Could the Generation Y crash the enterprise IT party?

Summary:Enterprise IT and the social media that students and the Generation Y aren't so different. So why is 'Enterprise 2.0' such a buzz-kill for the younger generation?

An interesting guest post by Ronald Schmeizer on ZDNet's Dana Gardner's blog last week hypothesises that a 'crisis point' looms for enterprise IT managers' planning, due to the innate differences in the emerging workforce.

There is a technological disparity between the Generation Y and the iGeneration however. As previously mentioned, the two are not mutually exclusive to each other, nor are the terms synonymous. In summation to my previously given definition:

The Generation Y is the blanket, fixed term to describe today’s youth; those aged roughly 18-30, often those working their way up from low level employment ("fast track") or students in higher education at university ("slow track").

The iGeneration also represents a change in not only methods but attitudes and values also. The iGeneration could be considered socialites by which technology became the means of isolated socialisation.

It will take some time for the terms to become separated, but nevertheless it is important to stress that while I am a member of both groups, in age and innate knowledge and ability, but also doing this audience-focused job for two and a half years, these are just yet again subjective views of yet another journalist.

There are two strands to the enterprise IT market that are not being fulfilled at present. Firstly, enterprise IT is not being targeted effectively at the Generation Y; I would argue that it isn't at all. However, secondly the Generation Y are not interested in enterprise IT on the whole.

The two could bind together with efforts on both part. But it boils down to the manufacturer or the provider to make these tools and equipment exciting and inciting for new customers.

The Generation Y world know very little about ERM, CRM, 'knowledge management', enterprise social bookmarking and collaborative planning software. Frankly, the vast majority of it sounds like "businessy" related slang for the modern day meeting, where men in suits can pontificate about something for hours on end to do nothing more than massaging their respective ego's.

But these are tools and services that the Generation Y use already, just in a slightly different way, for different reasons, but mostly for their personal lives and selves.

There are no easy answers to this. Schmelzer's critical analysis of how these problems will impact upon enterprise IT are worth an eye of any business-type person.

However, efforts should be made to integrate not only existing practices and theories of software and services into the lives of the younger employee, but also to learn from them in a two-way process.

The Generation Y not only need to apply the practices they innately have already to the modern 'Enterprise 2.0' world, though some argue there's no point any more. In return and equally, the enterprise IT staff of modern businesses need to apply the values they have upon existing customers to the younger generation to show the similarities between innate and gaps in enterprise knowledge.

Do you agree?

Topics: Enterprise 2.0

About

Zack Whittaker writes for ZDNet, CNET, and CBS News. He is based in New York City.

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