4 Ways the Cloud Helps Engage Millennials at Work

What motivates today’s knowledge worker? Recently at the Avaya Engages Silicon Valley event, I had the chance to hear Daniel Pink, author of the New York Times bestselling book Drive: The Surprising Truth About What Motivates Us. He argues that it takes more than just money to motivate today’s workers. It takes AMP, short for Autonomy, Mastery and Purpose, the “building blocks for the new way of doing things,” he said.

At Google, employees have autonomy over 20 percent of their time. They can do whatever they want. Over time, this radical form of autonomy has led to the development of 50 percent of Google’s new products, including Gmail, Orkut and Google News.

Another radical approach impacting today’s work environment is known as ROWE, short for “Results-Oriented Work Environment.” In the ROWE, employees can come into the office or not, work on their own schedule, or decide to attend or not attend meetings. All that matters are the results and getting the work done on time. How, when, and where does not matter. This type of approach has resulted in productivity and worker satisfaction increases, and reductions in employee turnover.

Motivating today’s worker will produce profound results if their needs for AMP are met. During the same presentation in Silicon Valley, Pink asked all attendees under 30 years old to raise their hand. From that group, he chose a young woman and asked if she knew the GDP of a small country in Africa. She admitted she didn’t know the answer offhand, but could quickly and confidently answer the question using the smartphone in her pocket. Today’s Millennials don’t necessarily know all of the answers, but they know how to get facts fast, leading to instant knowledge and reinforcing Mastery over their world.

The innate ability to quickly access answers via the mobile Internet–instantly mastering one’s world–is arguably a key difference between the average Millennial, born between 1982 and 2000 and the Baby Boomers, born between 1946 and 1964. As one Baby Boomer turns 65 every 8 seconds and many consider retiring, new Millennials are entering the workforce, each armed with the innate ability to leverage Web and computing tools that did not exist a decade ago.

Today, Millennial workers carry 16 GB Apple and Android devices with 4,000,000x more computing power than the Apollo 11. With new devices, unparalleled research engines and access to the Cloud, today’s employee may not have all of the answers in their head, but they do have the means to instantly find them at the touch of a screen. Mastery at their fingertips.

The Dawn of Google and Knowledge-Based Workers Drive The Need For Cloud

Knowledge-based workers feel empowered when they have Autonomy and Mastery, which sparks creativity and rapid development of new strategies to solve problems. What happens when Millennials have to wait for the immediate feedback they expect? They can become disengaged as they lose their capability to rapidly access the knowledge they need to master their projects. Millennial demands for rapid access to tools and knowledge requires a flexible, responsive engagement application environment at work that mirrors the consumer world they have grown up in.

The true benefit of the cloud is the ability of the application infrastructure to rapidly transform and adapt to business needs. Below are four cloud benefits that support an IT organization’s ability to provide the need for immediate access to tools and knowledge that support employee Mastery, in turn, increasing employee motivation:

  • Agility – Cloud application infrastructure supports the rapid provisioning of new features and capabilities in reaction to business needs
  • Speed – The cloud allows for applications capacity to flex (increase and reduce) based on long- and short-term needs (seasonal spikes, etc.)
  • Accessibility – The cloud enables broad application accessibility, with the ability to standardize globally, which simplifies user adoption
  • Reliability – Cloud applications, when virtualized, facilitate instant failover and high reliability, ensuring that applications are available when users need them

What other benefits of cloud do you think will keep the wave of Millennials entering the workforce engaged by meeting their need for AMP?

Follow me on Twitter at @Pat_Patterson_V

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Smarter Cloud Networking is Here, and it Starts with Avaya

The rise of digital transformation, along with growing application and data center needs, has placed more security demands on enterprise networks than ever. So much so that half of CEOs believe their industry is going to become “substantially or unrecognizably transformed by digital.”

These dynamic changes are significant for IT managers, as they are responsible for expertly managing today’s increasingly complex networks. IT resources are entrusted with one critical job: find a way to securely and reliably deploy wired and wireless networks with complete control and visibility—anytime, anywhere.

This of course isn’t as easy as it sounds, especially for companies that lack the necessary IT resources or budget. In fact, “budget and resource constraints” was listed as one of eight top challenges cited by IT professionals in a global survey last year. The average company spent $400,000 on networking equipment in 2014—a number that increased by nearly 20% in 2015.

Here’s the good news: cloud managed networking has emerged as an affordable and efficient network management alternative for many companies. There are a large number of advantages to leveraging a managed cloud solution. First, the technology is easier to operate than an on-premises platform, accelerating time to deployment. The technology also requires virtually no in-house maintenance, which frees up internal teams to handle other high-priority tasks while drastically lowering the risk of manual, error-prone, on-premises deployment work. Perhaps best of all, managed cloud solutions enable businesses to optimize their expenses and reduce costs.

For IT managers, cloud networking translates into reduced day-to-day maintenance tasks (i.e., software upgrades, patches) and improved operational agility—all at a fraction of the cost of traditional solutions. Businesses understand these benefits; in fact, it’s expected that by 2020, 90% of IT industry growth will be fueled by third-party managed technologies.

There’s only one problem: cloud solutions of the past will never effectively meet today’s next-generation networking needs. Businesses require a managed cloud solution that explicitly addresses today’s core IT issues of reliability and security; a solution that enables them to not just survive, but thrive in today’s smart, digital world. That’s exactly why Avaya is announcing its all-new Cloud Networking Platform Solution.

