In general, integrated systems are more powerful than non-integrated systems. But integration power comes with a trade-off: complexity. Some complexity is good — the kind which creates adaptability. Most complexity makes it difficult to adapt and change to match different environments.
Complexity makes it harder for organizations to be productive, just as wind resistance makes it harder for a bicyclist to go faster. In general, traveling 5 mph faster on a bicycle on level ground requires 2x the effort:
It takes 128 times the effort to travel at 40 mph than at 5 mph. (The reality is more complex, but you can see why world-class cyclists pay so much attention to wind-resistance.)
Your organization has some integrated systems and probably wants better integrated systems – the benefits are enormous! Therefore leaders must pay close attention to “complexity creep” – the tendency of systems to become more complicated than useful. No one intentionally says, “I want our group to work 64x or 128x harder to go incrementally faster!” But the sum of our good intentions and sincere efforts often takes us there without conscious direction.
You can have the difficult discussions about what to change and what to eliminate, but only after someone identifies the problems. Everyone is better off when the problems are identified earlier than later!