Why we should be thanking millennials

(not trashing them)

It’s easy to trash-talk a whole generation, and millennials have copped their fair share of put-downs. Millennials – or Gen Y – have been vocal about saying what they want to do, how they want to work – or not, how they want to shop, and what they value.

According to a Nielsen survey, millennials cite how they use technology as the defining characteristic of their generation. And with an astounding 83% of millennials saying they sleep with their smartphones, you can see exactly how important technology and connectivity is to this generation.

The millennial generation founded the social media movement. They have no knowledge of life pre-internet, and were born with an innate level of fluency and comfort with technology – and a positive view of how technology makes their lives better.

Its predicted that by 2015 millennials will overtake the majority representation of the workforce in the US, and by 2030 they will make up 75% of the workforce. And it’s a pretty sure thing that Australia and New Zealand will echo those stats.

So, what exactly do we have to thank them for?

  1. They’ve driven businesses to leverage new technology

The way millennials interact with technology has made businesses, from banks to manufacturers to retailers, embrace social, mobile and cloud technologies – they really have had no choice.

Millennials won’t put up with aging enterprise technology as they know exactly how much better it should be. And this has improved life for all of us. Take finance as an example. Millennials are the heaviest internet bankers and the most likely to purchase insurance online. When you log on to your bank or tap your NFC device, say a silent thank you before you effortlessly pay bills, shop, transfer cash, make investments and add travel insurance to your upcoming holiday.

Millennials are also price conscious and deal savvy. So that flurry of apps offering you great daily deals – say thanks once again to our millennials for making that happen.

The millennial effect: accelerated businesses innovation.

  1. They won’t put up with old ways of working

Millennials love to connect. They value collaboration, communication and sharing – both within a company and with external stakeholders.

And they don’t want to be restricted to working at the same desk year after year, while not necessarily wanting a job in the field. They just want to be able to work from wherever it suits them, because they know they can.

Harking back to the 83% of millennials who sleep with their smartphone - this is a generation that simply doesn’t switch off. Given to checking their emails at all hours and connecting with colleagues even at weekends, it’s clear they need the right technology in place to support them.

So, what have the rest of us got out of this? Mobility and remote working capabilities spring to mind. Shared online workspaces have delivered more efficiency and transparency to organisations, and knowledge silos are being disbanded. It’s far easier to find information and to get more value out of it. Workplaces are better, more connected, less hierarchical and far more agile.

The millennial effect: enterprise mobility, enhanced connectivity and agility, collaborative cloud workplaces, easily accessible data.

  1. They want great customer service, and they want it now.

Millennials are spearheading the consumer powershift. They are demanding today’s businesses not only provide better and more proactive service, but more options for it. 

Omni-channel communications (that is, communicating using the channels that your customers prefer) is a hugely important trend which has driven businesses to explore how they can engage more deeply and personally with their customers. Using mediums such as social media, chat, messaging, and email is immensely powerful, but leaves nowhere to hide if you get it wrong. So as well as talking, you also need to listen and learn, and improve. The power of ‘share’ and ‘like’ has never been greater, and our voice as consumers has never been stronger.

It’s also never been easier for businesses to understand what their customers want, like and want more of. And predict how much they will need, and what they have to do to keep up with demand.

The millennial effect: deeper and more responsive customer engagement, new sales models utilising eCommerce and social media, more self-service channels, faster product and service innovation.

So, ask yourself - does your business enable you to:

Increase customer insights? Can you analyse customer interactions, product performance and social networks to better understand – and respond – to market behaviour? Can you gain insights into customer activity across the product lifecycle by uniting and analysing data from products and sales engagement? And can you share those insights via graphically-rich dashboards and reports?

Become more customer-centric? Can you add for customers by developing and implementing new customer-centric business models, including e-commerce channels and services, using intelligent cloud solutions? Do you have a secure, flexible and scalable cloud platform to deliver high performing, high availability web services, portals, apps and social media connections?

Deliver world-class customer service? Can you provide scheduling, mobility and resource optimisation while maximising your efficiency at the same time as minimising costs? Do you have a proactive and predictive service model that you can deliver in real-time in the field?

Provide a modern and engaging workplace? Is your data in languishing in silos? Can your employees share, collaborate and connect? From anywhere, at any time?

Leading the way to transformation

Like it or not, millennials, with their inbuilt affinity with technology, are driving business to transform. And to avoid being left behind, that means that the new business imperative is choosing a technology platform which is innovative, agile, fast evolving and responsive, and it almost goes without saying, cloud based.

But relax, it’s going to be much better for business. You’ll have happier, more engaged customers, motivated and empowered employees, and a finger right on the pulse of the market.

You can say your thanks now. And you can call me to find out where to from here.

About the author:

Asj Smith is a liberator of ideas, innovation and people. He helps businesses use digital transformation to reimagine their place in the marketplace and grasp new opportunities. He's a keen advocate of next generation intelligent business applications, like Microsoft Dynamics 365, which deliver platforms that today's organisations need to grow, evolve and transform in a digital world.
  
To contact him: asj.smith@fusion5.com.au | M +61 456 155 841 | P +61 3 9922 5519

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