I had an appointment this morning that I needed directions for. Normally, I’d use my car’s built-in GPS to navigate. Today I used the GPS and navigation on my smart phone, however – and it was a radically better experience.

As I drove I realized that I’d just paid $99 to update the maps for the car’s  navigation system. I also needed to schedule a service appointment to have the dealership update the map software, which will be another $100 or so.

I’ve been doing this for the past four years, meaning I’ve spent about $800 keeping my car navigation system up-to-date. I could have bought a new phone every year for that amount. Google keeps the navigation system on the phone updated for free. The phone navigation system is considerably better, integrates with my calendar, and is easier to use.

I won’t be shelling out $200 to update the car navigation system again. I’ve realized that my way of thinking about the built-in navigation system was blinding me to the idea that I had a better, cheaper navigation system that I ought to be using instead.

We often find our clients and potential clients in the same bind. They’ve used a particular technology or approach to technology for awhile, and it blinds them to the idea that there may be a less expensive, better experience available to them that they aren’t taking advantage of. Surprisingly, this may even be a technology they already own but was never implemented or they were never made familiar with.

This doesn’t mean always leaping to the newest, most hyped thing. However, it may pay to take the time to regularly ask the question “why are we doing this that way?”  Look around to see if you’re paying more than you should to continue using a technology through inertia.  You may already have a better alternative in hand.