IT Departments: Plan for Millennials

Carl Weinschenk
Slide Show

The CIO-Millennial Divide: Struggling to Keep Up with Younger Workers' Tech Support Expectations

IT departments and C-level executives by now understand that advanced mobility in general and bring your own device (BYOD) in particular are part of the permanent corporate landscape. Indeed, the entry of Millennials into the work force will make this multitasking, highly mobile approach even more engrained.

For that reason, it makes sense for planners to understand precisely who is using what device. It is possible to look at this at two levels: from the vantage point of what form factor (type of device) and which specific vendor's equipment is being chosen within each category. In short, understanding as deeply as possible what is happening will increase the odds that users will be productive, security will be tight and costs will be kept as low as possible.

A couple of important pieces of research along those lines were recently released. TechCrunch reports that Nielsen has published intelligence on smartphone usage. The firm validated what most people would guess: Among folks not making less than $15,000 annually, younger users are more likely to have a smartphone. Indeed, 56 percent of 18- to-24-year-olds in this age bracket have such a device. The smartphone penetration percentage decreases as the age group rises across income groups. The takeaway that young people are married to smartphones is intuitive - and important.

Along the same lines, the NPD Group released research on iPad ownership. Again, it's no surprise that the ownership skewed to a higher income. The NPD Group's "Tablet Adoption and Insights Report" found that "more than 40 percent of iPad owners have a household income of $100,000 or more, compared to 26 percent of non-iPad owners."

While the iPad users eat steak for dinner every night, the overall tablet demographic is shifting, the eWeek report on the research suggests:

The survey indicated more recent tablet owners make less money and are younger than the early adopters, with buyers at the end of 2011 being 50 percent more likely to have an income under $45 thousand, and 33 percent more likely to be under 34 years of age.

The differences in how Millennials deal with communications can be striking. In an article at Search Engine Journal, Michelle Stinson Ross related an anecdote told to her by Sam Fiorella, the CEO of Sensei Marketing. Essentially, a group of baby boomers and a group of Millennials were separated at a session. They were allowed to take notes and/or use any device they wanted as the presenter spoke. They were quizzed after a presentation:

While he talked the boomers dutifully took notes and made a great deal of eye contact. The millennials hardly looked up from their devices, giving Fiorella little indication that they were really paying any attention to what he had to say. At the end of the session, he quizzed the group. Believe it or not, the millennials retained and comprehended 20% MORE information than their attentive boomer counterparts. Not only had they been paying attention, but they were sharing what they were learning in real time.

The bottom line is that the new generation of employees is fundamentally wired differently than prior generations. This is something that must be acknowledged, and planned for, by the folks who manage their communications tools.

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Add Comment      Leave a comment on this blog post
Feb 23, 2012 3:07 PM Spencer Parkinson Spencer Parkinson  says:

Very interesting post, Carl! The company I work for, Symantec, just released the findings of our 2012 State of Mobility Survey (http://bit.ly/A1U7CO). One of the key findings is that enterprise mobility has reached a tipping point. For example, 59 percent of the organizations we surveyed are now making line-of-business apps available to employees on mobile devices and 71 percent are even considering the creation of their own corporate app store. I don't doubt that the millennial generation's affinity for technology, especially mobile tech, is one of the catalysts behind this mobile movement.

Spencer Parkinson



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