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Millennials guiding the always-on business

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With more millennials joining the workforce and expecting a seamlessly connected environment, companies need to ensure that operations are conducive to an always-on approach. According to Warren Olivier, regional manager for southern Africa at Veeam, changing business requirements mean the traditional ‘nine-to-five’ job is all but dead.
Already, companies are harnessing the likes of virtualisation, the cloud, and other enabling modern technologies. However, it seems that human resources have fallen by the wayside with little regard given for how the always-on business environment has impacted employees and their expectations around the organisation.
“In the traditional sense, the concept of HR has changed. Today, a company needs to be more open to employee feedback than before. Decision-makers need to view their employees as partners in creating an organisation that appeals to all their stakeholders,” says Olivier.
The approach towards a more collaborative working environment started with the virtually ubiquitous access people have to information around the clock. According to Gartner research, the Internet of Things market is set to soar 30% in 2016 with 6,4-billion devices in use. Thanks to this device and connectivity explosion, customers and employees alike expect to engage with an organisation irrespective of time and location.
Technologies such as virtual desktops also mean employees need not sit in their office cubicle to get things done. The flexibility to work from anywhere are resulting in not only a happier workforce, but a more productive one as well. After all, customers can conduct business online at any time and employees need to be able to deal with any queries or issues as a result.
“The consumer has become king and is driving the availability requirements of the business. This is bringing about a fundamental change in the way businesses operate. With people relying on the likes of Facebook, Twitter, and Google to be in touch with friends, family members, and colleagues around the world, an organisation can ill afford not to be responsive to real-time engagement,” he adds.
In many respects, millennials are forcing the hand of the organisation to be more receptive and engaging on platforms they normally would consider ill-suited to business dealings.
“In the always-on world, organisations need to partner with trusted advisors who understand the implications around millennials and the evolution they bring to the business. With this increase in engagement and customer touch points, the need to protect data becomes even more paramount. The costs dictate that companies need to focus on the things in their business which are critical to have always-on access to and the things that can be done without for a few days. It all boils down to affordability.”
He believes that this focus on data and its availability mean there is no patience for downtime. Business needs to operate as normal within 15 minutes of ‘going down’. But this does come at a cost.
The modern business environment is all about finding the balance between always-on requirements and leveraging technologies that can enable employees to not only better do their jobs but also to improve relationships with customers and other stakeholders.
“Organisations should embrace the arrival of the millennial. While it means they would need to change their organisational approach towards employees and the data that is being generated, the always-on business leader should expect nothing less.”