Belief systems are very powerful. Robert Garigue, one of my early Data Governance mentors, liked to say that IT applications are belief systems and the more I work in Data Governance the more I realize that every human construct, model, or framework is a belief system with its own ego and rigidity that blinds adherents to alternatives that could be more efficient.
Two examples: one political, the other organizational.
Vermont is about to embark on a single-payer healthcare model as the governor will soon sign a bill that will make that small state the first in the nation with a European health insurance model. In the national healthcare debate, the idea of a single payer systems was vilified by conservative Republicans who charged it would yield socialized medicine with rationed care, long wait lines, and people dying before treatment arrived. Many of the same Republicans are warning that Vermont will suffer a similar fate because their expectations of healthcare are intrinsically linked to their ideology and their use of selective experience in Canada and the UK.
Two points on this. Single payer eliminates administrative redundancy, which saves money and provides more efficient insurance coverage. That's the principal reason for adopting this model. Efficient health care is another matter. You can have an efficient single payment insurance model and a free-market provider model that provides efficient care and you can also have free market models that provide inefficient undesireable outcomes. Models themselves create rigid boundaries that, in their absolute adherence, distort desired outcomes around inefficient incentive models. That is, no belief system is perfect and has a right to unbridled adoption. Conservatives today like to argue that the free market is a natural and organic model of human activity and regulation creates unnatural distortions. But in markets, all things are never equal and information asymmetries produce inefficient outcomes for many market participants. Regulation evens the playing field, even with those regulations have socialistic aspects. The same is true for liberals in Europe who insist that social models produce more egalitarian outcomes than capitalism. Not always...
The second example is from Denmark, where the health care system has been single payer for decades. Danes pay for healthcare through taxes and never pay for treatment at the doctor or hospital. This creates an efficient billing system, but unfortunately the uniform fee structure did not create incentives for superior service. Waiting lines were very long for even acute conditions. A friend had gaulstones in 1996 and was told, despite her acute pain, that her condition was not urgent and she had to wait some 12 weeks for an operation slot. She went to her doctor ever day to complain until he finally relented and gave her an operation date a week later. But the long waits were not because the system was single payer. They were due to a lack of incentives and penalties to induce doctors to work harder and provide better treatment. This was addressed in the early 2000's when the Danish parliament passed legislation that allowed any Dane waiting longer than three weeks for treatment at a public hospital to seek care at one of Denmark's many private hospitals with expenses covered by the public hospital who was unable to provide the care. Its a brilliant piece of free market regulation added to "socialized medicine," that created incentives to improve care in public hospitals.
The point here is that no belief system can handle every exingency. Human beings respond to many kinds of incentives and penalties, and large complex governance systems need Dynamic Steering to modulate the incentive structure to provide the most efficient services.
I was on the phone with a client seeking Data governance advice recently and she asked, "Many in the Data Governance Industry advise on having both technical and business data stewards who look after both policy and compliance. What is your view? Should these people reside in the business or in IT? What will happen to us if we don't follow the industry norm."
I told them, "don't follow the lemmings..." Most people "in the Industry" are consultants who have never governed their own tongue let alone a real company. They fly in and perform a powerpoint, run a workshop, and sell their latest wisdom as gospel, a framework or a model. They have a huge amount of ego invested in whatever model they are selling because it is their claim to fame. But models and frameworks don't work. They are too rigid, belief systems with believers held back by best practices and use cases summarized to the point of easy communication and factual irrelevance. Best practices are rarely transferable from one institution to another. They neglect all the politics, sponsorship, favoritism, self-doubt, and dunb-luck involved in getting anything accomplished. Every company is unique because companies are made up of people with unique personalities and belief systems.
Be dynamic. Don't follow models rigidly. Adapt to circumstances. If you have great data stewards who work well in the business units, wonderful. If you have others that are more technical and can't function at that level, no problem. Go with what you can get done and don't worry about model orthodoxy.
Ideology and belief systems, incentives and penalties, work best when varied. Focus on the business outcomes you want to achieve - like efficient payment processing AND efficient care provisioning - and experiment with different tools to achieve those outcomes. Get fixated on following one model and you will soon find yourself in a long line of Lemmings running off a cliff.