years that provided him with the knowledge base to become a CIO well-versed
with all things technology.
|Date of Birth:
September 4, 1960
||A supportive wife and a 17-year
||Reading thrillers and listening
to Indian classical music
||The World is Flat by Thomas L Friedman
||Jeffrey Archer and Robert Heinlein
||Prefers places that soothe the
nerves—hill stations and seashores.
||Bring co-operative banks on par
with private banks.
||Receiving The CTO of the year 2006
|A farmhouse near Mumbai
The Initial Days
According to Mankikar, systems of yesteryears were different from what they
are now. Todays systems are more plug-and-play in nature. In the 1980s,
programming was more of logic building as in the case of COBOL programs.
You had to go through logical processes like understanding how things
work. Then you try to build your software over that. So you have to think level
one and evolve in terms of knowledge of systems, says Mankikar. He further
adds that though the process may appear uncomplicated, these were the initial
steps to developing a process of logical thinking.
Mankikar has been working in the IT field for the last 15 years. 1991 marked
the start of his career when he joined the Janakalyan Sahakari Bank (Janakalyan)
as Head of IT. After a seven-year stint with the bank, he switched to IndusInd
Bank for three years. Mankikar has been with SVC Bank for the past three-and-a-half
The SVC Experience
Mankikar says that when he joined SVC Bank, many things had to be considered.
The background and customer base of banks that he had earlier worked with differed
from SVCs. So understanding customer needs and staff mentality was crucial.
Mankikar found the staff of SVC Bank to be more sophisticated, educated and
receptive compared to Janakalyan Banks staff. In SVC, the CIO has
to make technology more in tune with the organisational culture. What I have
achieved in SVC Bank, I would have not achieved in Jankalyan Bank or vice-versa,
However, he is of the opinion that working in Janakalyan Bank made him realise
how technology can help expand a business. Whatever I have learned there
has helped me become more innovative, Mankikar explains.
|Things were simpler, easier to manage,
and not much of a headache. Now you have to keep pace with change.
Learn, learn, and learn some more by understanding
new techniques and trends. It is important to understand what your competitors
do so that you put in the technology before they do.
You must focus on the company's core strength. Put yourself
in the user's shoes and experience things from that perspective. Consider
their unique needs and design software accordingly.
Be informed about new technologies. He explains this
by giving an example: A big polar bear was chasing two men. The first
man was running faster than the second. So the second man asked him, "Why
are you running so fast, the bear is far behind." So the first man
replied, "I am not trying to outrun the bear. I am trying to outrun
Mankikar is a team builder. He feels that the team leader must groom and develop
The team leader should help, train, and educate his team. He inculcates these
values in his work and wants his team to grow with him. For instance, his secretary
was a full-fledged banker. According to Mankikar, when she joined the IT department,
she did not like it initially, but today, she is the most competent person in
his department. She can now run the IT department on her own.
Mankikar feels that there is a need to do lot more in the co-operative banking
sector. He likes challenges and hence he will do his best to bring co-operative
banks at par with private ones.
Private banks have capital, while public banks have a vast network. Co-operative
banks are small and have limited resources which is where the challenge comes
Mankikar wants to take SVC bank forward. He says, There are many more
things to do. If you take the technology and changes that are happening, you
will find that this is only the tip of the iceberg and there is long way to