FOR the first time in our lives, we see five generations co-existing at the workplace and the marketplace. As a Gen X, I have seen my share of generation gaps, but what makes the situation more unique now is the diversity of thought, attitude, and outlook among these generations. Millennials are the latest generation to enter the workforce and form a large group of consumers and decision makers of products and services. Understanding them is key to success - both at work and outside.
According to a study done by Deloitte in 2013, the basic instincts of the millennial generation are ownership, accountability, innovation, and positive impact. They want to create positive impact in communities around them. They do not hesitate to leave an organisation if they feel that they do not belong there.
But most importantly, millennials take pride in their spirit of entrepreneurship. For them, work is no longer about a nine-to-six shift. Their spirit of entrepreneurship ensures that they demand access and expect always-on connectivity. Millennials are mobile and cloud natives - having known and worked on computers and mobile devices almost their entire lives. They carry these expectations to their employers. Millennials have seen a whole generation of retail, travel, and hospitality products and services going online. They demand similar experiences from the way they work and connect.
Visionary CEOs have realised this and are already looking for ways to engage millennials at the workplace. Today, organisations are leveraging social collaboration tools at the workplace whereby every employee can connect with not only their peers but also with the CEO directly. Companies are also using Facebook and Twitter to engage end users and build their brand among prospective employees.
Cloud technology enables this engagement. The ability to share, connect, receive instant feedback, access content are just a few among the real benefits of cloud-based technology in today's always-on world. While not everyone may know exactly what cloud and social technology is, millennials have an innate understanding of its functionality - and they can no longer do without it!
Cloud technology is further fuelling millennials' entrepreneurship spirit. Starting a business was an expensive affair in the past. Costs were high and without the backing of established capital, it was usually not possible to experiment, to fail, and to try again. In today's knowledge and service economy, the technological foundations provided by the Internet and cloud make entrepreneurship more accessible.
It is no surprise that the parallel market of Internet-enabled companies is booming more than ever. From Uber to Myteksi, Agoda to iProperty and Zalora, millennials have taken the middleman in retail, transportation and hospitality online and available in the form of a smart phone app.
IT as a service and cloud technology offer unique flexibility and freedom. They allow entrepreneurs the freedom to build products at low cost, increase the access that innovative minds have to markets and the speed at which they can create. By removing the barrier between potential innovators and infrastructure, and reducing the capital investment that entrepreneurs require to bring their ideas to market, cloud technology gives them the freedom to fail till they succeed.
This generation has a lot to contribute to the workforce of tomorrow. It is up to technology companies and businesses to accept that cloud is essential and everywhere. Cloud has become unavoidable for every business, from start-ups to multi-billion dollar corporations. The millennial generation will push the envelope with cloud and continue to reinvent the way we live, work, and communicate. Cloud is here to stay - so is this spirit of entrepreneurship. Good times ahead!