If It Isn't Broke...

    As I was walking out of my front door this morning (on the way to an eye exam of all places), I tripped over something that was left on my front porch.  After confirming that only my pride was hurt in the graceless tumble, I turned to see what or who was trying to kill me.  There sat on my doorstep an object from the past.  It wasn’t a dinosaur bone or a leather football helmet, but it might as well have been.  It was a telephone book.

    I pondered this for a moment and tried to remember when I had last used a paper phone book.  I think it was 1997.  I had just arrived at my new apartment in California only to discover that the truck carrying all of my belongings was “delayed.”  I needed a mattress and a pizza stat.  In a few days, the truck arrived, bringing with it my computer.  I plugged it into the phone jack, dialed up AOL, put the phone book in the drawer, and that was that.

    There is nothing wrong with the phone book per se, it contains pertinent information for local homes and businesses in a very organized, easy to use format.  For decades millions of Americans have used it to do everything from schedule an oil change to get a haircut.  So, why haven’t I used one in more than 10 years?  Because of the Internet, of course.  Now, not only can I find a local salon for that haircut with just a few keystrokes, but I can find out exactly how far it is from my house, get specific driving directions, find out details such as pricing or any special offers and perhaps even schedule the appointment online.  I can also find out what other customers have to say about the establishment.  (Trust me, if the last person to get her hair done at ACME Salon ran crying all the way to Yelp, I want to know about it.)

    Is the phone book broke?  Nope.  It continues to perform as expected.  There is simply a much better option.  Sometimes when I talk to people about their legacy PBX phone systems they reply that their old system is working fine, so why consider replacing it?  Well,  just like the Internet is miles ahead of the phone book in providing up to the second, detailed and useful information, new technologies for business phone systems have leapfrogged over what was available before.

    So, if you haven’t pondered upgrading your business phone system since the last time you picked up the yellow pages, you might want to give it some thought.  As for me, I scooped up the phone book and dropped it in the recycling bin on my way to the car.