We have been hearing about an emerging workforce born after 1980 and the first generation to come of age in the new millennium. These young adults are known as Millennials, the Net Generation, Generation Y, or the Hyper Connected Generation. No matter which name you use to designate this group of young adults they are becoming a significant factor to consider in business. At about 80 million strong in the United States they outnumber the large Baby Boomer generation by three million people.1 Within the next two years Millennials will comprise almost half of the labor market globally.
The way Millennials interact with friends and colleagues is creating a new set of demands on the tools that businesses provide. They have a strong desire for always-connected, mobile access and when it comes to computers they live in a wireless, Internet connected world. The use of email is outdated to them; instead message posts on social networking sites are their modus operandi. Anywhere access to their applications, whether from a PC or a mobile device, is expected. For Millennials, work is something they do, not somewhere they must go. The benefit to businesses who understand this can be unprecedented, as this generation is highly educated, born to multi-task, and seemingly capable of producing around the clock.
Unified communications has many different definitions, but according to the 2012 Unified Communications and Collaboration Study from IDG Enterprise, unified communications and collaboration (UC&C) is defined as a broad umbrella of technologies that are all accessible through common user interfaces on desktop and mobile devices using voice or tactile controls. Within this umbrella is advanced telephony calling and management, unified messaging, web/audio/video conferencing, Instant Messaging, pervasive presence, mobility, VoIP, collaboration, CEBP (communications-enabled business processes) and contact center.2 NEC’s UNIVERGE 3C Unified Communications and Collaboration solution includes these advanced types of applications that have been gaining steady traction across businesses as CIOs look for new, innovative technology to increase workforce productivity and stay competitive in the global marketplace, yet still be achieved within their tight budgets. UC&C is more economical to operate than traditional PBXs and helps to increase workforce productivity. If UC&C products are designed correctly they can provide the cutting edge work experience that Millennials expect. When Millennials are thinking about prospective employers they are not only concerned about the company culture, but they also take into consideration the technology they will use in their work environment daily. According to a recent study from Accenture over a quarter of these Gen Y workers are disappointed with the technology their employer provides them, and almost 40% are looking for state-of-the art technology at their place of employment.3
Social and mobile are converging in the workplace. Social networks from Facebook to LinkedIn are being used by employees as a means for company advertising, finding prospective employees, monitoring the competition, etc. Since Millennials grew up with technology they are very Internet-savvy and use many of these social networking sites as well as visit many other sites on a daily basis. In fact, an overwhelming 83% of Millennials use some sort of social media site.4 Many of the Hyper Connected Generation connect to these sites not only via their desktops, but they use other devices such as their tablets and smart phones too. These users do not want to be burdened with VPNs and other security measures yet enterprises advocating a BYOD (Bring Your Own Device) policy must make security a key element of the guidelines because the cost of a breach can be catastrophic. UNIVERGE 3C allows companies to enable their users to leverage their same authenticated enterprise credentials and use the same encryption methods that are employed for other content that traverses the enterprise network normally. Therefore, the standard security methods such as HTTPS / SSL and certificates should apply for unified communications as well. UNIVERGE 3C even incorporates more stringent security measures, such as JITC (Joint Interoperability Task Command) certification, which is mandated by government organizations. Security is becoming increasingly more critical for markets such as healthcare, legal, finance and retail as well.
Unified communications and collaboration solutions can help enterprises to attract this next generation workforce and accommodate their new social work styles as well as provide powerful productivity benefits and increase competitiveness for their business. Next time you consider your company’s current communications network, do not just think about how it serves the needs of your current workforce, but consider how a Millennial would view your current technology. Would your business satisfy the 40% of Millennials who are looking for state-of-the-art technology to use at work?
1Time Moneyland“Millennials vs. Baby Boomers: Who Would You Rather Hire?” Dan Schawbel March 29, 12
22012 Unified Communications and Collaboration Study IDG Enterprise March 2012
3Jumping the Boundaries of Corporate IT – Accenture Global Research on Millennials’ Use of Technology Accenture 2010
4Pew Internet and American Life Project Generations 2010Kathy Zickuhr December 16, 2010
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