100 Apps Per Hour

emerging generation

Welcome to the sixth installment of this blog series. Today’s post will dive into the details of another trend that is affecting BPM discussed in ProcessMaker CTO, Taylor Dondich’s recent BPM.com podcast – the impact of the emerging generation of knowledge workers.

Trends in New Knowledge Workers

As younger generations come of age, employers are beginning to recruit a workforce that grew up with technology. They have never known a world without the Internet and probably had their first electronic devices before elementary school. They are completely comfortable switching between laptops, mobile devices, apps, and gaming consoles. Many even use voice commands to procure information, goods and services – as well as to perform essential tasks like turning off lights and changing the temperature on the thermostat. Having grown up with immediate access to virtually limitless content that became more available as web and mobile devices matured, this generation has also developed a shorter attention span as little perseverance is needed to procure information digitally. They quickly find what they need, handle the task at hand and move on.

Work Like You Want To

Having grown up with the ability to find content with a few clicks on virtually any device, they have a well-developed command of technology. Along with this digital prowess comes some lofty expectations for its use in the workplace. The younger generation of workers will fluently jump from Facebook to their email client, Slack, web pages, proprietary company software and more with ease. Since they are so adept at using technology, this generation of workers is poised to become the most demanding tech users of their employers.  

Changing IT Ecosystems and Policies

They expect support for the tools that they want to use in order to work optimally.  The challenge is that what one worker loves another may hate – and elect to use a different tool.  Technology executives will find themselves caught in the middle. Which apps will the corporate ecosystem support and which will be excluded? What is the decision making criteria?  How does all of this affect corporate security and budgets? Regardless how policy plays out at individual companies, it’s certain that their business ecosystem of tools will expand from its current inventory.

User Experience Matters

While this group of workers is highly skilled in the use of technology, they are also quite discerning. If the app or device isn’t intuitive, they won’t use it. They are starting to demand a simplified user experience. If there is too much friction, they will find another solution – in a New York minute. And, with BPM tools, there are plenty of competitors.

What Does This Mean for BPM?

So the question becomes, how can you get your tools in front of this audience, in the medium they want to use, so they can get their work done efficiently and happily?  It’s going to be more important than ever before for businesses to orchestrate workflows between a vast inventory of business tools to recognize the human interaction element knowledge workers are demanding.  If you can get that right, the emerging workforce will embrace workflows.

Shift in Enterprise Models

Even beyond the BPM realm, the enterprise software market is changing. Even mega-organizations such as Microsoft are reinventing themselves using this paradigm. Changes to Microsoft Office and the Enterprise Windows Server Platform are evidence of this evolution, and  Microsoft Flow was launched to simplify workflow within the Microsoft family of products. These are significant data points supporting these trends. Microsoft has embraced software as a service (SaaS), simplified their user experience, and has begun addressing the requirements of the emerging workforce.

A Look Ahead

Looking ahead to the final blog post in this series, we will be exploring future trends in BPM. There are three key trends that are emerging that will be discussed.  

  1. Fresh, elegantly simple user experiences.
  2. Out of the box solutions that cater to shorter attention spans.
  3. A move to simplify and get tasks done faster.

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