Fortune’s latest ranking of the best companies to work for is filled with companies providing perks, a corporate culture and an environment shaped by the wants and needs of millennials. While companies looking to attract talent are changing the physical environment of offices, managers are trying to ensure that software provides the user experience that millennials expect.
According to the Pew Research Center, millennials are true “digital natives.” They grew up with digital technology, not having to adapt as have GenXers and Boomers. They have always had information available to them in real-time, on the device or devices of their choosing. They expect to be able to control how they consume and explore information and easily share insights with others.
A Different Working Style
This is the first generation that never had to ask their parents for answers; they immediately looked them up online. Now, in many cases, they don’t find the information; the information, in a social media world, finds them. Yet many millennials must use software that requires them to work in multiple interfaces in their jobs. Or, worse, wait on a report team or development resources for data they want to analyze now.
The demand for a real-time, self-service business-intelligence solution certainly resonates across all generations in today’s fast-paced, data-driven organizations. However, it’s clear that one of the quickest ways to lose a millennial in the workplace is to provide work applications that don’t meet their standards of portability and ease-of-use. Millennials have different working styles than their predecessors. They may be more productive working in cafés or lounge areas than sitting at traditional workstations.
Collaborating in the Workplace
According to Gartner research, workers now spend just 40% of their time at their desks and only 20% of their time outside of a group setting. That desk time is likely to decrease even more as millennials grow in the workforce. The digital workplace is all about collaboration, and millennials are now part of that movement. “Their preference for informal access versus scheduled meetings means that they come to the office to leverage social networks and participate in collaboration on demand,” according to a white paper from Steelspace.
Research from Herman Miller and Gartner points to the accelerated workplace that the millennials are entering. “Ad hoc and fast-paced interactions are increasingly the name of the game in today’s organization as the complexity and unpredictability of the external business environment requires constant monitoring and minute-by-minute adjustments by companies hoping to compete. A recent report from Gartner, Inc., finds knowledge work becoming steadily less routine and increasingly characterized by ‘volatility,’ ‘hyper-connectedness,’ and ‘swarming’—a work style characterized by a flurry of collective activity by anyone and everyone conceivably available and able to add value.”
If you are an Independent Software Vendor or a Solutions Provider, consider the work applications you are providing to users. Do they offer users the tools to collaborate on-the-go? Do they offer the ability to create reports, dashboards or visualizations in real-time? Are they easy to use and available in the users’ work application?
Imagine the organization manager trying to attract and retain millennials in their workforce. Imagine how that manager will fare over time without the right BI solution.
Driving BI Adoption
While user adoption of BI platforms has been slow, a recent Business 2 Community article points out how millennials could change that trend. Its headline: “Millennials Give Business Intelligence a Big Boost.”
The article notes: “Millennials could be the key to building more accessible, engaging business intelligence platforms and give businesses an edge in an increasingly data-driven economy.”