Why empowering the connected workforce drives business success.
The connected generation (Gen C) is the most tech savvy and innovative group to enter the workforce. They use new modes of digital communication across multiple mobile devices and require instant access to these resources to be productive.
As Gen C occupies more of your workforce with each passing year, there is no denying the pressure it is placing on the corporate network. They live on the Internet and depend upon it to a degree many of us still underestimate. But it’s time we stopped fearing what all this Internet traffic is doing to our networks, and focus instead on understanding how empowering the perpetually connected workforce can be a competitive advantage.
It’s no longer just about controlling YouTube and Facebook, but rather creating a network environment that promotes a productive and beneficial digital experience for the corporation and the individual alike.
In this blog we will identify the emerging sources of Internet traffic on corporate networks and discuss why you must adapt and model your network strategy to embrace this ever-evolving technological landscape.
1. The Connected Generation
Made up from the digital DNA of Generation Y and Generation Z, the Connected Generation (Gen C) accounts for 47% of the population. A group born into a world where technology knows no boundaries and the urge to connect and communicate is constant.
Saturated with technology, Gen C craves immediate hyper-connection, feeling an emotional attachment to digital communication. Whether at home, on-the-go or at the office, they demand that friends, products, information and entertainment are always available at their fingertips.
Gen C has already entered the workforce, starting with the Millennials and soon to be followed by the even more tech savvy Gen Z. And while their incessant urge to connect may increase the flow of Internet traffic in the workplace, Gen C shouldn’t be considered a threat to productivity, but rather a vital asset to organizational success. As digital natives, they know how to utilize social media to be more creative and collaborative in the workplace. They know how to scour the Internet to crowd source solutions and use digital resources to engage with stakeholders around the world.
Taking social applications away from Gen C in the workplace needs to be taken off the table. This group needs access to digital tools to be successful. As an IT professional the question you now face is how to construct and orchestrate a network environment intelligent enough that it can empower social productivity and enable the connected generations to come.
2. The Social Business
Social media users in the U.S. spend an average of 16 minutes on networking platforms every hour. That number is only going up as Gen C occupies more and more seats in your company. The desire for engagement isn’t confined to the home either, it extends into all realms of life. Whether it’s to expand knowledge, broadcast information, express opinions or simply escape reality, there are many reasons users find value in social networking and you need to embrace it.
80% of small and medium businesses now use social media to drive business growth. They use it to streamline how information is shared as a platform for business promotion, to recruit great talent and to facilitate collaboration in the company.
Eliminating access to these tools can disrupt the harmonious and open culture networking apps create. To be more effective, an environment should be shaped to empower users to employ these tools for the greater good – encouraging new ways to create, collaborate and connect for organizational success.
3. The Growth of Mobile Devices
With over 3.6 billion unique users, mobile devices are dominating the digital landscape. And as devices and data connections become more affordable, mobile adoption will continue to soar and with that a significant upsurge of web-based and social media activity. In fact, mobile’s share of global web traffic has leapt 39% since 2014, with one-third of all web pages now served to mobile phones.
As the average number of devices per person continues to grow (estimated to be 5 by 2017) the mobile community is becoming accustomed to ubiquitous connectivity. They expect access to the mobile tools that will help them complete activities in the most efficient and effective manner.
Organizations that embrace the mobile workforce are more productive, more flexible and see increased job satisfaction. Corporate networks must be designed to support a variety of mobile traffic from both personal and business devices. Employees should be enabled to use the device they are most comfortable with and have all applications on that device perform as expected. Organizations that fail to stay ahead of the tech curve will risk losing out on the advantages of a highly productive digital workforce.
Architecting Your Network for the Connected-Era
For the foreseeable future, your network will continue to see more users, more devices and more applications seeking constant connectivity. Attempting to fight against this trend is a losing proposition and will ultimately make your business less competitive. On the other hand, embracing the connected generation can be a source of advantage for your organizations if you embrace the technological expertise of Gen C and the benefits of a digital workforce.
As an IT professional you still need to ensure all traffic flowing through your network is being used to better the business, but this doesn’t need to come at the expense of your connected workforce. The organizations that will win in the long run are finding new ways to promote the productive use of mobile devices and social networking applications. Their mission is to guarantee the workforce reliable access to the digital tools they need to maximize productivity, social connectedness and ultimately to drive business-growth.