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Next-gen workforce to make companies relook biz models

Working professionals below age of 30 see Internet as "fundamental resource" and mobile devices as most important technology, which pressures companies to evolve existing business models and policies, finds new Cisco study.
Written by Liau Yun Qing, Contributor

Changing employee behavior with regard to Internet usage and increasing usage of mobile devices are reshaping the business landscape. As such, companies are urged to relook their business models and policies to better accommodate the security and mobility demands put on the IT infrastructure, a new study stated.

Released Friday, the second annual Cisco Connected World Technology report found that more than half of the respondents--55 percent college students and 62 percent working professionals--could not live without the Internet and cited it as an "integral part of their lives".

In fact, one of every three people polled believed that the Internet is a "fundamental resource" for the human race and is as important as air, water, food and shelter, while about half said it is "pretty close" to that level of importance, the study stated.

Commissioned by Cisco Systems and conducted by U.S.-based InsightExpress, the study polled a total of 2,800 college students and working professionals under the age of 30. Fourteen countries were represented, namely the United States, Canada, Mexico, Brazil, United Kingdom, France, Spain, Germany, Italy, Russia, India, China, Japan and Australia.

Mobility's growing importance
With regard to mobility, 66 percent of students and 58 percent of workers said a mobile device, whether it is a laptop, smartphone or tablet, is the "most important technology in their lives".

As the desktop continues to see their relevance eroded by the rise of such mobile devices, smartphones, in particular, are poised to surpass it as the most prevalent tool, the study showed. Students who view desktops as most important device stand at 20 percent currently, closely followed by those who vote for smartphones at 19 percent.

"This finding fans the debate over the debate over the necessity of offices compared to the ability to connect to the Internet and work anywhere, such as at home or in public settings," the study pointed out.

Relook business models, processes
Furthermore, the report finds that the line between work and personal lives is becoming more blurred as 7 of 10 employees "friended" their managers and co-workers on social networking site Facebook. On Twitter, 68 percent of employees follow the tweets from their manager or colleagues.

With these findings in mind, Marie Hattar, vice president of enterprise marketing at Cisco, said in a press statement that businesses needed to re-examine how they need to evolve in order to attract talent and shape their business models.

"Without a doubt, our world is changing to be much more Internet-focused, and becomes even more so with each next generation. CIOs need to plan and scale their networks now to address the security and mobility demands that the next-generation workforce will put on their infrastructure, and they need to do this in conjunction with a proper assessment of corporate policies," she added.

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