Generation Y will bring their own technology to work

19 Nov 2008

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Generation Y or that generation of 14 to 27 year-olds called the ‘Millennials’ will prefer to bring their own technology into the workplace, said Accenture, creating a challenge for CIOs intent on containing potential data leaks.

A study into the next generation of workers by Accenture has found that the Millennial generation of students and employees are technologically adept, clever and resourceful.

As the Millennials establish themselves in the workplace, they expect to use their own technology and mobile devices for work and to bypass conventional enterprise technology tools, including email.

In addition, Millennials are increasingly choosing their place of employment based on how accommodating companies are to their technology preferences.

The study found that Millennials see technology as a tool for collaboration, so they spend less time on traditional forms of communication like email and more on applications such as instant messenger (IM) which contravene technology policies in many companies.

There is a lesson here for employers and CIOs who will have to prepare for the full impact of Generation Y. Realising and accommodating that generation will inevitably strain company resources, technology usage policies and talent management and retention.

The survey found Millennials want to use their own technology rather than that supplied by employers. 20pc of Millennials said technology supplied by their employers did not meet their expectations.

Millennials expect technology to be state-of-the-art, but don’t seek corporate approval for technology use – indeed, they often violate policies. 21pc use instant messaging IM applications, 23pc use social networking sites and more than 30pc use their own mobile technologies.

Accenture said employers will have to look at providing education, advanced technology usage policies and alternative communication channels for both employees and customers.

Email is already becoming an outdated form of communication. Millennials prefer IM, texting and social networking applications.  Privacy is a lesser concern for Millennials than previous generations. A significant amount openly post about themselves, their lives and even their personal details online.

A separate survey by Microsoft into banking and technology use by Millennials found that banks will need to step up their efforts to include instant messaging, text messaging and other channels to capture their attention.

Some 74pc of Millennials go online to check their account balances, while 70pc do so to pay bills. However, when it comes to opening an account or applying a loan, 52pc prefer to do so in person.

Of those who prefer online as a primary channel, 15pc prefer talking to customer service reps via IM.

“In this difficult economic time, banks are understandably eager to attract and retain new customers, particularly the estimated 80 million tech-savvy Millennials who have entered or are soon to enter the workforce,” said Rich Feldmann, US banking industry solutions director at Microsoft.

This survey shows banks need to consider a wide variety of channels to reach these tech-savvy Millennial consumers, and ultimately drive seamless integration across the web, branches and phone.”

Microsoft’s survey found Millennials frequent social networking sites (87pc), conduct web-based search (92pc), access web-based email (88pc), conduct research using online wikis (59pc), and post to personal blogs (28pc) or their own websites (26pc).

“Millennials have embraced digital technology early in their lives, and thus their technological expectations in interacting with service providers are high,” said James Van Dyke, president of Javelin Strategy & Research and an expert on the banking industry.

“Banks need to be very conscious of this when attracting or retaining Millennials as customers, as they require more tech-forward, easy-to-use and interactive interfaces across channels,” Van Dyke said.

By John Kennedy

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Editor John Kennedy is an award-winning technology journalist.

editorial@siliconrepublic.com