IT executives across the country report the surge of millennials in the workforce is reshaping business environments and driving IT departments to adapt their infrastructures with millennial-friendly technologies, including mobility, cloud, big data, and social media, according to a new study by Randstad Technologies and IDG Research Services. While two-thirds of IT leaders say they have or are formulating a plan to address millennials’ technology needs, one-third of respondents admit they have not addressed millennial-related technology issues in any formal way.
Of particular concern for IT departments is the significant gap between what millennials want from workplace technology and what IT departments currently offer. For example, only one-third of organizations report they are extremely or very confident that their existing IT staff levels and skillsets can support the “millennial shift,” which is defined as the reshaping of everything from communication and technology to innovation, both inside and outside of an organization.
“Millennials have grown up in a digital society with technology touching almost every aspect of their lives,” said Bob Dickey, group president of technology and engineering, Randstad Technologies. “As a result, millennials want to have the same technological capabilities in the workplace as they have in their personal lives. To attract and retain millennial talent, IT leaders rapidly need to adopt current and forward-thinking technologies into their infrastructures. Organizations that are unable to support millennials’ IT needs may see greater turnover and experience more difficulty recruiting top talent from this demographic of the workforce.”
The Randstad Technologies and IDG Research Services survey of IT leaders, including CIOs, CTOs, directors, and IT architects, examined respondents’ perceptions about—and plans for—reshaping business and IT strategies to meet the millennial shift. The survey pinpoints the essential technologies IT department need to support the shift and where organizations plan to invest:
Mobile technology is most essential to supporting the millennial shift
More than three-fourths (78%) of IT leaders have seen an increase in their organization’s mobile/remote workforce, which helps explain why “mobility” rated highest among IT leaders as a technology needed to support the millennial shift, being selected by 70% of respondents. Additionally, 60% of IT leaders plan to increase investments in mobile within the next year.
Communication and collaboration tools required to address evolving work styles
More than half (57%) of IT leaders view communication and collaboration tools as essential to supporting the millennial shift, and 43% of IT leaders plan to place more investments in these technologies. Communication/collaboration tools are not only important to supporting millennials who favor working in teams (on site or remotely), but also Baby Boomers who may want to remain in the workforce as part-time employees or consultants.
Additionally, with the growing trend of individuals choosing contract and independent work over traditional full-time jobs with a single employer, it is important for organizations to embrace reliable communication and collaboration tools. Yet, only 22% of respondents use integrated technologies to centralize learning content and knowledge transfer, and of those who have yet to develop centralized knowledge transfer, only 42% say they already are or will be addressing the issue in the next 12 months.
Security management must evolve to support new technologies
Companies recognize that new technologies create new security concerns, and 43% of IT departments consider security management as essential to supporting the millennial shift. In addition, 51% of respondents plan to increase investments in security management systems over the next year.
Cloud computing will support the desire to work anywhere, anytime
Millennial workers already use cloud-based e-mail and project management systems, so it is no surprise that 40% of organizations recognize that cloud computing is a requirement to meet changing workplace dynamics. Forty-nine percent of respondents say they will invest or increase investments in cloud computing over the next year.
Bob Dickey continued, “Our survey found that to change their technology infrastructure effectively, IT departments need employees who are skilled in security, data analytics, cloud, and data integration. Because of the current IT skills shortage, companies often outsource projects to service providers and contractors so they can consistently maintain current technologies and ultimately help attract the best talent to their organizations.”