Growing up in an "instantaneous world" of mobile phones, social networks and constant online access has shaped the expectations of workers born in the 1980s and '90s -- the so-called Millennial generation -- in a way that creates new challenges for enterprise IT leaders, according to new research.
The study by GigaOM Pro and Bomgar, a vendor of remote support appliances, shows that Millennials want fast answers, multiple avenues of communication and just might try to solve technology problems themselves.
That last one would have made IT managers faint a decade ago.
"Our research highlights the biggest challenges for IT departments: Millennials expect immediate responses, prefer a wider variety of communication channels and, when it comes to problem solving, often turn to Google and outside resources before contacting support," David Card, research director at GigaOM Pro, said in a press release announcing results of the study conducted by Isurus Market Research & Consulting.
The good news for IT? The Millennials' penchant for lower-cost support channels and do-it-yourself attitude creates opportunities for enterprises to improve efficiency and reduce costs while increasing Millennials’ satisfaction.
The research is based on interviews with 400 Millennials regarding their use of technology at work and 200 IT managers from mid-sized and large enterprises who were asked about their readiness to support Millennial workers.
* 61% of Millennials say they don't turn to company support first to solve problems, while 71% say they have done a Google search for a solution at least once.
* 58% of Millennials prefer to communicate in ways other than talking on the phone, such as chat or text messaging.
* 40% of Millennials use a mobile device for work "on a weekly basis."
* Millennials' job satisfaction was "strongly affected" by the type of mobile device their employers provided (better order more iPads now!)
* More than 80% of IT managers see Millennials as "different or very different than their older peers in terms of technology expectations." (Well, yeah.)
* Millennials generally feel that IT problems at work should be solved in no more than 10 minutes!
* About 25% of IT managers said a reasonable time frame for solving tech problems was an hour or more.
* Millennials aren't all over-demanding complainers! Nearly 75% rate their IT departments a six or seven on a seven-point scale.
"Overall, IT organizations are faring pretty well to support Millennials’ need for mobility, but they need to work on creating support systems that cater to Millennials’ desire for immediacy, self-sufficiency and collaboration," Card said.
The research was broken out into three separate reports that can be downloaded for free here.