Our advanced solution for large enterprises and medium-sized businesses is inherently built to address security and reliability head on, with a strong underlying focus on simplicity and ease of use. Here’s how businesses will uniquely benefit:

  • Deploy wired and wireless networks with minimal resources:

    Users can seamlessly centralize network management, visibility and control without the complexity of controller appliances or overlay management software. That means hardware (like switches and access points) that are installed on premises can be easily configured and managed in the cloud.

  • Add, change or modify network services on the fly

    : The agile nature of our solution allows IT managers to easily add, change or modify their network services via an easy-to-use dashboard, enabling them to meet their business needs as they inevitably grow and change. For example, zero-touch activation enables managers to automate software upgrades, patches and licenses in order to relieve maintenance burdens. The solution also boasts built-in guest and BYOD on-boarding.

  • Guarantee data isolation among cloud tenants with true multi-tenancy:

    This key security component of our solution guarantees that user traffic will always remain on your firewall-protected LAN. This way, cloud connectivity is only required for out of band management functionality. Meanwhile, standards-based encryption prevents visibility of communications between a customer site and the cloud.

  • Guarantee service availability with data center redundancy and data replication:

    Avaya’s solution helps ensure wireless access points act autonomously, even when the cloud connection is lost. Furthermore, the technology enables high availability by always processing traffic locally and providing security directly at the network edge in each access point.

As companies face insurmountable pressure to reduce IT resources and budgets, it’s clear that the market needs a smarter networking solution. Our new Cloud Networking Platform Solution allows businesses to enjoy the native benefits of the cloud that they have come to know and love, with the critical level of networking reliability and security they has been lacking—until now.

Learn more at our webinar “Debunking the Myths of Cloud Management” on October 26 at 10 am PST. Sign up now.

Service while you wait – eGain innovates to turn hold to gold

My first exposure to self-service IVR application development was back in the early 1990s. Over the years, I’ve participated in the evolution from simple menu-based interfaces (“Press 1 for sales, 2 for service…”), to full-blown natural-language interactions driven by intelligent, automated back-end capabilities (“Open the pod bay doors, Hal…”).

It’s still not perfect, and I find myself having to opt out and wait for a human agent more often than I care to. In fact, a study by Marchex released earlier this year estimated that I and my fellow Americans will be on hold in 2016 for more than 900 million hours. That’s a lot of wasted time.

So what do I end up doing? Mostly checking Facebook, responding to emails, and playing solitaire on my phone. Seems like my smartphone isn’t being used very smartly, and it’s certainly not making me happy when I’m sitting on hold and waiting for an available agent.

Since the launch of the Avaya Breeze™ Platform, we have been advocating the value of the Breeze platform to solve problems. Give us a use case (problem) and with Breeze, an innovative, scalable, secure solution can be developed in days to weeks. On hold time appears to be a major use case in need of an innovative solution.

In January, Forrester reported that 73% of customers say that valuing their time is the most important thing that companies can do to provide them with good customer service. So why make them waste time on hold (even if they are keeping up with their Instagram and Pintrest feeds) instead of actually helping them during that transition time from self-service to agent-assisted?

This is why I think eGain Corporation, one of our 2016 DevConnect Innovation Award winners, is onto something really big.

By creating the eGain Knowledge Snap-in for Avaya Breeze, Avaya customers can improve the overall experience and satisfaction of their own customers by making relevant information quickly available in a self-directed manner. In other words, eGain has innovated on Avaya a solution to the on hold problem.

How? By recognizing that an IVR user is calling with a smartphone, the Breeze-based workflow will work with eGain’s cloud-based knowledge base whenever the caller is queued between an IVR interaction and a contact center agent, presenting relevant content to the caller’s smartphone via SMS, based on the context of the information already collected via the IVR interactions, and allowing the user to self-select additional materials that are more visual in nature (such as basic repair-and-troubleshooting instructions, documents, or even video clips).

As a result, users can more often find their own answers before the agent becomes available. At a minimum, the customer will likely be better informed when talking to the agent, creating the opportunity for a shorter call overall.

Smartphone users have lots of ways to keep themselves busy while on hold. And while there is a certain enjoyable aspect to completing another level in whatever newest game you’ve loaded, nothing beats actually being productive when you have an issue you’re trying to solve. eGain’s Knowledge Snap-in and Avaya Breeze don’t just let end users mine for virtual coins in their spare time, they actually help turn those on-hold moments to gold for everyone.

Avaya Named a Leader in Gartner’s Magic Quadrant for Contact Center Infrastructure

Avaya is honored to be recognized as a leader in Gartner’s Magic Quadrant for Contact Center Infrastructure worldwide. Avaya has been the only vendor having the distinction of being named a Leader for 16 consecutive years. Each year the research organization creates a market view of key players for business users, reflecting business goals, needs, and priorities.

Contact centers have gone beyond phone calls with customers now expecting to communicate on their terms via text, IM, email, chat or video. For the past 16 years Avaya has created seamless and highly personalized experiences, building brand loyalty for companies all around the world.

According to Deloitte, 85% of organizations view customer experience provided through contact centers as a competitive differentiator. Todays companies must remain relevant by creating a single interface to connect customers with the correct resource each time, supporting their preferences. Supervisors and managers need real-time performance information to adapt immediately to situations to ensure optimized customer experience.

Avaya has focused its efforts on creating next-generation contact center solutions, creating communication strategies enabling a continuous transition between channels during customer interactions.

Please visit Gartner’s page to read the full report and see how Avaya’s Contact Center infrastructure continues to deliver best-of-breed Contact Center applications. We look forward to continuing innovation and leading business communications for the digital age.