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Data Generation Gap: Younger IT Workers Believe The Hype

There's a growing generation gap when it comes the promise of revenues from data-driven projects. Where younger workers see the future, older workers may only see another cycle of tech hype.

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IT has been experiencing a bit of a generation gap between so-called digital natives, who grew up with iPhones and cloud computing, and older workers who didn't. Now, a new study from IDG Enterprise says younger workers see a lot more opportunity in big data than their older counterparts do.

Specifically, workers aged 18 to 34 are "vastly more likely" than other age groups to strongly agree on the transformative potential of big data and their companies' readiness to take advantage of it, according to the IDG Enterprise Data & Analytics Survey 2016.

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IDG Enterprise surveyed 724 IT decision-makers of all ages involved in big data initiatives. The report does not reveal the numbers of respondents per age group.

The report said respondents aged 55 and older are significantly more likely than those in other age groups to disagree that big data will open up new revenue opportunities and/or lines of business in the near future. These respondents are also more uncertain than other age groups about whether their big data ecosystem will change in the next 12 months, and how it will change.

(Image: mediaphotos/iStockphoto)

(Image: mediaphotos/iStockphoto)

In its report, IDG Enterprise said aged-based differences about the value of data-driven projects may be attributable to "younger employees being more comfortable with the latest technologies and more inured to the inevitability of technology-driven disruption. On the other hand, older respondents have seen many supposedly transformational technologies come and go throughout their careers."

In other words, perhaps older respondents are more seasoned and cynical, having already been through multiple cycles of tech hype. 

Yet, technologies such as the Internet of Things (IoT) and big data analytics are driving big investments by enterprises, according to the report.

More than half of respondents (53%) said their companies are currently implementing, or planning to implement, data-driven projects within the next 12 months. The report defines data-driven projects as those undertaken with the goal of generating greater value from existing data.

Of the projects underway or in the planning stages, 26% of respondents said they are already implemented, 14% said they are in the process of implementation or testing, 13% said they're in planning implementation in the next 12 months, 8% said they are considering a data-driven project, and 8% said they're likely to pursue one but are still struggling to find the right strategy or solutions.

How does your company stack up compared with these results? Do you believe there is an age gap when it comes to understanding the value of data-driven implementations? Tell us all what you think in the comments section below.

Jessica Davis has spent a career covering the intersection of business and technology at titles including IDG's Infoworld, Ziff Davis Enterprise's eWeek and Channel Insider, and Penton Technology's MSPmentor. She's passionate about the practical use of business intelligence, ... View Full Bio

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