The generation Y revolution: new attitudes, new expectations

The age of the multi-device, always-connected workplace is upon us, and many changes are driven by the needs and expectations of the workforce itself. As the demographics of organisations shift, the challenge is now on for CIOs to prepare for the needs of the new generation of workers as they comprise the majority of the workforce. This evolution looks set to have a significant impact on the way we interact with the devices, applications and systems that we use and how they are developed, designed and supported. 

We are now entering the third generation of IT users. CIOs must now focus more on tasks, rather than processes, and they must address the multi-device world.

Generation Y brings new expectations; they have honed their skills on fast-moving games and through multi-channel media consumption. They have a shorter attention span and are used to multi-tasking and flipping between screens. Mobility is also a pre-requisite, and accessing applications via different devices is fundamental to the way they work. 

If they are to compete in a meaningful way and attract the best talent, organisations must align the way this generation thinks and behaves with the tools they operate in the workplace. If these tools are not designed for the people who are using them, processes will slow down and errors will increase, and this could ultimately affect customer interactions and results.

In order to adapt to these changes, enterprises must move away from the process-centric approach that has typified application design, to one that is more intuitive and task-oriented. This will mean mashing up data from multiple applications, processes and other sources so the relevant information can be presented at the click of a button, rather than forcing users to move from one screen to another. 

Take, for example, processing leads in a CRM application. In the past, a user had to manually create a contact record in the CRM, and associate this with an account, with the relevant information. This would then have to be assigned to the appropriate person. Today’s users would expect a single form in which all information could be input and from which it was allocated to the appropriate part of the CRM.

The shift is happening now and we ignore it at our peril. Organisations need to think about how to respond to these changes and adapt to the changing working practices and behaviours of their workforce if they are to compete in this new world.

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