Global CIO: Accenture Millenials Study: The IT Revolution Has Begun - InformationWeek

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Government // Mobile & Wireless
09:03 PM
Bob Evans
Bob Evans

Global CIO: Accenture Millenials Study: The IT Revolution Has Begun

Today's young tech wizards have huge potential but jarring behavior, Accenture says—how do you harness the former and understand the latter?

So what's worse: (a) your young and tech-brilliant workers don't know you have IT policies, or don't follow them, or just don't care either way; or, (b) you get so hacked off by that attitude that you clamp down so hard that you drive them out of the company or even prevent them from joining in the first place?

Setting our gray-haired culture aside, and resisting the urge to let the moral indignation fly, I've gotta say that while the first option can surely be personally aggravating, the second option will surely have devastating consequences for your business. Because how can you expect to compete in the new decade's global economy with last decade's (century's?) ideas, approaches, behaviors, and capabilities?

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That's the 2x4-across-the-face message about Millenials' use of technology as revealed in a new Accenture study called "Jumping The Boundaries Of Corporate IT" that surveyed almost 5,600 employees and students aged 14-27 in 13 countries. Some quick highlights from the report:

--The concentration of intensely wired young employees in companies based in China, India, and even Brazil are aggressively exploiting a variety of emerging technologies to establish competencies and connections far beyond what traditional organizations can achieve. "If Western and Japanese executives think that these firms are tough competitors now," the Accenture report says, "look for an even more daunting battle in coming years, given the proclivity for technology among the younger generation in those countries." For those executives will to meet the Millenials halfway rather than trying to jam them into preformatted roles and behaviors that they'll fight and ultimately reject, "there is an opportunity to make a step change in talent management, productivity, innovation, and competitive positioning," Accenture says. (Check out this interactive map showing how Millenials' profiles vary by country.)

--They're not wasting time or being frivolous; rather, their lifelong immersion in online and interactive technology, communication, and discovery has given them dramatically different skillsets and approaches for solving problems. "Millennials also regularly download free, nonstandard technology from open source communities, including "mashup" and "widget" providers," the study says. "Globally, about one-half of Millennials have accessed online collaborative tools, online applications, and open source technologies from free public websites when those technologies are not available at work or when the versions offered at work don't meet Millennials expectations." Is this flaunting authority, or is it bringing powerful new resources and intelligence to bear?

--Why should you be willing to tolerate such disrespect from these little brats, instead of teaching them a lesson or two about life in the corporate world? Accenture's study offers a few reasons:

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11/16/2011 | 12:36:08 PM
re: Global CIO: Accenture Millenials Study: The IT Revolution Has Begun
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