What B2B Companies Can Learn from Millennials and How They Work

New Way to Work

I have four teenage children, so as you can imagine, Wi-Fi usage is pretty high in our house. They each have several connected devices and they use all of them, (a lot!), both at home and when out and about. They are pretty typical teenagers and like their peers are really interested in new technologies. For them, tech is cool. For me, their attitude heralds great things.

Across Europe, we are facing a technology skills shortage. Demand for mobile applications and other consumer-technology is burgeoning, but we just don’t have enough computer scientists or other tech-skilled graduates or school leavers.

According to the European Union, by 2015 900,000 IT-related jobs will be unfilled. I think the situation is partly due to the fact that engineering and software development are wrongly perceived as something that only very clever, mathematically-minded people can do.

I also think it is partly because, to date, coding and related jobs have been seen as geeky and boring. (When in reality, most are pretty creative). I hope that the widespread exposure to, reliance on and delight in technologies that today’s teenagers are experiencing will change that view and encourage more young people into the profession. Indeed, many of today’s programmers were once teenagers who enjoyed playing games on their Commodore 64’s.

So that is why I think teenagers’ relationship with technology has the potential to bring about great, positive change. The fact that they think tech is cool and have integrated it into their lives to such a degree, also heralds another change.

Whether they follow a technical path or not, these teenagers are entering the workforce. The millennial generation that they are part of will account for 70 percent of the global workforce in just ten years time. They are bringing their tech-savvy ways and attitude into the workplace.

This is something all of us need to be ready for and embrace. Businesses in particular need to factor this tech evolution into their sales and engagement plans. They need to ensure that their sales teams are technology savvy and adaptable.

They need to be comfortable with downloading and using new technologies and they also need to be adaptable enough to quickly understand new products and services and assimilate them into their working life. Why? Simply because they are likely to be selling to these millennials who themselves are heavily invested in consumer technology and who don’t see adoption of new processes or technologies as anything other than the norm. Sales teams that can do this will be much more successful.

Let me give you two examples. Some of my colleagues work in a dedicated mid-market sales team. They tweet a lot and regularly post to LinkedIn groups that are relevant to their target market. Not only do they now have thousands of followers, but they are forming professional friendships there, too.

They can learn about customer issues, collaborate on business cases and offer examples of how Avaya has worked with similar companies to help them implement strategies that resolve these issues. Indeed, some of our own customers can collaborate and share best practice examples there too. This can all be done from the sofa before their peers, who take a more traditional approach, have even hit the motorway. This social selling is not an approach you would necessarily expect from a business-to-business company, but it is one that is working very well for us.

Similarly, the expectation of quick, easy assimilation of new technology into working practices that millennials bring into the workforce is already having an impact on the way our customers want to buy from us.

This ‘Android generation’ expects the same easily deployable, open standards, and pay-per-usage model in the enterprise space that they have quickly become accustomed to in their social lives. The ability to turn services on and up as the business need dictates rather than as the vendor’s licensing terms allow is a commercial model that sales teams need to assimilate fast.

Teenagers and young millennials have grown up in a world where they take technologies like the Internet for granted. Now, they are fast becoming a sizeable force in the workplace. Yet many of the people who run the companies that employ or partner with them are of a different generation and are not necessarily interacting with these potential customers in the way that best suits them. It’s time for all of us adapt to new ways of working.

Related Articles:

Four Reasons to Focus on Mobility (and Three Ways to Get Started)

Mobility is a no-brainer in today’s smart, digital world … or is it? As recently as 2013, only 22% of leaders had made a strong business case for bring your own device (BYOD). We’ve made some inroads since (as of last year, 59% allowed employees to use personal devices for work), but still have a ways to go.

