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What is a turf war? Turf is basically an area or sector that is assigned to you for a particular task or activity. To make it a turf it is also presumed that the organization would have been controlling it for long duration of time, an is sufficiently known in the ecosystem. It also correlates to organizations with a presumed turf. When some new player and organization shows its inclination or makes overtures to get into the real or presumed turf or in the market share, as a safety / survival mechanism, the settled organizations, react and even retaliate vehemently.

They start smelling an existential crisis brewing up and they cannot allow it to happen. Government organizations have been famous for protecting their turfs even at the expense of greater good, healthy competition, infusion of new blood, creativity, innovation or even cut cutting. If the turf is eaten away nothing remains relevant who have made their life, career, name and fame out of it. This same tendency has extended to tech organizations within the government fold, which by now have a very well laid consolidated territory or turf and main task of the organization is not to allow any intrusion of any kind.

If perforce some entry needs to be made because of urgency or completely changed tech landscape, go ahead, procurement and payment should happen to them. Controlling access to technology in way has become the battle cry of people engaged in the turf war. When the procuring or the processing entity has no resources to get in the best technology nor is the inclination, the how far can we go? What they declare as technology, will the technology which can procured, and used to whatever results is nobody’s concern. The insularity which it provides goes against the very tenets of tech existence we live by on a regular basis and that is the case for a very long time now.

When insularity stretches to immunity the game is up. In simple language it means that these government tech organizations develop the capability of bringing in outdated technology or force you to use outdated technology which might be decades old and running in a truncated manner and not at all fit for the purpose. This thought process extends the famed academic institutions, which support the turf savvy organizations as they also have to protect their turf. They develop software which are in tune with times, both by way of utility and technology and the organizations live with a debilitated existence. In the process an ecosystem is thus created just to support, sustain and consolidate the turf, that they deal in technology is only incidental.

Sanjay Sahay

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