Can I Have a BlackBerry, Dad, Pleeeeeeaase?

Ann All

Does father know best? Maybe not when it comes to technology choices for family-owned businesses, according to a recent Microsoft survey.


The survey of 250-plus multigenerational SMBs in the U.S. spotlighted some striking differences in how older and younger family members feel about the role technology plays for their companies.


While older folks were largely satisfied with the status quo of Internet access and desktop PCs, a technology combo found at more than three-quarters of the SMBs surveyed, many of the young whippersnappers feel their companies risk losing a competitive edge by not investing in more advanced technology, like wireless devices. Seven in 10 of the respondents said younger folks showed more interest in tech than their elders.


These results mirror a broader trend in businesses of all sizes noted by Capgemini, in which employees older than 45 tend to be far less interested in emerging technologies than their younger counterparts. Capgemini says that companies that remain open to new technologies are more likely to be successful than their more traditional peers.


Yet younger family members should remember that mommy or daddy isn't being unreasonable if they'd like to see a business case for that BlackBerry.


As one of the SMB owners who participated in the Microsoft survey said:

"The challenge to my son, who always thinks we need the latest gadget, is to prove to me that the investment in technology will help the business grow. If there is a positive return on our investment, I'll listen."

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