The Truth about Millennials


Jim Robertson, UNIVERGE 3C Business Manager at NEC demystifies the ‘Millennial’ generation and suggests a few selling tips for BYOD in 5 easy steps.

If any hasn’t seen the You Tube video ‘A magazine is an iPad that doesn’t work’ then I suggest you do – it’s hilarious. It features a toddler repeatedly pressing the pages of a magazine with its fingertips, distressed at the lack of interactivity or response from the pages, then gives it up and reverts back to its trusted iPad.

An amusing reminder of how quickly technology can change a generation almost overnight. From a business perspective, statistics suggest that within a year from now, 50% of the UK’s workforce will be ‘Millennials’ – individuals born post 1980 and part of the hyper-connected generation.

Interestingly enough, the term Millennials is nothing new and was first coined back in 1991 by two American authors William Strauss and Neil Howe. All in all this generation has fared well, including being a lot less ‘violent’ and ‘vulgar’ than their previous generation.

Also known as Generation Y, the Net Generation, Generation Next or even Echo Boomers – no matter which name you use, this group of young adults has become a significant factor to consider in business. Similar to any news in the media, it’s prone to being exaggerated to maintain the drama element, and certainly suggestions that younger employees would be happy to accept a 10% lower salary if it meant they could use their own devices at work seems a little far -fetched.

Of course, the industry has observed consumerisation before, but with Millennials, owning powerful smart phones and preferring these devices for both business and personal use, along with other devices such as tablets and laptops, BYOD is accelerating. Recent reports suggest 58% of enterprises have created policies for accessing and sharing corporate data on mobile devices and/or through cloud based services. And if you’re selling UC & C it’s time to start listening to your new customer base now.

The BYOD trend is being pushed from the top down by executives as well as from the bottom up by Millennials. The lines between work and personal devices have become blurred in the enterprise. There are several reasons for this. First, BYOD appeals to and helps attract a Millennial workforce. Second, BYOD can help to increase employee productivity because these individuals are most familiar and comfortable using devices of their choice. What’s more, morale is bolstered by BYOD which provides a greater sense of ownership and empowerment for employees.

So what should a reseller bear in mind when taking their UC & C solution to market? As Business Manager of NEC’s UNIVERGE 3C UC & C software platform, I’ve found selling a solution that can be cloud based needn’t give you vertigo – here are a few tips:

Don’t panic – they already understand

As Millennials are natives to being hyper-connected – they already appreciate the business benefits. This makes selling new technology to them simple. It doesn’t need explaining from the ground upwards.

Collaboration is key

Larger businesses identify this as a highly cost-effective way to work, saving travel time and expense. The ability to share and work on documents online, share demonstrations and video conferencing should be at the heart of your sales pitch.

It’s OK to demo remotely

Practise what you preach. Present to your prospects by using your product – it’s amazing how many resellers don’t already (and it’s also very handy). By doing so it also contributes to a company’s Green initiatives.

Maximum mobility

Much of today’s work force expects to be able to work anywhere at any time and on any device. Expectations have exceeded things like video conferencing from office to office. State-of-the-art UC & C technology supports their anytime, anywhere work style by enabling users to control which device rings and when, based on profiles or schedules they establish, accentuating the speed, flexibility and cost savings.

BYOD = lower hardware costs

Don’t overlook the obvious when making a sales pitch. Maximising what hardware already exists helps keep your quotes competitive.

In Conclusion

Millennials are the next generation work force who brings different work styles and technology expectations that cannot be ignored if you want to attract these new employees. Unified communications and collaboration solutions can help enterprises to accommodate these new work styles, provide powerful productivity benefits and increase competitiveness for their business. Resellers need to consider their customer’s current communications network, and not only how it serves the needs of their current workforce, but consider how a Millennial would view their current technology and its support for the BYOD trend.

BYOD by numbers

Source: IDG Enterprise Report: 2013 Consumerisation of IT in the Enterprise

58% of enterprises have created policies for accessing and sharing corporate data on mobile devices and/or through cloud based services

38% have invested in a mobile device management solution

32% have increased our support/helpdesk budget to support new kinds of devices and platforms

27% have placed a greater emphasis on social and business networking sites as a tool to target customers

25% have developed or invested in business apps for personal devices

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David Dungay

Editor - Comms Business Magazine
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