So said the modern day Paul Revere. As suggested in my Financial Forum post my team and I are going to break down the presentation materials to provide additional background and detail. In the spirit of starting at the beginning I'm going to work through the early trend slides.
Hopefully, I've caught your attention. I know very well that the Millennials have been written about a lot, and I suppose that there is some reader fatigue on the topic. The truth is that by 2020, between the US, China and India alone, expect to see nearly 500,000,000 people who have grown up knowing and working with the Internet. Being on the trailing edge of this generation and currently enrolled at San Jose State University I get both an inside and outside view of behavior, concerns, attitudes, tools, approaches to problem solving, etc. It is indeed quite interesting. If you'd like to get some information on the US Millennials the Pew Research institute has a great site on this generation with lots of interesting reading and freely available data sets for consumption.
Where does that 500 million number come from? Well in the US we're talking about 77 million (others count it higher, but let's stay conservative) in the Millennial generation. While in China we're talking about roughly 240 million, and when it comes to India I cannot find an accurate count anywhere -- trust me I've looked for hours so if you have some data let me know -- so I'm guessing it is roughly the same as China. This is where that 500 million number comes from. The "so what" is that we cannot merely assume that the generation will be assimilated, but it is more likely we will need to adapt partially or fully to their behaviors, patterns and trends. So my fictitious Paul Revere was more than just a bit of irreverence. Case and point even the bastion of "institutionalized career development," legal firms, are considering adjustments their structures meeting this generation at the halfway point.
Beyond the numbers what's important about this generation to IT organizations? Well in the second slide cite new privacy dynamics, an appetite for collaboration outside the "4-walls" of a company, and personal IT/application procurement. Hopefully it is quite apparent that these are all going to have broad impacts to the IT organization that we all know and love today. In fact you can see signs of it already, for example BYOD as well as the open dialogue about the CIO role potentially belonging to the CFO's organization. In my travels recently I've witnessed firsthand the changes that are coming as a result of the new social dynamic. For example there was a CIO I talked to who said he realized how he communicated to his internal customers and partners put them off. Further he mused the best thing for him to show up to the party with is a sexy GUI and some light statements about the infrastructure supporting the UI. Personally, I think he's onto something because communicating to your audience in a way they can understand is super critical. Perhaps this is part of the reason that invention is necessary yet insufficient for innovation. The conclusion is that as we're creating the future of Information and Communications Technologies at the end of the day it is all about the people, and as my colleague Sean Moser states, "[IT] is all about communication."