There is a lot of talk about millennials these days, and a lot of confusion about who this demographic is comprised of (the majority are probably older than you think). So, before we dive into the ways this generation is changing the way we do business, let’s look at just who they are.
- Born between 1980 and 2000, putting the youngest at 18 and the oldest at 38.
- The largest living generation (larger than Baby Boomers and 3 times the size of Generation X).
- 25% of the U.S. population with a total of 77 million.
- The best-educated group of young adults in US history, with one-third of older millennials (ages 26-33) having earned at least a four year college degree.
Now that we’re on the same page with who this group is, let’s look at the ways they are driving cloud adoption.
Millennials Like Flexibility
Having grown up with modern technology, being tied down to an office doesn’t make sense to this generation. That’s not to say they don’t enjoy collaboration with co-workers, they just don’t see the need for daily, physical interaction when technology provides so many other options. Think about it; at your last meeting, were all of your teammates gathered around the table, or were some colleagues calling in from home, a hotel, or a coffee shop? Today, 13.4 million Americans are telecommuting, or working remote—that’s more than double the amount that telecommuted in 2005, and many believe this is due to meeting the demands of millennials entering the workplace. As some of the biggest supporters of telecommuting, studies show that 92% of millennials want the option to work from home, even if it’s just a day or two per week.
To attract and maintain millennial workers, more and more companies are incorporating some flexibility into their schedules, and the cloud makes this easier. The cloud offers seamless integration between departments through file-sharing across any device, so employees no longer need a specific device to collaborate on projects. Whether they’re working from laptops, tablets, smartphones or desktops, the cloud makes it possible to quickly join and collaborate within a business’s network. Millennials also like cloud-based tools that mimic some of their favorite social media sites, such as Slack, which allows them to instantly message colleagues from wherever they are, sharing documents, webpages, or just the latest meme.
Millennials Lack Security Concerns
Most millennials, especially those on the younger end of the spectrum, have grown up with a mobile device in their hands. This typically makes them more aware of security risks than other generations, but less likely to be concerned about them. So, while millennials are not likely to fall for the “Nigerian Prince” scam that duped some of their older peers in the early days of the internet, they are likely to engage in other irresponsible behaviors. According to the Harvard Business Review, millennials—more so than older generations—are more likely to keep their passwords in plain sight, store passwords on a shared drive or in a non-protected work document, and lose their devices, giving whoever finds them unrestricted access to sensitive company data.
While educating employees is essential to curbing some of these bad habits, it can be hard to change people’s tendencies. And with millennials recently becoming the largest generation in the U.S. workforce, it falls upon companies to make sure their data remains secure. The cloud offers preventative measures to protect data, such as anti-virus protection, firewalls, patch management, and encryption for inbound and outbound data, along with 24/7 monitoring. But that’s not all; the cloud also has a focus on being restorative. For example, when an attack is recognized, replication hits the pause button—stopping infected data from spreading. Then, organizations need only implement their Disaster Recovery plan to wipe IT systems and reboot them with copies to retrieve the most recent, clean copy of data.
Millennials Are Eco-Warriors
Today’s young people are often referred to as the “green generation,” doing what they can to repair past damages and encouraging businesses to be more responsible patrons of the planet. Millennials prefer to do business with corporations and brands with pro-social messages, sustainable manufacturing methods and ethical business standards. In fact, nearly 75% of millennials state that they’re more likely to spend money on a product if it comes from a sustainable brand. So, when it comes to seeking employment, what companies will they gravitate toward? More than likely, those practicing sustainability.
Most cloud computing data centers are designed for efficient energy use to reduce carbon emissions. Companies engaged with a cloud provider are also likely to use less wattage to provide back-up power and cooling because of their provider’s superior hardware setup.
That’s not all. Traditional data hardware systems are high maintenance, requiring uninterruptible power supplies, cooling, and a lot of electricity! Moving basic tasks to the cloud saves immense levels of electricity (a recent study reveals that projects moving some business software to the cloud, on a national level, could power the city of Los Angeles for a full year!)
Well, Generation Z, to be exact! While each generation is different, if there’s one thing millennials and Gen Z have in common that previous generations did not is their level of tech savviness. So, attracting millennials now will likely put you in a better position to attract Gen Z in the future (some are even calling them the Cloud Generation). Older members of this generation are graduating high school, and who knows, one of their resumes may soon come across your desk!