Gen Y and IT management: It's not all that complicated

Gen Y and IT management: It's not all that complicated

Summary: Forrester finds that Generation Y has a relatively favorable opinion of business tech. What does that mean for the enterprise 2.0 barbarians at the gate?

TOPICS: Enterprise 2.0

Generation Y has been billed as the group of workers that'll turn the enterprise into a social networking zone with consumerized tools and newfangled ways to manage. The reality is that Gen Y looks a lot like other groups of workers, according to a Forrester Research study.

Among the key points:

  • 40 million of the 76 million folks defined as Gen Y---18 to 30 year olds---are in the workplace. A third of that Gen Y workforce are in manager or executive roles.
  • This group thinks their personal technology is better than what they can find in the workplace, but don't necessarily bring their gear to work. Forrester found that the entire workplace is bringing software and devices to the office.
  • 55 percent of Gen Y are satisfied with the technologies they use to do their job in line with the rest of workers.
  • The IT department is seen as a resource. In fact, 62 percent of Gen Y see the IT department as a partner that understands the business. Only 10 percent say the IT department is clueless or hampers work.

In other words, Gen Y may not be the revolutionary IT generation that's portrayed by numerous articles.

Bottom line: The next generation of workers don't see business tech as a disaster. That fact makes you wonder what happens to all the enterprise 2.0 revolutionaries at the gate.

Topic: Enterprise 2.0

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  • Interns

    The past few years I see the trend where with no doubt this generation is very technology focused and embrace all forms of it.

    That doesn't mean many of them actually understand how the technology works. They just use / consume it. I grew up in the era where we took it apart, rebuilt it. Figured out how it worked. Gen Y don't want to bother with that. They look at technology like electricity. It should just work.
    • RE: Gen Y and IT management: It's not all that complicated

      @MobileAdmin I've experienced the same thing. First of all, many of my Gen Y co-workers don't fit the stereotype of being tech-savvy and connected through social media. And of those who are, few really understand the technology at a deeper level. They may use a computer, for example, but they're not very good at troubleshooting it if something goes wrong.

      But this is to be expected, I think. The first owners of automobiles were probably much more knowledgeable about their inner workings than today's drives. Most technology works this way; early adopters learn it more deeply than later generations.
  • Understanding

    I'd like to know the basis of your claim that we don't understand how new technologies work. I'm in engineering, and some of the stuff we're expected to know as an undergraduate student was not even around when gen-x-ers went to school. We have to understand these things because they offer us a competitive edge over our seniors in the workplace sometimes.
    • As the gen-x-ers did themselves

      and many gen-x-ers learn that new technology as you do so as to be up to date.

      maybe MobileAdmin is right, but now how you believe. I think many Gen Yers may believe that social networking will work great in the enterprise while not knowing why social networking works at all.

      All they know is that they log on to facebook and see what their friends are up to.
      Will Farrell
    • RE: Gen Y and IT management: It's not all that complicated


      I think his point was focused at the majority of Gen Y. Many are consumers and are clueless when it comes to the guts and what makes a device work. I have two teenage daughters they could care less how their phones work. As long as it works they're happy. There will always be the exception to this but maybe Karlhughes was speeking about how Y has grown up in a disposable world. I remember growing up in the 80's and we didn't have deep pockets so when something broke we took it apart to find out why. From what I've observed Y'ers tend to chuck it and move on.
    • RE: Gen Y and IT management: It's not all that complicated


      My comment was not a "their all like this". It's from the interns and younger workers who come through the company. The technical depth is basic compared to what I knew coming out of High School / College.

      Obviously an engineering undergrad would have a bit more knowledge then then average Gen Y.
    • RE: Gen Y and IT management: It's not all that complicated


      Well, you are an engineer. Your degree is SUPPOSED to teach you how tech works. Most conversations around what Gen Y does with tech revolve around "average joe" Gen Yer.

      Though remember that the new technology you are learning that was not in school when gen-xers went to school was created by gen-x-ers (and older) and must filter downward to the university. Don't underestimate the gray hairs. ;)