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Grow Your Business Technology

Millennials Placing New Demands on IT Departments

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Having grown up using technology their entire lives, new research shows the work force’s youngest generation — the so-called millennials born in the 1980s and ’90s — are putting increased demands on IT professionals.

A new study from Bomgar and GigaOm Pro reveals that millennials expect immediate support from IT support personnel when called upon. More than 30 percent said their problems should take just a couple of minutes to tend to; nearly 60 percent of those surveyed said 10 minutes or less was an acceptable support response time, citing a desire to stay productive while also being sympathetic to complex support situations.

A second survey of IT managers, meanwhile, found that 25 percent believe an hour or more is an acceptable time to tend to a problem.

The new survey also revealed that most millennials, looking for an immediate response, initially seek outside sources to solve their own technology problems rather than turning directly to the IT department for help. More than 60 percent of those surveyed said they don’t look to company IT support first for help, and 71 percent acknowledged they have searched for a tech support answer on Google at least once.

The survey suggests millennials are finding alternative paths to problem resolution in part because they strive to be self-sufficient and are increasingly comfortable with search and social channels — not because they’re oblivious to or dismissive of company procedures.

"Our research highlights the biggest challenges for IT departments: Millennials expect immediate responses, prefer a wider variety of communication channels and, when it comes to problem-solving, often turn to Google and outside resources before contacting support," David Card, research director at GigaOM Pro, said in a prepared release. "Overall, IT organizations are faring pretty well to support millennials' need for mobility, but they need to work on creating support systems that cater to millennials’ desire for immediacy, self-sufficiency and collaboration."

Those increased demands aren't going unnoticed by IT managers.  Of those surveyed, more than 80 percent said their view on millennials was "different" or "very different" from their view of older peers in terms of technology expectations.

Nathan McNeill, chief strategy officer at Bomgar, said the reality is that millennials are coming to the nation's work force with their increased expectations and demands in-hand, regardless of whether IT departments are prepared for them.

"There are definitely gaps between the expectations of this influx of younger workers and what IT support organizations currently deliver, but all hope is not lost," McNeill said in a prepared release. "By adjusting traditional IT processes to create a more real-time and collaborative support model, we can not only make millennials happier, but also improve the efficiency and effectiveness of IT departments overall."

The studies were based on surveys of 400 millennials and 200 IT managers from mid-size to large corporations.


Chad Brooks

Chad Brooks is a Chicago-based writer and editor with nearly 20 years in media. A 1998 journalism graduate of Indiana University, Chad began his career with Business News Daily in 2011 as a freelance writer. In 2014, he joined the staff full time as a senior writer. Before Business News Daily, Chad spent nearly a decade as a staff reporter for the Daily Herald in suburban Chicago, covering a wide array of topics including local and state government, crime, the legal system and education. Chad has also worked on the other side of the media industry, promoting small businesses throughout the United States for two years in a public relations role. His first book, How to Start a Home-Based App Development Business, was published in 2014. He lives with his wife and daughter in the Chicago suburbs.