Since the dawn of the information age, more and more commonly used tools have been rendered obsolete as rapid innovations have created technologies that do their job faster, more accurately, and at a lower cost.
But unlike every old technology replaced by a superior digital version, some tools rendered out of date have ironically been resurrected by the internet. Here are some business tools (tools that most people assume have gone the way of the dodo)-that still exist thanks to the internet.
Ask someone born in the 1990s or the 2000s what a fax machine is, and they’ll likely not even know what it is or how it works. Once the internet became ubiquitous, transferring documents electronically via email replaced faxing as the dominant way business transported information. However, there are a lot of older businesses that still rely on faxing documents. To satisfy this diminished but still active user base, software and services that allow people without fax machines to fax documents have sprung up, including Faxage. As long as there is still a small user base who require documents sent by fax, the fax machine is here to stay.
Direct Mail Advertising
Prior to email, businesses promoted themselves using direct mail advertising. A costly process, marketers would send thousands, even millions of ads through the mail to pitch their products and services.
While the physical direct mail process is long gone, it lives on through email market services such as MailChimp, which help businesses large and small market their products and services in a more efficient and cost-effective way. The high marketing costs of direct mail were once a barrier to entry for many businesses, but now with low cost mass email services, marketing a business has never been easier.
Back in the day, if you ran a place with a lot of individual rooms (such as a hotel or hospital), you needed dedicated switchboard operators to connect guest’s phone calls. The expensive equipment and staffing is long gone, but the service lives on as PBX software. PBX software allows a business to have multiple phones without needing a switchboard or a switchboard operator to direct phone calls.
The Rolodex may have been popular with hotshot salesmen back in the 1980s, but today the only people who have them are probably ironic hipsters. But despite this technology going away, the use it provides (storing information on business contacts) is more important than ever. Address books in business email accounts and cell phone contact lists have become the digital Rolodex, allowing business people to store important contact information.
The time clock used to be a common site in businesses, keeping track how many hours employees worked. But as more and more people began teleworking, the time clock became an increasingly outdated technology. But businesses still need to track employee’s time: online time tracking software such as Timesheets.com has become the time clock of the 21st century, allowing companies to monitor and track employee’s time.
While technology comes and goes, what business needs to survive and thrive never changes. As progress marches forward, faster, cheaper, and more efficient means of doing business will continue to spring up.