Sadly I am old enough to remember when you would walk into your average corporate and be wowed by the latest technology.
When today’s Net Generation graduates walk into your firm they will probably find that they have more computing power in their home PC than the one on their desk. In some cases they may even have more computing power in their pocket!
Some of today’s smartest graduates are choosing to forgo corporate careers for entrepreneurial endeavours. And who can blame them. With just a laptop, an internet connection, and free or low cost consumer-focussed software from the web, sole traders and small businesses can appear much larger than they are, and effectively compete with the big players all at much lower cost.
How can Corporate IT Compete?
First realise that IT is no longer just about cost reduction and lower risk, but also customer service and staff retention.
Look at delivering value to the business across a wider range of metrics: increased revenues, increased customer satisfaction and increased profit per customer. Look at how your IT systems can help the business in terms of new talent recruitment and retention.
What you can do:
- Enable staff to work flexibly, from home, from the coffee shop, and yes, even the office. Remove the need for employees to be physically at their desk during office hours.
- Provide tools that make it easy to find expertise and knowledge – tools that mimic the consumer tools they are used to: blogs, wikis and personal sites not dissimilar to LinkedIn or Facebook.
- Provide tools that enable staff to connect in real time, from any location via audio, video and IM.
- Deliver on-demand self-paced training materials through short snippets such as podcasts that can be easily integrated into hectic lives. Enable staff to upload their own best practices and ideas and use social computing techniques to enable the best content to bubble-up to the top.
- Provide corporate-class social computing tools to enable Net Gen recruits to express themselves in a way that is natural to them.
- Enable staff to stay connected, wherever they may be from the device of their choice. Let staff select their own IT equipment and use virtualization technology to stay in control of corporate assets and security.
- Provide platforms for staff and customers to communicate and meet customer expectations for rich online experiences that help create a sense of community.