5 signs your company is in the dark agesOne of our vendors recently asked us to fax a form to them to begin their SAP Training … really, a fax? So I started thinking, what are the signs that a company has not kept up with times and is stuck in the dark ages?

If you are guilty of any of these fives things, it’s time to move forward. Immediately. It’s not just about productivity, it’s about keeping your pulse on how people do business and what is important to them. Keep your particular customer base in mind, but these five things are most likely holding you back.


You still use a fax machine.

Our company does not own a fax machine and I have not sent a fax in over a decade. If you are not aware that fax machines have been replaced with emails, you are a dinosaur headed for extinction. Even when signatures are required, the businessperson of today expects things to be signed, scanned, and emailed. You shouldn’t expect clients, customers, or vendors to have fax machines.


You only communicate by phone.

If you sell anything to millennials, don’t ask them to call your customer service phone number … that’s not how they communicate. Reconsider your ‘social media seems like a silly fad’ attitude and embrace the new ways your customers want to communicate with you and each other. Yes, it’s good to have the option to call. But if you’re not transitioning to live chat and social media correspondence, you’ll soon lose any customer base below the age of 40. (If I lost you at “live chat,” it’s time to hire a consultant.).


You still print everything.

Seriously? This is my planet too, so learn how to archive electronic documents, sign PDFs online, and stop killing our trees. With a few very rare exceptions, you don’t need a hard copy. The risk here is not just to the planet, it’s to your ability to hire and retain quality employees. Now and for at least the last 10 years, college graduates are looking for companies with good environmental practices. You don’t need to bring 15 printed copies to the meeting, trust me.


You’re still using snail mail to do business.

When a customer asked us to snail mail a paper copy of our invoice half-way around the globe, we refused for oh-so-many reasons, ultimately walking away from the small deal. Snail mail might be even more obsolete than a fax machine and does not gel with our approach to protecting the planet. Stand up for what just makes sense and stop mailing paper.


You still need “face time”. 

Gone are the days when working 15 hours a day was a solid measure of success. If you allow your employees to utilize flexible scheduling options, you will likely see more productivity than if you encourage the traditional “first one in, last to go home” paradigm. Remember that sometimes a task takes longer because someone refuses to consider easier options. The person staying late every day may need some help with new approaches to work smarter rather than applause for burning the midnight oil.


It happens to all of us, we find ourselves holding onto a tradition even though it’s not logical. We find comfort in doing things “the way we’ve always done them.” When it comes to your business, it’s important to fight this urge and push forward. The longer you hold on, the more behind you’re getting.

I'm sure you, too, have a few things in mind when it comes to antiquated business practices. Please share them below!

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Thomas Michael has been involved in SAP consulting and development since 1993. As the CEO of the Michael Management Corporation he speaks and writes widely about SAP training and implementation issues. Tom has authored numerous books, articles and white papers covering a variety of topics. He is a regular speaker at national SAP conferences and other venues.
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