We've all heard and possibly used the old adage "If it ain't broke, don't fix it", and a lot of the time it's worth sticking to. For example, I've been thinking of fitting new wheels on my car but, as my wife is at pains to point out, new wheels won't make the car run any better.

In business, however, this kind of pragmatism doesn't always pay off.

For instance, time was when all a company needed was a quill pen and the Penny post to stay in touch, but then along came the typewriter, telegraphy and the telephone. Later on anyone who wanted to stay  ahead had to get a fax machine. Then email took a hold, to be quickly followed by IP telephony, voice and video conferencing and, latterly, social networking and collaboration.

At each and every point along that timeline business managers have probably sat back and said: "That's it, we've all the tools we need, let's just get on and use them". Others have thought otherwise, adopted the new technologies and gained a competitive edge as a result.

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It's not as if we're not given plenty of opportunity to take new communication advances on-board. Moreover adopting new technologies  doesn't, necessarily, involve throwing out the baby with the bath water. Vendors are queuing up to integrate what customers already have with the latest and greatest the industry has to offer. To get VoIP working with the PSTN, for example, hook smartphones into the company PBX, facilitate collaboration with simple and affordable video and application sharing and so on.

It's all there for the taking and companies that think sticking with what they've got is good enough will quickly find that's not the case. While competitors are enabling customers, employees and partners to share knowledge and ideas in an efficient and effective manner, they'll be sitting on ever-shrinking profits looking at a fax machine that never rings. 

This article is written by Alan Stevens and sponsored by Avaya. The opinions reflected in this piece are solely those of Alan Stevens and may not reflect those of Avaya management