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Tuesday, 23 February 2010 15:07

Millennials call the IT tune


If you are one, or have one lurking in a bedroom right now, it probably comes as no surprise that Millennials think email is somewhat quaint - a way to communicate with a great aunt perhaps.

For people aged 14-27 information technology and mobile communications are now largely considered a birthright, and something to be quickly discarded when too slow or simply uncool. A new global survey of Millennials' technology opinions has been released by Accenture, and provides a glimpse of the technological anarchy that enterprise CIOs should expect.

For one, email isn't fast enough and Millennials are ditching it in favour of other modes of communication. While workers under 24 may still spend 2.2 hours a week dealing with work related emails, they spend 2.5 hours texting, 2.2 hours on social networks and 2.1 hours instant messaging.

They prefer to communicate with clients and contacts via online chat, instant messaging, text messages and RSS feeds.

The survey quizzed 439 Australians out of a total 5,600 young people who were surveyed on their use of, and opinions regarding, information technology and communications.

A full 38 per cent of Australian Millennials expect to have a computer of their choice available in the workplace, and 48 per cent expect to be able to use the application of their choice. For many the technology that's available in a workplace is a factor considered when deciding which job to take.

Someone is in for a rude shock; either employees when they are told what computers they will be using regardless of their preference, or CIOs who find their networks suddenly cluttered by non standard equipment and applications.

It's a challenge with which university CIOs have been grappling for the last decade, but it's still fairly new to corporate Australia.

The survey showed that Millennials are unwilling to wait for sanctioned equipment - especially portable, wireless devices. Of the Millennials who use a phone for work 58 per cent say they use a device not sanctioned by their employer.

Somewhat alarmingly for corporate CIOs, 36 per cent also regularly download technology from public websites.

Enterprises meanwhile seem ill equipped to cope with the challenge - particularly in terms of establishing policies to tackle the information porosity that modern communications networks encourage.

Almost two thirds of Australian organisations have failed to establish or promulgate detailed policies on what corporate or client information can be published on public websites according to the Australian Millennials surveyed.

Perhaps less intuitively however, not all young people are willing to tell all online. Although a third of employed Millennials say they share private information about themselves or friends online - a larger proportion - 43 per cent - say they rarely or never do.

Compared to their counterparts in China, Japan and Brazil it would appear Australian Millennials are beacons of discretion.  Whatever.

Disclaimer: the author is a Baby Boomer and has investments in two Millennials.


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