The Millennial Generation–that’s folks between the ages of 18 and 34–is having a marked impact on business technology.
Born into the age of the PC and the infancy of the Internet, this demographic is more technologically proficient and demanding of apps, devices and IT services than any generation before it. In the past, progressive IT organizations would have considered this group one to accommodate, making their companies appealing to college recruits and new hires.
Now, however, the Millennial Generation is fully mainstream and has ever-increasing influence in driving IT strategy. Millennials are now partners at large firms, doctors that have never used paper charts and executives who make purchase decisions. Now, more than ever, it’s important to take Millennials’ influence into focus when making IT decisions for a company.
The IT strategies to consider that will prioritize and accommodate the needs and demands of Millennials include:
BYOD (Bring You Own Device). Originally championed by Citrix and now a part of every IT organization. Don’t even think a Millennial worker will be satisfied with a clunky locked-down laptop or smartphone on which they can’t install their own apps. They want to use their own devices in their own way including their personal apps.
Now, allowing employees to use their own devices doesn’t mean anything goes and that you have no control. But it is possible for IT to provide Virtual Desktops like XenDesktop for safe access from personal PCs, MACs and tablets.
For Smartphones, Mobile Application Management ( MAM ) like XenMobile can manage only the company apps and data on personal smartphones. So if a device is lost or an employee leaves, only the company data can be wiped and not the personal photos etc.
Work from Anywhere. Millennials want the option to work from anywhere, whether that is the coffee shop, home, on a trip, or anyplace else. This does not necessarily mean you’ll have a dedicated remote workforce, but providing flexible work schedules including working outside the office will help your employees achieve the work/life balance for which they’re looking and also make sure the work you need to have done actually gets done.
Again, the right IT tools need to be provided, so all the required apps and data are available, but aren’t compromised by data loss.
User Experience. Take what you’re given and live with it is no longer an acceptable IT mandate to employees. Millennials have a low tolerance for bad user experience.
If IT only provides apps and services that meet the security requirements, but that ignore user experience, chances are strong Millennials will find a way to work around them, regardless of policy. This is also known as “Shadow IT.” A classic example is employees using personal Dropbox accounts for saving and sharing company documents.
Alternatively, a service like Citrix Sharefile can provide employees the functionality and user experience they want, yet allow IT to keep the control they need to protect their company’s intellectual property.
Workplace of the Future. A drab office with a sea of cubicles is not a compelling environment for Millennials (or anyone else, for that matter). Progressive organizations are building new digital workplaces that have lots of collaboration spaces and architectural personality. They are also using beacons and IoT to make the office smart and more productive.
When combined with Work from Anywhere capabilities and unassigned offices & cubicles, many organizations are saving millions in real estate and overhead costs by increasing occupancy and density per square foot. Conventionally shrinking space can be a turn off, but a new cool office can make it fun to come to the office and help recruit and maintain the best talent.
Millennials. They’re not just those kids glued to their iPhones and taking selfies anymore. They are the future of our economy, the future of our workplace, and they are here to stay.