Mobility is an absolute must. But don’t just take our word for it. Here are four proven benefits:

  1. You’ll make a lot more money
    Research from the IES and The UK Institute for Work Studies found that increasing engagement investments by just 10% can increase profits by up to $2,400 per employee, per year. Consider a large enterprise with 500 employees—investments in mobility could lead to as much as $1.2 million in additional revenue for the company per year.
  2. You’ll drive employee wellness/satisfaction
    One survey shows that 97% of companies agree that employee well-being positively influences employee engagement. And wouldn’t you know, mobility helps ease areas of wellness with the greatest impact on engagement: work/personal stress, physical health, personal relationships and work productivity. Allow more flexibility with mobile team collaboration and you’ll see major improvements.
  3. You’ll get better results, period
    Mobility improves engagement, and engaged teams drive outstanding results. In fact, research shows that companies with better engaged teams outperform others by over 200%. Mobility also now seems to be at the heart of corporate culture (this Forbes article excellently argues why), and 95% of executives believe culture is important in driving business outcomes.
  4. You’ll narrow your talent gap
    You need the right people with the right skills to differentiate and compete. An average 34% of global organizations have difficulty filling jobs due to a lack of available talent, with this number significantly higher in regions like Asia-Pacific (45%), India (67%) and Brazil (42%). The right employees can be seamlessly on-boarded—regardless of location—with the ability to engage anytime, anywhere via advanced mobility.

Get Started

Ready to improve mobile team collaboration? Consider these ways to take charge:

  • Get with the softphone revolution. Softphones are now widely deployed in the enterprise and advanced versions go well beyond the phone to provide calendar integration, instant messaging, contacts and call logs, as well as one touch access to meetings and collaboration capabilities.
  • Embed real-time communications (i.e., voice, video, chat) directly into the applications employees use each day to work. Eliminate the need for them to hop in and out of multiple disparate apps.
  • Flexibly integrate applications using an open communications platform. These apps can be ready-made from a trusted provider or existing within the Avaya Snapp Store. Even better, challenge employees to build custom apps that can further improve team collaboration.
  • Invest in a desk phone solution that fuses mobile simplicity with advanced enterprise software tools. Personalize user experience and eliminate the need for employees to use multiple mobile devices to engage.

Avaya can help you successfully take these next steps, as well as create an effective mobile strategy for your business. Read the IDC Technology Spotlight and get started today.

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.

 

Seeing into the Office of the Future

Dubai is heavily focused on delivering on its Smart City goals, with the goal of being among the smartest—and happiest—cities in the world. The drive toward smart cities is part of a wider shift, with countries around the globe seeing a migration from rural areas to urban. With more than half the world’s population now living in cities, organizations in the Middle East are facing increasingly difficult decisions about how they allocate resources and manage their workforce.

For a city like Dubai, that can be challenging. Finding the right real-estate location for office space, managing energy usage and providing physical workspaces for employees working different shifts in a modern, 24X7 city creates its fair share of headaches. Enterprises also have to cope with an increasing Bring-Your-Own-Device (BYOD) culture, with smartphone and device penetration especially high in the United Arab Emirates and other Gulf countries.

We have reached an inflection point where the number of devices connected and generating data is accelerating at an exponential level. Our work environments are beginning to blur, as workspaces are no longer physical but virtual. Organizations need to deliver a consistent work experience whether in an office or on the road, or at home. The key driver is to intuitively connect not only communications devices, but interact with the ambient technologies that surround us, like lighting, BMS and signage.

At Avaya, we believe that the Smart Enterprise is one of the key building blocks for smart cities—and one of the foundations of true Smart Enterprise development will be what we term the Office of the Future. This is about more than just technology; the Office of the Future involves automating work processes within the enterprise to deliver a more intuitive employee experience. As with any “smart” solution, the Office of the Future is only smart if it resolves the challenges it aims to address.

So what do we mean by Office of the Future? Imagine walking into a new office you’ve never visited before and your work station is ready before you sit down, configured to your preferences, right down to the air conditioning settings and digital signage displayed with your identity. When a client arrives to meet you at the office, they can be sent to a meeting room automatically, and you can talk to them on their mobile as you walk to greet them.

With Avaya solutions, the act of an employee booking a workspace would kick start a workflow that immediately sets up that space with all communication devices enabled and connected securely, while interacting with the building management system to ensure the environment was set to the employee’s requirements, everything from lighting to temperature to digital signage. The employee could be identified by their phone or a card ID. When they leave, the workspace can be reset for the next employee that reserves it.

Such Smart workspaces will help enterprises manage their resources more effectively, better leverage their real estate investments, and improve employee well-being and productivity. Here in Dubai, the Office of the Future starts now.