Millennials are often judged as being ‘lazy, impatient and self-entitled.’ We want it all and we want it now (myself included!) But is that really a bad thing? Look at all the innovations that our impatience and need for convenience has sparked. The moment we wake up, we check our mails, read the day’s news and pay our bills all from the convenience of our smart phones. We ask Alexa to book us an Uber, grab our morning cuppa on the way to work, and pay for it all with our phone or even our watch. If there ever was a time when impatience was rewarded, it is now!
Now why should you, an enterprise, care about us ‘pesky’ millennials? It’s because, like your friendly neighborhood Starbucks, we are everywhere! In 2017, millennials already represent a third of the US workforce, and the Brookings Institute forecasts they will make up 75 percent of the workforce by 2025. And, along with your employees, your customers will also increasingly be millennials, bringing with us $200 Billion in annual purchasing power. This means that you will want to find new ways to enhance your product or service and market to an increasingly educated, hyper-aware generation, spoilt for choice with multiple options and the impatience to jump from one to the other if they are not satisfied. You will need to innovate to stay competitive in an increasingly disruptive world which challenges existing business models. This is why dear corporate leader (whether you are a CEO, CIO or LOB executive), the future success of your organization rests squarely on our CrossFit-toned shoulders.
Digital Transformation and the Cloud
Now that we have established our plans to conquer the world, you may be wondering how best to prepare your organization for this next revolution. Two simple words: Digital Transformation. And cloud is the secret sauce that powers digital transformation. It’s impact on customer experiences, new business processes and models, and new workforce innovations is undeniable. So, it’s only logical that you can power your organization’s digital transformation by embracing the cloud, in turn making your company ‘millennial-friendly’. If you are wondering how cloud is connected to all of this, you will have to understand us millennials better, so here are a few pointers.
- We want quick, easy access to information and tasks
We are the generation of decreasing attention spans. We want everything instantly and we want it to magically work perfectly, the very first time. We value personalization and expect to be delighted, be it an office collaboration tool or ordering groceries on a mobile app. If we can’t figure out how to use an app in less than 30 seconds, I’m sorry, it’s not me… it’s you!
In such a dynamic, increasingly agile product development environment, companies can no longer take ages to go to market with the latest products and features. Enter the knight in shining armor: DevOps- made possible with agile cloud-based application development and management.
- Work-Life balance is important to us
Nine to five office jobs? No thank you! We need flexibility in how we work, play, learn and live. We want to be able to take that important meeting while waiting for our doctor’s appointment or on the way to a Yoga class. It’s no wonder we prefer cloud-based services that give us the flexibility to access our information on the go and collaborate with people anytime, anywhere and across multiple devices.
- We are comfortable with Technology and the Cloud
Millennials embrace change! We are comfortable adopting new technologies we are not familiar with, provided we see value in them. We don’t fear the unknown, why should we? We have grown up with the internet providing us answers to all our questions, teaching us new skills and providing us an avenue to share our knowledge with the world. New tools at the workplace or finding better ways to get everyday tasks done? No worries! Why fear, when Google is here?!
- Privacy and data security are a major concern for us.
Don’t be fooled by the vast amounts of data we share on the internet through our many social profiles (Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and the likes), data privacy is of the utmost importance to us. It’s easier than ever to lose customers and brand reputation when one security slip-up is magnified over social media. Obviously, that puts pressure on you to make sure you provide end-to-end security while still ensuring it’s not tedious for us to access our own data.
- We are a self-service generation.
If our company’s IT department doesn’t have the right tools to help us solve our problems, we are happy to go out and find public cloud/ SaaS solutions that can. Call us ‘Rogue IT’, ‘Shadow IT’ or anything else you want, we don’t wait around for slow processes and people to fulfill our needs. Remember the days before BYOD where companies tried to restrict what employees could and could not bring into the office? We all know how that turned out!
The Cloud Gap
For all these reasons and many more, IT departments need to evolve from being gatekeepers struggling to ‘catch up’ with growing business demands to trusted IT enablers of solutions across hybrid IT environments (cloud and non-cloud infrastructure, applications and management) from many different providers and consumption models. This way they can elevate themselves to strategic advisers who expedite the journey to the cloud instead of being viewed as a bottleneck to growth and innovation. However, this is easier said than done due to an ever-expanding ’Cloud Gap’ between what cloud applications and LOB stakeholders require and what IT is able to reliably and confidently support today, when it comes to their people, processes, and tools. How can you find that balance between meeting the demands of a young generation looking for innovative solutions while simultaneously ensuring the highest standards of operational excellence, security, governance and compliance?
What can you do to bridge your cloud gap?
If you are overwhelmed at the mammoth task of creating an optimized cloud strategy for your organization, and are already contemplating an early retirement, fret not, you are not alone. According to IDC’s recent CloudView Survey conducted with over 11,000 IT professionals, ONLY 3% of organizations have optimized cloud strategies. And even more surprisingly, 69% of organizations do not have mature cloud strategies in place. Yet, almost 78% of organizations use some form of cloud, be it public, private, hybrid or multi-Cloud. This proves that a vast majority of organizations are still experimenting with hybrid IT environments to identify their own unique cloud strategy, while realizing that no one cloud fits all.
The #MicDrop moment here is to realize that you need to embrace the cloud rather than shy away from it. The sooner you do this, the more you will be surprised at the business benefits it can bring (see IDC results below) while making your brand and organization more appealing to us millennials, both as employees and consumers. Imagine your brand being amplified over our vast social footprint…we can become your biggest advocates without you spending any marketing dollars!
So, what are you waiting for? Start your journey to the hybrid cloud with a little help from your friends at Cisco! You can assess where you stand in the cloud maturity model by taking the Business Cloud Advisor Online Assessment today.
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P.S. If you thought your millennial problems were huge, wait till the next generation comes into the workforce. Gen Z or simply, iGen, these guys were practically born with a smart phone in hand! I would call them the cloud-native generation. More reason for you to #GetWithTheProgram and be #CloudNative.