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

    Bomgar, a worldwide leader in secure, appliance-based remote support solutions, in conjunction with GigaOM Pro, recently released new research concerning the newest generation of workers known as the Millennials, and their expectations for IT support. Born in the 1980s and ’90s, Millennials have grown up in an instantaneous world with ever-present mobile phones, ubiquitous online access and a constant connection to friends and family via social channels.

    Perceived by some to be a coddled generation, Millennials are now bringing those same instantaneous, always-on expectations into the workforce, challenging IT support organizations. But the research indicates that many Millennials also prefer lower-cost support channels and possess a desire to solve their own technology issues, creating opportunities for IT departments to improve efficiency and cut costs while increasing Millennials’ satisfaction.

    The research, conducted by Isurus Market Research & Consulting, is outlined in a two-part report series written by GigaOM Pro and underwritten by Bomgar. In the first report, “Millennials in the enterprise: strategies for supporting the new digital workforce,” 400 Millennials were asked about their use of technology at work, particularly around their communication preferences, how they troubleshoot issues and what they expect in terms of IT support. In the second, “Millennials in the enterprise, part 2: benchmarking IT’s readiness for the new digital workforce,” 200 IT managers from midsize to large companies were asked about their preparedness to support the Millennial Generation, including their ability to meet quick response times and communicate through text-based channels.

    “Our research highlights the biggest challenges for IT departments: Millennials expect immediate responses, prefer a wider variety of communication channels and, when it comes to problem solving, often turn to Google and outside resources before contacting support,” said David Card, research director at GigaOM Pro. “Overall, IT organizations are faring pretty well to support Millennials’ need for mobility, but they need to work on creating support systems that cater to Millennials’ desire for immediacy, self-sufficiency and collaboration.”

    The CIO-Millennial Divide: Struggling to Keep Up with Younger Workers' Tech Support Expectations - slide 1

    Click through for results from a survey on supporting Millennials in the work place, conducted by Isurus Market Research & Consulting, written by GigaOM Pro, and underwritten by Bomgar.

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    The initial survey found that Millennials are highly mobile, self-sufficient and eager to learn and solve their own technology problems. When they do require tech support, they have high expectations for quick answers to their problems and prefer a wide range of communications channels. When asked about their preferred way of interacting with IT support, 58 percent of Millennials preferred a channel other than the telephone, such as chat or text messaging.

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    Being used to immediate gratification, nearly 60 percent of Millennials surveyed said an acceptable IT support response time was ten minutes or less. Claiming a desire to stay productive while also being sympathetic to complex support situations, Millennials nonetheless remain impatient.

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    The study also found that most Millennials initially seek outside sources to solve their own technology problems versus immediately turning to the IT department when something goes awry. Sixty-one percent said they don’t go to company support first, and the majority (71 percent) had searched for an answer on Google at least once.

    In addition to their need for speed, the survey revealed Millennials want to solve their own problems for convenience and self-sufficiency. In general, Millennials are finding alternative paths to problem resolution, not because they are oblivious or dismissive of company procedures, but because they strive to be self-sufficient and are increasingly comfortable with search and social channels.

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    Millennials are also used to the ability to work from anywhere using any device – and with that trend comes the need for anywhere, anytime IT support. Forty percent of Millennials use a mobile device for work on a weekly basis, and that figure increases to 50 percent for younger Millennials (under 24 years old). The ability to be mobile isn’t the only thing appealing to this generation—the survey found that the type of device supplied by employees’ companies strongly affected their job satisfaction.

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    CIOs and IT managers must balance their need for control, standardization, governance and security against Millennials’ expectations for choice, immediacy and self-sufficiency. More than 80 percent of IT managers view Millennials as different or very different than their older peers in terms of technology expectations.

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    Regardless of how Millennials think IT support should operate, overall, they hold their employer’s IT support department in high regard. Nearly three quarters of Millennials gave their IT departments a positive rating; on average a six or seven on a seven-point scale. While there is a gap, it is not insurmountable. By understanding the drivers behind Millennials’ expectations, and assessing potential options to meet those demands, IT may identify opportunities to make their entire workforce more efficient and productive.

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    As discovered in the first survey, Millennials feel that ten minutes or less is more than enough time for an IT problem to be solved when at work. To no surprise, the second survey revealed that IT managers feel differently. About 25 percent said an hour to more than an hour was a reasonable time frame for technology issues to be solved. Despite the fact that IT departments have to handle requests from entire enterprises, and that each must be prioritized based on severity and scale, the instant gratification that Millennials are experiencing in the consumer world is still influencing their expectations for immediacy from IT.

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    “The Millennials are coming whether IT is prepared or not,” said Nathan McNeill, chief strategy officer at Bomgar. “There are definitely gaps between the expectations of this influx of younger workers and what IT support organizations currently deliver, but all hope is not lost. By adjusting traditional IT processes to create a more real-time and collaborative support model, we can not only make Millennials happier, but also improve the efficiency and effectiveness of IT departments overall.”

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